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. Slick

    I'm not sure how you could find any sort of religious meaning in Twilight, when it's clearly a fetish fulfillment fantasy for submissive teenage girls.

    November 19, 2011 at 10:24 pm |
    • Morgan

      We like to call those "Mormons."

      November 19, 2011 at 10:26 pm |
  2. tfbuckfutter

    Neat. Bible fans and Twilight fans fighting.

    I hate to quote Eric Cartman too much but.....CRIPPLE FIGHT!

    November 19, 2011 at 10:18 pm |
    • Marc

      Love this comment. Also, nice name.

      November 19, 2011 at 10:24 pm |
    • Morgan

      Buahahaha! Indeed!

      November 19, 2011 at 10:25 pm |
  3. Hepzibah

    Twilight is an open door for demons......there are "werewolf" demons and "vampire" demons..... also, satanists can transform INTO these creatures... it is extremely demonic. Please don't call it christian – study satanism and what occurs, stop acting like satan and demons are NOT real, they are. I am a minister of the Gospel and have come across many strong spirits like these. If you have questions email me hepzibah@floodgaterevival.com

    November 19, 2011 at 10:12 pm |
    • Morgan

      Oh man. I've never done drugs, but I'm guessing you've done a few tonight.

      November 19, 2011 at 10:24 pm |
    • Hepzibah

      Morgan, I've never done drugs... it is biblical. We can talk about it if you want 🙂

      November 19, 2011 at 10:28 pm |
    • SouthofSeattle

      Wahwahwah....Leprechauns were once thought to be real, too...maybe you should open your mind and accept that some ideas are a little antiquated.

      November 19, 2011 at 10:31 pm |
    • Morgan

      Ohhh, I'm going to not have a private conversation with someone whose sanity I question. And anyone who claims that Satanists can transform into mythical creatures (or any other creatures, for that matter) is of questionable sanity.

      November 19, 2011 at 10:31 pm |
    • Hepzibah

      Morgan, it's called shape shifting 😉 It's not mythical... I know an ex vampire who drank blood... and many satanists can shape shift into werewolves. It's because of demons. Blessings

      November 19, 2011 at 10:32 pm |

      ....um...did you not just say that Satan exists? According to werewolf lore, Satan can make a person have the image of a werewolf...you are a serious creeper. Hey, make sure you aren't wearing any polycotten blends...that's outlawed by Levidicus. Now, I think I will go and practice some Satanism...Viva Satanas! Jesus doesn't fill my cabinets with food, let me pray to Satan for some noms...

      November 19, 2011 at 10:35 pm |
    • Morgan

      No. Seriously. Nobody can shape shift. No one is or ever can be a real-life vampire, werewolf, leprechaun, or tooth fairy. Science: it's your friend.

      November 19, 2011 at 10:36 pm |
    • Hepzibah

      Bless you... it's true

      November 19, 2011 at 10:47 pm |
    • TR6

      Can you put me in touch with some of these Satanists? I’d love to be able to transform into a werewolf

      November 19, 2011 at 11:45 pm |
    • Hepzibah

      TR, you do not realize how dangerous that is...

      November 20, 2011 at 12:04 am |
  4. Morgan

    No matter how far you reach, lady, you can't make "Twilight" into anything other than what it is: a poorly written, unbelievable piece of anti-feminist dreck.

    November 19, 2011 at 10:05 pm |
    • TR6

      @ Hepzibah: “No true believer would hurt anybody, crazy”

      Google Martin Luther and his book “The Jews and their Lies”

      November 19, 2011 at 11:50 pm |
  5. jsfraptor26

    Putting Twilight on the same level as the Bible is simply stupid.

    The Bible is Jesus, and i don't think i saw His name more than once or twice in this entire article.

    I saw only God this, God that. Guess what. You can't get to God unless you go through the Son of God first.

    Wake up and learn.

    November 19, 2011 at 10:03 pm |
    • Hepzibah

      PREACH IT!

      November 19, 2011 at 10:14 pm |
    • SouthofSeattle

      What if one's god doesn't have a son? Then Twilight is REALLY confusing...

      November 19, 2011 at 10:32 pm |

      Hepzibah is a total creeper. Creepy creepy creeper. Wants to steal your soul and eat your first-born son AND his placenta. Careful...he might use some of that Jesus juice to help molest your children...

      November 19, 2011 at 10:37 pm |
    • Hepzibah

      No true believer would hurt anybody, crazy

      November 19, 2011 at 10:48 pm |

      Your words hurt the baby Jesus in his manger. You should stop eating little babies, creeper...they taste better when they are older.

      November 19, 2011 at 11:24 pm |
    • TR6

      @ Hepzibah: “No true believer would hurt anybody, crazy”

      Google Martin Luther and his book “The Jews and their Lies”

      November 19, 2011 at 11:51 pm |
    • Uhhh...

      You do know there is something called the Old Testament, right?

      November 20, 2011 at 11:14 am |
  6. Robert Zaccano

    Oh please! There is no religious connection here! This is a movie about hedonistic teens (immortal or otherwise) that pursue their individual needs without any concept of the impact on others. On a more serious note, how is this news? Isn't that what the middle initial of CNN stands for? Or is it now the "Cable Nonsense Network"?

    November 19, 2011 at 10:02 pm |
  7. Ben

    Boy is this how movies are promoted nowadays? Kinda like congress, buy a congressman off and pass whatever you like he will propagate the public for it.

    November 19, 2011 at 10:00 pm |
  8. Really?

    This is reaching – and I am absolutely positive it's not what the author was shooting for.

    November 19, 2011 at 9:58 pm |
  9. Lauren

    Are you on drugs?

    November 19, 2011 at 9:57 pm |
  10. Joe

    This is comically bad. Wow. Those EXTREMELY general themes can be found in almost any novel, movie, or play. F.

    November 19, 2011 at 9:53 pm |
  11. matt wagner


    November 19, 2011 at 9:48 pm |
  12. Morgan

    Oh, you Christians and your death cult. It's downright adorable. And it's cute how you love to embrace the mystic, even as you're repulsed by it.

    November 19, 2011 at 9:46 pm |
  13. John Ellis

    Vampires are used in literature to capture/dramatize human experience and ways of life; such as that of jesuit priests. Symbolism is to be had and the unconscious has spoken whether certain messages are intended to be conveyed. I see the parallels made in the article and find them to be congruent with the rhetoric. I also see the other polarity that the fictional medium presents. Both are true and can inform us. There is definitely human interactions that are less than desirable in this movie and themes that contrast that of the parallels made in the article. All in all, the dramatization is one that presents the complexity of human interaction, agency and condition through the mythical medium of vampires.

    November 19, 2011 at 9:46 pm |
  14. Joshua

    What incredible gall! Is there any doubt this news organization is trying to pervert the biblical teaching? This is beyond the pale.

    November 19, 2011 at 9:43 pm |
  15. Uhhh...

    The Twilight Saga is a series of melodramatic teen novels, nothing more. Rather than reading Twilight, perhaps Christians should actually read the bible instead, seeing as how so few of them actually read it much less understand it.

    November 19, 2011 at 9:42 pm |
  16. Profcrab

    II thought the message was "You should wait for marriage, so get married really young. Oh, and make sure you marry someone super old too."

    November 19, 2011 at 9:40 pm |
  17. Miguel Caron

    How did this get on to the CNN frontpage, let alone CNN?

    November 19, 2011 at 9:40 pm |
  18. Mr Chihuahua

    Is that girl supposed to be hot? She looks like an inbred lol!

    November 19, 2011 at 9:39 pm |
  19. Youkidding

    Let me see if I have this right: CNN generally poo-poos the spiritual lessons of the Bible as fictional, but the spiritual lessons of vampires and werwolves are to be heeded?


    November 19, 2011 at 9:21 pm |
    • Bella

      So true.

      November 19, 2011 at 9:53 pm |
  20. Farmboy

    The Twilight franchise is just that–a big business venture that has nothing to do with any religion, and certainly not Christianity, only with making big bucks. Jane Wells' five parallels with biblical themes are completely laughable. These films, like the novels behind them, were meant for a female teenage audience who could identify with whining, hypochondriacal Bella Swan and her dental overbite. Was there ever a heroine so obnoxious? I doubt it, as she swoons her way through overly padded book after book andfilm after film.

    November 19, 2011 at 9:20 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.