Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The Church that Hunted Them

Maybe it's a survival adaptation?
Mice have evolved so they panic and run away from the smell of cat urine...
...Because mice who avoid cats are more likely to live and pass on their genes.
Maybe it's the same for vampires who ran from symbols of the church that hunted them?
- Witch Doctor #0
by Brandon Seifert and Lukas Ketner

The idea here is that developing a fear of the church became a survival adaptation for vampires. Since the Christian church hunted and attacked vampires, an inherit fear of all things Christian could help insure a vampire survives longer on this earth. In Witch Doctor, this explains why one can ward off vampires with the use of crosses and crucifixes. Of course, this only makes sense in a hypothetical world where vampires actually exist and the church has historically hunted them.

But what if we remove vampires and instead insert people groups that Christianity really has persecuted and hunted? Does the sight of the cross and other Christian symbols leave a metaphorical bad taste in the mouths of Jews who can trace their lineage back to Spain during the Inquisition? In the Middle East, is the cross seen as a symbol of the crusades and invading armies, or of imperialist expansion?

As Christians, especially American Christians, we tend to view the cross only as a symbol of love, hope, and salvation. However, not everyone's encounters with the signs of Christianity have been positive. One issue of practical theology that intrigues me is the question of how we should present the Gospel to Native Americans. If one is not ignorant of history, it really is a tricky question. How do you go to a people and say, "We invaded your homes, stole your lands, raped your women, and tried to systematically destroy your culture, all in the name of our God. should love and worship our God, too!"

It is incredibly naive to believe Christianity has only orchestrated good and benevolent endeavors throughout history. Of course, organized Christianity is nothing if not naive.

Disorganized Christianity is even more naive.

Another perplexing issue along the same lines is how one would teach the book of Joshua to the Native American community. Joshua details the Israelites invasion of the Holy Land, wiping out the indigenous inhabitants and taking their land. All in the name of God. The reader is intended to identify with the victorious Israelites, but I can see Native Americans sympathizing with the Canaanites. It's a tricky scenario, one that is mostly brushed to the side and ignored.

Because to address the issue is to confront the malicious and devious aspects of Christian history.

And yeah, I extracted all that from a line in a comic book about vampires. In case you haven't noticed, my brain doesn't exactly work like most people's. And yes, the issue number is correct. This did come from issue number zero of Witch Doctor. But how is that possible? Comic books, that's how!

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