Admittedly, I have not read Twilight or seen the movie. I want to walk the talk and avoid this series since I’m campaigning hard for you to do the same. But, since many of you have read these books and/or seen the movie, I thought it might be helpful for you to hear from another Twilight reader.
My friend, Jessica has read all four books and seen the movie. She is a college senior and a volunteer in the youth group my husband pastors. As we started talking about this issue in our youth group, Jessica started to re-examine her opinions on the series. I asked her to share them with you.
Erin: Why do you think these books are so attractive to you and other girls your age?
Jessica: I picked it up because my friends kept talking about it and I wanted to be a part of their conversation. However, once I began reading the first book, I was totally bewitched by the characters. I thought back to my high school days and wished that a handsome vampire would have swept me off my feet (literally). There is a level of perfection in this book that us mere humans only wish to attain, and I lived vicariously through Bella Swan, the story’s main character. The first three books weren’t hard to read…I mean that I didn’t realize I was getting caught up so much in the story that I was living it. But the fourth book took me down hard…
I believe these books are so attractive to other girls my age because it appeals to a woman’s longing to be loved. It appeals to perfection, to “Mr. Right”, and to darkness. Now, we all know vampires, werewolves, and shape shifters don’t really exist. But there is something so sweet about dipping a toe in that kind of darkness. The Bible says that we (yes, WE!) are attracted to that darkness. And just because Mr. Cullen is a “veggie” eating vampire, it doesn’t mean that the darkness doesn’t exist.
As Christians, we’ve been told that books like the Harry Potter series are bad because they deal with sorcery, magic, whatever… we are attracted to the Twilight series because as far as I can tell, there aren’t many people (Christians) speaking out against it, yet. In fact, every person I know that has read the books IS A CHRISTIAN. I was talking to some non-Christian friends about it the other day, and they didn’t know what the series was!
Could it be that we excuse the content of these novels because they were written by someone of “faith”? Could it be that we excuse their darkness because the movie’s soundtrack includes songs by Relient K and Mute Math? Just wondering…
Erin: While you were reading these books, did you get any sense that you shouldn’t be reading them? If so, why did you ignore it?
Jessica: I don’t recall getting a sense that I shouldn’t be reading them until I got to the fourth book. I had been anticipating its release for weeks and was so excited about having it that I went to the bookstore at midnight to buy it and read it ALL NIGHT. The next day I began thinking about how I wished I was a vampire. I wished that someone like Jasper or Emmett would sweep me off my feet, would take me in and “bite me.” That was the turning point. Even then, it wasn’t so much a sense as much as it was that I realized I was escaping from Christ. My relationship with the Lord had been waning a bit at that point, and I was attempting to make the Cullen clan His replacement. The best I could come up with was to wish to be a vampire.
Erin: How did these books affect you spiritually, emotionally, etc.?
Jessica: Spiritually-I tried to replace God with the Cullens. I was so wrapped up in reading it that I replaced my quiet times with Bella and Edward.
Emotionally-I was in love with a fictional character, who was a vampire nonetheless. I think that needs no further explanation as to how crazy that is! The books were all I could talk about, all I could think about. In every situation in my life, I would say… “Hmm, I wonder how Edward or Bella would handle this? Gee, I wish Jasper were here to calm me down in this crazy situation… Oh, I wish Edward were here to rescue me…” Now, I’m not nuts. I didn’t purposefully ask these things, but it had so consumed my mind, I was living the book.
Also, though the book isn’t obvious about it, it is very sexually charged. Sure, they wait until they are married to sleep together, but that’s merely because Edward is afraid he won’t be able to stop himself and change Bella into a vampire. There is so much sexual tension and it got to me. It wasn’t long before I fantasized being with this fictional character, and even dreamed about it.
Erin: Do you think that Christians should read these books/see the movie?
Jessica: That’s a hard question for me to answer. Part of me wants to believe that Christians who aren’t tripped up by these kinds of things should be able to enjoy it if they choose. After all, Paul says that all things are permissible. But then I think about my own situation. I went from being totally apathetic about Twilight to totally obsessed with it. And the rest of what Paul says talks about how even though you CAN do anything you want, not everything is profitable. I don’t believe Twilight is in and of itself evil. I also don’t think it’s a literary masterpiece (the books aren’t that well written). The point I’m trying to make is this… I don’t think it’s profitable. I heard a friend say that she’s pulled so much Biblical stuff from Twilight. I’ll be the first one to say that you can look ’till you eyes pop out… it isn’t there. Edward is not like Christ, Bella is not like Christians. And I’m usually the first one to look for a glimpse of God in everything, but I promise you, it doesn’t exist. So no, I don’t think Christians need Twilight…