So, today is Halloween in America- or maybe it was yesterday. Growing up in a conservative Christian household we never celebrated Halloween. I learned about the history of Halloween and never felt left out by not participating in this yearly event. And as I prepared for this next post I realized that this is an issue I've been thinking about for some time now. I've been curious, but not thrilled with the vampires, witches, and other "scary" creatures taking front stage in the media realm lately. As I read 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 this morning where it says "Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth" I thought about the spiritual realm of evil that is often overlooked in American society but is so obvious here. Fictitious creatures in the states are brought to life here in Thailand- people live in fear of evil spirits living in their houses and continually give money or do certain things to appease them. This is real, and so are the spirits. Buddhism is a religion that accepts other religious beliefs and adapts them in. So, there are animistic practices going on as well. Today I'm going to show you Hell. I visited a temple in Wing Chae that has a whole area of statues depicting the bottom level of reincarnation. They are very graphic and parents would bring their children to see it and scare them into being good. The pictures don't do it justice...
This is the entrance to the temple- gold against a blue sky.
The entrance to Hell City... Ajung Tee and Greg took me.
First you are chained and drug to the judgement area... Ajung Tee said that you can connect the concept of being chained like this to the biblical concept of Christ breaking our chains.
You are brought before a judgement area and hear what your actions require of you to be. Some are made to be really tall or have long necks or strange body parts.
Those that have been turned into animals must to do penance.
Some must have spears stuffed down their throats and others forced to drink poison.
Others are thrown in a huge pot of lava or oil or something- bodies in pieces, etc.
The last stage is to climb a thorn covered tree while dogs attack you on the bottom, snakes throughout, and birds pluck your eyes out near the top. If you make it to the top of the tree you are able to reach the next level of reincarnation.
The point is to show the impossibility of getting out of Hell, so you better clean up your life so you don't go there in the first place.
It fills me with sadness to think of living a life so warped by this concept of merit or salvation by the things you do. So many know that it is a hopeless case to live a perfect life- yet it is all they have ever known. So they continue to give and worship and live good lives all for their own benefit and not out of love.
So, why... why dress up like ghosts and evil monsters? Why tinker with the enemy's side of the spiritual realm? Why endorse something that was started long ago when innocent people were convicted of being witches and killed for it? I know I am posting my personal convictions and I will not judge you for participating in Halloween. But I will ask of you today to pray for those who are trapped in evil and those who are being controlled by Satan's spirits. Pray for those bankrupting themselves to stay out of Hell. And praise the Lord with me that Christ is able to free us from sin and satanic powers and that he gives us hope in a world surrounded by people without His love.