Breaking News: Breaking Dawn is now available on DVD! Once again film viewers worldwide are being subjected to an occult worldview, including vampires, werewolves, magic and paranormal powers. The popularity of the Twilight series, and vampires in general, is nothing short of a cultural phenomenon. What are we to make of all this? Are vampires stories just innocent entertainment? Or is this current trend a reason for concern for the Christian. I believe it is the latter. Let me tell you why.
Violence and Gore
We live in an increasingly violent society. This is not only evident from the evening news, but also from the graphic and pervasive violence seen in our popular entertainment. According to Dr. James Dobson there are over 1000 studies that demonstrate that watching violence on TV and in movies has disastrous consequences: Children are more prone to violent and aggressive behavior, and people become desensitized to the serious nature of violence itself.
The Twilight series itself is culpable in this regard. From vicious battles between werewolves and vampires, to vampires being systematically dismembered and burned, to blood-thirsty gangs of marauding vampires descending plague-like on human populations the Twilight saga has more than its fair share of violence. But perhaps no episode in this series is more gory, and more horrific, than the pregnancy and birth of Edward’s and Bella’s half-vampire, half-human baby. In Breaking Dawn the newly wed Bella becomes pregnant and comes to full term in a matter of weeks instead of months. During this time she subsists by continually drinking blood. When it comes time for the baby to be born, a C-section is required. However, there is a problem—the amniotic sac is made of a vampire-like skin, which is impenetrable. To save the baby, Edward uses his vampire fangs to rip through Bella’s flesh and in a ghastly, bloody scene tears open her womb and delivers the baby. If this were not already enough of a blood-fest, we then see the dying Bella being turned into a vampire by her husband. This is accomplished by Edward injecting vampire venom (i.e., blood) directly into her heart, and then repeatedly biting her all over her body with his fangs—an action described as “the lush tearing of her skin.” Meanwhile, the newborn vampire-human child immediately begins to feed on blood.
And what we see in Twilight is only symptomatic of the entire vampire subculture. Think about it: The very concept of a vampire is a creature that exists by sucking blood from living creatures, and doing so in a most violent manner. Violence, gore and horror are an integral factors in the vampire world.
How are moral and decent people to respond to this? The Bible is clear: God “hates” those who love violence (Psalm 11:5) and the Lord “abhors” the bloodthirsty (Psalm 5:6). The Scripture also declares that it is the wicked who “devise violence” (Proverbs 24:1-2). The kind of bloody violence portrayed in Twilight is something that should be shunned, not enjoyed.
I have been doing presentations about our society’s current fascination with vampires for several years now. One of the most common objections to my criticism of people’s interest in vampires, Twilight included, is something like this: “What’s the big deal? These are only fictional stories, and vampires are only creatures of our imagination. What’s the harm in being entertained by imaginary creatures?”
This begs an even more fundamental question: Is our imagination morally and spiritually of consequence? And does God care about our fantasies, our imaginative life? The simple answer is yes. The Bible is full of examples and admonitions about this very issue. It was largely because of people’s evil thinking that God destroyed the world with the great Flood of Noah’s day (Genesis 6:5). Romans 8:7 says that it is the carnal mind that is at variance with God. God judged Israel in Isaiah 65:2 because they pursued their own imaginations (cf. Jeremiah 7:24 and 11:8). Zechariah 8:7 says that God hates those who imagine evil against their fellow man. Romans 1:21 speaks of those in the world who became “vain in their imaginations, and their foolish hearts were darkened.” And lastly, 2 Corinthians 10:5 says that we are to “cast down imaginations” and all those things contrary to the will of God.
What does this have to do with vampires? Consider this: Vampires are by definition undead, supernatural creatures. They are of the realm of darkness. They are occultic creatures with paranormal powers contrary to the will and purposes of God (cf. Deuteronomy 18:9-14). Based on the foregoing Scriptures, even such imaginary creatures as “vegetarian vampires” (i.e., vampires who usually only consume animal blood) should not be the focus of our thoughts and interests. Further, besides their occult nature you have to recognize the violence, the sexual allure, the disregard for biblical morals, the complete ignoring of Christ and His glory, and… well, the list could go on and on. Bottom line: Vampires, including Twilights’s Cullen coven, should not occupy our imaginations if we are serious about being morally responsible and mature Christians.
Still not convinced? Read Philippians 4:8 and see if this verse can be applied to your interest in The Twilight Saga, The Vampire Diaries, The Vampire Chronicles, etc.
Vampires are the undead. Think about it. They are creatures that have died and been raised to a supernatural life that depends on blood-drinking to survive. They have paranormal powers, powers traditionally ascribed to witchcraft. An interesting fact, since in traditional myths about vampires (and werewolves), there is a strong connection with witchcraft. Indeed, in many languages the same word that is used for witch is also used for vampire: lamia, strix, strigoi, strega, bruja, bruxa, loogaroo, etc. Simply put, vampires are magical, occultic, “witchy” creatures. As chief vampire Aro states in the novel Breaking Dawn when speaking of werewolves: “They are creatures of our supernatural world” (p. 705, emphasis added).
One of the great dangers facing American culture today, the church included, is our increasing fascination with the occult. We are being taken on a supernatural, “magical mystery tour” and we don’t even realize it. What does God say about the occult? There many biblical passages that deal with this issue. Paul says that witchcraft is a “sin of the flesh” (Galatians 5:19-20). John says that sorcerers will be eternally damned (Revelation 21:8). In Leviticus 20:6 God says he is against those who seek after occult practitioners. Numerous other passages could be cited. However, the classic passage is Deuteronomy 18:9-14. Here the Lord enumerates a variety of occult practices, and in no uncertain terms labels them as “an abomination to the Lord.” In other words, God hates witchcraft, sorcery, magic, the demonically supernatural.
Think about it—should we find entertaining what God hates?
We have made the point that vampires are occultic, demonic creatures by definition. There is a further point to be made here. There is inherently an alluring, devilishly (literally) attractive quality to the occult. Think about it. The Serpent deceived Eve with his seductive ways. The Bible speaks of “seducing spirits” (1 Timothy 4:1). The Devil even manifests as an “angel of light,” appearing beautiful, reasonable and attractive (see 2 Corinthians 11:14). Yes, Satan is a deceiver and a seducer.
No wonder Twilight holds such fascination for so many. It is amazing (and disturbing) to see the hold this series has on people. Stephanie Meyers admits that in the months she was writing the first book she was so obsessed that she neglected almost everything else, including her family, to study and write about vampires. I know a Christian woman who became so engrossed with the books that she had to ask a friend to take the books away from her and not return them, no matter how much she asked for them back. In 2010 Dakota Fanning, who plays the vampire known as Jane in the Twilight films, was on a late night talk show. She told how she first became acquainted with the Twilight series. She saw a girl at her school whose arms were completely covered in quotes from the books. I have read of middle-aged women who decorate their bedrooms with Twilight sheets, pillow cases, lamps, posters, dolls, etc. There is something weirdly obsessive about Twilight.
Weird. But understandable. People who play around with the occult, Twilight and vampires included, need to be aware of the dangers here. There is a spiritual force in operation that they may not recognize, but it is there nonetheless. Remember the admonition of Paul in Ephesians 4:27—“Don’t give the Devil a foothold in your life.”
To be continued in the next post…