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perspectives

A Christian Response to Vampire Obsession

By Hannah Goodwyn
CBN.com Senior Producer


CBN.com - The Twilight Saga is unquestionably one of the biggest media phenomenon this decade, especially among young women. Breaking Dawn: Part I, the movie based on the first part of the final novel in the four-book series, releases on November 18th.

For those who are out of touch with popular culture at the moment and aren't aware of the Twilight frenzy, let me fill you in. If you were to say the name Edward to a teenage girl, she will most likely think of the 104-year-old teenage vampire from best-selling author Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight series. Mention the name Jacob, and the werewolf and best friend of Twilight's leading lady, Bella, will come to mind. 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

Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight series has a dedicated fan base, with more than 17 million books in print. The first movie's box office sales grossed $382 million dollars worldwide. With a new director at the helm and a bigger budget, New Moon and Eclipse, raked in $296 and $308 million respectively. The film's mostly unknown actors became instant celebrities. Now, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner, and Kristen Stewart can't even go out in public without being mobbed. And it's not just the kids who are into the books; it's moms too -- "Twi-Moms" as they are called. Amazon.com labeled Twilight as the “Best Book of the Decade… So Far” (2000s). The breakout novel also was named The New York Times 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. Not long after Twilight released in theaters, the CW introduced a new TV 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. Their first season garnered wide critical acclaim and several prestigious awards, including an Emmy and a Golden Globe. Cam Gigandent, who plays vampire James in Twilight, starred in another vampire flick released this past summer titled Priest. IMDb.com reports Warner Bros. Pictures is currently overseeing the production of a Buffy, the Vampire Slayer movie.

Each of these bloody tales glamorizes vampires to the point that some young 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 twilightthemovie.com), producer Wyck Godfrey unintentionally hinted to the impact of 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." - twilightthemovie.com

Meyer based Edward and Bella's story on a dream she had one night. Brought up in the Mormon Church, Meyer integrated the theme of resisting teenage lust into her novels. Edward’s love is so deep that he must physically restrain his passion 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.

Christianity vs. The Occult

The Christian market also jumped on the bandwagon. WaterBrook Press 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).

TV shows and movies about vampires aren’t a new concept in entertainment. However, the Twilight characters have propelled this trend into a big phenomenon in recent years and Christians should take notice. 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 many parents want their kids to learn and adopt into their lives. Themes of love, sacrifice, and selflessness are all great pluses in Twilight series. So, use this opportunity to start those conversations.

The thought of vampires make most people cringe. In the case of Twilight, it's up to parents to make that decision for their household. On the one hand, it's just a story. At the same time, teenagers and children need to know that the practice of the occult is very real. The Bible does not mention vampires, but it does speak 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)

Those who say they are "vampires" and drink blood are committing a grave sin.

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 (NLT)

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 (NLT)

Pagan legend says that by drinking blood a person can gain power. This thinking may be similar to what 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 used as a symbol of temptation in Twilight.

Spoiler alert: 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 convince Edward to let her become a vampire, Bella argues that everyone still has a chance, no matter how fargone they see themselves. In the end, Bella is resigned to live with Edward forever – an eternity void of God. They are both undead creatures; they’ve missed their shot at choosing where they will spend eternity.

At the end of the day, parents are a major line of defense and need to be involved with how their children process media and pop culture. Make sure this glamorized view of vampires doesn’t build a seed of doubt in God or a desire in the occult. Let the books remain just words on paper.

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Hannah GoodwynHannah Goodwyn read the Twilight series, so she knows of what she speaks. She serves as a senior producer for CBN.com. For more articles, visit Hannah's bio page.

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