Many people found that this was perhaps a strange topic to address in a youth group. You know, what ever happened to talking about Moses, Elijah, Goliath…but vampires? Really?

Well, you see, these creatures of fantasy have captured the attention of the current youth and young adult population by their portrayal in popular media (i.e. Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Vampire Diaries, Twilight, and so on). That being said, there are some aspects associated with our culture’s experience of vampires that runs against a biblical and Christian worldview.

So, while I am not endorsing a complete boycott of vampires in the entertainment industry (you can privately sort out your feelings about them) there are some thing that I want our students to be aware of before they get too caught up in the fantasy.

First of all, where did the whole notion of vampires come from? An individual was thought to be a vampire is when they died the natural decay process of their body did not progress as normal. Now, in the scientific age that we live in now, we understand that climate conditions and time of year play a large role in the decomposition of things; including human beings. This was the case when the legend of vampires began.

Often times the decay of bodies would release gas inside the corpse and thus puff up their features (like air in a balloon) and make them look more healthy or ‘alive’ than they were prior to their death; this was just an illusion however. Also, as water and other fluids escaped the corpse many of the fleshy portions would retract making it look like the teeth had grown, fingernails were longer and hair had grown. This too was just an illusion: it was the retraction of the flesh that made these appendances look longer.

So you see, vampires are not all that scary after all. However, it is more fun to pretend like they are. This urban legend eventually got picked up by fiction and fantasy writers in the late 1800s with the publication of the book Dracula by Bram Stoker and since then has been a popular figure within the fantasy world.

Even more interesting is the fact that there are legit communities of people in the world today that have adopted the lifestyle and practices of vampires…including drinking blood and manipulating psychic powers. This is my first word of caution with respect to the teen culture’s fascination with vampires:

There is a measure of Occultism associated with Vampires

The very origin of the vampire legend has demonic overtones with individuals coming back to life after spending time in the grave (often at the credit of evil spirits) and whose goal is then to act as a predator on humanity. Our biblical worldview does encounter this notion of individuals returning from death; however, the details are significantly different.

There are two instances in the book of Matthew where individuals both long in their graves and those in the tomb for just a few days have returned to life. Both of these are associated with the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ. When Christ died there were many manifestations of this collision of the kingdom of God with the kingdom of earth and one of these was that many bodies of holy people who had died were raised back to life (Matt 27:50-53). The second occurrence of such an event was Jesus Christ himself who was raised up after just three days in the grave (Matt 28:5-7).

The difference between these experiences and those of vampires are several: there was no need to fear and people were immediately comforted following these biblical examples, those resurrected were not predators of humanity attempting to draw people into their realm of ‘undead’, and these events were not associated with evil spirits: they were initiated by the Holy Spirit.

Furthermore, the current communities of individuals who practice ‘vampirism’ as a way of life today find much more in common (and they admit this) with Wiccans and the occult than with anything else.

Vampires live in a world without hope.

The present media portrayal and experience of vampirism in real life presents it as dark, secret, deep, hidden, exclusive, full of bondage and stuck in chains. There is no greater hope or desire of vampires but to find more blood and to bring others down into their misery.

The present world can feel hopeless sometimes and this is perhaps what draws people to vampires: they are hopeless creatures that somehow find meaning despite it all. This is not altogether a healthy way to cope with life however.

Teens use vampires as a means of emotional escape instead of dealing with life.

What people do to their minds and emotions when they adopt the whole vampire personality is the same thing that others are doing to their bodies when they take a knife and cut themselves. Life is full of hurt and pain…sometimes people do destructive things to themselves when dealing with this hurt and pain. Other times they emotionally disengage with the world around them and immerse themselves into a fantasy world.

Vampires are not the only aspect of fantasy that teens today revert to as a means of emotional escape instead of dealing with the world around them. Teens are notorious for escaping to video games, music, iPods, television, and other things in a chronic fashion that resembles more of a debilitating addiction than a harmless pastime. Over time such chronic addictions impair a teenager’s ability to be a functional member within society. This is unfortunate and needs to be recognized and reversed.

This is my challenge: love life and do not hide in fantasy.

John 10:10 “The thief comes to steal, to kill and to destroy. [Jesus comes] to give abundant life”.