By Anelese Holt, AFA media relations
February 2009 – John Donne, 17th Century English poet, once said, “No man is an island unto himself. …” But when it comes to my analysis of Stephenie Meyer’s book Twilight, I feel as if I am on an island by myself. The reason? Many of my Christian friends and our local public school system have given their stamp of approval to the book series. Furthermore, the American Library Association has placed Twilight in their Top 10 Best Books for Young Adults.
And, at least one Christian organization, The Dove Foundation (TDF), has given its Family-Approved seal to the movie Twilight (see below), with a disclaimer of caution because of theological considerations. In a review, TDF said, “This is a movie about vampires but has no Biblical mockery typically found in this type of picture. The reader is also cautioned that Dove makes no endorsement of the book series where this film finds its roots.”
Therein lies a big part of the problem – the movie may not have Biblical mockery, but the book certainly does. Twilight is a series of books that have become a big hit with many teens and parents alike. MTV awarded Twilight fans its 2008 Woman of the Year award. Fan sites are found all over the Web. At last count there were over 22,700,00 hits during a Web search, and the book is a number one New York Times bestseller.
It is easy to see why the story line attracts teens. Bella, the heroine, is an awkward teenager who moves to a small town to live with her father because her mother has remarried and will be traveling a lot. She falls for Edward, the hero, a new kind of vampire. He doesn’t feed on people, but animals. He has never been in love in his entire life, which seems unlikely considering that he is over 100 years old, though his “eternal age” is 17.
To be fair, Bella does several unselfish things. For example, she moves somewhere she doesn’t want to be so her mother can be happy, and she is willing to give up her life for those she loves. Even the family of vampires fight against their natural inclination to kill humans, and are a very close and loving family.
The negatives, however, far outweigh the positives. A few cases in point:
▶ In the first 200 pages of the first book, there is a heavy focus on lust. A typical line is: “Again, the fabric clung to his perfectly muscled chest. It was a colossal tribute to his face that it kept my eyes away from his body.”
▶ Bella can’t sleep, but wants to be fresh for the next day, so she uses cough syrup to put herself to sleep.
▶ Bella uses her sexuality and deception to get information out of a boy.
▶ After falling in love with Edward, Bella often walks a fine line between lying by omission and just outright lying to her father.
▶ Sexual tension is strong throughout the book. No, Bella and Edward don’t have sex, but only because Edward is afraid he won’t be able to control himself and he will kill her. They do sleep together, touch, kiss, etc.
▶ There are many occultic aspects to this book. One character reads minds, another sees the future, the fascination with blood, the ability to become immortal, and a second vampire clan that doesn’t try to live morally.
Finally, the book mocks the act of salvation through Jesus’ sacrifice when it states the only way to become a vampire is to be injected with venom by a vampire and then live in such a state of pain that you feel as if you are burning alive. You must live in this pain for three days to achieve eternal life. The parallel is there – Jesus died for our sins and went to hell for three days before rising again. Now, if we accept Jesus as Savior we can have eternal life.
On Meyer’s Web site, the author answers a question about the book cover: “The apple on the cover of Twilight represents ‘forbidden fruit.’ I used the scripture from Genesis (located just after the table of contents) because I loved the phrase ‘the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil.’”
The book has one passage where foul language is used. If parents allow their children to read Twilight, I strongly recommend that they also read the book and discuss it as a family. Use the Word of God in discussion and encourage children to help recognize why this book is not healthy fare for Christian minds. Before allowing children to see the movie, parents should first read Ted Baehr’s review at www.movieguide.org.
Twilight, the movie: excerpts from a review by Ted Baehr. Full text at www.movieguide.org
▶ Strong, slightly mixed Romantic worldview lacking biblical theology
▶ some moral, redemptive elements of good versus evil and sacrificing oneself
▶ one light obscenity and five light profanities
▶ strong, sometimes scary, violence with some blood, but not very graphic
▶ passionate teenage kissing, smoldering teenage passion
▶ implied beer drinking; no smoking