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 Producer

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 GoodwynHannah 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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