Thursday, January 12, 2006

Demons, Vampires, and Other Monsters Created by the Christian Theolgical Imagination in an Attempt to Literarily and Literally Manifest the Worst Spiritual Evils in Physical Form -

I wrote this paper back in the day, about two years ago...

Throughout the ages, Christianity’s psyche has been plagued with darkness. Just a look at modern-day movies will show you that these dark ideas, who have their root in Christian imagination, are still being produced to this very day. But it would not be accurate to say that Christianity is dark, indeed its first adherents thought it was the brightest thing in existence, but in the years to come, Christianity’s imagination and paranoia would prove to produce one of the darkest realities in human history. Dracula, werewolf, and the Devil himself are the manifestations of such darkness and are all rooted in the “dark days” of Christianity. But going even further back, we ask, how did Christianity produce such darkness? The answer is Jesus. So instead of moving back through time from now to Jesus, we move from Jesus forward, and meet somewhere in the middle.
Jesus died for the sins of all mankind. I cannot attack this idea, although I fundamental do not agree with or believe in its theological application. Sacrifice was an already apparent idea in Judaism, which is how it found its way into Christianity. But Judaism moved the reality away from sacrificing humans to sacrificing only animals, which involuntarily was ended when the Second Temple was destroyed. Jesus dying for the sin of humanity was, in the Christian mind, the ultimate sacrifice of all time, “for God loved the world so much that He gave it His only son,” Jesus. Abraham too was ready to sacrifice his son in the duty of God, but as it turns out, this was just a test to see if Abraham would really go through with it, and he would have, but was stopped. With Christianity, we see a return to the idea of human sacrifice, although Christianity can’t quite sort out the nature of Jesus since the concept of the Trinity found its way into the religion. What I mean is, was Jesus a man, God in the form of a man, the son of God, the Messiah, one of these, some of these, or all of these? How could Jesus be God in the form of a man AND God’s son at the same time? This would require that God was His own son, or that Jesus was his own father! The only logical explanation that a Christian can give about the nature of Jesus is that it is totally enigmatic and that we cannot understand it, an answer that also found its way into Christianity since Jews accepted an absolute nature of God that they humanity could never understand, but could speculate about. It’s another spin-off.

So how is all of this darkness rooted in Christianity? Simple. It has to do with his death on the cross. The “light” that his death gave to the world was short lived and fizzed out soon enough after he died, with painful repercussions. Since early Christianity, a sect of Judaism, couldn’t get any more Jewish converts, it next turned its eyes to the Gentile world, which means the inclusion of pagans and polytheists into the fold. Christianity soon caught like wildfire, but among vast groups of people who were not “true Christians,” that is, were not originally Jews. What this means is, that the concept of pure monotheism was foreign to them, and the only way that they could understand it was by adapting it and mixing it with their polytheism, which is why the concept of the Trinity was so easy for them to understand. Indeed, that concept was not around when Christianity was still a sect of Judaism. The result? A huge population of Christians who couldn’t agree on the nature of their Lord. The solution? The Nicaean Creed, which sought to unity Christendom under one fixed notion of God (Jesus) and His nature. Once this was completed, resurrection (a peaceful creed) was no longer the norm, but seeking revenge on those who killed the Lord was, that is, the Jews. All following Crusades that took place were rooted in the effects of this creed. That is why God told the Jews not to believe in the gods of their neighbors lest they be attracted to them. Some Jews in the Second Temple period (the to-be starters of Christianity – the writers of the Gospels) obviously did not heed that command and inadvertently started the precursor to Christianity, which would soon become a force to be reckoned with, and a damaging one as well.

So the Jews were the fundamental enemies of Christianity and it had eventually gotten used to seeing the Jews as just that. In times when economic despair or disease fell onto areas of Christendom, Jews would soon be blamed. Indeed, everything that was bad was related to the Jews, because they were the murderers of God and were His enemies, and He continuously punished them for their iniquities, in a sense, making them like Jesus, God’s sacrifice for the world, except that they weren’t innocent, as Jesus was. Most fittingly, Jesus was a Jew. The Christian concept that God is punishing the Jews is fundamentally different than the Jewish one. The Jews believed that God punished them for breaking the Law, Christians believed that God punished them for adhering to the Law and not to “the new law,” Jesus. Jews were the “other” in those ages, and they were eternally viewed with skepticism and distrust, which caused an eventual process of a cycle of distrust amongst Jews and Christians, which is why Jews, when they had rare liberty to do so, chose to close themselves off from Christian society. That too would later become associated as a negative stereotype of Jews by Christians, that they were tribal and exclusionary, and these beliefs about Jews have reverberated through Muslim doctrine as well.

It’s possible that the Jews would have suffered less if it wasn’t for Christianity’s over-active imagination. But why did Christianity have such a strong imagination? The answer is, the mixing of pagan and polytheistic beliefs into Christianity, which indeed seem almost inseparable from it without dismantling Christianity. Christianity expounded on the concept of Satan, which I talk about in other posts (Satan is in Heaven).

But what’s with the whole preoccupation with forces being actual physical beings? Ahh, it’s all coming together now. If God is a formless being but understood by Christians as having a physical form (an absolute prohibition in Judaism) in Jesus, and Satan is God’s eternal adversary, then Christianity necessarily needed a an adversary who also had a physical form, and that was the Christian concept of Satan. What do we have here now? God vs. Satan, but not a formless God, which could obviously smite the physical being Satan, but a God with a form and a body who had to literally fight against the Satan, who also had a body and a form. So now we have humanity stuck between a tug-of-war between Jesus and Satan, but the two of them exist in physical form, so they can really push us around. That is another spin-off of Judaism because Judaism already had the concept of good vs. evil, but that battle raged inside of us every single day. The
personification of two spiritual realities serves to comfort and satisfy the fragile psyche of the human mind, but it was specifically prohibited in the Torah by God, and perhaps because it is too much of a comfort. When we accept these realities and forces in physical form, we cease to focus on and understand their spiritual significance and allow ourselves to “slack.” Another negative outcome that this transgression produces is that we, as humans, can easily associate a people that we consider to be an enemy with the physical manifestation of this force and therefore consider them to be a physical manifestation of that force as well. Indeed, in these dark times, Jews were depicted with horns and gross physical characteristics, and “good” Christians were depicted as glowing, angelic, Godly figures.

But the Christian imagination didn’t stop there; it became ever-perverted, even more than it had been. Perhaps it was the continuing eventual downward spiral of Christianity, but it is more likely that it got even darker because of the economic and social decay of the areas in which Christianity was the established religion and was therefore influenced by that decay. A good thought to entertain is “chicken and egg” in style, did Christianity cause the darkness, or did the already present darkness darken the Christianity, or did Christianity cause the darkness which eventually darkened it even further? Either way, the darkness caused a traumatic paranoia in the Christians, and they vented it in several ways. The first way that it was vented was through all of the things that religion necessarily tries to regulate, the strongest one being sex. In these dark times, sex became a testament to the evil inside of us, an instrument of the Devil himself. Just to make it clear, in Judaism too, sex is seen as an instrument of the evil impediment, but only when it causes harm. When enacted with husband or wife (lover), it is an act of God. Of course, people will not stop having sex because it is an innate urge, so the people who continue to have sex (almost everyone), will by proxy believe that they are doing something evil and innately serving Satan. That is why sex is seen as Satanic, and it is also why sex takes on a ritualistic connotation in Satanism and other forms of Devil-worship. It is important to note, that no such marginal beliefs have sprung from Judaism (thank G-d).

This darkness, by no means, affected only Christians. As said earlier, it was also poured out onto the Jews in any society that they were in. It is damaging enough to believe that the Devil has gripped you in your God-given natural urges, but it is even more damaging to believe that someone else is a product of that same being. As long as that idea was around, the Crusades were right around the corner. Note the movie “Bram Stoker’s Dracula.” Count Dracula was a Christian apostate from God (Jesus) because his wife had committed suicide when she was mistakenly informed that her husband was killed in battle. He then devoted his life to resisting and rebelling God. It’s important to note that he was not an atheist, he just had a fierce hatred for God, whom had brought this calamity upon him. There is a scene in that movie in which Count Dracula says something about “sinners,” it quickly struck me that Count Dracula, although he actively showed his hatred towards God, probably had a deep resentment for the Jews of his society as well.

On a different note, it is very possible that the vampires in that movie were actually representative of the Christian view of Jews at its worst. Near the end of the movie, the townspeople go on a hunt for all the sleeping vampires in the town, this has an ironic twist of humor in that it is reminiscent of scenes of the Crusades, which had been happening all throughout European Christian history. In the 1950’s, Americans had a deep-seated fear of Communists, and the fear of the “unknowns” in society was physically manifested by countless tales of alien-invasion, which existed all the way up to the 1970’s and possibly later, with similar fervor. It is very likely that vampires (and other creatures of darkness) were not just the symbol of Christian apostates, but of Jews, who in and of themselves could also have been seen as essentially Christian apostates.

The darkness of Christian Europe affected everyone, both the Christians whom suffered from the planting of its dogmatic seeds, and the Jews that were attacked after those seeds had germinated. Yet, these dark demonic movies are still produced every year, although seemingly in smaller quantities. Furthermore, Christians have liberalized to the degree that they have tried to “undo” the horrors associated with the dark Christian mentality. They have done this by accepting the Jews (as the Torah speaks of them) as God’s eternally chosen people and thus, they can respect the Jews. But Christianity cannot liberalize past a certain point without falling off of its foundations, and in essence, topple itself. And furthermore, it cannot change past a certain point without returning to the womb from which it came, which is Judaism. This means that although Christianity can outwardly express respect for Jews, inwardly it (necessarily) needs to remain honest to itself and to its creeds, and therefore, there will always be a level of resentment towards Jews, even if minimal, and always silenced in this politically correct society in which we live. The paranoia lives on…

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