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A Christian debate over Halloween: Counter, co-opt, or embrace it?
October 28th, 2011
02:30 PM ET

A Christian debate over Halloween: Counter, co-opt, or embrace it?

Editor's note: Listen to the CNN Radio broadcast about the debate: By Jim Roope, CNN

Los Angeles (CNN) - For many American Christians, Halloween is innocent, harmless and fun, and they trick-or-treat, carve pumpkins and don costumes with gusto.

For others, though – especially for some conservative and fundamentalist Christians - Halloween is a celebration of evil and has no place in the life of a believer.

Halloween fun facts: Spending, eating and carving

“We don’t endorse that or we don’t celebrate that,” said Joe Hernandez, pastor of Worshipwalk Church in Los Angeles, which belongs to the conservative Pentecostal tradition. “People are celebrating the devil’s holiday.”

Halloween’s roots are believed to date back 1,400 years, to the Irish-pagan New Year’s celebration. The Celtic New Year began on November 1. People would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off roaming ghosts and evil spirits.

Movies that scare the people who scare us

Some Christians, like Hernandez, believe Halloween’s pagan roots can open the door to evil. That’s why Worshipwalk is hosting a harvest festival in its church parking lot on Monday, with kids’ games and face painting.

Hernandez calls it harvesting hearts for God.

Some conservative churches go a step further, attempting to co-opt the holiday with haunted houses - called “hell houses” - that are designed to give a glimpse of eternal damnation in hopes of strengthening faith.

“There’s Satan’s lies and there’s Jesus’ redemption and there’s a message that will change your life,” said Keenan Roberts, who says he is the inventor of the hell house, which people walk or call through, just as they would a haunted house.

I was a zombie movie extra

“It’s designed to reach the ‘sight and sound’ age,” said Roberts. “The message is sacred but the method is not.”

Hell houses can be graphic. In Roberts’ hell house – which he markets through his Hell House Ministries – live actors depict scenes of abortion, rape, suicide and murder, though the journey through the house culminates in scenes of redemption through Jesus.

Pastor of the fundamentalist New Destiny church near Denver, Colorado, Roberts said that his ministry has received a lot of criticism for what critics say is “going too far.”

But he said today’s kids are so desensitized that he will do whatever it takes to get the message of salvation to take root.

Avoiding sexy costumes for kids

Mainline Protestants tend to take a much softer line on Halloween, with some mainline churches embracing it.

“Halloween for me is a time to have fun,” said Wayne Walters, pastor at the First United Methodist Church in Burbank, California. “I remember growing up - on Halloween I went trick-or-treating. I was in it for the candy.”

“And at Christmas I put out cookies and milk for Santa Claus, who always took time to sit down and enjoy them,” he continued. “None of those I think had a negative influence, destroyed or diminished my faith, he said.”

Walters says that many non-religious traditions associated with Christian holidays, including Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny, hardly mean those holidays are non-Christian.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity • Halloween

soundoff (3,144 Responses)
  1. Goodstuff

    Lulz. Organized religion is cute.

    October 28, 2011 at 3:26 pm |
    • Ben

      OK lets go through the list: Christmas: Not the birth of or Jesus but a day at the winter solstice that was celebrated by pagans. The Holy Roman Empire pick this date for the celebration of Christ's birth to bring the pagan masses into the fold. According to bible scholars Christ was not even born in December. Easter: Pagan fertility celebration merged with the Resurrection of Christ originally named for the goddess of fertility "Aster" subsequently changed to "Easter." Halloween: All Hallows Day Eve, never in history attached to the devil Satan, or Beelzebub. Hollywood has however made many movie connections to Halloween, all fantasy, all wrong. See you later, I've got to take my 11 year old trick or treating before church!

      October 28, 2011 at 5:09 pm |
  2. sbp

    As Warren Oates once said: Lighten Up, Francis!

    October 28, 2011 at 3:25 pm |
    • flashtrum

      Wasn't he in Hall and Oates? He had really big hair.

      October 28, 2011 at 3:27 pm |
  3. ORLY?

    LOL.

    Copyeditors: Does this look right 😉

    Headline reads " A Christian debate over Halloween: Counter, co-opt, or emrbace it?"

    October 28, 2011 at 3:25 pm |
  4. marcia

    Christian churches are so obnoxious! If your church does something you don't like....get another church...cry baby!

    October 28, 2011 at 3:25 pm |
  5. Tao of Jester

    Don't let the Christian know that all of their Holidays are based off of Pagan beliefs. It may freak them out.

    October 28, 2011 at 3:24 pm |
    • Babs

      Yes all of them are pagan holidays center around the winter solstice and spring equinox, Hallows is a time to remember our dead...remembering our friends, family, and ancestors that came before us. I am not sure how the Devil got involved, but I am sure since it is associated with the pagan practice that is why. It is the Night of the Dead...not Night of the Evil. Learn your own heritage, as I am sure many of those Christians that cry about the pagan religion come from Irish and Scottish roots. Which in turn many were associated with pagan practices.

      October 28, 2011 at 3:57 pm |
    • Antoinette

      What holidays? The holidays that I celebrate don't have roots in paganism. I celebrate the birth of Jesus and His resurrection not Easter (but Resurrection Day). People love to bash Christians and their beliefs. If I don't want to celebrate Halloween then I don't have to. It still amazes me how people spend so much time trying to discredit or dis prove something they don't believe in. Why does it matter to you what I believe? I'm not hurting you or anyone in your family am I? Exactly

      October 28, 2011 at 3:58 pm |
    • steven harnack

      Sorry Antoinette, but your co-religionists DO want to hurt me by trashing the world that I live on because it won't be here that much longer anyway, by dominating politics to pass laws based solely on their beliefs, by contributing to ignorance by denying science, and in many other ways. If they would just quietly live by their own beliefs they would be tolerable but they don't even do that while they are busy brainwashing generation after generation. Man created gods, it's past time to let them go.

      October 28, 2011 at 6:38 pm |
    • HaHa

      Do not know if you are right about after pagans. But I know if you are right do not say it. ssssshhhhhh

      October 28, 2011 at 6:52 pm |
    • Atheist don't believe in God, so God doesn't believe in atheist

      steven harnack show me proof of your argument that Christianity are dominating politics to hurt your world? your argument is full of fallacies ...

      October 29, 2011 at 4:07 pm |
  6. Matrix

    Pagan roots? Well, I hope those very same churches oppose Christmas and Easter for the same reasons. They are very pagan!

    October 28, 2011 at 3:24 pm |
    • Cedar Rapids

      Thats the co-opt part, they are good at that.

      October 28, 2011 at 3:27 pm |
    • Mel

      It's good to see people on here that actually know what their talking about! thanks! 🙂

      October 28, 2011 at 3:30 pm |
    • gerbiltea

      And you seriously believe that because the people in the cultures to which these holidays belonged, as in various European societies, converted en masse to Abrahamic religion that somehow this means these holidays were "co-opted"? No, that's preposterous. Holidays change, they always have. I doubt some Celt suddenly woke up one day and said "hey! let's have a holiday where we burn stuff and engage in human sacrifice (which they did)!" No, they probably got it from even older practices from Central Asia, lot to us from our migration to Europe thousands of years ago.

      October 28, 2011 at 3:35 pm |
    • bsitz

      The holiday didn't change over time. The Christians lead a war in the name of God to destroy the Pagans and all other heretics. They stole it...

      October 28, 2011 at 3:47 pm |
    • jkvt1028

      "Christians" didn't lead the war, just as "Muslims" are not leading a war against western civilization. Extremists and power hungry, egotistical people lead wars and use religion to justify it. True Christians and true Muslims do not buy into the extremist views. The actual religions themselves do not promote hate, people do that.

      God bless.

      October 28, 2011 at 3:59 pm |
  7. BunnyFooFoo

    This story is sure to generate plenty of thoughtful and level-headed discussion about religion.

    October 28, 2011 at 3:24 pm |
    • marcia

      Amen....BunnyFooFoo!

      October 28, 2011 at 3:27 pm |
    • flashtrum

      you must be joking.

      October 28, 2011 at 3:28 pm |
    • Chase

      LOLZ

      October 28, 2011 at 3:29 pm |
    • Jeff Williams

      At least until the Christians get here.

      October 28, 2011 at 3:34 pm |
    • asdf

      I think BunnyFooFoo meant that sarcastically. . .

      October 28, 2011 at 6:42 pm |
    • Insanepigignorantbiblethumper

      *foaming at the mouth* Evil! Satan! Hellfire! Brimstone! Flat earth! Disease caused by demons! *face beet red*

      October 30, 2011 at 10:19 pm |
  8. nwi

    Every religion, every culture, every background has its own uptight, killjoy, blowhards. There will always be folks who want to tell everyone else what to do.

    October 28, 2011 at 3:23 pm |
    • What?

      Who's imposing? you can celebrate whatever you want? We (Christians)don't want to celebrate halloween......not to difficult to understand.

      October 28, 2011 at 3:28 pm |
    • ali

      @ What, I think it's when Fundamentalists involve themselves in politics that attempt to pass legislation that requires others to comply with their religious beliefs that people have a problem with it.

      October 28, 2011 at 3:34 pm |
  9. Jim J

    If God isn't real, how did he create man in his own image?

    Checkmate, atheists!

    October 28, 2011 at 3:23 pm |
    • nwi

      god must be either one messed up dude, hilarious, or both.

      October 28, 2011 at 3:24 pm |
    • Prince Hall F&AM

      that's not a 'checkmate'. All you did was ask a question. -__-

      October 28, 2011 at 3:24 pm |
    • Darth Cheney

      He didn't.

      October 28, 2011 at 3:27 pm |
    • jsharp@rmcv.com

      Repeating something that your silly religion has repeated for over thousands of years, does not make it fact. In fact repeating that quote in this context just shows how simple you really are.

      Of course you believe in Magic Santa Claus, now go sit back down.

      October 28, 2011 at 3:27 pm |
    • jim

      Are you really stupid enough to think that is a rational argument? The answer is simple, god didn't create man because no god exists. No wonder there are so many christian garbage collectors.

      October 28, 2011 at 3:27 pm |
    • HaelieL

      Man created God in his image...

      October 28, 2011 at 3:28 pm |
    • bp

      Because Man created god in his image

      October 28, 2011 at 3:28 pm |
    • Bobo on the Corner

      haha!
      what?

      October 28, 2011 at 3:28 pm |
    • ChicagoRob

      actually if anything man created God in his image.....do you really think God is some giant White republican texan hanging out in the clouds? And heck if Jesus walked the earth most Americans would mistake him as a muslim

      October 28, 2011 at 3:28 pm |
    • ORLY?

      "Jim J
      If God isn't real, how did He create man in His own image?
      Checkmate, atheists!"

      There. Fixed that for ya.

      Your argument is redundantly recursive.

      October 28, 2011 at 3:28 pm |
    • RandomOne

      Um, I thought god was a being and not a human? Plus, telling an atheist that man was made in god's image doesn't prove anything unless you can show a picture of god. Checkmate your stupidity.

      October 28, 2011 at 3:28 pm |
    • nonpartyjay

      You're joking right? Man created God in his image.

      October 28, 2011 at 3:29 pm |
    • Cedar Rapids

      I think it was sarcasm folks, wasnt meant to be a real attempt at an argument.

      October 28, 2011 at 3:29 pm |
    • William Demuth

      Sherlock

      We created him in OUR image! Self evident proof of how full of s#@t the whole thing is.

      A blonde haired blue eyed man and a virgin girl from Palestine?

      So pathetic it is absurd

      October 28, 2011 at 3:29 pm |
    • CFG

      I award you zero points, and may god have mercy on your soul.

      October 28, 2011 at 3:30 pm |
    • What?

      God is awesome and I love Him:):) Go team Jesus we love You Lord!

      October 28, 2011 at 3:30 pm |
    • fafuga

      Excellent logic. If Dr. Suess didn't exist, how did the Grinch steal Christmas?

      Yahtzee!

      October 28, 2011 at 3:30 pm |
    • r

      how do you know i didn't create man in my image? Or in someone else's image?

      October 28, 2011 at 3:30 pm |
    • ihtfpaeoh

      Uh, seriously??????

      October 28, 2011 at 3:31 pm |
    • Chase

      You must be one of those Westboro idiots

      October 28, 2011 at 3:31 pm |
    • jsharp@rmcv.com

      You have to be really stupid to have typed up this post and not realized it made no logical sense. How do we know man was made in God's image. Because you and your cult followers say so? How stupid is this point? You made a point by making a claim that is not verifiable and then stating it is fact, even though we all know it is a silly idea.

      Ha Ha Ha
      These people are so cute, too funny.

      October 28, 2011 at 3:32 pm |
    • Uncouth Swain

      "A blonde haired blue eyed man and a virgin girl from Palestine?"

      I think you will have a hard time proving that. He rarely was ever shown with blonde hair and there was no "Palestine" in his lifetime.

      October 28, 2011 at 3:33 pm |
    • Daryn

      Jim, you used absolutely no reasoning or logic in your argument. What you said would be like me saying, "If Santa Clause isn't real, how come people get presents every Christmas." My argument assumes only Santa delivers presents. Your argument assumes that first, their is a God; second, he/she/it has an image; thirdly, that we were created by that "god" if it does actually exist.
      When you use assumptions to argue a point, it is called an opinion, not truth or fact. I assume you have a brain, I request that you start using it. That, however, is just my opinion.
      Also as many people have already stated. You may want to look into the roots of Easter and Christmas too, both originally pagan holidays. Just a few of the things i learned when i actually took the time to study the Bible and Christian history. If your going to base your life on a tradition/religious belief(s), I suggest you do the same thing.

      October 28, 2011 at 3:38 pm |
    • Cason

      You people embarrass me for being an atheist...

      October 28, 2011 at 3:40 pm |
    • Jessaca

      So God started out as a monkey too?

      October 28, 2011 at 3:43 pm |
    • Hasa Diga Eebowai

      And why does god look like he evolved from a chimp... hahaha

      October 28, 2011 at 3:44 pm |
    • Todd Packer

      Amen brother!

      October 28, 2011 at 3:47 pm |
    • J

      Guys, just Youtube "checkmate atheists". Obviously trolling sarcasm...

      October 28, 2011 at 3:48 pm |
    • TJ

      A comment like that only shows the stupidity of the followers.

      October 28, 2011 at 3:51 pm |
    • asdf

      wow, amazing out of all of the responses to this comment, i think only 2 people got it. Why is everyone so quick to jump into an argument? It's clearly a sarcastic remark. William Demuth gets -100 for calling someone 'Sherlock'. What decade are you living in? Was that ever cool?

      October 28, 2011 at 6:50 pm |
    • Entil'za

      @asdf- because stupidity, like evil, must be confronted or you are condoning it.

      October 31, 2011 at 6:02 pm |
  10. William Demuth

    All of Christianity has Pagan roots.

    It is realy nothing more than a Polythiestic cult that riped of most of the Pagan rituals.

    ESPECIALLY Christmas!

    October 28, 2011 at 3:23 pm |
    • Mel

      I don't understand why Pagan's are not treated with the same religious rights as everyone else! You don't see us walking around saying terrible things about Christian beliefs! All I ask as a Pagan, is that people respect the reglion and learn about it before spewing slander about devil worship! It is absolutely rediculous! People need to learn before they speak!

      October 28, 2011 at 3:29 pm |
    • Gary

      If you had't said it I would have... All Christian holidays have their roots in Pagen worship

      October 28, 2011 at 3:32 pm |
    • ali

      @ Mel, I was under the impression that Paganism was demonized by the early Christian church in order to discourage participation in the rituals that were contrary to what the Christians wanted to eliminate. It was no accident that many powerful symbols in the Pre Christian religions became representations of evil in Christianity.

      October 28, 2011 at 3:40 pm |
  11. Thinking7

    Halloween is disgusting. I don't want my kids to be a part of the culture of death that is striking our country. Skulls and death everywhere. Just plain sick.

    October 28, 2011 at 3:22 pm |
    • Well

      I don't want my kids around the disgusting places that show a guy dead hung on a cross, it's sick.

      October 28, 2011 at 3:24 pm |
    • monica

      i agree

      October 28, 2011 at 3:25 pm |
    • William Demuth

      SO flesh eating rituals are bad? Then skip communion as well

      SO Zombies are bad? Seems to me Christ is a Zombie?

      Blood rituals? Trantubitation!
      Demons? Bible!
      Glorified violence? The crucifix!
      Sadistic degenerates preying on children? The Priesthood!

      October 28, 2011 at 3:26 pm |
    • carboncow

      You mean like bloody jesus dolls hanging from a cross!

      October 28, 2011 at 3:27 pm |
    • nwi

      not to mention all of the drinking of blood that goes on in some churches. Cannibals!

      October 28, 2011 at 3:27 pm |
    • Gnarlton

      News flash. Death has played a huge roll in every culture due to the fact that death is something that everyone experiences.

      October 28, 2011 at 3:29 pm |
    • Cedar Rapids

      "Well I don't want my kids around the disgusting places that show a guy dead hung on a cross, it's sick."

      onna stick.

      October 28, 2011 at 3:30 pm |
    • John Davis

      So, your kids are the ones that will grow up socially awkward and mocked by their classmates. Good parenting.

      October 28, 2011 at 3:31 pm |
    • Chase

      This may surprise you but one day you are actually going to be dead! Shocking right? O, and your kids will have to bury you lolz

      October 28, 2011 at 3:34 pm |
    • reason

      Sheesh lighten up. I dont know if you noticed but we ALL have skulls. Its the thing holding your wacked out brain in place.

      October 28, 2011 at 3:34 pm |
    • Cason

      Lol, "culture of death"? If anything, we are more frightened of death than past cultures have been. Not for lack of good reason, we tend not to die as much, it's more unknown. But halloween is hardly about death. It's more a celebration of fear than that. Whether it's facing it or simply acknowledging it's importance in humans. But let's be honest. It's just a day where people can play dress up and run around acting strange for a day, or to get your adrenaline pumping. It's a bit pathetic that people view halloween defensively, as if it's something that is has actual serious implications in modern society.

      October 28, 2011 at 3:36 pm |
    • Dick

      ...we have a giant fake spider in our shrubs (tried to train a real one, but it wouldn't stick around). Does this mean our whole family is going to Hell?

      October 28, 2011 at 4:13 pm |
    • LPC

      Hate to break it to you or your kids, but death will visit each and every one of us. Most childhood fairy tales involve death in some aspect. Christianity DEFINITELY involves death...and life. I am a Christian and I grew up with my mom and dad driving us around to various neighbors Halloween night, which is a wonderful memory. My grandmother was always our last stop (a devout Christian woman who did more good in a year than most do in a lifetime). Her pretend fear of us dressed up in our costumes and her bringing out the big bowl of homemade popcorn balls is a memory I would hate to have grown up without. I find no evil in these memories, and continued the same Halloween traditions for my children and grandchildren.

      October 29, 2011 at 11:57 am |
  12. William Demuth

    Christmas is Halloween.

    Two sides of the same lie.

    October 28, 2011 at 3:18 pm |
    • leo

      what about Easter as well? Rabbits don't lay eggs unless they are devil possessed....

      October 28, 2011 at 3:24 pm |
    • ChicagoRob

      but they do lay cocopuffs

      October 28, 2011 at 3:26 pm |
  13. JoeT

    Ironic– mostly because it started out as a pagan harvest festival before Christians co-opted it as all's hallowed e'en, and now a different set of fundamentalist Christians wants to revert it to its pagan roots.

    October 28, 2011 at 3:18 pm |
    • ....

      All Hallow's Eve

      October 28, 2011 at 3:24 pm |
  14. Hollow Mein

    Where is the Christian debate here?
    This means nothing/Zilch scripturally.

    October 28, 2011 at 3:13 pm |
    • Her Shees

      good for business.(period) end of story.what can i sell for Christmas?

      October 28, 2011 at 3:17 pm |
    • redone

      I agree. What's the issue, here. I went to Catholic School. We always had a Halloween festival. It was a good way to raise money for the school. No one is worshiping idols on Halloween, unless they have really lost it or think they are reviving an old religion that really has no written text on celebrations that ended a long time ago. Halloween falls on All Souls Day. It is a day of rememberance of all souls and family members who have passed away. The next day is all Saint's day. So... What's the point of this article?

      October 28, 2011 at 3:28 pm |
    • why

      CNN-why drift to the dark side always on the belief blog? your penchant for Mr Camping's doomsday now Halloween..what is next in your dark quests?

      October 28, 2011 at 3:29 pm |
  15. Reality

    from: http://members.tripod.com/~TaraMiller/halloween.html

    "Halloween: The Pagan Festival of Samhain

    Paganism, and Druidry especially, recognise eight feasts durring the yearly cycle or the Eight Fold Year. These celebrations are based upon a deep and mysterious connection between our individual lives and the source of this planet’s life. Like any other religious ocassion, these Pagan holidays are marked by special observances.

    The most popular festival, in ancient times as well as modern Pagan society, is Samhain or Samhuinn, (pronounced Sou’in) the Celtic new year.

    Halloween Myths

    1) The pumpkin God, Samhain ( pronounced Sam’hane) DOES NOT exist.

    2) Pagans DO NOT sacrifice babies or animals on Halloween. The Wiccan Rede states "Do what thou wilst, but harm none."

    3) Pagans DO NOT worship the Devil or Satan on Halloween.

    4) PAGANS ARE NOT SATANISTS.

    These myths have been perpetuated by people who have seen too many horror movies and the Christian idea of horrific and mythical forms of Satanism. "

    October 28, 2011 at 3:13 pm |
    • ChicagoRob

      actually by listing "your facts" as myths you are basically arguing against yourself. you should place the comments in fact vs myth or just plain facts......you are essentially nullifying your own arguements

      October 28, 2011 at 3:24 pm |
    • redone

      Ever heard of the Wicker Man?

      October 28, 2011 at 3:30 pm |
    • gerbiltea

      The charge that Halloween is a "pagan holiday" is somewhat misleading as nearly all religious holidays in every faith, particularly the Abrahamic religions but not exclusively to, have some sort of older origin or connection. I wouldn't find it surprising to learn that Samhaim had a religious precursor from our Central Asian forebears when they migrated westward into Europe.

      Halloween, today, has morphed into the general culture's milieu and is the province of pretty much everyone. The only people who truly annoy me on this matter are the neo-pagans who claim to have some legitimate tie to ancient, long dead religious practices. Get with the program, people, the ancient Celts were fond of ritual sacrifice and absurd burning practices at this time of year. Dancing around naked with your fellow pasty overweight female friends is NOT analogous to what ancient people did, at all.

      October 28, 2011 at 3:32 pm |
    • Mel

      Thank you Reality! Pagans are good loving people! I still can't believe the old way of thinking about them is still so alive today. Thanks for pointing out some facts! Happy Samhain! 🙂

      October 28, 2011 at 3:34 pm |
    • gerbiltea

      Mel, that's so intensely stupid and revisionist I don't know where to begin. You ARE aware that the Celts engaged in ritual decapitation (as they believed the soul resided in the head, thus giving you control over the victim in death) and other forms of human sacrifice, yes?

      No religious system is perfect, but in many ways polytheism lost out for rather obvious reasons. That's one of them. Let the "old ways" die because quite frankly, what you're engaged in is something revisionist and totally new.

      October 28, 2011 at 3:38 pm |
    • Mel

      Hey redone, have you ever heard of the churches that for hundreds of years killed thousands of innocent people for not agreeing with them? Have you ever heard of child molesting priests? well I have and I will be the first to admit that most OLD religions HAD their very dark days. I just urge people to learn about the beliefs and practices of modern pagans and wiccans before they speak about them.

      October 28, 2011 at 3:38 pm |
    • Mel

      I love how people are so rude to others on here for their believe systems, really.... stupid? It's sad people are so rude to eachother for no good reason. All I have to say is Blessed be, and those that cannot accept a peaceful religion for what it is TODAY, well you can keep you close minded view. I wish you all the best! Happy Samhain!

      October 28, 2011 at 3:43 pm |
    • Um

      You realize that's not what it's about, though, right? The Bible says Christianity is an exclusive religion. There is supposed to be no mixing in of any other religion. So if Halloween were based in Islam, Buddism, ANY other religion it would still be just as wrong.

      October 28, 2011 at 3:48 pm |
  16. JohnQuest

    How is this different from Christmas? Both are based on Pagan and/or non-Christian beliefs.

    October 28, 2011 at 3:11 pm |
    • Shhhh

      Shhhhh... the christians don't know that, Santa is coming and I want my presents. 😉

      October 28, 2011 at 3:16 pm |
    • jkvt1028

      False. Christmas is absolutely a Christian holiday celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ. Early Christians decided to celebrate this holiday on December 25th, which pagans recognized as the day to praise "Sol Invictus" or the Roman Sun god. Christians used this as an opportunity to make it easier for pagans to convert to Christianity, as the winter solstice offers some symbolism for the birth of Christ. The winter solstice means that we have made it through the darkest days of the winter; the birth of Christ means that we have made it through the darkest days as well and that we will soon be saved. Jesus Christ was not born on December 25th, this is just a convenient day used to celebrate his birth. Just because early Christians correlated the two celebrations and that non-Christians now enjoy celebrating the Christmas season, does not mean that Christmas is not a Christian holiday.

      God bless.

      October 28, 2011 at 3:36 pm |
    • gerbiltea

      jk, Christians did not "choose" it as such. it was never an intentional act and I challenge you to produce evidence that it was. A more likely (and correct) version is that ancient people who converted created a syncretic set of beliefs. They refused to give up their old holidays and ways because change isn't quite so sudden. As a result, Christianity became a synthesis of traditional European religion and Semitic religion.

      October 28, 2011 at 3:40 pm |
    • jkvt1028

      Just because holidays overlap does not mean that "Christianity became a synthesis of traditional European religion and Semitic religion." Christians believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and that through Him sins are forgiven and souls are saved. This is not a synthesis of traditional European or Semitic religions. These are a very distinct set of beliefs. Overlapping holidays and using already established symbols to spread the good news to as many people as possible is not blending religions. Days of celebration do not define the religion. Christmas, for Christians is the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ. Although it may fall on the same day as other holidays, I assure you that no traditional European or Semitic religions are celebrated by followers of Jesus Christ on Christmas.

      God bless.

      October 28, 2011 at 3:48 pm |
    • Eric

      @jkvt1028

      While I'm sure there are those that coincide by pure chance, some are that way by design. Christmas being the foremost example. Its been stated here a dozen times, but I'll redo it once more.

      The festival of Saturnalia was shortened to allow for more worker productivity and less court closure. It was placed on one day to allow for this. December 25th was already recognized as a holy or "god" day from many cultures and beliefs.

      Constantine, in order to protect his rule from the quickly rising Christian belief (and save his sould just in case they were right), began a period of holdiay conversion based upon Christian ideology and writings. Christmas is on the 25th for just that reason, to celebrate the birth of Jesus, but its not his Birth Day per say.

      October 28, 2011 at 5:22 pm |
  17. Uncouth Swain

    How about ignore it?

    October 28, 2011 at 3:11 pm |
  18. Fookin' Prawn

    Oh, wait, I forgot my favorite part:
    "Some conservative churches go a step further, attempting to co-opt the holiday with haunted houses – called “hell houses” – that are designed to give a glimpse of eternal damnation in hopes of strengthening faith."

    Strengthening faith through fear. That is better than chocolate ANY day.

    October 28, 2011 at 3:09 pm |
    • ORLY?

      w00t. What you said.

      October 28, 2011 at 3:32 pm |
    • Hasa Diga Eebowai

      I am really surprised they have not fully embraced it more.

      October 28, 2011 at 3:46 pm |
  19. Fookin' Prawn

    “People are celebrating the devil’s holiday.”

    Which means the fundies don't understand (or don't want to understand) the origins and just feel like slapping a label on it. Plenty of things have pagan roots, but let's not get into *that*! Does this have to come up every year?

    October 28, 2011 at 3:07 pm |
  20. hippypoet

    christians suck at life. halloween is no longer the event is was and is now just for kids and candy...move on!

    October 28, 2011 at 3:05 pm |
    • Fookin' Prawn

      It's not all Christians, though, it's just these conservative sects that excel at paranoia – the world is so full of evil and the devil's going to get you if your kids dress up like Power Rangers and beg for candy.

      October 28, 2011 at 3:10 pm |
    • marcia

      hippypoet... you are so so right!

      October 28, 2011 at 3:26 pm |
    • q

      EXACTLY, cause based on their logic Christians shouldn't celebrate Christmas, Easter, or any of the other PAGAN-rooted holidays...

      October 28, 2011 at 3:26 pm |
    • sockpuppet

      did you read that part where it said some celebrate Halloween and some don't? Don't lump them all in to one category.

      October 28, 2011 at 3:27 pm |
    • jim

      Christians suck at life because they are all just waiting for death.

      October 28, 2011 at 3:33 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.