What are Bram Stokers' religious views?
Believe it or not, there is a Bram Stoker Society. I discovered it when I did a Google search to answer your question. Here's the web address where I read about it:
According to wikipedia, Stoker was brought up as a Protestant in predominantly Catholic Ireland. The era in which Stoker wrote saw the rise of many pseudo-sciences, and Stoker seems to have been a proponent of several of them. One such science he seems to have held to is phrenology, in which a person's personality traits can be determined by "reading" the bumps in his or her head. He also was interested in mesmerism, or the ability to control another person's actions through mesmerizing, or hypnotizing, that person. Also according to wikipedia, it was rumored that he was a member of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, a group dedicated to using magical rituals to commune with and become one with the gods.
from Irish folklore and stories told to him by his mother. This background would suggest that his story is influenced by Catholocism and the rituals and traditions that go along with it.
A number of ways to combat Count Dracula seem to come from religious icons. Jonathan finds comfort from the crucifix that he is given and the wafer is used as a weapon against the undead. What is interesting is that Jonathan finds his reliance and the comfort he takes from the crucifix almost backward. This view is indicative of the Victorian era. All the happenings cannot be explained by science and therefore religion is turned to.
Stoker does not seem to be promoting religion or religious beliefs but rather exploiting them and our fear of ungodliness to create a ripping good horror story.
I have always seen the novel as representing fighting off the impulse to do evil. Of course it's not your fault if you get bitten by a vampire. In The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Jekyll chose to create an evil half. People bitten by vampires have no choice, but if you can avoid being bitten you will have enternal Heaven instead of the half-living Hell of Vampirism.
I suspect that Mr. Stoker had a lot to speculate on the subject, that, tainted with skepticism. It's the science vs. faith conflict that may have haunted him, just as it has me. There's a lot to be gleaned in the imagination department, being an author with such internal conflicts.
As for my fascination of the subject, I'm a humanist, so I can let my imagination run rampant, without the guilt that comes along with religious doctrine. My problem is that I have to get off my posterior and do some writing on my own!
wow, thanx for both of your inputs, really helpful :D!