Honestly, I’m kind of sick of people yammering about how awful Harry Potter is and how good The Lord of the Rings, and the Narnia series are. Tolkien (Lord of the Rings) had to be told (by C.S. Lewis, the author of the Narnia series, I believe) that the Lord of the Rings was a Christian allegory. Tolkien didn’t see it himself. I like Lord of the Rings, and I like Narnia, but they both use magic and magic creatures to tell a story, just like Rowling. Just because Tolkien and C.S. Lewis are celebrated Christians, I’m not sure it gives them a bye to use magic, any more than Rowling. While I understand that one can read into Lord of the Rings and the Narnia series (although C.S. Lewis did set out to put it there) a Christian allegory, I have a hard time seeing it, especially with Lord of the Rings. I have to be honest, though, F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote lot of symbolism into The Great Gatsby, but even with his notes, they still made me shake my head. So perhaps I have a problem with too much literary symbolism, anyways.
Just to flesh out a few views, here are some links to various stories and articles:
BreakPoint: Potter Mania, 07/20/07
BreakPoint: Myths Matter, 07/23/07
What Would Jonathan Edwards Say About Harry Potter? | Christianity Today
The Point: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
Now this next one is exactly my point. Tim Todd calls the world of Harry Potter “Godless” (Would he call the book of Esther Godless? How about Lord of the Rings?). I’m guessing from the quotes written in this article,that Tim Todd didn’t read the same books I did (Yes, I’ve read HP 1-5.). My favorite part is where he speaks about the blood sacrifice. Hmm, I think he needs to revisit the whole crucification thing. That was pretty bloody, I recall, and it was a sacrifice. Oh, what about Levitical law?
Evangelist says Bible speaks to Potter series ‘white magic’ (OneNewsNow.com)
The other part that seems to be an issue here is how magic is treated in the Bible. Practitioners are pretty much condemned to hell. I have a hypothesis as to why. We are to be dependent upon God, not our actions. The true temptation of “magic” is that we can do it ourselves. I am not saying that I’m all for magic, but there is a level of thought that needs to be put into play here. Reading a story where magic is one of, or the, vehicle of conflict, does NOT condemn one to Hell (A whole lot of Christians are so condemned if they read Narnia or Lord of the Rings). It is the PRACTICE of magic that is the issue in the Bible, not reading a story.
I think Tim Todd is anticipating trouble where parents don’t pay attention to their children. If my child shows any inclination to the occult, all such books (HP, LofR, Narnia, etc.) go away. However, if my child shows the maturity and discernment to recognize a good story, while knowing that Jesus Christ is the true path, I’m okay with it.
I got sucked into reading the comments on that last link. Hooo boy, there are some people in this world I hope never to meet (assuming they ever emerge with their children from those “secular-proof” underground bunkers they most surely must inhabit.)
Your reaction is much more measured than theirs and the author’s; I think it is a sane one. If I had a child* I would encourage her to read and to use her imagination but I would also want her to know the difference between fiction and reality.
For instance, if she picked up a book on the occult and started trying to “cast spells,” I’d have to explain to her that the spells were a made up part of the story. Additionally if she started reading a book about a man being crucified and later “rising from the dead,” I’d have to explain to her that some people just can’t do without an afterlife myth.
If she tried to turn water into wine I’d ground her for a week. Water into beer… well, now that would be something worth exploring!
Mmmm…. white magic beer.
* Children all around the world thank their lucky stars I’m not raising them.
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