From the Urban Dictionary:
Twihard –A serious/obsessive reader of the Twilight Saga by Stephenie Meyer, one leap above Twilighters. The difference between being a Twilighter and being a Twihard, is that Twihards have embraced a new Twiligion… er…. I mean, religion based on Twilight. They live and breath Twilight. Most Twihards are for Edward and Bella. Therefore, those Twihards are all for true love & love at first sight. Point out one thing to a Twihard, and they can relate it to Twilight instantly. Savage and wild, they need every single thing to be perfect in the upcoming Twilight movie.
If you’re anything like me, you’ve noticed something very wrong in the above category. And that’s because it’s all too real. Twilight is a new religion. And there’s good reason to be concerned about that.
I read Twilight late last year. There was a lot of buzz surrounding the book and I knew a lot of teen girls were reading it. I’m obviously not the target audience for the book, being a 29 year old male. I thought it was okay, but nothing special. There were definite areas for improvement, but nothing to make me say “don’t read this book” to the teenage girls at Church. I felt it was relatively harmless. There were issues about desiring the “bad boy” and honouring parents that I would address, but nothing too major. At the end of the day, it’s just like Grease without the music and John Travolta is a vampire. No big deal.
But I don’t want to talk about the book. I don’t want to talk about the movie. I don’t even want to talk about vampires (though seriously, Twilight is just a shorter and less gay version of Interview With The Vampire). I want to talk about obsession. You can apply what I’m about to say about a lot of things, but Twilight is taking it to the extreme.
Since reading Twilight, I’ve been listening to teens speak about the book. I’ve been watching the stores fill with merchandise. And I’ve been talking to other youth leaders across Sydney (if you’re a youth leader, especially in another country, I’d love to hear what you have to add to this). For some, Twilight has become an unhealthy obsession.
I’m going to be really careful about giving examples here. I don’t want young folks I know reading this and think I’m having a go at them. I’m not. But the words I’m hearing said, and the things I’m seeing done are not glorifying Christ.
There have been many reports of Twilight related violence. Twilight fans attacking non-Twilight fans. Fans taking their obsession out in unhealthy ways. Now that’s in the secular world. You would expect a group of people that belong to Christ to be acting differently, don’t you? But I’m hearing of and witnessing relationships between Christians torn apart because one girl thinks Bella should be with Edward and another thinks she should be with Jacob. They’re fighting over fictional characters. And it’s breaking fellowship.
I’m hearing of people (I don’t want to just say girls because I know there are male Twilight fans out there) who are spending more time with their copies of Stephanie Meyer’s books than with their Bible. That their every thinking moment is completely devoted to Bella and not Christ. They’re lusting after a relationship with Edward (or any of the other characters). It’s no wonder that marketers are investing in this new stunt. Who wouldn’t want to gaze passionately into the eyes of a soulful vampire and be encouraged to purchase the DVD on April 2nd? They’re shouting out their allegiance to Twilight through their clothes, their books, the way they decorate they rooms/folders. And the sheer volume of this is louder than they give to Jesus. Twilight receives their life, Jesus gets an hour and a half at youth group.
Twilight is a piece of fiction. I’m often reminded of this when the topic of conversation comes up. It’s usually mentioned by someone who wants to dismiss that Twilight is doing anything harmful. But when something becomes an obsession, when it’s treated like a religion by it’s followers, then we have a problem. As Christians, we do not belong to this world. “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” (Romans 12:2a) When we allow ourselves to obsessed by things of this world, we are allowing our minds to be conformed by this world. We are rejecting the transformative work of Christ. Even worse, we are worshipping a false God. Our God is a jealous God – “Do not worship any other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.” When we arrange our life around anything but Christ, when we decided what we wear, what we read, who we associate with, based on anything other than our position as the called children of God, then we are worshipping a god that is not God. We are worshipping, literally, a fiction instead of the truth.
I don’t think we can continue to ignore that this is a problem. Should we ban Twilight? Certainly not? Should we discuss this issue with our teenagers, showing them the dangers of such obsession? I think that’s the wiser way to proceed. Open up the lines of discussion early. Help them to see that becoming obsessed with fiction is no truth at all.
11 responses to “Vampiric Obsession”
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- April 21, 2009 -
Joel, I have just read that very long statment and I have to admit that I agree, my friend Lisa is very much like that worshiping Twilight and every time I try to have a non-Twilight coversation she brings it back up. Yes, I am a fan of Stephanie Meyer’s book and I have a t-shirt (being honest here and you’ve seen it) but I believe that something better well come in the future and Twilight will just be another book.
omgosh, this is so true!!!!
all of it! i didnt even realise the things twilight was doing to me and my freinds, but all of the above is happening! we war constanly ove the bella/edward/jacob problem and its constant argument over twilight/anti-twilight between all, especially at youth group!!!!!!!!!!!!!
i <3 twilight and i think its a great novel, but its true we should not wroship it as a religion.
Thanks, Joel! I didn’t think Twilight obsession was so rampant among teens; good to hear it firsthand from people to know. Is that report on the violence verifiable? I’m not up-to-date on the news, but I would think that reports would surface there.
Some of the reports of violence have to be called into question. But regardless of their veracity, surely the fact that a message board like this one http://twilightsucks.proboards.com/index.cgi?board=fangirls&action=display&thread=5175 exists is a troubling sign. Over 173,000 hits means that something is striking a chord. If the violence isn’t occuring, there’s something in the air that wishes it was to justify the feelings this work is bringing out.
dude I’m twih-ard/ twiligher, me meaning I’m obssed and scrme and gigle of the actors, but at tshe same I a chrisitan nd I lie how ther are so soem christians morals inthe books. sersiouly, the bible and the the twiligth series is all I read riht now. and I lvoe the dvd. whiel I do get offended th ifs oem didses twilgiht or at lest didsues su wilgith fan, Imay express my view but I won’t react violently. also I don’t wroship, I know it’s fiction.
Thank you Joel for this post and for being so objective in it. I too read twilight as my girls I lead at youth group were OBSESSED with it. And I did enjoy the book and can see why it’s doomed to be hit for teenage girls, especially the relationship between bella and edward.
I have really, really worried about the way my 16 year old girls I lead have thought the unhealthy obsession and love that bella has for edward is ok. I worry about what they will want in men when they start dating etc…edward is SO protective of Bella and Bella’s life is consumed with edward, every single decision she makes is based on him and she is head-over-heels in love with him very quick and the girls aspire to that and want that.
So I guess like you said, we can’t ban twilight, and we shouldn’t ignore it either. And we should def be talking with our youth kids about it.
Thanks for your comment Rachel. It was really encouraging to hear. It’s also making me a bit sad that when I thought this was a wide spread phenomenon in youth groups, I was right.
“Twilight is just a shorter and less gay version of Interview With The Vampire”
Less gay? Seriously? Using the word ‘gay’ as a derogatory adjective, and you’re how old? You look like an idiot writing that.
I think you’ve misunderstood me. When I referred to Interview With the Vampire, I was referring to the homosexual tension between Lestat and Louis. I did not mean to use the word gay here in a derogatory fashion, merely to describe the relationship between two men. When I say that Twilight is less gay, it’s because the focal relationship is between a man and a woman, whereas in Interview it is between two men.
Oh wow I thought it was just me! Teens around my age (16) are obsessing over Twilight…and it’s becoming rather unhealthy…emotionally and spiritually. Twilight will have its own religion sooner or later. It’s blinding teens of spiritual purity and exposing them to nonrealistic faiths. Don’t get me wrong, I love all the books and I can’t wait till the movie comes out. But I still manage to keep my spiritual and my love for Twilight life separate.
Read this mini-article on how far teens think of Twilight aka “their bible”: