Why Should we not Watch Twilight: A Christian's Perspective
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When we had to catch a bat
Twilight's Success Explored
We have seen vampires done as horror. We have seen vampires as humor. We have seen vampires on Sitcoms (Munsters). Now-a-days, we even have vampires as child-hood heroes (Cirque du Freak). Then of course the most popular vampire to day is in the genre of Teen Romance: the Twilight Series.
Twilight has done what so many others have tried to do. They have taken a subject that used to be only for the Sci Fi guys and Fantasy Geeks, and refashioned it. Today’s vampire is a story that teen age girls obsess over. And the "silver bullet" for Twilight’s success is a teen age love triangle.
Twilight had everything it needs to succeed in today’s pop culture. It has ancient mythological themes: vampires and werewolves. That is sure to bring in all the Sci Fi guys and Fantasy Geeks. There is blood and action to satisfy the lusts of the Horror crowd. So, men are sure to read or at least watch the movie.
There are the drama themes of the split family syndrom that is epidemic in America today. A distant father reconnects with a troubled teen daughter. She is in a strange place with few friends and running from long-time personal demons.
Now, that is drama!
So, adults and grandparents will probably find some dramatic appeal.
You even have the ancient culture and traditions of the Native Americans from the American North-west on display in the Twilight series. They are portrayed in a positive and powerful way. There is mystery given to their culture and lore. Who could resist that?
Then you have the latest craze in American entertainment: Super Heroes and their Powers. Twilight is in this genre because the Vampires no longer have only the traditional set of Vampire abilities. But like the Heroes TV show, they have unknown and yet to be discovered mysterious magical abilities of every imaginable description.
Super Hero worship has long been an American hobby interest with a strong niche market among the young male and the nostalgic adult male. But this has been really a niche market until recent decades. America as a whole has fallen head over heels with the fantasy world. In Fantasy, Sci-Fi, and Super Hero genres, America wants men and women that are able to do things that normal people only dream of. We are obsessed with every super hero we can get. We dream of having those extra-ordinary powers. Oh if we only could do that. . . Then we could finally take control of our own lives and make it what it should be. America is living vicariously through those super heroes instead of taking control of our lives through natural means.
This vicarious living though the fantasy world can become a sad and frustrating practice. Some people are so sad and feel so powerless in their real, every day, dry, and boring lives that they run from real life to live in a fantasy. We surround ourselves with stories of regular people that discover that they have super abilities. Our super heroes, in some ways, have become modern day substitutions for the ancient mythological gods. (More on that in another article.)
Twilight has another ingredient for success. It has plenty of clever twists. Of course, there is the eternal struggle between good and evil. But in Twilight, you have Vampires as both good and evil. I know that Twilight is not the first to make the un-dead into good guys. But what happened to the days when only bad guys would do something so disgusting as to suck blood? The good guys in Twilight, as well as some other current stories (Cirque du Freak) . . . The good guys have to suck blood.
There are other twists as well. Vampires are not burned by sunlight. They are glorified in a sparkling shimmer if sunlight shines upon their cold, pasty, white skin. They have made a treaty with their traditional enemies, the werewolves. By the way, these werewolves are not European. They are Native American.
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Now, if I can shift gears and give a different perspective on some of these things. I would like to reflect on Twilight’s un-dead "heroes" from a Biblical Christian’s perspective.
There are some things to say about the eternal struggle between good and evil here. The evil vampires are definitely evil, killing with joy, innocent men, women, and children. And the "good vampires" are people that have not chosen to become what they are. This has long been a theme from ancient vampire stories too. After all, that is part of the horror of it. No sane person would ever choose to become a vampire. No one would choose to live by drinking blood. . . Well, no one except Bella from Twilight. She wants to become a cold flesh Vampire so she can live with her true un-dead love, Edward Cullen.
The tradition is in this genre that all vampires (or almost all) do not choose to become blood sucking monsters. This could be seen as analogous to a fact in real life. The fact is that all of us by nature are sinners. While we choose to act in that fallen nature or not to, we did not choose to have a sin nature. This is similar to Twilight’s "good vampires."
The "good vampires" choose to not kill humans, but find other sources of food. How magnanimous of them! There is a theme of personal sacrifice there that is harmonious with a Christian virtue. We as Christians are responsible to resist temptation and evil appetites. We must control ourselves so that we do not harm others, which we inevitably do by walking after the sin nature.
There seems also to be a good theme of personal self control in the character of Edward Cullen. It appears that he controls both his vampiric blood lust and his hormonal "love" lust of the beautiful Bella Swan. This self control when they are "in love" should be practiced among the unmarried. This is a Biblical virtue. Of course, when Edward insists that they wait until they are married, every parent applauds.
In many ways, the Twilight stories appear to appease Western and American sensibilities of right and wrong, good and evil, and nobility vs. base character.
I admit that my knowledge is limited on this series. But there is one sensibility that has been lost in the Twilight stories. This is Christian and Jewish morality. This is a Western and American sensibility. This is the sensibility that says it is evil to eat blood.
Now, yes, I know there are cultures that have found their way around the Biblical sin. You can sample Black Pudding from Britain and Blutwurst from Germany. In the Orient, you can drink blood from an animal that is still writhing. Today’s American entertainment pushes the envelope with blood, gore, and torture in the name of "art."
Some of you will say, "Come on! What’s the big deal! It’s just a story!" Well, it is a story that would not have been told 50 years ago. There is no way that popular America would have consumed a story about good guys who drink blood like they do today. The story might have been told, but it would not be so popular. There is a reason for that. The first reason for it is that it is thoroughly disgusting. That’s why Black Sausage is a rare thing to see at picnics. I have never seen anyone eat it except on TV. We humans have a visceral reaction against drinking blood unless we come from a culture that re-programs the gag factor out of us.
Here is the real problem though. God’s Word, the Bible, says that eating blood is a sin and a crime. The Twilight stories makes heroes out of those that do this sin.
Genesis 9:3 "Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things. 4 But flesh with the life thereof, [which is] the blood thereof, shall ye not eat. 5 And surely your blood of your lives will I require; at the hand of every beast will I require it, and at the hand of man; at the hand of every man's brother will I require the life of man. 6 Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man."
Notice that God says that man can start eating meat for the first time, but blood is still sacred to God. Blood must not be eaten. Blood is the life of the flesh, which is why the occult emphasized devouring it.
You will probably respond, "But it just a story." "Only the bad guys are killing people." "The good guys are not drinking human blood."
Here is the thing. God does not limit the sin of eating blood to that of eating human blood or when it is done after you have killed someone. No, God said that we were allowed to eat meat, but we were not allowed to eat any blood. We are allowed to kill animals for food, but we are not allowed to take human life except in capital punishment.
Our purpose here is not to deal with the explosive subjects of eating meat or of capital punishment. That will have to be for another article. But notice God’s strict prohibition of eating blood. "[T]he blood thereof, shall ye not eat."
Some smart aleck will point their finger in my face and say that I am a hypocrite because Jesus said that we must drink his blood if we are going to go to heaven. Now, I know that most of you will know that is a ridiculous criticism. And that is a very interesting subject of study. Let me simply say that Jesus blood was different than the blood of every other human or animal that ever was. No animals sacrifice of blood could give us life. The blood of every human (other than Jesus) is poisoned with sin. Jesus blood is spiritually applied to us by the Holy Spirit. But we do not physically devour it.
God says that we are not ever to physically eat blood. This is not about the Law vs. Grace issue either. While the prohibition to eat blood was in the Old Testament, it preceded the Torah, the Law, and preceded Moses. As such, what ever you take the Law’s importance to be in this dispensation, the prohibition of not eating blood stands before the Law. I argue that it still is in force today.
So, here is my crisis when it comes to Twilight. I know it is a well done story, but I have a hard time really enjoying a story that has the heroes do something that the Bible says is sin. I know, you keep repeating that it is just a story and I just need to stop taking it so seriously. But that is what Satan always wants us to do. He wants us to suspend our religious convictions when we go into the public. Satan wants us to suspend our convictions when we read a book or watch a movie.
In a broader point of view, this is why we have heroes that torture people (whatever you think of torture in military applications). But we have movie star heroes torturing people in their vigilante justice. We have "heroes" being immoral and wicked in their personal lives. Satan gets us to sympathize with these wicked "heroes" because they save the day. And our "heroes" are the good guys when they steal from the bad guys. Wait, all thieves are the bad guys. But because one guy is "bad-er" than the other, it is okay that our "hero" steals and robs. It really makes me ashamed of our nation when the hero morally cheats by being with someone that is not his or her spouse. And we have been lulled into thinking that it is no big deal. We do not even register a complaint in our own minds anymore.
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Conclusion: the Apostle Paul's advice on Entertainment
I guess what I want to say to you, my friends, is this. . . You may decide to enjoy the morally flawed entertainment of this world. I mean, is there really any entertainment in this world that is not morally flawed in some way. I am not trying to put you on a guilt trip. What I want the most is to urge you to remain critical thinkers. Think, analyze what you are seeing, reading, hearing when you are enjoying your "amusement." After all, you know what the word "amusement" means, right? "Amusement" means "without thought."
Do not check your brain at the door when you sit down in front of a video or when you hand your ticket to the attendant. Realize what the writers and authors are saying about the world and life in general. If you do not recognize and label error when you see it, it can unconsciously influence how you react to life. That is why God says in Proverbs 4:23 "Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it [are] the issues of life."
Do not check your morality at the door either. There is a spiritual defilement that happens in our lives when we behold evil and do not resist. We become filthy internally when we see sin and do not turn away.
There are entertainments in literature, film, radio that a Christian must classify as evil or sinful. We need to turn from them. I Thessalonians 5:22 "Abstain from all appearance of evil."
There are other entertainments that are not as clearly evil or sinful as others. You have to make decisions as Christians on whether God is pleased with you being a part of a particular entertainment or not. There is freedom in Christ. Galatians 5:13 "For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only [use] not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another." There is liberty, but do not use that as an excuse to sin.
Let me leave you with Paul’s guideline to entertainment and thought. Philippians 4:8 "Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things [are] honest, whatsoever things [are] just, whatsoever things [are] pure, whatsoever things [are] lovely, whatsoever things [are] of good report; if [there be] any virtue, and if [there be] any praise, think on these things."
So, my friends, whether you decide to read or watch the Twilight series, do not check your minds or moralities at the door. Please, keep in mind what Jesus would say or do in response to what you do, see, hear, and read.
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