On 16 Nov 2010 at 10:58, Ann Ahnemann wrote:
> Great article as great informative. Christians need to do a better job on all
> fronts. The undead??!! How horrific. What indeed would one do to be 'alive'
> forever? Sucking the lifeblood of others? Seems that symbolically that is
> happening on every front from business to taxation and everything in between.
> The American culture at least is steeped in rotting blood suckers and not
> those of the Dracula ilk. No stake or hanks of garlic will stop these
> creatures who wear neat business clothes or sit in Congress or who go to
> church every week and partake of Communion for that matter.
Last Sunday the gospel reading in church was the so-called parable of the
"Good Samaritan" (interesting bit of racial stereotyping, that). But actually
it is about Jesus and the lawyer, and the lawyer asks what he must do to
inherit eternal life.
And that raises the question of what we mean by "eternal life".
Long before I read "Dracula", when I was about 8 years old our school was
taken to see some plays put on by another school. I've forgotten most of
them, but one was memorable, and I've never forgotten it. It was called "The
monkey's paw". If you know the plot, skip the next paragraph.
If you don't know the plot, it's about a family that has a lucky monkey paw,
which can be used to make three wishes. They wish for a lot of money, and
there is a knock at the door, with someone from the factory where the son
works, to say he has been killed in an industrial accident, but the firm will
give compensation -- to the amount that they wished for. They are horrified,
and decide they would rather have their son alive than the money and so they
wish for his return. There is another knock at the door, and this time it is
their son, horribly mutilated from the accident. They realise that that is
not what they want either, and wish that he is dead again.
And that is not eternal life that we read about in the gospels. And the
original vampire folklore has the same theme. Vampires are not living, they
are just undead.
Stephen King's novel "Pet sematary" also has the same theme. He also wrote
one on vampires, "'Salem's Lot", but that was merely derivative, a pale
shadow of "Dracula".
But there is something about vampires that appeals to Western society.
Originally the undead were people you really didn't want to be around, and
there were all sorts of devices to make sure they stayed in the grave. But
they have been glamourised, and now there are even, I am told, "vegetarian
> Americans it is noted have NEVER faced up to death and the meaning of death
> and tangentially life or the meaning of life either. And the Church has done
> little to help. I can't resist noting that one horrific icon is our Lord and
> Savior dead or dying nailed to a cross run through fingers, hanging around
> necks. It is images however venerated such as the Crucifix which feeds the
> horror of death over life everlasting promised by Christ.
But that is the paradox of Christianity and the point of it. Christians took
the symbol of a shameful and painful death, and made it a symbol of victory
over death, so that we speak of "the honourable and life-giving cross".
> What think you all?
> From: firstname.lastname@example.org [mailto:email@example.com] On Behalf Of
> Steve Hayes
> Sent: Friday, November 12, 2010 10:23 PM
> To: firstname.lastname@example.org
> Subject: [eldil] Vampires in fiction and reality
> One of the things that I find quite interesting is the tendency among some
> people to develop religions based on fictional characters. Sometimes it is at
> least partly tongue-incheek, as, for example, the campaign to get people to
> enter their religion on census forms as "Jedi Knight". But others seem to be
> dead serious, as this post on John Morehead's blog shows:
> "One of the helpful features of Amazon.com is its "Customers Who Bought This
> Item Also Bought." recommendations. In a quest for new research and
> discussion topics using this feature I came across a book by Mary Y. Hallab,
> titled Vampire God: The Allure of the Undead in Western Culture (SUNY Press,
> 2009). I'm glad I discovered it. I read through a lot of materials for
> reflection and discussion, many good, some not so good. Hallab's Vampire God
> is recommended for those interested in vampires, folklore, literature, and the
> frequently neglected connections of these topics to death and religion."
> In another post John mentioned "the vampire community" and referred to
> vampires as a "sub-culture".
> I don't think any of the Inklings wrote about vampires, though they may have
> mentioned them in passing, but I think some have had at least a tendency to
> believe that Hobbits are real, though I don't know of any active attempts to
> create a religion based on them.
> Has anyone come across anything like this, especially among the Inklings?
> I now fully expect to find a cult of blast-ended skrewts, accusing J.K.
> Rowling of maligning the skrewt community.
> Steve Hayes
> E-mail: shayes@... <mailto:shayes%40dunelm.org.uk>
> Web: http://hayesfam.bravehost.com/litmain.htm