I’ve been an atheist for about 4 years (maybe longer, but I was in denial). However, I still attend church service on Sunday. My dad is the pastor and my entire family goes. I go to keep the peace, but I sit on a comfortable bench in the foyer and read a book or play on the playground with my nephew.
I love the people there and it’s hard for me to judge them for their beliefs. I was a Christian for 25 years, so I know they were indoctrinated just as I was. On occasion, I get upset by what I hear. I’m not a fan of racism, bigotry or outright lies. That’s when I speak up. Maybe I’m just an argumentative person, but I do have limits on the amount of bullshit I can listen to before blowing my lid.
This morning one of the church ladies greeted us. My nephew loves to play with her granddaughter. She explained that she didn’t bring her granddaughter because she was upset with her for wanting to go trick-or-treating last night. She had told her that Halloween was evil and anyone who celebrated the holiday was worshipping the devil. Of course, as a 5-year-old who wanted to dress up and get candy, she didn’t listen to her granny. So she had to stay home with her parents who had no Halloween hang-ups.
I have a soft spot for kids. I’m not a parent myself, but I do have a 1-year-old nephew. I’m protective of children and I care when people are trying to teach them crazy bullshit. Instilling a fear of hell, witchcraft and the devil in young children is a form of psychological abuse.
I couldn’t help it. I opened my big mouth and I argued with her. I made the point that children wearing silly costumes and eating candy was not devil worship. Worship is not an accidental act. You can’t inadvertently worship God or Allah or anything else. You have to make a conscious decision to do so. My nephew dressed up as Buzz Lightyear and got candy from family. Does that make him accidentally evil? Absolutely not.
Not to mention the fact that there is no more reason to believe in Satan than there is to believe in god. I, obviously, don’t accept the claim that god is real. Without an Abrahamic god, the idea of demons and a devil falls apart as well.
Out of passive interest, I looked up the origins of Halloween. It seems to have largely Christian roots, which is ironic considering Christian opposition to the holiday. It’s possible that the Christians simply co-opted the Celtic pagan holiday of Samhain, just as they did with Easter and Christmas, but there is some disagreement on whether or not that is true. Christians have a habit of labelling anything pagan as Satanic, even if Satan has nothing to do with their practices. Satan is an Abrahamic creation. Pagan rituals evolved separately, sometimes predating Christianity by centuries.
You can read more about Halloween’s origins on Wikipedia:
Halloween is a celebration observed in a number of countries on 31 October, the eve of the Western Christian feast of All Hallows’ Day. It begins the three-day observance of Allhallowtide, the time in the liturgical year dedicated to remembering the dead, including saints (hallows),martyrs, and all the faithful departed.
According to one view, All Hallows’ Eve is a Christianized observance influenced by Celticharvest festivals, with possible pagan roots, particularly the Gaelic festival Samhain. Other scholars maintain that it originated independently of Samhain and has solely Christian roots.
As far as I’m concerned, modern Halloween is an excuse for kids to dress up and get candy and for adults to dress up and get drunk. Either way, it sounds like a lot of fun to me.