Picking Nits: Harry Potter & Christians

randomlychad  —  August 9, 2011 — 11 Comments
'Harry Potter' photo (c) 2005, Claire Schmitt - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Folks, I’ve made no secret here on the blog of the fact that I like J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter books. The timeless themes of self-sacrifice, loyalty, of making hard choices–doing the right thing, rather than the easy thing–are what are so attractive about the books. That, and the rather obvious parallels the story has with the Gospel. (Aside from all that, as they say in England, the narrative is just a corking good yarn.)

Taken together, these form a strong (in mind) case as to why these books should have a place in your library.

Yet, I still find folks who are aghast that I read (and let my son read) and enjoy these books. Folks, liking, or not, Harry Potter is not–nor should be–a litmus test of my orthodoxy. I respect your right to your opinion–your convictions–on the matter. Is it too much to expect the same in return?

I have my convictions, and have chosen to exercise my Christian liberty in this matter. That said, if I know your feelings with regards to all things Potter, I’m not going to go out of my way to try to convince you otherwise. My feelings on this are quite adequately summed up by the principle set forth in Romans 14:3 (KJV):

“Let not him that eateth [or readeth Harry Potter] despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not [readeth not Harry Potter] judge him that eateth: for God hath received him.”

Yes, that’s right ladies and gentlemen, God has received me the same as He’s received you. The same love that constrains me from flaunting my liberty constrains you from shoving your convictions down my throat, or indeed from breaking fellowship if we don’t quite see eye-to-eye here.

Fact is, your convictions are not “the faith once delivered to the saints (Jude 1:3b, KJV);” neither are mine.

Far more important is where we do in fact agree: that Jesus is the Son of God, our Savior, Who ever lives to make intercession for us. That He has called us as His own, saved us that we might serve along side Him in His kingdom. We are His witnesses.

This being the case, what kingdom purpose does our division over fantasy literature serve? What does a watching world think when they see us arguing over Harry Potter? What kind of witnesses are we being?

I forget who first coined the phrase, but have you heard the following:

“In the essentials, unity; in the non-essentials, liberty; in all else, charity (love)?”

How about you? Where do you fall on the spectrum with regards to all things Potter?




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Christ-follower, husband, dad, blogger, reader, writer, movie buff, introvert, desert-dweller, omnivore, gym rat. May, or may not, have a burgeoning collection of Darth Vader t-shirts. Can usually be found drinking protein shakes, playing with daughter, working out with his son, or hanging out with his wife. Makes a living playing with computers.Subscribe to RandomlyChad by Email

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  • jmonsewicz

    I love the series. I definitely agree that there are plenty of parallels to the series. My theory on whether or not they should be banned is that if you ban them, OK fine, but ban LOTR and Narnia books. Some might say "But they have Christian values!" Yes, but since they have magic, like Harry Potter, they should be banned, right? And while we're at it, let's ban Disney as well. Full of magic, no? Also, I think Stephen King puts it best. "Harry Potter is about confronting fears, finding inner strength and doing what is right in the face of adversity. Twilight is about how important it is to have a boyfriend."

    • Amen, and amen! Well said, Justin!

    • bradshimomura

      Friend, I agree with you about 90%… LOTR, and Narnia do have a lot of magic, but the difference is that only in Harry Potter are people using magic. In the others, the magic is simply there for the most part. There are definite evil beings who use the magic, but by and large it is just there.

      Having said that, I love Harry Potter and am a Children's Pastor in my church. Since most kids are watching it, I've thought about doing some kind of series on Harry Potter or magic or something, but I think it might lead me to a new church, and I like where I am. I wish that the church would embrace the values and good things that we can learn and get over the magic of potter. Truth of the matter is, real magick (as it is spelled when used in satanic practices) is nothing like make believe magic like we see in Harry Potter.

      • Brad,I appreciate your response. I could make an argument that the magic is innate in the Potterverse as well--one either is, or is not, born with it. Of note is that nowhere is anyone invoking an outside entity when practicing “magic” (as I said above, it's innate in that world). This is strictly fantasy magic, and as you said, bears no resemblance (other than strictly on the surface) to “magick.” Thanks for a very thoughtful comment!

  • I've never read the Potter books or watched the Potter movies. Not because I am "against" them--it's just because I never got into them. It's funny that some have issues with Potter but love The Wizard of Oz and other such movies.

    • Exactly, Matt! Exactly. Wizard of Oz gets a free pass because it's a “timeless classic.” Likewise with A Christmas Carol.Fantasy literature (and movies) has always contained elements of magic.

  • JBen

    I love those books even though I fought them for a long time. Once I started reading it was pretty much game over. Is it bad that I try to do certain spells around the house? Accio remote control!

    I plan on reading them to my bride-to-be. mostly so I can do all the voices.

    • I did, too, man--bought into the whole “Harry is evil” meme until… Until I decided to look into myself (rather than going in hearsay).I think that's fine--as long you don't start going all “avada kedavra.” 😉 That sounds like fun!

    • Incidentally, after having met you, I can totally “see” that--you doing the voices. Awesome!