As Halloween approaches we all begin to think of the demons, ghosts, and other evil things. We also begin to fill our evenings with the 31 nights of horror movies tradition that we have all adopted. For interfaith ministers ordained in the Universal Life Church, we can take this time of year to learn about how different faiths view the creepy and evil beings we often associate with Halloween.
The word demon is derived from the Greek word daemon which means “spirit”. The word demon was not negative until the Hebrew bible translated it to be considered as a negative word. All other western religions adopted this theory and the word demon is still thought of negatively to this very day.
Every religion has there own visions of what these supernatural beings look like; we all have a different interpretation of what demons are. For Christians, these creatures exist, they can enter human beings to control them, and that exorcism is the only way to rid a human being of demons. They believe that one-third of all the angels followed Lucifer in rebellion against God and were cast out. Like other angels, demons can appear to people and take physical forms. While demons are mentioned in holy Jewish texts, belief in them is not widespread and can mostly be found in folklore or mysticism such as in the Kabbalah. These are called dybbuks, a name relating to the Hebrew word for attachment. These are souls that have some unfinished business after death. This theme of a lack of completion is commonly associated with demons.
Muslims believe demons to be evil jinn that coexist along side of humans. Jinn are not necessarily bad; they are a sentient race of creatures created by Allah to worship him, they have weight and can be seen only by some creatures like dogs or donkeys. In Hinduism demons are a variety of different kinds of spirits depending on the circumstance. Hindus believe that demons are just the spirits of people who were bad on Earth and that their karma decides their punishment. Whatsoever the punishment has been decided to be is then carried out until they have served out their time before they can return to be reborn. The Baha’i faith believes that demons are metaphors for character traits that humans can manifests when they have fallen away from God and do not worship him any longer. The Universal Life Church is an interfaith church. This means that all religions are welcome under one umbrella. With that being said, many of the church members do believe in demons. Some church members do perform exorcisms and do not need the churches blessing to do so. The same church members that perform those exorcisms have come to be ordained as interfaith ministers in the ULC.
The ULC provides its members with the tools that they need to become sanctified in the Lords eyes by being ordained as an interfaith minister. Becoming a minister with the church is fairly easy. All you have to do is feel called on to be ordained as an interfaith minister.
Halloween has always been a harmless tradition that was spawned out of the fear and superstition of our ancestors. The act of dressing up as a demon, witch, or creature was to ensure that you would be passed over by their kind, because they would identify you as one of their own. Most churches do not allow their parishioners to take part in any Halloween festivities. These same churches put on a Harvest Festival instead on the same day that Halloween is scheduled for.