Twilight’s Blood-Soaked Romance
In the dappled sunlight in the clearing of a meadow on the edge of a forest, 16-year-old Bella Swanâ€™s heart races as GQ-model-handsome Edward Cullen draws near to her. Edward, in love with Bella, musters every ounce of self-control not to kill her. Killingâ€™s his first instinctâ€”because heâ€™s a vampire. This scene, a vivid dream of author Stephenie Meyer, sparked her imagination to write Twilight, the first book of a bestselling young-adult series.
From that original dream, Stephenie, a 30-something housewife and mom of three young boys, has birthed a four-novel series that has sent teen girls and women of every age swooning over the star-crossed love story of Bella and Edward. In fact, a movie based on the series, starring Kristen Stewart (Into the Wild) as Bella Swan and Robert Pattinson (two of the â€śHarry Potterâ€ť movies) as Edward Cullen, opens Nov. 21.
The series has certainly appealed to a wide audience, but just because everyoneâ€™s reading it, should you? Despite the seriesâ€™ surface appeal as a romance, it communicates many messages that are contrary to the Christian faith, and thatâ€™s not something you should be filling your mind with.
Truth and Relationships
God created us as relational beings, and girls in particular are created to be relational (Genesis 2-3). We tend to focus on relationships, but sometimes we make an idol out of them or fantasize over our desire for a relationship with that â€śperfectâ€ť guy. No guy can ever live up to the way Stephenie portrays Edward. Heâ€™s the fantasy creation of a woman writer.
Bellaâ€™s obsession with Edward is wrong. Sheâ€™s even willing to become a vampire herself so she can â€śliveâ€ť forever with Edward. But how can a human ever be yoked to or be in a serious relationship with a vampire? And whatâ€™s dangerous about Stephenieâ€™s series is that the reader, too, enters into Bellaâ€™s obsession with Edward.
If we believe in God and believe the Bible guides how we live our lives, then we know our highest priority is our love for God and our relationship with Him. God should be the driving force of our lives and not a guy, no matter how attentive, respectful, cool and loving he appears to be. The â€śTwilightâ€ť books donâ€™t communicate Godâ€™s truth about relationships.
The â€śTwilightâ€ť series also teaches unbiblical attitudes toward authority. Bella doesnâ€™t respect her parents. She loves them, but they come across as clueless and out of touch with whatâ€™s going on in her life. Edward sneaks into Bellaâ€™s room every night to sleep next to her, and Bella lies to her dad about it.
Talking About God
Every part of culture (books, movies, music, art and fashion) communicates the belief of the writer, musician, designer or director. The â€śTwilightâ€ť series is no different. It conveys specific beliefs about God. Statements about God and salvation are peppered throughout the story in a subtle way. But are they biblical?
Good and evil in Twilight.
Edward and his family are supposedly a different kind of vampire. The Cullens think killing humans is wrong. Even though they thirst for human blood, they abstain and instead hunt bears and large game for their blood. Stephenieâ€™s story communicates that even though Edward is technically an evil beingâ€”he is, after all, a vampireâ€”he tries to be good by not killing humans for food. But can an evil being ever be â€śgoodâ€ť? If he repents and reforms his waysâ€”Beauty and the Beast, anyone?â€”yes, but the vampires in this series do not. They remain vampires.
Good and evil in the Bible.
The Bible teaches the opposite of what â€śTwilightâ€ť does about goodness and salvation. Human beings are sinners. We cannot know God apart from faith in Christâ€™s death on the cross for our sins. Romans 3:22-24 states, â€śThis righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.â€ť
Many people believe that when they die, God will allow them into heaven because they tried to live a good life and do good deeds. That is basically what the vampires of this series do; they believe that by doing â€śgoodâ€ť deeds (e.g., not killing humans), they can be saved.
But the Bible clearly teaches no one can be redeemed by good deeds. Itâ€™s only through faith in Christ that we can enter heaven and into the presence of the God. Yes, the â€śTwilightâ€ť story is only fiction. Itâ€™s not the Bible, but Christian readers need to be on guard to discern if spiritual statements in books, films or music match the truth of Godâ€™s Word.
An Entry to the Occult
The final book in the series, Breaking Dawn, makes a hard turn from romance into horror and the occult. Bella and Edward get married and have sex.
In one extended, very disturbing scene, Bella dies and is transformed into a vampire. She gives birth to a half-human, half-vampire baby, which tears its way out of her belly with torrents of blood.
What Do You Believe?
Itâ€™s easy to think itâ€™s no big deal to see the latest hip movie or read the books everyone else is reading and not pay attention to what those media are saying.
Weâ€™re to love God with every fiber of our beings, and that includes loving Him with our minds (Matthew 22:36-38). We need to think about what fills our minds. Does it reflect biblical truth? The â€śTwilightâ€ť series does not. Just because the culture loves these books does not mean you should. As Scripture tells us, â€śDo not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what Godâ€™s will isâ€”his good, pleasing and perfect willâ€ť (Romans 12:2).
This article appeared in Brio magazine in December 2008. Copyright Â© 2008 Melanie M. Cogdill. All rights reserved. International copyright secured.