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.
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.
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.
Both twilight and the bible are fiction there's some common ground for you
I do so want to suck your blood. I want you so bad that I am afraid I will hurt you.
Over and over and over and over
There may be a story there but I could not stay awake to get to it.
If you wish to justify your craving to watch well written romances starring vampires, then you will find lots of Bible verses supporting your desire. God is not amused at people manipulating His Word, mostly because the one who does it deceives herself and others you wish to be soothed. THERE is NO correlation between vampire stories and God's love.
Twilight is awesome so it can't have anything in common with the bible, aside from the fact that they're both fictional.
"There are epic and eternal themes in the books and movies of the Twilight Sagas, says author Jane Wells."
hollywood + the bible don't mix
That's the danger of religion, you can justify anything you do with it, including the most vicious and outrageous actions. That's what happened during the crusades AND WWII.
What a fruitcake. How can someone sit around all day and make this nonsense up?
It's TWILIGHT, there is no depth or spiritual message,...it's garbage writing for teenie boppers,..oh wait this is the "belief" section, you idiots believe in myths and historical fiction. There's nothing of any substance I can say and have you silly t w a t s believe, you're brainwashed already.
No brainers can't be brainwashed, lucky for you.
Creepy, flaky, old new age cougar. Someone needs to stop fiction and get a real life, you aren't a teeny anymore Jane.
Weekend filler everyone. Please read this in the spirit it was written in: traffic bait. The author knows the comparison is not appropriate, but doesn't care because she knows that it will incite dissent. She's probably sitting on the couch right now sipping hot chocolate with incense nearby figuring out how to tie The Hunger Games into the bible.
"Ooh, a chick flick about demons I go gaga over. Let's twist the Bible around so it makes it okay for me to watch it! How convenient!"
I love it how religious people can twist and turn their beliefs to justify anything. Jane, have the courage to be atheist and you won't have to explain so desperately why you like something. Where does CNN get these contributors?????????
Comparing Twilight to the Bible is like comparing My Little Pony to Mein Kampf
"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."
I live a perfectly happy life and have no "holes" which need to be filled by a relationship with god or anything else. Your credibility was just shattered, Jane.
you must have a large p0rn stash.
I will say, you have some interesting views. I have to agree with the anonymous poster, appropriate comparisons would be nice. you can't compare the Bible, which happens to be thousands of years old and non-fiction, to a fictional book that was hatched up and written to entertain not necessarily enlighten. I will say from a literary perspective, the Twilight series has no meat in the writing. And by that I mean it doesn't contain any deeper thoughts or inspirations as compared to say anything that C.S. Lewis wrote. If you want to compare the Bible to anything written more recently compare to C.S. Lewis, not Stephanie Meyers.
I like what you say in #2, that Edward is 100 years old and the hardest thing he has ever done is leave Bella. Isn't that a bit creepy? We have a 100 year old man in the form of a 18 year old boy hooking up with a 16 year old girl? all I can say is Wow.
I also like what you say in #5. Bella's mother doesn't get her and her father is clueless. Well, if she didn't lie to her dad all the time, he wouldn't be clueless would he. and her mother would get her if Bella would take the time to help her mom understand her. there is a communication gap or neglect there but mostly not due to her parents trying, but the stubbornness of Bella.
All in all, I think you have got some decent ideas, but need to take your context and comparisons from other sources, besides the Bible. obviously I can't make you do this as it is a free country, but for your own reputation, i would find a new way to analyze and support the series.
If you have bothered to read the stories you understand that in the Twilight mythology, when you get changed into a vampire, you are frozen at that particular age and maturity level. That's actually a major plot point of 'Breaking Dawn.' So Edward, a 17-year-old boy when he was changed, will always be a 17-year-old boy.
It is funny to watch people get upset at one fairy tale when its compared to another fairy tale. Its a crapy movie and a 2,000 year old book of questionable morality. Grow up people.
Please use appropriate analogies. This is very offensive Jane. Many people have fallen into the habit of using Biblical quotation for their own interest. This is an abuse to the Devine Inspirations. I don't know how you can give yourself the authority to compare what is REAL with historical proof with human artistic imaginations which is usually IMAGINARY. Please avoid creating unnecessary pains in adherants hearts. I don't know if u guys do it for fun or just to know what people feelings are??
@ anonymous: ” Many people have fallen into the habit of using Biblical quotation for their own interest.” Get real. 99% of the time when anyone quotes the bible it is for their own interest. Always has been, always will be.
Most stories you tell are not true on the physical, visual, explicit level, but can be true at the psychological, invisible, implicit (or spiritual) level. Christ's parables were not (we suppose) true at the physical level, but pointed to spiritual truths. That is what Jane has done here. Think of TWILIGHT as a parable, of sorts. Stories only connect when they tell spiritual truths at the psychological or moral level. Jane has pointed out a few of the eternal truths in TWILIGHT. How does this all work - stories connecting truth to society? See here: http://www.moralpremise.com
You can not be that blind. If you're a "Christian", how can you watch anything that glorifies demons? That's what a vampire is. Here's the definition from Dictionary.com:
(in Eastern European folklore) a corpse, animated by an undeparted soul or demon, that periodically leaves the grave and disturbs the living, until it is exhumed and impaled or burned.
It is evident that this is another sad case of Revelation 12:9.
You'd better read your definition a little more closely. You said an undeparted soul OR demon... not soul AND demon.... also... says right there "folklore" ... to believe in folklore is by definition following a myth. By saying "folklore" in the definition, kinda puts the kai-bosh on everlasting things doesn't it? You already know demons, vampires and werewolves have never and do not exist. So why are you taking this whole thing with any amount of seriousness anyway? What's next .. Harry Potter is real??
Bravo, Mirosal. Barry, the author can make of fantasy characters anything she wants to tell a story. That's the magic of imagination... something gifted us by God. Jesus had an imagination - he told parables. Untrue (supposedly) stories that taught spiritual truths.
Actually, the Twilight 'vampires' meet none of the criteria listed in your definition, or even follow much of the traditional folklore. Meyers' vampires do not leave graves, sleep in coffins during the day, grow fangs, burn to a crisp in the sun, or transform into bats or other animals. They can't be impaled by a wooden stake. They aren't even 'animated corpses.' Meyers' version of vampires are living people who are bitten and go through a physical transition, but were never actually dead. About the only real similarity to traditional vampire folklore is the blood diet, which is probably the only reason she called them vampires.
And the author of the article is simply pointing out some of the metaphors and symbolism of the books. Lighten up, dude.
Now the problem is that those people Jesus told the parables to passed those stories down a generation or 2, people thought they were TRUE, and decided that those stories were reality. Because of that, we now have a 2000 year old book with warped hand-me-down stories that people believed really happened. EVERY so-called "god" of that era, be it Greek, Roman, Norse, Egyptian, etc. is now relegated to the realm of mythology. This "god" is no different, and in time it will meet the same fate. It just won't happen soon enough.