Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you already know that the Twilight sequel, New Moon, was released in theaters Friday. News organizations nationwide reported sell-out crowds at local theaters. Thousands of fans camped out for hours to stake out their seats for the heavily hyped movie premiere. Experts are reporting that New Moon is now the number-one advance ticket seller of all time. In other words, it’s a mega-hit! It’s more than a blip on the landscape of culture. It’s more like a bombshell, and young women, like the readers of this blog, are among the series’ biggest fans.
Because I care so deeply about pointing young women toward God’s truth, I couldn’t let this movie premiere go unaddressed. I know it’s controversial and I know, because I’ve blogged about Twilight in the past, that my stand on the series doesn’t make me the world’s most popular blogger. But I also know what’s at stake. These aren’t just books. New Moon isn’t just another hit movie. We need to talk about it.
Proverbs 4:23 warns, "Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life."
What we allow into our hearts and minds will impact us. As I’ve researched New Moon and heard about it from countless young women in my sphere of influence, it’s clear to me that this movie and the rest of the Twilight series are designed to pull at your heart strings.
People magazine released its "Sexiest Men Alive" issue last week. An entire section of the magazine was dedicated to "Vampires to die for." Twilight star Robert Pattinson topped the list. Stars from the hit vampire shows The Vampire Diaries and True Blood were also featured. All three series have this in common—they’re centered around male characters who are dark, brooding, and dangerous.
Vampire Diaries star Ian Somerhalder offered this explanation for the phenomenon: "The mythology behind vampires has never really gone away. It was always there. Now you have this market for it because I think they’re fun. They’re powerful. They’re sexy. They’re dangerous. They’re beautiful. Something draws you to them…. The girls like the bad boy."
Vampire Diaries co-executive producer Julie Plec offered this spin: "You want to believe there is so much going on behind those eyes. You want to believe that they have epic amounts of knowledge and soul and spirituality and intelligence lurking behind those eyes. And in real men, you don’t often get that. So in a vampire, just by definition, you are getting the bad boy with the brain."
Here’s where my spiritual antenna starts to perk up. As young women everywhere choose between Team Edward and Team Jacob and as over 5 million viewers tune in weekly to the vampire shows I mentioned above (for comparison, that’s equivalent to the population of Scotland), I can’t help but wonder if this fascination with the dark, dangerous, bad boys featured in these series is fitting for girls who love Jesus.
First Corinthians 13:4–7 says this, "Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres."
Galatians 5:22–23 says, "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control."
I’ve always seen these passages as a great barometer for choosing a fella. These are the qualities that I would advise Christian young women to look for in a man—patience, kindness, joy, peace, goodness, faithfulness, self-control. This is what we should be drawn to. We shouldn’t link our lives with those who are envious, boastful, proud, rude, self-seeking, easily angered, concerned with keeping score. It isn’t wise to form emotional attachments with a guy who delights in evil.
I’ve seen firsthand, in my own life and in the lives of so many young women, the train wreck that occurs when we’re drawn to bad boys. I know the pain that can occur in real life when girls link their lives with guys who are dangerous, brooding, dark, and unpredictable.
That’s why I can’t help but see New Moon and the rest of the vampire craze for what it is—dangerous! It isn’t wise to buy in to the fascination with these characters who are "sexy" because they are dark. It isn’t guarding your heart to fixate on characters who look like the guy in your algebra class but moonlight as vampires and werewolves on the big screen. Remember the warning in Proverbs, "Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life."
As New Moon rises to the applause of our culture, I have to ask, are you guarding your heart above all things?