Monday, August 4, 2008

3 ’Av 5768: The Nine Days/U.S. Coast Guard Day


Relevant to Divine Misconceptions: “Too Young to Say I Do”. Many who look at this are going go “Ew!”, but note this is a real part of Islam, with Muhammad marrying Aisha when she was six or seven and consummating the marriage when she was nine. (I know: “Ew!”) Since Muhammad is the role model in Islam, it makes perfect sense for Muslims to follow his example, even when that example is one that many (if not most) other people today find repugnant.

Today’s news and commentary:Today’s H. P. Lovecraft story, in lieu of a weird thing for the Nine Days/Three Weeks, is “The Haunter of the Dark”.


Theological review of “The Haunter of the Dark”:

This is the story of writer/painter Robert Blake, who is drawn irresistibly to an abandoned, sealed church. This church used to belong the Church of Starry Wisdom, which worshipped the Outer God Nyarlathotep. The church still contains a pre-human artifact knows as “the Shining Trapezohedron” and a never-seen avatar of Nyarlathotep. Exposure to the Shining Trapezohedron causes Blake’s death.

Nyarlathotep is a truly pathetic excuse for a deity. His avatar is required to live in total darkness—a serious vulnerability in a universe with lots of light—able to be trapped by mere mortals, and subject to the power of the Shining Trapezohedron—an artifact. Why anyone bothers to worship such a loser is left a mystery.

Not content to drag the theology of the Cthulhu Mythos down with Nyarlathotep, Lovecraft sinks it to a new low by revealing to us the existence of Azathoth. Azathoth is “the blind idiot god” at the center of “Ultimate Chaos”, and even worse, Azathoth is “Lord of All Things”. This is frankly something out of a Dilbertian nightmare. Your author is not aware of any actual religion or quasi-religion like this. Gods of real religions may be at worst cruel and selfish, but they have some sort of sensible logic to their behavior which humans can deal with. And even in atheism, at least we know that our fate is more or less in our own hands. But with a “blind idiot god” in charge, what is one to do? How do you deal with a deity who is not capable of understanding virtue, merit, or submission? The only logic I see behind the character is to make the Cthulhu Mythos as scary as possible.

Theological rating: F (for Azathoth).

Scariness rating: Suspension of disbelief broke down too quickly for me to find this story scary. And my pants remained on.

Tomorrow’s story: “The Thing on the Doorstep”.

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