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.
WTH! Is this author really that clueless!? Trying to justify biblical concepts with a movie that clearly goes against everything the bible teaches! Was this article written by an atheist that had to do this for a school project? The movie has no biblical base and does not even teach viewers ANYTHING about GOD. If anything, this movie will take the focus off God because people get obsessed with the magical/mystical world of vampires and werewolves!! There are more people lined up and screaming and crying for these actors than there are people crying for and trying to help others that are hungry or suffering!! These actors cannot offer any guidance or spiritual strength for fans to hold on to in times of grief or despair. Sad...
Reply to TiffNy. C.S. Lewis' The Chronicles of Narnia had some religious undertones..You sound like you're not old enough to understand the deeper tones of some novels.
I sincerely doubt that "twilight" possesses any significant biblical spiritual lessons. If you'd like a spiritual lesson, perhaps cnn should study some of the great american theologian jonathan edwards.
So. . . you are telling me that because of my beliefs I have to like a book that has terrible main characters, bad writing, and a plot that has very little depth. NEVER will i like or 'love' them. In my opinion, the Twilight books bring no good to literature or culture, and the movies even less so unless you are bored and can't stomach 'real' vampire lore. The only time I will watch those movies is to make fun of them with friends.
Are you the author of "A Modest Proposal" reincarnate?
You are reading way too much into it. A sheltered Mormon housewife writes a very highly romanticized version of love, wraps it in a rather derivative supernatural setting, and out comes four ponderous tomes of second-rate prose written for naive tweens. If it were food, the Twilight series would be about like a big bowl of chicken soup seasoned with several large scoopfuls of sugar. Consider that the movie studios were able to make the movies without removing any detail from the plot. Compare that with Harry Potter, where about half the fourth book made it into the movie.
Twilight was successful because it was time for a change in the prevailing fads afflicting the tweens. Now that the market is utterly saturated with teenage-vampire-romances, the fashion will fade, and the children reading these books will move on.
I certainly hope fashion turns away from this crap.
The parallels between Twilight and the Bible must be God's way of getting more fat chicks in heaven.
Nice random insult. It's funny how many guys who complain about "fat chicks" have guts hanging over their own belts.
This has to be satire.
I am really tired of comments along the lines of "I'm a Christian and..." or "As an atheist, I..."
This article is only one person's opinion, and this author was sorely misguided to make a statement of why all Christians should love Twilight. The concepts of religion and a book series do not need to mix exclusively. I'm sure there are atheists that love Twilight, Christians that hate it, and any other kind of mix in everyone's opinion. Religion and Twilight aren't exclusive to the other.
I AM SAYING THIS AS AN ATHIEST
NO ONE SHOULD LOVE TWILIGHT
IT IS TERRIBLE AND YOU SHOULD FEEL BAD FOR LIKING SOMETHING SO TERRIBLE
Because atheism is totally about which vampire books to read. Right. Got it.
I think the point was that horrible attempts at literature should be eschewed by christians and atheists alike.
God is very vindictive. Everybody here is going to hell. Especially the religious suckups.
Faith creates a vacuum so that everything it touches sucks.
That why their god, who is null and void, is so important.
You need a proper nothingness to worship to truly make everything really suck a lot.
3/5 for lame troll attempt.
I am a Christian. This article is ridiculous. Unless the author of the books intended there to be parallels to her stories and Christianity, PLEASE don't try to force it! Sheesh! Jesus doesn't need vampires to tell His story, thank you very much. Just enjoy the movies for what they are: interesting FICTION.
blah blah blah
That’s right. Being a zombie, jesus must feel very inferior to vampires
No, Jesus doesn't need Vampires, but since Christians have become pretty inept at actually living out the Gospel, it takes vampires to explain what Christians can't seem to demonstrate through action. So, all this to say, it's Christians that need vampires, used like a ventriloquist.
The author of this article illustrates the need that Evangelicals have to appeal to the larger popular media saturated culture. This has become the new trend to find philosophical and religious significance in movies, TV shows, novels, comics and God knows what else. Unfortunately it also shows the need to dumb down and read things from the media that were never intended to be there in the first place. And as far as Evangelicals are concerned it demonstrates the need to be trendy and up to date with the intention of adding to their flocks.
smoke some weed and look through a microscope. organized religion is pathetic and prays on weak minded people. and now the christians against pot are gonna give me some anti drug shannanigans. its a little paranoid making a plant that grows naturally against the law. saying pot is bad is like saying god made a mistake. it might give us the idea that we are supposed to..use it!
How about deadly nightshade? It’s all natural. Then again it’s not illegal. I guess the pot laws really are screwed up
Brought to you by Ashley Roachclip, from United Heads for Hemp.
Your perception becomes "your" reality.
Lady, you have lost your damn mind.
Once again, CNN has shown how a once reliable news network has sucken to a new low. What ever happened to delivering news that actually mattered - investigative journalism, unbiased political reporting, and holding public officials accountable. Please do not mistake my page view as evidence that articles like this are what keeps the public interested. CNN, I expected better of you, but you are forcing me to turn to other news sources like the Economist and NPR. Good luck with your Nancy Grace-style, sensationalist, wow-factor reporting.
Shhh! They are just following orders, like good little nazis. We are still waiting for them to start wearing stylish CNN uniforms.
THEN we can speak the truth!
It's. a blog!
being Christian.... i wonder whats the difference between calling this Christian and calling people like palin or bachman Christian.... both a joke.... and no i am not a woman hater.... i do hate those that use pathetic Christian type people to achieve their own goals though
For all you women drooling over these vampires in these idiotic movies, consider this: vampires have NO blood, therefore they can never, ever get an erection.
rigor mortis of the penis.
hawaiiduude, we don't want to hear about your personal problems....
There is nothing appealing about the concept of an animated corpse.
Which is why vamp girls think normal guys are hot.
what is truly needed is an article about the thousands of reasons not to be a christian
1. to be self centered
2. lie cheat and steal.
3. to be greedy.
4. To have no soul.
5. be your own god.
6. Worm food when dead.
7. nothing to hope for.
Why would you even be concerned? How about 1 reason to be one....YOU!!
hawaiian dude, that's some pretty harsh judgement against christians.
Isn't that always on the cover of every magazine you pick up? cnn posts these sorts of half brained articles every day. What would be interesting is if they ever once interviewed an orthodox Christian theologian such as R.C Sproul.
This person is crazy and lacks understanding of what a real a Christian is...Lady please go back and read and study the Bible before you write this kind of article.
a real christian loves god with all their heart mind and soul and loves their fellow human.
It has nothing to do with religion or "standing with zyo nist izreal.'
Christians are phonys
We a doing the best we can. What exactly do you find phony?
Post by Spiritaldelite is the No True Scotsman fallacy.