Monthly Archives: October 2011

Halloween: Pagan or Christian

The following article is from the Jeremiah Project:

History traces Halloween back to the ancient religion of the Celtics in Ireland. The Celtic people were very conscious of the spiritual world and had their own ideas of how they could gain access to it – such as by helping their over 300 gods to defeat their enemies in battle, or by imitating the gods in showing cleverness and cunning.

Their two main feasts were Beltane at the beginning of summer (May 1), and Samhain (pronounced Sah-ween) at the end of summer (Nov. 1). They believed Samhain was a time when the division between the two worlds became very thin, when hostile supernatural forces were active and ghosts and spirits were free to wander as they wished.

“During this interval the normal order of the universe is suspended, the barriers between the natural and the supernatural are temporarily removed, the sidh lies open and all divine beings and the spirits of the dead move freely among men and interfere sometimes violently, in their affairs”
(Celtic Mythology, p. 127).

The Celtic priests who carried out the rituals in the open air were called Druids, members of pagan orders in Britain, Ireland and Gaul, who generally performed their rituals by offering sacrifices, usually of crops and animals, but sometimes of humans, in order to placate the gods; ensuring that the sun would return after the winter; and frightening away evil spirits.

To the Celtics, the bonfire represented the sun and was used to aid the Druid in his fight with dark powers. The term bonfire comes from the words “bone fire,” literally meaning the bones of sacrificed animals, sometimes human, were piled in a field with timber and set ablaze. All fires except those of the Druids were extinguished on Samhain and householders were levied a fee to relight their holy fire which burned at their altars. During the Festival of Samhain, fires would be lit which would burn all through the winter and sacrifices would be offered to the gods on the fires. This practice of burning humans was stopped around 1600, and an effigy was sometimes burned instead.

October 31, Halloween, is one of the more popular holidays for children. What child wouldn’t want to dress up as a monster or fairy and score a bag of candy in the process?When Christianity spread to parts of Europe, instead of trying to abolish these pagan customs, people tried to introduce ideas which reflected a more Christian world-view. Halloween has since become a confusing mixture of traditions and practices from pagan cultures and Christian tradition.

By A.D. 43, Romans had conquered the majority of Celtic territory. During their rule of the Celtic lands, Roman festivals were combined with the traditional Celtic celebration of Samhain. The Romans observed the holiday of Feralia, intended to give rest and peace to the departed. Participants made sacrifices in honor of the dead, offered up prayers for them, and made oblations to them. Another festival was a day to honor Pomona, the Roman goddess of fruit and trees. The symbol of Pomona is the apple and the incorporation of this celebration into Samhain probably explains the tradition of “bobbing” for apples that is practiced today on Halloween.

As the influence of Christianity spread into Celtic lands, in the 7th century, Pope Boniface IV introduced All Saints’ Day, a time to honor saints and martyrs, to replace the pagan festival of the dead. It was observed on May 13. In 834, Gregory III moved All Saint’s Day from May 13 to Nov. 1 and for Christians, this became an opportunity for remembering before God all the saints who had died and all the dead in the Christian community. Oct. 31 thus became All Hallows’ Eve (‘hallow’ means ‘saint’).

Sadly, though, many of the customs survived and were blended in with Christianity. Numerous folk customs connected with the pagan observances for the dead have survived to the present.

In 1517, a monk named Martin Luther honored the faithful saints of the past by choosing All Saints Day (November 1) as the day to publicly charge the Church heirarchy with abandoning biblical faith. This became known as “Reformation Day,” a fitting celebration of the restoration the same biblical faith held by the saints throughout church history.

Read More From the Jeremiah Project


New Geneva Launches Its On Campus Facility

On September 30th2011 New Geneva launched its educational facility with an open house to the community and interested parties.  New Geneva is a Christian Leadership College conferring 1, 2, and 4 year degrees in Applied Theology, targeting various majors and a seminary school in Reformed and Theonomic studies.

New Geneva’s goal is to equip students with the necessary academic tools so that they are able to logically apply those things learned in the real world. Without the application of God’s Law-Word to the culture, academics are a simple head scratching without any teeth behind it for cultural dominion. Thus, New Geneva is more than a Bible College; it is a Leadership Academy.

Among the many tracts of study New Geneva offers courses in Theology, Biblical Law, Constitutional Law, Constitutional Philosophy, Political Philosophy, Basic Philosophy, Art, Music, Science & Engineering, Apologetics, Worldview studies, Government studies, Education, Economics, Literature, Counseling, Communication, Christian character, History, an internship program and an art guild affiliation. The Ambassador’s School is New Geneva’s internship program and the Bezaleel Art Project is Geneva’s art guild.

All course tracts are tailored especially for each individual student which enables the student to get the most out of his or her studies. Most importantly New Geneva’s price structure is geared toward families who want a superior Christian education without the exorbitant price tag.

On Campus Or Correspondence

Although the majority of Geneva’s courses can be taken correspondence, or via video feed, there are those that wish to attend Geneva for a season depending on their schedule. Once on campus the student can share in a small college atmosphere, and one on one interaction with the professors and staff. Of the many benefits of on campus visitation, the facility houses a theological library of over 30,000 books, pdf documents, seminary lectures, and videos for the serious student, along with an art studio/gallery, music room, study and lecture halls, a microfiche viewing room, and a café complete with WiFi accessibility and a theological bookstore. All of these are accessible to our on campus students.

The Lounge & Study Area

While relatively small, equipped with WiFI accessibility, the downstairs lounge hosts a book store and café type setting for fellowship and study for both the student and the community. For a more secluded study atmosphere Geneva’s study hall and library are perfect settings for research, study and reading.

The Library and Microfiche Viewing Room

While Geneva’s library hosts over 30,000 books, documents, pdf , MP3 lectures and videos and is without a doubt the serious student’s dream, the Microfiche viewing room unique. With 5 full screen viewers this room houses thousands of primary source materials of the colonial era from 1600 to 1820 including all of New England’s Newspapers from the Puritan & Revolutionary period. This resource is priceless for the serious researcher.

The Art Studio

Of course God’s world includes His Glorious Creation. Art, therefore, must reflect the Master Artist or it is not really art. Geneva’s art courses teach and equip talented students to express the Glory of God in their artwork as a repudiation statement against the postmodern nonsense we see in the world of today.

The Music Course Tract

Geneva’s music tract teaches both the philosophy behind music from a Biblical viewpoint but also conducts chorale singing in English and other languages as well.

Modular Students

Students can remain on campus for any length of time. New Geneva does not have dorms but will assist in housing arrangements as needed.

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