A Halloween bag full of Dum Dums

By Phil Plait | October 31, 2009 8:00 am

I actually am fairly tolerant of religious differences between people. Religious beliefs run very, very deep, and touch a part of us that is incredibly difficult to analyze rationally or with any sort of real self-skepticism. In general, a person’s religious belief is wrapped up in their own sense of self, so attacking that religion is akin to a personal attack on them.

But sometimes, just sometimes, a belief can be goofy enough — and damaging enough — that maybe a little bit of mockery is deserved. Certainly Pat Robertson has done so much damage in his lifetime that he gets no pass at all from me. My thoughts on him are clear and public (for example, he is "bigoted, small-minded zealot who will say anything to appeal to his base").

So it comes as no surprise that his website CBN is a haven for nonsensery at all levels. But a new post there about Halloween has even me scratching my head. Kimberly Daniels wrote a piece there about Halloween that is about as far from reality as it can be:

Halloween is a counterfeit holy day that is dedicated to celebrating the demonic trinity of : the Luciferian Spirit (the false father); the Antichrist Spirit (the false holy spirit); and the Spirit of Belial (the false son).

Really? I thought it was a time to have fun, let a little loose, eat candy, and just be silly. But I guess that’s just me.

… and about 300 million other Americans.

So we’ve established she’s a goofball. Fine. But then she goes too far:

During this period demons are assigned against those who participate in the rituals and festivities. These demons are automatically drawn to the fetishes that open doors for them to come into the lives of human beings. For example, most of the candy sold during this season has been dedicated and prayed over by witches.

Attacking Halloween is one thing, but attacking the candy?

Wow, it must be fun to live in an evidence-free world where you can simply assert whatever you want without proof or references or anything! Here, let me try: CBN is run by a TI 99-4a computer with buggy code that sometimes strings words together in patterns that almost make sense, if you squint and stand some distance away from them.

Hey, that was easy!

I think that it’s not only OK, but appropriate to shake your head and be somewhat dismissive of opinions stated as fact that aren’t within a glancing blow of reality. That anyone can take Robertson* or his organization seriously is weird. The fact that they make money hand over fist is, well, not a crime since it’s legal, but a real shame.

And I wonder if anyone has told Ms. Daniels about the pagan origins of Christmas celebrations?

Anyway, as for me, I’ll happily be giving out my accursed Kit Kats and demonic Baby Ruths to all the satan-worshipping entrail-reading pagan evildoers in the neighborhood. And probably snitching the occasional hellspawned Tootsie Roll, too.



* In case you think I am being unfair to Robertson — if such a thing is even possible — because someone else wrote that article, then check out this article at Americans United. Robertson deserves far more mockery than even I feel I can do on this blog.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Antiscience, Piece of mind, Religion

Comments (128)

Links to this Post

  1. What’s wrong with having an imagination? « skeptigirl | October 31, 2009
  1. Facepalm, that is all I have to say.

  2. IVAN3MAN AT LARGE

    Phil, I think the word that title should be Halloween, not “Haloween”.

  3. While Halloween does have its roots in paganism and is part of the Wiccan tradition, it currently has as much to do with religion as Christmas does in the states, something I can’t get my Christian brothers to understand. Donning a costume and trick and treating no more puts you in the game than wearing a team jersey at a sporting event.

  4. Scott

    People still pay attention to those wackos?

  5. Are you sure that site isn’t written by a 15-year old kid who tries to play tricks on us?

  6. IVAN3MAN AT LARGE

    D’OH! My post above should read: I think the word in that title should be…

  7. Daniel J. Andrews

    If you told her that Christmas was originally a pagan holiday, and that Jesus most likely was born in the spring (based on the narrative regarding the shepherds and their flocks at night) and not December, and that the wise men didn’t show up at the manager but showed up two years later at a house, and that while there were three gifts it doesn’t mean there were 3 wise men, she’d probably be shocked, just shocked, I tell you.

  8. MarshallE

    Hellspawned Tootsie Rolls are my favorite, I am also partial to my pagan ceremonial blessed Twizzlers.

  9. Greg in Austin

    @IVAN3MAN AT LARGE,

    You probably are poking fun, but I believe Phil’s wordplay on the word Halo is appropriate. Personally, I think the word should have been Halo-weener.

    @Phil, and the rest,

    In the traditions of my culture, dressing up in costumes and going trick or treating is a way to inspire imagination and creativity in children, to allow adults an evening of well-earned frivolity, and even a way to bring the neighborhood folks out to meet one another. It has NOTHING to do with Christianity or religion in general, and perhaps that’s why some Christians are so scared of it.

    8)

  10. Arthur Maruyama

    CBN.com has removed the column but you can still read the entire thing here:
    http://www.charismamag.com/index.php/prophetic-insight/23723-the-danger-of-celebrating-halloween
    where it was originally published (of course it still remains that someone at CBN.com thought it worthy to be at that site). I found the above link on the following column:
    http://www.mediaite.com/tag/kimberly-daniels-halloween-candy/

  11. PatDurrell

    First off, Robertson certainly deserves all of the mockery.

    Second….if the candy is being prayed over (under?) by witches, how can we, as consumers, make sure we have the highest quality witches looking over the candy? Is there some sort of quality control? How many witches — and more importantly, are the names of the witches (or demons) supposed to be outlined along with the nutritional information?

    All kidding aside…these assertions are (of course) just plain silly. Clearly some people have just too much time on their spare hands.

  12. Nomen Publicus

    I hope there will be an equally fierce article against that other pagan holiday, christmas.

  13. Keith (the first one)

    Now you’ve put me in a difficult situation. Do I eat a hellspawned Mars or an accursed Mint Aero?

  14. Gina

    @PatDurrell … You raise some very interesting and important questions. Maybe we should write to the candy companies to find out the truth!

    (More seriously, though, I don’t know what makes me sadder: That there are people out there writing garbage like that or that there are people who truly believe in said garbage)

  15. Mike

    Link doesn’t work. Have they flushed the article down the memory hole?

  16. Stephen P

    “If you told her that Christmas was originally a pagan holiday, and that Jesus most likely was born in the spring … she’d probably be shocked, just shocked”

    Even more so if you pointed out that a careful analysis of the nativity stories demonstrates them (even without any consideration of the supernatural aspects) to be fictional; we haven’t the slightest idea in which month Jesus was born.

    And then there’s the little matter of the doubt whether Jesus actually existed at all …

  17. I’m sure I’ve read that dressing up like witches and demons and making noise and having fun on Halloween is to mock evil spirits and stick your tongue out at them. This can be done literally or metaphorically. I don’t know why anyone would be against that.

  18. Hey! Whats wrong with entrail reading? *splat* Hmmmmmm…..

  19. Keith

    When Pat Robertson dies, he’s going to meet God up in Heaven, who will tell him, “Pat, you know all those things that you said that I said? Let’s talk about those.” Something tells me the conversation will not end with Pat passing through the Pearly Gates. :lol:

    Apparently, the Ninth Commandment means as little to Robertson and Daniels as the Sixth Commandment does to radical pro-lifers.

  20. Pisces

    Hmmm…if Robertson and his ilk are making money hand over fist ya gotta ask yourself….where is all that cash coming from? My guess is it’s all those people with religious beliefs.

  21. defective robot

    Reeses Christ! That Tootsie Roll is Laffy Taffy! She really laid a Milk Dud with that one. Her commentary sent me into a fit of Snickers! Next thing you know she’ll be claiming that praying to angels, Pixy Stix, and unicorns from Mars will counteract the cursed candy. Or that if a black Kit Kat crosses in front you it’s a sign that the Three Musketeers of the apocalypse will be arriving soon. Methinks her mental health is somewhere beTwixt and between irrational and downright Bonkers. But I suspect she’ll Blow Pop her top sometime soon, and I’d pay 100 Grand to see that!

    Let’s all pray to Gobstoppers that herShey will see the light and repent.

  22. defective robot

    Sorry for that, everyone.

    I just couldn’t let that Smarties pant’s ridiculous Whoppers of a tale go without a strong rebuke. It just happened to coincide with a bad pun Spree…

  23. Stephen, I’ve tried that. People just say “everyone agrees that Jesus existed” or “it’s been proven time and time again” or, my favorite, “there’s no proof that he didn’t exist,” which makes my logic circuits fry and cry.

  24. DaveS

    I think it’s funny how Christianity claims itself to be monotheistic, but not only does it have the weird Trinity idea, but it has all manner of powerful gods at odds with its god. It has an entire pantheon, including all the bible figures, demons, angels, Lucifer, etc, all with power rivaling its own god.

    What does this have to do with Halloween? Well, if a good Christian actually believed in the transcendence and omnipotence of his own god, then what would he have to fear from other gods and the followers of them?

    Cursed candy, indeed!

  25. G

    “That other pagan holiday” … hey, don’t forget about Easter.

    Sadly, I live waaaay out enough that no one comes trick or treating here, so I have to eat all my witch-corrupted Reeses all by myself.

  26. yumenoko

    Hey, as an employee of a very VERY well known chocolate and confections manufacturer (you already name-dropped one of our brands) I can pretty much guaranty Miss Daniels that the last thing any of our employees have time to do is curse the candy. Well, they do make it day in and day out, and are mighty sick of it, so maybe they grumble about it a bit under their breath… :)

  27. Kash

    Halloween is an important source of income for our witches, aside from the occasional love potion and the odd child sacrifice, what do they do the rest of the year? Oh sure, many do teach elementary school and work as dental hygienists, but Pat and his wacky superstition crew should just leave those poor gals alone, the one time a year they can make some money.

  28. Thomas Siefert

    I wanted a Commodore 64 for Christmas and all I got was a TI 99-4a.

    :-(

  29. ND

    Wait is she saying witches are for real and their prayers have influence? How does this fit in with Christianity? Does the bible say witches and their prayers are for real?

  30. whoooaaaa! somewhere in my attic, there is a forlorn 99-4.. and on my junk pile is a 99000 series chipset… thanx for the Wayback memory Phil! And TI for that matter.

  31. Dan I.

    I for one applaud the candy companies for hiring witches to “dedicate and pray over” the candy.

    It’s about time a company really started to try to stimulate employment.

    Now excuse me while I go sacrifice a rabbit to Belial

  32. “There can be no other holidays but CHRISTIAN holidays!!!! Nevermind that the two main ones have virtually no christian history behind them at all. NEVERMIND!!! You are all getting SLEEPY!!!!!”

  33. Back in the mid 80s when I was in high school, I founded a school club for gaming geeks (Dungeons and Dragons and other RPGs). This was in a Catholic school, and it took quite a bit of work to get the administration to consent to it at all. There were a few cases of kids doing stupid stuff while playing the game that had gotten publicity (at least one suicide that spurred a made-for-TV movie).

    One day I was visiting my grandmother who had the 700 Club on TV. Robertson was doing a segment on D&D and had on a mother who claimed that the little metal figurines were possessed with spirits and that when she threw them into the fireplace to get rid of them, they screamed.

    So I went back to our gaming club adviser who was also our biology teacher, and asked if I could borrow a Bunsen burner for the next meeting. He agreed and we melted down a half dozen pewter figurines. I never heard any screams, but there was a little sizzle…

    I also can’t leave the subject of Pat Robertson without dropping off this link about his sordid past for your amusement.

  34. cancer monkey

    I think this article is completely unfair, and I’m personally and deeply offended. There’s no way a 99-4/A could be that badly misprogrammed. I think you owe Texas Instruments an apology.

  35. Pete

    @PatDurrell

    How do we know that the candy has been prayed over by high quality witches? Look for the little “W” on the label. Usually it’s in the saem place the likke “K” will be for kosher foods. Of course, things with a K won’t have a W…..

  36. IVAN3MAN AT LARGE

    @ Thomas Siefert (#29),

    You were lucky! Back then, all I got for Xmas was friggin’ socks! :evil:

  37. KurtMac

    Occasional Hellspawned Tootsie Roll is going to be the name of my next rock band.

  38. Chris

    The news coverage I heard said there was also an anti-union claim here, although I don’t know if it was in the column or ancillary statements. Something about how the union REQUIRED that the Halloween candy be cursed. Because, you know, Jesus would be on the side of management and not the side of the workers.

    On holidays, Christmas was actually a fairly modest holiday until the last few hundred years. It was good for a mid-winter pick-me-up, but it wasn’t something people anticipated for months. That required a solid middle class with the ability buy massive quantities of cheaply-made junk.

    But Easter? It’s THE Christian holiday since it’s what defines Christianity as Christianity. Fair enough, and we can overlook how the resurrection of sacrificed gods is a common theme in earlier religions. But WTF are easter bunnies and easter eggs in the Bible? :-)

  39. Don Gisselbeck

    Just as it was with the web sites proving George Bush is the Antichrist (one at least still up), it is hard to tell if you are reading a parody.

  40. I will have to write a fundie text-generation program now. I don’t have a TI-99, but an 84 should be good…

  41. nancy

    @defective robot-
    I chuckled, thanks.

    mmmm…. evil chocolate…

  42. Sean

    Hail candy! Just remember the Hallowe’en candy rule: only pass out candy you like. You’re going to end up with some left over.

  43. Witches praying over candy?? What is this, “Willy Wonka and The Choclolate Factory meets Hogwarts”.

    Pat Robertson is a certified nincompoop.

    The only person crazier? Meet Brother Bob:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1AOh45PlQ4A

  44. Wayne on the plains

    I miss my TI-99 4A, that was a good machine back in the day. *snif*. Um, what were we talking about?

  45. mike burkhart

    Let me give a few facts it is true that the church dose not reconize halloween as a holy day it reconizes nov 1 as all saints day the church has never forbiden halloween to be celabrated now the real reason Pat robertson condemes is he dose not agree with the Catholic belef in the intersession of the saints and that we celebrate a holy day for this .Pat Robertson dose not speak for all Christans and I am worried about him and other extremists who seek to destroy all who don’t with them WORD TO ROBERTSON IF YOU WOULD READ THE BIBLE YOU WOULD FIND JESUS CONDEMED EXTREMISTS OF HIS DAY And I will celebrate halloween if you like it or not

  46. I told my husband about this this morning. He was speechless.

    I’ve encountered very few people that would confess to actually believing such things, but I have met them and it’s almost as if they were invented by The Onion.

  47. frances

    Halloween is a counterfeit holy day that is dedicated to celebrating the demonic trinity of : the Luciferian Spirit (the false father); the Antichrist Spirit (the false holy spirit); and the Spirit of Belial (the false son).

    Really? Excellent!!!

    (Off to read Anton LeVay, spit on a church, play heavy metal records backwards and so on.)

  48. Richard

    “satan-worshipping entrail-reading pagan evildoers” – Dude, if you put that on a T-shirt I will buy it! :-)

  49. I'd rather be fishin'

    I know that witches are praying over candy! That’s the only explanation of how they get the caramel into the Cadbury’s Caramilk bars. AND they are getting kickbacks from all the dentists’ groups in North America to do it! It’s true, I have evidence of that, but if I release it, I’ll have curses placed on me by the CIA (Coven Intelligence Agency). And The Government™ is in on it. How else can the witches fly their broomsticks without FAA flight plans, pilots’ licences and so on?

  50. Sili

    Please, someone tell her that almost all chickens are slaughtered halal – including the obsequies from an imam.

    The proper time to go begging for sweets is Carnival. But Halloween is creeping in over here, too, as I had confirmed tonight. But the lazy, good-for-nothing brats hadn’t even bothered dressing up.

  51. TCL

    Actually we have a fairly good idea when Jesus was born (assuming it’s not a myth). His family went to Jerusalem during tax season – which is after the harvest is reaped and sold. Chances are he was born around now (Halloween).

    Most educated Christians I’ve met know full well that JC wasn’t born in December and that his birthday is celebrated as a means of countering pagan solstice celebrations.

  52. Brian

    The original article is gone already. I like to think that someone over in CBN came to their sesnes. In reality Pat is probably just close friends with the CEO of Hershey’s or Mars Corporation, and got an earful this morning.

  53. Dave H

    > Really? I thought it was a time to have fun, let a little loose, eat candy,
    > and just be silly. But I guess that’s just me.
    >
    > … and about 300 million other Americans.
    >
    > So we’ve established she’s a goofball.

    Come on, Phil, you’re better than that. Disagreeing with 300.000001 million Americans doesn’t make her a goofball, it just makes her different.

  54. Richard

    Phil, I don’t think you are old enough to remember a TI99-4a.

  55. Levi in NY

    To the untrained eye, this may look like an innocent bowl of Snickers, Baby Ruth and Reese’s that I have here. But the Snickers are really filled with the snickers of Satan’s laughter, the Baby Ruths have actually been infused with pieces of Babe Ruth’s soul straight from Hell, and the Reese’s…well, Reese’s are the Anti-christ. Rotate the “J” in the word “Jesus” 180° and it looks like “resus”—you can’t tell me that’s a coincidence.

  56. First, the responses/snarks to previous posts:
    @PatDurrel (11)
    if the candy is being prayed over (under?) by witches, how can we, as consumers, make sure we have the highest quality witches looking over the candy?
    36. Pete Says:
    How do we know that the candy has been prayed over by high quality witches? Look for the little “W” on the label.

    I can just imagine finding a bag of candy with an insert: Cursed by witch #13

    24. DaveS Says:

    I think it’s funny how Christianity claims itself to be monotheistic, but not only does it have the weird Trinity idea, but it has all manner of powerful gods at odds with its god.

    I hypothesize that the actual Pantheon with Zeus/Jupiter as the ‘primary’ god was transformed so the ‘lesser gods’ became ‘angels’. e.g. I believe it was Archangel Gabriel who was used as a messenger, similar to Mercury.
    Also, check Mr. Deity and the Identity Crisis for a great take on the Trinity.

    37. IVAN3MAN AT LARGE Says:
    @ Thomas Siefert (#29),

    You were lucky! Back then, all I got for Xmas was friggin’ socks! :evil:

    Did your parents have a ‘wish squisher’? (Mystery Science Theater 3000 Invention Exchange)

    -continuing…
    This was also the #1 story on MSNBC’s Countdown on Friday, with guest host Lawrence O’Donnel having a good time with it. Americans United had their executive director, Barry Lynn commenting on it, as well.

    Bit of Early Computer Trivia: most of the popular pre-Intel X86 computers used CPU’s that were 8 bit (I recall doing the research before buying – wound up with “Coco” 2/3 s for plug-ins and gradual expandability, from cassette to floppy to hard drive), the TI was the only 16 bit CPU. (IIRC)

    Also, as I’d mentioned long ago, I spent four years running the 700 Club (1 hour out of 1.5 because that’s the time they bought), Jimmy Swaggart, Kenneth Copeland, et al. Eight hours a day with that in the background will either drive you crazy or make you an atheist. (obvious snark comment possible here)

    J/P=?

  57. wildride

    You know that episode of Futurama where they are on the robot planet and the robot elders can’t remember whether Fry’s claims that he can breath fire are valid or something they just made up? The wacko Christians are like that with Hallowe’en. The real Samhain celebrations were more like Thanksgiving than anything else with a feast celebrating the harvest and a big bonfire for light and warmth. Any of the “evil” connotations were stories made up by christians during their embrace and extend campaign to stifle celebration of Samhain by moving All Saints day (which they’d originally created to combat a different roman celebration).

    Now, they’ve forgotten which things were real and which they made up and claim ridiculous things. I had one wacko tell me that originally the “trick” in trick or treat was sacrificing a virgin. One small problem with that: It’s completely apocryphal. For one thing, trick or treat was an american invention of the 1920 as a way to combat vandalism. They just must assume everyone is as ignorant as they are.

  58. The Ill Tempered Klavier

    Glad to hear the old Ti99-4A can still be put to good use. Actually I’m typing this on mine well, ok, not, but only because I haven’t figured out how to make it run firefox.

    Just about all the “Christian” holidays a pagan ones in disguise. It was deliberate policy early on that wherever they went, if the locals were used to having a big festival at a certain time, the Christian missionaries would think up a Christian rationale for it so their converts could keep right on celebrating. A good party halloweth any cause ;)

  59. I will say that generally I too tend to be tolerant of people clinging to childish superstitions, UNLESS they insist I somehow need to adhere to their beliefs, or even respect them. I am under no obligation to respect them in the slightest; and I can’t, since I think they are just silly. Sorry.

  60. Ken

    Oh … so *that’s* why I keep finding little slips of paper in my box of Hershey’s that says “Prayed over by #34″ …

  61. Huffington Post has the scoop on EVIL CANDY!

    Everyone should read and heed!!

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/10/29/christian-broadcasting-ne_n_338738.html

  62. harknights

    As a former user of the great TI-99 4a, I don’t like your tone. I for one see no need to throw this great machine under the bus with the likes of those types. to call the code buggie…ok that may be true…but but to imply that it served no good purpose…ok that may also be true.

    Never mind.

  63. drewski

    My candy just doesn’t taste right until it’s been cursed.

  64. Hoonser

    Has anybody ever told these half-wits that paganism runs way deeper in our culture than they think? Like how every day of the week is named after a pagan god? Maybe somebody should inform them, and they’ll get into some backfiring logical mishap and disappear from this plane of existence.
    Here’s a fun fact. Friday is named after the Norse goddess Frige, who was known to have sex in exchange for gold and jewels. Which gives ‘Good Friday’ a slightly different meaning.

  65. Bryan

    He not only makes money hand over fist, it’s tax free!

  66. justcorbly

    Kimberly believes in demons and witches, Why should we pay any attention to what she says?

    Excuse me, though. There’s an eight-year-old Hindu dressed as Spiderman at my door. Trick or treat.

  67. KC

    The author of the article easily prove what she says is true by obtaining the W-2 forms of the witches employed by M&M Mars, Hershey, Cadbury, etc. Perhaps they could pursue legislation requiring manufacturers to label their candy: “Warning: May Cause Demonic Possession” or “Warning: May Contain Demon Parts”

    What a boon for candy companies – next year they could boost their sales over their competitors by labeling their candy bags “Witch Free” or “Blessed by the Pope” or “Made with Holy Water”

  68. Torbjörn Larsson, OM

    The danger of too much candy.

    JC wasn’t born in December and that his birthday is celebrated as a means of countering pagan solstice celebrations.

    And that’s why I persist in calling it yule. Take that, xmas!

  69. Quiet Desperation

    If their claims were true, my repeated attempts to order up a succubus on Halloween would succeed.

    You know, like Drusilla from “Pibgorn”. ;-)

  70. Ozprof

    G’Day BA,

    Why do you keep raising that old furfie about Jesus not being born on December 25? Most Christians already know this. As a Christian, I treat it just like any other day.

    Concerning Halloween, the things you describe are a largely an american thing. In Europe where its foundational beliefs come from, it is quite different, and taken far more seriously by those who follow the occult.

    Here is a good comment on how a Christian should relate to Halloween, and gives you some idea of my thoughts about it.

    http://www.amazingfacts.org/Publications/InsideReport/tabid/123/articleType/ArticleView/articleId/332/Should-Christians-Celebrate-Halloween.aspx

    Ozprof

  71. Gary Ansorge

    If I was God, every tele-evangelist would be slowly roasted over a Texas Barbecue pit, for a LONG time. Mainly because they get “money for nothing and the wishes aren’t free”.

    Fortunately for them,,,

    Jesus was a common name then, as it is now. My neighbors name is Jesus but I don’t expect him to walk on water. However, he is a pretty good mechanic. Christians say Jesus was a carpenter. How do they KNOW? Was he licensed? Do we have his photo? His finger prints? A simple recording of his voice? Oh, right, that’s where faith comes in, as in “Have faith that whatever BS I want to tell you is true. Now, send me millions of dollars.”

    HAve a lucrative Halloween everybody and may your chocolate be Belgian.

    Gary 7

  72. The Ill-tempered Klavier

    I arranged some little glow-in the-dark necklaces & bracelets around my candy cauldron. They went in nothing flat. Of course several of the crumb snatchers who took them went for a piece of candy too. The other non sugar and fat things I offer pretty much sit there, but those were a mega-hit;))

  73. David C.

    Candy cursed by witches? So THAT explains my expanding waistline! Maybe I can get my doctor to refer me to a good exorcist.

    As someone who lives in the Bible Belt, it is unfortunate that what this lady wrote is just one of many examples of outrageous garbage that is accepted without question among most fundamentalists. Whether it’s claims that the CEO of a major corporation appeared on “Merv Griffin” to say he’s in the Church of Satan, or that the FCC is about to ban all religious programming at the behest of Madalyn Murray O’Hare, or that rock music is full of satanic messages inserted subliminally or with “backward masking”, it all makes the rounds every so often. And no matter how outrageous these claims are or how often (and easily) they are debunked, there’s plenty of folks out there willing to believe them the next time they come around.

    And I’m sure that this is not the last we’ll hear of this sordid little fantasy, either.

  74. badreligion

    Wake me up when Phil takes on any world religion other than Christianity… so safe to mock.

  75. Ozprof (#71): I didn’t say anything about Jesus not being born on December 25. I said that Christmas started off as a pagan holiday. It doesn’t matter much when Jesus was born, the point was the author of that article was freaking out about all the wiccan aspects of Halloween, but I suspect would ignore the same aspects of Christmas.

  76. badreligion (#75): Wake me up when Christianity is not the dominant religion in the US.

    And I wasn’t mocking Christianity. I was mocking fundamentalism.

  77. 34. Oroboros Says: “Robertson was doing a segment on D&D and had on a mother who claimed that the little metal figurines were possessed with spirits and that when she threw them into the fireplace to get rid of them, they screamed…So I went back to our gaming club adviser and asked if I could borrow a Bunsen burner for the next meeting. He agreed and we melted down a half dozen pewter figurines. I never heard any screams, but there was a little sizzle…”

    [Mythbusters mode]
    I’m sure those metal figurines were cast pretty cheaply (i.e. fast) so they probably had lots of voids and inclusions. I can believe that when they are thrown randomly on a fire that the trapped gas will heat up and as soon as the metal weakens enough in one spot it will squeeze out at fairly high speed making a little “sqeeee” sound. OTOH, your more controlled meltdown would have “drowned” them in molten metal, preventing the gas from venting straight to the air where you could hear it.
    [Mythbusters mode]

    – Jack

  78. badreligion

    Phil, you would never take on Islam, like you take on Christianity. When you have talked about Islam –

    “Calling 911 -You might then say yes, but religion was the pilot; it was the fundamentalist jihadic brand of Islam that guided those men to do what they did.”

    You pull your punch, “fundamentalist jihadic brand of Islam” like the “other brand” is somehow okay? Or right? I cant believe, you think ANY religion is right or okay. So why the let up?

    “Wake me up when Christianity is not the dominant religion in the US” let’s see how things work out for us under another one. And there’s always another one.

  79. IVAN3MAN AT LARGE
  80. badreligion, fundy Islam isn’t the so-called “dominant” religion of the U.S, and that Xtian-dominant silliness is what Phil is taking on in this particular post.

  81. badreligion,
    If you actually bother to read this blog, you will find a mix of atheists, agnostics, and yes, theists. As has been stated, what Phil is denouncing, or mocking is the fringe elements of Christianity. I think that most of would agree that fundamentalism lies far outside of the realm of orthodox religion. Atheists, theists and agnostics may disagree on many things, but we are capable of doing it respectfully and intelligently. However, fundamentalism deserves no respect in my opinion, since it refuses to respect others of differing views.

    Now back to that cursed candy… I can only hope that this is a part of Pres. Obamas stimulus package. Also, I would assume these are unionized witches?

  82. Buzz Parsec

    Gary said “Belgian”. Hey-hey hey-hey hey-hey!

    (I hereby claim the 1st ever combination HHGTTG/Bevis & Butthead reference.)

  83. Dave Brown

    #71
    “Concerning Halloween, the things you describe are a largely an american thing.”

    But in England we transferred the Samhain tradition to November 5th, Guy Fawkes day. In my Yorkshire youth the evening of November 4th was ‘mischievous night’ when we performed a more robust form of what is now ‘trick or treat’

  84. Sharkweek

    I’m imagining that I was a witch with actual witchcraft powers that had some actual effect on the world. I’m pretty sure I could figure out a better way of spending my time and using my powers than cursing children’s candy.

  85. Jeffersonian

    What?/? You don’t worship the Spirit of Belial ? !
    But it’s so common!

    Daniels wrote: “I do not buy candy during the Halloween season.”
    How does she know when those particular bags are off the shelf? How do you recognize an uncursed bag?

    In acknowledging witchcraft, she’s adhering to the belief system of a separate religion.

    The “Evil food” concept is an ancient superstition – one we might be past were it not for religion’s insistence on holding us back. It’s a theme that occurs in most religions – though it looks like she adopted it pantheistically.

    Halloween can be important for children’s social development.

  86. Sean

    @84, you mean they no longer celebrate my birthday by burning effigies?

    (This is to the whole “Hallow’s Eve is a holy day” crowd”)The whole Halloween as a catholic holiday thing is bull(my family’s catholic for the record), it was a pagan holiday in Ireland called Samhain where the dead and demons came back to life.

    The Irish were understandably concerned, and proceeded to dress up like the scariest things they could think of. The Catholic Church is great at co-opting popular items and thus took the pagan holiday after it(where the good spirits come down to earth) for their own.

    @86, in the Bile there are a lot of passing references to witches (“don’t suffer a witch to live”) so she wouldn’t need to adhere to a seperate belief. All she would need to do is just misunderstand her religion’s concept of god.

  87. Sean

    Re: Witch blessed candy, doesn’t it seem like kids today get so much cooler stuff than when I was young?

    I read the whole op-ed(including the one 71 posted) and it seems like these fundamentalists know a lot more about demon worship than is healthy. It more likely that they’re just more interested in keeping the children of their diehards as insulated from society as possible to prevent any “straying” than they are of spreading their own non-crazy parts of belief. What’s mildly amusing is if A) they’re right about there being a God and B) he’s just like they say then they’re going straight to hell. Taking the Lord’s name in vain for petty reasons(a non-violent holiday), bearing false witness, and the making of pastors/institutions into Idols are big no-nos for their Old Testament Monster God. Were I to ever see the Tower of Babel it’d probably just be a Sumerian mega-church.

  88. Just me

    The TI 99-4A was my very first computer. I wrote my first programs on it, and recorded them onto audiocassette. This was when even the 5.25″ floppy disks were still a new technology.

  89. Petrolonfire

    @ 18. Jack Daw Says:

    Hey! What’s wrong with entrail reading? *splat* Hmmmmmm…..

    Well its messy & smelly & after a while you run short of goats! Tea leaves are much easier,cleaner and better! ;-)

    Guy Fawkes Day – now there’s a great holiday! Hey, its even connected to a fanatical Catholic Christian – & the only man to enter Parliament with honest intentions .. ;-)

    Remember,remember the fifth of November,
    Gunpowder, treason & plot!

    PS. Hope everyone had a happy Halloween and scored lots of cursed candy!

    (Nb. Candy’s sitting on my lap right now – she’s one great girl!) ;-)

    @75. badreligion Says:

    Wake me up when Phil takes on any world religion other than Christianity… so safe to mock.

    Pretty sure I recall reading a post by the BA here about some crazy Muslim whackjob who didn’t accept something to do with maths. Does anyone else remember the one I’m thinking of?

  90. Flying sardines

    Pat Robertson – what a whackjob. :-(

    Why would anyone with even a quarter of a brain listen to anything that nutcase says? Its just so ludicrously funny yet sad. Does even PR take himself seriously? If so, I’m not sure whether its more scary or depressing.

    Scary? Hmm .. that gives me an idea for next years Halloween costume – go as a devil possessed Pat Robertson! ;-)

    @ 58 Wildtride :

    “For one thing, trick or treat was an american invention of the 1920 as a way to combat vandalism. They just must assume everyone is as ignorant as they are.”

    Halloween is meant to *discourage* vandalism? Wuhhh!? :roll:

    @ 70. Quiet Desperation Says:

    If their claims were true, my repeated attempts to order up a succubus on Halloween would succeed.

    You ever get that to work please let me know how to do it okay! Any luck this year? ;-)

    @ 87. Sean Says:

    @84, you mean they no longer celebrate my birthday by burning effigies?

    Hey, if that’s how you wish to celebrate your birthday, I’ll be happy to oblige! Just send me something I can stick on a petrol-soaked strawman & I’ll be happy to set your effigy on fire and stand around roastng marshmellows on it for you! ;-)

    Beats a Viking funeral (“Up-Helli-ha!”[?]) anyhow. Or does it -can’t say I’ve been to one. ;-)

  91. Mark Hansen

    Petrolonfire, I recall it (vaguely) but I also remember criticism of the attempts by some Muslims to stop vaccinations on the grounds that it’s a infidel/atheist/Christian plot to sterilise Muslims. But I guess you can wake me up when badreligion starts checking his/her facts… so safe to just make assumptions.

  92. Sean

    @ 91 Flying Sardine
    It was just cool having a couplet dedicated to remembering the date, it beat coming up with another device to send out on invites and the like. “Remember Remember the 5th of November, that gunpowder treasonous plot, I see no reason why I’ll forget the 5th of November is when Sean was begot” Or maybe that’s just my version.

  93. Lawrence

    87. Sean – the original Bible quote was “Thou shalt not suffer a well-poisoner to live” (which makes a lot of sense in the original context & geography of the region). It was changed in the King James version to give the ability to go after “women of means” and confiscate their property once they had been accused of witchcraft.

    Just another example of the intentional mis-translation or changing of the Bible to fit the needs of the time, by those in power.

  94. I'd rather be fishin'

    November 1 is All Saint’s Day and according to my sources, a day to honour all saints. The day was called All Hallowed Day. The OT and New are filled with examples of editing for political purposes.

    Curses! The little witches took all my favourite stuff: no more Reese’s peanut butter cups or Caramilks. I guess it’s cold pizza for breakfast. No more Mr. Nice Guy next year.

  95. Sean

    @ Lawrence

    That doesn’t entirely surprise me to be honest, even if there was no political bias in the many many translations of the bible you’d still have the cultural and language barriers from Hebrew to Aramaic to Hebrew to Greek to Latin to German to English. What’s always amazed me is how much the Ten vary in translations. My brother’s communion youth bible prints the 3rd(the Catholic 2nd) commandment in a way that’s wildly different from the straight from Hebrew translations I’ve seen.

  96. JimB

    @badreligion
    Fetwa Envy Troll is Fetwa Envious

    Hmmm, that doesn’t roll off the tongue.

    We’ll just have to settle for Stupid Troll is Stupid…

    Aaaaah. But all this TI 994a love is warming the cockles of my heart. I can remember drooling over that 300 baud acoustic modem.

  97. Gary Ansorge

    Way back in 1997 I took a TI 30 scientific calculator to my Differential equations class and the instructor, Dr Rindler, was so fascinated I bought one for him(for $30.00, since I had access to the employee store). He spent the next two nights playing with it, to the aggravation of his wife.At the time, the only other Scientific calculator was HPs and it cost around $200.00.Of course, it did do Reverse Polish notation,,,

    Ah, 300 baud. I remember how cool that was,,,and the Teletype (28) keyboard. Now I use a 6 meg DSL line and curse when uploads are slow,,,

    GAry 7

  98. JimB

    If I remember right, my TI 99 cost about $300.

    Friday before last I bought a pc for my mom at Fry’s. 64 bit athlon 1.8 gig. 4 gig of memory. 360 gig HD. 64 bit Win 7 home premium. $280.

    Life is good.

  99. ProofByInduction

    I did my part for mixing in a bit of science with the candy (nothing against candy, mind you).. I set up my telescope in the front yard, aimed it at Jupiter, and had “Trick or Treat and Astronomy”. The kids AND their parents loved it!

  100. Thomas Siefert

    @ IVAN3MAN AT LARGE (#37)

    To tell the truth, I never had a TI 99-4A. A school friend did or rather her father did and she did fend off my charm offensive when she realised that all I had on my mind was her father’s TI 99-4A.

    Eventually I got a Commodore 64 that served me well for 3 0r 4 years but I had to buy it myself, my family had an obsession with socks too.

    The closest I got to get my hi-tech Christmas wish come true was when I had a remote controlled car on my wish list.
    Off course my insensitive parents didn’t realise that I meant it a radio controlled car, so I got one of those with a trailing cable. To make matters worse, they didn’t get any batteries and back then everything was closed on Christmas eve. I dragged the car around with the cable for a few hours until one of the grown-ups stepped on and crushed it by mistake.

    Oh the pains of childhood! :-D

  101. Chris

    Perhaps the lady should be told why it is called Halloween.

    It is All hallows Eve i.e. the day before All Saints day which is very much a Christian festival (except perhaps if you are some USAian type southern baptist).

    Also just happens to occur at the same time, sort of, as Samhain (hope I spelt that correctly) a supposed Druidic festival with lots of cavorting naked witches.

  102. Abbey

    Chris – Samhain is spelled a few ways depending on your reference source and yours isn’t wrong. And while there are lots of lovely pagan reasons for naked cavorting, Samhain is really a harvest festival

  103. 92. Mark Hansen Says:

    Petrolonfire, I recall it (vaguely) but I also remember criticism of the attempts by some Muslims to stop vaccinations on the grounds that it’s a infidel/atheist/Christian plot to sterilise Muslims. But I guess you can wake me up when badreligion starts checking his/her facts… so safe to just make assumptions.

    Doing a quick search on the Google Reader (RSS feed for BA), I find the following from ‘Muslim':

    Is Canada’s Science Minister a creationist?
    Mar 17, 2009 8:24 AM

    Creationists infect Europe
    Dec 23, 2008 12:12 PM

    Mecca lecca no, Part 2
    Apr 24, 2008 12:06 PM

    Fundamentalists say the silliest things!
    Feb 18, 2008 10:29 PM

    Religion, asteroid, doomsday… and a dose of reality
    Oct 23, 2007 8:27 PM

    Why fighting antiscience is important
    Apr 12, 2007 10:15 AM

    Fundamentalism is bad for your health: Muslim edition *****
    Feb 1, 2007 2:18 PM
    I believe this may be the one you mention, I haven’t read them all (at least not since soon after they were posted)

    J/P=?

  104. toasterhead

    75. badreligion Says:
    October 31st, 2009 at 9:28 pm

    Wake me up when Phil takes on any world religion other than Christianity… so safe to mock.
    ________________

    It’s not that Christianity is “safe” to mock. It’s just that Christianity produces far more mockable idiots than any other religion in the world. THAT’s who’s being mocked. Not Christianity, but the idiots who gleefully misunderstand it.

    Islam produces its share of mockables, too. Like the Saudi cleric who declared a fatwa that all young women should be compelled to breastfeed adult men – he was comic fodder in the Saudi press for a good long while. There’s even a comedy tour of Muslim comedians who mock the mockable in their cultures.

    But they don’t hold a candle to Christians. When Muslims or Hindus build an anti-science science museum, then maybe we can start calling it a fair contest.

  105. I'd rather be fishin'

    John Paradox (#104) posted a comment with the question: Is Canada’s Science Minister a creationist?

    The answer is MUCH worse than just ‘maybe’ for the following reasons:
    1. he is a politician
    2. he is a conservative and a Conservative
    3. he is a Chiropractor

    In lieu of flowers and sympathy cards, keep up the fight against the Merchants of Woo

  106. JimB

    Chris:
    Also just happens to occur at the same time, sort of, as Samhain</blockquote

    No. It didn't just happen. No better way to co-opt a pagan holiday than to move an existing holiday to the day you want to suppress.

    Originally, Christians observed All Saints' Day on May 13. But in the eighth century, Pope Gregory III moved it to November 1.

  107. wildride

    @ozprof The article linked is exactly the thing I was talking about: People continuing to believe the stuff they made up to slander someone because they’ve forgotten what was true and what was made up. That article has no relationship whatsoever with the truth.

  108. wildride

    @Flying sardines Yep — To combat vandalism. Despite some people continuing to use Hallowe’en as an excuse to be a jerk, it was far worse back then because that’s all they did.

  109. Calli Arcale

    It’s not that Christianity is “safe” to mock. It’s just that Christianity produces far more mockable idiots than any other religion in the world.

    I think it’s more accurate to say that Christianity produces far more mockable idiots in the English-speaking world. In Saudi Arabia, Islam produces more. In India, Hinduism dominates. In Israel, there are Jewish mockable idiots. Hard to say what religion dominates among the mockable idiots of China, between its official atheism, its own government-sanctioned idiocy, and the general repression of non-government-sponsored press, but it’s probably Confuscian.

    I think the religious demographics of mockable idiots tends to reflect the demographics of the population as a whole. This is because idiocy is not a feature of religion alone, but of humanity. (Religion is merely a reflection of human nature.) Unfortunately, this means idiocy is very hard to get rid of; you can’t get rid of it simply by eliminating religion, for instance, as has been demonstrated time and again through the centuries.

  110. 91. Flying sardines Says: “… that gives me an idea for next years Halloween costume – go as a devil possessed Pat Robertson!”

    I read that at first as “a devil possessed BY Pat Robertson” which would be pretty funny.

    “Halloween is meant to *discourage* vandalism? Wuhhh!? ”

    As others have pointed out, it was an appeasement thing to keep jerks from acting as jerks. As with anything with a definable economic metric, if you pay for something, you get more of it. Once it became institutionalized extortion, it filtered down to the younger set where it currently resides, while the older jerks still occasionally display their true nature.

    BTW, I’ve always wondered which came first, Halloween or All Saints Day. Obviously the name “All Hallows Eve” was coined after All Hallows (Saints) Day, but was the establishment of ASD a reaction to a pagan celebration that was already going on, or did the idea of spirits rising to roam the earth one day a year come as a kind of spiritual blowout before a day deemed so holy (sort of like Marti Gras before Lent)?

    – Jack

  111. IVAN3MAN AT LARGE

    @ Thomas Siefert (#101),

    Oh, you poor boy! :-)

  112. @Lawrence
    87. Sean – the original Bible quote was “Thou shalt not suffer a well-poisoner to live” (which makes a lot of sense in the original context & geography of the region). It was changed in the King James version to give the ability to go after “women of means” and confiscate their property once they had been accused of witchcraft.

    I’m not sure where you get the well-poisoner bit from. A number of sites I looked up all have the root hebrew word meaning essentially a female spell caster. Every English translation of the Bible uses the the word witch or sorceress or woman who practices magic.

  113. It’s nice of Hershey’s to provide full employment for witches.

  114. Steve

    Hey – don’t harsh on TI-994/A’s – I used to have two of those – that was the first computer my family owned and between programming goofy games and playing “Parsec”, I have fond memories of that computer. Feel free to compare CBNs site to something run by a Timex Sinclair or something – those were junk! :)

  115. George Martin

    Gary @98 said:
    Way back in 1997 I took a TI 30 scientific calculator to my Differential equations class
    I guess that was a transposition of digits and and 1979 was meant. But even 1979 seems to be rather late in the game. I bought my HP45 is 1974. A couple of years later HP was selling programmable calculators, the 55 and 65. Was the TI 30 programmable? It’s sort of mind boggling that a differential equations instructor was impressed by a scientific calculator in 1979.

    George

  116. Col

    You do not need to mock religious beliefs when they do such a good job of it themselves. Yet again you can not ridicule enough, something so obviously ridiculous!

  117. Way late on this one, but @ozprof

    You throw this editorial about how Halloween is a pagan holiday with evil spirits and such, but that article, and you yourself, fails to acknowledge the pagan cultural roots of Christmas and Easter.

  118. whb03

    HEY! Attacking lunacy is one thing, quite a legitimate thing as a matter of fact – can’t possibly have enough smackdown on pat robertson. But “CBN is run by a TI 99-4a computer…” – really! My first computer was a TI99-4A, received as an 8th-grade graduation gift, and it was awsome! For about three weeks, until they discontinued it… Ah yes, that stainless-steel-clad TI-994A – rather appropriate, kinda like the DeLorean of the PC world, all it was lacking was the gullwing doors…

    And now back to the show. Which, apparently, is even being denounced as “controversial” by CBN itself at http://www.charismamag.com/index.php/prophetic-insight/23723-the-danger-of-celebrating-halloween.

    badreligion – having a badday?

  119. Gary Ansorge

    117. George Martin Says:

    Thanks George. I actually meant 1977. Sheesh, I thought I’d re-read the posting, then THAT error crept in. Good thing we have accountability here. Must be some scientists in the crowd.LOL

    GAry 7
    PS. Dr. Wolfgang Rindler (diff.eq.instructor) was considered one of the top ten experts in the world in the Theory of (General)Relativity at the time. He was teaching at the Univ. of Texas in Richardson, Texas. A really Superb teacher. Wish I’d had a few more like him.

  120. Paul Schrum

    From the Comments Policy: “Don’t go attacking other people”

    From the blog: “Certainly Pat Robertson has done so much damage in his lifetime that he gets no pass at all from me. My thoughts on him are clear and public (for example, he is ‘bigoted, small-minded zealot who will say anything to appeal to his base’).”

    Phil, can you edit your blog post to bring it into compliance with your own Comments Policy? There is so much wrong with what Pat Robertson has said over the years that you really don’t have to call him bigoted or small-minded to see that his world view must be questioned, especially when you try to tell others not to do such things. Be the leader here and show us by example how to debate without ad homs. :)

  121. Charly

    Actually, November 1st is “All Saints Day” and October 31st is “All Souls Day” in the Catholic religion. When I taught Jr High school Sunday school, we actually went over some of the “traditions” and discussed where they came from (yes, Samhain) and how the Church turned them into Church holidays – yes, again, to turn the Pagan holidays into religious holidays. It is actually a common practice of a conquering society to take over the holidays of the conquered and turn them into legitimate ones of the new society. This practice helps the conquered assimilate into the new society and helps them identify with the new order.

    All Souls Day is a time to remember those of our families and friends who have departed. It falls on Halloween, but is not in anyway associated with Holloween. However, the Catholic Church does not condemn Halloween celebrations, in fact, every church I have attended usually has a Halloween party or carnival for kids. Can’t we just have fun for fun’s sake?

    I really didn’t realize that I have been eating demonized candy!!! I thought tasted a little different.

  122. Marko

    Pat Robertson, Ms. Daniels and their ilk may go on living in her evidence-free world, asserting whatever they want.

    But like Hitchens likes to put it: What is asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence.

  123. 123. Charly Says: “Actually, November 1st is “All Saints Day” and October 31st is “All Souls Day” in the Catholic religion.”

    When I went to parochial school (something I will actually admit to), November 2nd was All Souls. Your description of the meaning was correct, but according to the nuns in our school it was the “civilian” version of “All Saints.”

    – Jack

  124. Charly

    Thanks Jack – you are correct. I knew it was either the day before or the day after. Anyhow…..October 31st is “All Hallows Eve” condensed to Halloween.

  125. Ordinary Radical

    Not denying the pagan origins of Halloween, and the disputed date of Christmas, but the date and celebratory reasons for Easter are firmly rooted in Christanity. The date for Easter is linked to the Jewish holiday of Passover, as the Gospels clearly describe when the crucifixion and resurrection occured in relation to the Jewish celebration. Certain pagan symbols of spring and renewal came to be used during Easter, and there might have been pagan holidays celebrated during the spring, but there was no co-opting of them for Easter.

    Additionally, Kimberly Daniels represents all Christians as much as Yusuf al-Qaradawi reresents all Muslims or Richard Hoagland represents all scientists.

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