John Paul II: "Have nothing to do with the dragon."

Not taking things literally is exactly the problem that is slipping the wool over our spiritual eyes!

The seemingly inocuous way in which evil is presented and insinuated to our children is the danger itself. Harry Potter teaches them the “fun” of magic spells, secret words, incantations and rituals.

The message of John Paul II is made light and mocked in the media portrayal of fun loving dragons who are really just our friends. Don’t worry about [scaring children away from animated dragons]…that is precisely the problem!! they’re not scared of the dragon, they’re not scared of encantations, spells, witchcraft, worlocks, demons…they are not scared.

The dragon is Satan! Harry Potter is a witch/worlock! The demon can be made to do whatever you want him to do by way of magic words, spells and rituals!

What’s next??? 666 is not the number of the beast?! Oh yeah, it’s just a three digit code number on the bit-map…

Wake up and smell the coffee. We are at war and the children, as well as your hearts, minds and souls are the booty of war.

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Due to the amazing growth of the technological media, the same programming that enters your home, will enter the home of millions of families who do not have a Christian faith against which to balance the anti-Christian messages of so much of the secular media. (not all) Some will not even have an adult present as the children receive their encoded messages. Behind the cartoons, even in* ‘childlike voices,’* there is always the message of an adult being spoken and delivered. An adult writer whose Christian values we ignore and whom many parents would never leave alone babysitting their children.:eek: Our children will trustingly accept their message because is delivered by animated characters.

Many Children will learn to identify first with '“fun-filled” *dark symbols *without ever having heard the warning of the Scriptures. Many of these children have never been to a church. Many who have never been baptized, will be introduced through animated cartooning into the world of wizards, witchcraft and the occult before ever having been told the hopeful message of the Gospel of Jesus. As a result, many with problems at home will tend to seek their answers in magic rather than in the loving power of God. They will first be introduced to the power of incantation than to the power of God’s mercyful miracles.

Children brought up in Christian homes have the advantage to learn about the image of the “dragon” against the Christian background that parents provide for them. But , unfortunatelly, this is an exception. The same programming that may not cause spiritual confusion for your children, may cause complete spiritual confusion in homes where God is an unwanted intruder. The proof is that many of our news reveal the growth of young people interested and practicing the occult. Unlike your children, many do not have the blessing of wise Christian parents telling them the difference.

I believe that John Paul II, chose the words for his message, because he knew that both, the Scriptural message from Heaven and the mimicking message from the world of darkness is :thumbsup:. But we should not be deceived because the use of such “symbolic” language does not minimize the serious reality behind it.

I pray this helps,

To Jesus Through Mary. :thumbsup:

Yet the difference between the occult and fantasy magic is such a wide stretch, it’s as laughable as those who can’t tell that difference. :rolleyes:

Funny, the Chinese and the Japanese have been portraying good dragons since the dawn of their respective ancient civilizations.

And why should they be scared? They’re not real. If actual witches and warlocks could cast the spells in fantasy magic, we Christians would’ve been obliterated many years ago. :rolleyes:

Uh it is a three-digit code number on the bit map. :ehh:
It’s also a book page, the result of any form of arithmetic (complex or simple), can be anyone else’s zip code/phone number/PIN.

Honestly, do you cross yourself whenever you see that number? The next thing you tell me is you turn tail when seeing a black cat. You do know black cats are connected with witchcraft right? :rolleyes:

Aww, my latest favorite movie! :smiley:

Honestly, I could never find which is cooler. Riding dragons or summoning them.

Setting that aside though, I wonder if anyone could provide me the Code of Canon Law for Creative Fiction. Since people are so insistent that we stick to obsolete literary traditions of portraying dragons, wizards, and “magic” as evil, they should at least show us that it’s a tradition of God and not of man. :rolleyes:

Oh wait, there isn’t? Tch, too bad. Okay I’m off to finish my story about a cynical, dragon-riding wizard who finds love in an innocent orphan girl raised by nuns. :stuck_out_tongue:

It is not a trap. I studied linguistics and I know that symbolism is merely a tool of communication. It does not prescribe any inherent good or evil in any symbol. That is up to the interpreter.

This weird thing about dragons is the pet idea of Michael O’Brien, and it always amazes me that so many Catholics have paid attention to it. He contradicts himself in his book, misunderstands some of the fantasy works he attempts to analyze, and even abuses Christian theology. His overview of dragon imagery in world mythology is selective, inadequate, and inaccurate. The book is simply terrible, and yet I keep finding people who take it seriously.

O’Brien’s favorite trick is tossing around certain inexplicable words to lead you by the nose. He compares fantasy works with “traditional” fairy tales, but never explains what he means by “traditional.” Dungeons and Dragons is a “cult,” but he never explains why he calls it that. Dragons are positive symbols in China because of “dualistic eastern religions,” but he doesn’t explain why dualism would lead to positive dragon symbols. Nor does he explain why serpents are consistently negative in Zoroastrianism, which is unquestionably dualistic. He mentions Tiamat from the Enuma Elish as a sort of dragon and seems to think that helps his case, but he’s apparently unaware that Tiamat’s vanquisher, Marduk, has serpents and dragons among his sacred symbols. He claims J. R. R. Tolkien is on his side in all this, but he is apparently unaware of Tolkien’s Farmer Giles of Ham, which contains a tamed dragon, the very thing O’Brien claims will drag children into neo-paganism.

When attacking the work of Madeline L’Engle, he criticizes her for describing cherubim as dragon-like, apparently unaware that in ancient iconography, cherubim are winged sphinxes. He is also apparently unaware that seraphim are winged serpents with legs–that’s a positive use of snake imagery right out of the Bible. He also gives no account, that I remember, of John 3.14 or of the good dragon, representing Mordecai, who battles the evil dragon in the additions to Esther. Scripture does not contain a univocal use of serpent imagery, so there can be no basis for a Christian argument that snakes in fiction must always represent only one thing, all the time, unless we’re prepared to condemn the Bible as a confused neo-pagan work.

He trips over his theology on a few occasions. In an attempt to discuss beauty as a property of being and the symbolic use of beauty in fairy stories, he gets confused and ends up–I hope by accident–saying pretty people are inherently better than ugly people. Even though he praises fairy tales for showing evildoers as ugly and do-gooders as beautiful, he turns around in one of his essays on Harry Potter and attacks J. K. Rowling for doing the very same thing.

During that aforementioned criticism of L’Engle, he criticizes her for (correctly) depicting evil as non-being, even though he admits she’s basically right on that point. But though O’Brien himself (correctly) understands demons as beings as wholly dedicated to evil as beings can be, and (correctly) criticizes L’Engle for a universalist bent, he (incorrectly, very incorrectly!) says some living human beings are the same way, “completely ruled by evil.” Sometimes he sounds more like a Lutheran or Calvinist than a Catholic.

He also excuses George MacDonald for his universalism. In Lilith, MacDonald depicts even Satan being saved, and O’Brien gives this a pass, but for some reason, that sort of thing is absolutely condemnable when Madeline L’Engle does it. He also praises MacDonald for depicting Lilith being converted back to good, even though she’s a demonic figure, though he condemns the depiction of the conversion of other demonic figures. The heroic characters in Lilith also use magic, just as Lilith does–yet when discussing Harry Potter and other fantasy works, he condemns books where both heroes and villains employ magic. For some reason, the use of magic by both good and evil is something O’Brien is willing to excuse in works by the authors he favors. O’Brien simply can’t be consistent in his criticism, so how can anyone seriously expect fantasists to use ideas like O’Brien’s as a moral guide for writing their work?

O’Brien may be a fine novelist. I know from experience he’s a competent painter. But in the realms of folklore or literary criticism the man is a sophomore, the Richard Dawkins of Catholic literary moral criticism, making facile arguments based on some master key to interpreting stories that he claims to have discovered, and huffily dismissing anyone who disagrees with him as “illiterate.” I do not understand why anyone treats A Landscape with Dragons or O’Brien’s essays on this subject as anything other than an embarrassment.

Hi Lost Wanderer,

Thank you for your input. They make very clear your position. So you are a writer Huh? Such a powerful gift. May you use it well.

Now, if your permit me, there was something you said:

I studied linguistics and I know that symbolism is merely a tool of communication. It does not prescribe any inherent good or evil in any symbol. That is up to the interpreter.

I am not sure this is true when GOD is the One using the symbolism. His Parables, (The Pearl, Prodigal Son, Fig Tree etc) were filled with symbolism, yet they were filled with unmistakable **Truth **and not relativistic interpretation.

His Book of Revelation was also based on Divine Symbolism (The Lamb on the Throne, The Ark, even the Red Dragon) were symbolic tools used by the Creator of all existence to convey future truths to His children which are not for subjective interpretation. That is why we Catholics rely on the Church’s magisterium for its guidance.

I would not want to play this game with God. They day I finally meet him (if I ever deserve it) I would not want try to get away with expressions such as “Oh, I thought you meant the opposite!” or “I thought that that was only symbolic and was not serious.” You cannot manipulate Him who is TRUTH HIMSELF.

God uses symbolism but he is not writing novels nor mythical stories. He is seriously trying to lead His children to Heaven. Let’s not downplay His use of symbolism, we will not like his consequences.

Let’s not compare our imperfect human use of symbolism with God’s divine symbolism, is like comparing a bronze statue of a person with the actual living person… it may have similarities, but only one is alive. If He uses symbolism to try to warn us about ‘someone’ who desires our eternal damnation, let’s be humble enough to accept it

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"Now war arose in heaven, Michael and his angels fighting against the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought,but they were defeated and there was no longer any place for them in heaven. And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the Devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world – he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him…

And when the dragon saw that he had been thrown down to the earth, he pursued the woman who had borne the male child…

Then the dragon was angry with the woman, and went off to make war on the rest of her offspring, on those who keep the commandments of God and bear testimony to Jesus." (Revelation 12: 7 -17)

I pray this makes sense. Thanks again for your response

To Jesus through His Mother Mary :thumbsup:

Mr. Henry, are you claiming you have some kind of perfect insight into the meaning of scripture? Many serious scholars spend their lives trying to understand the biblical books, and they don’t always come to the same conclusions. The Magisterium has not passed out an infallible handbook for interpreting the Bible, and our priests and bishops have to wrestle with scripture themselves, and are not always certain about its meaning. The use of symbols in scripture is most certainly open to various interpretations.

Hi Mr. Davidson,

Many serious scholars spend their lives trying to understand the biblical books, and they don’t always come to the same conclusions. The Magisterium has not passed out an infallible handbook for interpreting the Bible, and our priests and bishops have to wrestle with scripture themselves, and are not always certain about its meaning. The use of symbols in scripture is most certainly open to various interpretations.

I am not relying on our imperfections as human interpreters of the Biblical symbolism … but on the perfection of the Divine Creator of that Symbolism.
The Church never claims to have yet a perfect understanding of all of the Divine Symbolism used by the Creator to convey us His Truths. The Church knows its limitations and yet it does not lead us into confusion. Yet the number of Bible scholars trying to come up with their own personal interpretation seem to be ‘a dime for a dozen’.

Yet, I repeat that the validity of the symbolism is based on the DIVINE TEACHER’S credentials not on the imperfect human students’ limitations to understand.
The subject of Trigonometry does not depend on the understanding or misunderstanding of the math students, but on the infallible mathematical truths.

If God choses to use the symbolism of the dragon to warn his children of the diabolical enemy… so be it! HE is God… and you and I are not.

I pray this helps:)

Edward Henry

No, that doesn’t help in the least. You sound as if you think you have a perfect insight into exactly what the symbol means, the very thing I asked about before.

But never mind the difficulties of interpreting the book of Revelation. The real issue is that you’re taking the symbolic meaning of the dragon in Revelation and claiming it’s legitimate to apply that same meaning to every dragon or snake you see in or out of scripture, and I’m replying that you can’t do that. That’s the point of contention, and it has to do with a methodology of symbolic interpretation rather than with the content of any particular biblical passage or fantasy work, yet you keep claiming–without warrant, as far as I can tell–that your opinion has some kind of divine backing. When I asked you to clarify how you developed your opinion that all dragons mean the same thing no matter the context, you responded with more vague assertions of divine authority.

Mr Davidson

Careful! Emotions are dangerous in a friendly theological discussion. We loose our calm and begin to create subjective accusations:

"No, that doesn’t help in the least. **You sound as **if **you think you have a perfect insight **into exactly what the symbol means, the very thing I asked about before.

But never mind the difficulties of interpreting the book of Revelation. The real issue is that **you’re taking the symbolic meaning **of the dragon in Revelation and claiming it’s legitimate to apply that same meaning to every dragon or snake you see in or out of scripture, and I’m replying that you can’t do that. That’s the point of contention, and it has to do with a methodology of symbolic interpretation rather than with the content of any particular biblical passage or fantasy work, yet you keep claiming–without warrant, as far as I can tell–that **your opinion **has some kind of divine backing. When I asked you to clarify how you developed your opinion that all dragons mean the same thing no matter the context, you responded with more vague assertions of divine authority. "

We seem to be spending more energy interpreting me than the topic. I do not believe that we can continue… this is not a personal debate. because we are two of God’s children trying to understand his messages and it seems to be creating lack of Peace.

I will stop here and… let’s agree to disagree. Good Night!

To Jesus Through Mary:thumbsup:

This was not a personal attack. It was a question, which you still haven’t answered, as to how you arrived at your viewpoint. So far I’ve seen assertions with no argument. When I asked you for an argument, you answered:

I am not relying on our imperfections as human interpreters of the Biblical symbolism … but on the perfection of the Divine Creator of that Symbolism.

This, too, is an assertion with no argument, and a rather bold assertion at that. I again asked you for an argument, and you responded by accusing me of ad hominem.

This does not at all address the point that “meaning” and “symbol” are not permanently tied. If you wanna debate semantics, kindly educate yourself first about the subject.

The color red has different symbolical meanings: Blood, love, anger, danger
The wolf has had different ideas associated: fear, darkness, nobility, teamwork

Look at America’s noble founding fathers. Didn’t one of them use the snake to symbolize the importance of uniting the nation?

And no, there is no such thing as Divine Symbolism. Frankly, unless official canon law has specifically commanded otherwise, I will use any symbol in any manner I see fit.

If I think the Star of David might look good in a magic circle, I will do that.

If I think the scythe, that the Grim Reaper is known to use, might make a good fire weapon, I will do that.

If I portray a human with wings as something other than an angel, I will do that.

Besides, God used goats to symbolize the people He was gonna send to hell. Are we gonna start treating goats the same way superstitious Malaysians treat the now endangered Aye-Aye? What about the snake? If God used snakes/serpents as a symbol of evil waaay more than the dragon then why do we have them in zoos or even have them as pets?

Fortunately, your minimalizations are a tell-tale sign to those who are fighting the spiritual war.

Whether you are a willing collaborator or a careless casualty, the war rages on. Our job is to pray and to do the basic catholic things really, really well.

Your words belie a complacent ignorance or a tipping of your hand. Be that as it may…the forces of evil will be crushed in the long run.

You poor soul.

No, more like your alarmist self-righteousness is a tell-tale sign to those still rooting out the remnants of Puritanism and fundamentalism from the Church (who claims both faith and reason btw :P).

Actually I’m neither. I’m just a Catholic with a brain. You know? That thing in your head God oh so graciously planted so that you can use it?

Funny, I didn’t remember that the “basic things” included the devolving of the Church back into its superstitious, medieval state.

No my words belie the one thing the Church benefited greatly from since She had increased applying it: reason. Sadly, the likes of you act as if reason itself is an invention/deception of the devil. :rolleyes:

I’m sorry. holds up mirror Could you repeat that please? :rolleyes:

You truly are lost…and wandering…

I will keep you in my prayers.

Okay, I hardly ever say this but you just really ticked me off so here goes.

Keep me out of them. I don’t need them.

Lost Wanderer and Mangy Dog…
Peace brothers. This is not worth losing our peace over it. We are all searching for answers.:slight_smile: And sometimes we disagree, but let’s not throw prayers on each other’s faces.

I began this thread as Christian brother sharing a warning that comes from someone whom I trusted greatly, John Paul II. If you don’t believe that such warning is for you, so be it. Peace. But let’s not let anger reign. That’s the way the dragon works, turning brother against brother.
If we disagree… let’s agree to disagree

In the Hearts of Jesus, Mary and Joseph

Edward Henry

The problem is you (and mangy dog) have a logically flawed understanding of this “warning” to be honest. :\

Dragons have come a long way of from being the stereotypical villain of children’s fairy tales to noble allies, mighty steeds, or simply fearsome measures of strength.

Speaking strictly from a writer’s standpoint, I find calling the devil Satan, Lucifer, or the Great Enemy to strike more of an occult image than the subjective word that “dragon” has become. :stuck_out_tongue: You should really open your mind man. Dragons are merely mythological creatures. And like all such inventions of the imagination, they are simply begging to have all different takes. I would be more than happy to show you some beautiful artwork that features good dragons. :wink:

Dear Lost Wanderer,
All we can do is to peacefully agree to disagree

Speaking strictly from a writer’s standpoint, I find calling the devil Satan, Lucifer, or the Great Enemy to strike more of an occult image than the subjective word that “dragon” has become. :stuck_out_tongue: You should really open your mind man. Dragons are merely mythological creatures. And like all such inventions of the imagination, they are simply begging to have all different takes. I would be more than happy to show you some beautiful artwork that features good dragons.

Your issue is not with me but with God. It was the Almighty who chose to use the Dragon as a symbol for the Enemy of Humanity’

Then the dragon was angry with the woman, and went off to make war on the rest of her offspring, on those who keep the commandments of God and bear testimony to Jesus." (Revelation 12: 17)

If you choose the enjoy “some beautiful artwork that features good dragons” it is not me the one with whom you should find issue. I respect your choice and I beg that you respect my decision to heed to the Creator’s warning. I pray that one day we will both be in His presence in eternity and His decision will be made clear to both.

By the way in 1995 I was blessed with the opportunity to visit the Philippines and I loved your beautiful and friendly country. I will never forget the experience.

Peace my friend

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