Vampire Guilt

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Just a few more comments on the vampire deal.

First, everything in this fallen created order “answers to” something unfallen, with the possible exception of hyenas. In other words, the dragon is the archtypical emblem of sly, crafty, rebellion — and this goes back to the Garden. Satan is that ancient dragon. If we read our Bibles rightly, we will pay attention to the symbols. Honor the symbols, people.

But of course Satan was a fallen something, and that something was, before he fell, an unfallen version of that same thing. My personal view is that he was one of the seraphim, which means that the seraphim are glorious, unfallen dragons, privileged to cry holy, holy, holy in the presence of God. But in this world, the one we live in, dragons still mean what they mean. That meaning was assigned to us. Shifting the meaning of everything around in this metamorphing way seems to me to be not so much a testimony to our literary prowess as to the continued craftiness of the serpent.

The next point is that wisdom is vindicated by her children. Despite how we flatter ourselves constantly, we are really not that savvy when it comes to literature. We tolerate treacle because it has an “abstinence” message which is, when you think about it, a pretty low bar. If the kids who were really into the latest about vampires were also the kids excelling in holiness then that might make a few curmudgeons think twice. But so far, that isn’t happening so much. Low and confused standards of Christian behavior coupled with lower standards of wordsmithing is not the way I want to go.

And last, I want to reiterate what I said about guilt. The fact that the Twilight series was written by a Mormon doesn’t alter this — Mormonism represents an enormous inland salt lake of guilt. Traditional values (which people falsely think Mormons share with evangelicals) are by themselves a massive guilt-generator. They by themselves will provide a culture with a set of standards that will crush and bury them. Returning to theme, we need to hunt down these traditional values and put a stake through their heart.

Righteousness is not through the law. Righteousness is not through abstinence. Righteousness is not through not reading stupid vampire books. Righteousness is the gift of God. The fruit of the Spirit is not to be confused with traditional values. The former liberates and the latter enslaves. And when people are slaves to this guilt long enough, they will start doing any number of bizarre things in order to ameliorate that guilt. One of those bizarre guilt-indicators is an attraction to, fascination with, and use of horror fiction. That fiction can be of the chain saw variety, or the kind that makes junior high girls wilt because they think that the effeminate fop of a vampire is “dreamy.” There are some sins we commit that incur guilt straight up. There are other sins we commit that are attempts to deal with our guilt. Vampire fiction is in this latter category.

This is why a comparison to Narnia misses the point, I believe. Narnia is suffused with grace. The first issue is the symbolism; the second is what you do with those symbols, what direction you are going with them. Lewis starts with some odd symbols, granted. But they all go in the right direction, some of them finding redemption as symbols — Bacchus, for instance.

Could a healthy story (going the right direction) be written about a vampire and redemption? Sure. Has it been done yet? I don’t think so. You would either be dealing with an experienced vampire or a “virgin” vampire. If the latter, then it could be handled like Rilian’s deliverance from the silver chair (he had not yet done any evil under the spell). But if an experienced vampire were delivered from the evil, then there would be the enormous (literary) problem of how to make restitution. Not like squaring the circle, but it is not likely to be a problem solved by graduates of creative writing workshops.

In short, the problem appears to me to be that many modern Christians try to live out the antithesis by going only short (acceptable) distances in the wrong direction.

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