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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. Bundler

    It's all fun and games until someone lets a black guy use the microwave. Hence Barrack Obama. Progress here in America has been irrelevant since Malcomn X. They talk about him like he had an IQ of over 50.

    January 5, 2012 at 12:41 pm |
  2. Old Hippie

    Don't you just cringe whenever you see an article that starts
    out with "People of any particular faith should.."?
    Atleast this one is only there to support book sales.

    December 8, 2011 at 7:58 am |
  3. Crisper

    Why CNN would waste space posting this I don't know, if it's not bad enough people consider Twilight news now we have idiots like this Jane Wells writing essays about how it ties into religion.
    When these books were written do you actually think the auther was trying to put lessons and morals from the bible in it, wonder if the pope is going to bring up this comparison and how much he likes Twilight because of it next time he addresses the public.
    The young girls and cougers(who should be dissgusted with themselves) who watch these movies arn't thinking about the religious values they took from it, they are thinking about how much they wish vampires and werewolves were real so they could take one home to bed.
    Sounds to me like Jane Wells is just making excusses up for fantasysing about young men dressed up like halloween monsters.

    December 2, 2011 at 9:00 pm |
  4. YeahItsMe72

    The obvious thing that Jesus and Vampires have in common is that they are both fictional.

    December 1, 2011 at 4:34 pm |
    • Jeremy

      Jesus is real and I hope you find Him. You will meet Him either way, if you want to or not.

      December 5, 2011 at 1:24 pm |
  5. BCA

    "The supernatural surrounds us"

    No, that's just the stench of people's brains rotting when they believe in fairy tale creatures and make believe wonderlands (aka all religions).

    December 1, 2011 at 3:45 am |
  6. isaac

    I wonder how Paul the Apostle would have responded to this article...

    November 30, 2011 at 1:50 pm |
  7. OvernOut

    Any time somebody says or writes "if you're a Christian, you should do this/like this/sign this", I'm outta there. I'm fine with the "Twilight" author making a pile of money off these books, that's her thing, and her fans are welcome to enjoy them. She doesn't necessarily need MY money–and it IS all about the money, no matter how anyone tries to spin this series.

    November 29, 2011 at 6:56 pm |
  8. Kenita

    This article is well written but I think that is the danger of it. It walks a fine line and the author comes incredibly close to equating the character Edward to a god-level. This is especially evident in her third point. I am a Christian and I've seen the Twilight films though I wouldn't by any stretch of the imagination consider myself a "Twi-hard". I think what the author is getting at is that Christians should appreciate Twilight for the values it promotes. But the argument falters in drawing extreme parallels that disregard the seriousness of some Christian beliefs and suggesting that there should be a "love" of any earthly thing because of a few similarities.

    November 29, 2011 at 5:10 pm |
  9. DownWithSparklepires

    Women are repeatedly commanded to submit to men and remain silent. There is repeated references of female subjugation to men in both the old and new testament.

    Wow, so the Bible really IS just like Twilight! Amazing! Who knew?

    November 29, 2011 at 1:09 pm |
    • Observer

      Those verses about women being silent? Yeah, there are always verses in the Bible that people take out of context. People critical of Christianity and the Bible always pull out verses that they can create controversy from. Pretty sad.

      November 30, 2011 at 12:24 am |
    • Real Deal

      Observer,

      Evangelical Rule of Thumb: If a bible verse furthers the cause, it is to be taken literally. If a bible verse is detrimental to the cause, it is either: taken out of context; is allegorical; refers to another verse somewhere else; is a translation or copyist's error; means something other than what it actually says; Is a mystery of god or not discernible by humans; or is just plain magic.

      November 30, 2011 at 12:31 am |
  10. Hypatia

    Oh dear God, woman! Did you actually spend time thinking up all this crap? What a waste of time!

    November 28, 2011 at 11:39 am |
    • mickey1313

      The real # one answer is easy, both christians and twi-tards are both collectivaly dumbed then 2 sticks rubed together.

      November 28, 2011 at 10:49 pm |
  11. atlholley

    hey there!!

    i hope this finds everyone well.

    listen, first this is fiction.
    second, the author of the story is a Mormon not a christian.
    lastly, if you have nothing good to say just don't say anything.

    i'm christian.
    i like these movies.
    i take them as what they are ... .
    a work of fiction.

    so, let's move on martha move on!

    November 25, 2011 at 10:36 am |
    • Kim

      Ahhh last I checked Mormons are Christian. Think before you speak or at least Google it

      November 29, 2011 at 6:27 am |
    • Jeremy

      Mormons are not christian, because you have to actually follow what Christ teaches to be considered one.

      December 5, 2011 at 1:26 pm |
  12. Twilight Fan

    I like that this article doesn't go for the easy Christian "likes" but looks deeper. Shows someone is thinking in there. I'm a little embarassed by my fellow Atheists who are slamming this well written article. Secular Humanism requires us to look for the places where we are similar. This is one of them. Back off a little. Or are you just Naysayers w/o thoughts?

    November 24, 2011 at 11:03 pm |
  13. Pedobear

    This film puts forth Christian values?

    Like how a being that is over one hundred years old hangs around a high school to pick up girls? The only thing he's lacking is some candy and a van down by the river.

    November 24, 2011 at 1:43 pm |
    • KentAZ

      I'm amazed that anyone over the age of 17 could even take this "Twilight" series seriously. Centuries-old vampires with superhuman powers who attend high school? Please...

      November 24, 2011 at 11:49 pm |
  14. concern villager

    Yeah...all of my die hard Catholic ancestors are totally dumb and ignorant.I don't want to be like them...Most of the religion in this dispensation are money makers...They all used the bible contents just to generate money from the moron members.....

    November 23, 2011 at 12:16 am |
    • Christine

      I for one appreciate your article, Jane Wells, on why Christians can appreciate the Twilight saga. As a pastor's wife, whose daughters introduced me to the 'twi-world', (both books & films), I was so incredibly amazed and refreshed to find that even in realm of vampires and werewolves, family values and chivalry are not dead. (I think that is what is so attractive to the 'Twi-mom' group, aside from the spiritual aspects you aforementioned.) I too, very much appreciate bringing to the forefront the spiritual world that is ever-present, yet at times, seemingly invisible.

      November 24, 2011 at 1:32 pm |
  15. Reality

    From the topic: "#1. The supernatural surrounds us whether we’re aware of it or not."

    Give us a break, tis nothing more than part of the infamous angelic/spiritual/satanic con game.

    To wit:

    Joe Smith had his Moroni.

    Jehovah Witnesses have their Jesus /Michael the archangel, the first angelic being created by God;

    Mohammed had his Gabriel (this "tin-kerbell" got around).

    Jesus and his family had Michael, Gabriel, and Satan, the latter being a modern day dem-on of the de-mented.

    The Abraham-Moses myths had their Angel of Death and other "no-namers" to do their dirty work or other assorted duties.

    Contemporary biblical and religious scholars have relegated these "pretty/ugly, horn blowing, wingie thingies" to the myth pile. We should do the same to include deleting all references to them in our religious operating manuals. Doing this will eliminate the prophet/profit/prophecy status of these founders and put them where they belong as simple humans just like the rest of us.

    Some added references to "tink-erbells".

    "Latter-day Saints also believe that Michael the Archangel was Adam (the first man) when he was mortal, and Gabriel lived on the earth as Noah."

    Apparently hallu-cinations did not stop with Joe Smith.

    newadvent.org/cathen/07049c.htm

    "The belief in guardian angels can be traced throughout all antiquity; pagans, like Menander and Plutarch (cf. Euseb., "Praep. Evang.", xii), and Neo-Platonists, like Plotinus, held it. It was also the belief of the Babylonians and As-syrians, as their monuments testify, for a figure of a guardian angel now in the British Museum once decorated an As-syrian palace, and might well serve for a modern representation; while Nabopolassar, father of Nebuchadnezzar the Great, says: "He (Marduk) sent a tutelary deity (cherub) of grace to go at my side; in everything that I did, he made my work to succeed."
    Catholic monks and Dark Age theologians also did their share of hallu-cinating:

    "TUBUAS-A member of the group of angels who were removed from the ranks of officially recognized celestial hierarchy in 745 by a council in Rome under Pope Zachary. He was joined by Uriel, Adimus, Sabaoth, Simiel, and Raguel."

    And tin-ker- bells go way, way back:

    "In Zoroastrianism there are different angel like creatures. For example each person has a guardian angel called Fravashi. They patronize human being and other creatures and also manifest god’s energy. Also, the Amesha Spentas have often been regarded as angels, but they don't convey messages, but are rather emanations of Ahura Mazda ("Wise Lord", God); they appear in an abstract fashion in the religious thought of Zarathustra and then later (during the Achaemenid period of Zoroastrianism) became personalized, associated with an aspect of the divine creation (fire, plants, water...)."

    "The beginnings of the biblical belief in angels must be sought in very early folklore. The gods of the Hitti-tes and Canaanites had their supernatural messengers, and parallels to the Old Testament stories of angels are found in Near Eastern literature. "

    "The 'Magic Papyri' contain many spells to secure just such help and protection of angels. From magic traditions arose the concept of the guardian angel. "

    November 22, 2011 at 11:58 pm |
    • concern villager

      you blabbed long enough pal,and you are so informed.....i like that:)I used to be an idiot Catholic,when i was 17 i decided to stop worshipping the wooden and stone God made by my stupic ancestors who are ignorant of that time.

      November 23, 2011 at 12:12 am |
    • Jeremy

      Science can never prove when the world was created. Just like science can never prove I went to lunch yesterday. Science cannot prove everthing. Unless you are an eyewitness to when the world was created, I would listen to what God says.

      December 5, 2011 at 1:33 pm |
  16. concern villager

    the earth is less than 10,000 years old...hmmmm...good guess huh!

    November 22, 2011 at 11:55 pm |
  17. ___.__

    The earth is less than 10,000 years old.

    (average Christian getting their science from the Flintstones.

    November 22, 2011 at 9:52 pm |
  18. concern villager

    @ Chris Collino..you've mention in your comments that science can explain can explain everything...I disagree on that statement of yours.Have you forgotten that every statement science can produce is a merely opinion of a scientist,it is base only of what they have observed now worm your way out of it and prove me wrong.

    November 22, 2011 at 7:49 pm |
  19. Chris Collino

    Pol Pot, Adolf Hitler, Kark Marx, Lenin, Kim Jong Il, etc. All agnostic/ atheists, All haters. All people. Looks like it's not the belief system but the.......PEOPLE that are the problem.
    Evidence for Christianity? Read your history. I mean really read it. Read the different views on it from liberal and conservative scholars. I dare ya!
    I see a lot of materialism here. "Just the Newtonian facts here, Miss" No post-Eisensteinian thinking. Only three dimensions right??? Science can explain everything, right?
    Could it be you're wounded by religious people? Could it be that your emotions are clouding your judgment? Could it be you made up a fairly tale so you feel better? Could it be that this fairy tale helps you justify your addictions?
    Read C.S. Lewis, Malcom Muggeridge and the many other intellectuals that became Christians. Fools? I think not.

    November 22, 2011 at 7:30 pm |
    • GodPot

      "Could it be you made up a fairly tale so you feel better? Could it be that this fairy tale helps you justify your addictions?" And you answer your own question with your question. Yes, Christians do make up fairy tales to make themselves feel better and more important, like "I'm so special I know exactly who made the entire universe and he knows me and we chat all the time and he helps me out when I pray to him, at least all the things he wants to help me with, not everything I ask for because he knows better, and even when praying for good peoples safety, I know he had a plan in mind when he let that drunk driver plow through the local playground..."

      Pathetic.

      November 22, 2011 at 7:39 pm |
    • Stacie

      To GodPot: If we are in fact so pathetic and demented, why waste your time on us in a comment board attached to an article about why Christians should like "Twilight?" You must agree with Jesus... giving your precious time to such "lost causes." He'd applaud you in that. You have a gift. Maybe you should manifest it into something positive. Use that passion to express your opinions by doing something good with it. Passion is not to be wasted. It's a gift!

      November 29, 2011 at 2:24 pm |
  20. Iqbal Khan

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KHugN4Z0tg0&w=640&h=390]

    November 22, 2011 at 5:56 pm |
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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.