Someone I really admire recently sent me a link to an article which contained a link to a YouTube video regarding the dangers of the Harry Potter books and movies. http://www.bible-knowledge.com/letter-from-witch-on-harry-potter/. I read the article and then watched the video. Then, contemporaneously, I read an article on the Harry Potter phenomenon by Michael Gerson, a devoted Christian and former speechwriter for George W. Bush (2001-2006), and a former senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. Gerson’s commentary was much more favorably disposed toward Mr. Potter and, to me, represents the more proper take on Harry Potter. Check it out: http://townhall.com/columnists/michaelgerson/2011/07/18/harry_potter_and_the_power_of_myth Click HERE for link to Gerson’s article.
Mr. Gerson regards the Potter series as (simply) myth and seems to see the Rowling books as neutral if not beneficial and likens them to Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings and C.S. Lewis’ Narnia series. Of course they all include elements of the supernatural but I do believe that the Potter books deal more with the dark arts with their description and use of witch-type activities and conjurings and tend to make them appear harmless and even necessary and useful when used for good. In the Bible I get no sense of anything good ever coming from otherwise evil practices, e.g., contacting the dead, like Saul did (1 Sam. 28:3-25). Again, Gerson’s is a very interesting and thoughtful piece.
As a matter of interest I’ve read three books dealing with the whole idea of myth and Christianity, two of which deal specifically with Harry Potter. They are: Looking for God in Harry Potter by John Granger, From Homer to Harry Potter: A Handbook on Myth and Fantasy by Matthew Dickerson & David O’Hara, and Telling the Truth — The Gospel as Tragedy, Comedy & Fairy Tale by Frederick Buechner. These books all describe the way that certain concepts of the supernatural that we see in myths appeal to us because there is a certain longing inside each of us that transcends what is actually available to us in the physical realm. In the last of the movies Harry Potter asked Albus Dumbledore if all these things were really happening or just in his head. Dumbledore replied: “Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?”
It seems to me that the big issue with things like Harry Potter is discernment and distinguishing between spirits (1 Cor. 12:8-10), one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit, and the ability to quickly perceive whether such things as people, events, or beliefs are of God or of Satan. As a Christian I can see the Harry Potter story as the epic battle of good and evil and the way that love, especially sacrificial love, conquers evil, just as Jesus’ death on the cross and His resurrection conquered satan’s evil plans. As Granger writes in his book: “If there is a single meaning to the Potter books, it is that love conquers all. And of all loves, sacrificial love is the most important, because it has conquered death. Harry’s protection against the assault of the evil one is the love shown years ago by someone who made the greatest sacrifice for him (Harry’s mother had died to save Harry). His bond with that sacrifice and the love it demonstrated permeates his person and repels all evil. Voldemort canot touch him because of Harry’s worthiness to receive the stone (Christ), and because of the Christlike love and sacrifice that shield him.” Unfortunately, satan can use partial truths and deceitful statements to work his will, especially in the weak and immature. Think how God’s good instruction to Adam and Eve to steer clear of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil was used in an evil way through satan’s deceit.
Excuse the carrying on. It is just a subject that is fascinating to me. And, the critical video in the Bible Knowledge link above is especially good and in pointing out the way the school system seems to cater to the religion of witchcraft, secular humanism or any other weird concept or religion while totally closing the door on Christianity. I’m certainly happy that our confidence is in Jesus and His ability to work out everything perfectly for those who love Him and are the called according to His purpose. And, I believe the video is a great example of how God is using his people to shout out a warning against the evils of witchcraft and the dark arts. I see it all as an element in the ongoing cosmic “spiritual warfare.” Ron <><