Are you having “one-night stands with the devil?” If you celebrate Halloween, Bronx-based Christian evangelist and author John Ramirez says, that’s the kind of dalliance you’re courting. Yes, yes, you’ve probably heard these warnings before. I can almost sense the collective eye-roll as I write this, even among Christians. However, Ramirez’s description of his life in a Santeria and Espiritismo/spiritualist satanic cult in an interview with the Christian Post, published Sunday, is powerful and ominous enough that it can’t be dismissed out of hand. He was a man who grew up in the cult and said he was demon-possessed for over 20 years. For another 20-odd years, he’s been preaching about the dangers that lurk in the darkness — and it’s not something he takes lightly. Halloween, he said, is a door opening to the forces of darkness. He paraphrased a quote from one of the best known names of the modern satanist movement. “There’s a quote by Anton Lavey, founder of the Church of Satan, where he says in his own words, ‘I want to thank every Christian parent,’ not Buddha, not Muhammad, none of that. … ‘Every Christian parent, I want to thank them that [they] allow [their] children to celebrate the devil one night out of the year,’ which is Halloween,” Ramirez said. “He’s intentionally thanking Christian parents. Thank you for dressing up your kids, changing their identity, sacrificing spiritually.” (The actual quote is: “I’m glad that Christian parents let their children worship the devil at least one night out of the year.”) “There’s spiritual warfare … and spiritual atmosphere and opportunity that the devil gives you,” Ramirez told the Christian Post. “We need to be precise, we need to be persistent, and we need to know how to conquer those opportunities.” Ramirez, who has authored books and taught courses on spiritual warfare, said Christians give the devil far too many footholds within their lives. “We need to put the devil in his place. We need to expose the devil. We need to take care of generational curses. We need to take care of infirmity devils. We need to take care of stronghold bondages of every kind in our house, in our home, in our family,” he said in the interview. “Then we have one-night stands with the devil. We go celebrate Halloween; we in bed with the devil for one night,” he continued. “To me, it’s like, why would you want to cheat on Jesus? Jesus don’t cheat on you. I don’t see the satanists coming to do church. No way!” As for what lies on the other side, consider what Ramirez went through when he gave his life to Jesus after a brush with death left him in a “deep sleep” in which he said experienced Hell — and was then met by God before he came back to life. After giving his life to Jesus, Ramirez said, he threw away a massive number of occultic idols in his home but was still tormented: “I had all these things in my house; these things are despicable, demonic and an abomination in the eyes of God,” he said. “But they had that fear of the devil on you that if you leave [the occult], something’s going to happen to you. They engraft that in you. If you step out of line, punishment is coming.” After his conversion, Ramirez told the CP, “I was tormented for 30 days nonstop, 30 days of torment. I would sleep during the day and the demons would come at night. Espiritistas would do witchcraft to me from New York City, Miami, Haiti and Cuba and back to New York. “They would do witchcraft to try to destroy me, to try to rip my soul out of my body. The demons would choke me at night. I couldn’t scream ‘Jesus’ out. I felt like I was paralyzed. They would pull my legs. Jezebel would come into my bedroom, would lay next to my bed. You could feel my bed sink down but no one was there, and you could feel the room turn ice cold.” A month later, however, he said, the demonic torment was lifted. “After 30 days, it was gone. I was asking Jesus Christ, ‘What happened? Why did this happen to me?’ In the end, the Lord responded, ‘I wanted to see how much you trust me and how much you love me. They will never touch you ever again,’” he said. “Sure enough, them devils never showed up and those devils never put their hand on me ever again because Jesus is Lord over my life. He’s my Lordship; He’s my Savior over my life.” I’ve heard cold-turkey addiction stories that sound more appealing. But surely, Halloween isn’t going to lead you down that path, right? That kind of notion sounds like something straight out of a Jack Chick tract. The thing is, to read the Ramirez interview, the cold-turkey metaphor is apt: Halloween is a gateway drug and, like any pusher, satanists are keen to keep you coming back, particularly for the harder stuff. “They are on it, they are consistent,” he told the CP. “They’re not playing, they conquer spiritual territories in your life. How do you stop the devil in his tracks and take back what he’s stolen from you?” He also noted his courses on spiritual warfare are centered around the month of October: “I teach believers because from October 1 through October 31, that’s witchcraft month; it’s the high season of witchcraft,” he said. Furthermore, during his time as a satanist, Ramirez told the CP that he “knew Christians were spiritually anemic.” “I knew Christians had the anointing, the authority, and the power to destroy the kingdom of darkness, but they didn’t know how to use it,” he said. “They didn’t know how to execute, … They can win a fight but not conquer anything. “That’s the sad thing about Christians at large. There’s nothing wrong with Jesus because Jesus is all-powerful, don’t mistake that. We’re talking about the vessels in the church, the people in the church. People love God, and they want to be free, but all we are doing is teaching a Jesus that the devil has separated from the cross. “In the church today, there is a New Age Jesus. You ain’t gonna win no battle with a New Age Jesus.” And there’s another thing to remember, Ramirez told the CP: “Jesus never took the devil lightly in the Scriptures. Jesus confronted the devil. He didn’t talk about him, He confronted him.” “Jesus, every time He confronted the devil, whether in the wilderness, through Peter when He told Peter, ‘Get behind me, Satan,’ or through Judas,” he continued. “So why can’t we follow in the footsteps of Jesus? Who cast out more devils than Jesus?” Now, is Halloween really that demonic? Its origins certainly aren’t Christian, having spawned from the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, which marked the midpoint between the fall equinox and the winter solstice, according to the History Channel. “To commemorate [Samhain], Druids built huge sacred bonfires, where the people gathered to burn crops and animals as sacrifices to the Celtic deities,” the History Channel’s website notes. “During the celebration, the Celts wore costumes, typically consisting of animal heads and skins, and attempted to tell each other’s fortunes.” Christianity brought the commemorations of All Saints Day and All Souls Day around the same time — Nov. 1 and Nov. 2, respectively. “The All Saints’ Day celebration was also called All-hallows or All-hallowmas (from Middle English Alholowmesse meaning All Saints’ Day) and the night before it, the traditional night of Samhain in the Celtic religion, began to be called All-Hallows Eve and, eventually, Halloween,” as the History Channel puts it. But we’re not ancient Celts, right? Or Christians of medieval Europe? This is all about playing dress-up, trick-or-treating telling ghost stories, that sort of thing. Harmless entertainments! Don’t be a buzzkill. The problem is that that doesn’t encompass the totality of the modern experience of Halloween. In our culture, there’s an open door between the Halloween of pumpkin-carving and costume-wearing and the Halloween of gluttony, seances and slasher movies. (There’s an entire series of them called “Halloween,” after all — and it’s relatively mild in content when compared to the majority of sanguinary, amoral horror films that’ll be consumed on Oct. 31.) The door is wide open. If a believer dallies on the other side long enough, the results may not be so harmless. Just ask Jonathan Ramirez. This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.