Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Why I Take Issue with the American Obsession with Vampires

While America's vampire craze has largely been surpassed by the zombie fad, the number of vampire movies, TV series, and books that continue to be released reveal that they're still quite a popular topic.  So, I feel that a discussion of the issue remains wholly relevant.

I want to make something clear before I launch into my reasons (historical, social, and Biblical) why I shun anything with vampires: When I encounter another believer who enjoys vampire media, I do not judge, condemn, or think less of them in any way.  Why?  Because Romans 14 and 1 Corinthians 8-10 make it clear that when it comes to "gray issues" of right or wrong (and trust me, there are many of these in Christianity, since the faith is based on a relationship with effort to live right, not a list of rules), some activity/practice/whatever will seem like sin to one believer and another believer will see no moral issue with it.  Romans 14:3 is explicit that neither party should judge the other for making the opposite choice (in these gray issues).  So, the purpose of this post is not to come down on anyone or convince anyone to stay away from vampire is only to express my personal perspective, perhaps give logical support to those who feel they should stay away from it but aren't sure exactly why, and try to start an interesting (and friendly) dialogue.

It is Biblical fact that the actual act of engaging in vampirism (I'm not talking about the Hollywood vampire, I mean drinking blood, even animals' blood) is wrong.  In Acts 15:19-20, the leaders of the Church (who were of Jewish heritage) set up four rules they asked Gentile believers to follow (rules that were not part of common morality, but were quite detestable to the Jews), and one of the these was consuming blood.  Therefore, it is established that no Christian should ever drink even animal blood.  If you look in the Old Testament, in Genesis 9:3-4, God's covenant with Noah - a covenant which was for all people ever, not just for the Jews - explicitly stated that no human was to ever consume blood with the meat (it had to be drained).  Of course, there are an abundance of verses that talk about staying away from anything related to the occult, and I'm not going to take up space typing what we've already heard.  All I wish to convey about the Biblicality of vampirism is that vampirism (drinking blood) itself is Biblically banned, period.

Now let's do a brief historical exploration.  If you look at history's true vampires (in this paragraph, I mean drinkers of human blood), you'll find most prominently among them Caligula, Vlad the Impaler (also known as Dracula, or "son of the devil" - this is the man who the entire modern myth of vampires is based on), and Erzsebet Bathory of Hungary (who killed 600 maidens and drank their blood...she was also a cannibal).  Caligula was a pagan, and the very first Roman emperor to declare himself to be a god on earth (as in, while he was still alive).  Vlad and Erzsebet were both heavily, heavily involved in witchcraft and sorcery.  The modern obsession with vampirism glorifies these evil people.

Finally, if you look at occultic groups from Old Testament to contemporary times, drinking blood figures heavily - and it is a common practice among modern-day Satanists.

All of that is why I stay away from anything to do with vampirism.

Now, I've seen some Christian vampire books on the market, and I'm not quite sure what to think of them.  On one hand, a vampire book with a Christian message seems like an ingenious way to reach the American masses, who will buy any vampire book they see, with the Gospel message.  But, from the one such book I've read (specifically as "research" to see how it handled the topic) and from what I've heard others talk about with other Christian vampire titles, these books' attempt to incorporate vampires into a Christian message renders severe theological inaccuracies.

But, I'd like to briefly return to what I first pointed out: Unlike actually drinking blood, enjoying a book or film telling a story about vampires is 100% a gray issue.  It has no inherent rightness or wrongness; it all depends on what the Holy Spirit tells you, individually, is right for your situation, personality, stumbling blocks, etc.  For example, I read Edgar Allen Poe and love the film The Dark Knight without feeling any pang of conscience, even though I know other Christians who stay away from them for the violence and dark themes.  And neither side, including myself, is right or wrong!

Please add your two cents to the issue!  (I only ask that you remain friendly toward all views and don't make any "absolute" statements.)  What media or activities do you partake of that other believers stay away from?  And vice versa - what do you stay away from that other believers partake of?  Do you enjoy vampire media?  If so, what is it you like about it (e.g. good messages)?  If not, what's your reasoning?

This post was prompted by the post "Vampires and Jesus" on MaryLu Tyndall's blog Cross and Cutlass.

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