Consider these opening phrases often heard in conversation today. “I don’t want to judge” or “Others would certainly disagree” or “Mine is simply one point of view among many.” It seems in our current culture of niceness that people must never ruffle any feathers, never speak unkindly, never be direct, never criticize. People don’t like to be told they are wrong. In fact, it seems we have trouble saying what is right. While there is an obvious need for tact, some want to go further, softening differences between good and evil.
Stephanie Meyer has produced feel good vampire stories. The Twilight series has created the vampire every guy wants to be and every girl wants to date. Twilight, New Moon, and other Meyer stories demote the once supernatural Dracula to the children’s petting zoo. Stephanie Meyer has clearly stated her intention: to create good vampires whose stories are more light than dark. Meyer has done a disservice to those of us who battle monsters. The nice vampire created by Meyer is similar to reading the views of liberal Bible scholars. Disbelieving miracles and the divinity of Jesus, some intellectuals try to make the Bible’s supernatural claims acceptable or nice. But I have problems with superficial explanations of the supernatural. My literary analysis of a book like Twilight runs deeper. In a culture of tolerance, Meyer’s perspective is celebrated: and it should not be.
We need monster stories to show the dangers of so-called “tolerance.” Bram Stoker’s evil monster Dracula does exist. Stephanie Meyer’s “Edward” would not stand a chance against him. In the very first chapter of Dracula we meet Jonathan Harker who at first strikes me as those reading the Twilight series: they have no clue what they’re getting into. It is the townspeople who understand Dracula’s absolute evil. When they discover Harker is on his way to Count Dracula’s castle they immediately know this man ventures toward a place they know is evil. With a great amount of Christian imagery, the commoners understand the danger. Monsters like Dracula are not nice.
G. K. Chesterton cautions against this doctrine of niceness. In his book Orthodoxy, Chesterton says people are afraid; afraid to believe multiplication tables are true, or, that there is distinction between right and wrong. In an age of tolerance, people do not like the clarity of definition: they would rather accept all beliefs as true. But, if evil exists, a standard of goodness must also exist. Yes, we should be careful with our criticism. But while we are being nice, knowing evil exists should make us think twice. For Moody Radio, this is Dr. Mark Eckel, personally seeking truth wherever it’s found.
“Co-exist” bumper stickers would not be allowed in Iran, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, North Korea, and . . . The desire for peace can only be accomplished in a free nation. Moody Radio will broadcast this audio-blog in the winter of 2011.