Friday, November 23, 2012

Vampires and Jesus

My husband and I went to see the movie, Lincoln, last week.  We had a terrible time finding parking at our local mall where the theaters were located. In fact, we would have left except I already had paid tickets in hand!   Later, I mentioned it to my daughter and she told me. "Duh, Mom. The Twilight movie came out last weekend."  Like I was supposed to realize that mobs of people would fill every crack and crevice of the mall in order to be the first to see this film!  It just never occurred to me since I'm not one of those "Twilight fanatics". I mean, I have nothing personal against vampires. They just don't do it for me. Maybe it's the pale skin. Maybe it's the fangs. Maybe it's the whole obsession with blood. I don't know. But I prefer my heroes tanned, tall, straight-toothed and favoring meat and vegetables. Like pirates, for instance!  But I digress.

Anyway, it got me to thinking about the rising trend of the supernatural in movies and books. The wizards and spells in Harry Potter, the obsession with werewolves and vampires in secular romance, the movies about hauntings and demon possession and monsters. As I’m writing this, I just checked the list of current movies and here are some of the titles that have supernatural themes:    Resident Evil, Sinister, House on the End of the street, Frankenweenie

And of course, The Twilight saga.  Though there does seem to be an obsession with darkness in today's entertainment, I must confess I read spooky stories and watched spooky movies when I was a kid. Edgar Allen Poe was one of my favorite authors. I used to curl up on a stormy day and scare myself half to death with his stories. I also loved Saturday night creature feature. Does anyone remember that?  They hosted all kinds of scary movies with witches, warlocks, space invaders, severed hands that moved, even giant killer tomatoes!

Yet the Bible is clear about dabbling with the occult.
Occult is defined as of or pertaining to magic, astrology, or any system claiming use or knowledge of secret or supernatural powers or agencies.

Let no one be found among you who sacrifices their son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft,  or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead.  Anyone who does these things is detestable to the Lord;  Deuteronomy 18:10-12

So, what is a follower of Jesus to do?
I posted this question on facebook a few days ago and got a ton of responses. In fact the argument became quite heated. Some Christians believe we should shun everything that has anything to do with the supernatural. Others believe certain films and books are okay, as long as they have good morals and give a redeeming message. They argue that Harry Potter, though a wizard, is a good wizard who fights on the side of good against evil. Yet others feel that kids who read Harry Potter are more likely to dabble in the occult than kids who do not. (I'd love to see a study on this!)

But where do we draw the line? What about Disney movies? In Sleeping Beauty, the queen casts evil spells. In Cinderella, the Fairy God Mother uses magic to dress Cinderella in a beautiful ball gown and change a pumpkin into a carriage. Do we ban ourselves from those as well? 

What about the Narnia films? Don't they have witches and evil spells and curses? Yet they are an allegory for the Gospel! 

When I was a new Christian, I tended to shun all these things! I was so happy to have found the truth, to have been "transferred from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of light" Col 1:13 that I truly didn't want to risk even sticking my little toe back into the dark!  Perhaps that was good for me at the time. I was a baby believer and I needed to protect myself from any evil influence and shore myself up with the life-giving words of God. 

Later on in my walk, I went a step further and decided to shun anything that did not "glorify God". What I ended up doing was not having much to watch or read!!  I realized that a book or movie can be good in and of itself with a good moral and a good theme without directly glorifying God. Nature glorifies God indirectly simply by its beauty! 

Now that I've walked with God a number of years, I've come to the conclusion, like Paul, that many things are premissable, but not all profitable. We are told to dwell on "whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.  Phillipians 4:8

Now, we all know and recognize that some movies and books are blatantly evil. However where things aren't so black and white, this becomes an individual decision between me and God. If I read Harry Potter, I know I'm not going to try to become a wizard or cast spells. I would value it for the good story telling and the battle between good and evil. If I go see Twilight, I'm not gong to start sucking people's blood. I will appreciate the chastity it espouses and the themes of eternal life. 

Now, I haven't read Harry Potter, nor have I read or seen Twilight. But that's a personal decision of mine. I just prefer other types of movies, and I have no interest in viewing a spirit realm I've encountered first hand.
However if I'm a weak believer and I know I have a weakness when it comes to the occult, then it would not be good for me to watch or read Harry Potter and I should avoid all such entertainment..  If I'm a teenage girl who begins to obsess over vampires and the occult then I should stay away. If you see your kids starting to dabble in magic or playing vampires, you should stop them from seeing these things. 

Of course some movies are obviously dark, evil, and have no redeeming qualities. I can't name any because I don't go see these shows, but you can tell from the description. We are told to walk in the light and avoid darkness.  Let the Holy Spirit be your guide.  The closer you become to God, the more you will recognize and shun the darkness. 

What are your thoughts?  And be nice!  



  1. You made me chuckle with the comment "and be nice"! :)

    This is a sticky subject, you're right. I love the Phil. 4:8 reference. So true.
    I personally stay away from movies with vampires and supernatural (at least the evil side of the supernatural especially when it seems to be glorified). When I was a kid I went to a birthday party and we watched "Poltergeist". First, it's not a movie for kids. Second, my life was so disturbed for so long after that. I had many nightmares and an evil supernatural thing seemed to cling to me and relentlessly attack. My parents were beside themselves as to how to handle my hysteria and fear. It was awful, so awful. I don't take movies such as these lightly, as I know they can bring you to a dangerous place. So for me, I just stay away from them. I think we have to be careful what we 'put in' (movies, books, and music), because often what goes in, penetrates our core even when we don't realize it.
    I understand that everyone processes differently too, and I'm not going to condemn those who want to see these movies etc., but it's not for me, nor will I encourage children to see them either.
    Definately a hot topic in our culture, but again, Philipians 4:8 is a good guide. When we put in good things, often good things come out of us as well. Good thoughts, good attitudes, and ultimately, love. Those things produce good things in our hearts that affect others, and there are many that need a little light and loving in their lives today. :)

  2. I have not read any of the Twilight books. They just never interested me. However, I am a Harry Potter fan. One of the main reasons I like the Harry Potter books, besides the fact that they are well written, engaging stories, is that is promotes Biblical principles such as sacrifice, friendship, love, loyalty, etc. And it deals with them far more realistically, than the huge portion of Christian media. Even some of the more well known Christian movies, seem to follow the same pattern; life is not going well, person becomes a Christian or renews their faith, and their problems go away. Their marriage problems are fixed, their family lives get better, their businesses succeed, and so forth. Does this happen? Sure, but there is no guarantee in the Gospel that when you become a Christian, all your problems go away. As Christians, we can look forward to the fact that while this life will bring pain and sorrow, death no longer reigns over us. The chains that bind us to sin are broken. We are forgiven! But the Bible warns us that the life of a Christian is a hard one with its own set of struggles. I think the “prosperity gospel” has sunk into our minds more than we realize it. Even among those of us who are adamantly against it! It is sad when secular media can get across Biblical principles better than Christian media can!

  3. I have always loved books and movies containing the supernatural. The Bible has a lot of it and many people that God called righteous were people you did things we would call supernatural. I do however have a restriction on what I read. If the supernatural elements of a story in no way glorify God or in fact glorify darkness, I avoid it. I think that the world has come to two extreme views: one people are so afraid of the supernatural that they will deny even miracles from God because they do not understand it. Others except anything and everything, even that of Satan because they say it is all the same.

  4. For Emma: "Please read: Harry Potter and the Bible by Richard Abanes. It will really shed some light on the realities of Harry Potter."
    I agree with those above on the supernatural and vampire movies. I don't know why, but humans differ so much as far as our minds go. Some people are just so into scary movies, and can sit in front of a TV watching disgusting films all day. I can't. My mind just won't allow me. My dad actually told me something about this yesterday. Once you are a Christian, born again, your mind has a guilty conscience which nags at you whenever it knows that you are viewing something you shouldn't. It's that little feeling you get when you know you're doing something you aren't supposed to be doing. Its a feeling that every born again Christian gets most of the time. It reminds me that certain things should be left alone. Twilight will have its glory now, but its coming to an end, and hopefully time will erase it from everyones minds.

  5. I grew up in a church that banned reading Harry Potter, etc., because of the focus on witchcraft. However, when I was in my late teens, I read "Twilight" and while I'm certainly no fanatic, I've found some of the films enjoyable. I suppose I sort of view them like "junk food" for my brain--much the same as a hot fudge sundae isn't exactly the healthiest thing to eat, it's not a sin to indulge every now and then. Although I've never read Harry Potter nor seen the films, I think I view them in the same light: it depends on someone's convictions. I know some people who are horrified at the thought of seeing "supernatural" films, and if that's their conviction, then they shouldn't watch them. But I think that films/books like Harry Potter and Twilight fall into a grey area of Christian morality where it's not inherently wrong to watch/read them, so long as doing so doesn't cause somebody else to stumble. I think Christians ought to pray and use their God-given wisdom, and then refrain from judging other Christians based on their convictions. Also, just an end-not: I find it interesting that so many young people get caught in in Twilight and become obsessed with the themes of unconditional true love (which involves self-sacrifice), eternal life, and (for the character of Bella) a chance to become a part of a supernatural/spiritual saga greater than herself. Ironically, aren't those the very things Jesus offers us? It's funny how those themes resonate with people even when they aren't written by a Christian. The thing is, reading about Edward and Bella won't satisfy the cravings in human hearts for that sort of love, life, and destiny. It's fiction. But Jesus CAN satisfy each of those desires and so much more if we yield our lives to Him.

  6. Fri Nov 23rd,
    "Afternoon, MaryLu."
    I appreciated all that you shared today. Have never been a fan of -- Harry Potter (not the movies or novels), nor the vampire series. Like Caroline ... I have found over the years that movies have a way of "playing on our minds and imagination", and some from the way past have effected me even years later in adult life. The supernatural/darkness in things like -- witchcraft, evil/santanic, etc ... are SO immensely disturbing and extremely frightening. They just don't interest me, thank goodness ... and of course I believe they are just dead wrong.
    We need to be aware of and accountable for what we allow into our heads through our eyes.
    Amen and Amen ... to "Letting the Holy Spirit be our Guide" !!!
    Thanks again for sharing.
    Take care, and, God Bless,
    In Him, Brenda Hurley

  7. This is an issue I continually try to find a balance in in my own life. What it's come down to for me is this: Since I've been a Christian long enough to sort of sense where the Holy Spirit is leading me on certain matters, I just go by that (exactly like listening to your conscience). But the thing is, I can feel a polar opposite prompting for two things that someone else may view as equally evil or dark. For example, I'll read Edgar Allen Poe, but not Stephen King, and I see no problem with the darkness in the film The Dark Knight, even though others I know shun it. I know that in 1 Corinthians, it talks about how there may not be anything wrong with an action itself, but rather how an individual relates to that action - so, I may think something is perfectly fine that would cause another believer to stumble, and vice versa.

    I realize there are some series, like Harry Potter and Twilight, that I take major issue with. And I realize that while, in a *friendly* discussion, it would be okay for me to *caution* another believer I knew well against them, I rarely do this because of what I've said above. The only thing I ever stand firm about in this matter is not exposing children to it, unless the parent is viewing/reading it with them and discussing it extensively. I don't think children have the discernment and understanding that teens and adults do to separate out things like, "Well, wizards are satanists in the real world, but in this ficticious world, they're teaching me a good moral."

    My absolute biggest problem is with Twilight and other vampire books/movies. I'll share some of my reasons, but these are just if anybody's interested - because, again, it may not be an issue for others, and I'm okay with that. So, the reasons ***I*** take issue with Twilight are: (1) In Genesis, when God made His covenant with Abraham, one of the things He mentioned that no human was ever to do was consume blood. Now, this was not the Mosaic Law, and it was not for just Jews - it was directed at all people, period. Then, in the New Testament, in Acts, the Jewish leaders of the Church come up with a list of only four rules they ask the Gentile believers to keep - and all four perfectly match God's covenant with Abraham. One of these items is consuming blood. So, clearly, with it being mentioned prominantly *twice*, drinking blood is something God differentiates as quite evil. (2) Way back in Old Testament times through modern day, drinking blood is a common practice in occultic religions - including modern-day Satanists. (3) If you look at history's ***true*** vampires (yep, they're real, just not in the modern day sense), you'll find *most* prominantly Caligula, Vlad the Impaler (also called Dracula, or "son of the devil" - this is the man who the entire myth of vampires is based on), and Erzsebet Bathory of Hungary (who killed 600 maidens and drank their blood). Caligula was a pagan, and the very first Roman emporer to declare himself a god *on earth* (as in, while he was still alive). Vlad and Erzsebet were both heavily, heavily involved in witchcraft and sorcery. So...yeah. I stay away from vampires.

    I must say, it's interesting to see everyone's views on this - especially in such a civil forum. :-)

  8. Caroline, I quite agree.. Poltergeist is a terrifying movie! I do believe that some of us are just more spiritually sensitive.. but that one got me too.

    Emma, that's an interesting perspective on the Harry Potter books. Not having read them, I can't comment, but I do see your point. And I do agree that many Christian books and movies give an unrealistic view of what it means to be a follower of Jesus.

    Bookishqueen, I quite agree. The Bible is full of supernatural.. in fact God is supernatural.. He is Spirit, which proves there is an entirely separate realm we can't see. It all boils down to staying away from things that glorify darkness.. good point.

    Emma, that's exactly what I meant about allowing the Holy Spirit to lead you. :-) It's that nagging feeling inside that says.. "Stay away from this!" The closer we get to God, the more we will hear this voice inside.

    Kate, Well put!! Twilight offers all the things we all seek in this life.. eternity, unconditional love.. but packaged in perhaps not the best wrapping.. But maybe it will get some people to start thinking.. start seeking the truth. That's my prayer. Because like you said, only Jesus can give us those things and satisfy us fully. :-)

    Brenda, Yes indeed.. since I know you a bit, I would have to say it's a good idea for you to stay away from such things. You have a very sensitive, sweet spirit... a real gift from God and a good discernment of good vs. evil. No need to taint it with anything that might do it harm.

    Yes.. those Scriptures about drinking blood are pretty powerful.. and I didn't realize the true history of vampires. Pretty scary stuff. It's understandable why you take such a strong stand against these films in your own life. I appreciate that you don't judge others if they decide to watch them. But I particularly appreciate that you aren't afraid to share your views and perhaps help someone else see the potential danger and then seek God's will on their own.

    This is fascinating and I REALLY appreciate all your thoughts and ideas. Perhaps there's someone reading this blog who needs to hear some of this... maybe they are completely unaware of any danger at all and need to know of the potential.

  9. I'm so aware of this debate since I write a lot of fantasy books, and I have wizards and witches and all kinds of fantasy creatures. I even have three ugly trolls in my next book (and ghosts that are good and fight for God). My books are all based strongly in Scripture and meant to lead people to Christ. I even have a wolf who is supposed to "be" Christ. Some people take offense at my comparing Jesus to a dog, but I love dogs, and I relate to them more than to lions.

    I've had a few people upset with my "misuse" of Scripture (Yes, sometimes pigs paraphrase the Word) but here's my take: Tolkien said writing fantasy is like lies breathed through silver. Everything that is imagined is not truth--I wouldn't call them lies, but they are not strict truths. The question to ask is, What is the point behind the allegory or story? What is the underlying message? There's a huge correlation to teenage girls reading Twilight books and committing suicide. In just one year, a high school not far from me had five girls throw themselves in front of the CalTrain. Books that teach things like "If I can't have the boy I love, I'd rather die" can be just as godless and serve the enemy's purposes as a book that seems "harmlessly teaching it's okay to dabble in magic and cast spells." We have to be careful to look at what those messages are and how a book is influencing readers.

    I may have pigs spouting Bible prophecy, but it's my aim that by the end of all my books the reader has opened her heart to a loving God who wants to be a part of her life. I hope this helps in the discussion!

  10. I'm very careful about what I choose to read or watch, if it does feel right with me I won't watch it or read it. I don't watch any horror movies, because I tend to have nightmares and my husband always says you are opening door for evil things to cling to you. I think as we grow closer to the Lord He will guides as to what is true, noble ,just ,pure and lovely.

  11. I'm so glad you chimed in on this Susanne Lakin! Ladies, Susanne writes fabulous fantasy that definitely glorifies God!

    Deb, totally agree.. the closer we get to God, the more he guides us in the light!

  12. I read the Twilight series right when they came out, when I was about 14. It wasn't a smart idea at all because my relationship with God was struggling and the themes in the Twilight books didn't lift me up or encourage me. I've decided to not watch the movies, as they probably would do the same thing. I think I'll stick with my western cowboys. ;)

  13. Wow Mary. Thank you so much for standing up for what is right, even when no one else does. I completely agree with what you said and would like to thank you for taking the time to share! God bless you!

  14. Well, I find no harm in the Twilight movies under the conditions that you gave...I was 13 when I first watched and read the books and I was full out obsessed. I didn't believe in vampires or werewolves, but I watched the movie EVERYday. Then I became a Christian and I refused to be associated with it. Now my ma wants to watch last night we watched the 3rd one. There really are good themes. Edward refuses to have sex with Bella even when she pushes him. He says it must be saved for marriage.
    -Rebekkah xD

  15. Marissa, I appreciate your perspective. And your strength to resist something you knew wouldn't be good for you. :-)

    You're welcome, Bethany! Thanks for dropping by. :-)

    Rebekkah, Since you were so obsessed with Twilight.. what made you decide against it after you became a Christian? I'm just curious. Also.. do you still feel it's better to stay away from it?

  16. MaryLu, I didn't want to become addicted to them and read them more than the four times I'd already read them (in less than a year) each. I cared more about those books than I did anything else before I became a Christian. I also thought they were kind of dumb and the first movie is really lame looking back.
    Today at the Christian book store I found a book in the Christian section called Kiss of Death. I was like...huh? So I checked it out and it's a Christian vampire story. I'm like, "Weird..." And funny since this has been coming up lately. The woman defends her book in a brief letter before the book starts about why it's good to have a fantasy Christian book and how it has a redemptive message. I read the first few pages and flipped through reading random pages. Then I read the last three pages. I think I may buy it later. I did keep thinking, "This is strange."
    -Rebekkah xD

  17. I think it's important to draw the line between the two types of fantasy material (about vampires, etc). There's ones that have good messages about good versus evil, and then there's ones that are creepy, bloody, full of sex and violence, and have no purpose but to entertain and drag in money.
    I don't watch horror movies, I do watch some war movies, but senseless horror and thriller made to creep you out, and things like that are not something I condone or associate with.
    -Rebekkah xD

  18. Thank you for answering, Rebekkah! I'm truly in awe of the obsession with these movies. Is it the love story? Is it that the hero has super-human powers, is it that they will live forever? I think everyone is searching for that unconditional love and eternal life along with the sense that you are special.. not just a random accident and your life has meaning. ALL these things are given to Christians who truly grasp the Words of Life and have a relationship with their creator. It saddens me to see so many running after the "ideas" that will eventually leave them empty. But perhaps.. ultimately they will lead them to God. :-)

  19. Well, I can no longer enjoy the Harry Potter movies. Not because of these posts, but because of J.K. Rowlings herself. I recently, just yesterday, read and article where she 'outed' one of the main characters. The headmaster, Dumbledore, in her opinion has always been gay. Now, I keep recalling certain things that he said in the books and movies that definitely point to it. The books and movies do not come right out and say he is gay, but now I can 'see' how he might have been. So, that ruins it for me. I still think those kids are down right adorable and I truly love their relationships and the battles they faced together. God knows what it takes to get us to 'listen', and this did it for me. :)

  20. You make a pretty good point, a lot like eating in the Bible. Some people only eat vegetables, and some eat meat and vegetables. We should be careful and aware of our brothers and sisters. For instance, if someone feels uncomfortable having a Harry Potter movie night (I would never have one, but it's an example) then you either don't invite that person or you pick something (picking something else is better). I personally can't take Twilight seriously and watch it because it makes me laugh. I feel weird when I watch Harry Potter, so that's why I don't watch it. And you're right - I don't want to view a spirit world on TV I've encountered first hand! I want to watch something thought-provoking, but not gory or violent or dark or full of sex. (I do, on accident.) Sometimes you don't know how dark those movies are really going to be! Lawless and Immortals still traumatizes me. The torture/violence was so...violent and something...disturbing. Even my poor friend thought it. We both wanted to leave, and I NEVER want to leave a movie. We told each other if we got that impression we'd leave lol. And I watch Criminal Minds like no other!

  21. Debbie, I hadn't heard that. That's too bad. It would have been better if they hadn't said anything, I suppose.

    Rachel, yes, we all must be really careful what we go to see. I always check out a movie thoroughly before I spend $10 to go see it. Sorry about Lawless and Immortals. Years ago, I went to see Crying Game because it had won a ton of awards.. and I still get disturbing visuals from that movie. It's so true that what we take into ourselves will often stay with us for years.. which is why we must be careful. Thanks for your thoughts.