The “Twilight” Phenomena
by Caryl Matrisciana and Paul Villanueva. December 2008
The church and Christians are being deceived by many new-age occult philosophies and are promoting them as compatible with “Christian” ideals. To name just a few: The Secret came out in 2006, the Course in Miracles and the movie The Golden Compass in 2007. The seventh book in the Harry Potter series was released in 2007. In 2008 there was The Shack and the Oprah Winfrey endorsed book The New Earth.
Simultaneously in 2006 a teenage phenomenon began gaining incredible momentum – a demonically inspired series of vampire romance which surprisingly has hoodwinked Christian youth who are confusing God’s love with sensual, romantic lust and His Word with occult philosophy. As Twilight lulls the spiritually asleep into a darker 2009, the church needs to wake up to the supernatural dangers these compromises pose.
Author Stephenie Meyer’s four-book series, Twilight (September 6, 2006), Eclipse (August 7, 2007), New Moon (May 31, 2008), and Breaking Dawn (August 7, 2008) have sold 17 million copies, principally to pre-teen and teen girls, and spawned more than 350 fan sites online. According to the author’s website, these are the statistics for Twilight her first book in the series. All are published by Little, Brown Young Readers.
· A New York Times Editor’s Choice
· A Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year
· An Amazon “Best Book of the Decade…So Far”
· A Teen People “Hot List” pick
· An American Library Association “Top Ten Best Book for Young Adults” and “Top Ten Books for Reluctant Readers”
· Has been translated into 20 languages
The entire four-book collection is called the Twilight Saga. This link shows the book covers and contents of the collection. All the books in the series follow a “forbidden fruit of love” theme between a human teenage girl (mortal) and a “vampire”.
Twilight the movie released by Summit Entertainment with sequel #2 and #3 already in the works, grossed $70.6 million its first week. Twilight is more than a four-book series and movie; it’s a pop culture phenomenon hotter than Pottermania, prompting midnight release parties and vampire proms, claiming 100 m hits on Twilight internet sites!
The series commonly referred to as Twilight is about an out of place sophomore teenage girl named Bella who moves to a new town and falls in love with a handsome 108 year old, but frozen at 17, “vampire” named Edward at her school (108? with a 16yr old? would make him a pervert and pedophile but should Biblical (or old-fashioned) morality get in the way of “true” love?) The story is about their intoxicating infatuation for each other and the consequences of a lustful vampire/mortal romance.
Edward and his “coven” of vampire family are vowed “good” and “vegetarian” vampires as they only feed on animal blood rather than human blood. Yet, Edward wants to eat Bella every time the sexual tension gets too high. He avoids having sex with her, not on any moral grounds, but out of fear lest he eat her and cause her to become the “un-dead” like him. But she loves him regardless and is willing to step into his “eternity” no matter the cost!
Sounds a trite story but the shocker is that many Christians are attracted to this spiritually disfunctional romance and worse, are attempting to give Christian applications to its demonic premise suggesting this be acceptable “Christian” discussion. Some Christian reviewers on Christian internet sites are using the story, rooted in paganism not a Biblical worldview, to innitiate Bible “studies” and discussion on so-called “Christian” principles to be drawn from it. A new “Christianized” twist on demonic deception is invading Christian vulnerables!
Here would be a good place to examine exactly what a “vampire” is and ask, can Christians honestly consider it OK for teens (indeed anyone?) to crave a relationship with one? For centuries, vampires have been part of folklore and mythology understood to be ugly, dark creatures of morbid horror, close to the dead, sometimes known as the undead for they claim eternal life and subsist by feeding on human blood, roam in darkness, avoid the light and are enemies of the human race.
This repulsive concept was changed with the popularization of Bram Stoker’s famous 1897 novel about a fictionalized vampire Count Dracula ,who was presented as an aristocrat Transylvanian nobleman. He was imbued with supernatural powers, superhuman capabilities and a lustful passion for beautiful ladies whose blood he became addicted to. His blood sucking was two fold – to maintain his (eternal) “life force” and eventually befall his victim with the curse of vampirism and ultimate death. No matter how resplendent the “vampire” is portrayed in mythology and fiction, in Scripture blood drinking and creatures of darkness are judged as despicable by God. Also, a Biblical worldview explains fallen spirits (“angels”) as those who deliberately chose to follow their leader Satan (Isa. 14) and deny their Creator God. For this choice they are damned with eternal separation from God and an eternity of the Lake of Fire. (Rev 15.)
For centuries pagan rituals have sought taking human blood to appease the blood-thirsty lust of spirits and forces of darkness who target humans made in the image of God to mock God’s handiwork. Distortion of the purpose of blood is a satanic mockery of God’s intent for the sacredness blood represents. Scripture teaches, “in the blood is the life” (Deut. 12:23) and in the shedding of blood is the remission of sins. “In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.” (Heb 9: 22). In the Old Testament, a substitutionary lamb was required to be sacrificed by God’s people as an offering for their sin. In the New Testament that Lamb was God’s gift in Jesus Christ Who offered Himself as the Lamb who takes away the sin of the world! (John 1:29)
The Bible records that sin entered the world through one man, Adam, and death through sin came to all men because all have sinned. (With sin comes not only physical death but death to the eternal soul separated from the presence of God). How much more did God’s grace and the gift (eternal life connected back into the presence of God) that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many! (Rom. 5: 12-16)
To God, eternal life is an important issue. He doesn’t desire any to be banished from Him for eternity because of Adam’s choice. For His Love’s sake, He gave us Jesus to redeem back to Him what man can’t redeem. Believers can only overcome sin and eternal damnation “by the blood of the Lamb” (Rev. 12:11) There is no other way. Pagan cultures, seduced by myths and lying doctrines of demons have attempted to salvage eternal damnation by ceremony, one of them being vampirism, the sucking of human blood beleived to sustain eternal life. Actually the Bible teaches ,”blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, (1 Cor 15:50)
Such is the story of Twilight, the mortal heroin, young teenager Bella, like so many teenagers today, sadly even Christians, is naïve about the reality of her eternal soul and is willing to choose to give her all to a demon possessed blood sucking young man because she doesn’t value the eternal life Jesus died to give her. (In a future movie Bella succumbs to vampire status – and yes! they do have sex and an unwanted baby)
The secular reviewers of the Twilight series call it, “A dark romance that seeps into the soul.” The original title of Twilight was “Corpse,” but the publisher changed it to make it more appealing. The content of Twilight is in opposition to many Scriptures: it promotes sorcery, divination and witchcraft. Yet some church youth groups and “Christian” movie review sites suggest the relationship and sexual tension of two teenagers, one being a demonic vampire, draw parallels with Christian morals with lessons for the Christian to be found within the stories!
Author Stephenie Meyer:
A housewife named Stephenie Meyer “received” the story of Twilight in a dream on June 2, 2003. The vision she had of a vampire and mortal as lovers compelled her to start writing the story immediately. She says she couldn’t resist the drive to write down her dream (a similar sinario to J.K Rowlings, author of Harry Potter). Meyer gives a summary of that first dream, “I woke up (on that June 2nd) from a very vivid dream. In my dream, two people were having an intense conversation in a meadow in the woods. One of these people was just your average girl. The other person was fantastically beautiful, sparkly, and a vampire. They were discussing the difficulties inherent in the facts that A) they were falling in love with each other while B) the vampire was particularly attracted to the scent of her blood, and was having a difficult time restraining himself from killing her immediately.” Within three months, she had the entire novel written. Within six-months it had been dreamed, written, and readied for publishing.
She admits she had little to no prior writing experience with only a B.A. degree in English and had to learn from the internet how to submit a book proposal. She tried a few times and “miraculously” got published with a $750 thousand dollar publishing contract! Miraculous happenings have been known to come from powers of darkness, and in this case, no matter how its sliced, the God of the Bible would not use vampires, sexual tension, lust, boyfriend worship, and teenage romance to spread His Gospel of eternal life and salvation through Yeshua.
Meyer, a Mormon mother of three, states that some of her inspiration in writing her vampire saga came from a band of musicians called Marjorie Fair. “For New Moon, they were absolutely essential. They can put you into a suicidal state faster than anything I know . . . Their songs really made it beautiful for me.” Also an inspiration for one of her characters was a band called My Chemical Romance. She states, “It’s someone . . . who just wants to go out and blow things up.” See mind blowing information about the music industry and a shocking spirituality many are involved in.
Scaringly, Meyer’s “ficitional” character Edward took on the “terrifying” form of “real” spirit when it leapt from the pages of her saga and commumicated with her in a dream. She says she had an additional dream after Twilight was finished when her vampire character Edward came to visit and speak to her. The Edward who visited her in the night told her she’d got it all wrong because he DID drink human blood, and could not “live” on ONLY animal blood as she wrote in the story. She said, “We had this conversation and he was terrifying.”
Conversation with spirits (saying they need human blood to suck!) and frightening dream visitations by spirits are part of occult communication. Meyer’s spiritual experiences could well be influenced by her Mormon faith which allows for communication with the so-called “the dead”, indeed “the dead” of former generations are baptized into Mormonism in Mormon Temple ritual. Mormon founder Joseph Smith was “visited” by a communicating “angel” called Moroni which stands atop all Mormon Temples. This fallen angel of Mormonism gave Smith messages on which he formed his Mormon doctrine about prior civilizations none of which have been discovered despite endless archeological digs to substantiate Mormons claims. Others Mormon teachings conflict with Biblical Christianity such as Mormonism’s claim that Jesus (Yeshua) of the Bible is the half-brother of Satan. Mormons additionally believe numerous teachings about the spirit that oppose Bible truths and could help embelish Meyer’s Twilight series.
In 2007, Stephenie Meyer wrote portions of a work titled, “Prom Nights from Hell,” which is about supernatural events surrounding evil prom nights. On May 6, 2008, she released her adult novel, The Host, which is about “invading alien souls” that take over a person and get them to do what they want. This behaviour is called demonic possession, a state Jesus came to set captives free from. Meyer’s so-called fiction “crosses over” to severe occult philosophy.
Twilighters (fans) are besotted with its influence and spell as witnessed on the internet where they’re encouraged to write their own “fan fiction” stories about Twilight characters. This is not harmless entertainment but rather a satanic ploy to engage fans to use spiritual imagination (taboo in Scripture) to conjure and create their own reality, a central belief of witchcraft.
Twilighters have a “Stephenie Meyer Day” on September 13th to honor the birthday of the character Bella Swan. They dress up like the characters in the book. View frenzied fans and the out of control craze on Nightline’s coverage.
TWI-hards (fans) are obsessed with Twilight occult contents as Harry Potter fans were bewitched with its Wiccan instructions. Many don’t realize occultism (the craving for hidden “wisdom” knowledge) has spiritual addiction power much like drugs demand a dependency. Fans wear t-shirts displaying the character’s sayings, and one such t-shirt reads, “Forbidden Fruit Tastes the Best.”
Christian youth’s involvement in the shocking abandonment of God’s authority should be of concern enough, but sadder still is that youth in general are being seduced to embrace Satan’s lies and reap eternal damnation. Christians, rather than protecting youth are feeding them to Satan known as the prowling lion (1 Pet. 5:8). Satan deceived Eve with the promise of “wisdom” (Gen. 3) and suggested God’s forbidding was on grounds of meanness not Loving concern. Satan continues his attack on the Truth of God’s Word and His essential Character of love (comparing it to erotic sex) targeting younger and younger Christian youth. Jesus warned, “But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.” (Matt 18:5-6)
Christians are duty bound to preach God’s Good news of repentance and warn against occult involvement: vampirism, witchcraft et al, uplifting the powr of the Word of God and not fanning supernatural disobedience as many Christian organizations are doing.
What Christian Organizations are saying about the Twilight Series:
The Catholic News Service has this to say of Edward the vampire, “Just because you’re a vampire, it doesn’t mean you can’t be a gentleman.” It continues to praise the vampire and ties one scene directly to the vampire appearing as an angel of light only to offer forbidden fruit just as Satan did so long ago in the Garden. “Soon after Bella first sees Edward, an optical illusion makes it appear as though he’s sprouted angel’s wings, but a later scene has them casually handling an apple symbolic of mutual temptation.” The Catholic News Service doesn’t warn of spiritual dangers but continues to whitewash the demonic theme of the movie saying it, “never takes itself too seriously, preferring instead to use its ill-matched couple’s predicament to parody both adolescent awkwardness and teenage yearning.” The reviewer concludes that the movie “Is acceptable for older teens.”
The “Christian Stay at Home Moms” website praised the movie, “If you ask me I would be more willing to let my 13 year old daughter watch this movie than MTV because the relationship between the two main characters really is a healthy one. There is really not a whole lot of emphasis on being in a sexual relationship, and there are a couple of scenes where you see them just talking with each other. I was very impressed by the positive relationship between the two, I think it’s good for teenagers to see that to be a couple you don’t have to have sex and make out all the time – or at all!” This Christian stay at home mom needs to weigh all against Scripture as bottomline to a Christian’s faith and not promote her 13-year old daughter to accept as approved the message of a vampire wanting to drink the blood of his girlfriend because the vampire is “good” and does not engage in sexual intercourse on screen (at least in this movie)? The reviewer concludes, “All in all I give this movie 3 out of 4 stars because I thought it was a great movie!”
Another Christian website has on its banner the words, “Shining Light on the World of Popular Entertainment” which begs the question what light? Jesus says, there is a light within you that is darkness – and how great it is! (Matt 6:22-23). Deception appears as light and Satan comes as an angel of light. (2 Cor.11:14)
The Christian organization, Focus on the Family’s “Plugged In Online,” website has this very positive thing to say to Christians desiring to see a movie about a vampire, a teenage girl, and their lust for one another,.
“Family is a big part of what nurtures Twilight’s love. Edward’s coven—family—of vampires is a loving one. Each member is committed to protecting the others, even Bella when she becomes part of them through her relationship with Edward.” This word “coven” belongs in Wiccan terminology and is a place where a group of Wiccan convene for pagan rituals. Why encourage teenagers to embrace pagan ideology which flies in the face of Biblical discernment? The book series and its movie create the pagan illusion that there is a good side to darkness and it is OK to be part of the “white” side. Paul teaches
those who say this are “false apostles” and “deceitful workmen” (“many of whom “masquerade as apostles of Christ”). “And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve. 2 Cor 11:13-15. Focus on the Family, whether whittingly or unwhittingly, encourages the deception that “loving” vampires are therefore “good”. Scripture warns not to call evil good…and says, “there is a way that appears right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.” (Prov. 14:12)
Focus on the Family’s reviewer continues with a lack of spiritual discernment writing, “So within the context of a monster mash such as this, we can see a reflection of the Christian calling to put away the old man of sin and embrace the new one.” (comparing the vampire’s struggle to hold back his desire to devour his young lover and drink her blood to the transformational power of the Lord Jesus Christ!)
Focus’s reviewer admits, “Edward considers himself and all other vampires to be eternally damned, and he resists mightily the idea of allowing Bella to descend into the abyss that he finds himself submerged in. She doesn’t care a whit about that. She’s eager to become a ‘cold one’ if only it means she will be with her beau forever.” Yet Focus recommends this “positive” movie to the “Christian” youth despite its blatant occultism, “Edward can read minds. His sister, Alice, sees visions of the future.” ….and the only “negative” admission from Focus is that the characters Edward and Bella “lie” to protect the vampire’s identity. Lying”
Brace yourself….there’s more! ChristianityTodayMovies.com says, “Well, I think most Twilight fans will eat this up like vampires at a blood bank . . . forbidden love and angst with passion . . . Meyer, a Mormon, interjected her book with moral themes with which Christians resonate . . . While the use of vampires and other “evil” creatures can be offsetting to some Christians, they are not symbolic of demons here. They are merely a story device to create a forbidden and mysterious love interest . . . Bella’s complete willingness to let go of her soul (literally in the vampire mythos) to give Edward her eternal love are all big metaphors for sex, lust and the allure of the forbidden. (By the way, Meyer chose an Eden-like apple as Twilight’s book cover image for a reason.)”
To add salt to the wound, this Christian movie review site includes a “Bible study” at the end of the review complete with Scripture references to encourage dialogue about the movie!
The “Bible study” that follows is taken right from the above Christianity Today website. “Read Mark 7:21-23, Matthew 4:1-11, Romans 7:14-24.
· What do these verses say about our desires and temptations?
· How are Edward’s attempts not to give in to his evil desires like the life of a Christian?
· In what ways does the movie show Edward setting boundaries—as Christians often do—to avoid temptations?
· Some say that Deuteronomy 12:23-25, which forbids eating blood, is reason enough for Christians to avoid vampire stories and movies. Is that an appropriate application of that verse? Why or why not?
· What do you think of Bella’s desire to become a vampire so she can be with Edward forever? Would it be worth it?
· Read Matthew 16:26. What does the line, ‘Death is easy, life is harder’ mean to you?”
So, one wonders, how many churches and church youth groups are getting involved in a Bible study based on the Twilight series? And, how many Christians are getting trapped into the new emergent-style deception of Hegelian “dialoging”? How many realize this type of “dialectic” group thinking (conversation) is an attempt to compromise Christian faith based on God’s absolute truths with the idea that Truth is relative and shifts? God’s Ways and Thoughts are not open to discussion! Jesus said “I am the Truth” and “He is the same yesterday, today and forever”! (Jn. 14:6 & Heb.13:8)
Biblical Christianity (not cultural Christianity) is under attack as is God’s Word beging with the wiles of Satan in the Garden who engaged Eve in “dialogue” about God’s Truths. She was tempted to understand the unknowable God through her own limited reasoning. Dialectic conversing is designed to bring about collective consensus and is Satan’s agenda. God encourages the STUDY of His Word so that we may be approved workmen able to “correctly handle the Word of Truth”. (2 Tim 2:14-15) Youth must return to “what is in accord with sound doctrine” (Titus 2:1) for the sake of their eternal souls.
“For the time will come”, Paul warned Timothy, “when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.
And can it get worse? The following quotes are from a Christian teen magazine, Campus Life’s Ignite Your Faith, a subsidiary of Christianity Today, Stacey Lingle (after reading the series) writes in her article, What Shines in Twilight: Looking at four key ideas of the vampire saga that stand out for Christ followers. “What do these books say about God, about life, and about love? In over 2,300 pages of reading, there’s a lot to digest. What are the key ideas and attitudes in the Twilight saga? A few stood out to me as a Christian.”
Lingle suggests the first “Christian” key is love where she finds a way to “Christianize” an anti-Biblical concept. “Their biggest conflict is whether or not Bella should become a vampire: She wants to spend eternity with Edward. Bella and Edward’s relationship actually exemplifies a lot of what the Bible says love should be. Think about the Bible’s description: ‘Love is patient, love is kind.’ (1Corinthians 13:4); ‘Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends’ (John 15:13). Of course, no real couple can be this perfect all the time. But these passages, and stories like Bella and Edward’s, remind us of the perfect love that God has for us.”
Now pick yourself up off the floor and get ready for Lingle’s statement that connects romantic love with God’s agape love. She writes, “God intends for romantic love to reflect his deep desire for an intimate relationship with each of us. The Bible even calls us his bride! (Isaiah 62:5) While there may not be an Edward or Bella in our lives, God’s love is a perfect love that never ends and never fails.” Unfortunately this type of fleshly interpretation is a very real spiritual stupor which has befallen Christendom.
Lingle’s second “Christian” key is temptation. She writes, “The vampire in Edward is tempted by Bella’s scent—it’s all he can do to not devour her at first. And then as their relationship progresses, they face a different physical temptation: sex.” Again, Lingle links Scripture with lust, “temptation affects everybody, even Jesus. The Bible describes how, after fasting for 40 days, Jesus was tempted by Satan in the wilderness. Satan tried to use food, power, and pride to cause Jesus to sin. Yet Jesus didn’t sin, even though he was tempted.” Lingle continues the blasphemy by suggesting that the reader can overcome temptation by taking a cue from both Jesus (God made flesh) and Edward (the vampire) exhorting young readers, “For starters, we take a cue from Jesus and, yes, even Edward.”
The third “Christian” key is “spirituality” which Lingle confuses with being a Biblical Christ-follower. Her comment is weak at best and dangerous at worst. “Spirituality is certainly relevant to the reading of Twilight. After all, part of the allure of the Twilight series is that it is ‘other-worldly.’ It’s a fantasy. Sorry ladies, but there aren’t really gorgeous, shimmering, chivalrous vampires and werewolves out there waiting to complete your life and mine.” So, according to Lingle, vampires and werewolves could complete a young girl’s life if they were real and gorgeous.
Her fourth “Christian” key is in the conclusion to her so-called “Bible lesson” where she poses several questions to her readers that promote “collective discussion” labeled as “Christian” or “Biblical” forcing a redefinition of vampirism and the occult. One statement I found particularly disturbing was, “Edward expresses his belief that God created vampires alongside humans, in a predator/prey relationship. How do you react to this? Does this fit the character of the God that you know?”
It is deeply disturbing that Christians and youth leaders are undiscerning in Biblical doctrine validating Christian youth to participate in vampirism which is idol worship. Col 2:18-19 warns, “Do not let anyone who delights in….the worship of angels disqualify you for the prize. Such a person goes into great detail about what he has seen, and his unspiritual mind puffs him up with idle notions.” (Col.2: 18)
Biblical warnings against tampering in occultism are replete…..
“There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or daughter …………practice witchcraft, or a soothsayer, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, or one who conjures up spells, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead. For all who do these things are an abomination to the Lord.” (Deut.18)
Unfortunately, many churches and Christian organizations downplay the reality of the supernatural war being waged by “dead” spirits and neglect the reality of abusive spiritual warfare by demonic authorities. If only those who confess Jesus Christ as their Lord would learn to “abide” in His Spirit and “know” Him through HIS word then they would be better equipped to discern error from truth, and get involved in the “good fight” we are called to, and WARN against rather than encourage fads like Twilight.
Written by Caryl Matrisciana and Paul Villanueva. December 2008