Monday, July 28, 2008

25 Tammuz 5768: The Three Weeks/National Drive-Thru Day/Singing Telegram Day


Worthy cause of the day: “Tell your elected representatives to stand firm when they are asked to turn over special areas to the oil industry” and “Justice for LaVena”.

Relevant to Divine Misconceptions: “Yale hosts high-level Christian-Muslim dialogue”. This is a huge waste of time. Islam has a policy of lying to members of other religions (taqiyah), which means that religious dialog with them is not reliable. Furthermore, none of the participant groups should be expected to be representative of their religions anyway. Keep in mind that except for some cults in which the word of a single person is believed to be the unquestioned truth, any religion on many issues is going to have not a single, sharply defined view, but rather a range of views. One naturally expects the sort of people who show up for anything ecumenical to be only from the pro-ecumenicism factions of their religions. Since those who are against ecumenicism or are neutral about it do not show up, their views are not aired, and so the true range of views of any participant religion is unlikely to be represented or communicated. Please note that the article has the participants representing their own views as the true views of their religions and discounting the views of those who would never be caught dead at an ecumenical conference, even when they acknowledge the existence of such views. Even more dishonest is the tendency of participants to lend validity to each other, even if anti-ecumenical members of their own religion would consider that heresy, as it says:
"The common understanding here is that we have different theological languages but the ultimate object of our discussion is the same," the Turkish philosopher said. "There is only one God but we approach God with different languages."
Note that the differences between the Christian Trinity and Allah and between Christianity and Islam are more than just terminological. In short, the only ecumenical conference worth anything is one where the participants walk away hating and disagreeing with each other.

Today’s news and commentary:Today’s installment of my H. P. Lovecraft series is “An H.P. Lovecraft Anthology: The Dreams in the Witch House (Weird Tales, 1933)”.


Theological review of “The Dreams in the Witch House”:

H. P. Lovecraft was a man very much in touch with his nightmares, using them as inspiration for his stories. And so it is no wonder that he plays upon this notion by creating a character, Walter Gilman, who has his own nightmares and eventually finds his nightmare-life mixing into his waking-life—a context violation which ought to spook many readers. Unfortunately, this story is marred by Lovecraft’s usual means of playing upon emotions, including making many of his ominous antagonists (an old woman, a black man, a big rat) so clichéd that early 21st-century readers will find them more quaint or offensive than actually scary. Making the old woman a genuine witch tried for witchcraft at Salem does not help either. Lovecraft also seems to understand less about mathematics and science than he believes he does—or underestimates the education of his readers—which rather hampers suspension of disbelief with already jaded readers.

Theologically there is little new. The Old Ones are still behind the scenes, with monstrous creatures as their servants. It is not clear why they are trying to pull Walter Gilman into their domain or why his actions should stop them—but that sort of thing never stopped Lovecraft anyway.

Theological rating: D.

Scariness rating: My pants stay on, and I yawn.

Suggestion for anyone writing a horror story: Be original. Do not use anything people normally consider scary. Find something few, if any, find scary and make that scary!

Tomorrow’s story: “Through the Gates of the Silver Key”.

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