Why do fundamentalists insist the symbols of the Catholic Church ‘mean nothing’, ‘have no power’, yet insist the symbols of Halloween DO have meaning and power?
For example, here are some quotes from fundamentalists:
JACK-O’-LANTERN… the origin of the jack-o’-lantern is much more sinister. It arrives from the Druid’s ghastly reverence of the severed human head!
MASKS & COSTUMES Masks are contacts to the spirit world to invite the spirit to “possess” them.
BAT: "One of the animal shapes commonly used by these demons
APPLES: "The practice of bobbing for apples at a Halloween party comes form our Pagan ancestors, who highly valued apple magick
SKULL: “An interesting symbol, the skull . . . It is prominent in Witchcraft and Demon worship as a celebration of death.”
All these quotes come from a tract called 'Halloween, a Covenant with Death and Hell".
If you follow the logic here, they believe Catholic symbols and Sacraments, which come from God, have no power. Yet they insist these symbols, which they say come from the devil, DO have power.
Can any explain this contriction?
Yeah… I never really got that either. Within Fundamentalism, Halloween is as universally reviled as Freemasonry, rock music, and Dungeons & Dragons and all of that revulsion shares a common source: The Satanic Panic of the 80s.
Outside of Fundamentalism in the wider world of Evangelicalism, it’s a mixed bag. The “old school” Evangelicals who were really ‘into’ the Panic tend to frown upon it but us younger folk tend to think it’s no big deal.
Most churches have settled somewhere in between wherein they’ll never use the words “Halloween” or “Trick or Treat” but you can bet that they’ll have some kind of “Fall Outreach” or “Harvest Festival” complete with candy and costumes but ‘sanitized’ of anything scary or even remotely Halloween related. So… black cats, ghosts, and jack-o-lanterns are out, but superheroes, hay rides, and un-carved pumpkins are in.
Some churches go whole hog though and do what can only be described as really, stupendously awesome Hell Houses which are intended, quite literally, to scare the Hell out of you. I got to participate in a couple at Liberty and I can tell you that they were easily the scariest, goriest affairs I have ever seen and Jerry Falwell, for one, absolutely loved it. It was the one time of year that us “public school Baptists” got to really cut loose and fling fake blood everywhere and blast Christian death metal (and yes, there is such a thing) and just generally act like idiots while still trying to preach the gospel. Typically we wouldn’t see anyone get saved but we’d usually get a few re-dedications out of it and the staged “chamber of abortions” which was so unspeakably horrific that I still have nightmares about it seemed to really galvanize our peers on the pro-life cause.
Hey now, there are a few decent Christian bands. Flyleaf, Fireflight, Red, E Nomine (whose music is basically techno-ized Gospel readings and prayers… in German… and Latin… and probably a couple other languages)… there are a couple others. Overall though, I would ted to agree with you…
Not to nit pick here, but there is no Christian Death Metal. There is Death Metal, and there is Christian Metal. The very term Christian Death Metal is incredibly contradictory. Christianity glorifies life, death metal glorifies death. Christian Metal glorifies life in the sound of death metal. Christian Death Metal would… ok, I’m getting to deep into this so I totally digress.
To the OP, I think it’s a really good observation. I read your post this afternoon and found myself thinking of it off and on. Just to play devil’s advocate (no pun intended…) couldn’t the argument be reversed for us? We believe the symbols of the Church to be of God and thus valid–should we perhaps grant credence to the symbols of the pagan form of Halloween and avoid them? (Again, just devil’s advocate. As I type this, there is a black cat figurine smiling at me, a jack-o-lantern glowing behind me, orange and purple lights on my porch AND a halloween village town in my window box.)
I don’t think that Fundamentalists are arguing that the symbols of Halloween have power in and of themselves. That would be indulging in stuperstition, which Fundamentalists and evangelicals reject in general.
However, there is a belief in the reality of Satan and the demonic. In as far as Halloween celebrates satainic/demonic themes, Fundamentalists would see demonic power working behind it.
Again, it is not that the symbols have power. It is that the symbols represent forces that have power.
This jives with the view on sacraments. Sacraments/ordinances themselves have no power. But they represent a spiritual reality that is very powerful.