To read or not to read, to watch or not to watch—those are the questions.
The last installment of the Twilight movie series will be coming out today, and many of the fans are more than excited to see if Breaking Dawn Part Two will match their expectations, Christian youth included.
One of the most controversial topics among Christian circles today, particularly among teenagers, is the question of what books Christians can read and what movies they can watch. With the sudden rise of the fantasy and science fiction novels genres, bookstores and cinemas are crowded with new novels and movies that depict exciting tales about magic, wizards, vampires, and the like.
Recently, one of the more popular fantasy books, turned into movies as well, is a four-part, bestselling series by Stephenie Meyer, entitled Twilight, that has girls “oohing” and “aahing” and wishing for their very own vampire or werewolf hottie.
The Twilight Saga sounds like any ordinary boy-meets-girl kind of story. Bella, the main character, is a teenaged girl who has just moved into her father’s town (her parents are divorced). She starts school, meets a handsome guy named Edward Cullen, and falls head-over-heels in love with him. The things is, Edward is no ordinary guy. He’s a vampire. (And he sparkles.) In addition to that odd little mixture, there is Jacob Black, Bella’s best friend. And he’s no ordinary guy, either. He’s a werewolf sporting a six-pack who is allergic to shirts.
Those details alone are enough to get the controversy going among Christian circles. Books, blogs, articles all address the issue of whether or not Twilight should be read by Christians. It’s a heated discussion topic which continues to remain heated and continues to be discussed even months after the books and movies have come out.
What’s So Bad About Falling in Love with a Vampire?
One of the biggest debates concerning Twilight lies in the fact that the book is about vampires and werewolves. Prior to the 19th century, vampires were described in books and manuscripts as “bloated, red-faced, flabby” creatures of folklore (Evans). Hardly boyfriend material.
People argue that times have changed, and vampires have changed too. When Dracula came to the scene in the 19th century, author Bram Stoker transformed the vampire mindset from a horrible monster-creature into a “monster with sex appeal—sleek and suave.” Suddenly, vampires were no longer scary, dangerous creatures, but were now “cool and sexy” (Evans). And Edward Cullen, with his sparkling skin and determination not to harm Bella, even if he is obsessed with her scent, is considered to be a gentleman.
Many people—Christian authors, including—have attempted to link Twilight to the Bible. Stacey Lingle, writer for Christianity Today magazine, says that Edward and Bella’s relationship exemplifies the kind of love that the Bible describes. They face temptations, such as the temptation to bring their relationship to a physical, more intimate level, but Edward tells Bella that they need to wait until after they get married. Sounds positive, right?
Several teen girls websites are asking their readers to speak out concerning Twilight. Virtuous Reality, created by Jamie Lamb, invites its readers to share their thoughts concerning Stephenie Meyer’s series. Emily a respondent argues that reading Twilight is just the same as listening to music, and that God does not listen to all music anyway, so He will not forbid His people to listen to any kind of music. She concludes by saying, “I personally think God is very fond of Stephenie Meyer and her books.”
A close friend of my younger sister loves the series because Stephenie Meyer wrote very vividly, making her feel as if she were in the book herself. Others say that Edward Cullen has caused them to fall in love with Jesus Christ more.
“Edward is the perfect gentleman,” Anjelica writes, “most girls, including myself, adore this fictional character because [he’s] like that Prince Charming we’ve always dreamed about in the movies. Sometimes, though, I feel guilty, and sort of cheated, because I know that the ‘Edward’ character doesn’t really exist. As in no man can really live up to those expectations. That’s where Jesus comes in. This book made me realize that only Jesus can satisfy my heart and love me unconditionally forever and ever.”
Chrissa, another respondent thinks otherwise. She believes Twlight distracts people away from Jesus because they become so obsessed with Edward Cullen.
What if the book teaches other lessons worth embracing and following? Can we read it then? What if the romance between Edward and Bella actually supports the idea (sexual abstinence until marriage) behind True Love Waits? Please share your thoughts with us below.
Post by Alyssa Chua, TLW Volunteer. Alyssa is a Sojourner and Explorer. When she is not chasing stardust in distant lands, she is curled up in a quiet corner, reading a book or attempting to write one, Root beer and coffee are bare necessities. To read more of her ramblings, visit http://peraldaiel.blogspot.com