To the born again Christian, religion is a very serious thing. What you believe, and which God you worship, has eternal consequences. Likewise, since we take religion seriously, we should also take religious rituals seriously. We should faithfully observe the ceremonies commanded in the Bible (baptism and communion), and should avoid superstitious, pagan ceremonies so that we do have a bad testimony to others.
The Apostle Paul, in the book of I Corinthians, chides the Corinthian Christians for publicly eating food that has been sacrificed to idols. These Christians argue that it was OK for them to eat this food, since they knew that the false gods were not real anyway. But Paul reminds them, though, that these actions give the wrong impression. Eating the food is part of participation in the rite itself:
Consider the people of Israel: Do not those who eat the sacrifices participate in the altar? (I Corinthians 10:18 NIV)
What Paul is saying here, is that eating food from a religious rite is not a neutral act. Paul is referencing the Old Testament as evidence that eating sacrificed food is considered to be full participation in the religious ceremony. Therefore, logically, Christians should not participate in pagan ceremonies since we do not believe in pagan gods. I, myself, once had the opportunity to eat “dead bread,” on “el dia de los muertes,” in my Spanish class at college. It was all for fun. No one in my class really believed in the Aztec deities. But I decided not to go to class that day. Yes, it would have been “alright” for me to eat that food, since the Aztec gods are not real, but my God, the God of the Bible, is real, and public participation in a false religion would have been disrespectful to Him. Therefore, I abstained. I wasn’t trying to make a scene, or ruin the fun for anyone else, I was just unwilling to compromise my own conscience by participating. Now, as I study these verses, I am more convinced than ever that I made the best choice.