I walked into Kroger’s today and headed over to the book section. Not that I was expecting to find anything good – but you never know. And if all else failed, there were always some magazines to flip through while Mom shopped. You know what YA book selections look like nowadays – lots of black covers, lots of blood, lots of pointy teeth and moons and red roses. Lots of titles like “Academy of Night.” “Vampire Diaries.” “Broken.” “Pretty Little Liars.” “Demon Hunters.” “Vampire Academy.” And of course, the ever-popular “Twilight.”
I picked up a few of them – not to read them for entertainment, but to see what the teenagers of America today are up against. The first book I opened, my eyes immediately landed on a paragraph. Somebody was explaining to another person about their ‘religion’ – comparing it to Wicca, and saying it was about ‘the empowerment of Nature inside one’s self.’
So we’ve ceased to be subtle about this, huh? I wonder if anybody who reads these books notices this. It started out as a quiet little whisper here, a gentle nudge there. Now we’re openly embracing satanic religions, supporting warlocks and witches, and putting forth the idea that relationships with dark, moody, dangerous, supernatural partners is a good thing. (Never mind the broken hearts, the snapped nerves, sleepless nights, suicidal tendencies, and possible death they entail).
And the odd thing is? Most of these books aren’t even written well. Open one up, and you’ll see it’s a string of clichéd, generic words thrown together and somehow… published.
Part One: Dangerous Love
So what’s the attraction? What’s this fascination with these impossible, often dark, supernatural romances? Well, here goes my take on it.
1. The books are about a girl. She’s not stunningly beautiful, overly graceful, overly special. She isn’t tall, leggy, or a model, and she probably can’t even play the cello. In fact, she’s rather plain, often clumsy, and does a lot of stupid things she regrets. This character might as well come with a tag saying “Insert Self Here.” When you have a character who could be anybody, and we read it, then what do we do? We put ourselves in that nondescript girl’s place. We become her, seeing through her eyes, feeling what she feels – because we feel just like her. We don’t feel we’re anything special. We don’t feel we’re all that gorgeous. So it’s easy to become her.
2. The second main character is a guy. He’s usually either a fallen angel (or, um, the politically incorrect term ‘demon’), werewolf, or vampire. He’s been turned into the perfect guy. He’s what every female wants. He’s chivalrous, (he opens the door for her) thoughtful, (he actually LISTENS) attentive, (he’ll notice if she’s uncomfortable and do something about it), and he’d die for her (because every ancient immortal guy wants to date a teenage girl with problems). Now, combine this sort of character with the first one, and you have – YOURSELF! In the perfect romance. (Never mind that these guys like to watch you sleep, are eerily possessive, aren’t particularly fond of the light of day, enjoy Blood Lattes, and are often either dead or doomed.) And oh, yeah, he’s in PERFECT shape, and he’s totally attractive, right down to his breath and big toe.
(BONUS: He might even SPARKLE. How cool is that!?)
Note: I also have to point out, that many – I even dare say most – of these ‘romances’ really aren’t. They characters don’t fall in love, they fall in lust. Real, honest, pure, sacrificial love is all but gone from modern ‘romances.’
And there you have the two main ingredients for a paranormal romance.
I can see why it’s so tempting to a lot of girls out there, but it’s also dangerous, like the fruit on the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. It looks desirable, but eat it and something’s going to mess up somewhere.
Part Two: Supernatural Evil
Now I know several people who say they’ve read these sort of books and it doesn’t affect them. I have to disagree. I believe that it may not affect you in a particularly noticeable way, but it WILL affect you. It will affect your soul.
I don’t necessarily think that if you read Twilight you’re going to turn into a gothic person who only wears black and wants to drink blood (although that DOES happen more often than I care to talk about), but it will affect your spiritual life.
Proverbs 4:14 Enter not into the path of the wicked, and go not in the way of evil men.
Proverbs 4:27 Turn not to the right hand nor to the left: remove thy foot from evil.
I’m not trying to be judgemental on people who enjoy these books – I’m just trying to show that these books aren’t innocent. Demons – I mean, Fallen Angels – are evil. If you think I’m kidding, read Genesis! I won’t go into vampires being demonic, but in most old folklore, that’s what they are. Werewolves split half and half.
Matthew 6:23 But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!
That’s what I first notice about the covers of these popular books – they’re dark. Every single one. And Darkness is something that Light cannot be associated with. If you invite darkness in, the light has to leave. And I believe that reading books that induce such dark and twisted fantasies is seriously bad for our immortal souls.
1 Thessalonians 5:22 Abstain from all appearance of evil.
…okay. What would you think if you walked into someone’s room, and all over you could see the kind of books discussed beforehand? What if their room were covered in black and blood red? If all around you saw words like ‘vampire’ ‘night’ ‘broken’ ‘destroy’ ‘darkness’ ‘blood’ ‘witch’ ‘drink me’… Okay. So maybe not that last one (though it does fit, you know). Would you think “Wow, this person must be a strong Christian!” …well, I wouldn’t, for one. I’d think “Wow, this person needs some serious help.”
They would have the appearance of evil. Now, what if Jesus walked into a room like that? I believe his heart would heavy for the person it belonged to. I believe that, as Christians, we need to abstain from the demonic influences that have elbowed their way into our culture.
We need to show that we’re different from the world, that we have light and love to offer instead of darkness and death. We’re here to be a light shining in the midst of a sea of darkness. And I don’t know about you, but I’m going to try and shine.
NOTE: I know this post is pretty controversial, so feel free to controverse! (No, that’s probably not a real word…) I wrote this out of love and concern, not out of the desire to seem hypocritical or to incite anger. However, if you disagree with something, then send me a note and we can talk about it! If you agree with it, feel free to say that, too. 🙂