October 31, 2007

Every Day Is Halloween For Christians

A line from one of the many Halloween specials I've seen over the years has stuck with me: the idea that Halloween was thought to be the day of the year when the barrier between the world of the living and the spirit world was thinnest and most permeable. Silly to be sure, but I remember being impressed with the idea as a child.

As an adult, I am amazed that many Christians actually claim to believe this sort of thing. They take their bibles literally, worshiping a zombie and feeling confident that angels and demons are locked in battle for their souls. Every day must be like Halloween!

Let me say at the outset that I am convinced that a large number of Christians do not actually believe much of what their bible tells them they are supposed to believe and much of what they claim to believe. They call themselves Christians, attend church, and engage in the occasional religious ritual for reasons other than belief. Maybe they do it to belong and be accepted. Maybe they do it because that was how they were raised and going through the motions feels like they are honoring family traditions. They are not deluded; their mistake is simply that they continue to cling to something they probably suspect is false.

But there are also Christians out there who really do seem to believe that forces of good and evil are at war for their souls. These are your fundamentalists, and they live in a world of magic where their god and its army of angels is at war with Satan. They don't want you to drink alcohol, dance, listen to heavy metal, or watch scary movies because these are among the many paths to demonic possession. They take their children to church on Halloween because the streets are not safe, filled with demons and ghosts. They speak in tongues, perform exorcisms, and perceive danger everywhere. Their daily life must feel like they are trapped in a horror movie. I can't say I envy them.

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