Season: 10 Episode: 150
Listen to episode 146 in Spanish:
What is evil? Most think it’s green monsters, murderers, and masked men with chainsaws. Sure, there is a spectrum of evil deeds we can classify as bad or worse, but we first have to identify what evil is. Next, we move onto the infatuation with evil in movies, kids toys, and the media. And finally, we discuss whether or not Christians should celebrate Halloween.
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Hey guys! Welcome back to another episode of Her Faith inspires podcast where we take cultural issues and tackle them with Biblical truth. I have a great episode for you today, but let me warn you – you probably don’t want to listen with youngins around. It might be a little scary for them because I do get into the evil of humanity and it can be disturbing.
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Today, we are talking about evil and the infatuation with the spiritual realm.
I start to see heated debates among Christians about this time of year. You usually have two sides: one is you shouldn’t celebrate halloween at all, ever. The other side is, you can dress up, pass out candy, but don’t get involved in the evil part of it. I just scroll on past these, to be honest.
However, a couple of weeks ago my husband and I were talking about evil or it came up and he said I should do whether or not Christians should do an episode on whether or not Christians should celebrate Halloween. He’s not on social media, so I know he doesn’t know that these things are being talked about.
But as I thought about this, I realized that I would have a question for each side of the Halloween debate. To the ones who don’t acknowledge it and say Christians are wrong if they do, I would ask, “What do you mean by celebrate Halloween?”
Do Christians who dress up in princess costumes and pass out candy necessarily celebrate Halloween?
And to the side who says they dress up and pass out candy but don’t do the “evil” stuff, I would ask, “What do you mean by evil?” Do you use halloween to wear skimpy costumes and watch scary movies? I mean we need some clarification on these words, right?
So today, I hope to shed some light on evil. I want to talk about the evil of man, the infatuation with the spiritual realm, and then I’ll conclude on where I believe we should land on Halloween from a Biblical worldview.
So let’s start with the evil of man and what evil is.
I am about to wrap up a book called Why Does God Allow Evil? By Clay Jones. He starts by saying evil is not a thing. He actually does a fantastic job of explaining what evil is and when Christians or others ask, “Why did God create evil?” They are already forming their question incorrectly because they assume evil is a created thing. It’s not. It’s a privation of good. Clay Jones says it is a misuse of the will. He says, “Evil is a corruption of the good, and evil arises from the misuse of the will. The will is missed for evil whenever we will things that are in contradiction to God’s will.”
Isn’t that good? I think that is one of the best descriptions of evil I’ve heard. Because that means theft is evil. It means abuse is evil. It means calling people names and degrading them is evil. If evil had a face, would you imagine Freddie Kruger or Dracula? Clay Jones is saying if evil had a face, it would be ours every time we willed things in contradiction to God’s will.
That’s scary, isn’t it?
We can put evil into two different categories, and I’ve talked about this before and teach on it in my Baseline Apologetics class, but there is moral evil and natural evil. Moral evil is the evil created when we go against the moral will of God. That includes lying, divorce, abuse, rape, murder, abortion, etc.
Then there is natural evil, which includes natural disasters such as earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes, etc.
So from these two descriptions, we see that evil happens every day. It’s all around us and it’s closer to home than we think. We might be able to leave the scary movies out of our TV lineup, but we commit evil acts every day, according to this definition. And we are impacted by the evil of others. And then there’s natural evil – the kind we cannot control even if we wanted to.
I’m not starting out with the to freak you out.
I’m starting with it so we can come to an understanding before we talk about the rest of what is in this episode, and to truly be able to call evil what it is and not think it’s only green monsters, and really heinous acts committed by others, but not by you and me.
Why is that important? Because if we aren’t able to recognize evil, it’s no different than believing the false representation of the devil as a red, pointy eared monster with a cape and a pitchfork. He’s not. He comes as an angel of light and he sales sin to us in a pretty package that makes you feel like you’re missing out. And then, he calls it good.
So remember, evil is anything that goes against the will of God.
Now that we’ve laid that foundation, how evil can man be? Let’s look no further than the history of just 100 years or so ago. This is the part where if you have young children around you might want to pause or listen later because although the information is true, it’s disturbing for little ones.
When I read Clay Jones’ book, “Why Does God Allow Evil?” He dedicated an entire chapter on the evil of man. This is in regard to one of the most asked questions by Christians and non, “Why does God allow bad things to happen to good people.” Now, I get the question. There are sweet old people who get their houses robbed, or young children who get abused. And those are hard things to wrap our minds around.
But Clay Jones explains the nature of man.
That inside everyone of us is a nature bent toward evil and without God, we are subject to that nature. He first makes the point that Jesus knows evil is a matter of the heart, not a matter deeds. “In other words, niceness isn’t goodness,” per Clay.
When people ask about evil and wonder why God would allow it, they’re making it seem as though it’s God’s problem. Its not. It’s a human problem. God is good. He is infinite so that means any trait of His is infinite. God is love, he doesn’t only love. He is good, He doesn’t only do good. We can do good, but we are not good. We can love, but we are not love. See the difference?
Evil is our problem, not God’s. But since He is good, only He could solve our problem for us. Clay is clever and to the question, “Why does God allow evil” he says we should be asking, “Why does God allow humans?”
Therefore, Clay says, “Evil is born when a creature decides it knows better than the Creator.”
His entire chapter 2 is dedicated to the evil man does. Remember, a biblical worldview in regard to human goodness or the sin nature is that we do not believe people are born good. The Bible speaks to the sin nature and we are all born with it. Read Romans 3 for more depth. David mentions in Psalm that from his mothers womb he was brought forth in iniquity. Even our cute, cuddle little babies are born with a sin nature. Now, they’re innocent and God knows the age they are accountable for their salvation when they grow up, but the sin nature is there at conception.
So Clay starts with Germany in his examples of the evil of man. And most think of Hitler because he was the mastermind of all that happened in Nazi Germany. But what about the Gestapo and policemen who forced millions of Jews and Slavs into ghettos and gas chambers? Thousands died on their journey to camps where they traveled for days without food and water. They went to the restroom and vomited on one another because they were squeezed together in box cars where there was standing room only. Humans did this to other humans. Jones notes that on one transport from 1944, 2521 passengers were shipped and 984 of them died.
They separate the passengers into those who could work and those who couldn’t.
Children often went with the ones who couldn’t work and while their months hid them in their clothing to protect them, they were still found out and thrown into ditches where they were shot and killed while lying on top of dead, naked bodies. Hitler wasn’t standing at every ditch. He wasn’t the one with the gun in his hands every time someone was killed. Humans did this to other humans.
Gas chambers held 2,000 people at one time. He says it is estimated that the ovens at Auschwitz cremated 4756 people per day. People used human skin for lamp shades. Human hair was used to fill mattresses, women were raped, people were tortured, and evil after evil after evil. Too much to list for this episode.
God didn’t do that. Humans did.
Many humans who didn’t think they’d ever do such a thing were recruited to do this to other human beings.
Now, I can continue with the history of the 20th century. I can list the atrocities of World War II, the number of people who died in the Soviet Union between 1917-1989, which is between 20-26 million. That doesn’t include the 26-30 million counterrevolutionists who died or were killed at the hands of the Chinese communists.
In December of 1937, the Japanese raped, tortured or murdered more than 300,000 Chinese in the city of Nanking.
We can go on and on and on … and this is just the evil of the 20th century.
People will tell you it’s all because of religion, or politics, or greed. And while some of those reasons are the avenue that paves the way for evil, the true root of evil comes from the heart of humans.
And we haven’t even talked about what happens in our own back yard, like slavery. But one of the biggest evils that even Christians try and excuse away is the evil of abortion. Clay Jones writes, “Since 1973, the people of the United States have, among other abortion methods, suctioned, scraped, or scalded to death more than 58 million babies and continue to do so today. He ends the segment on the evil of man by saying, “The majority of any culture that participates in mass killings will always find a way to justify their killing.”
So to ask, “Why would God allow evil” is to really ask, “Why would God allow humans.” We must be able to identify what evil is. It is only until we identify it that we can truly seek the solution. And Jesus is the solution.
So let’s move on to the infatuation with the spiritual realm.
One of my nieces turned 6 last month and when I went on Amazon to order a gift for her. One of the first toys that came up was a sparkly cauldron for little girls to make magic spells and potions. I was surprised but not surprised because there is a “movement” or increase of evil embedded into movies, children’s shows, toys, etc.
I went with one of my boys a few months ago to see a movie about Dr. Strange and we were both surprised with how dark it was. It seemed there was dark magic all throughout it. The movie wasn’t superheroish and upbeat. It was dark, lots of sorcery, evil characters you wouldn’t have expected to become evil characters, spells … just very dark.
Disney, a parent company of FX. They just came out with an adult cartoon that stars a 12 year old little girl who is the daughter of Satan.
Apparently, satan and her mom had a baby who is the anti-Christ and he wants her back. This is the entertainment of the 21st century. This is what is brewing in the culture (pun intended). The description says, “13 years after being impregnated by Satan, a reluctant mother and her Antichrist daughter attempt to live an ordinary life in Delaware. The two are constantly thwarted by monstrous forces, and Satan, who yearns for custody of his daughter’s soul.” It then goes on to encourage you to buy Hulu, Disney+, and ESPN+. Get all three in a fairly priced package.
When I was a kid, my mom used to warn be about playing with ouija boards and told me not to participate in the bloody Mary chant. You had to deliberately engage in those kinds of activities. You could refrain from participating because you weren’t necessarily being bombarded with them. Yes, there were horror films like Freddie Kruger, Nightmare on Elm Street, and the other gory films. But it, seems the culture at large today is infatuated with the spiritual realm. At the same time, they deny things like reality when the culture permits people to switch genders.
How does that align? Think about it.
The culture seeks out and champions evil, darkness and a realm that isn’t seen, yet denies what they can see, like biological reality. What’s going on there?
There’s a new show on Netflix that I’ve heard about called Dahmer. It’s a docu-drama on the life of Jeffrey Dahmer, and this is how variety.com explains it: “Ryan Murphy’s “Dahmer — Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story” topped Netflix’s English TV Top 10 list for the third week in a row, with 205.33 million hours viewed for the week of Oct. 3-9. That means the limited series is now Netflix’s second most popular English-language series of all time in its initial release, with 701.37 million hours watched, behind only “Stranger Things 4,” which was watched 1.35 billion hours in its first 28 days.
“Dahmer” has now garnered more watch-time than seasons 1 and 2 of Shonda Rhimes’ “Bridgerton” in their first four weeks on the service.” Now, this is a real life account of Jeffrey Dahmer, who was a serial killer, but why are people so infatuated with Jeffrey Dahmer? Dahmer is known as the Milwaukee Cannibal or the Milwaukee Monster, and was an American serial killer and sex offender who committed the murder and dismemberment of seventeen men and boys between 1978 and 1991.
He ate his deceased victims and had sex with corpses and keep their body parts.
I’ve watched true crime documentaries before, but this is pure evil. It also worries me that it is one of the top rated Netflix shows behind Stranger Things. And it’s also about supernatural events. And what we watch shapes our worldview. The Dahmer series is not just interviews and old video footage. It’s re-enactments, which can be very disturbing in itself. I watch a 2 min YouTube trailer and could not get through it. It’s disgusting.
Netflix also had another show called Lucifer on from 2016 and it ended in September of 2021. Lucifer got tired of being a servant in hell and came to earth to see if he could understand humans. That’s a short description from a quick synopsis on what it’s about. But, right away you see it conflicting with a Biblical account of who satan is and what he does.
And to drive home this point, spacecoastdaily.com shows that the second largest commercial holiday after Christmas is Halloween.
My point is, humans are drawn to the spiritual realm and if we do not project that desire to connect with the one who created us, we will fill the void with dabbling in and experimenting with the cultures portrayal of evil – which always makes it look interesting, heroic, or just plain exciting.
And I don’t believe it’s just the people who watch Dahmer, or the cartoon about satan’s daughter that are attracted to it.
If God put eternity in man’s heart, which is what Solomon said, then everyone will be intrigued with the realm beyond us. Christians connect with God through prayer and the word. We communicate with Him. But we are not to communicate with Satan. We are not to try and speak to angels. And that’s the other draw or infatuation culture has with the spiritual realm – angels.
Most people believe, even Christians believe this and it is not in line with Scripture, that if our loved ones pass away they become angels. God already created the angelic hosts. We are not the same and we do not become angels when we die. The Bible talks about the heavenly hosts all throughout it. Angels cannot be redeemed. Demons are fallen angels, according to Scripture. When someone who does not believe in God dies, that person will not become a demon and party in hell.
Hell is not a place for partying with the rebels.
It is not a place where you can go and be with your people. It was created for the devil and his angels and was not created for man. However, there is no fellowship with God in hell because hell is separation from God. It is eternal torment. It is eternal damnation for those, by their own freewill, choose evil (the will that goes against the will of God) and says, “I don’t want you.”
If we are drawn to the spiritual realm and we use Hollywood’s depiction of evil to give us insight into it, we will think hell is a place to party. And we will say, as some have when they review all of the evil we have in this episode so far, “If God allows that kind of evil here on earth, I’d rather go to hell than serve Him.” Because they will think satan has kids, and Lucifer is just a party planner, and demons become your buddies.
So that leaves us with the final question and one many Christians debate on social media every year – should Christians celebrate Halloween?
Now, this is another debate I don’t like to enter into because I don’t know what you mean by “celebrate Halloween”. So let’s get into what the Bible says and then I will tell you where I land. And when I tell you where I land, I am not saying that you should land there too. I’m not tell you to do what I do because I don’t believe this is something that has a definitive answer in the sense that you can call what people do for Halloween sinful – unless it involves what I’m about to describe.
And what is that? Let’s take a look at this from a biblical perspective.
There are differing opinions on how Christians should view Halloween. You have those who say you should not acknowledge a bit of it. Don’t throw halloween parties, harvest parties, tuck or treats at church, or anything else that might correlate to Halloween. They don’t believe you should dress up for halloween, no matter what the costume is. Don’t turn your porch lights on and hand out candy. Halloween doesn’t exist.
Don’t. Just don’t.
And then there are those who do harvest parties, fall festivals, trunk or treats, and use this as an opportunity for community outreach, etc. They dress up their kids but they do those cute family dress ups (that my kids and husband refuse to do with me) – and they all go as the characters from Toy Story, or Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (I only need 3 more Dwarfs to pull this off since I have 3 boys and my husband, but I don’t think they’d do it). Anyway, you get the picture, right?
So who’s right and who’s the sinner in this scenario? The answer is – NEITHER! I would say you’re only wrong if you’re telling the one in the opposite camp as you that they’re sinning if they do participate or they’re sinning if they don’t participate. Why? Because this isn’t a hard stance issue WHEN you participate in the festivities this way. And if you don’t want to because your concsacne isn’t clear, then don’t. But be careful how you interact with others about it.
Here is what the Bible says about wiahcract and sorcery.
Because let’s face it, that’s what CELEBRATING Halloween actually is – it’s acknowledging the evil that comes with the holiday.
The OT explicitly warns against participating in witchcraft and seeking out mediums and sorcerer. You can see Scripture references in Exodus 22:18, Leviticus 19:31, and 20:6, and 27. In the NT, it is still very clear that magic and sorcery are not of God and is sinful.
Let me read you the passage in Acts 8:9-24:
“But there was a man named Simon, mwho had previously practiced magic in the city and amazed the people of Samaria, nsaying that he himself was somebody great. 10 They all paid attention to him, from the least to the greatest, saying, o“This man is the power of God that is called pGreat.” 11 And they paid attention to him because for a long time he had qamazed them with his magic. 12 But when rthey believed Philip as he preached good news sabout the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, rthey were baptized, both men and women. 13 Even Simon himself believed, and after being baptized he continued with Philip.
And tseeing signs and ugreat miracles2 performed, vhe was amazed.
14 Now when wthe apostles at Jerusalem heard that xSamaria had received the word of God, they sent to them Peter and John, 15 who came down and prayed for them ythat they might receive the Holy Spirit, 16 for zhe had not yet afallen on any of them, but bthey had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 17 Then cthey laid their hands on them and dthey received the Holy Spirit. 18 Now when Simon saw that the Spirit was given through the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money, 19 saying, “Give me this power also, so that anyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.”
20 But Peter said to him, e“May your silver perish with you, because you thought you could obtain the gift of God fwith money! 21 You have neither part nor lot in this matter, for gyour heart is not right before God. 22 Repent, therefore, of this wickedness of yours, and pray to the Lord that, hif possible, the intent of your heart may be forgiven you. 23 For I see that you are in ithe gall3 of bitterness and in jthe bond of iniquity.” 24 And Simon answered, k“Pray for me to the Lord, that nothing of what you have said may come upon me.”
Here’s what we know from observing this passage:
Simon practiced magic and captivated people who thought he was someone great. In fact, the least to the greatest in the city thought he was someone special and they followed him.
They attributed his magic to the power of God, so it was deceptive and misleading.
In verse 13, he believed the gospel message and was in aw of the miracles performed by the apostles. That leads us to believe there was something different between his magic and the miracles performed by the apostles, right? Why is he amazed if he can do the same thing?
He then wanted what they had and tried to buy the ability to perform miracles. Now, why would he do that unless his “magic” was deceptive? He made money and gained influence off of his deceit. He couldn’t do that any longer. And Peter called him out and told him he was wicked for even thinking he could equate the gift of the Holy Spirit with magic.
This is a strict warning against such things.
There is another example of a wicked magician in Acts 13:6-11. This shows that sorcery is opposed to Christianity.
In Acts 16, a fortune telling girl followed Paul and Silas and repeatedly said, “These men are servant of the most High God, who will proclaim to you the way of the salvation.” Finally Paul was weary of her after this kept on for many days and he turned around and rebuked the demon out of her. All you know what broke loose and her master, who made money off of her abilities, rallied the troops and they were thrown into prison.
What she was saying wasn’t false, but Paul didn’t put up with or entertain anything to do with evil.
The Bible is clear that we are not to participate in or entertain magic, sorcery, fortune telling, etc. It is sinful to go get your palms read, read your horoscope, go to a fortune teller, use tarot cards, or flirt with darkness.
Now, where do I land? I was taught since I was a kid to distinguish between the evil aspects of Halloween and not to participate in them. So, that’s what we do. We carve pumpkins as a family but we don’t carve jack-o-lanterns because there is a history that they had something to do with the evil spirits. It was to keep them away or to summon them, either way, I’ll pass.
We never dressed up as vampires, witches, goblins, or anything spooky.
And we still don’t. More than being adamant about whether or not you participate in halloween, I would ask, do you watch scary movies? I mean, what you put into your mind shapes your worldview. If you tell people they shouldn’t participate in Halloween because of what it signifies but you watch horror films, or docu-dramas like Dahmer, isn’t that kind of a contradiction?
When we deem things as sinful where God hasn’t, we run the risk of sounding Pharisaical. Just something to think about, please don’t get offended. I don’t know you, so I am asking you to think about it. Jesus asked the Pharisees this in Matthew 23:24-30, “You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel. “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites!
You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence.
26 Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean.27 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean. 28 In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.’
When we hold to a standard that God has not set, we end up setting a difficult standard across the board because it becomes very legalistic.
The Pharisees did the same thing. To strain out a gnat is to focus on the small issue when the larger issues are neglected. The small issue is dressing up and having a harvest party. The big issue is the issue of evil. If we do not recognize what true evil is, we have missed the point. And the issue of evil is the heart of man. It’s the inflation with darkness. Not a family dress up party at the nearest trunk or treat.
I hope that helps clear up the Halloween debate and sheds some light on what evil really is. If you don’t already have it, get Clay Jones’ book, “Why Does God Allow Evil?”
Don’t forget to leave a 5 star rating and a review if you enjoy the podcast and I’ll catch you on the next one!