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Romance with a Vampire Twilight of the Survival Instinct


We are witnesses to a great spiritual war between Good and Evil. Evil fights this war using two methods: with its visor lifted… or quietly and stealthily, through subtle seduction. To the first of these methods fall people of a vulgar, ruined spirituality, to the second fall the noble remainder.

In literature we have already encountered a princess who kisses a frog and thus gives rise to an interspecies romance (cf. The Princess and the Frog). But the reward for such a brave deed was the transformation of the frog into a handsome prince and eventually a wedding without perversion — between a young woman and a young man. Likewise, in The Beauty and the Beast, the heroine (Bella!) falls in love with a Beast, having discovered a soft heart beating within its shaggy bosom. But here too the romance has a virtuous ending: the shaggy hide falls away to reveal a prince who has been bewitched by an evil sorceress. Bella’s love breaks the power of the spell and the Beast is ready to wed his chosen one like a human being.

New fairytales

Contemporary societies are opening themselves up to a new aesthetic — a new kind of “fairytale.” New, that is, not only from the point of view of storyline, for the plot has been repeating itself in historical mutations for centuries (love, death, desire, betrayal, loneliness, heroism — in short, the seven virtues and the seven deadly sins). But these new fairytales also carry with them a new morality that is often at variance with Christian morality. Why so? For one thing, as members of civilized societies we are heirs to a centuries-old legacy of intellectual biases, false ideologies, philosophies, pseudo-religions, movements, and errors — indeed, this for over two thousand years. For another, we at the threshold of the twenty-first century are witnesses to a great spiritual war between Good and Evil. Evil fights this war using two methods: with its visor lifted (pornography, violence, terrorism, perversion, sects, etc.), or quietly and stealthily, through subtle seduction. To the first of these methods fall people of a vulgar, ruined spirituality, to the second fall the noble remainder.

Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight

Today, millions of young — even very young — women have fallen under the spell of a romance between an American teenager, Bella Swan, and her hundred-plus-year-old boyfriend, Edward. To date, well over 40 million copies of their literary fortunes have seen the light of day. The first two parts of the four-book cycle (Twilight and New Moon) have already been adapted to film, so that anyone who has not had the chance to learn about this ideal romance from reading the books may now watch the film versions.   

“As long as I am going to hell, I may as well do it thoroughly,” says the vampire Edward, looking like a fresh seventeen-year old, to his Bella in the school cafeteria. So begins the process of their getting to know each other. Edward gradually succeeds in reconciling Bella with the fact that he is a being of a different, damned, species, while Bella allows herself to be so reconciled, for she is in love for the first time in her life. What’s more, she loves the vampire so dearly and so enduringly that she also wants to become a vampire. And it is hard to resist the impression from reading the book that she does so mainly because Edward is so outrageously good-looking.

Stephanie Meyer does not hold a patent on the idea of a romance between a ghoul and a human being. The undead have traditionally been portrayed as terrifying, unambiguously hellish beings, but for centuries artists of every persuasion have tried to move the hearts of their audience with a vision of a demon, drowned person, vampire, or werewolf eternally and hopelessly in love. More or less intentionally, these artists have raised the subject of the existence of hell, eternal damnation, the ancient, primordial source of Evil (if God, who created everything, did not create Evil, then where did Evil come from?). In this way they have wrestled with disturbing questions such as whether Evil might not at least have a shadow of Good, whether demons might not suffer pangs of conscience or whether there might not after all be an escape exit from hell — as if such questions had not been decisively dealt with, ages ago, by St. Jerome.

In Stephanie Meyer’s literary vision, vampires, like human beings, have various views on these matters. Some are unambiguously evil beings, beasts and murderers, who “live forever” by drinking the blood of their human victims. Others — and to these belongs the family of Edward Cullen — are “the aristocracy of the spirit world” — “vegetarian vampires,” who live off the blood of animals, not humans, and keep their hellish predatory natures in check (not an easy thing to do, but then their triumphs are all the sweeter). Thus the reader has the impression that these vampires have class and character! They can exercise self-mastery. They are capable of compassion, of heroic struggle for their dignity. And they can love — faithfully, chastely, ideally, immortally — eternally! This cannot fail to have an effect on a reader’s imagination, especially a young woman’s. Twilight’s Bella is an unexceptional teenager. She has her faults and her strong points. She is not the stock American type of a super-blonde — a Barbie doll — but is more reminiscent of an “emo” poster girl. And juxtaposed with such a girl is the ideal Edward: a “young god” of extraordinary beauty, rich as Pharaoh, intelligent as Einstein, sensitive as Saint Francis, a Chopin at the piano, ten times as strong and agile as Superman, knightly like Roland, and, above all, able to love ideally like Romeo, like Mr. Darcy, like the heroes of every national epic and romance. What a privilege that the immortal Edward should choose her — a Cinderella from the small town of Forks! Edward is a figure with virginal dreams. It is this, above all, that contributes to the success of Stephanie Meyer’s overlong and sophomoric books, for Edward is even able to resist the erotic inducements of his beloved Bella! Although — understandably — he does wonder at times if he can call himself a man. This is a vampire who, even though he is tempted, heroically saves sex for marriage!

Luciferism

Luciferism is the subtlest form of Satanism. It does not dabble ostentatiously in the nature of the deadly sins, but clings tightly to the appearances of good — a mask, which keeps it safely obscured. It looks like the ideal surrogate for Christian mysticism, since in its most extreme forms it rejects all things corporeal, as if scorning them, and pays homage to the spiritual nature of Darkness — to God’s surrogate, Lucifer As the theosophist and Satanist, Helena Blavatsky, observed, “the essence of Darkness is Absolute Light.” Potential readers of horror novels or any piece of fiction must therefore take warning! Save us, Saint Paul! Did you not advise us in your Letter to the Thessalonians: “Reject all that has a look of evil about it” (1 Thes 5: 22).

Vampires exist

Dictionaries of myths and cultural traditions classify vampires unambiguously as personifications of demons. To “live forever” they must make a bloody sacrifice of a human being and their damned “eternal life” is lived only in darkness, since light deprives them of strength. Like fallen angels, they are also more beautiful and more perfect than human beings. They are treacherous nocturnal murderers, whose home is the grave. And though we all realize that vampires do not exist in material reality, we do know that demons exist — demons that in the spiritual domain lead precisely such a “vampiric life” that impinges on us and those around us. In this sense they are very real indeed. Perhaps that is why Satanists are so fond of donning the guise of a vampire. In addition to the international sect called the “Temple of the Vampire,” there is truly thriving Satanist community called the Vampire Temple based out of the State of Washington, USA. The vampiric figures and rituals found in folk and pagan beliefs as well as in fantasy literature are a source of inspiration to the demonic imaginations of leaders of modern Satanism throughout the world. Often they lead to real crimes.

From the Christian point of view any theory that tries to present and “stroke” Evil as though it were only a dangerous, albeit purebred, dog must spring from error (if it is unsuspectingly held), or from outright mendacity (if it is propagated consciously). We, human beings, cannot hold the naïve view that there is a safe “leash” by which we can lead this “mad dog.”

The case of Anne Rice

Stephanie Meyer, the Mormon American writer, stands on the threshold of a career similar to that enjoyed several years ago by another American writer: Anne Rice. In both cases media fervor would no doubt fall off if the main heroes of these women’s romantic tales were just handsome boys instead of demons. The fate of Anne Rice’s career is proof of this. After her relatively recent return to the Catholic Church, she began writing Christian novels, which are artistically superior (although they do, in my view, contain some controversial ideas), but in my local library I have found over a dozen of her vampire novels and only one Christian one — one that has garnered considerably more modest reviews. The conversion to Catholicism of this well-known and loudly hailed mistress of horror tales has proved troublesome to the media.

I am left wondering now to what limits of perversion literature — especially the tendentiously promoted kind — will take us in the future. Has love between a woman and a man become so dull and stale a subject that only a demon in the role of lover can excite us? Can only damned love be beautiful? What then of Jesus Christ, who embraced the cross out of love and for love? Is it so difficult to see that to portray the union of a vampire with a human body in the kiss of death and sucking of blood is to portray an act of profanation, a pact with the devil? Is not the human body, which God created, the temple of the Holy Spirit?

If while running their dreamy eyes over the pages of Stephanie Meyer’s romantic novel our young readers would only mentally substitute the word “demon” for the princely name of “Edward,” they would see in these novels what is not apparent at first glance: a world of refined, spiritual, intelligent seduction. If one were to take Twilight’s fictional philosophy literally, it would be the twilight of humanity — the twilight of humankind’s survival instinct — without the possibility of a happy ending.

 Of course, as a writer who uses words as her raw material, Stephanie Meyer is quite entitled to create worlds of her own. We respect and pay homage to freedom of expression. But fortunately, we readers enjoy another freedom: freedom of thought. So let’s keep away. This isn’t our world.

Małgorzata Nawrocka

Translated by Christopher A. Zakrzewski

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The article was published with the permission from "Love One Another!" in August 2016.




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