Vampires are a new religion for some teens

A recent study in Denmark demonstrated that vampire mythology in popular movies, books, and TV shows such as Twilight and The Vampire Diaries may be usurping the role religion has traditionally taken in shaping young peoples’ world views. The study only surveyed 72 14- to 18-year old teens, but I wouldn’t be surprised if this is a more wide-spread trend, particularly in places where organized religions are not incredibly prevalent in everyday society (aka, probably not in College Station, Texas). 

I really like this study, because it shows that people can learn important life lessons such as the difference between good and evil (or the lack thereof), the importance of morals (and the existence of moral ambiguity), the consequences of your actions, and even bigger-picture questions about death. Helping people figure out these types of questions is, in my opinion, the only really beneficial part of religion, because religion sets up a context in which you can explore your questions about the world and life. However, many religions come with many more less-desirable qualities as well (in my opinion), such as restrictions on behavior, guilt, etc. So if teens and other people who are shying away from religion can find a forum in which they can explore their questions about how to live, and how to live as a ‘good guy’, then there’s nothing wrong with that! 

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2 thoughts on “Vampires are a new religion for some teens

  1. I disagree with you on several points. What is the point of discussing good and evil if you aren’t willing to change your behavior? It is the difference in behavior that separates a good person from a bad (or less good) person. Sometimes guilt is an appropriate feeling. I certainly don’t think replacing religion with vampires (creatures who trace their origins to demonic-type forces) is a good thing. Don’t get me wrong: I like vampires. I think they make cool antagonists, but I think there is a problem when teens start idolizing them and wanting to be them.

    • I am not saying that people aren’t willing to change behavior or that guilt is a bad thing, but I do believe that people should have the choice to decide what behaviors they think make up a good person, and that people can get a chance to explore what they think of as good and bad behaviors through fiction (in this particular case, fiction involving vampires). I’m not talking about teens idolizing and wanting to become vampires, but I do think there’s something nice about vampire fiction in that teens can explore good and evil and morality in what they know is a completely fictional environment.

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