What is “Worldliness”? Holidays, part 2
Christians should be different from the world, and separate from worldly practices. Does this mean that we should not watch football? What about going to an amusement park? Should Christians attend Nascar racing events? Can we go to a decent movie? Can Christians listen to “worldly” music? What about “worldly” music with Christian words? Is any of this really “worldly” at all in the biblical sense of the word?
In the discussions about "worldliness", holidays, especially Halloween, seem to enter a different category. This is, I think, because of some association with religion. Let’s talk about that.
Ever since I have been a Christian, I have heard other Christians denounce the thing called “Halloween”. "It is the Devil’s holiday and is based in witchcraft and the occult. Why would a Christian ever let their children participate in such a display of wicked allegiance to the base things of Satan?"
First of all, I now object to the argument that if the history of a holiday is impure religiously, then it must be avoided by a Christian. For example, in the previous post, I touched on Christmas and some of its practices. These may have, at once, been instituted by false religionists (pagans). However, there are two reasons why that doesn’t seem to matter.
- Those religious aspects of the holiday practices are no longer present. The practices are superficial and empty.
- Partaking of the empty holiday practices is not partaking of the religion that may have once been there.
At one time, Christmas trees may have been a part of some sort of “earth worship” … but ... we do not worship evergreens now. At one time, witches and goblins (what are goblins?) may have been practicing something evil on October 31 … but ... when my kid wears a pirate outfit, he is not doing witchcraft, he sees nothing cultic, and he is not taught to worship the devil. Do you see the empty shell? The religion that may have once been there, is not there anymore in the practices that we have. So why is "trick or treating" any different than going to an amusement park?
Now, if a Christian were placing his faith in this stuff … that would be a problem! If we were looking to it for spirituality or salvation … a bigger problem!! … but … it has nothing to do with religion. Another thought: Paul (1 Corinthians 8) says that a Christian is not defiled by partaking of a false religion’s by-products, (he does instruct us to use love so as not to make a brother stumble - but that is another discussion.)
Finally, in respect to Halloween, this truly is kids’ stuff! I believe it is really inconsequential. The things that make us different from the world go much deeper than whether we recognize or rebel against a certain American holiday. In fact, “standing for” this kind of thing, has taken way too much energy and focus off of what that difference really is. This has been a distraction, I think, in my witness during past Octobers. I spent too many precious minutes and too much passion defending my reasons why Halloween was wrong, thus taking my loved ones' focus off of the real issues they must face. (Also, there are plenty of serious ways in which I am peculiar ... and all believers are … we don’t need to emphasize something like this!) I will delve further into a biblical look at “worldliness” in my next post (part 3) and leave the holidays behind!
What is “worldliness”, really? Can you see it? Do you know it when you see it?