Today's Christian and the Famous Wizard
An original editorial by Lauren Gragert
My audience will be the conservative readers of Christianity Today. I am writing to inform them of the reasons why Harry Potter should not be thought of as Satanic and to assure them of reasons why their children should read the books.
I remember the first time that I read Harry Potter. It was one of the most exciting fiction books that I had ever read. I was hooked instantly. Imagine my shock when two days later someone came up to me, looked at the book tucked under my arm and scoffed, "I thought you were a Christian." What does a preference of children's books have anything to do with your Christianity?
Today's Christian society is far to conservative when it comes to things like Harry Potter. We find evil things in Disney movies that could or could not be there on purpose, and then refuse to go see another movie done by Disney. We take a simple fairy tale and twist it into Satanic witchcraft and wizardry that leads to the Occult. Instead of taking things seriously and literally, conservative Christians today need to see what Harry Potter really is- a children's imaginative story written to involve children in reading. Its stories are fictional and fun, but at the same time involve a lot of adult issues that are important in real life like "the struggle for love, truth and self-giving sacrifice for others," says Pete Harrison (par. 4) Not only that, but there are a lot of parallels between Christianity and JK Rowlings' books.
JK Rowling has brought many nonreader kids to the wonderful world of books. Many parents, like Massimo Introvigne are finding that through Harry Potter, their children have become more involved in reading and less involved with the television. Says Introvigne, "Only Harry Potter induced my 8-year-old daughter to say that she preferred to read than to watch TV." (par. 35) The struggle between enticing children in literature and not cartoons has been something that parents have had to deal with for a long time, so why complain about your child reading a fictional story? Parents have read their children fairy tales for hundreds of years. How is a more modern version of those stories any different? Most of the Grimm's Fairy Tales are just as violent as the Harry Potter books are-- some are worse! At the end of the Cinderella story, birds swoop down and peck the evil stepsisters and the evil stepmother's eyes out!
There are many parallels between Harry Potter and Christianity. Parents should be able to talk to their kids about these parallels and then discuss why Christianity is the right path and becoming a real witch or wizard is not. The books present clear representations of good and evil- and the attributes that go along with them.
Take Dumbledore-- Hogwarts' lovable and wise Headmaster-- he is presented as the upholder of all things good. He is the only wizard that Voldemort (the evil wizard) fears. He is much like God. He rules the school by upholding the standards of his students and loves all of them despite the trouble that they might encounter. One of his best quotes of all four books is found in the 2nd book. He tells the evil board members after they have asked him to leave his position, "I shall only really have left this school when there is no longer anyone here who is loyal to me. And you shall find that whoever asks for help and support at Hogwarts will get it." (Rowling 263-264) That is so much like our Lord is today. We are called to cry out to Him in prayer.
On the flip side, Voldemort is very much like Satan. He is sly and cunning and is very evil. He was sorted into the house Slytherin at Hogwarts and the sign of Slytherin is the snake. In the Garden of Eden, Satan turned into a serpent to entice Eve to eat the apple from the tree of knowledge of good and evil.(New International Version Bible, Gen. 2:4-25) Voldemort has all of the qualities of Satan. He tries to bring people on to his side by tempting them with promises of power so much like Satan does. And like Satan fell from Heaven, Voldemort was a good wizard who went terribly bad.
Harry Potter is also portrayed very much like Jesus. He was born into an ordinary family, but he is eventually meant to do great things like Christ did. He was just your everyday kid who found out that he was a wizard. Jesus was born to a poor family and was raised so he would be able to sympathize with the common people. Harry was also born when many people were being killed, that is paralleled to Herod murdering all those children during the birth of Jesus.(New International Version Bible, Matt.)
Harry Potter is not evil, satanic, and I have not once known someone who reads Harry Potter to start practicing witchcraft. It is simply a children's book that has often times been misunderstood from its original intent-- to entertain readers young and old.