An Alternative View: Halloween-A Time to Contemplate Transition and Afterlife

November 4, 2019

The Rev. Bro. Robert Barker is a retired clergyperson with BSc and MDiv degrees.

This past Thursday was Halloween.  On streets across the United States children dressed in costume roamed its streets begging candy at homes arrayed with decorations of jack-o-lanterns, ghosts, skeletons, and monsters.  What is the origin of this holiday and what significance can we take from it?

Halloween derives from the Celtic holiday of Samhain, the observation of the end of summer and believed to be an easier time for the souls of the dead to enter our world.  People made offerings of food to placate them and keep them from doing mischief. 

The modern name of Halloween derives from the Christian calendar and its observation of All-Hallows Eve, the Eve of All Saints Day, a time to commemorate the dead saints of the church.  In 837 C.E. Pope Gregory IV moved the observation to 31 October probably due to Celtic influence in the Church. 

Mexico, Guatemala, Brazil and Spain celebrate the Day of the Dead between 31 October and 2 November.  It is a time to remember one’s dead ancestors by visiting cemeteries to decorate their graves. 

 During Halloween the focus in pagan and Christian religion is on those who have died and gone before us.
Many religions teach that death is to be feared and one must be rescued from it.   According to conservative Christianity one can only be saved from death and hell by trust in Jesus, a belief taken from the gospels.  However, the gospels can be questioned as to their historicity and authenticity being based on a century of oral traditions subject to alteration over the decades before written down.   And these texts, copied over centuries, are also to be questioned because the thousands of surviving copies or parts thereof give evidence of thousands of major and minor corruptions, discrepancies, and contradictions. 

Prior to 325 there were many varied and different understandings of Jesus and his message each with their own written traditions.  However, Emperor Constantine decided that Christianity should supplant the Roman system of gods and become the glue to hold his crumbling empire together.  In order for that to happen he required Christianity’s standardization with one creed and one holy book.  All other forms of early Christianity with different understandings of Jesus and their followers were mercilessly persecuted and their writings banned and burned by Constantine’s new church.  

There is no hell or damnation to be saved from to go to heaven.   Heaven and hell is an invention the church uses as a carrot and stick to manipulate its members to pull its cart.   

Metaphysical spirituality rejects the concept of hell.  The Divine Spirit/Mind of pure love has no need of a hell.   There is no need to fear death.  Death is but a transition from life in this relative world to a higher plane of existence.  Only the body dies, and its elements are recycled by the universe.  The divine spirit is eternal and returns to the spiritual plane until it is perhaps reincarnated or moves on in the eternal plane.  Halloween – A time to Contemplate Transition and Afterlife

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