Monday, August 29, 2011
Dracula the Christian
The fictional story of Bram Stoker's vampire, Dracula, derived from an actual historical man, Vlad the Impaler (also known as Vlad Tepes and Vlad Dracula). Although Stoker's fictional Dracula has produced fear in the hearts of readers for a hundred years, the real Dracula proved far more dangerous, scarier and real.
Vlad Tepes got born sometime between 1430 and 1431 in a Transylvanian town called Schassburg (aka Sighisoara). Vlad did not live as a vampire; but far worse: as a Christian. Like his father, he joined the Order of the Dragon (Dracul), an ancient Christian society dedicated to fighting Turks and heretics. Vlad earned the name Tepes (TSEH-pesh) which means "Impaler" a reference to Vlad's favorite form of punishment.
In 1408 the Holy Roman Emperor, Sigismund, created the Order of the Dragon. Its statutes required its members to defend the Cross and do battle against its enemies and infidels. Vlad II took the name Dracul and his son, Vlad III took the name Dracula (Son of Dracul).
One of the symbols of the Order of the Dragon uses a strangled dragon which represents the Beast of Revelation (Satan) who gets slain by the forces of "good" (Christianity) represented here as the Cross of Jesus.
The Latin words, O quam misericors est Deus (Oh, how merciful God is) appears on the vertical bar and, Justus et paciens (Justifiably and peacefully) on the horizontal bar.
On Easter Sunday of 1459, Vlad committed his first major act of revenge by arresting the Boyer families whom he held responsible for the death of his father and brother. He impaled the older ones outside the city walls and forced the rest to build what people now identify as Castle Dracula.
In addition to disloyal people and Turks, Vlad regularly impaled infidels, gypsies, lazy peasants and "impure" women. He would pound wooden stakes (like a stauros ) up through their torsos, lollipop style.
Vlad also skinned people alive, roasted them over red-hot coals and by one account from the mid 1400s, "stuck stakes in both breasts of mothers and thrust their babies onto them."
The fictional vampire, Count Dracula killed around 16 characters, the Christian Vlad Dracula killed over 20,000 actual living breathing people.
Consider also that Christianity claims that men lived over 900 years (Adam, Methuselah. etc.), the practice of the Eucharist (consuming bread and wine, the literal drinking of blood and eating the flesh of Christ ), praying in front of a statue of a bleeding and dying man staked to lumber, the belief of the rise and resurrection from death, and the promise that, you too, will live eternal as long as you eat the flesh and drink the blood (see John 6:54), and you have all the elements of diabolic vampirism. I don't wish to unduly frighten anyone, but consider that anyone who passes you by as you walk the streets, might serve as a member among millions who visit dark churches every Sunday to receive their weekly fix of drinking Christ's blood in their ritual called communion. Now I don't for one moment believe in this sacrament, but if there occurred any truth to it, wouldn't we, by definition, have to consider them vampires?
For those of us who do not believe, Christianity and Vlad the Impaler represents horror filled examples of how religion can create fear, torture and death. As in that classic movie line, "Be afraid. Be very afraid."
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