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Xiphias Gladius

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A H.P. Lovecraft Mythos thing I learned... [Sep. 19th, 2016|09:55 am]
Xiphias Gladius
I know that at least some of you know Charlie Stross, Neil Gaiman, and/or Joe Hill, and I found out something that one or more of them might find interesting.

Miskatonic University was based on Bradford College, in Haverhill. Bradford College closed in 2000. Since 2008, the campus has been a Pentecostal ministry college.

Pentecostal Christianity has a focus on encouraging possession by good spirits and discouraging possession by evil spirits, and offers absolutely no training or theory in HOW to do it. It is based on having people just open themselves up to demons and then freak out. Voudonistas, Catholic exorcists, shamans from every culture everywhere on the planet have established rituals and objects and things to lean on; Pentecostals don't, and just try to do exorcisms on sheer instinct, bravado, and willpower. Also, they are completely democratic in this, and let everybody try, not just cadres of trained experts.

I just want people to think about that for a minute.

But really, I want Charlie Stross, Neil Gaiman, and Joe Hill to think about that for a minute.


[User Picture]From: thnidu
2016-09-19 07:27 pm (UTC)
Sheesh! But it fits with snake-handling and the like.
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[User Picture]From: xiphias
2016-09-19 09:42 pm (UTC)
Combine Biblical literalism, at least to the extent of believing in literal demons, an emotional underpinning of the Calvinist idea of the Elect, a rejection of the idea of centralized authority, and therefore a mistrust of too much edjumacation, as well as a rejection of the idea of saints, and you end up with people who believe that everything is a battle between actual demons and them, and that they are personally able to face on demons by themselves with no training or help.

In our world, the most direct damage this does is pouring oil into somebody's laptop or something, maybe starting fires. But in a world that actually DOES have demons or something like them, untrained enthusiastic ignorant people who deliberately make themselves open to possession are pretty much meat.
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[User Picture]From: thnidu
2016-09-19 11:59 pm (UTC)
«a rejection of the idea of saints»

That one's news to me. I suppose the idea behind it is that everyone (who accepts the One True Way, of course) is equally under Divine guidance. (Sigh.)

Somewhere around here there's a sign posted, I think outside of a church (of which there are several -illions around here), saying something like
I'm always tempted to deface it to something like "the current superstition", but that is something I don't do to signs on private property, or religious signs in general. I limit myself to removing out-of-date signs on lampposts and the like, and throwing away tracts wherever I find them in public— e.g., left or taped on a pay phone, but not in a coffee shop in a space meant for leaflets and flyers. My synagogue's an odd case: we, and many other religious and other nonprofit organizations,

Snake-handling is pretty good if you want to try for a Darwin Award.
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[User Picture]From: xiphias
2016-09-20 02:07 am (UTC)
Most Protestant groups don't accept the idea of saints. It's related to the whole idea of the degree of intermediation the religion believes in, and that goes along with hierarchy. The Catholic and Orthodox churches believe that an ordinary person goes through gatekeepers to help get their messages to God: you work with a priest who will help guide you, and you don't usually pray directly to God; you direct your prayers to a saint, or Mary, or whatever. If you do pray to Jesus, you are directing your prayers to the human face of God, in a sense, rather than God directly.

In the Lutheran and Lutheran-derived churches, though, all that goes away. The idea is that every human being uses a direct, unfiltered, and unmediated connection to the Godhead. This makes both saints and a formal priesthood irrelevant.
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[User Picture]From: desperance
2016-09-20 06:10 am (UTC)
The Church of England is pretty big on saints, still. You just don't get to pray to them. They're guiding lights or some such, prime examples, the bedrock of the communion. (And yes, I am aware that there is great debate over the CofE's status, but we were certainly brought up to understand that we were Protestant, if the counter-example was the Roman Catholics.)
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[User Picture]From: xiphias
2016-09-20 12:15 pm (UTC)
Yep, the Anglican/Episcopal branch of Protestantism is why I said "most".
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[User Picture]From: thnidu
2016-09-21 01:57 am (UTC)
Thank you for enlightening me. No irony. I realized as I read your letter that I'd never heard of saints in Protestant denominations (though maybe in Episcopalian/Anglican -ism?).
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