Thursday, September 15, 2005

Making distinctions and Harry Potter

I recently read all of the Harry Potter books (yes, I realize this makes me way behind the times). I enjoyed the story and now I look forward to the last book coming out that actually resolves the conflict. What I wish to comment on here, though, is all the loud hype about these books promoting witchcraft so that children should not be reading them. Dare I say that is just simply ludicrous? It is my assertion that if your children are unable to tell the difference between the magical world in a fictitious novel and real Biblical Christianity, you've failed to teach them how to make real distinctions. Perhaps they shouldn't be reading any fiction at all then because they might be tempted to confuse reality and make-believe!

Everything I've read in criticism of the books talk about things such as promoting witchcraft and blurring right and wrong distinctions. The witchcraft association is simply unfounded. No doubt the world is filled with magic, but that is the basis of the fantasy world. This is no different than The Lord of the Rings--this fantasy world is fundamentally different from the real world in that it has magic all around. This is a far cry from pagan and Wicca practices today which is no where near as widespread. From Focus on the Family, I found this "conclusion:"
Rowling has stated that she believes in God and that accusations of Harry Potter books leading kids into sorcery are rubbish. (Though evidence suggests a heightened interest in the subject among children.) How sad that such an imaginative, gifted writer lacks the spiritual insight to give Harry, Luna and a legion of Potter fans the simple, illuminating truth about death—and life—found in Scripture. What readers are left with is a saga steeped in witchcraft that, because of skillful storytelling and pro-social morals, has many families ignoring its spiritual counterfeits.
Perhaps this is going to be a wake up call for some people, but if you base your life on any other book besides the Bible, you WILL HAVE A SPIRITUAL COUNTERFEIT! If you expect Harry Potter to teach you or your children about God, then you will be led astray. But then of what other book is this not true? I'm flatly amazed that this is even suggested--who is getting their spirituality from Harry Potter books??? If you think the Lord of the Rings will teach you how to get to heaven, well, you'll be disappointed there too. Of course, this takes nothing away from either LOTR or Harry Potter as good stories--they are just that, good stories. Enjoy them! Praise God that he has given such gifts to people that they can write entertaining stories that might encourage your children (or you) to practice reading.

The other assertion about the book mentioned frequently was "blurring right and wrong distinctions." This one might hold a bit more water in my reckoning, but only if the child lives in a bubble. Who's good and who's bad definitely gets a little bit fuzzy sometimes, and some of Harry's choices commonly aren't easy to make. Things even seem to work out all right sometimes when he makes bad choices, but I fail to see how this makes the book into something horrible. Are Christian morals taught in it? Some are and some aren't, but like I said before, if you are trying to get your religion out of Harry Potter books, maybe you should seek help... The book is no more offensive than the daily newspaper in terms of the morality it presents, and I would even argue that the virtues it extols are sometimes much better than the newspaper's.

Being an engineer, I'm not nearly as imaginative as some people, but I can still see creativity if it is staring me in the face (well most of the time). Just as Paul told that Corinthians that idols are nothing in the world, so the same idea applies here. Christians can give thanks to God for such gifted writers as Rowling, even if the writer herself doesn't acknowledge the true God. You can enjoy reading (just as the Corinthians were free to enjoy the meat) whether the book's author was a Christian or not (or the meat was sacrificed to an idol or not). Praise God for the great gifts he has given to men!


At 2:39 PM, Blogger ladyphenom said...

I came accross your site while just browsing though blogger. You have a nice site here.

I totally have to agree with you on this whole Harry Potter issue. My son loves reading it but i have not seen any change in his behavior that would make me want to say that Harry Potter is bad. I think that it is a wonderful story line.

At 9:40 PM, Blogger Bud said...

Good article. An idol is nothing in the world. We are closet devil worshippers when we give him too much credit for things. His head was crushed by the Seed of the Woman. Amen and Amen.


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