What does Bram Stoker’s Dracula have to do with faith?
There’s plenty of gore in Dracula, but the novel reads oddly like a collection of love letters, ship’s logs, recipes using paprika and just plain crazy journal entries. Every time I delve into its pages I feel disappointed that the first scary scene doesn’t appear for several pages. Unless you count “the dead travel fast”. But that’s really not too scary when compared to Dracula crawling upside-down along the castle facade. That’s the stuff of nightmares.
On several readings of-I’ll be honest-this favorite book of mine, I discovered some things I hadn’t before.
Dracula is a book on faith.
Faith in the face of incredibly daunting odds! From the second Jonathan Harker begins to realize that he is facing a supernaturally powerful enemy who will invade even his marriage to get power over him–Dracula becomes a fight of faith versus fear.
What is a vampire? Something that in modern times they say we can love, and if we believe the fictional hype, even wish to be like.
But the vampire is certainly the symbol of many trials that can invade our lives and cling- and suck the life from us. Anything that draws our strength, threatens to absorb us and make us what it is, that thing can be the vampire. Attractive at first, we will soon see it turn on us.
Jonathan does his best to have faith. Mina has faith. But it is really the strange Van Helsing that helps them most of all.
He knows Dracula, and the evil that is there. Van Helsing has faith to believe not only in the monster, not dismissing its impossibility(seeing the problem)-but also in God who is stronger than the monster(seeing the answer). Van Helsing even refers to Dracula’s brain as a “child-brain”(evil is not as complicated as we think). He courageously steps in to help the horror-haunted couple and their friends.
“Thus are we ministers of God’s own wish: that the world, and men for whom His Son die, will not be given over to monsters, whose very existence would defame Him. He have allowed us to redeem one soul already, and we go out as the old knights of the Cross to redeem more. Like them we shall travel towards the sunrise; and like them, if we fall, we fall in good cause.” Abraham Van Helsing, Dracula
And in the end, Dracula is defeated by a race into the sunrise, a race that faith wins.
Dracula’s Van Helsing urges our faith to take action against our problems. He won’t let Jonathan and his friends just leave the Count alone. No, the vampire must be stopped.
And he won’t be stopped by our thoughts alone. We must take action to get the problem out of our lives. Act on our inward beliefs.
“Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.” James 2:14, NKJV