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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. dude

    I would never have guessed i could find twilight, or religion, more idiotic. kudos for convincing me i was wrong.

    November 20, 2011 at 11:17 am |
  2. John

    40 year old men lusting after under aged girls = disturbing criminal behavior.

    40 year old women lusting after under aged boys = hit book and movie series.

    November 20, 2011 at 11:17 am |
  3. sheil

    It's Just a movie! A friction Movie already. Does everything have to be about politics or religion with you people. People need to get a life!

    November 20, 2011 at 11:15 am |
  4. Henry

    #6 Women should be attracted to creepy stalkers.

    Oh wait, was that overwhelming lesson of the book/movie series supposed to be ignored?

    November 20, 2011 at 11:13 am |
  5. Fantasies

    Oh, vampires and jesus, two of the most fascinating fantasies that human beings. Life after death? What a joke!

    November 20, 2011 at 11:09 am |
  6. Aly

    What does religion have to do with a movie about Vampires? You can twist anything to make it whatever you want.
    Blood is sacred and god does not approve the drinking of blood whether its from a human or sheep. Twilight is entertainment and should not be taken seriously!!!! Unfortunately, some teens and/or young adults cant see the difference and might try to emulate what they see on the big screen and that's why some might argue instead, that Twilight glorifies misogynistic and abusive relationships.

    November 20, 2011 at 11:05 am |
  7. howdarei

    as usualy hypocriberals. Why is there any discussion about religion, yoga, spirituality etc. on a site that is supposedly only committed to the church of science? Liberal = Hypocrite

    November 20, 2011 at 11:01 am |
    • optomist

      Are you serious about crying because others don't BELIEVE like you do? You must be one frustrated son of a gun.

      November 20, 2011 at 11:12 am |
    • Uhhh...

      Luke 6:41 "Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?"

      I'm not even Christian and I think that's a great quote that perhaps you should follow.

      November 20, 2011 at 11:18 am |
  8. Rob

    The important lesson is that ogre-y looking women over their 30s can lust after 17 year old boys and it not be deemed inappropriate by our society.

    November 20, 2011 at 11:01 am |
    • Uhhh...

      Ah yes, the all encompassing double standard.

      November 20, 2011 at 11:19 am |
  9. Mark Piotrowski

    I challenge you to get the inside scoop on the Twilight series, its origin and the other trouble with this series at http://www.avoidtwilight.com (correct website!)

    November 20, 2011 at 11:00 am |
  10. Mark Piotrowski

    I challenge you to get the inside scoop on the Twilight series, its origin and the other trouble with this series at http://www.avoidtwilighlt.com

    November 20, 2011 at 10:59 am |
  11. JC

    "For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are saved it is the power of God. For it is written: 'I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.' "Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?

    "For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men." 1 Corinthians 1:18-25

    November 20, 2011 at 10:59 am |
  12. Red

    Really? I mean, it's possible that you believe this is somewhat insightful. But think about it a minute. Let's take #1 for example. Discovering a vampire world is in what way like any religion's spiritual awareness? As for #2: You are actually portraying Edward Cullen as a Christ figure? And you don't think that's a stretch? Really? I mean, I suppose anyone who sacrifices anything in life or in any story is just like Christ, then. Oh, and it didn't kill him. So your bible reference makes no sense at all. In #3 again, comparing Edward to God...because a teenage girl thinks he's perfect. You do realize how childish that sounds, right, that the things we idolize as teenagers are actually perfect and Godly? Since you brought it up earlier, you could try to refute the argument that the story is misogynistic at this point – that the concept of a girl who can't live without and whose entire existence is defined by this 'perfect' boy diminishes her, and makes her one of the weakest characters in recent memory. But ducking it might be your best strategy. #4 isn't a half bad argument, but seems you've latched onto an awfully small plot point. It's almost as if you're desperate. FInally, #5. I don't really see how she fits in so well in Breaking Dawn. I mean, not to spoil anyone, but they try to kill her child, because the act of giving birth to it is outlawed by vampires. She's an outcast in this new world as well. Maybe it works out in the end, but you might want to at least acknowledge that things aren't just instantly peachy because she's turned her back on a world in which she did not fit at the moment.

    Dear CNN – I thought you vetted articles? I know middle school students that could write a more persuasive argument.

    November 20, 2011 at 10:57 am |
  13. atheismisthetruth

    What a great article. The information is ridiculous, but it is a great example of how religions can get started. This lady could easily start her own faith that would gain followers based on some "good messages" that she made up from a book.
    The Twilight books give her "historical proof" and her own book and writings are scriptures giving the "good news".
    A supernatural idea and a writing to back it up is all that starting a religion requires, Scientology, Mormonism, Catholicism, Christianity and Islam all included.
    Hopefully Jane Wells has more ethics than to start a new religion, which is more than we can say for the other religious leaders.

    November 20, 2011 at 10:57 am |
  14. Schmuz

    ...hah. Wow. Crazy just like the rest of the Twitards.

    November 20, 2011 at 10:37 am |
  15. Leland Williams Jr.

    This author has no Biblical Knowledge whatsoever. Has she heard of 'Blasphemy of the Holy Ghost?' This book series is a candidate. http://www.goo.gl/cgo4a

    November 20, 2011 at 10:34 am |
    • Frank Bund

      Who cares about the holy ghost. It doesn't exist.

      November 20, 2011 at 10:36 am |
    • JC

      Pluto did not 'exist' until it was 'discovered'. If u don't find the Holy Spirit soon....you may regret it on that GREAT DAY

      November 20, 2011 at 11:02 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Of course Pluto existed. It's real. There's no proof your god is.

      November 20, 2011 at 11:14 am |
  16. Mr. Guy

    Just because a movie has eternal themes doesn't mean it does anything meaningful with them. Twilight explores its material in the most superficial way possible. Let's not make it more than it is: a vampire disney movie for pre-teens.

    November 20, 2011 at 10:30 am |
  17. 21k

    so is she also saying that hitler accepted god's plan for him? because god certainly did not stop his horrific actions.

    November 20, 2011 at 10:17 am |
  18. sandy

    To compare Jesus Christ to a vampire is pure sacriledge!!! It shows how we can twist anything to mean what we want it to mean. This lady has no idea what the Bible really says and though we are not to judge, I would doubt a real relationship with God.

    November 20, 2011 at 10:14 am |
    • THE BIBLE IS GARBAGE

      BOTH VAMPIRES AND RELIGIONS ARE MYTHS. THAT'S WHY THE COMPARISON IS SO EASY.

      November 20, 2011 at 10:22 am |
    • Daws

      Indeed, scripture tells us that Jesus rose from the dead, he's obviously a zombie NOT a vampire...sheesh.

      November 20, 2011 at 10:53 am |
  19. Katie

    Cnn... What the hell happened to you? This is the most ridiculous article I have ever read.

    November 20, 2011 at 9:55 am |
  20. Jerry Nash

    Jesus Christ is The Messiah. He is divine God made flesh. He one with God and is God. Jesus is the holy trinity: Holy Spirit, Jesus, God the Father. Jesus is the creator of all things and is The Word in the beginning. Jesus was born from a virgin Mary. He lived and taught among men. He was without sin. Over two thousand of Old Testament prophesy accurately predicted Jesus' birth, life, death and resurrection. Jesus was crucified on a cross as a fulfillment of prophesy and as an atonement for our sins. He died and was raised from the dead and is alive today. Jesus sits is with God today and acts as an intercessor for this who belief and have accepted his free gift of grace and forgiveness of our sins. Jesus will come again and make all things new again. All creation will glorify and worship him as Lord God.

    That is Christianity. Anything else is a worldly distraction and is not worthy of a Christians love. Christians might enjoy 'Twilight', but they should not love it. 'Twilight' should be regarded as a wolf in sheep's clothing.

    November 20, 2011 at 9:55 am |
    • 21k

      so ja-sus is the one that texas football teams pray to for help in winning games?

      November 20, 2011 at 10:18 am |
    • THE BIBLE IS GARBAGE

      IT'S CALLED ENTERTAINMENT. THAT'S WHAT MOVIES ARE. PASSION OF THE CHRIST WAS A COMEDY.

      November 20, 2011 at 10:21 am |
    • Daws

      Really? I thought that movie was a snuff flick... >.<

      November 20, 2011 at 10:54 am |
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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.