Jesus Cthulhu

Working Paper, The Vampire Research Group at Berkeley
Cosma Rohilla Shalizi

While the role of the Cthulhu mythos in many religions has been investigated - e.g., the pre-Columbian cults of Mesoamerica received attention from Lovecraft himself, vide ``The Mound'' - it is curious that a number of rather obvious connections have not been made with the Christian faith.

The coincidence of names, Jesus Christ and Great Cthulhu, is suggestive, but a linguistic accident. Much more convincing is the fact that Cthulhu is a god who died and yet lives, now and forever, and shall soon enough return in glory. Indeed, one of his (abortive) resurrections took place rather close to Easter. Both the return of Christ and the return of Cthulhu are eagerly awaited by hordes of worshippers who will do anything they can to hasten the day. Both are to be heralded by war, death and general chaos. Both are connected with astronomical prophecies - Cthulhu will return ``when the stars are right,'' while, according to Revelations, the Apocalypse should make astronomy a most interesting if confusing profession. Both will be preceded by unusual entities, Christ by the Beast and Cthulhu by Nyralthotep. Christ was preceded the first time by John the Baptist, who was probably yet another incarnation of the Crawling Chaos. Both will involve the elimination of death, in the Christian version by the resurrection for the Last Judgement. The Cthulhist parallel is uncertain, but it is well known that

That is not dead which can eternal lie,
And with strange eons even death may die.
Finally, and perhaps not trivially, both will inaugurate a new world order.

It should not be forgotten that Jesus came from an area where the worship of the Magna Mater has been endemic for millennia, despite frequent condemnation by prophets of the ``Queen of Heaven'' and ``abominations.'' Her connection with the mythos is well-known (see HPL, ``The Rats in the Walls''); a consensus of learned opinion holds her to be Shubb-Niggurath. Some, such as Robert Graves in his The Greek Myths, have asserted that the name ``Mary'' derives from a title of this goddess. This does not necessarily imply that the Virgin was an extradimensional horror. She may merely have worshipped one. Yet the same scholar in The White Goddess cryptically remarks that Jesus was descended from Her on both sides...

The unusual conditions of Jesus' origin are well-known, and it is unnecessary to dwell on them here, as the parallel with Wilbur Whately is distressingly obvious (see HPL, ``The Dunwich Horror''). Certainly His Father must have been extremely unpleasant, for King Herod to be willing to kill a huge number of infants to prevent such a contamination of the gene pool. Also like Whately, Jesus was extraordinarily precocious, and appears to have been no more reassuring or winning than the former. Indeed, it was suspected by some contemporaries that His ability to handle demons was unwholesome; His rebuttal is so patent a sophistry as to need no comment.

Besides His exorcisms and cures, most of Jesus' miracles involve water - turning water into wine, multiplication of loaves and fishes, walking on water, etc.. Even the demons driven into swine were sent into the sea, possibly as an offering. Again, a large number of Cthulhoid entities are aquatic or amphibious, and may have been of assistance. He promised to make His disciples ``fishers of men.'' This is obviously a puzzled scribe's redaction of ``fish-men'' - that is,deep Ones. Current Cthulhology indicates that this promise could only be fulfilled if it referred to their descendants, or if they were already part Deep One themselves. It also indicates a deplorable lack of honesty among members of the Mythos.

Repeated references to ``Heaven,'' especially the ``Kingdom of Heaven,'' in the Gospels, assume new relevance when the extraterrestrial origin of most mythos beings is called to mind. Indeed, it appears that the universe is almost exclusively populated by eldritch horrors, who are, fortunately for this author's limited powers of description, indescribable. The basic prayer prescribed in the Gospels - ``Our Father who art in Heaven... Thy will be done, thy Kingdom come, on Earth as it is in Heaven'' is positively chilling in this light.

As to the lack of overly Cthulhoid elements in Christianity today, it should be noted that St. Paul, not one of the original group of disciples, had a major role in spread the faith. It is likely that, as a semi-outsider, he was not trusted with the full revelation in all its mind-shattering detail, misinterpreted what he was told, and proceeded to spread it from one end of the Roman Empire to the other. It is also possible that some of the Gnostic sects and later heretics had more accurate ideas of the nature of the religion, and were suppressed in the name of sheer decency.

The implications of this are unsettling, not to say staggering. The fanciful might be tempted to imagine Catholics replacing statues of the Virgin with cloven-hooved, tentacled horrors, or Baptists in polyester suits and plastic squid masks boarding South Sea cruises, waving curiously-bound editions of the Kitab al-Azif and shouting ``Ia! Cthulhu fhtagn!'' In all seriousness,much remains to be clarified; it appears that a major new field of Cthulhology is opening up.

Reprinted from The Proceedings of the Chrono-Causal Contentions Committee, Vol. 5, No. 1, pp. 4-5, with slight redaction.