Thursday, November 13, 2008

Spiritual Warfare

I don't do much battling with principalities and powers these days, but the war goes apace. The good old USA was, about a week ago, 8 million popular votes away from electing a demon-fightin' veep, and skirmishes extend (we shouldn't be surprised) beyond the voting booths and thawing tundra and into the hereafter. Mormons are baptizing dead Jews and Catholics (and God knows who else) to try to annex them into Mormonhood, while live Jews and Catholics bridle at this incursion upon their soul-territories.

"Jews are particularly offended by baptisms of Holocaust victims," we are told, "because they were murdered specifically because of their religion." No, really???? Makes sense to me, but then again I'm from a non-proselytizing religion so goofy that it teaches that all the other religions are true, too (just don't tell a Hindu fundamentalist). Meanwhile, the Mormon Department of Defense is sounding defensive: "We don't think any faith group has the right to ask another to change its doctrines"--meaning, I'm pretty sure, "Shut up, Jews," since if the shoe were on the other foot and mass giyurim for dead Mormons were being held in Jerusalem, I doubt the LDS would wax so ecumenical.

The Mormon spokesperson went on, "If our work for the dead is properly understood ... it should not be a source of friction to anyone."

But--if you accept the idea of a soul that can be converted/ won/ redeeemed/ atoned for/ whatevered only by certain approved methods, you have opened the door to just the kind of "friction" that's going on here. What many people buy into without knowing it is a system in which their religion's technology of soul-washing is implicitly salutary and protective, and everyone else's technologies are a sham or, worse, demonology--a spiritual attack. And if you buy into the Mine Is the Best (or One True) Religion game, then just by "properly understanding" the Other Side's motives, you've conceded valuable real estate, opened the gates to the Trojan horse. This is why the refusal to understand has such cognitive status and such honor attached to it (secularists never get this), and it's how real wars of all kinds start. The cure begets the disease...

It all reminds me of a Burroughs routine from The Place of Dead Roads:
The most arbitrary, precarious, and bureaucratic immortality blueprint was drafted by the ancient Egyptians. First you had to get yourself mummified....Then your continued immortality...was entirely dependent on the continued existence of your mummy....

Mummies are sitting ducks. No matter who you are, what can happen to your mummy is a pharaoh's nightmare: the dreaded mummy bashers and grave robbers, scavengers, floods, volcanoes, earthquakes. Perhaps a mummy's best friend is an Egyptologist: sealed in a glass case, kept at a constant temperature... but your mummy isn't even safe in a museum. Air-raid sirens, it's the blitz!
The whole hilarious meditation can be found in a Google Books search and, if I'm remembering right, is included in the WSB documentary Commissioner of Sewers.

And now, a clever, neatly-packaged ending... hmmm... well, I found when I Googled "spiritual warfare" that nearly every phenomenon from arrogance to tornadoes can have a demonic cause. Still, I'm actually very sympathetic to the point of view expressed by one of these sites, especially its list of "The main ways of fending off the Devil."

Oh, so there's my moral! Stay open, trust God, and you never know what She'll show you. I didn't go into this post thinking I'd end up recommending (unironically) a web page about sluggin' it out with Satan...