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Why I Enjoyed Harry Potter

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I just finished reading my first Harry Potter book last night…and loved it!

harryIt’s whimsical, creative, fun, witty, well-written, and has some neat, unexpected twists with no sex or bad language and is a classic story of good versus evil, with good triumphing in the end.

no potterThe downside? It’s about good witches and wizards versus bad witches and wizards. And that, many Christians will say, is the reason no professing believer should read it.

I didn’t for many years because of the witch/wizard (which wizard?) factor.

I didn’t because of the Christian anti-Potter hype.

I didn’t, because, well, did I really want to participate in…in…evil and sorcery and magic spells?

Then I thought about how much I enjoyed Star Wars. A fun, creative, well-written tale with some unexpected twists, a classic story of good versus evil, with good triumphing in the end. It didn’t have good and bad witches and wizards; it had good and bad forces. And magic! There wasn’t much in the way of a Christian message either. In fact, the main point of the movie was about trusting in our feelings, not faith in the One True God.

Was there an outpouring of wrath from the Christian community about this film? Possibly, but I missed it. I do know this: Almost everyone who has watched the Star Wars series loved it, except for the latter three films, of course. (And if there was ever a hell-bent minion, you couldn’t find a more depraved specimen than Jar Jar Binks.)

jarThen I thought about The Wizard of Oz. Fun, creative. But… magic and witches and midgets, Oh my!

I won’t even mention The Lord of the Rings, with it’s over the top PG-13-pushing violence,aragorn1 decapitations and blood-thirsty orcs, another classic tale of good versus evil, without much wit or fun—with a Christian message in the books—but altogether scrubbed from the films (unless you look really hard and show lots of grace to writer/director Peter Jackson).

I believe the Christian community embraced those films, didn’t they?

But Harry Potter? Now, that’s a  whole ‘nother ball game….

Or is it?

It is now considered a modern classic, beloved by millions around the world. Is it Christian? No.

Are their Christian themes? Yes: Courage. Selflessness. Sacrifice. Even a happy ending!

We do have freedom in Christ. If Harry Potter is not for you, then simply do not read it. But please, don’t judge me by your standards; I hope to not judge you.

Accept the one whose faith is weak, without quarreling over disputable matters. One person’s faith allows them to eat anything, but another, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. The one who eats everything must not treat with contempt the one who does not, and the one who does not eat everything must not judge the one who does, for God has accepted them. Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To their own master, servants stand or fall. And they will stand, for the Lord is able to make them stand. (Romans 14:1-4, NIV)

I consider myself mature. I am discerning. I do know right from wrong. I love the Bible, Jesus, and am still sold-out for Him, even after reading—and enjoying—the first Harry Potter novel.

Believe it or not I do not feel inclined at all to buy a black hat and preach in a long, black robe. I won’t engage in magic, but will continue to pray, trust God, do good…and check out the second Harry Potter novel at my local library.

For another perspective on why the  Harry Potter series are “good” books, versus “great” books, click here to read “Harry Potter and the Attack of the Critics.”

5 Comments

  1. I haven’t read the books, but I enjoyed the movies. I don’t care about the witchcraft, since, you know, witches and witchcraft aren’t real. Doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy a movie. Christ and Christianity aren’t real, but Shadowlands is a good movie.

    But too bad you had to ruin your post, Steve. “Are their Christian themes? Yes: Courage. Selflessness. Sacrifice. Even a happy ending!” How arrogant and narcissistic, how typically Christian of you.Those themes are not exclusively Christian. Those themes existed long before Christ.

  2. I am pleased you are able to judge a work of fiction based on its story and writing rather than defaulting to knee jerk reactions about its subject matter.

    I also enjoyed reading the Potter books with my children, I enjoyed them for the same reasons you mentioned. As an atheist the subject of magic and witchcraft is no more appealing to me than it is to many Christians. I would not for example encourage my children to believe in magic, witchcraft or the supernatural. However as a vehicle for storytelling those subjects are excellent. I have always enjoyed fantastic stories with my kids, I just make sure they understand the difference between fiction and reality. I have always thought you were different from most evangelical preachers (in a good way) and hearing this perspective from you validates that opinion.

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