How to Defeat What We Fear (Plagues and Dracula)

How to Defeat What We Fear (Plagues and Dracula) March 11, 2020

Fear dismays and disarms. Love keeps calm, carries on, even if carrying on is a heroic change.

A modern culture is most dismayed and disarmed when it faces an ancient evil that it thinks has been disabled and dismissed by our powers. We laugh at the silly devices and palpable falsehoods that great cultures embraced when facing the Plague.

We would never do that, because we have Science (TM) and are reasonable nones. We would never demonize another people to explain our terror, embrace foolish “cures,” or behave in useless ways. One difference, of course, is that the hard work of the Christian philosophers and scientists of the Middle Ages gave us the scientific revolution. We can endure more and have more weapons.

What has not changed?

We have not changed. We are still fearful and fear prevents our inevitable victory against any of the demons of the night. Christianity teaches this faith, hope, and cheerfulness because the Good God is the Creator. The world may be broken, but is still at the fundamental level good. God made the cosmos and He is bringing order back.

We may choose to eat what should not be eaten or hate our enemies, when we must not, but God persists in creating the beloved community. He will keep reaching out and educating.

Bram Stoker saw a complacent Victorian society, but also felt the fear. They had, in the “elite” classes, rejected God and God’s laws. They preached morality they did not practice. The white nations assumed a superiority they did not possess. Every colonial act tended to deny the Gospel. Stoker knew that such fear was capable of apocalypse, World War I, the Russian Revolution, the failure of the secular alternative to Christendom.

He called this fear Dracula: the revenge of ancient truth. Evil cannot be defeated by “science.” Why? Science can tell us what “is,” but men decide what they will see and what they think ought to be. The Victorians believed lies in order to accept white supremacy. They perverted science. Sadly, even untwisted science could not tell secular Victorians what to do, only how to achieve their vile goals. Science gave them power to commit unspeakable horrors in the Congo.

This is Dracula: the ancient horror of the man who acts, decides, is “master still,” but is spiritually dead. Imagine the power of science in the hands of the undead: Dracula.

So when a plague breaks out and we see that we have not changed, fear stirs in our complacent hearts. We are not so good, not so much better. We are just men after all. Our knowledge is greater, but is our wisdom? 

Stoker may not have been able to do what needed to be done, but saw what must be done to defeat Dracula. His heroes, the men and women who stopped the Count, had this much in common:

1. They loved science. The group of Scoobys that beat Dracula used every tool of modern technology and science. They reasoned like scientists and used scientific methods.

2. The enemies of Dracula understood that physics is not metaphysics. When faced with something that did not fit their materialist philosophy, they changed their minds. They understood that Dracula was a material problem, his body had to be destroyed, but also a spiritual problem. The ethic of the vampire had to be defeated.

3. Beating Dracula meant assuming Dracula could be beaten.  They respected the power of the fearful vampire, but they did not let fear overcome them. They behaved rationally. When things looked bad, they kept calm and carried on.

A rich, decadent society is often built on injustices as well as virtues. The greater the virtue, the more the injustices sting the citizens. Those who hate “the shade and the shadow” may fear the coming judgment for what has fallen short. Dracula always comes.

We can defeat a plague. The true danger is our fear. The greatest danger is our terror. No amount of science can save us from our panic.

The good news is the simple solution: we need only keep calm, look at the facts, look to our Christian morals, and make decisions in the best interest of all.

Lord Jesus Christ, son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.


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