Society's Fascination With Vampires Essay

855 words - 3 pages

You’d have to be living under a rock not to have noticed the prevalence of vampires in today’s culture. One of the most popular television shows in recent years was “Buffy the Vampire Slayer;” Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles continue to be widely read; HBO is currently running a series about vampires called “True Blood;” Wesley Snipes starred in a trilogy of vampire films called Blade; and one of the most successful movies of late is “Twilight,” the story of teen mortals and teen vampires in love. How do we explain the seemingly endless fascination with the undead?

Obviously, clever marketing has a good deal to do with it, but I think there are deeper reasons as well. There is, in the spiritual order, a law analogous to the law of the conservation of energy, which I would express as follows: when the supernatural is suppressed, it necessarily finds expression in indirect and distorted form. What we have witnessed in the last fifty years or so is the attenuating, and in some circles, complete disappearance of the biblical worldview. I’ve complained in the past about a bland, bored secularism that simply sets aside questions of the spiritual, the supernatural, and the transcendent. And this widespread bracketing of the religious dimension is abetted by a consumerist culture that teaches us in a thousand ways that sensual pleasure and wealth are the keys to happiness. For the secularist mind, God is, at best, a distant, indifferent force; Jesus is a guru of self-affirmation; and eternal life is a childish fantasy.

But in accord with the above-mentioned law, the supernatural will not be denied. The instinct for God and for a world that transcends the realm of ordinary experience is hard-wired into us and thus our desire, thwarted by the environing culture, will produce some distorted version of transcendence, some ersatz spirituality. Hence the world of vampires. Let me analyze just one feature of this universe. Besides blood sucking, the distinguishing mark of vampires is immortality: they are the undead, the eternally young. Though the materialist ideology around us insists that we are no more than clever animals who will fade away at death, deep within us is the sure sense that we are more than that. There are in us, as Shakespeare’s Cleopatra put it, “immortal longings,” for we are linked, whether we like it or not, to the eternal God who stands outside of time. When the proper religious sense of immortality is suspended, we produce the weird ersatz of the vampire who cannot die. I say ersatz, because authentic immortality has nothing to do with...

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