3 Ways of Looking at Popular Pagan Practices


There are three ways that Christians view pagan and occult practices:

1. They legalistically attach pagan roots to everything.(1)

2. They incorporate or modify pagan practices without discernment.

3. They carefully research pagan influences and Scriptures about paganism.

The first group listens to unsubstantiated claims and associates harmless practices to paganism.

The second group gets involved in things that compromise their faith.

The third group does careful research and avoids legitimate forms of paganism out of respect for God.

Old Testament Scriptures warn against worshiping God in the same way pagans worship their gods (Deuteronomy 12:1-4), and 2 Corinthians 6:14-18 warns us against any partnership with pagan practices.

I propose a wager similar to Pascal’s: Suppose you avoid things tainted by paganism (see the questions below) and some of the things you avoid are harmless. You're no worse off because none of these things are essential to life. But what if they compromise your relationship with the Lord?

Is anything worth that risk? 

Please read the full text of the Scriptures linked in this devotion.  

---------------------   


Questions to ask in regard to any practice associated with paganism.  
I've based these questions on: 
2 Cor. 6:14-18 
Deut. 12:3-4 
Deut. 18:9-14

1. Does it have a pagan name?
2. Does the pagan religion associated with it still exist? 
3. Does the pagan religion still use this ritual or object to worship their false god? 
4. Are you mimicking their false worship and simply substituting God's name? 

If you only answer “yes” to #1, it's probably not a problem. Wearing Nike tennis shoes is an example. If you answer “yes” to #1 and #2, you need to pray about the practice. If you answer yes to the questions beyond that, please avoid the activity. For resources about specific practices, see Pagan Influences and Examining Yoga.

Footnote:
(1) For example, some people teach that Christmas and Easter are pagan, claiming they have pagan origins, even though they don't violate any of the principles addressed in the questions above. Much of their research is faulty or questionable, and the current holidays bear no resemblance to these ancient pagan religions (e.g. no one "worships" their Christmas tree). If Christians feel personally convicted about these holidays, they should avoid them; but they should not expect all Christians to agree with them (Colossians 2:16).
See Was the New Testament Influenced by Pagan Religions?

Regarding Christmas:
Is Christmas a Pagan Holiday? (Got Questions), No, Christmas is Not Pagan (Ancient Faith Ministries), Is Christmas a Pagan Holiday? (R.C. Sproul), Should Christians Celebrate Christmas? (John Piper), Is Christmas Pagan? (Stand to Reason)

Regarding Easter:
Is there is there any connection between Ishtar and Easter? (Got Questions), What are the origins of Easter? (Got Questions), Was Easter Borrowed from a Pagan Holiday? (Anthony McRoy), Is the Name Easter of Pagan Origin? (Answers in Genesis)

Regarding Halloween (Halloween is not in the same category as Christmas and Easter): 
Should Christians Celebrate Halloween? and Different Ways Christians Handle Halloween (Bible Love Notes), Should Christians Celebrate Halloween? (Got Questions)    

Bible Love Notes

4 comments:

  1. Thanks so much Gail for this,I've wondered myself if Christmas is to be celebrated because of pagan origins.God bless you!
    Ann.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Please read the attached articles, Kiwi, and you will see that there is no historical evidence linking our present Christmas celebration to pagan rituals.

      Delete
  2. Sorry, but this is a really sensitive one with me right now. The Lord made it clear to me that the rituals that we do, we should question everything. No wonder the work of the Holy Spirit is squelched. We are not willing to give up "learning the ways of the Pagans and blending it with our Christian beliefs. Celebrating the Birth and Resurrection of Christ is fine. We are commanded by Jesus to remember Him in His death by observing the Lord's supper or communion. Of course He did not command us to remember His birth, but the writers Matthew and Luke (Paul) knew that the virgin birth and the genealogy was important to prove how Jesus fulfilled scripture but most importantly that He was God in the flesh. Yet, Jesus did not say, "Do this in remembrance of me of my coming in the flesh." If anyone were to stop and think about what people would say if they were unfamiliar with our practice of putting up Christmas trees for a month and then take them down, if they were knowledgeable of the prophets especially, they'd recognize it as tree worship. Even the catholics say "we don't worship Mary, or Joseph or those bones that we have sitting in glass cases at our holy sites. We just pray to them." Those who have come out of Wicca or Catholicism most definitely recognize that they did indeed "worship" their holy trees or bones. It's easy for us to say, it's okay to play with pokemon cards because I don't believe in the spiritual element of those figures that were promoted by Wizards. Yes, we should question everything because we are verrrrrrrrrrry intrenched in pagan practices and doing what the pagans do. Instead we need to be holy and set apart, different from the world instead of embracing their customs and catholic holy days. Don't get me wrong. I lovvvvvvvvvvvvvvvved Christmas! It was hard to give up. It was from reading God's word, not from all the many that are questioning it on Youtube. Yes, admit it. You/we don't want to give up our fun family celebrations. Yes, it's hard to be set apart for Jesus.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Teresa,
      You need to do what your conscience prompts you to do.

      I have carefully studied the origins of Christmas and Easter and I strongly disagree with your conclusions.

      There are many articles supporting your conclusion, but Historical evidence does NOT support this connection between Christmas and pagan holidays.

      Delete