A Christian commentator takes Twilight series author Stephanie Meyer to task for "ruining" the vampire genre by taking the traditional staples about the eternally damned bloodsuckers and "softening them with teen romantic tripe," otherwise ignoring "the eternal nature of death in sin."
In a post for Think Christian, a collaborative Christian blog that discusses "Christ, culture, and the ways that faith plays out in everyday life," John J. Thompson, a songwriter, musician and the Creative Director at EMI CMG Publishing, expresses his belief that "the whole world needs good vampire stories because they are so importantly Christian."
Meyer, who published the first Twilight novel in 2005, created the male protagonist of the popular book series and movie franchise as a romantic and lovable guy. Meyer's leading man and hero, Edward Cullen, is described as "inhumanly beautiful" - quite the opposite of the vampires seen in "Nosferatu" and the numerous "Dracula" films or "Blade."
Calling the "Twilight" movies frustrating, Johnson insists the series is a problem "because it messes with the quintessential essence of vampires" and that a postmodern mindset of "insidious relativism," as well as Meyer's apparent ignorance of the vampire genre, is to blame.
In his post for Think Christian, titled "Twilight has ruined vampires," Johnson claims Meyer, a graduate of Brigham Young University and a Mormon, of showing complete disdain or ignorance of "several immutable laws of vampirism."
The first of the four laws of vampirism Johnson lists is: "Vampires are damned and dead. There is no hope for redemption."
He explains that by blurring good and bad, Meyer "ignores the eternal nature of death in sin."
Johnson also complains that, "Instead of recoiling in pain and dying an excruciating death when exposed to light (which is what happens to sin), Edward...glimmers like Bowie in 1972." Johnson then cites John 3:19, as he reminds readers that vampires cannot stand the light.
Arguing that vampire stories, like many myths, "reinforce" biblical truths and allows readers the "imaginary playgrounds" to practice saying no to temptation, Johnson concedes that he is in no way claiming that "a vampire story ever saved anyone’s eternal soul."
Johnson's take on "Twilight," and the vampire genre in general, is quite different from what is often proclaimed among mainstream evangelical Christians - that the series is dangerous and should be avoided by Christians.
As the latest installment of the vastly popular movie series is set to hit theaters nationwide on Nov. 18, critics are buzzing once again and the warnings have increased.
In the new installment of the series, "Breaking Dawn - Part 1," Edward and his once-human lover Bella Swan marry and have a child.
Besides the troubling notion of the undead conceiving babies, some Christians believe that the entire issue of vampirism, fictional or otherwise, has no part with Christianity.
Films like "Twilight" and "Harry Potter" only serve to seduce "young people into Satanism and witchcraft," according to GoodFight.org, a nonprofit ministry "encouraging spiritual warfare against the powers of darkness" that is operated by Joe Schimmel. Schimmel is the senior pastor of Blessed Hope Chapel, an evangelical non-denominational church in Simi Valley, Calif.
According to Schimmel, "Twilight is riddled with unbiblical themes that glamorize and glorify the occult." The California pastor claims Meyer portrays traditionally evil, villainous vampires as "good-hearted and trustworthy demons, deep down" - as Edward and the other vampires in his coven drink the blood of animals instead of humans and actually fight to protect humans.
Despite Meyer's characterization of the heroic Edward, there is nothing noble nor glamorous about vampires, Schimmel argues, as "vampirism is rooted in occult lore and vampires are thought to be the physical manifestations of diabolically empowered entities..." For the evangelical Christian pastor and his GoodFight ministries, vampire myths apparently have no redeeming qualities.
New York Times best-selling author Ron Brackin might disagree with Schimmel, as he believes such occult tales can be used to highlight or further the gospel.
Brackin, author of The Gospel According to Dracula: A Bible Study, previously spoke with The Christian Post about how he draws from the story of Dracula to teach Christians parables about having a deeper intimacy with God.
As for why movies like the "Twilight" series do so well, Brackin believes there is an intense hunger among cultures and people for the spiritual.
"As supernatural beings, we know instinctively that we interact with a supernatural world. The problem is that we don't understand it. We have no spiritual discernment. And as somebody once said, if you won't believe in God, you'll believe in anything," he said.
That may be where the argument lies: "Twilight" is simply a fictional tale that mature Christians, guided by wisdom and discernment, are free to take or leave.
Whatever the case, as "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1 (2011)" hits theaters in less than two weeks, the new installment is likely to break box office records.
According to the Internet Movie Database (IMDB) Movie Meter, which gives a snapshot of what movies are hot based on user searches, "Breaking Dawn - Part 1" is the seventh most popular title among the millions of users on the website.