Reader warning: This article contains images and concepts some might find disturbing. Reader discretion is advised.
Fall is my absolute favorite season that brings a brief respite between summer's sweltering heat and winter's bitter chill. It's marked by colorful leaves and the cooling winds from the Arctic north. It is also the perfect time to discuss the obvious problem facing our nation and our world, which is the resurgence of paganism. While this has been seen in spectacularly disturbing displays at the CERN tunnel ceremony and the most recent British Commonwealth games, it has been a much subtler yet ongoing process in the United States for over a century now.
This time of year also brings two important American holidays: Halloween and Thanksgiving, each with deep historical roots in our nation and the world. Halloween, in particular, blends Christian and pagan traditions spanning many centuries. While celebrating holidays like Halloween and Christmas has become somewhat polarizing as of late for Christians, it hasn't always been that way. It appears in the present, to be the low-hanging fruit in a battle instigated by the Hebrew Roots Movement and the morally ambitious as obvious demonstrations of the paganization of a nation. What seems pretty obvious to me at least is that the United States, from stem to stern, has become paganized...not just these two holidays.
However, if this is true, it generates a whole host of questions.
Questions like how does the Bible-believing believer exist in a society wholly given over to the pursuit of other gods and -isms?
How did a nation rooted in Judeo-Christian values become a post-modern nation seemingly overnight?
How did a free and industrious people suddenly become militantly committed to culturally destructive ideologies like multiculturalism, ecumenism, and intersectionality?
How did a nation whose founders masterfully created a divinely inspired constitution, which successfully oversaw 247 years of consistent governance, become a grossly indebted government of largely corrupt, apathetic, and morally ambiguous people committed to national suicide?
It was the culmination of two factors.
Paganism and the arrival of the last generation.
Let me explain using Halloween as an example.
All Hallow's Eve or Hallowe'en, has existed in varying forms dating back to the time of the Druidic Celts. I'll spare you the rehashing of the history of Halloween (see yesterday's article Season of the Witch for that). All I will add is that for nearly two millennia, Christians and pagans have celebrated a fall festival going back to the first century.
We know historically, that the Pilgrims first came to America in 1620 seeking religious freedom from the monarchial tyranny of Europe. From there, the United States (or what would become the United States) derived its culture, roots, and traditions from a primarily Judeo-Christian perspective. This perspective survived the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, westward expansion, and the Civil War. In the middle of that, we had large waves of Irish Catholic immigrants who arrived on the American shores in the 1840s and brought with them the celebration of Hallowe'en.
From at least the early 1900s through the mid-1960s Christianity and American culture largely marched to the same beat having just recently survived three major crises: the Great War, the Great Depression, and the Second World War. By 1945, however, post-war America had become victorious, affluent, and the world's remaining superpower.
Correspondingly, American Christendom, largely existing in the form of either Roman Catholicism or mainline Protestant denominations, remained linked at the hip with the American mindset that the world revolved around us.
For the non-religious, this mindset was reinforced by the emerging Hollywood television and film industry, a booming economy, and the geopolitical power we represented around the world through our military and economic strength. Through all these was an understood correlation linking one's patriotism with one's faith. God, Family, and Country became the rallying cry of a predominantly homogeneous society.
As concerning holidays, Roman Catholics and Protestants generally had zero issues celebrating Hallowe'en. From roughly 1945 to 1975, Halloween was viewed as a fun time of year for kids and families to dress up, play games, eat lots of candy, play pranks, stroll the neighborhood, or celebrate through church. Perhaps it was the innocence of those days, or our naiveness that led us to believe this would go on forever.
But it was not to be.
It would seem, like with everything else, that the transformation of Hallowe'en which at first came slowly and in stages, became dark and twisted rather suddenly. So what happened?
Sowing the Seeds of Chaos
Most Americans are unaware of the decline in individual liberty, and the reason is obvious: the decline rarely takes the form of sudden personal deprivations but, instead, takes the form of unnoticed erosion and, thus, we come to regard whatever state we are in as a normal condition. Leonard E. Read
Like the erosion of liberty, the paganizing of the nation was unnoticed. This corruption came through the process of incrementalism where a little here and a little there is compromised, thus beginning the long process of intentionally subverting the culture from the inside out. This was primarily done through atheism's tentacles in the sciences (i.e., promoting Darwinian evolution, Big Bang theory, etc.) and academia (i.e., Existentialism, Nihilism, Higher Criticism, Marxism, etc.). The collective effect of these was to remove God and the Bible from the public arena of ideas. Thus creating a vacuum.
And nature hates vacuums.
All of these subversions were like death by a thousand cuts. They were slow, methodical, and seemingly unrelated to the current events of the day and the public consciousness at large.
However, when incremental changes were not moving fast enough, exponential changes were needed. That is when the powers that be begin to force the change by way of crisis (either real or contrived) to implement said change more rapidly.
For example, it is becoming increasingly apparent that the Haight-Asbury/ Laurel Canyon (language warning) counter-culture revolution (i.e., the "hippy movement") didn't happen spontaneously...but rather, was funded and propagated by covert agencies attempting to discredit it only to see it spin wildly out of control.
As it were, the United States seems to have come to its inescapable conclusion after a century-plus-long transformation of removing God from the public discourse. As a result, we are now reaping the benefits of multiculturalism, ecumenism, and intersectionality.
So gradual was the change that very few ever noticed the slow, quiet, and methodical changes replacing the nation's core Judeo-Christian values to that of paganism. And when the time came, it needed the nudge to get the ball steamrolling down the hill to the point of no return.
Of course, they (those many who were responsible) didn't call it paganism. But when you remove God from the government, the classroom, and the business world, you create a vacuum...and as I stated previously, nature abhors a vacuum. Consequently, in the words of G.K. Chesterton, when man ceases to worship God he does not worship nothing but worships everything. With the removal of the God of the Bible from the public arena of ideas, Americans were left wide open to accept anything.
And they did.
The 1930s and 40s saw the rise of Cultural Marxism (Frankfurt Institute) promoting scientism, nihilism, atheism, and materialism. With the affluence of the 1950s and early 60s, we saw the rise of materialism and hedonism. By the mid-1960s, the Beatles' famous trip to India not only brought back the world's most popular band to the United States but also popularized Eastern Mysticism by mainstreaming Hinduism and Buddhism to the West.
Hare Krishna anyone?
If I could paraphrase a statement from Charlie Kirk, he said something to the effect that Paganism promotes the worship of many gods, and with many gods, you have many moralities.
I would add, with many moralities, you have much confusion. This at least explains part of the problem we have today with multiculturalism, post-modernism, and intersectionality.
Behind this cultural subversion, there's an unseen spiritual battle ongoing between the forces of darkness seeking to corrupt God-given human institutions, and the Holy Spirit indwelt Church whose purpose is to be salt and light in a dying world.
Satan's singular focus has and always will be to thwart God's prophetic agenda to prevent his appointment with the lake of fire. Satan really only has two ways to do this: 1) destroy the blood-bought, Holy Spirit indwelled Church, and 2) destroy Israel.
Since Satan is unable to destroy the Church (see Matt. 16:18-19), he has turned to corrupting it. Since at least the third century AD, he has had great success in weaving paganism into Christendom through both gnosticism and Roman Catholicism. Despite his success in this endeavor, but he is still incapable of fully neutralizing the Church. That leaves option number two...Israel.
Even before 1948, Satan had been fully invested in destroying the Jewish people in their diaspora through European and Russian anti-Semitism via expulsions, persecutions, and pogroms. Likewise, the racial purification myth that the Germans embraced leading up to World War II, (culminating with the Final Solution) was a result of the Third Reich's obsession with paganism and the occult. This resulted in an obsession with Aryanism, Teutonic legend, biblical artifacts (holy grail, spear of destiny, etc.), occult power (black sun, Vril, etc.), parapsychology, dimensional portals, and Ahnenerbe mythology.
Since 1948, Satan has been laser-focused on destroying national Israel through her neighbors and world sentiment. Nevertheless, given the historical circumstances with the United States defeating the German Third Reich, and keeping the Soviet Union and militant Islam at bay, it is critical to Satan that he remove the US from the big picture in order to finish his plans for a one-world government. Thus, he has long been invested in conducting a multi-front war aimed at corrupting the US from within, so she could be weakened and destroyed from without.
Ironically, this is the problem many conservatives fail to understand with supporting Israel and their current predicament. They only see this as a geopolitical problem rather than what it really is...a spiritual battle between good and evil. But just because Satan lost WWII and the Final Solution, he was not about to give up the fight to destroy Israel and the Jewish people. In defeating the Third Reich, we just traded one Hitler for millions with the rise of militant Islam.
But back to Halloween.
This innocent view of Halloween in America quickly started to disintegrate with the popularization of sex, drugs, and rock-n-roll that came out of the counterculture movements of the late 1960s and 1970s. Music started to come out with a harder edge to it. Pop culture developed a new taste for the horror genre that very quickly turned to the occult to shock its audience. Even children's games turned to the occult with the popularity of things like Parker Brother's Ouija Boards and TSR's Dungeons & Dragons role-playing games.
Having previously shocked the American conscience with Alfred Hitchcock's 1960 thriller, Psycho, the movie industry discovered that satanism and the occult sold even more movie tickets. Granted, real events like Jonestown and the Manson Family's Helter Skelter weren't too far removed from the collective memory of the 1970s generation. However, this might explain the success of film hits like Rosemary's Baby (1968), The Exorcist (1973), The Omen (1976), and The Amityville Horror (1979).
Coincidentally, the 1970s also saw its own share of real-life horrors with the rise of serial killers that seemingly had ties with the occult (i.e., the Zodiac Killer, the Alphabet Killer, Son of Sam- David Berkowitz). There were also real-life monsters living in our midst, who were secretly violent sexual deviants such as Ted Bundy, John Wayne Gacy, and the Hillside Stranglers. Thus, the occultic realism in the aforementioned movies touched a nerve with the American psyche which was part of what made them so successful.
It was also during this time that an incredibly popular Christian comedian named Mike Warnke began touting his former life as a Satanic priest and began to make the church circuits. His mixture of humor and compelling testimony was a fascinating one that propelled him to stardom within the evangelical community. It was here that many within the churches were led to understand the breadth and depth of the satanic influence not just in Hollywood or New York City, but in our own communities. As a result, these horrifying introductions to the American conscience (either through music, culture, movies, or real life) were beginning to impact the perception of Hallowe'en.
Author's note: Mike Warnke's testimony had come under intense scrutiny regarding the validity of his claims by 1992. I'm not endorsing him, or denying his claims. I'm simply acknowledging his impact on the psyche of American Christians during this time period.
Satanic Panic (1980s)
The Satanic panic is a moral panic consisting of over 12,000 unsubstantiated cases of Satanic ritual abuse (SRA, sometimes known as ritual abuse, ritualistic abuse, organized abuse, or sadistic ritual abuse) starting in the United States in the 1980s, spreading throughout many parts of the world by the late 1990s, and persisting today. The panic originated in 1980 with the publication of Michelle Remembers, a book co-written by Canadian psychiatrist Lawrence Pazder and his patient (and future wife), Michelle Smith, which used the discredited practice of recovered-memory therapy to make sweeping lurid claims about satanic ritual abuse involving Smith. The allegations, which afterwards arose throughout much of the United States, involved reports of physical and sexual abuse of people in the context of occult or Satanic rituals. In its most extreme form, allegations involve a conspiracy of a global Satanic cult that includes the wealthy and elite in which children are abducted or bred for human sacrifices, pornography, and prostitution. (Wikipedia)
Now, I hope you take this Wikipedia's skepticism-based reference with a huge grain of salt because, by 2023, we know several things are undeniable that weren't known in the 1980s.
Luciferians are real and exist at the very highest levels of many different offices and governments
Satanic Ritual Abuse does exist, and is frequently linked with human trafficking, pornography, and the activities of "elites" (Jeffrey Epstein (and acquaintances), R. Kelly, Marina Abramović, members of the Bohemian Grove, and numerous other secret organizations
The LGBTQ mafia is no longer hiding its agenda to permanently destroy children's gender, grooming children, and normalizing pedophilia. Not only was this unthinkable in the 1980s, it was also illegal. They also have the wholehearted endorsement of numerous Satanic organizations
While the world hadn't completely lost its mind back in the 1980s, things were already trending in the wrong direction. With the popularity of heavy metal music and the horror genre on the rise, it seemed inevitable that another culture clash was just on the horizon. Just as the battle is over gender, sexuality, and ideology today, the battle in the 1960s-80s was fought over the hearts and minds of the next generation. In the 1980s, it was over the normalization of a new paganism; one that replaced the traditional Judeo-Christian values that sustained our nation for nearly four hundred years.
For Christians and evangelicals in the 1980s, the culture war was the Alamo. If they lose here, they will lose the next generation. Thus, the Christian evangelical political activism in the form of Jerry Falwell's Moral Majority was born.
Now, I'm not a big fan of Jerry Falwell, the Moral Majority, or televangelists in general, but they were correct in attempting to combat the paganizing of a nation. Unfortunately, this political effort was both pre-mature (in my estimation) as well as biblically untenable, given its faulty eschatological foundations.
More on that in a minute.
While the satanic panic that swept the nation in the 1980s with endless news stories about predatory daycares and secret societies culling children into sex slavery and ritual sacrifice might have been more hype than truth, they were not completely amiss. The culture was being saturated with the occult and children were being abused. However, the mixing of rumor and truth helps dilute the real alarm as word of mouth and over-sensationalized stories often send communities into roller coaster-like frenzies. People can only endure that for so long until normalcy bias kicks in (i.e., the boy who cried wolf syndrome).
However, much of the sensationalism seemed to see an uptick around October as the Halloween and trick-or-treating season was gearing up. Clearly, the Tylenol Murders in 1982 didn't help matters either when considering the potential dangers of collecting candy from strangers.
The truth is, that Satanic ritual abuse was/is real, secret occult groups did/do exist, and a very real occult saturation was flooding every, single, medium. It was also true that many of the over 1,200 cases that were brought about in the 1980s either did not produce convictions (due to lack of evidence) or included quick and severe judgments only later to be overturned due to lack of evidence. But that doesn't mean they don't exist or weren't happening.
Nevertheless, between the hippy movement, new age religions, cults, movies, and rock music, the idea that something significantly was changing in the culture by the late 1970s had enough parents concerned. This concern, as it were, was acted upon with an ill-timed and misguided response from the church. It was this fact that Jerry Falwell Sr. preemptively began political activism on behalf of the majority of Americans who wanted morality re-instituted back into culture.
However earnest and sincere Jerry Falwell’s intentions were in starting the Moral Majority, they stemmed from a faulty understanding of biblical eschatology. Post Millennialism is based on the heretical notion the church must first conquer the world for Christ in order for Him to return (ex., the Seven Mountain Mandate). Aside from ignoring the overwhelming understanding in Scripture that only Christ can save the world (hence the necessity for the Second Coming), biblical prophecy is consistent in messaging that the world will continue to wax worse and worse until He comes. The Church, no matter how well-intentioned, cannot force morality on a culture steeped in paganism to course correct.
Nevertheless, the rise of the Moral Majority was because of the “Satanic Panic” that swept through the US in those days. Not pointing a finger at the Moral Majority for egging on the Satanic Panic, because rock and heavy metal music had done its own heavy lifting in shooting itself in the foot (see album covers below), but record companies increasingly marketed their bands as dark and controversial because they sold records. From the late 1960s onward, the occult was becoming increasingly marketable again because of the paganizing of the culture.
With album covers like this, who could blame parents for freaking out a little?
Add in the increasingly disturbing and violent horror movies coming out at the same time with increasingly occultic and disturbing themes, and parents were rightfully concerned about the state of things. As such, I think the Satanic Panic was a normal reaction from mainstream Christian America against this dramatic shift in culture. Granted, this led to some positive changes like lobbying efforts in D.C., age restrictions on music, and adding warning labels to albums.
Unfortunately, this reaction was greatly marketed by and capitalized upon, by groups like the Moral Majority, televangelists, and ministries as well as the record labels who promoted the heavy metal acts. They saw it as controversial and, thus, even more marketable (i.e., profitable).
Rinse. Wash. Repeat.
Capitalism at its worst.
Pagan, Paganism: From a Christian viewpoint, pagans are generally characterized as those who are caught up in any religious ceremony, act, or practice that is not distinctly Christian. Correspondingly, Jews and Muslims also use the term pagans to describe those outside their religion. Others define the term paganism as any religion outside of Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism, and Christianity; whereas some argue that a pagan is anyone with no religion at all.
Pagan comes from the Latin word paganus, which means “country dweller”; paganism can refer to polytheism or the worship of more than one god, such as in ancient Rome. A pagan is also considered to be one who, for the most part, has no religion and indulges in worldly delights and material possessions; someone who revels in sensual pleasures; a hedonistic or self-indulgent individual. Another more modern term is neo-paganism, which refers to some of the contemporary forms of paganism such as Wicca, Druidry, and Gwyddon. (Source)
I grew up in the 1970s and 80s. I remember Halloween as being a favorite time of getting dressed up, loading up on candy and sweets, and just having a good time at school or church events. It was the innocence of it back then, or perhaps, a collective sense of naiveté that allowed my generation to dress up guilt-free as cowboys, Indians, robots, or superheroes, stay out late, and stroll their neighborhoods hunting for candy with their friends. For us, even though there was something magical about this time of year, there was never anything occultic or satanic about it in our minds.
It is increasingly clear that the further we continue down this path toward the end, the darker, the more hard-edged, and visually realistic things must become to keep the masses under the illusion. Just take any modern remake of a classic movie for instance, today’s version is guaranteed to be grittier, darker, and much more realistic than the original. The way our technology has advanced has only intensified our appetite to be graphically entertained every bit as much as the Roman citizens attending the games at the Coliseum further desensitizing our society to sex, violence, and the supernatural. Just think about how a 1940s movie audience would react to the special effects of today were it possible to show them. They would no doubt believe it's magic, not understanding the technology capable of producing such an illusion. This is how Satan operates, and how he will bring about this man of lawlessness, who comes in with lying signs and wonders (2 Thess 2:9-11).
Now apply that same modern process (marketing, messaging, and presentation) to any major holiday. Satan will corrupt anything he can to keep people distracted and fascinated by the growing dark nature of our times. Thus, Halloween isn’t just about dressing up as cowboys or Indians to troll the neighbors for candy anymore, but killer clowns, horror movies, Satanism, Wicca, and haunted houses you have to sign medical waivers before entering. In other words, Halloween has become a much scarier version of itself along with the rest of society. Even still, its pagan roots have become just as ingrained into our cultural psyche as is the 4th of July...thus quitting it would be about as impossible as canceling all future Superbowls. To be fair, there are plenty of Christmas horror movies and I just saw a Thanksgiving-themed horror movie; it seems no holiday is safe from Hollywood's greedy paws.
Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. 1 Peter 5:8
My second point is in the knee-jerk reaction away from the paganization of a nation. Just as the Moral Majority was an ill-thought-out dominionist attempt at forcing Christian morals onto an increasingly pagan nation, so too is the rush to embrace the legalism of mixing the law back into grace. It has only been in the last 30 years or so that we have seen the resurgence of the blending of Christianity back into Judaism with any real success. For the past 150 years or so, we have seen the rise and fall of cults and movements come and go (ex., Seventh Day Adventists, Jehovah's Witnesses, Armstrongism, British Israelism, Black Hebrew Israelites, etc.) who attempted to mix the two. Each of these has co-opted certain aspects of Judaism, but none so effectively or as subtly as the Hebrew Roots Movement (HRM). These modern-day Judaizers have been very effective in blurring the lines between evangelical Christianity and Judaism.
The failings of the previously mentioned cults and movements are that they had glaring holes in their theology concerning the primary doctrines of true Christianity. The HRM, however, has been able to bridge this gap through decentralized leadership (similar to the Emerging Church Movement), slick marketing websites and videos, and by utterly confusing the average Christian to the point of exhaustion and resignation. These are they who are today effectively, militantly, and belligerently chastising and castigating Christians for anything and everything not in keeping with the Torah. You've seen the memes and comments...What!?, you have a Christmas tree in your living room? You're going to hell!
Halloween, Christmas, and Easter have, as of the last 15 years or so, now become routine and painful flashpoints on social media between the neo-Judaizers and the average Christian. This sets an obvious and very dangerous precedence with legalism by trying to mix the law back into grace. The Apostle Paul spent much ink on combatting this heresy but feel free to check me by re-reading Romans, Galatians, and Hebrews if you think I'm off. For argument's sake, let me just add these verses to the conversation so I am not accused of promoting antinomianism.
Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 1 John 2:15
And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever. 1 John 2:17
And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. Romans 12:2
I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one. John 17:14-15
Although we have to live in this world we are not to be in love with this world. We are in effect, foreign ambassadors operating behind enemy lines. We must balance that out with the reality that unless we choose to go full-Ahmish, we are going to be interacting with a culture that is increasingly being given over to a debased mind. The only way to combat both the slide into paganism as well as legalism is to pray, share the gospel with the lost, love your brother as yourself, and effectively lead a life that causes the world around you to wonder why you don't join them in the party.
Living at the height of the pagan Roman Empire, the Apostle Paul addresses some of the issues of his own day by declaring the liberty we have in Christ; So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths, which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ (Col. 2:16-17).
However, with the wisdom given by the Holy Spirit (and knowing our propensity to abuse this liberty), Paul also puts bookends on this liberty (so to speak). He includes the admonition that understanding physical things like food and drink cannot make better or worse, our standing before God, including even foods sacrificed to idols (because idols in and of themselves are nothing). However, if our partaking of it becomes a stumbling block to the weaker brother, we should avoid it so as not to cause them to sin or stumble (2 Corinthians 8).
In closing, we must come to terms with the reality that the time we live in is an exception to the norm. For most of human history, paganism has been the dominant religious and cultural worldview, while faith in the one true God has always been in the minority. That was true in Noah's day, Abraham's day, Moses' day, Jesus' day, and over the past 1,700 years up until about the time the United States became a nation. So what we are seeing today is not a departure into the strange and unknown, but rather, a return to the way things have always been.
We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one.
1 John 5:19
The United States, a once bright and shining city on a hill, that sent the gospel out into the world like no other nation in history, has allowed her light to dim and extinguish. In that growing darkness, the old gods have returned and have set their sights on utterly dismantling the Judeo-Christian worldview causing utter chaos and confusion in this last generation. This is why you can have LGBTQ-BLM-Feminist-Progressive-Antifa activists ignorantly marching and protesting for barbaric organizations like Hamas and Islamic Jihad here in the West, not realizing Hamas would just as soon kill them should they ever set foot in Gaza.
While groups like LGBTQ and Hamas moralities might differ wildly, their father, Satan, will use them and allow them to tolerate pretty much anything under the sun, except for true faith in Jesus, national Israel, and the Jewish people. Thus, the return of paganism can be seen rising as Christendom declines and the spirit of antichrist (or antichrist zeitgeist) once again sweeps through the world.
Little children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come, by which we know that it is the last hour. 1 John 2:18
As believers in Christ and watchers for His soon return know, that these are the days the Bible warned us of (perilous times). These are the days of Noah and the days of Lot. Days of increasing wickedness, violence, and debauchery. But just as it gets darkest before dawn, we are to shine our brightest in the growing darkness. This world is passing away, and all the things in it, and we are running out of time to bring the glorious light of the gospel to those we care about so as to free them from the bondage of sin, whose wages are death and hell. Jesus said that when these things He lists in the Olivet Discourse begin to happen, to look up, and lift up our heads for our redemption draws near (Luke 21:28).
Friends, we have never been closer to our deliverance than we are right now. Don't get dismayed by the darkness. Don't get distracted by misguided legalism over holidays and times. Don't become enthralled with the lusts of this world (including holidays and technology). We are in this world, but not of it.
Keep working on what the Lord has called you to do.
Keep looking up in hope and expectancy.
For our deliverance is nearer now, than when we first believed.