Christians and "Twilight"

 Posted by on November 23, 2009  Add comments  Tagged with:
Nov 232009

After I wrote my Halloween post, a reader asked me to write about my thoughts on the “Twilight” series.

I read two of the “Twilight” books long before the hysteria began, because our tiny local library had them prominently displayed as new fiction, and I’m always looking for something new to read. I read the third book after the library acquired it, but I haven’t bothered to read the fourth one. To be very frank, I enjoyed the books that I read, but I don’t really understand what all the hoopla is about. The plot was interesting, and I liked how the historical background and setting of Forks, Washington were weaved into the story, but I found the writing to be mediocre, and at times, a bit cheesy. This is just my personal opinion, but it explains why I lost interest.

That said, the “Twilight” series is enormously popular, and as with Harry Potter and any fantasy series, it raises the question, “Should Christians read fantasy literature?” I think this is a personal choice, and I get really annoyed when I hear Christians judge and condemn other Christians for reading Harry Potter, when they enthusiastically read and endorse the “Chronicles of Narnia” series by C.S. Lewis. To me, this smacks of hypocrisy.

When I choose reading material at the library, it’s usually after reading the brief synopsis on the inside jacket cover, and it’s pretty difficult to know what you’re going to come across in a book, based on such a limited description. I generally avoid anything to do with the occult because the Bible says that Christians should “put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” (Ephesians 6:11-12).

The Israelites were instructed, “When you come into the land which the LORD your God is giving you, you shall not learn to follow the abominations of those nations. There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, or one who practices witchcraft, or a soothsayer, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, or one who conjures spells, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead. For all who do these things are an abomination to the LORD…” (Deuteronomy 18:9-12a)

There seems to be a growing interest in the occult, as evidenced by the ever-increasing array of books, movies, music, and magazines with occultic subject matter on the market today. The allure of occultic practices is that they promise “personal power,” through supernatural and psychic phenomena, such as communication with demons or spirits. Why would Christians, who profess to have given all power over our lives to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, need or want to seek “personal power?” The answer is we don’t, and we shouldn’t. Plain and simple.

Interestingly enough, vampirism is not generally considered occultic (see here for a list of occultic practices), for one simple reason – it’s not real. While there are people who pretend to be vampires, and drink each other’s blood (often as a sexual practice), the fact of the matter is that vampires don’t exist – they’re fantasy, pretend, made up. However, in traditional lore, if you are bitten by a vampire, your soul is taken over by an evil demon, and the act of blood drinking is forbidden by God:

“It is my judgment, therefore, that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God. Instead we should write to them, telling them to abstain from food polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from the meat of strangled animals and from blood. For Moses has been preached in every city from the earliest times and is read in the synagogues on every Sabbath.” (Acts 15: 19-21)

So, it would seem that literature about inherently evil creatures who drink blood does not point to God, and therefore, we shouldn’t read it. However, as witchcraft is very clearly an occult practice, we shouldn’t read about that either, but if you walk into any Christian bookstore, you will see the “Chronicles of Narnia” series prominently displayed and promoted. People argue, “But there are Christian themes running all through that series!” Well, I could argue that there are Christian themes running through the “Twilight” series as well. To name a few:

* Edward’s father, Carlisle, was the son of an Anglican pastor, and he claims that his Christian faith helped him to rise above the evils of vampirism, to become a doctor and save lives.

* The themes of the afterlife, and atonement for sin, are prominent in the books. Edward doesn’t want Bella to become a vampire because she will ultimately be judged as he will.

* The Cullens respect human life, and therefore they kill and feed only from animals. The battle between good and evil is constantly being played out within their souls.

* Though there is intense physical chemistry between Bella and Edward, they abstain from sex until after marriage.

* Bella becomes pregnant, and though the pregnancy puts her life in grave danger, she refuses to abort the child.

My basic conclusion is this…all of us, as Christians, must be careful about what we fill our hearts and minds with. I personally have chosen to avoid the “Harry Potter” books, and I don’t watch horror movies, because ultimately I don’t think those things point to God. This is what I consider when making any decision. Does God want me to do this? Why or why not? The answer is not always black and white, but if we pray for guidance, the Lord will help us make the right choices.

This is an excellent Scripture to keep in mind:

“I know and am convinced in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself; but to him who thinks anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean.” (Romans 14:14 – see also Romans 14:22-23; 14:3a, 5-6).

What this means is that as Christians, the things we eat, or drink, or read, do not make us unclean. This is not to say that God’s Old Testament commandments and instructions are now irrelevant, but that Christ’s ultimate sacrifice on the cross, and our acceptance of His saving grace, give us a clean slate in the eyes of God (everyone should remember this before rushing to judgment of a fellow Christian). However, this also means that we have a responsibility to know ourselves, and to understand where we are in our walk with Jesus. As in all areas of our lives, the Holy Spirit helps us to discern whether reading about sex, violence, or occult practices might influence or tempt us away from our faith. If you open a “Twilight” book, and it makes you feel uncomfortable, that is the Holy Spirit guiding you (“to him who thinks anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean.”)

So, if you’re trying to decide whether or not you should read the “Twilight” books, you need only remember this:

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)