Harry’s larger pictureby Harold Bauman, Goshen, Ind.
In the Sept. 18 issue, Ryan Ahlgrim reported on a group of people who found Christ in the seventh book of the Harry Potter series. Ahlgrim’s last two sentences read: “It would be disturbing if the Harry Potter books influenced children to pursue occult activities. But if these books point us toward God’s kingdom, a reality that is everywhere but often unseen, then we have reason to be grateful for these books.”
This raises two questions: What impact has the Harry Potter series had on children and youth? What is J.K. Rowling’s worldview?
The impact on children and youth has some indicators. After the release of the first book, phone calls to occult and witchcraft organizations increased by 18 percent. A 2002 Barna Research Group poll of teens between 13 and 19 found that of the 9 million exposed to Harry Potter books and films, 12 percent said they had become more interested in witchcraft as the result of their exposure. This results in more than a million students nationwide who have been attracted to witchcraft. Wicca devotees and other occultists are hailing the Potter series as a prime recruitment tool.
On the second question, Rowling says she writes so that children may have fun—not to present a philosophy of life. She reports that she did serious research into witchcraft until she knew a “ridiculous amount” about it. The plainest reading of Harry Potter reveals that it is not a depiction of anything Christian but is rather a depiction of the magic real-world view. This has been confirmed by witches, occultists and neopagans. Rowling borrows symbols from many sources: Christianity, occultism, paganism, mythology, humanism and pop psychology. If she uses the resurrection theme, it does not mean she is bringing Christ into her series for she may be borrowing the myth found in many cultures.
Rowling develops her characters to exhibit situational ethics. Both the good “heroes” and the evil people use the same ethical source—what suits their desires.
Finding Christ in Harry Potter? I recommend the book by Richard Arbanes entitled Harry Potter, Narnia, and The Lord of the Rings.
Associated Issue: Healthy bodies and stewardship - Sept. 18
Associated Article: Finding Christ in Harry Potter
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