It’s a little late for a Halloween post, but something of this nature came to me, which I have to tell.
I had a dream- it wasn’t really a nightmare, it didn’t involve feelings of fear or terror to me- about what was a death and nightmare world, a world of things living and surviving, briefly and temporarily, in filth and darkness by feeding and preying on other things and living off the mire. Rats, maybe snakes and spiders, and creatures and combination of creatures we don’t see in this world.
The death and nightmare world for humans is power and social status. Some people are very involved in the death and nightmare world, some only a little. But power and social status rule humans, so the death and nightmare world rules humans. A person may appear to be good, but to the extent they are obsessed with dominating and controlling others, to elevate themselves or simply for its own sake they are involved in the death and nightmare world.
In the colder parts of the world, the coming of winter provides a visual reminder of the death and nightmare world. Deciduous plants shed their leaves, which die and begin to decay. The deciduous plants themselves seem to be dying, but are only sleeping for the winter. The remains of harvested plants die and decay in the fields. Many scavenger and predatory insects come out- in some places many spider webs appear at this time of year, and I have seen a large number of drone wasps recently. It’s a time of death for animals too- in the old days before refrigeration and animals not needed to regenerate the herd in the spring would be slaughtered, and it’s a time of hunting wild animals.
Along with representations of decaying plant matter and predatory insects, witches are a big part of Halloween. Witches are real. Witches are nasty, malevolent old women. Women who themselves are decaying and dying. In the old days bitter old women could use gossip to destroy people in small agricultural communities, so a malevolent, bitter, hostile, gossiping old woman was justifiably feared and hated.
Aside from the things we see this time of year, the death and nightmare world is always with us. Lower orders of human live intimately with this world. Entire civilizations practiced human sacrifice, in an attempt to gain the power of it. On an individual level criminals live by killing bodies and souls. But aside from obvious ugliness and death, any human obsessed with power, status and control of other humans is in this world. People who appear to be very good and upright may be involved in it. As I said before, the essence of Phariseeism is human sacrifice.
At the higher levels of human existence, biological life can reach some kind of an equilibrium with the death and nightmare world. No gross evil is done, life and good things are produced, death destroys no faster than life produces. But this is pretty rare, in the human society we see and in human life historically.
The only thing that seems to be an absolute antidote to the death and nightmare world in Jesus. Eastern religions, Buddhism and Hinduism, seem to be primarily concerned with submitting to and managing it. Islam is a phony legalistic religion which is really a cover for the death and nightmare world and Satan himself. Judaism attempts to use the law to give life, but the law only enhances life, it can’t give life in the first place.
Jesus said a lot of stuff about the law, but in my simple understanding of him, he showed more importantly than he told, by curing disease, in some cases raising people from the dead, but in the greater scheme by lifting the shame that disease and death represented in these cases.
We can sometimes cope with death and evil, and sometimes not. When we can attack and destroy it, we should. When we can’t, we must resist evil by not participating in it. Jesus sometimes advocated passive resistance, but it was still resistance. Pacifism is not resistance, avoidance of conflict all together. Pacifism from a religious standpoint has to be seen as Buddhist or possibly Hindu, but it is not Christian.