I believe that Christians need good vampire stories. Actually, I’ll take this a step further and suggest that the whole world needs good vampire stories because they are so importantly Christian. That’s why the massively popular "Twilight" movies - the latest of which, "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part I," opens next week - are so frustrating.
"Twilight" is a problem because it messes with the quintessential essence of vampires, softening them with teen romantic tripe and bending the rules reinforced by centuries of vampire myth. We’ve seen the effects of postmodernism in our politics, philosophy, theology and even our architecture, and many have protested. But now that this insidious relativism has so blatantly tarnished a mythology that was once so purely binary, I must protest. Postmodern vampires just don’t suck enough.
Though the particulars of the genre ebb and flow, there are several immutable laws of vampirism that "Twilight" author Stephenie Meyer shows either complete disdain for or ignorance of:Vampires are damned and dead. There is no hope for redemption.Vampires are bad. True love is selfless. Vampires don’t shimmer in the light, they fry. Splitting hairs? I don’t think so. Meyer blurs good and bad and ignores the eternal nature of death in sin. She offers a sentimental attraction that is completely opposed to true love. She also completely misses the point of vampire symbolism. Instead of recoiling in pain and dying an excruciating death when exposed to light (which is what happens to sin), Edward, the romantic vampire hero of the series, glimmers like Bowie in 1972. This matters, people. There are rules to life as a vampire and they all connect directly to Biblical truth:
Vampires cannot tolerate the light. (“This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil.” John 3:19)
Vampires cannot tolerate Christian symbols – especially if they convey actual faith (crosses, holy water, etc.) because they are subjected to the law of God.
Vampires feed on the blood of others. Their hunger is never fully satisfied.
Some sources quote Meyer, a professing Mormon, as saying she hadn’t read a single vampire story before creating "Twilight." That one I believe. It reminds me of too many well-intentioned Christians who decided to “use” rock and roll music to “reach people for Jesus” without first developing any awareness of or proficiency with the genre.
Human society has created myths to help them understand the more ethereal aspects of life since the very beginning. Good and bad, temptation, love, courage, sacrifice … these are mysteries to us. Story helps us process our desires and dreams, as well as our temptations and weaknesses. Myths add building blocks to our imaginations, which is where we practice our behaviors. I’m not saying that a vampire story ever saved anyone’s eternal soul, but in that they reinforce Biblical truths and provide imaginary playgrounds in which we can practice saying “no” to temptation, they are important.
This world is full enough of compromised morality, romanticized villains and other mind pollution. Leave the vampires bad. If we can’t imagine how we would answer if given the chance to trade our soul for earthly "immortality," what will happen when an opportunity like that comes our way?
“JJT” has been chasing the thread dangling between eternal truths and temporal creative experiences for nearly three decades. He is a writer, a businessman, a father, an artist and a seeker. Read more about him at JohnJThompson.com.
(Photo courtesy of Summit Entertainment.)