A.S.K – 5 – – Harry Potter

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TEXT: Many have undertaken to draw up an account of
the things that have been fulfilled among us, just as they
were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word. With this in mind, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I too decided to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught (Luke 1:1-4).

The Harry Potter series of books are incredibly popular all over the world. They have been translated into eighty languages and have sold over 500 million copies! They are well-written and tell some great stories … children and young people (and a lot of adults) love them.

Some Christians think that they are of the devil, because they speak of magic and spells. I edit a magazine and I remember when one of the books came out I asked my teenage daughter, Becky, if she would write a review. She queued up at the local bookshop for the midnight opening (she was, and is, a big fan!), read the book within twenty- four hours and had the review for me the next day. I think we were the first Christian magazine to have a review of Harry Potter! And some people complained. Was this not promoting witchcraft? Not at all! Not unless you are prepared to condemn the fairy tales of the Brothers Grimm, the Narnia tales and The Lord of the Rings!

 

At the opposite extreme are those who regard the Harry Potter books as some kind of Christian analogy. They are not that either. Although J.K Rowling is a member of the Church of Scotland and claims ‘Christianity inspired Harry Potter’. Spoiler alert! In the last book the hero is resurrected from the dead after dying in sacrifice for everyone else. And there are other Christian parallels. So the answer to your question is yes and no. It’s a great story, inspired by Christianity in some ways, but it is not based on the Bible.

But what about this idea? What if all great stories throughout the world are reflections of the greatest story of all – the story of the Bible and above all the story of Jesus?
I think that is true – but the other thing that you need to remember and always keep in mind is that the Bible is not a made up story. It is not a myth. It is the real story of Jesus.

In this week’s passage Dr Luke tells us how he came to write his Gospel (and the book of Acts). He doesn’t begin with ‘once upon a time’, or ‘there was a hobbit who lived in a hole’. He begins like a historian – telling us where he got his sources, (the eyewitnesses of Jesus) and what he did, and how he ‘carefully investigated everything from the beginning’. He then decides to write down everything for a person called Theophilus (the name means ‘loved of God’ and since Luke calls him ‘most excellent’ – he was probably a Roman official or high up Roman citizen), so that he would be certain of things about Jesus he had been taught.

That’s the difference between Harry Potter and the Bible. Harry Potter is a made-up story that was at least partly inspired by the Bible. However, the Bible is the inspired Word of God, which tells us the real story about Jesus. You can enjoy reading Harry Potter, but you cannot base your life on it. You can enjoy reading the Bible – and it is essential that you base your life upon what you learn in it.

CONSIDER: Do you think it is good to read stories, other than those in the Bible? Why? What are the good things we can get from such stories? What are the possible dangers?

RECOMMENDED FURTHER READING:

http://www.beliefnet.com/entertainment/books/galleries/5- ways-harry-potter-mirrors-the-christian-story.aspx?p=2

Looking for God in Harry Potter – John Granger

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, thank you for the gift of storytelling, and the gift of great writers. Thank you, most of all, for those your Holy Spirit inspired to write your story. We pray that we would never be distracted from the greatest story of all and that we would not live our lives in a fantasy world, but rather in your reality. Amen.

A.S.K 4 – Helping God

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7 thoughts on “A.S.K – 5 – – Harry Potter

  1. Having not read any Harry Potter books, I would wonder if you could answer the following questions, please?
    1. I believe, that J.K. Rowling used the same names of demons that are commonly employed in Satanic circles – lending some authenticity to the book. Do you know if this is true?
    2. Following on from Q1, does the book then share spell, chants, or ‘magic words’, citing the said names of ‘real’ demons, that children might be tempted to imitate? (I understand that’s two questions, but one leads to the other)
    3. If the answer is yes to the above 2 (3) questions, would that/should that make you reassess your evaluation of the books?
    Thank you.

      1. This actually has been a topic I’m fairly confused about.

        As far as I know, the Old and New Testament condemn witchcraft so is it really a helpful thing to read something that celebrates what the Bible condemns?

        I understand it was primarily directed at children but many adults enjoy them too. In fact I have a friend who got into witchcraft partly because of the books.

        Is it not inconsistent on our part to condemn books like 50 Shades of Grey because it glorifies immorality but think books that glorify witchcraft and things like divination are fine for our kids to read?

        Would appreciate help in figuring that out.

      2. Hi Holly – I accept there can be that danger – but in general no more than in reading any fairy story. Do you think children should not read about wars and battles or watch Tom and Jerry because it condones violence? 50 Shades of Grey IS morality. I don’t think Harry Potter IS satanic….its a story….and no it doesn’t have secret witchcraft messages or condone evil. If your friend got into witchcraft because of the books I suspect that says more about your friend than it does about the books.

  2. As I’m a huge fan of quality children’s literature and love the series, am just so grateful that as a devouted Christian you didn’t ditch the books, or for that matter, their very gifted author.

    Blessings,

    Margaret Rouhani

  3. Hey David,
    Thanks for your reply, I can accept that it tells more about my friend than Harry Potter though I don’t think she’s the only one who has been influenced by it. I would also be curious to see how it’s taken in several parts of Africa where witchcraft is at the forefront of the culture rather than pretty much dismissed as nonsense as it is in the West.

    And I don’t think Harry Potter is satanic either, nor do I think there’s hidden witchcraft messages in it. I’m not talking about over the top conspiracy theories.

    I do think it glorifies witchcraft though. Just as 50 Shades of Grey (also a story) is centred around and glorifies (presents as admirable, elevates, dignifies) immorality, Harry Potter is centred around and glorifies (presents as admirable, elevates, dignifies) witchcraft, both of which the Bible condemns as sin, and both were serious enough to get the death penalty in the Old Testament.

    Tom and Jerry’s story doesn’t centre around violence although there is cartoon violence involved and presents it as comedic rather than admirable. Also usually books about battles and wars don’t try to glorify them.
    I’m not trying to argue for the sake of arguing and it may seem like quite a silly topic to argue about but I do feel it’s an important issue (you obviously think so too as you’ve included it in your book).

    I look forward to your reply,
    Holly

    1. I don’t disagree with much of what you say except that I don’t think it glorifies witchcraft any more than the fairy tales of the Brothers Grimm or indeed Lord of the Rings. Also I have read many war books that glorify war. Incidentally the question was asked by an African.

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