A Christian Response to Vampire Obsession
Gregg sent me this article yesterday and it made perfect sense to me. I thought I would pass it on.
A Christian Response to Vampire Obsession
By Hannah Goodwyn
CBN.com – The Twilight Saga is unquestionably the biggest media phenomenon this decade, especially among young women. New Moon, the movie based on the second book in the four-book series, releases this Friday (Nov. 20). New Moon introduces new characters, including the Volturi, an ancient vampire “family” who ruthlessly polices their world.
For those who aren’t aware of the Twilight frenzy, let me fill you in. If you just mention the name Edward to a teenage girl, she will immediately think of the 104-year-old teenage vampire from best-selling author Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight books. Just say the name Jacob, and they will think of the werewolf best friend of Twilight‘s leading lady, Bella. They also will know what you mean when asked, “Are you on Team Edward or Team Jacob?”
This international craze warrants parents’ attention. In fact, we should all understand the force behind the resurgence of vampires in pop culture. Twilight isn’t merely the first novel in a four-book tale by Meyer; it was the catalyst for new vampire TV shows, movies, and novels marketed as Christian fiction. Before we get into how widespread the fetish with these mythical creatures has reached, let’s take a look at what started it all.
The Twilight Effect
Meyer’s Twilight series has a dedicated fan base, with more than 17 million books in print. The low-budget first movie made almost $200 million dollars at the box office. With a new director at the helm and a bigger budget, New Moon is expected to rake in much more. The mostly unknown actors (Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner, Kristen Stewart) in the first film became instant celebrities; they can’t go out in public now without being mobbed. And it’s not just the kids who are into the books; it’s moms too — “Twi-Moms”. Amazon.com labeled Twilight as the “Best Book of the Decade… So Far”. It also has been chosen as The New York Time Editor’s Choice and The American Library Association’s “Top Ten Best Books for Young Adults”.
Almost overnight, competing vampire stories have crept into our view in the form of new TV series and movies. This fall, the CW introduced a drama called The Vampire Diaries, which is based on novels published in the ‘90s. HBO premiered their own vampire drama, True Blood, to the delight of critics and viewers alike. The first season garnered wide critical acclaim and several prestigious awards, including an Emmy and a Golden Globe. Cam Gigandent, who plays James in Twilight, will star in another vampire flick, Priest (set to release in 2010). In January, Willem Dafoe and Ethan Hawke’s new film, Daybreakers, will give readers a taste of what mankind would be like if a plague transformed almost every human into vampires. Rumor has it, Hollywood will soon be working on a Buffy, the Vampire Slayer movie.
Each of these bloody tales glamorizes vampires to the point that many fans can think of nothing else. Since the beginning of the Twilight craze, more than 350 fan sites have shown up online. When discussing the first film (as recorded on www.twilightthemovie.com), producer Wyck Godfrey unintentionally hinted to the danger behind this modern-day love story.
“There’s a huge amount of danger in this movie,” Godfrey continues. “There’s also just the excitement of a teenager doing things that are verboten. These are things that people connect to. And not just girls; I think that guys will discover it’s dangerous, there’s action, there’s a thriller element to it, and then, ultimately, that it’s cool to be a vampire.”
Meyer based the story on what she saw one night in a dream. Brought up in the Mormon faith, Meyer built the books around the issue of teenage lust. Edward’s love settles so deep within that he must passionately resist his hunger for Bella. She too faces temptation – wanting to give into her desires. Readers discover some pretty reckless behavior on both their parts. Edward frequently sneaks into Bella’s bedroom to watch her sleep, and she consistently lies to parents in order to protect her relationship with her powerful, vampire boyfriend.
God and The Occult
The Christian market also is jumping on the bandwagon. WaterBrook Press recently released a new vampire book by Christian author Tracey Bateman. Thirsty is the story of Nina Parker, a recovering alcoholic who is convinced that something is hunting her. When animals begin to disappear from the reserve and then turn up slaughtered, Parker is faced with even more as she is tempted to quench her own thirst for alcohol. Bateman’s novel is described as a tale that examines the inner battle between love and obsession. (I have based my synopsis of the book on information found online; I have not read this novel).
Vampire shows and movies aren’t a new concept in entertainment. However, the Twilight characters have propelled this trend into a bigger phenomenon that should not be ignored. Its popularity begs the need for parents to pay attention to what their kids are reading and watching. Is a book burning session the answer? No. Instead, take this opportunity to share the Truth with your kids, family, and friends.
Through a web of complicated events, readers are faced with important lessons that many parents would want their kids to learn and adapt into their lives. These themes of love, sacrifice, and selflessness are all great pluses in the series. However, the occultism in this completely fictional story is overpowering. The Bible does not mention vampires, but it does refer to the significance of blood.
In fact, according to the law of Moses, nearly everything was purified with blood. For without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness. Hebrews 9:22 (New Living Translation)
Humans who propose to be “vampires” and drink blood are committing a grave sin against God.
When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division… Galatians 5:19-20 (New Living Translation)
You must abstain from eating food offered to idols, from consuming blood or the meat of strangled animals, and from sexual immorality. If you do this, you will do well. Acts 15:29 (New Living Translation)
Legend has that by drinking blood a person can gain power. This thinking is similar to what may have entered Eve’s mind in the Garden of Eden.
The serpent told the Woman, “You won’t die. God knows that the moment you eat from that tree, you’ll see what’s really going on. You’ll be just like God, knowing everything, ranging all the way from good to evil.” Genesis 3:4-5 (The Message)
Pride, a desire to become powerful — even god-like, can cripple a person’s soul. What’s especially interesting is that an apple is aptly used as a symbol of temptation in Twilight.
The fate of “vampires” is addressed in The Twilight Saga as well. Edward feels he has no soul, no chance at redemption. In an effort to argue that there are more pros than cons to becoming a vampire, Bella tries to convince him that they must have a chance. In the end, she is resigned to live with Edward forever – an eternity void of God. There is no redemption outside of them. Besides, they are supposedly undead creatures, meaning they’ve basically missed their shot at choosing where they will spend eternity.
Parents of fans need to talk it out with their kids to make sure that this glamorized view of vampires isn’t building a seed of doubt in God or a desire for the occult.
Hannah Goodwyn read the Twilight series — so she knows of what she speaks.
She serves as a producer for CBN.com. For more articles, visit Hannah’s bio page.
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Although this line in the article was “unsettling” to me, until later on, I think I could see where the author was coming from
Twilight isn’t merely the first novel in a four-book tale by Meyer; it was the catalyst for new vampire TV shows, movies, and novels marketed as Christian fiction.
Thanks for passing on the article Hallee! I’m one of the fortunate teen mom’s who’s teen has kinda bypassed the whole team edward/team jacob craze! Although she does like the Vampire Diaries! LOL
Kaylee’s all about it and is offended by the very thought of Team Jacob. LOL.
We’re going together to see it Sunday afternoon. So, I want to make sure that people understand that I’m not dissing the series by any means. I just thought that this article brought up some very valid concerns.
To me, this article doesn’t really say much. I can say that especially as I haven’t read these books or seen the films, and know very little about the whole phenomenon. After reading this I feel like I still don’t. It runs down the plot, and then makes the point that parents should discuss it with their kids. Which is good… but that is true of any movie or book. Parents who wish to take a hard line with fiction about the occult won’t have their minds changed about “New Moon” by this article; whereas parents who are more moderate probably already have their tickets for the film. I was hoping for some more opinionated commentary.
In a class on horror films I took, the professor argued that horror is based on a Romantic tradition, and tends to present an ordered universe that includes God. The awful things that happen to the characters are the results of defying this order. (A great example is “Frankenstein,” where the mad doctor works against the laws of nature.) One could argue that a film about vampire love is simply showing a metaphorical universe which contains morality and spiritual yearning, and would not be bad for kids to watch! But there might be some who think it’s bad to ponder occult things regardless, which I can respect.
I’m probably a lot more liberal with art and film than a lot of people who read this, but I won’t watch just anything. I demand some sort of morality or redemption from the films I take in. That matters to me more than subject matter. (Though I can’t stomach as much violence in my old age.) I can’t get into nihilism. For instance “No Country For Old Men” really bothered me, because it purposefully crushed all hope and redemption from the story. I can’t really see watching it again.
There is very little to the story. It’s a romance novel written for tweeny girls with perfect hero vampires and perfect anti-hero warewolves instead of perfect human millionaires like all the other romance novels out there – and little else. So, there’s no moral base to the story other than love is good. The whole series would probably make you want to poke sharp things in your eyes.
I was good with Harry Potter and I’m good with Twilight.
I’m not liberal with movies or entertainment in general. I don’t like most of them, and my standards for what is acceptable have gotten more stringent over time, especially in the last year. One of the things that I don’t watch and Gregg and I don’t allow the children to watch is anything that has premarital sex in it, adultery, or gratuitous sexuality. The only exceptions to this are historical films. For instance, we’ve kept Tombstone. Now, if they’d shown a love scene or something in Tombstone, it wouldn’t have made the cut.
Twilight is refreshing in that it’s a love story, with teenagers, and there’s no sex. My tween can watch it all day long. She knows God, has a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, and her faith is unwaivering. If she was confused about faith, I would probably be less inclined.
I love you!
I enjoyed this article, Hallee. I like that you are honest and open with Kaylee and so happy that she is strong in her faith. For us, however, I personally will not allow my girls to read or watch this series. Of course, I say this while they are 3 and 1. I’m sure by the time they are “tween age”, kids will be onto other obsessions, but my thought process will be the same.
I came from a broken home. I was a “Bella”, if you will. I could totally have seen myself, as a 14 year old or whatever, developing an obsession with this series and seeking after “bad boys” for attention. Regardless of the strength of my children’s relationship with God, I simply will not give Satan the opportunity to use this type of thing to turn their eyes from Jesus, even for a moment.
The thing with them not having sex…well, it’s not really because they don’t want to. It’s because Edward is afraid he might kill her. And in the article here, the author points out that they live out eternity void from God. But what these readers aren’t getting is that separation from God…or hell…doesn’t include love. Bella and Edward would not live out eternity happy in their little love nest bubble. I think this series makes it all too attractive to girls to give up what is most important, God, family, friends, whatever, to risk it all for the bad boy they love. Then there are the boys who watch it. The character of Edward reminds me of a bad alcoholic or something. He loves his wife and wants to protect her, but sometimes evil wins out and he hits her…just a little.
I don’t know. We all make choices as parents. I will not judge yours. Just stating why I feel the way I do about it. Peace! :)
I absolutely respect that.
I had a neighbor in Florida who was an amazing woman. Before she became a Christian, she had been an active witch, dabbling in all sorts of things of the occult. When she was saved and had her own children, she unapologetically and completely shut out anything to do with Halloween. She refused to make light and fun out of something that is very dark and very real.
As for the rest, I think many love stories offer that danger – that love between a man and woman surpasses all else. It’s something that I try very hard to not convey, even writing romance novels. Sometimes a love between a man and a woman is the least important thing.