Monday, July 26, 2010
Is Twilight Wrong For Christians to Read?
I have read a lot of posts that have been put up on facebook about Twilight. Explaining why the books are so evil and sinful to read.I have read comments on certain sites accusing women like myself, that we are not really saved and we have been compared to a harlot. Wow! There is a lot of judgment and legalism going on here. I think Christians are being hypocritical when they speak against Twilight. I grow weary of the hypocrisy and the judgment from Christians while at the same time they read other books that portray the very things they are accusing Twilight of. Christian parents will allow their children to read Romeo & Juliet. If Romeo and Juliet didn't destroy the moral core of young people after 400 years of being stupid and wreckless, how can a fantasy about non-existing vampires & werewolves be a problem? In Romeo and Juliet, we have Juliet lying to her parents, a secret marriage and teen suicide. What about Wuthering Heights (transcendence/mysticism, cruelty and torment of others, strong passion and hatred)? Or "To Kill a Mockingbird (rape, racial issues, extreme racism)? These books are classic literature, reading requirements and generally suggested in homeschool curriculum. If fantasy has been accepted for centuries how is it now a problem?
As a fellow blogger pointed out, "Does this mean, as Christians, we should do away with Snow White and the apple - a perfect metaphor for the Garden of Eden? And what about Hansel and Gretel, Sleeping Beauty, Rapunzel, Cinderella, The Little Mermaid? In combination, all these depict temptation from demonic forces, damnation, hellfire, evil, sin, fear.........and the list goes on. Does this mean we should not allow our children to read fantasy books? Should we be concerned that Fantasy literature is terrifying and will damage our children psychologically; that our children will think that fantasy literature is reality? Where do you draw the line?"
Christians say it's bad because of it being about vampires. I can read Twilight in good faith the same way I can read, Lord Of The Rings, Chronicles Of Narnia and Pilgrim's Progress. All of which are full of witches, "good wizards", sorcerers and mythical creatures. I actually think a wizard being portrayed as being good is worse than a bunch of fictional vampires who know that they are killers. At least the vampires in Twilight strive to fight their nature and be good. We all know that vampires are not real, but there are many satanic people out there that do practice witch craft. That, my friends if not fictional. There really are witches out there that practice pagan rituals and Lord Of The Rings, portrays a wizard as being good. When Star Wars came out, all the Christian's were up in arms about that because it was very New Age and now the movies are accepted into many Christian homes.
Everyone speaks against how obsessed Bella is with Edward. Yet if Bella were portrayed as a strong independent women, we would hear how she is a feminist. It's a no win situation. Elizabeth from Pride & Prejudice fell in love with a rich and handsome man. Christians could very well say that that is teaching girls to be superficial and shallow. Yet, we all read that book. We as Christians love to read the classics like Wuthering Heights. Was not Cathy obsessed with Heathcliff? Consider the following quote:
If all else perished, and he remained, I should still continue to be; and if all else remained, and he were annihilated, the universe would turn to a mighty stranger: I should not seem a part of it."
- Emily Bronte, Wuthering Heights
Consider this quote from John Keats. "I almost wish we were butterflies and liv'd but three summer days - three such days with you I could fill with more delight than fifty common years could ever contain."
It sounds beautiful to me. To be that much in love. So poetic. Apparently though, it's a sin to love someone that much. Christians put a spin on it and say it's wrong because your looking to a man to fulfill a void in your heart other than God. The God I serve though, is a poet and He said, "It is not good for man to be alone" Does that mean that God realized He was not enough? Of course not. But He does desire us to love and be in love. I imagine that the love we read about in romance novels and great classics is much the same way it was with Adam & Eve before sin came into the world. Heaven forbid you enjoy a good romance! That must mean you don't love God enough! A lot of Christians try to make it out to be a bad thing to be, "unconditionally and irrevocably in love" with a man. But we must all ask ourselves how we would feel if the love of our life died or left us. If Christian women were perfectly honest, they would have to admit that we all desire romance and it's not a sin. If we are mature enough and see FICTION for what it is. If we raise our teens and instill in them right from wrong, good from bad, fact from fantasy, they then should be able to use good discernment. If they are weak minded and easily influenced by outside forces, then we as parents need to take a step back. The claims against Twilight could be said about almost every fiction book I can think of. If your teenage girl has trouble distinguishing between what is appropriate in reality, and what is going on in a book, then obviously you have failed as a parent. I have read and loved all four of the books and I can tell you, other books and movies are a lot worse. Children should know the difference between fantasy and the real world.
I am all about sheltering my children to a certain extent but not exposing my children to some imperfect things in this world can be a major problem. The thing we must do is teach them to think from a critical and biblical worldview and discern what is truth and what is not! This movie is a perfect example of how to discuss things your teenage daughter. Reading imperfect books with your teen will make it a safe environment. Giving them practice while spotting the well-hidden and even attractive lies that are being feed to those without a discerning mind.
I have heard people say the only reason Edward doesn't want to have pre-marital sex is because he didn't want to lose control and kill Bella. Stephanie Meyer, the author of the books, makes it clear that Edward wanted to protect Bella's virtue. He wanted to wait till marriage. Which would explain why they waited till they got married and why Bella was STILL human at that time. Edward was utterly disgusted with people that had shallow, vulgar and improper thoughts about women. He is a very respectful fictional character. In the book they're not having pre-marital sex, they're not doing drugs, they believe in hard work and education, they believe in lifetime commitment and family, they believe in living non-violently, they defend their loved ones to the death if necessary, and they form alliances and work together with their enemies to fight a bigger evil. Yeah, a really bad message for our youth. People have also said that Edward is very controlling of Bella, when really he is very concerned for her safety. Also, Bella was not trying to kill herself, she clearly states that in the books and movie.
Funny how we never hear Christians speak against Spiderman and Iron Man with good looking women. Or Return Of The Jedi with a half naked Princess Leia. Men with super magical powers. Christian's are quick to criticize the Twilight movies, and yet praise far more violent and unrealistic fanboy films and a million other comic book films for males.
Twilight is not the Bible, people in these books make bad choices but the question is what can we learn from them? I think David Quine says it best.
“What is the nature of man? What is the essence of who we are?” Where am I from, and where am I going? I love reading literature and asking our children, “What is this person saying about God and the universe? What is this person saying about the nature of man?” In two books that deal with monsters (Frankenstein by Mary Shelley and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson), one author believes that man is basically good. Shelley believes that man was created kind, benevolent, and generous, and society turned him into a monster. She says then that if you could simply correct society, then man would behave properly. This is not at all the biblical view of man. However, in Stevenson’s Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, you think as you read that there are two separate, distinct individuals. Then in the end you realize that hiding deep within Dr. Jekyll is a Mr. Hyde because Stevenson believed that man has an evil nature. Left to himself, the evil nature would totally control the person, which is the biblical position. Man is separated from God, and the result is that he has an evil nature. In a sense what these authors have done is taken a plot with characters and themes and tied basic ideas of life into their stories. We must be helping our children to recognize those false ideas that have been wedded to stories and recognize the true ideas.
Can reading Frankenstein bring glory to God? I believe it can. But if we go by the standards of those that are against Twilight, we must admit it cannot bring glory to God. Therefore we should not read anything with fantasy at all. Period. You see, there needs to be more consistency with our beliefs. Not contradictions and loop holes.
In closing, Twilight promotes abstinence, young marriage, pro-life views, and a man being in charge of a relationship. This book (unlike others) does not promote drug use, excessive violence, or promiscuity. The Cullen family strives to live a moral life. A lot can be learned in from these books.