“Okay,” I conceded, “so, it’s never nice to scare people, right?”
“Right,” he replied. “It’s wrong to scare people.”
“Okay,” I indulged, “it’s never right to scare people. You agree?”
“Yes, that’s right,” he answered. “It’s always wrong to scare people.” He was quite emphatic.
This was too easy. “So what about claims about hellfire?” I asked. “Such claims scare lots of people, especially children who might think those claims are true.”
“That’s different,” he predictably replied.
“Oh? How so?” I inquired. “It’s scaring people, and you’ve already stated quite emphatically that it’s always wrong to scare people.”
“People should be scared of hell!” he stammered.
“But,” I reminded him, “you said that scaring people is always wrong. How is this different?”
“God says that hell is bad,” he explained. “That’s what’s different.”
“But given what you’ve stated,” I reasoned, “that means God is doing something wrong, for the very claim that there is a hell awaiting people after death scares people, and scaring people is always wrong.”
“I have to go,” he said suddenly. “See you later.”
“Okay.” I was disappointed that he wanted to abort so quickly. “Come back any time. Have a good day.”
And that’s basically how it went. Now, I’m not a big fan of Halloween to begin with. At my company, many of the adults [sic] there are heavily into it, decorating the office, wearing costumes, even running company-wide contests. I personally find it very taxing and, frankly, unbecoming of adults. Yes, I realize I’m quite the spoilsport, but I go to work… to work!
That said, my daughter enjoys it, and in the confines of our home, it’s all in good fun and cheer. But even in the larger scheme, dressing up for Halloween and decorating a home’s entry way in macabre themes is not even on the level of a practical joke, which pranks an unsuspecting victim. When it comes to Halloween, everyone’s in on the act, and it’s pretty difficult to catch anyone off-guard. And even then, it’s taken as an impressive achievement.
If I’m wrong and nefarious for “scaring” people during Halloween, when no one is going to be caught off guard by the spooky, how much more wrong and nefarious is a worldview which encourages its adherents to take delight in scaring people, even little children, with the threat of hell? Think I’m wrong for using “delight” here? Then go here for starters.
This is not written as a defense of Halloween, but rather to draw attention to how unaware an individual can be of the conflicts between his own pronouncements and stated beliefs.
by Dawson Bethrick