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Sunday, June 23, 2013

What is he talking about, again?


C.S.Lewis wrote in one of his volumes about the problem of "Christ and...", that is, the tendency to ignore the sufficiency of Jesus and his atonement, and then insisting that something else can/may be added to the mix to improve it, rather like sprinkling a touch of gunpowder onto a nuclear bomb. I have run into this personally when being invited to become a Mason. "It helps you to be a better Christian!"

Glad someone found a way to fix inadequacies in the grace of God! I'm sure the Almighty lost some sleep 'til they bailed 'im out on that one.

Occultists through the ages have found sundry schemes and scams to add nitro to the chugging engine of the Faith Once Delivered, generally Gnostic in nature (the apocryphal, pseudipigraphal bits of first century fanfic like the "Gospel of Thomas). Gnosticism revolves around the idea that to really be (fill in spiritual preference HERE____________), you need to access the Hidden Knowledge that Few Attain. Christian faith is not alone in this problem. Jewish Qabbalism is a magical mystery religion that purports to reveal the gnosis to its followers, what's really going on in the law and the prophets! The gematria, the mystic geometry of words in the Hebrew Scriptures, is a result of this thinking. Add a computer, and an End-Timey-Wimey Rapture bunny attitude, and you get the Bible Code. Hear what Wikipedia saith:

The Bible code (Hebrew: צפנים בתנ"ך‎), also known as the Torah code, is a purported set of secret messages encoded within the Hebrew text of the Torah. This hidden code has been described as a method by which specific letters from the text can be selected to reveal an otherwise obscured message. Although Bible codes have been postulated and studied for centuries, the subject has been popularized in modern times by Michael Drosnin's book The Bible Code and the movie The Omega Code.

Careful, your shopping list may be revealed for all to see in the pages of Torah, if you choose the right skips.

The Japanese fascination with the almost Christian, the Christian Other, is of interest to me. The Santa Claus on a Cross, itself apocryphal, sort of codifies the thing. Anime series like Anno's "Neon Genesis Evangelion" (probably my favorite series. Jay, pass the Tang!) reveal the Vita-mixed understanding Japanese popular culture has of Things Christian. Christ and is the order of the day. An eeee-vil cabal, Seele (say-lay) is wishing to immanentize the Eschaton, much as the irreligious Left was worried that Reagan wanted to do, between his finger on The Button and his support of Israel. They thought that by starting Nuclear War, Pres. Reagan would force Jesus' hand and bring about the Second Coming of Christ. Sweet Hal Lindsay on a stick! But there it was.

Seele wants to bring about a more Nirvana-esque end, where everyone melts into single consciousness, utilising the Qabbalistic Angels that almost destroyed the world years before.

This does not sound like any Chick Tract I've ever heard of.

"Evangelion" includes a roster of the named angel from Jewish mystical tradition, and the Christian symbolism, down to cross-shaped explosions, fills the series, but no Atonement, no Jesus, just Qabbalism with a coat of Christian imagery, and unpleasant people doing unpleasant things. But stylishly.

I have been watching "Cyber Team in Akihabara", and it too is rife with cultic pseudo-Christian themes and imagery. The 500-year-old Christian Rosenkreuz (the founder of the Rosicrucian order), disguised as a school principal, seeks to bring about conditions which shall ensure his immortality. The ensuing assemblage of robotic battle suits and mysticism is murkier than "Evangelion's" mix of Jungian psychology and Christian/Qabbala syncretism. And it has middle schoolers as the heroines, because apparently the Japanese believe that only middle school girls are capable of saving the world.


 I would wistfully suggest letting the Christian faith and teaching be allowed to be what it is, with healings, works of power, faith, hope, love, forgiveness and such, rather than the freaky-deaky cultic stuff that Japan finds to be so sexiful. I mean, Superbook and Flying House, right? Just not bashing you with a 25-pound King James, but letting the life be lived, contrasted with whatever the baddies are doing. And giant robots, 'cause they're cool!

Giant robots with crosses.


Doom said...

I have looked in those directions. But for me? I tend to prefer to "dumb it down". Simple truth, real love, simple obedience when some parts of the will fail, confession when all of the will fails. I don't even think I can "help you", I depend on God to help even me do the simple things. I can pray for you, but about how I pray for me.

Yeah... As complex and intricate as the truths, and God, are... our part of it, I think, is very simple. For my part, and the sad thing is, even then I mess up. But... thus Christ.

Oh, I do ponder the deeper part of the pool. But I know most can't, and possibly shouldn't. Just finished one of St. Aquinas' books and starting on his hum-dinger theological guide to the galaxy. :p Uhrm, I don't even always agree. I think. His writing can be difficult, if tired, deciding if he means this or is using something as a counter argument by which to step off in another direction. Well... and he is argumentative. No wonder I read him. Then to, there are secular and foreign religion aspects of wisdom to ponder as well... Sometimes they get it right, in little ways, on lesser things.

Of course, I have been wrong before.

Michael W said...

Jeremiah tried to get me into "Neon Genesis Evangelion", but the series failed to jell with my consciousness. I've been much more interested in the "2199" remake of "Space Battleship Yamato".

Not only that, but some nice gentleman has recently uploaded all the episodes of the Filmation "Fantastic Voyage" series on YouTube, and that's been occupying my animation chops for a while.

I suppose the closest I've come to interest in an anime's "fascination with the Christian Other" came with the series "Revolutionary Girl Utena", and the character of Anthy who was obliged to call upon the "power of Dios" to summon the sword which the Rose Groom would use to defeat opponents (and believe you me, that wasn't nearly as deep as the series got).

The Aardvark said...

Fantastic Voyage! Excellent. Some of Filmation's funnest work, and such a tiny vocal cast. The theme is terriff!

"Utena". That's one that I couldn't wrap the little grey cells around

Yamato! That's got its pernts as well!

@Doom- from cartoons to Aquinas in one E-Z lesson!

The Law of Moses is our schoolmaster, as Paul wrote. The lesson: you can't do it on your own. Jesus our teacher, our brother, our atonement, our advocate with the Father. Yessir, the Gospel is simple.

We just have to make it hard! Sometimes I think it's an antimatter "personal best" thing.

Jay said...

It's NOT Rei! It's Haruhi! Geez! Get your theology straight fer cryin' out loud!

Tang!? It's Minute Maid for me.

Rapture bunny? Sounds familiar.

Am sending the url to this to the guys at the Beneath the Tangles website. They're gonna love this!