I am reminded of logical fallacies every Fall just before Halloween. We are told that Halloween originated as a pagan day by the ancient druids. Most commonly people say this without citing any ancient source, which should raise some cautions for us. The skeptic in me wants to see an authoritative, documented citation of ancient druid writings. But since I’ve not seen anyone refute this connection, let’s assume that it is true, that Halloween originated as a thoroughly pagan day. As Christians, the Bible tells us that we have freedom and are not measured by keeping rules. But we are also told to avoid all appearance of evil and not to temp someone to sin. So we do not want to appear to be supporting a pagan day. A similar case is sometimes made at Christmas, which started out as a pagan festival.
Let’s apply some logic here. If we celebrate Halloween, are we giving support for paganism? Well, if you have a neighbor who is a druid and does rituals on their lawn every October 31, then I would encourage you to not celebrate Halloween. However, since most people in our communities have no clue as to who the druids were or what they taught or where they lived, for the Christians to make this connection is a bit illogical, and frankly odd. It reeks of the of legalism that Galatians speaks against.
If we were to follow the logic that Halloween and Christmas orginated as pagan days, therefore we should avoid them, then we must be consistent. What other days have originated as pagan days? Saturday is Saturn’s day. Sunday is “Sun” day, Monday “Moon” day. January was named for Janus, a pagan God, March was named for Mars, another ancient god. The list goes on and on, with most of our calendar named for ancient gods or pagan festivals. If we were truly biblical, we would use the Jewish calendar. Further, one could make the case that July 4th is a modern pagan holiday, for it certainly does nothing to support holiness or worship the true God. Rather, July 4th is a modern festival led by non-Christians for purely fleshly reasons, and in a technical sense, is a modern heathen holiday.
My point is not to be legalistic and try to remove ourselves from all society. Just the opposite, for my point is that it is a bit foolish for Christians to try to avoid holidays such as Halloween and Christmas simply because they had pagan origins. We no no longer have druid festivals, and the days have changed meanings. Celebrating these days lends no support to ancient paganism.
That said, Halloween has far too much excess. It is not healthy to expose people, especially small children, to gore, carnage, blood and guts, and hints of occult demonology. At Christmas, it does no one any good to go into debt to buy things we cannot afford and give them to people who do not need them, then go be gluttons and drunkards at parties. These parts of the holidays should be eliminated from our culture. But it is not logical nor is it biblical to say that it is sinful to allow a small child to dress up like a princess or a cowboy and collect candy, nor is it sinful to celebrate Christmas for what it is now, a celebration of the birth of Jesus.