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. Robert


    November 20, 2011 at 3:38 am |
    • Robert

      This link describes another perspective on the deeper meaning behind Twilight (better, IMO).

      November 20, 2011 at 3:40 am |
  2. VidiSensiVici

    What is this "vegan vampire?" Is the author trying to soften the image of a blood thirsty vampire so others could fall in love with a character that is supposedly not so dangerous? Last week or so, we have a story of one guy received some 300 wounds through meeting two young girls and they got involved in some bloody interaction. Then we have an all star model claiming she has "vampire vision." We really have to ask ourselves whether these shows about vampires, or stories of the dark side would do to the generation now. What are we trying to advocate here in embracing the dark side? .

    November 20, 2011 at 3:35 am |
    • Robot

      I hardly think those are indicative of the normal reaction to the books. Crazy people are going to find an outlet for their weirdness - the vampire thing is incidental. She's not encouraging people to do evil things. At worst, she's just guilty of bad writing. The books ARE garbage.

      November 20, 2011 at 3:38 am |
  3. Robot

    Well, she certainly doesn't LOOK like the kind of person who would adore Twilight and try to find religious parallels in things.

    Don't get me wrong, she seems like a nice enough gal. I'm glad she's committed to speaking her mind and trying to find the moral diamond hidden among pages of what I would generously deem "drivel". I just think it might serve her cause better if I didn't go into this article under the presumption that the first audience to hear it was an apartment full of cats.

    November 20, 2011 at 3:23 am |
    • tallulah13

      Hey, a cat can be a pretty nasty critic.

      November 20, 2011 at 3:38 am |
  4. Jman

    Good article and interesting perspective. Many of these people do not have open minds evidently. Keep doin' what you're doin'. It's their loss if they can't see the beauty in this film. However, many Christians would call this movie too worldy or evil, but it really is just a love flick with cool action scenes. I'm glad my wife took me.

    November 20, 2011 at 3:02 am |
    • Jman

      Oh, and welcome to the 21st century.

      November 20, 2011 at 3:10 am |
  5. Ginger

    Most of you are acting limmature – grow up and show some kindness. Especially those of you who profess to be Christians. You are all bent out of shape about an author's opinion. It's just an opinion and you don't have to go see the movie and you don't have to believe it's a good Christian flick. If you know your Bible, you should know what is true and what is not true. Parents, should be on top of what their kids are watching as best they can. It starts at home.

    November 20, 2011 at 2:57 am |
  6. I used to be a christian

    I agree with the 99% that think this is just so much BS. Why does CNN publish this crap? - and I'm not being mean, it really, really is crap. To say anything otherwise would be untrue.

    November 20, 2011 at 2:54 am |
  7. RichardSRussell

    Further evidence that the Bible is the world's longest running, most widespread, and least deservedly respected Rorschach Test. You can indeed look at it and find anything you want to see.
    But the author makes a good case for being able to do the same with the Twilight series.

    November 20, 2011 at 2:53 am |
  8. Jess

    My faith in humanity has decreased dramatically. DRAMATICALLY.

    November 20, 2011 at 2:52 am |
  9. Ridiculous

    This is the most ridiculous article I have read, ever!! Twilight being compared to the bible is ludicrous! Twilight is about a girl that becomes obsessed with a guy and puts him above everything else, even considering the relationship is emotionally abusive and Edward is overly controlling! How can Bella's obsession with Edward and calling him perfect be some manifestation of humans craving divine perfections!?!? It's the opposite! She's created an false idol! This is not even a B rated romance! It's a D-rated romance! It's not even romantic! The plot sucks and is practically nonexistance, the characters lack depth, Bella is spineless, the materials a little too mature for most of the tweens that read it (let alone adults), and I can't imagine someone with any let of intelligence holding such a crappy "love" story so highly esteemed!

    November 20, 2011 at 2:49 am |
  10. Dr.K.

    Boy howdy, is this silly. The exercise of likening the verity of religion to the world of the Twilight series just makes them both appear equally, well...silly.

    November 20, 2011 at 2:43 am |
    • biff

      Tiligh t is proof posi tve that you can hype anything and then sell it to the goyim and millions will follow and even infect a NW town!

      November 20, 2011 at 2:55 am |
  11. Nico

    I'm atheist, but even I feel insulted for the Christianity of my friends by this author's comparison of Edward to Jesus and God. NO. NO NO NO. Totally inappropriate, I am sorry.

    November 20, 2011 at 2:42 am |
  12. morsecoder

    The whole premise of this article is absolutely laughable. Give me a break. And Ms. Wells needs to get her head on straight.

    November 20, 2011 at 2:40 am |
    • Mirosal

      I disagree with part of your statement. her head is straight .. straight up her ass .... and she needs to pull it out!!!! I think the proper medical term would be cranial-rectal inversion.

      November 20, 2011 at 2:42 am |
  13. scott

    The spiritual lessons in twilight, or the nutritional value of koolaid. Take your pick, I'm not seeing allot of difference.

    November 20, 2011 at 2:29 am |
    • bifff

      the satanism is rife these days all over the pages of so called news sited. Ms Wells eyes are casting a spell on you and thi s story is BS designed to mess you up

      November 20, 2011 at 2:51 am |
  14. anonymous

    Are you kidding me? I mean really, are you kidding me?! How can you compare a vapid story to the literature found in the Bible?

    November 20, 2011 at 2:26 am |
    • TR6

      “literature found in the Bible?” Literature??? In the bible??? Where?

      November 20, 2011 at 5:17 am |
  15. DessB

    This is very interesting. I love when people try to see new perspective of things. I am a born again Christian and was having a hard time with the whole Twilight thing. I prayed about it a lot and I still am actually. I wish that young girls that fantasize over characters like Edward and Jacob could see that there is a God who loves them and created them and there is a King who did die for them. It is sad to me that these actors are extremely idolized, when really the only one who deserves our worship is God...but at the same time..I love when I can learn something from God or when He shows me things through secular songs..movies..books..etc.. very cool!

    November 20, 2011 at 2:25 am |
    • ashrakay

      Yeah, fall in love with the tyrannical, egotistical overlord who created a race of beings whose sole purpose is to worship him and whose idea of free will is worship me, or be tortured for eternity.

      November 20, 2011 at 2:35 am |
    • Mirosal

      If your "god" needs our worship and praise, then your "god" needs serious therapy, because "it" is suffering from a MASSIVE inferiority complex. Yeah ... follow my rules or I'll send you to a place of suffering and pain and torture .. that's not what I'd call a "loving" god .... seems a few Earthlings said that exact same thing ... Like Herr Hitler and Tovarich Stalin.

      November 20, 2011 at 2:36 am |
    • Nico

      I hate to burst your bubble, but love for God and love for a hot guy in a movie are NOT the same thing.

      November 20, 2011 at 2:43 am |
  16. SoMuChSmarter

    I cannot believe that this so called author took the time to write this garbage. If there is a God I would like to assume that He would be embarrassed that a B rate romance film about vampires was used to show His messages. I'm am positive its people like this that are ruining religion

    November 20, 2011 at 2:16 am |
    • Mirosal

      "religion" has been ruined since the time of its conception. And before you start, "religion" does NOT always apply to your X-tianity. Let's not forget the Greek, Roman, Egyptian, Norse, Hindu, Judaism, Zoostraian(sp?), Buddhist ... all of which predate your little book, some by thousands of years. They are all myths, and yours will join that same club in time, just not soon enough. To put a religious overtone into something that didn't have religion in it to begin with is just arrogance run amok.

      November 20, 2011 at 2:23 am |
  17. 2Cents

    My Take: 5 reasons Christians should love hate 'Twilight'.

    1. This is a blog to make money off innocent Christians. AKA Twilight Spam (You will love it go watch it!)
    2. Movie sucks
    3. Why shouldn't even Christians care about watching this movie in the first place?
    4. What could sinners tell Christians about change? Christians should be reading their bibles to get changed.
    5. Not all Christians have the same taste in Movies. That's like me saying Sinners should love Twilight.

    November 20, 2011 at 1:43 am |
    • KimCar


      November 20, 2011 at 1:44 am |
    • TR6

      “innocent Christians”? When did that happen? Or was Srebrenica just a mild misunderstanding?

      November 20, 2011 at 5:25 am |
  18. Diane

    I feel less intelligent after reading this.

    Twilight is a series of books and movies that are works of fiction.

    People who think these works of fiction meant for entertainment go against their religion are just silly. But what is even more silly is for someone to try to give a religious (christian) justification as to why these books and movies are ok.

    Its just like Harry Potter, and when I heard some christians weren't letting their kids watch the fictional movies made for entertainment. Its like.. what.. you can let your kid watch crime dramas where they murder people and solve crimes, or cartoons, but not fiction if it has magic in it? The whole concept is stupid. If parents would step up to the plate and actually talk to their kids and tell them "magic isn't real, this is just a story" everything would be fine. Now this twit is applying the same concept to Twilight.

    How about we just leave our fictional entertainment as being.. fictional entertainment.

    November 20, 2011 at 1:42 am |
    • TR6

      Oh No! you start letting christian children watch fiction and they will begin to notice the similarities between it and the bable

      November 20, 2011 at 5:27 am |
  19. Sarah

    As a Christian, this is the stupidest thing I have ever read and I am horribly offended.
    As a person breathing air, this is the stupidest thing I have ever read and I am horribly offended.

    November 20, 2011 at 1:36 am |
    • ashrakay

      That's saying a lot, since I assume you've also read the bible.

      November 20, 2011 at 2:30 am |
  20. Bad Billy Biker

    Silly fools: Vampires and werewolves don't exist. Look beyond the surface and you will find a love story that is Shakespearian if not better. Epic, classic, visceral, insightful and enduring. I thought this series was adolescent nonsense till I read and saw it.

    November 20, 2011 at 1:15 am |
    • tmb

      The children's book Everybody Poops has more visceral insight and much more enduring.

      November 20, 2011 at 1:42 am |
    • Robot

      Maybe because each of her books is "loosely based" on a different literary classic, two of which ARE Shakespeare.

      If I make a cake and someone says, "Wow! This tastes like chocolate!", it's less amazing when I inform them that it's because one of the ingredients was, in fact, chocolate. If it seems like she's up on a pedestal, look closer and maybe you'll notice that she's just standing on the shoulders of giants.

      November 20, 2011 at 3:36 am |
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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.