by Esther Elizabeth Suson
What is the worst thing we could do to Dracula? Not quoting it without reading, but reading it and missing the point. We fixate, instead, on the intimacy of blood-drinking, or the sadism of compulsion.
That is the bane of both Dracula- and Bible-readers.
Where does the problem come in? How does fixation so thoroughly overrule the inherent beauty of a book to the point that it can be read cover-to-cover without the reader grasping the message?
Dracula-readers pick up that classic with its blinding love stories – all different kinds of love – and with it, point-by-point, dismantle Twilight or the Vampire Diaries. After that is done, they put down the book and leave, well-pleased with their fundamentalism.
Bible-readers do that too. We pick up the Bible and, point-by-point, dismantle whatever we find goes against its teachings. Or, we read the Bible so we can dismantle it point-by-point. Either way.
The main reason that both Dracula and the Bible are so often misquoted and misunderstood is that readers don’t read them for themselves.
And they miss so much.
They miss van Helsing’s father-heart that makes each one of his friends dear as family. They miss the poetry of three men all giving blood to save the girl whom they love – before they even know what’s wrong with her. They miss the terrifying bravery of Jonathan Harker in Castle Dracula.
They miss the Son of God overturning tables in the temple courts, and healing the blind and the lame. They miss the feeding of the five thousand and His acceptance of the children. They miss seeing Jesus the social rebel, Jesus the friend, Jesus the Savior.
Because of an attitude that reading the Bible and Dracula serve the purpose of arsenals against non-believers in religion and classic vampires alike, it is way too easy for us to miss the actual points of those books – unless we sit down and read them for ourselves.