With the new Harry Potter movie hitting theaters today, I wanted to post a humorous personal experience I’ve had with the series. First I’d like to say that this stems from being a comparative religion major and curiosity brought this upon me. Ergo, I don’t advocate either point of view, although you may be able to tell which side I’m not too fond of.
When Harry Potter first came out there was a lot of confusion from Christian parents about how “good” for their children this series really was. Obviously it encouraged their children to read and have active imaginations, but extremists couldn’t help overlook Potter’s powers. Once the concept sunk in that this was possibly a corrupting occult force, articles and films were distributed to inform the populace that we may just have to burn these books in the street. That’s what you do with
books you’re afraid of witchcraft, right?
Okay, I’ll stop with the tired rhetoric. My personal story is that I loved the books and the movies. I ignored the anti-Potter hype because I knew it wouldn’t go anywhere. Truth be told, I didn’t know how bad it was until my third year of college when I was immersed in my religion studies and I came upon a movie. The movie was Harry Potter: Witchcraft Re-Packaged. I had (and still kind of do) Pagan leanings at the time and wondered what sort of point this movie could make. It was amazing(ly bad). Harry Potter can be associated with any faith, if you try hard enough. J.K. Rowling, however, wrote with a Christian notion of the power of love. Jeremiah Films set out to disprove that and show Harry Potter used witchcraft as a vehicle to teach moral relativism and the Dark Arts.
I own this film. I have watched it several times. I have watched it with Pagans and Christians alike. I have seen it with several hardcore Harry Potter fans. I have watched it with fellow religion students. (Many of these overlap as you may guess.) But not one of them could find a single point to agree with. What disturbs me is that (judging by the YouTube comments) there are people who took this to heart. Or if they weren’t sure, there are other sources willing to provide answers, such as Christian Answers.net:
“Author Richard Abanes has written a book called Harry Potter and the Bible. He says that the movies and books not only teach anti-Christian lessons on the occult, but also moral relativism, and desensitize children to profanity and off-color humor.”
Also Jeremiah Films is still up and running and although the HP movie is gone from their product page, in its place are several Pagan Invasion movies – including one on Twilight.
Since my father is going to a seminar on a book called The Gospel According to Harry Potter, written by Connie Neal, I did a little research. I wanted to know how the silent majority thought and up popped several recent articles of the same title, not related to this book. I’m sure that every time a new HP book or movie comes out there are similar articles. They are from Christian bloggers and ministers who want to get the word out that they have listened to what J.K. Rowling keeps trying to say:
“In the last book, “The Deathly Hallows,” of which the first two-part movie episode was released last week on DVD, Harry discovers an inscription on his parents’ tombstone: ‘The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.’
“In case you don’t recognize it, it’s from the Bible: 1 Corinthians 15:26.
“In an interview, Rowling said the verse ‘is the theme for the entire series.'”
–Randy Patrick of The Winchester Sun
“Only when Harry and his friends learn to trust in that power of love can they defeat evil and transform the wizarding world into a place where — as the Book of Revelation says — there is no more pain or tears.”
–Danielle Tumminio of Episcopal News Service
I can’t chose a side for Christianity, but as a student of religion I can say the first argument doesn’t have a lot of solid ground. My personal view is that if someone converts outside of a family’s religion simply because of something they saw on T.V. or read about then there are two issues: 1. the religious structure may not be strong in that child’s life and 2. there may be something else that’s pushing the child to seek love or power someplace else (teens convert or lose faith due to abuse, broken homes, or neglect… just sayin’).
I think the books are well written, but as my friends know I kept going back for
Snape thinks the most corrupting force is fan fiction. Have you talked to your children about slash?