Over a period of several years, back in the mid-1990’s, I wrote a fantasy trilogy book of over 1000 pages, just for my own outlet and for a handful of friends and colleagues to read. It was years later that I found that the cultists who had been stalking and harassing me had not only read these private writings without permission but worse, applied theological weight to what I wrote! I cannot tell you the damage that has been done as a result. The damage is unbelievable, severe, persistent, and has a very high cost of “missed opportunity” as people “barked up the wrong tree” as a result.
I’m mentioning this not because I want to wring my hands again over what has been done. I was reminded of it after watching the Papal Mass at Yankee Stadium, and my great pride in my faith. I mention it because it’s another good example of my latest series of blog posts, which is about how to have clarity of analytical thought and reasoning in a society that, to its dire peril, no longer teaches or values such a mindset.
Here is the example from my book. I wanted to write something strictly fantasy, but reflective of many of my secular concerns (child abuse, misuse of power, abuse of occult powers, unrequited love). Notice I said SECULAR concerns; I said nothing about wanting to write a fantasy book dealing with theology. I open the book with the protagonist, a woman, who has two friends, a man and a woman (who have a developing romantic relationship). In describing the man, who I called Daffyd (Welsh for David), I wrote that he had “lost his faith, and no one knew why.” I never again mention faith in the entire book! I describe a world that has magic and realms occupied by “lesser gods” and “goddesses.” But I never once mention an organization for religion, I never described any activity or location of worship or ritual, and I never describe even through the use of casual words any description of this fantasy world’s faith. Instead the action centers around malevolent lesser gods who seek to enter the regular physical world of earth in order to, basically, act out. They have specialized vices: the woman is depraved sexually, one man is evil through vanity, and the other is evil through thug power mentality. In fact, anyone with a Welsh dictionary could identify what qualities I was assigning to them, as I named them Welsh equivalents "strange" (Ystranc) of the lesser god also called “Peacock” (for the vanity) and “thug” for the thug. The woman I called Lili as a deliberate flip side of the Easter Lily and by implication, the virginity and purity of both Jesus and Mary. I spell it different to show that the depraved goddess represents human woman’s vice, while they still think they are erotic and “good.” Lili committed the most depraved acts (even the male “lesser gods” hated her) yet if MSNBC had been around to interview her she would have painted herself as some sort of love goddess.
The magic powers and the "lesser gods and goddesses" were not a theological structure for this fantasy world that I wrote about, and if I had ever adapted this for the “public,” I would have made it perfectly clear. In fact, one place I got the idea for the names of these evil/good qualities of "gods and goddesses" was from the classic movie "Children of a Lesser God." "Children of a Lesser God" used the word "god," but was about deafness. It had nothing to do with religions. Any moron can watch that movie and not miss the fact that the use of the word "Lesser God" in the title is philosophical (referring to a birth that is slighted in some way, due to the disability of deafness), not a theological statement. So I got the idea to call these good/evil qualities in humans "lesser gods."
The magic powers and the lesser gods and goddesses, and the creation mythologies that went with them, represented two things. One was a world where much of the physics of the world was based on magic. It would be, then, a pure science activity to study magic, not theological. This was how I structured the school that the protagonist ran: it was a “science” type of school, not in the least a theological school. The second thing the magic powers and lesser gods represented was the higher and lower qualities of humans that were of great concern to me in the mid 1990’s. And sure enough, child rapists and sexual depravity and slavery abound now in the 2000’s, just as I warned against and feared. Never once did any of my buddy readers ask about the actual religiosity and theology of the book. Not ONCE. Not even the egomaniac asshole that I learned Jungian analysis from (who I found out believes in reincarnation AND thought that OJ Simpson was found not guilty “because of the karma of all the unjust things blacks had happen to them in the past.”) Not even this genius of time and space once asked me, despite reading the book cover to cover, “What exactly is their religion?” I would have replied, “I’ve not said. “ The book was an outlet for me during the time of my maximum worry, and emotional anguish, about how the world has gone so very deadly wrong. A FICTIONAL OUTLET FOR A HANDFUL OF FRIENDS. Not the “New Age Psychotic Egomaniac’s BYBLE.”
So, fans of reason and faith, if the stalkers had actually wanted to understand my book, what should they have done? Yes, that’s right, they should have asked that question. “Hey, author, you mentioned that Dafydd ‘lost his faith and no one knew why.’ Yet he partook in the events that happened in the book. What exactly WAS his faith that he lost?” Gosh, what a good question that would have been. I could then have explained to people that this was, as I had repeatedly told them, an outlet for me about some deep concerns that I had. For example, I reference my concern about numerology. One of the gods (the thug) is arranging for people to kill each other to reach a certain quantity of number that would disrupt the boundaries between the realms. This was one of my earliest warnings about “counting down to Armageddon.” And sure enough, what do we have? Evil loony psychotic cultists, both pagans and “Christians” who try to count and enumerate events in order to actual hasten the “Final Days.” Imagine my horror when I found out years later that unethical psychos have been reading this book, mining it for “theology.” God forgive them, and may God help me to find ways to repair the damage that they have wrought. (By the way “God forgive them” is a charitable statement, not the issuing of any sort of forgiveness or open ended blessing on my behalf, since no one has yet even admitted to doing this, say nothing of apologizing for ruining my life and that of many others).
By the way, apparently the assholes figured out that I am still a practicing Catholic in the late 1990’s, when I stopped into St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City to pray, during a time when I had been under incredible spiritual (and physical) attack by these people for years and years. You’d think that this would have prompted some questions and rectification, but it actually seemed to have made things worse, since they still believed in that blasphemy of occult and New Age “reincarnation.”