I went to get my hair cut today, and walked into a shop filled with skeletons, ghosts, spiders, bats, disembodied skulls, and cemetery grave stones. When I was a kid, Halloween seemed less morbid. Do kids dress up anymore as clowns, pirates, princesses, hobos, and Superman?
It got me pondering.
Humanity reacts to morbidity in two extreme ways: fearing death and glorifying death. They’re opposites and yet the same. Like Fascism and Communism, they metaphorically go down opposite sides of a circle and meet at the bottom. Fear and glorification of death are opposite but similar reactions, and fit reasonably into two different eras.
People who have read some of my past articles know I loosely see the world as having three distinct eras: the pre-Christian, Christian, and post-Christian eras. Some of the world (cf. some of the Far and Middle East) is still pre-Christian. The Western world is post-Christian. It’s the difference between anticipating hope and rejecting hope – which is personified in Christ. It’s no coincidence that our abortion holocaust began around the time academia started changing B.C. and A.D. (Before Christ and Anno Domini – Latin for “the year of our Lord”) to B.C.E. and A.C.E (Before the Common Era and After the Common Era) to separate and identify history.
In pre-Christian times, fear of death dominated. In post-Christian times we tend to glorify death. Both are spiritually sick. The pre-Christian fear of death obsession points to a recognition of a dark mystery over which we have no control, of being intimidated by forces higher than ourselves. The post-Christian glorification of death obstinately stands in the face of heaven and foolishly shouts, “Death is mine!” as we abort millions of babies and legalize euthanasia. Pre-Christians didn’t know God, post-Christians claim to be God.
When I was a kid, and our country was in the tail end of the Christian era, Halloween was fun. There was no obsessive fear of death, nor did we glorify it. Christians knew it was the eve of All Saints Day, which the souls of the dead in heaven are recognized and celebrated. Death had no sting, nor any lure or attractiveness. Christians knew they were protected from demons and the souls of the damned by virtue of their union with God, and they one day hoped to join the saints in heaven. But when Christ is rejected, hope is rejected, and the only thing left to do is to arrogantly claim to be the ultimate arbiter of life, and belligerently embrace and maintain a culture of death.
Fear and glorification, the pre and post Christian reactions to death. Both are obsessions that inevitably lead to injustice. Both miss the point of life.