Previously we looked at four issues regarding vampires: “Violence and Gore,” “Evil Imaginations,” “Occult Deception,” and “Satanic Seduction.” These four issues should cause enough concern for any Christian to question the wisdom of watching movies about vampires or reading vampire books. But just in case someone needs more reasons, here are four more problems with vampires:
The Sexual Motif
At the end of the movie Eclipse you see Edward and Bella together in a field full of flowers. They are discussing their wedding and Bella’s future. A sweet, romantic scene. But the same scene in the book is very different, depicting Edward growling to Bella, “I love you. I want you. Right now.” This is interesting, considering the fact that one of the supposedly positive elements of the Twilight series is that Bella and Edward do not have sex until they are married. Which is true. But not because of any desire for chastity on their part. Throughout most of the first three books Bella continually tries to seduce Edward. Edward refuses, not to be virtuous, but because he is afraid that as a vampire he will lose himself in passion and hurt her. Then, at the end of Eclipse it is Edward who tries to induce Bella to have sex, but she is the one who refuses.
Of course, they do have sex once married. And there is a honeymoon scene in Breaking Dawn. While not overtly erotic, it is a little more than just suggestive. I have not yet seen the film, but reviewers say that during the movie’s honeymoon sequences there are scenes of partial nudity, and the newlywed couple is shown engaged in sex while covered with sheets. Edward is even shown lying on top of Bella engaged in intercourse, and breaking the bed’s headboard in two in his passion. (These are images not conducive to purity of mind and heart.) I will also mention that in the fourth book we discover the superior sensual experience of vampire sex, with vampire couples dominated by sensual cravings that last for months, even years. This is pretty tempting stuff for anyone, but especially adolescents.
I mention these specific items to illustrate a point. If there is one consistent unifying theme to Twilight, in addition to the vampire motif itself, it is probably sex. There is a constant undercurrent of subtle sexuality running throughout the series. No wonder the Twilight saga is so attractive to young people.
What is a proper response to this? The Bible is clear about sexual matters: “Flee youthful lusts” (2 Timothy 2:22). “For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh” (Galatians 5:13). “For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God” (1 Thessalonians 4:3-5). “But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires” (Romans 13:14). “But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matthew 5:28).
Truly the mind is battleground for our souls. That is why we must guard it carefully. Does reading or watching Twilight aid in keeping our minds pure?
The Idolatry of Things
In his book on intercessory prayer called The Last of the Giants George Otis identifies two preeminent sources of idolatrous worship in America: Humanism and materialism. We live for ourselves, and we live for things. We are a money-mad, covetous, consumer-focused culture.
Unfortunately, living this shallow type of lifestyle is another of the many things wrong with the vampires in Twilight. The Cullens are materialistic to the extreme. They drive expensive sports cars. They live in a mansion. They own large tracts of property, including an island. They seem to have an inexhaustible source of revenue. It is noted they wear expensive shoes. They sport new clothes, often on a daily basis. Indeed, it is Edward who says of one member of the Cullen coven, “Alice rarely allows us to wear the same thing twice” (Breaking Dawn, p. 273). Edward loans Jacob his Astin Martin to drive. The Cullens give Bella a house for her birthday. Alice arranges for Bella to have a new wardrobe, with row after of row of clothes that fill an entire room. These examples illustrate that these “good” vampires lead a luxurious, self-indulgent lifestyle.
And they give nothing back. But allow me to qualify this. Carlisle is a doctor, and he is dedicated to saving lives. But other than this one example, we see no evidence of this vampire “family” doing anything but heaping things on themselves. There is no humanitarian effort, no charitable work on their part. They do not do anything to help relieve the suffering of the world around them. They only live for themselves. Presented with such a picture of decadent, selfish consumerism, no wonder so many young people are attracted to the Cullens. They are living the worse stereotype of the American dream.
But this is not God’s dream for human existence. Life, and purpose in life, does not consist in the amount of things we own. God has higher expectations, and higher pleasures for His children. Remember, Jesus said, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions” (Luke 12:15).
“Don’t love the world’s ways. Don’t love the world’s goods. Love of the world squeezes out love for the Father. Practically everything that goes on in the world—wanting your own way, wanting everything for yourself, wanting to appear important—has nothing to do with the Father. It just isolates you from him. The world and all its wanting, wanting, wanting is on the way out—but whoever does what God wants is set for eternity.” (1 John 2:15-17, The Message)
Good Guy Vampires?
Over the past couple of decades there has been an interesting new image created for vampires. Some now are presented as “good guy” vampires. These are the nice ones. The ones who are more like victims than anything else. The kind of vampire you would want to bring home to Mom. And the Cullens are often held up as outstanding examples of good guy vampires.
But is this the case? Consider the hero of the Twilight saga, Edward Cullen. He admits that before becoming a vegetarian vampire he had already killed five people. He is quoted as saying to Bella, “You know that I’ve stolen, I’ve lied, I’ve coveted…” (Eclipse, p. 454). He steals a car in the first book. He encourages Bella to disobey her Dad. He violates her father’s instruction to stay away from Bella. He uses profanity. He tries to seduce Bella. He tries to get Bella to have an abortion. He also suggests that she commit adultery with Jacob. No wonder he declares, “Right and wrong have ceased to mean much to me” (New Moon, p. 514). Is this a good guy? I hardly think so. And the rest of the Cullen coven are no better.
Some would suggest that there are positive elements in the Twilight series, redeeming factors. I will not deny that this is so. But I think you can probably find positive elements in almost any situation, or any person. Hitler was well-liked by children and dogs. The Nazis brought Germany out of a severe economic depression, and made the trains run on time to boot! The Hitler Youth encouraged a back to nature philosophy and physical training. All these positive elements are to be seen in Nazism. But it does not make Nazism good.
Our standard for what is good, moral and right must be the Word of God. And when you hold the Cullens up to the moral standards of Jesus, and the ethical principles of the Bible, they don’t measure up very well. These are not good guys, nor are they worthy of admiration and esteem. They certainly should not be idolized and treated as heroes.
The Bottom Line
There is one fundamental reason that I am so concerned about people’s fascination with Twilight. It is a matter of the paradigm or spiritual perspective on reality that is being offered to us. The bottom line issue is the point of focus, the vantage point from which the story is being presented. All of the specific issues that I have mentioned in this series of writings is contingent on this one matter: Worldview. What is the worldview, the moral and spiritual frame of reference, that is being presented in Twilight?
First of all understand that Stephenie Meyer comes from a Mormon background. Thus her own personal worldview is rooted in the heretical and cultic teachings of the Latter-day Saints. There are numerous passages in the Twilight books that demonstrate her Mormon viewpoint.
Further, it is obvious that there were spiritual forces at work in the writing process of Twilight. On her website Stephenie Meyer tells of having a dream in which she saw a vampire and a young woman in a field. (This dream later became chapter 13 in the original Twilight novel.) When she awoke, she was haunted by this dream. She began to research vampires and write out a story. She talks about how she became obsessed with vampires. She dropped out of her church activities. She neglected her family. Vampires became almost her entire focus. Within six short months she had written the book (her first) and it had been accepted by a major publisher. An amazing publication feat. As she says, “To be honest, I feel like I was guided through that process.” Guided? By whom?
Her research on vampires and the occult informed her story. One example is worth mentioning. Meyer talks about discovering the subject of the incubus. “In the novel [Twilight], I only mentioned a few of the many legends I read through. One that I didn’t mention at this point was the entry on the Incubus. The unique feature about that legend was that the incubus could father children. Hmmm, I said, and I filed that kernel of an idea away for later.” What is an incubus? In occult lore it is a demon who sexually assaults women. This idea became the conceptual basis for how an undead creature like Edward could father a child.
Mormonism. Dreams. Occult Lore. Supernatural guidance. These are the roots of the Twilight story, and the Twilight phenomenon. Is it any wonder that worldview presented to us in Twilight is so antithetical to the Christian faith?
Remember: “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he” (Proverbs 23:7) and “Do not be conformed to the pattern of the world’s thinking, but instead be transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Romans 12:2).
Should any Christian seek to be entertained by vampire stories? Is there any danger here? Yes! Think about it. The genre is full of death, murder, violence and gore. We are enticed to fantasize about ungodly and wicked beings, and behavior. There is a subtle demonic, deceptive and seductive influence present here. Vampires are often portrayed as sexually active creatures, with powerful a powerful sensual attraction. The immorality of vampires is evident. They kill, steal, commit fornication and adultery, entice to sinful rebellion and anti-social behavior, and a host of other sins. And finally, the world of the vampire is totally antithetical to the Christian worldview. They are of another world, the realm of darkness, evil and demonic forces. There are, indeed, multiple reason Christians should avoid vampires completely.