Devotion #7: Nightmare/History of a Species


My subconscious had dredged up exactly the images I’d been trying so desperately to avoid. I was going to have to face them now.
With another sigh, I turned on my computer. I made it to my favorite search engine and then typed in one word.

Vampire.

I found a promising site—Vampires A-Z.
The rest of the site was an alphabetized listing of all the different myths of vampires held throughout the world.
The first I clicked on, the Danag, was a Filipino vampire….The myth [said] that the Danag worked with humans for many years, but the partnership ended one day when a woman cut her finger and a Danag sucked her wound, enjoying the taste so much that it drained her body completely of blood.

The Romanian Varacolaci, a powerful undead being who could appear as a beautiful, pale-skinned human,
the Slovak Nelapsi, a creature so strong and fast it could massacre an entire village in the single hour after midnight, and one other,
the Stregoni benefici.
About this last there was only one brief sentence.
Stregoni benefici: An Italian vampire, said to be on the side of goodness, and a mortal enemy of all evil vampires.
It was a relief, that one small entry, the one myth among hundreds that claimed the existence of good vampires.

Twilight, Chapter 7

Good and evil can be highly subjective terms, especially when fictitious supernatural creatures are involved. That’s because fantasy pushes our current reality out of the picture, forcing us to examine the fantasy world independently of the real world. This is why stories are so special and effective at teaching us truths, why Jesus employed parables so relentlessly: stories get past our dogmas and mental walls to the heart of the issue, what is true and what is false.

In this case, the story is showcasing a fictitious history of a fictitious race of blood drinkers. The entire history of their species is line after line of sad treachery and horrific murder. But there is one entry which speaks hope: the Stregoni benefici. The good, moral, (or sinless) vampire.

What does that matter? Everything. Our human history, if viewed or read by an outsider, a space alien or perhaps a cow bound for a steakhouse, could be assessed similarly: we are a race of people who domineer each other, hate those of different color, murder our children, neglect and abuse our pets; figures like Hitler and Mao Tse Tung who were responsible for millions and millions of lost human lives and terrible wars, but they do not begin to represent our entire species. What of the ones like Nelson Mandela, Mother Theresa, Abraham Lincoln, and St. Francis of Assisi? No, the individuals that make our history do not represent us all.

Incidentally, who were the Stregoni benefici in Stephenie Meyer’s story? They were in fact, only one vampire alone: Carlisle Cullen. He is the father of the “new breed,” the ones who live above the fray, above corruption, above sin. His faith in God’s redemption….even for the supposed “damned,” forged his entry in vampire history as a world-changer.

We are a fallen race, saddled with a propensity to sin. Without the single benefici (Italian for good, wholesome, benevolent, harmless) in our spiritual history: sinless Christ, we would have no hope of leaving that nature behind. This is where fiction meets truth: it only takes one entry to change the history of a species.

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~ by sarahthebaker on November 24, 2009.

4 Responses to “Devotion #7: Nightmare/History of a Species”

  1. i love u carlisle

  2. Absolutly astute and insightful analysis of Meyer’s work and of vampiric lore. Loved it…especially the part about Carlisle as the savior of his assumedly damned race:) Marie

    • Thanks Marie. I appreciate your comment.
      My chief desire is for others to see what I have seen: Christ, as revealed through the unlikely vehicle of the “eternally damned.” Before Christ, we were all eternally damned. We could never measure up. Thank God for the “last Adam,” Who made it possible for us to live in freedom.

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