Twilight: Cult, Metaphor or Religion?

Bella Swan (Kirsten Stewart) smitten by Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson) in "Twilight."

This is America, where every phenomenon needs an interpretation. There are many proffered for Twilight, the young-adult novels and movies made from them, coinciding with the release of its movie sequel, New Moon.

Are the "Twi-Hards" a cult with teenage adherents who fixated on Robert Pattinson and Taylor Lautner in the way previous generations of 'tweens were on the Beatles, David Cassidy and Michael Jackson, -- because they are fantasy pinups upon whom girls can project their sexual lust in a safe way?

Is "Twilight-ism" it a metaphor of unrequited love, as this essay from Esquire suggests, stating that, "Vampire fiction for young women is the equivalent of lesbian porn for men: Both create an atmosphere of sexual abandon that is nonthreatening"?

Might "Twilight" be the gospel of "predatory sprituality," as this observer hypothesizes

As Meyer , who is Mormon, sees it, the books are about the erotics of chastity.

As I see it from a home where there's a 13-year-old-girl, it Twi-Hards curious about romance are grateful that Stephenie Meyer's books give them a radiantly ordinary heroine who is a lust object for a Goth (Vampire Boy Edward, played by Robert Pattinson) and a jock (Teen Werewolf Jacob, played by Taylor Lautner), enabling the Twi-Hards to fantasize which type appeals to them more.

As to other religious components of the phenom, here's Rabbi David Wolpe's hilarious delightful "Five Reasons Vampires are Not Jews."

Your thoughts?