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Halloween




by Steve Case

What is the difference between your worldview and the world’s view related to Halloween?

Your perspective on Halloween might be based more on your childhood memories than on its historical roots. The places in the world that celebrate Halloween now emphasize some spooky underworld of the dead and commercialize it with decorations, costumes, and lots of candy.

Those who focus on its darker themes of dead people, ghosts, goblins, witches, monsters, and unpredictable supernatural powers tap into the fear factor in many ways. Some find a certain intrigue with that, while most avoid it, or just play it off as “no big deal.”

Even though this holiday focuses on the dead, rarely do people use this opportunity to actually discuss or understand what happens when a person dies. The prevailing assumption denies the dead are really dead, blindly accepting the concoction that they continue in a different world. But don’t forget, they may come back to this world, primarily on Halloween.

Really?

Most cultures and religions have some type of belief about what happens when a person dies. Many in the East believe in some sort of reincarnation. This leads to a type of fatalism that you’re stuck in a circle and can’t get out. Just a few break through to an imaginary type of heaven called nirvana.

Those in the West fall for a “good behavior” type of reward when a person dies. Those who were good in life on earth go to heaven, and those who weren’t good enough find themselves in some type of hell. For the many who seem to have a mixture of good and bad, well, they could go either way—it probably depends on the “big guy upstairs.” This leads to a behaviorism that talks about being good but finds itself reticent to actually do good. Many end up fearing death or setting low expectations, or they compare themselves with others in the hope that maybe they will come out better. But even then, hopefully the “big guy upstairs” will be in a good mood when your name gets presented to Him.
Another common human perspective either refuses to believe in God or doesn’t find adequate support or experiences to place one’s trust in Him. Life can quickly degenerate into survival of the fittest, working one’s way up an imaginary ladder, depending on luck, and watching out for yourself first. But no matter what you do, death awaits you. The adage “Whoever dies with the most toys wins” seems oblivious to the fact that such a person is still dead! While not deceived into believing the dead inhabit a gray underworld of pale shadows, the opposite deception ignores eternity with God in heaven.

How different from a biblical view!

The Bible presents God as the only one who is eternal (1 Timothy 6:16). Humans, while made in God’s image, receive their life from God, not from themselves (Genesis 1:26; 2:7). This is your life; you don’t get a “do-over” (Luke 16:27-31). Your life right now matters! (Matthew 25:14-30).

The Bible also presents humans as hopelessly lost (Psalm 14:2, 3). And yet story after story in Scripture demonstrate God’s amazing love and His rescue of people on Planet Earth (Exodus 19:4; Psalm 103; Matthew 8:23-27).

Repeatedly we discover that this happens because of God, not because of us. While we can say yes or no, the invitation and reality rest with God, not with us.
We can be certain of the answer to the question “Am I good enough to go to heaven (live forever)?” The answer will always be “No, but Jesus offers it as a gift from Him, not a reward for us” (see Romans 3:23; 6:23). Those who trust God begin eternal life now, even if they may “sleep” until the resurrection (John 5:24; 1 Thessalonians 4:16, 17). This gives us tremendous confidence in God and perpetual gratitude to Him.

So what does this have to do with Halloween? Actually, not much. Halloween seems to be the opposite—fear, death, uncertainty, hiding, self-defense, attacks, godlessness.

How will you live this Halloween, based on your perspective?

If you believe that life keeps recycling, you will probably view Halloween as a hoax, since those who die come back to life and get recycled on this same earth, not put into the dungeon of the underworld.

If you believe that your destiny after you die places you in either heaven or hell, then Halloween could be real, although it focuses on those bound for hell rather than heaven. You might wonder why heaven doesn’t seem to be available to you. Plus, you are susceptible to believe what any demon might communicate to you since any demon could be a previous human.

If you don’t believe in God, then you’re likely to treat Halloween as just a cultural experience we include in our limited number of laps around the sun.
For those who tap into Scripture, Halloween seems like either a somewhat strange cultural thing or a focus on the devil’s story or a worldview devoid of God.

Where in the world is God in Halloween the way you practice it? Will you just go with the flow this year, or will you do something countercultural by promoting life, joy, security, hope, serenity, love, and celebration? I’m choosing to go the godly way rather than the godless way. How about you?

Steve Case is a youth pastor, an author, the president of Involve Youth (www.involveyouth.org), and resident columnist of Insight’s On the Case.

 





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