My Take: 5 reasons Christians should love 'Twilight'
The stars of the movie Twilight: Breaking Dawn at the UK premier of the film.
November 18th, 2011
05:00 AM ET

My Take: 5 reasons Christians should love 'Twilight'

Editor's Note: Jane Wells is the author of Glitter in the Sun: A Bible Study Searching for Truth in the Twilight Saga. She blogs (almost) weekly at www.glitterinthesun.com.

By Jane Wells, Special to CNN

(CNN)–The books and movies of the Twilight Saga have launched a firestorm of debate as to whether the vampire-human love story represents eternal love at its finest or glorifies misogynistic and abusive relationships. I am a proud member of the first camp, seeing epic and eternal themes in the books as worthy of discussion and the violence as a part of the fictional world that tells the story.

With Breaking Dawn, part 1, opening nation-wide this weekend, here is my list of the top five spiritual lessons from the first three movies in the Twilight franchise: Twilight, New Moon and Eclipse.

First, some background. Turns out, not all vampires are Bram Stoker monsters concerned only with their own impulses and appetites. Author Stephenie Meyer created the Cullen coven, respectful of human life, living off the blood of carefully culled wild animals. It is one of these “vegetarian” vampires, Edward, which the very human Bella Swan has fallen in love with. There is enough conflict in that one sentence to carry the story through four huge novels, one novella, a partial draft and eventually five movies.

#1. The supernatural surrounds us whether we’re aware of it or not.

In the first novel and movie, Twilight, Bella moves to her father’s home in Forks, Washington from her mother’s home in Phoenix, Arizona. Soon she meets Edward Cullen, and learns that vampires are not only real, but walk daily among the residents of the small town. Her awareness of them, or previous lack thereof, does not affect the reality of their existence.

In Hebrews we read that we are to entertain strangers because we might be entertaining angels. From Ephesians we also know that our battle is not against a physical foe but against “spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” An awareness of the unseen is a big piece of walking in faith.

#2. Love results in, and even requires, sacrifice.

In the second book and movie of the series, New Moon, Edward concludes that including Bella in his vampire world is unhealthy. He attempts to save her by breaking up and moving away. It is, he says later, the hardest thing he’s done in 100 years. Although it nearly kills him, he is willing to die if it meant she would live a normal, happy, human life.

It was no less than Jesus himself who said in John 15:13, “Greater love hath no man than this – that a man lay down his life for his friends.”

#3. Humans crave divine perfection.

Throughout the series, Bella notes how perfect she finds Edward in every way. The gaping hole Bella feels when Edward leaves (see #2 above) is very much like the one we spend our lives trying to fill with relationships, food, status, or any other of a million different things – but can only be filled by a relationship with God.

No one captures this better than David in Psalm 42, which opens with an image of a deer searching for water – just as David’s soul desperately seeks out God. In this psalm of heartbreak, David cries out to the only perfection that can heal him. Later, in verse seven he says, “deep calls to deep in the roar of your waterfalls, all your waves and breakers have swept over me.” Our human spirits recognize and respond to the call of the Spirit of God, even if in the weak echo of nature’s beauty.

#4. A drastic change of direction may be exactly what you need.

In the third novel and movie, Eclipse, we learn about Jasper Cullen, Edward’s adopted brother. He was second in command of a vampire army during the American Civil war. However, after several decades of constant conflict, the violence began to weigh heavily on him and he left. Eventually he found peace with the Cullen coven.

Every disciple Jesus called turned his back on one way of life to embrace another, none more drastically than Matthew who had been a tax collector. But the choice is yours, as illustrated by the rich, young man of Matthew 19. Jesus looked on him and loved him, yet he walked away from Jesus’ offer of eternal life because it hurt too much to give up his wealth.

#5. You’ll only really fit in after you accept what it is God has designed you for.

All of her life Bella was a misfit. In Arizona she was a pale geek. In Forks, she is the newcomer. Her mother doesn’t get her, her father is clueless. She is a square peg to everyone’s round hole – until the end of Eclipse where she realizes she’d been fighting to fit into everyone’s expectations which, although well intentioned, were far too small.

“I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11.

How about you? Are the expectations placed on you really right for you? Are bits of your soul and psyche rubbed raw by the assumptions you have accepted as your own? Perhaps it’s time to broaden your scope of vision. Because even your biggest dreams pale in comparison to what the God who created every good thing has dreamed up on your behalf.

I can’t wait to see Breaking Dawn. If it follows the books as the previous movies have we will see one of the toughest spiritual lessons of all – when Bella learns that sometimes it is after we’ve made the right choice that things are hardest of all.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Jane Wells.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Bible • Christianity • Movies

soundoff (995 Responses)
  1. Lenny Pincus

    I've seen stretches, but this one qualifies as something new.

    November 20, 2011 at 1:15 am |
  2. blaaaah

    CNN, this is a new low.

    November 20, 2011 at 1:12 am |
  3. dude

    I've seen all the movies, and I don't think there is a plot, just cool outfits and special effects. Meh, my wife seemed to like it.

    November 20, 2011 at 12:57 am |
  4. Jarred

    Jane Wells,


    November 20, 2011 at 12:54 am |
  5. Jarred

    “Harry Potter is about confronting fears, finding inner strength and doing what is right in the face of adversity. Twilight is about how important it is to have a boyfriend.”
    ― Stephen King

    November 20, 2011 at 12:53 am |
    • ashrakay

      ...and the bible is about believing your inner strength is the devil trying to tempt you to be naughty.

      November 20, 2011 at 1:20 am |
    • TR6

      @ashrakay: ”...and the bible is about believing your inner strength is the devil trying to tempt you to be naughty.” No the bible is all about giving you guilt so the church can sell you salvation

      November 20, 2011 at 5:33 am |
  6. Yepthat's me

    Did she just compare Edward to Jesus?! Bwwwahahahahahahahahaha!!

    November 20, 2011 at 12:49 am |
    • ashrakay

      I know, right? I mean, clearly jesus was a zombie who raised from the dead and then infected countless generations of masses with his brain-eating meme. Atheists are the zombie hunters trying to rid the earth of the plague before all reason is lost.

      November 20, 2011 at 12:59 am |
  7. Melody

    At the market yesterday, My husband and I saw three women in wedding dresses buying snacks and gushing over the twilight films. One of these women looked to be in her 30s.

    My husband and I looked at each other and could only laugh.

    November 20, 2011 at 12:32 am |
    • Aaron

      Sad but true. These books are jejune at best.

      November 20, 2011 at 12:55 am |
    • Fantasy

      Catholic nuns wear white wedding dresses when they take their religious vows... many of them also wear wedding rings.

      November 20, 2011 at 1:00 am |
    • ashrakay

      Hehe, "jejune." Let's try to simplify our words for the CNN readers.

      November 20, 2011 at 1:18 am |
  8. ashrakay

    Is there a way to unread this article?

    November 20, 2011 at 12:31 am |
    • jillian

      my thoughts exactly! talk about scripture being taken out of context.

      November 20, 2011 at 12:51 am |
    • tom

      'is there a way to unread this article'....so far the best comment in comment world history

      November 20, 2011 at 2:28 am |
  9. Discerning Reader

    What I read is a middle-aged woman who hasn't emotionally matured any more than a 13-year-old girl the Twilight series panders to trying to justify her taste in horribly shallow and one-dimensional "romantic" books/movies.

    My suggestion: go back to sewing sweaters for your hoard of cats.

    November 20, 2011 at 12:18 am |
  10. lightsguy

    A 90 year old guy dating a teenage girl. Even if he's in a 17 year old body, it's still pedophilia.

    November 20, 2011 at 12:17 am |
    • ashrakay

      I think that's the metaphor for the catholic church

      November 20, 2011 at 12:25 am |
    • tmb

      Also Penn State?

      November 20, 2011 at 12:59 am |
  11. dinak

    Hey, CNN, u forgot that Bella and Edward waited until their wedding night to have intercourse. He held back out of respect for her. Usually CNN loves to mock that kind of chasteness and morality. Obviously, the author of this article also did not want anyone to stop hooking up prior to marriage, because there'd be fewer dependent people to joint the Dem party.

    November 20, 2011 at 12:12 am |
  12. dr bip

    The most Christian thing about this movie was the appalling anti-abortion theme, that the girl should keep the demon inside of her sucking her very life from her because it is a "baby" and not a "fetus" as one of the other vampire women keeps insisting. Please if there is a god will you stop Christians from turning reproduction into sentimental goop and butting into other peoples' decisions about it? I won't stop anyone from being religious, but no one should prevent me from getting an abortion either.

    November 20, 2011 at 12:11 am |
  13. T Koonce

    This is the the most ludicrous comparison to Christian principles I have ever heard...lol....get into the Word and stay there....quit justifying your desire to watch trash movies with ungodly characters!

    November 20, 2011 at 12:10 am |
  14. Rachel

    Fortunately, for me, I do not believe in any organized religion, including Christianity, therefore these comparisons are null/void.

    I believe in a one-on-one relationship with God, and nothing more. I do not need to be engaged in social church-like establishments with people who are all very different from one another. What's the point?

    Oh, and by the way, though I love God....... I also love Twilight. It is because I can read between the lines in how much compassion and love spreads through these movies. It was brilliantly done.

    November 20, 2011 at 12:00 am |
  15. EatYouAlive

    So which character in the movie is gay?

    November 19, 2011 at 11:54 pm |
  16. wendydrr

    although these books and movies aren't intended to be Christian, i don't think a Christian should feel guilty watching them. they are thought provoking. Edward questions whether he has a soul, what eternity means for him, if he can morally allow Bella into his world. Bella has to choose between her old life and a new one, she loves Edward, but also has a selfish motive of eternal youth. I think the characters truthfully represent the confused and passionate way most teens feel, but never thought of it as abusive. Edward doesn't even want to do it without being married, I think a lot more teens could aspire to that!

    November 19, 2011 at 11:52 pm |
    • EatYouAlive

      Religion should just not be used to make movie decisions, ever.

      November 19, 2011 at 11:53 pm |
  17. shreppled ingot

    "A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. 12 I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man; she must be quiet."
    – 1 Timothy 2:11-12

    So yeah, put a sock in it, Jane.

    November 19, 2011 at 11:50 pm |
    • EatYouAlive


      November 19, 2011 at 11:52 pm |
    • Tezone


      November 20, 2011 at 12:00 am |
    • tmb

      this quite possibly wins at the internet today

      November 20, 2011 at 1:02 am |
  18. EatYouAlive

    Awww, she is all upset that the REAL WORLD thinks she is bonkers and her write up is yet another proof of the insanity of religion. Thanks lady!

    November 19, 2011 at 11:50 pm |
  19. momof4

    So this is ok but Harry Potter was evil? Wow is all I can say LOL

    November 19, 2011 at 11:50 pm |
  20. EatYouAlive

    I just threw up in my mouth. A lot.

    November 19, 2011 at 11:43 pm |
    • somehow

      choke on it.

      November 19, 2011 at 11:45 pm |
    • EatYouAlive

      Nah, I am ok now. Thanks for caring.

      November 19, 2011 at 11:50 pm |
    • EatYouAlive

      whoop, little more religion to puke up there, whew, much better.

      November 19, 2011 at 11:51 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.