This is a page that focuses on religious and theological issues, as well as providing comprehensive teaching from a classic Catholic perspective. As you read the articles, it is my hope they will educate and bless you.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Truth Behind Myths and Legends - Werebeasts and Similar Phenomena

This is the last in a series of articles I wanted to write addressing the various creatures, myths, legends, etc., and noting some truths that are contained at the core of the legend and mythology.  In this final article I want to address the issue of werebeasts and how they fit into some prophetic Scripture about the rise of increased demonic activity in the latter days, which we are now in.

According to a Wikipedia article I researched in preparation for this study, a werewolf and similar creatures are part of a phenomenon called lycanthropy, from a Greek root meaning "wolf-man" (the Old English term werewolf means the same thing).  It refers to an ability a person has to shapeshift into an animal form, which throughout history has been a part of the folklore of many cultures.  For example, the ancient Olmec civilization in Mexico had a belief that beings that were half-jaguar and half-man could have relations with women and thus produce were-jaguar babies, and among the many artifacts from this civilization are grotesque statuary of infants who had fangs and other attributes of jaguars (Marion F. Briggs, Associate Editor, and Jill L. and Peter Furst, Research consultants.  "Awakening in the Americas" in Time Frame 1500-600 BC: Barbarian Tides.  {Alexandria, VA: Time-Life Books, 1987} p. 160).  To the north, other Native American Indian tribes have the tradition of the "skin walkers," which today has also filtered into occultism and witchcraft via Navajo influences (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skin-walker).  Part of that whole thing also involves a commitment to Satanism, and is tied into cannibalism.  This phenomenon was also substantiated by Christian theology about evil spirits, as was enunciated by St. Thomas Aquinas in his dictum Omnes angeli, boni et Mali, ex virtute naturali habent potestatem transmutandi corpora nostra ("All angels, good and bad have the power of transmutating our bodies")(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Werewolf). 
However, it must be noted that the historic Church teaching has never advocated angels manipulating humans, and those who did were often fallen angels rather than the Host of Heaven.  That being said, there is a similar connection here between lycanthropic manefestations and the Nephilim, in that two possibilities exist:

a.  Werebeasts were the bastard children of fallen angels and human women, and thus were physically part of the Nephilim

b.  Lycanthropy is a form of demonic possession of a person open to it, and the demonic spirit possessing the person has the power to transform the host body into that of a beast.

I personally will not rule out either of these, as I personally see both as being feasible, being demons do have the power of manipulating people they possess in some bizarre ways.  There is also a Scriptural precedent for the existence of lycanthropomorphs as well, and it is found in Daniel 4:25-26, when God allowed King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon to be vexed by a spirit that caused him to take on the characteristics of an ox for a number of years.  Though many Bible scholars have interpreted this as either vexation by a spirit or insanity - as I once believed also - upon looking at the verse again it is apparent that Nebuchadnezzar was more than just vexed or insane; he became a beast essentially.  In other words, I have come to believe that the spirit which did control Nebuchadnezzar for some time was a lycanthropic manefestation.   That, I know, will gain me some dubious responses, but the evidence weighs in favor of this interpretation.  That being said, let us now deal with why this issue is so important to be discussed.

As we mentioned earlier in the discussion on vampirism, in recent years there has been a surge in interest regarding werewolves, as evidenced by the recent popularity of the Twilight films and other such productions on TV and in the cinema.  Prior to that, in the 1980's when I was in high school a couple of more lighthearted movies called Teen Wolf (the first featured Michael J. Fox in the starring role, the second Jason Bateman) pictured the werewolf as a protagonist character, persecuted and misunderstood.  Then of course was Lon Chaney's classic portrayal of the beast in film in the 1930's.   Werebeasts and pop culture are now intertwined, along with the recent interest in witches (Sabrina, Harry Potter, Charmed) and vampires, and what all this is signifying is a renewed fascination with the occultic and that is also a sign of the times.  By portraying such things as harmless, romantic fantasies, it opens doors for people - especially children - to experiment with occultism and satanic activities.  The recent Twilight movies exemplify that well, as they portray both werewolves and vampires as romantic, attractive love interests.  The danger thus lies therein - if people romanticize these things, they may strive to emulate them, and thus they will begin searching for ways to do so.  And, the demonic spirits out there ready to possess and deceive people are more than willing to indulge those fantasies.  As a result of all that, I foresee a surge in occultic activity similar to that which happened in the late 1800's which produced Theosophy and the roots of the New Age movement we see today.  However, as the times are getting closer to the return of Christ, this resurgence of the occult may not be as subtle as the Theosophists and New Agers were; young people have a fascination now more than ever with the "dark side" of spirituality, and this of course has been on the rise since the late 1960's, although in the past 15 years many Evangelical and Catholic churches ignore it and don't teach about its dangers like they did about 30 years ago.  That laxity on the part of the churches - due in large part to a spiritualized "political correctness" mentality called "the seeker-friendly" or "Purpose-Driven' church - has produced a vacuum that the enemy is more than eager to fill.  It is no accident that these Twilight movies, as well as the Harry Potter stuff, has been so popular, even in supposedly "Christian" circles - it is simply a prophetic sign of the times.  As God begins to make himself more real to his Remnant, the enemy will also make some bolder and more bizarre things manefest among his people as well.  Atheism and agnosticism are not filling the void that many who rejected Christianity hoped it would, and Christianity has become so weak an impotent in its witness that most churches have become mere entertainment venues for "C-rock" concerts and motivational talks.  And, the youth are searching; they are hungry spiritually, yet they are being malnourished by secularism and the Church both.  So, they go in search of something more tangible, and Satan has the perfect thing for them.  The purpose of these articles is the awaken Christians from their slumber and to say that these things are real threats to the souls of many, and therefore we need to be more aggressive in our efforts to make sure they know who the real Savior, who loved them to die for each of their sins, is.  Satan can do all sorts of interesting things - werewolves, vampires, and magick rituals are all part of that song-and-dance - but in the end he will double-cross those who fall for his tricks.  Only Jesus Christ can give eternal life, and our hope is in the Cross of Christ and what it represents.  For you parents out there, pay attention to pop culture - things are getting very blatant and bold, and a real fascination with evil is growing as people romanticize demonic possession and other garbage like it.  Rick Warren and other so-called "pastors" are too chicken to address the issue, for fear of "offending" someone, but the truth MUST be told.  And, that is what Sacramental Present Truths is about, and why I attempt with my best effort to disseminate fresh information to you.  However, it is up to you to act upon it, so now that you have the tools, let God show you how to use them.  God bless you all, and please pray for this ministry.