As I mentioned in my first post in this series, vampirism is diametrically opposed to everything God calls good in his Word. But in light of this distinct separation, how would a vampire who got saved navigate the vast chasm between his old existence and his newfound faith? Read on to find out my thoughts on the matter and to get a glimpse at some of the questions I considered when writing my debut novel, Blood for Blood.
You might be a vampire if…
…you can hypnotize and control people’s minds?
If Raven didn’t go to the woman now, he’d miss his chance. He stormed toward her.
He reached the drunk woman at the same time as the old woman, who reached down toward her and touched her shoulder. The drunk woman sobbed.
At the same time, Raven hooked his left arm around the woman’s waist and helped her to her feet. “Come on. Let’s get you out of here.”
The old woman clamped onto his wrist. “Do you know this woman?”
“Of course I know her.” Raven stared into the old woman’s blue eyes. Given the drunk woman’s age and reddish hair, a stark contrast to Raven’s black hair, pale complexion, and youthful appearance, only one explanation would appease the old woman. “She’s my aunt.”
The old woman squinted at him but released his wrist.
Raven nudged the woman who now clung to him. “Auntie, look at me.”
The woman raised her green eyes, reddened from alcohol, to Raven’s. Her breath reeked of whiskey. “How do I…know you?”
Raven stared deep into her eyes, past the haze, and into her mind. He placed the lie in her head as truth, just as he had to so many other victims over the years. “It’s me, Raven. Your nephew.”
Through her inebriation, the woman smiled at him, in spite of her tears. “Raven. My nephew.”
Raven turned to the old woman. “Thank you for your concern. I’ll take it from here.”
“My pleasure.” The old woman tilted her head. “Can’t be too careful in these dangerous times. Many a man would do a helpless woman harm in the state she’s in. What’d you say her name was?”
“It’s Caroline.” Raven shifted his gaze from the old woman to “Caroline” and focused on her mind again. “Aunt Caroline.”
“Aunt Caroline,” she repeated with a smile.
Raven nodded at the old woman, then turned Aunt Caroline away from the crowd and toward the deep darkness of the surrounding woods. “I’ll get her back to our farm. Good evening, ma’am.”
“Good evening,” the old woman said, but the suspicion didn’t leave her eyes. From behind them she called, “And God bless you, and your Aunt Caroline.”
Raven clenched his teeth together so hard that his jaw hurt. Several steps later he disappeared into the woods with Aunt Caroline in tow.
– Excerpted from Chapter 3 of Blood for Blood, by Ben Wolf
Mind control is an elusive (some would argue nonexistent) thing as far as the Bible is concerned, and I would tend to agree. Aside from instances that cause deep theological questions like when God hardens Pharaoh’s heart back in Exodus (that could be seen as a form of mind control, but from God), I think this most closely equates to severe temptation.
Think about it: how many times have you been so tempted that it felt like you didn’t have a choice? That you just had to give in? I know I’ve been there. It seems like someone else is controlling our will in those moments, as if we can’t do anything about it.
That’s not the case, of course; we always have a choice. Sometimes it seems impossible to overcome that temptation, but the Bible gives us some pointers on how to deal with temptation. Here are the two primary verses I usually reference when it comes to this topic:
No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. (1 Corinthians 3:16, NIV)
Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. (James 4:7, NKJK)
So how do vampires control peoples’ minds in fiction? In Blood for Blood, it manifests as sudden extreme temptation, influence, and suggestion. The vampires in my story know full well that they can’t make a person succumb unless they do it by force. Therefore, people must choose to give in to the vampires’ temptations, and therefore they endure whatever consequences that follow.
Since vampires are agents of evil, it makes sense that they would do what the Enemy of our souls does: he tempts us. The choice remains ours as to whether or not we will acquiesce to that temptation.
With that said, in Blood for Blood I don’t explore the ramifications of what would happen to a person who was bitten and drained by a vampire without first being tempted. What if a vampire killed a person and it was totally against their will? Would their soul still be damned forever?
Perhaps that’s a novel one of you should write.
What are your thoughts on this issue of mind control/temptation as it pertains to vampirism and Christianity? Have you ever found it so hard to overcome a temptation that you just had to give in? Have you ever done something wrong out of what seemed to be someone else controlling your mind?
Please share in the comments below, and pick up your copy of Blood for Blood today by clicking on the cover image below.