Blade, Underworld, Twilight, Vampire Hunter D, Cirque Du Freak, True Blood, Vampire Diaries, The Gates and the countless other versions that put a slightly different spin on the vampire genre are cashing in on a piece of this popular market.
This lust for the vampire stems from a couple of things. The idea of a mysterious being that is sensual, good looking and thin, powerful and either wealthy or not in need of money at all, is a supremely attractive and entertaining one. And the idea of immortality is the mother of ideas. An idea full of comfort when facing the unknown. All of a sudden the normal fears and doubts are gone because we don't have to fear death. The vampire is already dead. No need to question if there is a heaven and a hell because with the vampire there is a kind of life after death. A super exciting, naughty, do-whatever-one-pleases-outside-the-law-hedonistic life after death.
How passionate! How undead! How non-religious!
Recent studies from Cambridge University revealed that roughly 88 percent of the world population believes in a god (and 95 percent in the United States). I find myself in the tiniest of minorities amongst my fellow humans.
Because I am an atheist. I do not believe in God or any type of omniscient, omnipresent and omnipotent deity that watches over mankind.
Many of my friends, extended family and even my own husband believe in God. They have faith, a belief system that something exists that they can't prove with empirical evidence. And that's okay with me. I accept their beliefs. Their beliefs are their reality. I cannot argue with someone else's reality. I do not need their beliefs to be proven wrong in order for my thoughts to be right. If they believe it, then it is true. It is comfort. For them.
I do not bring up my atheism to most people I know. It's not considered easy or polite subject matter. And there is an assumption that if I do not believe in God, then I am antagonistic and at odds with people that do. I am not actively against the concept of God. I just don't find comfort in it. But I do feel at odds with the institutions and the policy-making of organized religions because of the hypocrisy, the condemnation, and the evil things that are done in the name of God, a being that is supposedly about acceptance and peace.
In my reality, there is no God, no heaven or hell, no peaceful afterlife that gives my current life on earth more meaning. We are born, we live and we die. That is the reality I experience. And yes, it can be depressing to dwell on the futility of human life if that's all there is, but it is all I know. I can only do my best to live in the moment, to live well, to fill the space around me with harmony and love, and not waste time worrying or living for a future I hope will come rather than engaging in the life I currently live.
However, I do wish there was such a thing as immortality. What fun! The ability to try everything, read everything, take on everything this planet has to offer would be a thrilling endeavor. The closest a human being can come to the idea of immortality is through making a mark in history, having his or her name remembered by future generations and through progeny. But the fantasy of eternal life is something that lingers in the minds of atheists and theists alike and that is why vampires are so popular. For me, I'm a huge True Blood fan.
To be a vampire would mean not being fully human. Not being fully human would mean not being average. Not being average would mean living without human failure or fear or struggle. And all one would have to do to sustain this unnatural and magical power of immortality, this quasi-god status, is to slurp up average, boring human being blood and enjoy the night life.
Hmm... sounds good. All the benefits and none of the guilt and responsibility. If only it was possible. But it's silly. Even the vampire fantasy cannot assuage fear of the unknown.
I guess no matter what we believe and know, we do have hours of good and not-so good entertainment to help face the harsh reality. And at the denouement of our lives, we all get to suck it.