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July 23, 2007

Bringing Harry Potter to Church



harry_potter_7.jpgIf you're not thrilled to know that this past weekend, I joined millions of other Harry Potter fans around the globe and sequestered myself from media, friends, and family (well, they were around me) and spent hour upon hour anxiously turning pages to discover the secrets I've waited years to learn, you're not going to appreciate this post.

And if you don't think it was right that I brought my kids with me early Friday morning to get a wristband to secure my place in line at the local Borders so I could snag my copy of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows as close to its release at midnight as possible, then you're really not going to like what I write next.

You may want to stop reading right here. (Attention fans: Don't worry. No spoiling ahead!)

After spending as much of Saturday and Sunday morning as I could reading the fantastic final book in the Harry Potter series, as we got ready to leave for church that morning, I just couldn't leave the unfinished book on the table. I imagined having to walk out of the service with my fussy five-month-old, knowing he wanted to nurse, knowing I'd nurse him on the comfy couch in the library. I just couldn't fathom that scene without Harry. So I did it. I made room in my already overstuffed half-purse, half-diaper bag, and I brought Harry Potter to church.

My son never made a peep. So Harry never made it out my bag. But a 759-page hardcover book is hard to hide. After church, a couple friends with good eyes teased me about what they saw in my bag. A couple more complimented me on my fast-reading skills. My husband was not so impressed. After the teasing stopped, he looked at me, dazzled, and said, "You brought your book to church!"

"Yeah," I said. "So did they." And motioned to a group of middle-schoolers who stood around with their books open, talking excitedly. Again, husband not so impressed.

As we drove home, knowing I'd need to walk my husband through yet another explanation as to why I'd be spending yet another day glued to this book, I thought about why J. K. Rowling's series has made such an impact on me - and tons of others around the world. Anyone who's read the books could give you her own wonderful reason. The girl behind me in line at Borders said it was because of the detail, all the story lines. Good reason. One of the middle-schoolers at my church loves the action, the suspense. Good reason. One friend of mine loves the language of the storytelling (it is masterful - Rowling has an unbelievable mind and vocabulary - English and otherwise). Good reason.

I've got a few reasons why I love the books. But the one I keep coming back to is one my friend Carla summarizes much more eloquently than I do (although I can't remember how she says it - otherwise I'd quote her!). It has to do with the orphaned boy who sleeps in a closet and thinks he's nothing (because he's told that by his cruel guardians) who is suddenly told he's special - and that he's destined for greatness. As the story unfolds, we see Harry embracing his gifts and excelling at them even as he facing challenges he could never before have dreamed he'd face. He does become great - though certainly not unflawed - and leads others toward greatness as well. And the whole thing is just a pleasure to read.

I think what's so enthralling is that what we see happen with Harry is what we'd love for our own lives (though I could do without the Inferi or the Dementors). We all want to be told we're somehow special, somehow destined for greatness. We all want someone to say, "You, you alone can do this." Right?

And I hope at some time, we all find that. Frankly, Christians shouldn't go through life any other way. Without sounding trite, God made us each special, each destined for greatness. Now, I'm not talking about literary-hero greatness. Most of us will never be notorious or lauded among the masses - I don't think I'd want to be. But greatness, as leaders and as Christians, means that we use the gifts God's given us - entrusted to us - to glorify him and to do his great work. Even when we face challenges. Even if we feel those gifts are locked in the closet for a spell. And especially when we're told we're "nothing."

Comments

you've probably heard it many times, but Harry Potter extols magic. Heady, isn't it, to be at once in the closet, scared and lonely... and suddenly.. you're an amazing wonder.
The dilemma is 'how do you get there?'
Digress the Harry Potter way, and the Christian way, and you can see why Christians balk at Harry Potter. He may raise valid, affirming points, but what are his presuppositions?
That he has an innate power within him to conquer evil is kind of cool. But where does the power come from?
I think I would like Harry Potter a lot. That's why I stay away.

I remember when the first Harry Potter books came out and how I was viewed as a bad parent for letting my children read them; I took it on the chin and watched the self-righteous spectacle unfold around me. The school my children attended banned them from campus, there were sermons preached about their destructive influence and of course there were the false reports of J.K. Rowlings satanism. Long before the fire had died down in mainstream Christian circles, my kids were finished with the subject and had moved on to something new. To them it was just a good story, like The Chronicles of Narnia and The Lord of The Rings, or Hansel and Gretel and Cinderella. My point is this; Harry Potter--or any other controversial figure--can only contain the power we give them. If we don't attribute any, there isn't any. While I am not denying that words can have enormous influence, it is our perception of them that matters, much more than the words themselves.

It's actually quite amazing how many kids credit the Harry Potter books as the catalyst for their current love of reading. Many of them have told me that it was the first book they ever read from cover to cover. For me, any book that fuels a passion for reading is worth it's weight in gold. Reading expands our vocabulary, increases our knowledge and broadens our ability to understand the people around us--and therein lies the real power.

So I say, let the controversy rage on; that in itself will bring about an 'intrigue' into the Harry Potter saga strong enough to cause many children who normally don't read more than the back of the cereal box to open a book just to see what all the fuss is about. Our kids will be exposed to many books and viewpoints in the course of their lives and yes, some of it will be controversial and inappropriate. I sat on the floor of my Father's office and read 'Foxe's Book of Martyrs' from cover to cover when I was 11 years old. Appropriate? I doubt it, but it was definitely a turning point in my life and started a quest for truth and passion that I carry with me to this day. My dad did caution me, but he didn't deny me and I think he was wise not to.

If you're truly worried about the content of the Harry Potter books, I'd suggest you read them with your children and then discuss the issues you disagree with afterwards. Or if you don't have kids, read them for your own enjoyment, and so you can be informed when the issue comes up with friends and family. I can almost guarantee you that if you try to censor them, your kids will get their hands on them somehow! Whatever you do, don't criticize them if you haven't read them-- you'll just make yourself look like an idiot, and frankly, you'll be one.

C.S. Lewis often spoke about how the imagination can bring us closer to God, and how important it is to develop it. I don't know of a better way to start that process than stories that capture our mind and spirit and draw us in to a magical, mystical world where possibilities are limitless and the battle for good and evil is won through great courage and character.

I'm a little too old to stand in line, but I hope I'm never too old to appreciate a good story and a little imagination! Read on kids!

I have 2 comments
1 censorship is sometimes appropriate. I read "Clan of the Cave Bear" when I was aged 11(If you haven't read it then I suggest you don't). I was not ready for a book that descriptive of things I was nowhere near ready for. The line has to be drawn somewhere. In saying that, trying to censor Harry Potter doesn't sound wise to me. Marilyn's approach seems to be the wisest in my opinion.

2 The fuss kicked up by offended Christians almost always has the opposite effect of their desired one. I remember hearing my Major (kind of the Salvation Army version of a paster) spend hours telling us that Harry Potter was "sinful" using as his main reference an article from 'The Onion' (on line satire news site). The article had made up interviews with school children saying Harry Potter had caused them to flee faith, and seek evil things. The article was written to mock the extreme reaction of some Christians. The reaction of Anti-Potter Christians incited the article and the article incited Anti-potter Christians,and it all escalated into a nobody is neutral issue (although there are a few of us neutrals out there)

As Christians we are called to speak up for the orphans, aliens and widows etc. Is that anything like what we are doing with this issue?

My husband bought the first Harry Potter book when all the Christian world was raging against it. Why? To find out for himself what all the fuss was about (kudos to him). Well, the first book did him in.....HE WAS HOOKED. He couldn't believe how captivating the storytelling was. He has since read each one (except the last) and we have been to see each movie. If Harry claimed to be a Christian and yet discovered he had magical powers, that would be one thing. To accept the book for what it is (a childhood fantasy tale of magic and wonder) is totally another.

J.K. Rowling herself believed she was destined for greatness, even though her life before the first Harry Potter book hit the jackpot may have felt more like Harry's life before all the adventure started.

All the virtures this writer attributed to Harry Potter can be found in the Bible if she bothers to read it. The Bible creates in us the ability to relate to God in a way that we rise above what we would otherwise be, it assures us of how special we are, and points the way to being great leaders.
Ruth

I just cannot agree that these books are of positive value for Christ after experiencing in a school playtime setting the type of play the books inspire--children sitting in circles casting spells, making the tools of witchcraft, and dressing up as witches/wizards. No matter how Harry uses wizardry, it is still wizardry and still forbidden by Scripture and leaves the thinking open to deceit by Satan. The book may encourage and develop reading, yes, but reading what?

There is a huge difference between a mature adult Christian and a child as readers of Harry Potter. One may have a mind filled with years of Biblical truth and discernment while the other has none of that to use to filter Rowland's writings.

Although God created us each with purpose, any "greatness" we may be destined to is only real if tied to His greatness and glory. So, does Harry lead a person to seeking God or do these books lead one to seek self-empowerment? What I have seen is the latter, not the former, which makes Harry Potter's popularily so very dangerous in this post-Christian society.

As the argument has been made several times before, the celebrated Chronicles of Narnia are deeply magical, and magic is a large part of the Lord of the Rings Trilogy. Gandalf and the Elves use magic, yet it is not viewed as being Satanic or evil. Why? Because both of these authors were openly Christian. However, J.K. Rowling has never openly expressed her faith. Why? Because she said in an interview that doing so might give away the ending to the series.

Besides, the magic of Harry Potter is, as Charles Colson has argued, purely mechanical. Magic is only used as a tool, and at no point does any character call upon supernatural beings in order to obtain power.

Sorry Debi, but if your main argument against Harry Potter is that it "leaves [our] thinking open to deceit by Satan," then just take a look at how the Bible has been misused over the centuries. Let's face it, Satan has used those who've read the Bible to do evil than he will probably ever use those who read Harry Potter.

Well said, Caryn.

Let's face it, Satan has used those who've read the Bible to do evil than he will probably ever use those who read Harry Potter.

Strong statement, Matt. But I agree.

I also agree with those who have said that these same Christians who balk at HP endorse Narnia and LOTR wholeheartedly. What about Star Wars? What is a Jedi other than a witch/warlock with another name? If you're going to ban witches from your family's entertainment, ban them all.

Comments, posted on July 26, by Ruth. I agree that it is a fact the bible tells us how special we are - and if one confesses to believe in Christ, we should be very careful where we look for confirmation of who we are. My encouragement to all believers or those who confess to believe, if you are searching use the most timeless 'gift' book of all, The Bible, for your answers. The truth will set you FREE!

The resiliency of the living word of God, is nourshiment for the soul and there is no profit anyone else gains from you - but that the Lord gives back to you over and over again. Salvation - the eternal gift.

May all those who believe and who are searching find their prayers for understanding who they are in-Christ be answered, not through fiction but through their prayers, to a Soverign Lord, and Saviour.

hmmm. I know this is way out in left field but here goes. When I was in grade school in the inner city of Buffalo, New York during the 60's, four boys in the class donned Beatles Wigs and guitars from a kit and commenced to entertain the class with "I Wanna Hold Your Hand". They had seen the excitment the Beatles caused and wanted to exert that kind of energy on us classmates. It was quite a sight, and although the fellows knew they could not be the Beatles, they were black afterall, they did want to share in the excitement. Is there a message here regarding Harry Potter fans?

You know what is sad? Many Christians are not that excited to read their Bibles. You know what else is sad? Christians trying to explain away why they just can't separate from the world as Christ calls them to do. Your article is a testament about the state of the church today. Instead of the church moving away from the world as the world sinks deeper into open sin, we sneak up as close as we can.

Barnes and Noble in Maine featured a "divination" event for children, (their words, not mine) to celebrate the latest Potter book. Hundreds of children lined up to have their futures read with Tarot cards. How in the world does this comport with God's clear commands to avoid this kind of thing?

It should not surprise me that evangelical Christians are now reduced to promoting books that are celebrations of the dark arts which God forbids, but it still does. John Granger's book, Finding God in Harry Potter, actually goes so far as to say that many will be converted because of the "seed planted" by the Potter books. What blasphemy. God's Word is abundantly clear on the issue of dark arts. His people are to stay clear of it. This is from Deuteronomy 18:

9When thou art come into the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not learn to do after the abominations of those nations.

10There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch.

11Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer.

12For all that do these things are an abomination unto the LORD: and because of these abominations the LORD thy God doth drive them out from before thee.

13Thou shalt be perfect with the LORD thy God.

14For these nations, which thou shalt possess, hearkened unto observers of times, and unto diviners: but as for thee, the LORD thy God hath not suffered thee so to do.

Those who insist they have a more mature, "literary" view of these things in contrast to fundamentalist extremists are covering their rebellion to God's Word in an academic cloak. At a time of incredible biblical illiteracy among believers, our children are to be reading about the occult? God help the church.

Yes, Robert, I do find it sad that many Christians are not that excited to read their Bibles. I hate the fact that I can breeze through a novel but it takes me weeks just to get through Ezekiel. However, Christ does not call us to separate ourselves from this world. In laying his own life down for us, Christ demonstrated how active He is in this fallen world. And yes, many of us do attempt to justify how intimately we are involved with fallen ideas and in a fallen culture. However, I'm still not convinced that reading Harry Potter can be considered fringing on open sin.

The divination event does not sound like the divination in Harry Potter (where it is mostly mocked). That's the fault of the bookstore, not Harry Potter or Rowling.

I believe the only damage Satan has used the Potter books for is not the books themselves or their message but rather by inspiring fear in some Christians and causing them to further create a divide between themselves and their neighbor, all the while missing out on a story that is fun and beautiful and penned by a Christian artist.

I sometimes cringe at the stances my Christian brothers and sisters take on certain issues -- but only for a moment. Each person has to weigh his or her own conscience about such things.

Being a writer myself, I appreciate ALL good writing, and I care little about the subject matter. And yes, I'm a Christian. But I'm a Christian with the ability to take something at face value and not turn it into a doctrine -- which means I can read all sorts of genres and read about witches and warlocks and whatever else and enjoy the parts of it that are enjoyable and then walk away with no desires to practice black magic.

In general, I think we blow a lot of things way out of proportion. Every book does not have to serve a missionary purpose -- sometimes it's nice to just read for pleasure. So what if the Potter books don't point people to God? Neither do basketball games or ballet or cross-stitch or any number of other hobbies Christians the world over enjoy. SO just relax, folks!

Taking a Harry Potter book to church to read? Really? I think not.
We have to take a stand somewhere.
Yes, I think there is a place for a mature believer to read the books, and then be able to relate to others from a Christian perspective. However, look at the hype surrounding the book. A local store was doing palm readings for children. I dont care if that had anything to do with the series or not, the image is there and you dont have to ask children or parents what that image is. They're going to tie the two together.
I would rather see teens sitting all over the floor at church, eager to go through the Bible in a year, than to see kids gathered for palm readings. I'm so glad many of the churches in our area are just overflowing with children and teens who are listening to God's Word being taught, and not Rowlings.
The love of God's Word should be above every book, and the desire to study it should be even greater. Yes, we have room for studying the symbolism in works like Narnia and Tolkien, but the kids heading to those movies werent about getting their palms read.

@Matt

There is a big big difference in being "of" the world and being "in" the world.

Long ago I borrowed the first Potter book from the library and read it, to see for myself. I remember being dismayed by one theme in the book: not so much the sorcery, as the arrogance. Harry and his schoolmates refer to non-magicians as "Muggles." The attitude I picked up was that Muggles were common, stupid, disgusting, tasteless, and hopeless. Ever hear people in church talk like that about an "out" group? Harry and his friends are so far above the common herd that every time they break the rules they get rewarded. Yes, the fantasy is of being "special" is appealing, but Harry's kind of specialness seemed dangerously prideful to me.

I think she needs to try CS Lewis. That is all I have to say.

I have never read and never will read Harry Potter for one reason: it's sorcery. The bible says to stay away from sorcery and magic. Therefore, I will never read any of the Harry Potter books. You can't tell me it's not sorcery, there's spells in the book and you know it.
C.S. Lewis wrote books that involve magic, but have hidden messages about Christianity. For example, in the Chronicles of Narnia the lion sacrifices himself for Peter, who was a traitor. Therefore, the lion gets killed by the witch, but becomes alive again. Just like Jesus sacrificed himself on the cross for the sake of sinners and rose again three days later (the devil was like the witch). At the end of the book, the four children get to sit on thrones like Kings and Queens after they die in a train wreck. If you believe in revelations, as I do, then we go to heaven once we die, if God so chooses. We get to sit on the thrones of heaven like Kings and Queens for eternity with Jesus (represented by the lion). So although the Chronicles of Narnia involve magic, it is still a good book because it teaches otheres about Christianity. Harry Potter however, is a bad series of books because it doesn't involve any teachings about Christianity or any good things whatsoever. It just tells others about sorcery, which is one of the devil's many tools. The devil is out to get Christians to stray from God and he is winning right now with the Harry Potter books. If I were you, I would want to stay as one of the 99 sheep that followed Jesus, not the 1 that strayed. So next time before you defend the Harry Potter books, think of how stupid you sound.

I used to condemn the HP books, too, because I didn't like the idea of witchcraft becoming an accepted part of pop culture. But I've now come to believe that censorship and blackballing are the weapons of the ignorant, of the uninformed. I sometimes wonder if we avoid the grey areas because stepping into them would take more courage and discipline than we either have or even desire; in short, we'd rather bar our children from certain influences than teach them the Biblical differences between right and wrong and thus free them to make wise, godly decisions on their own.
That said, I'll confess that I, a long-term Christian, have been influenced by "the world," especially by its more insidious evils. I've done things that God hates, and my sense of right and wrong has blurred. And I spent all my formative years and beyond in the Christian subculture. So, while I'll no longer condemn HP out-of-hand, I will argue that adults are responsible for whatever concepts, for good or for evil, children take away from those books. As a child, I was taught Scripture with exacting, repetitious, lengthy care; but I was allowed access to a variety of entertainments, and I absorbed the bad along with the good. Please understand, I knew the Bible as a teenager, but that wasn't enough to help me walk away from unglody things.
So, please, parents and guardians, don't believe the lie that, if your children know how to filter, they will do so. Allow them freedom, but be actively involved in what they experience. Ask yourselves if you want your children, when they're beyond the reach of your control, to be so "tolerant" of worldly influences that they require a movie with demonic images to thrill them (anyone check out the images in this last HP movie?) Please don't believe, or perpetuate, the idea that your educated, discerning children couldn't possibly take anything ungodly away from a little "harmless" Tarot reading.
Because I did...and I've gone through a world of hurt because of it.
And I used to take novels to church because I couldn't contemplate spending time reading my boring Bible. I needed something more fast-paced, more up-to-date to entertain me, and I still struggle to read my Bible today. Take from that anecdote what you will.

I read that article and I find it parallels a lot of things that is wrong with christian thinking and the church today.

"Thanks For Sticking Up For Harry Potter!

Now that the seventh book has come out, there no longer is any doubt that there is Christian symbolism in the series. I had avoided the books for the first few years, but since then have enjoyed them immensely.

Well I thing most of the christian spend most time reading ungodly books and less time reading the Bible and spend time with God, just think of this lady (Bringing Harry Potter to Church-C.Ravadeneira).I do not thing if the sunday message did anything to her, even her husban was not happy with her actions.So christian my advice, spend your 24hrs with God, that with Harry Potter.Nomfundo (South Africa)

You might be surprised to know that Harry Potter can give us some great opportunities to connect the gospel with the culture around us. For example, next week, I'm going to be leading the devotion with the kids' outreach group at my church. We'll be talking about Harry Potter, and I'll tell the kids I admire Harry because he's brave, he is loyal, he stands up for good against evil and he's willing to put himself on the line for the sake of what's right. What's more, I know of a boy in the Bible who was a lot like that - Daniel. I'll have the kids' attention and they'll remember Daniel. I might have their attention if I bagged Harry, but I wouldn't have their respect. There's a lot of good in these books, and frankly, if you read them, you'll find that they teach sorcery as little as they teach the principles of motor mechanics!

I can only echo the wise comments said here regarding Tolkien and C.S. Lewis. To say that we are “indulging in the things of the world” by reading particular fiction puts us in danger of discrediting creative work as a whole…If we condemn Harry Potter we might as well keep going until we burn Shakespeare’s tragedies because they include suicide scenes.

Should Harry Potter be read with discernment? Absolutely.

Is there Christian allegory in Harry Potter? Look hard enough you’ll find it. The whole last book is the tale of a boy who is very much human, but also self-sacrificing.

Should kids be set-straight for creating their own make-believe stories in the schoolyard? I’m close enough to my childhood to remember that what I was play-acting I knew wasn’t real, but again, conversations instead of tyranny works wonders.

Yes. The lines can blur into obsession (Although I find the idea of sneakily reading Harry Potter during church quite a hilarious , there is a time and a place. I would recommend setting up a book-club for discussion and Christian guidance concerning the book…if I wasn’t so afraid others would cry out heresy).

Should I be reading the Bible instead of Harry Potter? --Why can’t I be actively reading both? If the Bible is truth, then Harry Potter is, at its most redeeming points, a mere echo…

One of the greatest learning experiences I had was to take a university course about the Bible and literature. I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t spend enough time with the Word…sometimes we need a little bit of an intellectual push to get our flawed butts in the right direction, instead of a censor’s kick to the gut that leaves us feeling winded and resentful. For me, it was exploring this intertextuality...

I love the fact that you went to Borders on that Friday and that you spent all weekend reading and that you took the book to church. I just discovered the books this summer and am really enjoying them for all the reasons that you mentioned in your article. I also went to Borders on that Friday, went back that night and bought three copies: one for my dad, who's a missionary, one for my brother who wants to teach in a seminary and one for me, your average Children's Ministry Director.
I remember well my thrill when I read how Harry discovered that he was special in book 1. I wanted to cry I was so happy for this fictional 11 year old who finally found out that he mattered. I am praying that each of the kids in my church realize they are just as special as Harry, not because they are a wizard but because God loves them and wants a relationship with them.
Thanks Caryn for a great post! I'm almost done with book 5 and know that I'll be really tempted to bring #7 with me everywhere when I start reading it :).

Divination is an odd practice, but that is my opinion. How can one divine the future, which by definition does not exist? Regardless, despite Deut. 18:10, there are at least five spiritually affirming uses of divination in Scripture.

Most notably, Matthias was chosen to replace Judas by casting lots, a form of divination. I personally know clergy who use terms like, "casting a fleece." Which is a form of divination, in my opinion. How many who howl at divination, play card games? Each card in a deck of 52 represents a card in a tarot deck. How many play games that involve dice, like Yatzee, Monopoly, and Risk? By participating in game night with couples from Sunday School, are you unwittingly participating in an abomination by divining who is going to be the winner of a game of Settlers of Catan?

How many prophets and heroes of the faith participated in a form of divination called oneiromancy, dream interpretation? Jacob? Joseph? Solomon? Daniel? Paul?

"Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains, and let not the one who abstains pass judgment on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him. Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand." Romans 14:3-4

This debate has variations that has gone on for centuries.

We are one in Christ. I have noticed that the church in general seems to be vocal about Harry's magical abilities... but I haven't heard anyone condemning me for wishing for a magical wardrobe that will take me to another world filled with magical creatures, witches and the forces of good and evil.

We are all created in the image of the Lord. I can find some wonderful truths in the story of Harry. I can also see why some Christians have decided to stay away from it.

I have enjoyed reading these stories and I worship and call upon the name of my Lord Jesus Christ!

"There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death." Romans 8:1-2

I is interesting how Christians are seen more as rule-makers than loving servants. I hope that we can unite through Christ and look only to him and stop trying to take the planks out of each other's eyes.

How unfortunate that evangelical Christians have become so confused by the culture and so ignorant of the sweep of Scripture that they can't tell what's really evil and what's not!

Harry Potter is a STORY!!! It's a STORY!! It's a very good STORY!!! Stories aren't evil, they're only true or false (or a mixture of both). They are false only if they contradict God's story which is that good triumphs over evil in the end and that sacrificial love is the greatest love of all.

If you're interested in snooping around the culture for genuine evil try MTV. Go to the shopping mall and see the nonsense our culture is selling our children. Listen to the self-righteousness that is streaming out of our churches. Listen to the self-absorbed tripe which passes for worship music on our Christian radio stations.

Leave Harry alone.

"I don't know half of you half as well as I should like and I like less than half of you half as much as you deserve." -Bilbo Baggins

I hope this doesn't sound too simplistic, but honestly, this is what comes to my mind about this "controvery": Can't we teach our children to walk and chew gum at the same time? Can't they read fiction that's about magic and witchcraft and such things and read the Bible at the same time? I worry that we are putting future generations in a big ol' cloister. I have heard Christian parents say they will not let their children read or watch Caspar the Friendly Ghost. I kid you not. It would never in a million years have occurred to me that that white sheet flying around on the TV screen or book pages meant there were literally ghosts, or that if there were such ghosts, that that somehow negated the existence of God and Jesus. I am completely depressed and unoptimistic about our future when I think of all the children being taught within such limited environments. Just my perhaps overly simple view of things, but I wanted to share it for what it is worth. Because I truly am depressed when I think of Harry Potter and other works of good fiction, of all things, being demonized (pardon the pun). I would much rather our children be taught compassion and love.

Many here have revealed their ignorance of what these books are all about.

One asserted that the point of the Potter books is to seek power for one's own ends; the exact opposite message is heavily emphasized in the last book, and throughout.

The "arrogance" of referring to non-magic people as Muggles? The books emphasize the evil of looking down on others whom you consider beneath you.

Another said Harry promotes divination, when Rowling writes to show the bankruptcy inherent in "divination".

Someone claimed there is nothing about Christianity in these books... they are showing their ignorance. Self-sacrificial love abounds, and... oh, I just don't have time. If you are determined to remain ignorant, then please go ahead.

And so many false dichotomies! If kids are getting excited about reading something besides the Bible, that thing must be evil? Please!

Over the years I have known several people who practiced some kind of witchcraft. I even went to college with a girl who was a satanist. One thing that is abundantly clear about the books is that they are FICTION. The people misled into witchcraft in this world do not fly around on brooms, use magic wands, or anything else of the sort. These books are fantasy- the same as what Tolkien, Lewis and others wrote. People complain about the lack of a God figure in HP, while extolling LOTR. There is not a God figure in LOTR either. Tolkien didn't write them as an allegory for Christianity. For those of you who condemn the books so whole heartedly, I suggest that you read the end of the last book to see the great message there.

This is for a comment I read below:

"However, Christ does not call us to separate ourselves from this world."

Jesus said we are in the world but to not be of the world. We are to have a higher set of standards to live by. If what we are reading watching, listening to doesn't line up to the Word, then maybe we shouldn't be enjoying them...maybe we should be enjoying and loving God instead?

You think this is just simple reading fun. I use to read all kinds of stuff like this as a child. Simple and harmless, right? Unfortunately, it spawned my desire for witchcraft in my teen years. It only got deeper and deeper. I thank God for delivering me and saving me from the choices that came from these kind of things. I also thank Him for removing my desire of these things from my life. I know now that if I were to go and read things like HP again, it would hinder my spiritual growth and could possibly even cause me to backslide. Yes, it can be that serious. Some kids can just brush it off, but usually it has a different affect.

We are also told to guard our hearts for it is the wellspring of life. Choose wisely. If you feel that you are strong enough to keep it from infecting your soul, then by all means have at it. I've just seen different. We already don't like reading our bibles. I always have to ask myself, if Jesus were to come back finding me readingthis or listening to this or reading that(fill in the blank), how do you think He would handle that?

Matthew 5-7 are a wonderful place to start on the values Jesus longed for us all to share.

May God give us, the bride, a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him that the eyes of our hearts would be enlightened into the things of Him(Ephesians 1:17-19)...that we may know the hope of our calling and desire Him more. In Jesus name. Amen.

The time is short and the days are few, may we all choose wisely. What we do here matters what and where we will be for eternity. Ecc. 3:11

God bless.

Thank you, Lorraine. When I said that Christ has not called us to separate ourselves from the world, I was fully aware that there is a difference between being in the world and being of the world. In no way, shape or form have I been interested in dabbling with witchcraft since reading these books. In fact, I've been reading and memorizing my Bible even more consistently in recent years. I'm not saying that this in any way results from reading Harry Potter. What I am saying is that reading HP really has not adversely affected my spiritual walk more or less than the newspapers, magazines, or other books that I read. I really can appreciate why you have chosen to not read these books, and that probably is a wise decision for you. However, how can you be sure that these books would have the same effect on everyone else? Forgive me if I am way off in this analogy, but certainly a recovering alcoholic would do well to stay away from alcohol, but others would be able to drink without completely letting themselves go?

By the way, I never actually commented on the actual article! Sure, I've read and have enjoyed HP, but I would never bring it, or any other reading material for that matter, to church with me. I have a hard enough time with the fact that many churches don't even expect you to open up your Bibles during the services on Sunday.

What an interesting conversation. I really appreciate the thoughtfulness of everyone's comments (well, perhaps I'm not so appreciative of the person who called me stupid. And people wonder why it's hard to be honest in the presence of the people of God!)So thanks everybody

I did want to clarify one thing: While I did bring my book to church,as I wrote, "Harry never made it out my bag." Perhaps I wasn't clear that when my son gets fussy and needs to nurse, I walk out of the sanctuary to old sofa in the library where I sit alone for 20 or so minutes. Often, I do have a book with me so I can read during this time. Perhaps it is "churchier" if I spent the time in prayer or quietly singing, but I believe, as Abraham Kuyper famously said, that there's not an inch on this earth to which God doesn't declare, "Mine!" Therefore, I think I can actually read, stretch and entertain my brain, and worship God in doing that.

I wouldn't have dreamed of reading in the midst of a church service--out of reverance to God and respect to the minister. And in fact, that Sunday, I sang, prayed, listened, greeted, fellowshiped, and all-around "churched" my heart out, as I try to do every Sunday.

Blessings!

Well said Lorraine.
Children are not able to separate these images out, as easily as adults. The very fact that stores are sponsoring the kind of events they are, says enough right there. I took an unbeliever to Narnia, and they got the point of the movie very very well. The same just cannot be said for HP.
It's also a shame to see so many saying how they just cannot study their Bibles with enthusiasm. Apparently they haven't been in such studies as Beth Moore, or Precept or even Bible Study Fellowship. Satan is accomplishing his purpose if we love works of fiction more.
And btw, a local news broadcast said some counselors were being set up so the children could handle the deaths in the last HP book. Get a clue from that.

Does anyone realize that J.K. Rowlings is a practicing witch?

I wish someone would've had counselors on hand back when I was reading Charlotte's Web or the Black Stallion or forced to watch Old Yeller in a grade school assembly.

Huh, I didn't realize she was a practicing witch. You'd have thought she'd portray her people more realistically then. Where did you find this out, The Onion?

Sorry, should have clarified. My point was, how stupid is it for children to need a counselor because of a book?
The mania that accompanies this series is pitiful.
Our God is a jealous God, and He wont have any idols before Him.

Great post, Caryn!

It cracks me up that some of you who are upset by all this are mentioning "The Onion." This just proves you have to get a life. For those of you who don't know, The Onion is a satirical newspaper. Open your mind and take a look at www.theonion.com. Allow yourself to laugh...maybe even outloud. Is it going to bring anyone closer to God? No. But, we need to learn how to live in a sinful world while being honest with ourselves. An earlier post stated that HP "leaves the thinking open to deceit by Satan." If we are only to read things and do things that bring us closer to God, we should probably be in seclusion, reading the Bible, and in constant prayer. Clearly no one blogging or reading this is doing that. It's amazing that some of you ever leave your homes. If HP isn't an option, then I hope you don't have any newspapers laying around. How can you possibly shelter yourself or your children from the news around the world? Maybe you use it as education, informing your children of the world's inequities. Wow! What an idea!!

It's easy for us as Christians to pose questions similar to Debi's: "So, does Harry lead a person to seeking God or do these books lead one to seek self-empowerment?" It's much easier to criticize what others are doing than to take an honest look at what we're doing in our own lives. In other words, it's always easier to be the editor (or blogger in this case) than it is to be the writer. Kudos to Caryn for taking an honest look at herself and making herself vulnerable.

Don't forget to check out www.theonion.com. And remember, it's ok to laugh.

in all the fuss about HP and witchcraft, i think there is one very important thing being left out. at 23, i don't care for HP not because i can't sort out the supernatural content, but because harry is an absolutely horrible role model! sure, he is able to make "ultimate" sacrifices, but the rest of the time he's a self-seeking bully who believes the rules do not apply to him because he is "special". this is one of the more screwed-up portrayals of heroism one could present to a child, that choosing to make "big" sacrifices in the end justifies one's everyday behaviour - his 'valiant' changes of heart just don't cut it for me.

huh. that's a lot of quotation marks.

Just in case any of the anti-HP camp is interested, JK Rowling is NOT a practicing witch, but a member of the Church of Scotland. I don't think that it is anyone's place to judge her faith in any way. How will you feel one day if you see her in Heaven, and find out that you treated a sister in Christ this way? And as far as counselors being set up for children to deal with the deaths... I cried quite a few times reading this book... and I would have been really sad if I had read them as a child. However, I did watch Old Yeller, I read Black Beauty, and any other number of books that traumatized me because of which characters died in the story. So I don't see what is different about this book.

I am also curious- someone mentioned earlier that there was no magic, and no spells in the LOTR. I'm just wondering then what you thought Gandalph was doing when he chanted spells and used his staff as a wand?

Thanks for the clarification, Caryn. I think many of us got caught up in the question of whether HP is good or evil that it was easy to jump to judgmental conclusions. Sorry about that.

Spurgeon said it best:

"This would be the first step in apostasy; men first forget the true, and then adore the false."

There is unfortunately a serious lack of discernment among Christians today and it's extremely worrying that many Christians (we all believe the devil and its demons exist, right?), feel its all right to make little kids soft for the occult. How do people become witches for Satan? One little step at a time... and it starts with books like Harry Potter which portray demonic acts as good. There are enough good books in this world from which you can learn... it is thus not necessary to indulge in books that promotes the occult

I am much against Harry. I am 42 years old and was adopted as a baby. I found my birth Mother about 10 years ago. She is a self proclaimed witch who claims to have cast spells. Witchcraft is real, no witches don't fly on brooms, they aren't green, they can however connect with evil. My birth Mother does not believe in God or Satan. I believe Satan and his demons are who she connects with. She has been so blinded by the enemy allowing herself to delve into witchcraft. A book where the star attends a school of witchcraft, I don't believe is the best subject matter for vulnerable children to read. I can understand those that appreciate good literature. I feel they are trying to make excuses though to read these books. Yes I believe we can find a good message that can relate to God. He can work all things for good, but this is completely about a character that practices witchcraft. I realize in Lord of the Rings there is a wizard, he's not the main character. He's just one of many making up the story. Perhaps this is just especially personal to me considering my story.

Harry Potter will never be the sacrifice needed for one to gain eternal life. But the spirit of anti-christ..that is here...arrogance...rewarded for breaking the rules....a lightning bolt on the forehead...(mark of the beast anyone?) to Harry's sacrifice....wait for him to "rise again"..just like a phoenix (symbol of anti-christ) rising from the ashes.....next book maybe? harry rises from the dead? The anti-christ receives that head wound and rises and all are AMAZED.....

face it people...this book is brainwashing you to accept the false messiah....a charasmatic loveable person with all the answers for world peace and love and light and blah...blah...blah....

Joe, Malan, Trisha....very good posts....discernment is woefully lacking in the body of Christ. Everyone keeps saying.....it's good writing....good characters, etc....well everybody who does crack, heroin, coke..they all seem to imply the same...IT'S JUST SO GOOD......till the reality sets in and you are a junkie...or you've got an altar to satan in your daughter's bedroom. Or your son has a pentagram on his floor and he stands in the middle....WAKE UP......SAUL DIED CAUSE HE CONSULTED WITh THE WITCH OF ENDOR.......
when your family starts falling apart, you'll know where you opened the door to lucifer....NAIL THE DOORS SHUT....PUT THE BLOOD OF JESUS OVER THOSE DOORS AND WALK FREE........

but many of you won't...you'll laugh at me...think I'm "out there" or a bit fanatical.

Read Bible prophecy.....the Day of the Lord is at hand and it's gonna be like those poor souls who rode that collapsing bridge down to their watery grave. You think you can play with satan's schemes and win....HA!!!

Get under the blood of Christ....He is your only safety in the hell to come on the earth.

Having read the whole series, I can tell you the books are chock full of Christian symbolism (mostly medieval--those times when everyone was Christian in England), if anyone wants to bother to study up on medieval Christianity. And then the seventh book--very overtly Christian themes, plus quotes from scripture. Can't tell you any more than that or else it'll spoil the plot. So yes, I'd say Rowling is a Christian, for sure. A non-Christian wouldn't get the subtleties of certain New Testament passages and weave them into the plot like she did.

But, I suspect, unlike Christ, a lot of Christians aren't interested in looking deep beyond the surface. It's a very human fault to condemn without understanding, and Christians are very human indeed.

Just read more comments...

For goodness' sake! Ms. Rowling is NOT a practicing witch--that article was from the Onion, which is a satire magazine rather like Mad Magazine or the National Lampoon. Rowling is a member of the Church of Scotland, a Christian, a sister in Christ.

These comments seeking to damage this woman's reputation.... I can only think that there is malice behind these comments, disguising itself as puffed-up holiness, using any source possible--scripture or falsehood--to promote a malicious agenda.

You may think what you please about the books, but to spread falsehoods about her and her character, to jump on these falsehoods as proof without even examining them...that goes beyond how a Christian should behave.

Think about taking the beam out of your own eye before pointing out the splinter in Rowling's.

As a children's librarian, wasn't overly fond of fantasy but the cover of the first "Harry" looked intriguing so one day I picked it up to read. I thought maybe I could booktalk it in schools and use it to encourage reluctant readers. The moment I started reading it, I was totally hooked! What creativity, what vivid writing, what fun! I am a born-again Christian but I never saw any evil in the book--it was clear to me that the witches and wizards were fairy-tale type characters similar to those in "Cinderella" and "Sleeping Beauty" and "Oz". I was stunned when I heard that Christians were banning the books everywhere, for there aren't, and never were, any references to Satanism or Wicca anywhere in the books--and there is a great deal of Christian symbolism if you only care to look. I have had many great conversations about the book with anti-Potter friends, and even helped discuss the "pros" of HP in a "Harry Potter: Pro and Con" workshop for parents at our church. The truth is, most of the Christians who violently oppose the book have never read it. They base their beliefs entirely on what they've heard or read. The movie our youth pastor showed claiming the "evils" of Harry Potter was so full of false statements and incorrect facts that I was able to totally discredit it in 5 minutes. I wish people would just read the books before they trash them! As for their supposed lack of Christian content, read "The Gospel According to J.K. Rowling", this week's hot article on this same website. The last book
makes it obvious, and even quotes the Bible!
As for me, I praise God every day that I hear a parent in the library say, "I never could get my child to read,he struggled so hard, and hated it. But all that changed the day we picked up Harry Potter!" A lot changed for me that day, too. Thank you, JK Rowling. I believe you are a sister in Christ. I wish I could meet you now, but I'll look forward to meeting you in Heaven!

Reading the harry potter books will not develop a child's interest towards reading the BIBLE. It will direct them towards reading things of the OCCULT. Let's look at the "fruit" of the books. Children show up dressed as wizards and warlocks and spell casters at midnight at local bookstores....SALIVATING for the (thankfully, hopefully) LAST INSTALLMENT of the HP series....they have their little wands and their glasses and the lightning bolts on their foreheads and it's all fun...all dress up...all like halloween......

Why in the world would you WANT your child to emulate a WIZARD.....I don't pray my kids grow up to gaze into crystal balls...read tarot cards, study lifelines in the palm, or look to their horoscope each day for advice....
WHAT are you promoting?
WHAT? something godly? Something that brings glory to Jesus? A sacrificed Harry Potter is the same as a sacrificed Aslan....deception from the one who looks to kill , steal and destroy.....and satan ALWAYS DENIES THE NEEDED SACRIFICE OF CHRIST.....he likes to "substitute that atonement" which belittles it and MAKES MOCKERY OF IT....
Narnia, Lords of the Rings, and Potter all have one thing in common.....occultic imagery/myths/creatures....and the "label" that they are "christian"...

They are not.
the BLOOD OF JESUS is your only hope....and when you become BORN AGAIN it is only BY HIS BLOOD.......

TJ, perhaps you have heard of parables? The Bible is full of them.

Thank you for posting this article, and for your honesty. It is so refreshing to see other believers who are "saved" enough to breath sometimes and enjoy an awesome work such as the Harry Potter series. I have only watched the movies, but also love the storyline and just the imagination expressed by Rowling. Would I be so gifted I would be a recurring best-selling author as well. Our ability as believers to find God-principles in ever facet of life is what defines us as the bearers of light shining in darkness. We can look at any creation, and direct the focus to God. I can't tell you how much I enjoyed this piece.

I think it took a lot of guts to publish something this controversial on a Christian website. With that being said, I think that many Christians do not understand what it feels like to be outside of the faith looking in. I became a Christian at the age of 30 and spent many years before that feeling "left out" in Christian circles. Now that I am a dedicated Christian, I still try to keep myself "aware" of the world without getting in over my head in areas that could be dangerous to my faith. Being "aware" helps me to relate more to people who were like me, lost and very confused about who God was. Quite frankly, I didn't want to be a Christian because they seemed so out of it. I think that you can develop an extrememly deep relationship with God, serve Him, and still be "aware" of things that are influencing people like Harry Potter. As a matter of fact, the two Christians that I attribute to helping me find God were much like this. They kept a distance to the world but not to the people in it that needed so desperately to relate to them. Who knows... someone out there might strike up a conversation with Caryn about Harry Potter that leads to another conversation later about faith and God. And, it might even be someone in her church who is there but lost. (I went to church my entire life). God can use ANYTHING to get to his children. EVEN HARRY POTTER. Just my two cents...

I ask the defenders of HP, particularly with the release of book seven to stop and consider. There is no such thing as "christian" symbolism. The God and Father of the Lord Jesus, the Messiah IS. He instructed that there be no images or idols of "god" made. His words are TRUTH and they are ETERNAL, because they are the basis and source of all REALITY. Evangelicals have become so focused on themselves that they are largely ignorant of the prophetic scriptures that the Apostle Paul refered to in all of his writings. Those writings are "old" or do not fit the modern definition of "grace" which is licentiousness. The words are based in reality. To look for symbolism in fiction, fiction based in detailed occult practices and names, contradicts Christ, it is the fake-christ who comes in his name to deceive by a false love and peace. Oh that the church people were reading all of God's Words. Thousands of pages of occult fiction, but they cannot read the few pages of the prophets or even the poetic passages of the psalms. Why not, and men loved the darkness because their deeds were evil. They think God does not see or hear even their thoughts. So they in turn are blind and deaf to His Word.

T.J. wrote:
Harry Potter will never be the sacrifice needed for one to gain eternal life. But the spirit of anti-christ..that is here...arrogance...rewarded for breaking the rules....a lightning bolt on the forehead...(mark of the beast anyone?) to Harry's sacrifice....wait for him to "rise again"..just like a phoenix (symbol of anti-christ) rising from the ashes.....next book maybe? harry rises from the dead? The anti-christ receives that head wound and rises and all are AMAZED.....

face it people...this book is brainwashing you to accept the false messiah....a charasmatic loveable person with all the answers for world peace and love and light and blah...blah...blah....

Hey, since when is the phoenix a symbol of the anti-Christ? I've always seen the phoenix as a symbol of Jesus, rising from the ashes (and rising us from the ashes along with Him) to be beautiful, free creatures!
The lightning bolt is the mark of the beast? Well, JKR certainly did not have that idea when choosing the right shape of Harry's scar. She merely wanted to choose a cool shape because she "didn't want her hero to have a doughnut shaped scar". lol

Oh, and Harry is certainly NOT rewarded for breaking the rules. In fact, the professors at Hogwarts make it clear that House points will be deducted if he does so...and in Ch.14 and Ch.15, he does get punished for wandering about the school at midnight, but even then he was doing it to help his friend Hagrid from getting into trouble. Seriously, if you people would actually take the time to READ these books, you will see that they are completely innocent.

In fact, I dare you HP skeptics to look at the posts on the Leaky Lounge Harry Potter forum. There is not ONE topic that talks about a step-by-step guide to summoning nasty things into your house and no one there asks another fan, "Hey, how does that Tickling Charm work again?" LOL!
*shakes head*

Yeah, Deathly Hallows has the most Christian symbolism than any of the books. I won't say what they are, though, since that will spoil the ending for those who read the series here. But if you look at the chapters The Silver Doe, Godric's Hollow (two Bible verses on tombstones that are the overall theme of the series..."The last enemy that shall be abolished is death" for example), The Forest Again, King's Cross, and the Flaw in the Plan. Those chapters' Christian symbols can compete even with the Narnia series!

This whole article and subsequent comments are so disturbing to me. It is not that complicated. If you want to read HP just ask Jesus. "Lord do you want me to read this book?" if the answer is no, don't read it; if the answer is yes, read it.

I often just ask my Heavenly Father what His opinion is... for example, Lord what church do YOU want me to go to?

Ask, and obey. It's not that complicated. It will also train you to hear His still, small voice.

"There is no such thing as "christian" symbolism."

Baloney. Jesus is compared to a Lamb and a Lion in scripture. God is compared to a Rock, a strong Tower, etc.

God uses symbols BECAUSE He doesn't want us making Idols of Him, not because they are idols in themselves....

Nice good blog!

Romans 1:22 Claiming to be wise, they became utter fools instead.

Isaiah 29:14 Because of this, I will do wonders among these hypocrites. I will show that human wisdom is foolish and even the most brilliant people lack understanding."

1 Corinthains 3:19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness to God. As the Scriptures say, "God catches those who think they are wise in their own cleverness."

Job 5:13 He catches those who think they are wise in their own cleverness, so that their cunning schemes are thwarted.

1 Corinthians 1:19 As the Scriptures say, "I will destroy human wisdom and discard their most brilliant ideas."

1 Corinthians 1:20 So where does this leave the philosophers, the scholars, and the world's brilliant debaters? God has made them all look foolish and has shown their wisdom to be useless nonsense.

Matthew 24:24 "For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect."

Exodus 22:18 Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.

Deuteronomy 18:10 There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch,Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer. For all that do these things are an abomination unto the LORD: and because of these abominations the LORD thy God doth drive them out from before thee.

Proverbs 26:5 Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own conceit.

Proverbs 3:7 Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil.

1 Thessalonians 5:22 Abstain from all appearance of evil.

Proverbs 26:12 Do you see a man wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.

Here it is..... I'm 15 almost 16 and i've been reading books since before kidergarten. My parents read alot so that got me hooked! I have read many books from The Chronicles of Narnia, The Golden Compass, and Lord of the
Rings. But with Harry Potter i understand the excitement because in harry potter books it makes you feel that there is something inside of you that has the power to become great. and not even in a bad way. I was a christian before i read them and still am after i've read them. They have actually pulled me more towards God. Because it has developed an imagination that there is one greater than thyself. And i know how the bible says that magic and sorcery is bad! BUT you're reading about magic its not like your sitting in your room casting spells. And these Christians get so mad about it if you haven't read it you shouldn't judge. Cause it helped to draw me nearer to God. Because it gave me faith!

Humbly ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you the progressive acceptance of evil in the last couple of decades:

1. Casper the "Friendly" Ghost
2. Harry Potter ("Good" and "Evil" Witches)
3. Twilight ("Good" and "Evil" Vampires)
4. Hellboy ("Good" and "Evil" Demons)

So what's next? "Good" and "Evil" Satan?

"Woe [Sorrow] unto them that call evil good, and good evil ..." (Isaiah 5:20).

Love in God's Word,
Dave Christian
Founding Christian Servant, www.Helpology.org

"Sanctify [Make holy] them through thy truth: thy word is truth."
(John 17:17)

yes instead we should all read a book where entire civilizations are wiped out cause they're in god's holy land...get out of there native peoples! God gonna kill you all!

What in the world have we come to? I am just dumbfounded and angry that it is now good to bring a witchcraft filled book to church and then brag about it. You think it's so good because Harry started out as a tormented child who grew into greatness. Well, how about using King David as an example of a lowly child growing and using his God given talents instead of Harry Potter. He was just a shepherd boy when God decided to use him. I don't know, what about Christ? He was born in a manger, his people hated him, He died an agonizing death alone. Maybe we should go back to using Bible stories to encourage children to trust God and use what He has given them to become great.
Here is a list of people from the Bible who rose to greatness just in case you need some inspiration: Samuel, Ruth, Rahab, Paul, Timothy, Moses - a slave child used by God to deliver His people. Try reading up on a few of them.

Hi,
I like this article but..
last night i went to the midnight premiere of harry potter and the half blood prince! I was honestly so disappointed! was it just me or did it seem very choppy and for some reason didn't feel like it was a harry potter movie. Don't get me wrong some of the parts in it were either really funny or somewhat scary but i really was not satisfied. I don't know, what did you think?? Am i wrong? Give me your opinions..

Your husband just doesn't know what his been missing because he haven't read the Harry Potter books. I was in that same mode many years, until I finally gave up to my big sister and read the first one. After that I was lost in Hogwarts forever. And, Deathly Hollows is the second books where in the end I get goosebumps. The first one was the last part of Stephen King's The Dark Tower.

I am a Christian and have read all of what has been stated. First of all, IT IS NOT THAT SERIOUS! For all you people that are saying that you dare not let your glance or your children's glances fall on a Harry Potter ANYTHING, tell me something. Do your kids have sheets with Disney princesses on them? Have they seen The Little Mermaid, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, etc.? Do they watch Dora, Spongebob, Fairly Odd Parents, or other shows on Nick Jr.? There is hardly ANY movie or book created for children that does not involve magic, unrealistic situations, violence (no matter how minimal), stealing (Swiper no swiping!), and the like. The trick to Harry Potter, Disney, and all the magic that surrounds children's media is to PARENT. Harry is a kid with tremendous power that is at first unknown to him, misunderstood by him, and then wielded to do great and positive things. Walking out of a film like that can give a parent the opportunity to talk to their kids about discovering the great things that are inside of them and using those wonderful things to do good and NOT evil- since it is so easy to fall to the bad side. Harry Potter, Walt Disney, and Nickolodeon have no power if we as parents do our job to allow our kids to enjoy kid things and using them as teachable moments. Half the Christians who balk have never even seen the films or read the books so they have only a skewed idea of what they think they know. People can perish for lack of knowledge--that's Bible stuff people!

I wonder how many people who refuse to explore Harry Potter enjoy the Star Wars series, where heroes are born in part by wielding the Force.

I'm also just going to think out loud here: if someone works magic but it comes from God, it's a miracle. So if Harry fights evil with magic, is he in fact working miracles? Is this a modern-day story of a miracle worker? Moses worked magic and beat the pants off the Egyptian magic workers because his was a "miracle."

What precisely is the difference? Is the problem that Harry didn't speak with God before using these innate abilities? How do we know he wasn't praying in that closet for some answer to his predicament?

Some more thinking out loud: the Biblical warning again sorcery in Revelation actually seems to be warning us about pharmaceuticals, and indeed we know that these are manmade concoctions that alter the body God made us. Specifically, they are designed to STOP natural function in order to suppress symptoms and make you feel better. FIRST of all, how many Christians are aware of this warning and this interpretation of sorcery, and second, how many are using pharmaceuticals?

I know Christians who frown on Halloween but then celebrate Christmas with a pine tree on the winter solstice and Christ's resurrection as Easter ... I believe in reference to a pagan Ester, who had to do with fertility. (Easter bunnies anyone?)

EVERYTHING about life has to do with the meaning we give it. This is why even members of the same church will interpret the Bible and/or world events in different ways. For me, Harry Potter is the struggle of good vs. evil, and if you want to remind your children that all good comes from God, please do. There are many people in this world who have been instruments of God because of their will to do good and have accomplished things that were far beyond them as individuals. So why can't we say that Harry Potter and others in the stories with the will to do good weren't working miracles in a story that calls it magic? The two, after all, look the same.

I agree with the GotQuestions.org post on Harry Potter: http://www.gotquestions.org/Harry-Potter-Christian.html What do you think?

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