Thoughts,Songs,Writings,Rants,Encouragements, and Life

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Is Harry Potter harmless???

I recently spent some time with some students here in India who are way into Harry Potter and the Lord of the Rings, books and movies. This is typical for a 12 year old boy here, as it is in the States.
I have watched for a few years now the craze that Harry Potter has caused on television and in our Youth Groups and Schools. I usually warned students against the books and judged friends of mine who watched the movies and read the books themselves.
This was in part of my upbringing and concern from my parents, I myself was curious and yet held to what my parents believed about Mr. Potter. When the third movie “The prisoner of Azkaban”, came to theaters I reluctantly went to see it with a friend. Telling know one I had seen it and in fact had enjoyed the sets, art, characterization, actors, and most of all the special effects. But I would still not pick up the series of books. I held firm.
Until I had a conversation with two boys here in Hyderabad, India. The boys understood witchcraft was not right and yet they were captivated by these books and said: “we don’t believe any of it, we just think it’s a fun read.” I replied, “witchcraft is a dangerous thing guys, you don’t want to get mixed up in it.”
It was after this conversation that I realized I was bugged. There was something about that conversation that had me thinking. And I couldn’t get that conversation out of my head. I wanted to know what was so captivating about Mr. Potter.
The Kadwells own the series of the first five books. So one night I decided to try Potter on for size, just to see what was so great about him. Some of you may be upset, some my want to scold me (mother) and some may say bravo, it’s about time.
I recently finished the second book in the series. In one weeks time two books down. And here are my thoughts.
1. These books are very well written and have a cunning humor and aura to them.
2. The characters are unique and likable.
3. The stories are captivating and yet beyond the children who are reading these books.
4. The Potter series is in fact not as harmless as some think, for every Potter chapter I put into my head I have to put even more of Christ’s words in my mind.
5. A great read, but may not be the best read for those who are young and do not understand or grasp what they are putting into their lives.
Below is an article from AIM magazine (an Indian publication) I agree with the author on most points, some are far fetched and exaggerated a bit, but his point rings true and those who read Potter should take this article and its thoughts into perspective.
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“The reading phenomenon known as “Harry Potter” is sweeping the globe, and it truly has an international presence as readers in 200 nations, in over 40 languages, indulge in this series. A U.S. consumer research survey reports that “over half of all children between the ages 6-17 have read at least on Harry Potter book.
The author J.K. Rowling in her books describes occult practices in a funny and light-hearted manner. Treating witchcraft and wizardry in this matter of fact way makes witchcraft appear harmless and attractive to enquiring minds. This series of books by Rowling focuses on the plights of young Harry, who is selected to attend the prestigious 1000 year old Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
Harry Potter is depicted as the hero in defiance to the Dark Arts. However what role model does the hero Harry Potter present to children? A boy who learns how to cast spells, mix potions, has divination lessons in a school of witchcraft and wizardry. Harry Potter is involved in practices similar to those practiced in the occult. Harry Potter may be seen as a white witch, however in the book “the Chamber of Secrets chapter 17 (p.242) the author links the evil Voldemort with Harry Potter describing him as the “very worst of our kind”. The distinction between good and evil is completely blurred in these books.
Children are understandably fascinated with the kind of power that Harry and others in his world possess. Author JK Rowling says, “the idea that we could have a child who escapes from the confines of the adult world and goes somewhere where he has power, both literally and metaphorically, really appealed to me.” Certainly power is appealing, especially “white” witchcraft like this, that is made to look so innocent.
Even some Christian readers agree that it’s “just fantasy” and generally acceptable for the Christian reader. However, occult experts, Marcia Montenegro of Christian Answers for the New Age and Caryl Matrisciana, authors of Gods of the New Age, disagree with their Christian peers. Both have personal experience in the occult before becoming Christians.
Potter fans say that this world is just make believe and has no bearing on the real world. Most Christians recognize the good vs. evil element as being clearly delineated. Evil is evil, and good is good, and good is promoted while evil is not. But in the Potter series, the line is not so clear. The “good” guys practice “white magic”, while the bad guys practice the “Dark Arts.” Yet god is clear in Scripture that any practice of magic is an “abomination” to him. God doesn’t distinguish between “white” and “dark” magic since they both originate from the same source.
Check out Deuteronomy 18:10-14

The problem is, witchcraft is not fantasy; it is a sinful reality in our world.

Potter has caused quite a stir in many nations, (including India), with several Australian Christian schools supporting a banning of the books. Rev. Robert Frisken of Christian community schools ltd in Australia says: “the ordinary person is typified as being bad because they have no (magic) powers, and heroes are the people who are using the occult.” Even many non-christian parents have been concerned due to the greatly heightened fear that their younger children have after reading Potter’s books. Potter books could be seen as recruiting tools for Wicca/ Witchcraft religion. With the rise of occult entertainment the pagan federation deals with an average of 100 inquiries a month from youngsters who want to become witches. An article in the ‘Times’ newspaper, (August 4, 2000), reported an increase in teenage girls interested in witchcraft. Potter books have been claimed to be partly responsible for this.
According to the American Library Association, the best selling Potter series has topped the list of the nations most frequently challenged books for two years in a row. Complaints rose 37% in the past year. Author John Andrew Murray believe that…”with the growing popularity of youth-oriented TV shows on witchcraft-‘sabrina,’ ‘chramed,’ and ‘buffy’- a generation of children is becoming desensitized to the occult. But with Hollywoods help, Potter will likely surpass all these influences, potentially reaping some grave spiritual consequence.”
Potter glorifies the occult. God condemns the occult. Should we take lightly a book that endorses what God has so seriously forbidden?
Several terms are used in both the Old and New Testaments to describe practices similar to magic and sorcery. There is an Old Testament word qacam from which comes divination in some Bible versions while in others it is translated as witchcraft. In addition, there are several Old Testament words from which one can derive sorcerer, witch, astrologer, or magician. Many of these words share origin in meaning even though the words themselves differ.
( I cut this short for the readers sake, it gives various variations on what the words mean and how they are translated. In both the New and Old Testament.)
Parents, whether Christian or not, must take an active role in what their children are being exposed to and determine what is appropriate. Christians especially should be guided by God’s word.
If your children are already reading these books, then use the books as a tool to teach them from God’s word what he says about the occult. Teach them how to share this information gently and lovingly with their friends. It is essential they be equipped to deal with the increasing acceptance of the occult in our culture. Ask, Seek, and knock. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you as you lead your family in taking a biblical worldview of morality, seeking to please God (and not conform to man). Seek out what the Bible says about the occult and how Christians are to react to it. and knock on the doors to your friends who may also be unsure what to do with Harry Potter.”- an excerpt from Anshul Mullick.

3 Comments:

Anonymous Lara said...

Interesting thoughts.

I enjoyed the Harry Potter books, but only read them as an adult. I know there's a book out there that talks about the redemptive and "christian" aspects of HP. Have you read that?

1:35 PM

 
Blogger Benjamin said...

Lara...I also have enjoyed the entertainment of the HP Books...and anticipate the release of the next addition...If you find the name of that book hook me up...please...i would love to read it...

11:31 PM

 
Blogger Lara said...

The Gospel According to Harry Potter: Spirituality in the Stories of the World's Most Famous Seeker.

:)

12:53 AM

 

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