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. Colin

    This is a stupid article. I could write an article called "Why atheists should love twilight" and then make points like "Richard Dawkins writes books.... Twilight is a book.... therefore there is a connection" All that this lady is doing is finding weak connections between things. I do find her first point funny though. It is like she takes the appeal to the supernatural in the book to then try to validate that supernaturalism is true in real life. She is so deluded, I can't even imagine how stupid a conversation with her would be. It is like if I tried to prove a point about the existence of aliens by referencing the movie ET. Any sensible person would call me an idiot for even trying to do such a thing. She does make it clear to me, however, that Christians really can't tell the difference between what is written in a book and what is reality. CNN needs to start picking better journalists. Seriously. Get on it...

    November 19, 2011 at 3:07 pm |
  2. Cambob

    "vegetarian vampire"... I burst out laughing when I read that. thanks for the good laugh.

    November 19, 2011 at 3:03 pm |
    • Nonimus

      Yep, hillarious. But hey, they don't eat meat, do they?

      November 19, 2011 at 3:07 pm |
  3. Rebecca

    Is this a prank article? Tell me it is.

    November 19, 2011 at 3:02 pm |
  4. JW

    OK, this author is just stretching it, completely out of touch with mainstream Christianity. It makes for nice fantasy discussion and such, and a good way for modern "Christians" to rationlize away the conflict between their love for such movies and their belief that they follow the teachings of Christ.

    November 19, 2011 at 3:02 pm |
  5. David

    Dear Jane Wells, what the sam hill kind of Christian are you? I am thankful to God that my teenage daughter thought the books were a waste of her time, and the female character whiney and annoying. And let's get historical for a moment; the concept of vampires was based on a real 14th century person by the name of Vlad the impaler, considered one of the most evil people in history. And coincidently, his castle which still stands, is considered one of the most haunted places in the world. This guy used get his kicks by dipping people head first in boling oil, or literally shoving a pole up peoples back side and laughing as they screamed in pain. And frankly, I really am sick of phoney christians like you, giving the rest of us a bad name. You pervert the teachings of Jesus to support your own twisted lust for Edward, by taking the teachings out of context. You are no better than the nutballs that keep predicting the end of the world, or protest at the funerals of our fallen soldiers. Shame on you!!!

    November 19, 2011 at 2:58 pm |
    • Fozzyspeak

      LoL David decided you werent a Christian, instead of leaving it to God to decide. Im not even Christian and I think he might of crossed the old judge not lest ye be judged line.

      November 19, 2011 at 3:05 pm |
    • TR6

      @David: “And let's get historical for a moment; the concept of vampires was based on a real 14th century person by the name of Vlad the impaler, considered one of the most evil people in history”

      Get your history straight, VLAD WAS A GREAT CHRISTIAN WARRIOR who defended what is now Romania from the Muslim hordes. A little blood thirsty and a bit vindictive he is the quintessential role model for modern East European Christians as they slaughter Muslims (try Goggling Srebrenica massacre)

      November 19, 2011 at 9:38 pm |
  6. Wholly Mary

    "christians" aren't happy unless everone else is unhappy, including their fellow "christians".

    November 19, 2011 at 2:56 pm |
    • David

      not even close to the truth, those who truely love the Lord, seek joy, and to bring joy to others.

      November 19, 2011 at 3:00 pm |
    • Wholly Mary

      In your delusions Davey my boy, delusions.

      November 19, 2011 at 3:12 pm |
  7. Catrim

    Such trite pandering in the name of journalism. Was there no real news to cover?

    November 19, 2011 at 2:54 pm |
  8. D

    I wonder if there 5 reasons Christians should not love Twilight.

    November 19, 2011 at 2:54 pm |
  9. Reallythough whocares

    Thank you, I found this intriguing! I am a Christian, and a reader who enjoyed the Twilight series. I don't care for the movies, but love the story. I was never a fan of the last installment, though all my friends think I am a lunatic to say it. I really thought, when opening this article. That I would read about the "purity" angle in the Edward/Bella relationship, pleased that it was much more deep than that!

    I find the comments most funny, especially the ones telling you to keep your opinion to yourself... They should take their own advice. If you have nothing nice to say, go back to bed! LOL! Keep writing dear blogger! And keep reading, too! Thank you for this article, I plan to share it with many friends!

    November 19, 2011 at 2:46 pm |
  10. bootyfunk

    these movies are super lame. so it actually makes sense that christians would like them since christians are super lame.

    November 19, 2011 at 2:43 pm |
  11. SixDegrees

    I believe that Christians – along with Hindus, Muslims, Atheists and everyone else – should stay as far away from this twaddle-filled, third rate bilge as they possibly can. If you start accepting that this cesspool of tawdry writing has any merit at all, you might soon find yourself thinking that other things – like gargling feces – might also not be too bad.

    November 19, 2011 at 2:41 pm |
    • elfonzo

      Eugh. You got that right. I'm not even Christian and I was mildly offended that this writer would compare Twilight to the Bible. My take on the story: A brainless, starry-eyed teenage girl manages to alienate all her friends and family for an obsessive undead creature. She seduces a werewolf younger than her for information, and is surprised when she discovers the wolfboy has fallen in love with her. Meanwhile, she's trying to get into the pants of psycho undead boyfriend, who refuses to deflower her until she resigns herself to joining him in eternal marital undeadness, and proceeds to control every aspect of her life–which she's totally okay with.

      Ugh, hahah this series makes me upset.

      November 19, 2011 at 3:15 pm |
    • TR6

      @elfonzo: ”until she resigns herself to joining him in eternal marital undeadness, and proceeds to control every aspect of her life–which she's totally okay with.”

      Sounds pretty Christian to me. Kind of like the rapture where the dead rise up into the bride of Christ who joins him in eternal undeadness and in the mean time religion controls every aspect of their lives – which they are totally ok with

      November 19, 2011 at 9:54 pm |
  12. Dwayne

    Odd comparison. On the one hand you have intellectual children weeping, pining, and planning their lives around a make-believe world with fictional characters who have mythical powers. On the other hand you have the Twilight fans. I suppose they have that escapist drivel aspect in common.

    November 19, 2011 at 2:40 pm |
  13. steve

    what about teen pregnancy and beastiality??? not exactly Christian morals

    November 19, 2011 at 2:36 pm |
  14. William

    Christians? Why just Christians? What about Hindus? Muslims? Hebrew?

    November 19, 2011 at 2:35 pm |
  15. CJ

    I am sure Christians do love Twilight, being the fans of fiction that they are.

    November 19, 2011 at 2:33 pm |
    • Springer

      Haha BOOM

      November 19, 2011 at 2:40 pm |
    • colleen

      You know CJ Jesus did not say one word when he was stripped ...beat to where his flesh came tearing off his
      body. Had a crown of thorns jammed hard into the top of his head. Carried a very heavy piece of wood upon his
      back. Up to a hill Called Galgotha they hammered two inch nails into his wrist.....hoisted him up and he hung there
      until every breath went out of him and every bone in his body broke because he could not hold himself up. He did
      that for you and me. Also the sky went black and there was a strong shifting in the earth. BTW scientist have agreed and
      have proven that there was an earthquake at the time Jesus was hung on the cross. My point is seek Him he loves you

      November 19, 2011 at 2:53 pm |
    • David

      Colleen, you forgot to mention the bit from Matthew 27:52-53 where he summoned an army of zombies to invade Jerusalem.

      November 19, 2011 at 5:56 pm |
    • Get Over It

      colleen - "scientist have agreed and have proven that there was an earthquake at the time Jesus was hung on the cross"

      The scientist's name please, and a link to his peer-reviewed, scientifically accepted study...

      November 19, 2011 at 6:30 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Colleen? Were you aware that making things up is the same thing as lying? Since there is no proof that Jesus existed, much less was crucified or a specific time, there is no way for any person to scientifically state that an earthquake occurred to correspond with the event.

      November 19, 2011 at 7:01 pm |
  16. Reality

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

    Not so fast as we counter with a prayer:

    The Apostles' Creed 2011: (updated by yours truly based on the studies of NT historians and theologians of the past 200 years)

    Should I believe in a god whose existence cannot be proven
    and said god if he/she/it exists resides in an unproven,
    human-created, spirit state of bliss called heaven?????

    I believe there was a 1st century CE, Jewish, simple,
    preacher-man who was conceived by a Jewish carpenter
    named Joseph living in Nazareth and born of a young Jewish
    girl named Mary. (Some say he was a mamzer.)

    Jesus was summarily crucified for being a temple rabble-rouser by
    the Roman troops in Jerusalem serving under Pontius Pilate,

    He was buried in an unmarked grave and still lies
    a-mouldering in the ground somewhere outside of

    Said Jesus' story was embellished and "mythicized" by
    many semi-fiction writers. A bodily resurrection and
    ascension stories were promulgated to compete with the
    Caesar myths. Said stories were so popular that they
    grew into a religion known today as Catholicism/Christianity
    and featuring dark-age, daily wine to blood and bread to body rituals
    called the eucharistic sacrifice of the non-atoning Jesus.


    November 19, 2011 at 2:30 pm |
  17. Caleb

    With due respect, it's probably a mistake to quote Jeremiah 29.11 when you're talking about individual design and purpose. Reading them in their context (Jer 29.1-23) one finds that this declaration is part of a letter to the nation of Israel in exile in Babylon to strengthen and encourage them in their hope that although they currently reside outside of the land promised to the patriarchs, the Lord would nevertheless care for them, prosper them in that place, and ultimately lead them back to the land of promise. Using this one verse as a prooftext for the "wonderful plan" God has for an individual's life radically mistreats the meaning text, because that is simply not what it is saying.

    November 19, 2011 at 2:26 pm |
  18. Jiggs

    Worst article ever. Bet I could give you more reasons why Christians should not even watch these stupid vampire movies. Hey Jane Wells, please give up writing and keep your opinions to yourself.

    November 19, 2011 at 2:21 pm |
  19. lesia

    Just another reason not to pay attention to either of them

    November 19, 2011 at 2:20 pm |
  20. Josh

    Vampires are stalker monsters with oral fixations. Dracula was a wealthy aristocrat rapist for women to dream about and imagine being gold diggers for. They (vampires and to some extent, women) are tools of patriarchal society.

    November 19, 2011 at 2:17 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.