A Christian's Response to Twilight2:37 PM
It seems that everywhere I go, I hear something about the Twilight book series and subsequent film adaptation. I love books. And you might assume that I would be as entranced by this young adult fiction series as the rest of the world is. But the fact is—I am a Christian. Even (or especially) my book choices are determined by my devotion to Christ. Sometimes the world embraces a new thing, and the Church doesn’t quite know how to handle it. In this exposition, I’d like to shed some Biblical light onto Twilight, and determine how it stands.
For those unfamiliar with the plot of the Twilight book series, here is a brief summary. Bella, a human young girl, falls in love with Edward, a young-looking-but-very-old vampire. He is a “good” vampire, because he only drinks the blood of animals along with the rest of his vampire coven, though they find it difficult to restrain their murderous urges. The series mostly tells the ongoing saga of Edward & Bella’s romance, marriage and ultimately, Bella’s transformation into a vampire.
I've done as much research as possible on this subject without actually reading the novels in their entirety. I did read several excerpts and can empathize with the young girls so obsessed with these novels. I felt the fleshly inclination to the romantic storyline while reading. That scared me, because I also felt a strong spiritual revulsion to the evil represented in those pages. Galations 5:17 says, "For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please." And this perfectly illustrates the battle the books represent in a Christian young women's soul.
My objections to Twilight are as follows, in no particular order.
The Author: Stephanie Meyer, the author of Twilight, is a Mormon and a graduate of Brigham Young University. Mormonism is a cult. Its devotees are highly deceived. They cling to beliefs that are religious in nature, but deny the deity of Christ. Which is heresy. This author may not be writing about Mormonism, but the deception she lives daily is woven throughout the stories. As a Christian who loves Christ—the Lord & God, I want no part in that deception.
The Inspiration: I quote from Stephanie Meyer's website, "I woke up (on that June 2nd) from a very vivid dream. In my dream, two people were having an intense conversation in a meadow in the woods. One of these people was just your average girl. The other person was fantastically beautiful, sparkly, and a vampire." Certainly the Holy Spirit did not inspire the author. Her inspiration came from the flesh or satan himself. Because of the subject matter of the books, I'm inclined to think that these books are demonically inspired.
The Occult Influences: Throughout the first two books in the series, the story focuses on vampires and werewolves in a cursory way. The vampires possess so-called special powers. Edward, the male protagonist, has the power to read minds. I find this troubling because psychic ability has long been coupled with witchcraft and the occult. Vampires are legendary, but throughout history, they are grouped with the 'dark side' of the spiritual realm. By definition, they are “an imaginary demon, which was fabled to suck the blood of persons at night.” The Bible is very clear that God uses angels as ministering spirits to do His will. If there are spiritual beings, but not angels, on the earth--it is safe to assume that they are demons. And even though this series is fictional, as Christians, can we cling to evil in demonic form? We must “abhor what is evil; cling to what is good.”
In the Old Testament, all things witchcraft-related were deemed “detestable to the Lord.” It is reasonable to assume that since God’s character does not change, what He finds detestable does not change either.
And even if readers have found Twilight’s magical qualities innocent in the first few books, justification is threatened towards the end of the series. Twilight’s nice-vampire image has attracted many readers not usually given to the horror/vampire genre. However, in the third book, Twilight makes a swift descent into blood-filled horror fiction. In the fourth book, the "hero" and "heroine" have a half-human/half-vampire child. The author admits this was inspired by her research of the 'incubus,' which is "an imaginary demon or evil spirit supposed to descend upon sleeping persons, esp. one fabled to have sexual intercourse with women during their sleep." How sickening.
One last thought: In the early church, new believers burned their books on magic in public—even though the books were of great monetary value. Should we not have the same opposition to evil, since we are submitted to the same Lord?
The Sexuality: While graphic sex is purposefully avoided, there are many pages devoted to Edward & Bella's lovemaking. Sex, sensuality and physical lust are overwhelming themes—if not THE overwhelming themes—in this series.
Many justify this by pointing out that the couple did not have sex until after marriage. "See! They're promoting abstinence!" All Christians have the responsibility to “honor marriage” and “let the marriage bed be undefiled” according to Hebrews 13:1. Because of these Scriptural commands, I believe that it is wrong to read books with extended descriptions of sex or watch movies in which sex is taking place—marriage or no marriage! Sexual relations are only intended for within the marriage covenant. So unless it's YOUR marriage covenant, you should have nothing to do with it!
Just as pornography creates permanent changes in the brain, book themes present data for our brains to turn into mental images. If this data is wrong, our imaginations will quickly fall into sin. Jesus said that thinking lustful thoughts is the same as doing the act. As a single young woman, I fight a battle for purity daily. Even one book with sinful themes is burned in my mind. This is a great reason to be discerning about the information we embrace. We involuntarily think on the themes presented to us. Philippians 4:8 gives clear evidence of the standards God has set for our mind to consumed with. Things that are true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, of good reputation, anything excellent or worthy of praise. With that in mind, I don’t believe that Twilight’s obsession with sex—if they’re gonna do it, when they’re gonna do it and when they finally do it—is spiritually edifying content.
The Perception of Love/Relationships: Brio Magazine (a ministry of Focus on the Family to teen girls), in their review of the Twilight series, highlights the unrealistic expectation of a perfect guy. They say, “[Edward] is the fantasy creation of a woman writer.” This is not one of my most vehement objections, but it is a valid point.
Looking at the Twilight series as a whole, I am more concerned about the principles being fed to young people. Twilight teaches young people, esp. young girls, to be driven by their emotions in relationships. It constantly reinforces the idea the feelings trump everything else. According to this book series, emotions = true love. This is very deceptive. The Bible’s definition of love is sacrificial in nature. Love is a choice. Some may confuse Bella’s emotional sacrifice for Edward with true love, but it is motivated by her feelings. She loves the way he makes her feel, and is even willing to give up her soul (i.e. eternal salvation) to be with him. Her love is selfish, not selfless. And she refuses to recognize any dangers in her relationship, or accept any wisdom from the authority in her life. Which brings me to another point…
The Rebellion Against Authority: Another very harmful principle constantly supplied is the utter disregard for parental authority. The Bible clearly states that children must “obey [their] parents in the Lord, for this is right.” And even going beyond the actions of obedience, children are told to “honor [their] father and mother.” The attitudes must be ones of respect and reverence. Contrary to Biblical teaching, the parents here are ones to be simply tolerated or ignored, at will.
Orson Scott Card, a columnist for secular Time magazine states, "Stephenie Meyer's Twilight does raise some questions, and I've asked them. 'You really want your teenage daughter to live inside the story of a girl who lies to her parents, invites a boy to sleep in her bed and trusts him not to take advantage of her?'"
There are other issues that could be brought to light, such as atheism, blood/gory violence, an allusion to gang rape, various other occult references and some profanities and vulgarities.
Through flowery words and a romantic storyline, the author has entranced millions of readers, especially young people. However, when the fluff is stripped away, the philosophies left are hardly praiseworthy. It is evil wrapped up in an innocent-looking package. "For even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light." The enemy is waiting for any open door to bring destruction into the minds of God’s people. It is my belief that Twilight presents a door flung wide open for the working of the devil in our hearts and minds, deadening our spiritual discernment and justifying compromise in the area of media consumption.
Be of sober spirit; be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around
like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.
1 Peter 5:8
1 Galations 5:17, NASB
3 American Dictionary of the English Language, Noah Webster 1828.
4 Hebrews 1:14, NASB
5 Romans 12:9, NASB
6 Dueteronomy 18:9-13, NASB
8 Merriam-Webster Dictionary, “incubus” definition 1.
9 Acts 19:19, NASB
10 Speech given by Judith Reisman given at a Science, Technology and Space Hearing: “The Science Behind Pornography Addiction,” Thursday, November 18, 2004. Available on the Web at http://commerce.senate.gov/hearings/testimony.cfm?id=1343&wit_id=3910
11 Matthew 5:28, NASB
13 Ephesians 6:1, NASB
14 Ephesians 6:2, NASB
15http://www.time.com/time/specials/2007/article/0,28804,1733748_1733752_1736282,00.html 16 http://www.reuters.com/article/entertainmentNews/idUSTRE4AK03620081121
17 2 Corinthians 11:14, NASB.