Halloween, Tattoos, Yoga, and Alcohol: When Christians Disagree

Halloween ChristiansNot every Christian thinks the same way about Halloween. And Christians appeal to different biblical texts to support their view. Since everyone quotes the Bible, everyone thinks they are right. What are we to do in such situations?

Participate?

Some will participate fully and say they are just having fun dressing up, using their imagination, and eating candy. What could be wrong with that? Some would even say they are dressing up to make a statement that they do not fear death and other scary things associated with Halloween (but not that they are embracing these things). After all, death has lost its sting (1 Corinthians 15:55).

Other Christians participate but won’t dress up in anything that seems to be associated with evil, like vampires or witches, because they believe they should “not imitate what is evil” (3 John 11).

Christian Alternatives?

Some won’t participate in festivities called “Halloween” (sometimes because the history of Halloween is associated with ghosts and such things) but are happy to participate in a “Christian alternative,” like a “fall party” at their church.

Avoid Halloween?

Other Christians think that it is wrong to have anything to do with Halloween whatsoever. This even includes any “Christian alternative” which, some say, is just a disguised Halloween party. These Christians emphasize that the overall focus of Halloween is fear, darkness, and “evil” things like witches, ghosts, and vampires (would it really be Halloween without these things?). And they add that we should “avoid every kind of evil” (1 Thessalonians 5:22) rather than glorify it.

Dealing with Christian Disputes

As for myself, I’m not even sure what to think! It depends on the day. But all of this seems to show that Halloween is a “disputable matter.” Other disputable matters among Christians today would probably include things like

  • Christian tattoowhat tv shows, movies, or even sporting events (like UFC fighting) are okay to watch,
  • if tattoos are okay,
  • if Christians can participate in Yoga or meditation,
  • what kind of clothing is acceptable to wear, or
  • whether Christians should drink alcohol.

The apostle Paul recognizes that there will be “disputable matters” in the church (Romans 14:1), and he offers important advice regarding them in Romans 14.

First, we should recognize that the person we disagree with is honestly trying to live for God (verse 6).

Second, if we think it is wrong, we should not do it (verses 14 and 23). After all, if we do something even though we think it is wrong, that would be like saying we don’t care about sin. And that is clearly a problem.

Most importantly, those who disagree with one another should not “judge” one another (verse 4) or treat those we disagree with “with contempt” (verse 10). This must be REALLY important because Paul repeats his point a number of times throughout this chapter.

This is particularly difficult if you are the one who thinks that others are doing something sinful. There were some Christians in Rome who thought it is wrong to eat meat (verse 2). Yet, Paul clearly taught that “all food is clean” (verse 20) and that it is, therefore, not sinful to eat meat (praise the Lord!). Most importantly, he told those who thought it was wrong to eat meat not to “look down on” or “condemn” those people they disagreed with (verse 3, NLT). And he said the same thing to the meat eaters.

So, my conclusion regarding Halloween and other disputable matters is that we should “stop passing judgment on one another” regardless of what position we take (verse 13). And this includes you.

P.S. If you think you have my position regarding Halloween figured out from this post, you are wrong :).

Question: What are some other things that might be considered ‘disputable matters’ among Christians? Leave a comment below by clicking here.

Andrew K. Gabriel, Ph.D., is the author of Touched by God: Experiencing the Holy Spirit (forthcoming) as well as three academic books, including The Lord is the Spirit. He is a theology professor at Horizon College and Seminary and serves on the Theological Study Commission for the Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada. You can follow him on Facebook or on Twitter.

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