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The Darker Side

Dwain Esmond

 Many teens who love the Twilight series enjoy the powerful love story between Edward and Bella. Almost forgotten is the fact that Edward is a vampire, a being with supernatural powers who lives on after death. Edward’s “eternal life” is a modern-day twist on the lie that Satan told Eve in the Garden of Eden.

When Eve told Satan that God had forbidden them from eating the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil lest they die, Satan responded: “You will not surely die” (Genesis 3:4, NKJV).* This is the lie that led the first human beings to fall into sin, and it still works today. 
Before you read a Twilight book or watch a Twilight movie, ask yourself this question: Can I give my mind over to entertainment that’s inspired by Satan and based on his lies and yet not be affected? If you’re honest, you know the answer to that question. When we choose to indulge in this kind of entertainment, we expose ourselves to demonic forces that don’t leave our lives once the book is finished or the movie credits begin to roll.
Satan is playing for keeps. Step out of Satan’s Twilight and embrace Jesus Christ, the light of the world (John 8:12).
*Texts credited to NKJV are from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1979, 1980, 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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The Twilight Trap

by Pami Phillips

Before you rush out to see the new Twilight movie, you’d better read this.

 “How long till the movie?” I asked Leslie1 as we drove to the theater.

“We’ve still got about a half hour,” she replied, excitement melting into her tone. I took my eyes off the road long enough to give her a big cheesy grin, which she returned.
“I’m so excited! We’ve been waiting for this for so long, and now it’s finally here!” she rejoiced in a typical girly squeal.
“I know!” I replied in an even higher-pitched scream.
Mere minutes later we were perched in the back of the theater, anticipating actor Robert Pattinson’s gorgeous tousled melon on the big screen. The lights started to dim, and a warning on the screen decreed cell phones a no-no. Leslie and I tried to contain our squeals of joy as the screening of Twilight began.
Last November millions of fans, including Leslie and me, got their wish when the movie adaptation of the best-selling novel Twilight opened nationwide. Teenagers in apple shirts flocked from far and wide to stare wide-eyed at the characters of the book reincarnated in cinematography.
Over the past few years, Stephenie Meyer’s vampire romance series has become such a sensation that even the fabled wizard Mr. Potter got exchanged for the undead Edward Cullen. These black books have infiltrated high schools, libraries, video stores, and, unfortunately, even churches.
To critics, producers, and society, Twilight is the greatest thing since Shakespeare. But why? Since vampire books have held spots in Borders and Barnes and Noble for decades, what sets theTwilight series apart? And, more important, why must we as Christians give Edward the thumbs-down?
I used to be in love with Twilight. I read the books, waited months for the movies, and squeaked like a groupie while watching them. In fact, not a day passed when I didn’t think about Edward Cullen or at least some element of the series. Sometimes, being the introvert nerd I am, I reflected on why I was so into these books.
I recounted that I’d been a bookworm most of my life and have in particular been drawn to sci-fi and fantasy genres. But Twilight was different. I wasn’t passionate about it; I was obsessed with it. Not caring enough to dig deeper, I would shrug it off and remark that it was just because they were so well written and Edward was so hot. Later, though, after I threw away my obsession, I confronted the reality about those books.
Waking up to the facts
A few months ago I was told about a group on Facebook with a title that sent me reeling: “I’ve read Twilight and now I have unrealistic expectations in men.” It was then that I first realized the gravity of the influence these romance novels are having on people. This doesn’t pertain just to the Twilight series, but to other books, movies, and video games too.
The reason Edward and Bella’s love saga is selling like mad is simple. It tells of seemingly undying love between an ordinary girl and a piano-playing, incredibly handsome, and benevolent boy—a love most girls will never experience.
Due to the fact that statistics are skyrocketing in our society when it comes to divorce, single parents, and broken homes,  many girls are left feeling very unloved. I come from a divorced family myself, and I know what being fatherless feels like. In order to cope with it all, teenagers bury themselves in whatever they can.
Often we hear of fatherless girls becoming prostitutes or drug addicts, but what we never hear about are the other girls of the spectrum, the girls who immerse themselves in books and other media in order to escape the pain they live in.
When I felt emotional pain, nothing felt so good as reading a novel where the chivalrous boy pledged his undying love to a homely girl forever. Books were an escape, Twilight was an escape, and thus it became my obsession.
I’ve seen many girls fall into my footsteps, the ones who read the Twilight series again and again, buy the apple shirts, start fan clubs, and eat, breathe, and think Twilight 24/7. And some may ask, “What’s wrong with that?”
I look at these girls and ask, When do they stop talking and thinking about the fantasy world and enjoy real life? When do they stop watching Edward and Bella and interact with the real, breathing people around them? When do they stop telling a fictional story and tell their own? Better yet, when do they stop reading about a fictional love and discover their Father in heaven, gazing down upon them obsessively each and every day, wanting them to love Him back?
The big deal is simple: if you spend all your time in a fictional world, you’ll never be satisfied with real life and real people.
Jesus said: “No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other” (Matthew 6:24, NIV).2
When I was stuck in the Twilight world, I neglected my family, my friends, and my Savior. I traded them and Him in for an artificial comfort that lasted temporarily. And for what? Has Twilight changed me into a better person, a better Christian? Did it make me happy?
If anything, it just twisted the knife on my situation.
Can God change us, can He make us happy?
If we let Him.
Remember that Jesus also said: “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:19-21, NIV).
Why, in spite of all the knowledge we have of God’s love, turn to worldly things for comfort? Why did I trade in a loving, caring Master for a fake one? To be honest, I’d have to say it was due to a combination of giving in to the devil’s temptation and my unhappiness with my situation. But the only true obsessions we should have as Christians are our Father and His work. I allowed the Twilight books to become my obsession, and it only resulted in my devotion to my Savior dwindling.
While that’s now all in the past, I know now that God has set boundaries for us for a reason, because He wants only what’s best for us, not to restrict us from something fun, but to protect us from a trap. And by heeding this warning to turn the bloodsuckers down, you could save yourself a lot of heartache.
But what about the millions of girls who are stuck inside their heads in Twilight’s paper world? How can we help them? Well, it all starts with us.
If we have addictions, whether it’s reading fantasy books, playing video games, doing drugs, having sex, or doing anything harmful to our spiritual well-being, then we need to deal with it in order to preserve ourselves in Christ and prepare for His second coming. If we have friends who are obsessed with Twilight or other harmful materials, pray that God will lead them away from these traps.
We do have an eternal lover. His story may be found within the pages of a book, but unlike Twilight, it’s not a work of fiction. Take it from me, in a million years Twilight will never be as good as the Bible is. God’s Word is on the best- seller list for eternity.
1Name has been changed.
2Texts credited to NIV are from the Holy Bible, New International Version. Copyright  1973, 1978, 1984, International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. 
Pami Phillips is a high school senior who enjoys painting, creating pottery, and eating natural foods. She also volunteers at a nursing home and a hospital, and she serves food at a local mission. She plans to become a nurse.

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