Get ordained in the First United Church of Cthulhu

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2020/05/11/get-ordained-in-the-first-unit.html

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Really ties the bonds of matrimony together.

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It would have been cleverer to use the Esoteric Order of Dagon or another in-universe religion though.

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I was going to say something marriage being a lifelong commitment that you’d want an officiant who takes their beliefs more seriously than clicking on a web link, or printing up a certificate of ordination in Word. But then I figured that a priest of Cthulhu would probably take his or her vows of insanity sincerely, and couldn’t think of a better qualification for marrying people.

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But that was a different time, before an apathetic cosmic horror who craves nothing but worshipful death from his followers became an appealing alternative to the current leadership of several powerful nations.

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First church, last to be eaten.

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This is… basically my husband’s lifelong dream. He’s even made his Animal Crossing island into a Cthulhu cult

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The First United Church of Khepri might be worth looking into.

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Cthulhu brings fish and eats his followers last.

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I’ll have you know I take my beliefs and officiant duties quite seriously! … just not as they relate to any higher powers.

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There’s something that bugs me about non-HPL representations of Lovecraftian cults. If you read the stories, the narrators and their narratives are obviously extremely unreliable, clearly tainted by heavy racism. The “cultists” are inevitably not white. If you read the text, treating it like other racist descriptions of non-white cultures and religions, cognizant of blood libel, etc., the “cults” suddenly don’t seem so scary.

The fishy-frog-men of Innsmouth and their cult don’t even require any revisionism or interpretation to appear completely benign. They’re described as just living their lives, loving humans, trying to keep outsiders from discovering their secret and murdering them all - a totally justified fear, as it turns out. Ruthanna Emrys’s “Winter Tide” series had to change absolutely nothing in HPL’s story to make the “Deep Ones” sympathetic protagonists.

Cthulhu itself is apparently unaware of human beings and thus can’t have any antipathy towards us - it’s only its psychic emanations, which are so powerful they impact the psyches of “sensitive” people, that humans are aware of it. (It’s interesting to contrast the sensitive white artist - representing “weird artists” like HPL and his friends - who makes cool art under the influence of Cthulhu, with the non-white characters, who are made sinister and threatening by the influence, even when they’re also just making art.) If we dismiss narratives of human sacrifice as blood libel, the “cult” described in the story could even be interpreted as a kind of liberation religion, like Haitian Voudoun. (In fact it bears some similarities to Southern US Voodoo.)

The Nyarlathotep cult is explicitly that of “the witches.” So we know its scariness is premised on nonsense blood libel narratives of human sacrifice and Satanic abuse. Interestingly, Lovecraft also made the figure of Nyarlathotep sinister by dipping into… stories of Christian saints and Dionysus (though there’s some overlap there).

Given that the Christian Bible contains prophecies/promises of mass oppression, suffering and death of the faithful (not to mention what happens to everyone else), and certain modern Christian groups are actively seeking to bring that state of affairs about, it means Lovecraft’s horror-story cults are actually substantially less scary than real right-wing American Christianity.

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Cthulhu itself is apparently unaware of human beings and thus can’t have any antipathy towards us

Yeah, part of the whole idea of “Cosmic Horror” isn’t that that the universe is malevolent, it is that it doesn’t care about us. The pop culture version of Cthulhu as basically an evil demon kind of misses this.

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Also the universe is sometimes uncaringly, accidentally destructive to our species, which is just an insignificant speck - both in time and space - in its vastness. Mirroring the way people have always personified calamities as evil spirits and gods, Lovecraft personified what was then cutting-edge science indicating a dangerous, uncaring chaotic universe as scientific, rationalist not-gods. I think that gets lost frequently in modern interpretations because well, if you aren’t religious, that’s just an accepted basic recognition of how the universe works: we have some notion of the vastness of time and space, how insignificant our place is in it, and that and species/civilization-ending events happen all the time.

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I must confess that I have been thinking about getting ordained online somewhere, just to be able to insist that people call me reverend when I think the situation calls for it.

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That’s fine, but where’s the fun in that? I really want a cute Hello Cthulhu tee shirt, and being ordained into the Church Of Cthulhu really appeals to one part of my personality. As an aside, I also have a belief in Finagle’s Law - The Perversity Of The Universe Tends Towards A Maximum.
Which is kind of how I see how The Donald, aka Angry Tinkerbell, got to be President of the United States.

http://ars.userfriendly.org/cartoons/?id=20041227

Because a construction of a Cthulhu cult actually based on a (revisionist) interpretation of HLP’s texts is a lot more interesting than what’s generally being created - which is fundamentally just a genericized White Evangelical Christianity.

Doesn’t this sort of distortion of Lovecraft’s take go back to August Derleth’s early additions to the mythos, which were of course frequently co-credited to HPL himself?

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