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Most Significant

"But to fail here, is not mere life or death. It is that we become as him [Dracula], that we henceforward become foul things of the night like him… To us forever are the gates of heaven shut..."

Claiming that people who are forcibly made into vampires are condemned to hellfire seems like spectacularly bad theology. Lucy, for example, was never aware of even being the victim of a vampire. Yet Van Helsing repeatedly claims that the Christian god would damn any vampire's victim just for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. The only doctrine that seems remotely similar would be Original Sin, which is rather a special case.

According to the 1917 Catholic Encylopedia, as well as Catholic doctrine today, the only unpardonable sin is blasphemy against the Holy Ghost (“Christ everywhere declares that it shall not be pardoned“, Matthew 12:22-32; Mark 3:22-30; Luke 12:10)*, which surely does not apply to innocent victims of vampire attacks. Van Helsing seems to have a Catholic priest in Amsterdam who is willing to aid him; perhaps that priest would have considered conducting an exorcism, which is much more in keeping with Catholic theology.

A closer parallel to Van Helsing’s idea of the tainted, condemned victim of a vampire attack would be the "fallen woman". Although she may have become became pregnant out of wedlock due to sexual assault or breach of promise, she was still seen as shameful or tainted.

See also: Magdalene asylums - https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magdalene_asylum

*Catholic Encyclopedia of 1917 - Holy Ghost: https://www.newadvent.org/cathen/

Most Significant

For a scientist, Van Helsing places far too much reliance upon folk traditions; in fact, he risks their very lives on it! An anecdote or a folk story should be the starting point for learning, not its end.

No, the Nobel Prize does not validate naturopathy or herbalism [development of artemisin, ivermectin]: https://sciencebasedmedicine.org/no-the-nobel-prize-does-not-validate-naturopathy-or-herbalism/

Bryan Alexander

Yes, VH is a weird hybrid, combining science with folklore and religion.

Most Significant

I don"t know if he's that weird. His 21st century successor might be Dr.Oz, the heart surgeon who also believes in reiki and untested herbal "cures".

Bryan Alexander

I meant weird for our genre expectations.

Agreed on Oz et al. We could add people trying to blend some of science (mostly quantum physics) with religion.

Most Significant

Oh yes, Deepak Chokra et. al.

But you're right about Van Helsing being a little weird for the genre, I hadn't thought of it from that point of view.

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