As I specifically mentioned when I told a little bit about myself in my first post, I am a Christian. There are many Christians still today who are very much against the Harry Potter series, both the books and the movies. I remember when the first movie was about to come out when I was in elementary school. Naturally, in light of the upcoming movie, there was an upsurge in the number of people who were reading the books. Kids were bringing them to school, even my little Christian school in Wyoming. This didn’t mean much to me at the time, but I have obviously learned its significance as I’ve gotten older. My brother and I hadn’t read or gotten into Harry Potter. In fact, I don’t think our family had really paid much attention to it one way or another. My mom went to a school board meeting one night, and one of the things on their agenda was to vote so that the Harry Potter books would be banned from school because it was about witches, which is obviously unbiblical (and which I will address in a moment). Thank goodness for my mother’s intelligence, she sat there thinking, And we are banning a book that none of us have ever even read…why? So she voiced the opinion that they shouldn’t just automatically judge what some parents have already judged acceptable for their children, if they don’t even know exactly what they are condemning, and that included herself since she hadn’t even read the books. So, she went out and bought them to see what all the fuss was about, and found something that she not only immensely enjoyed herself but that she thought would be great to share with my brother and myself. Hence the story of how I became just like all other children who grew up on the series.
Now, about this unbiblical business…
There are so many Christians who are still against the series because it has witches and wizards in it.When they hear that I not only enjoy but also recommend the series, they are basically like What?How can you condone witchcraft when the Bible says it’s wrong?
So, here’s what I have to say to that:
Yes, the Bible does clearly say that witchcraft is wrong. However, I believe that the witchcraft it is referring to is the kind where you are literally giving yourself over to satanic powers which then produces evil. If you’ve never read Harry Potter than you wouldn’t know that the story isn’t about that at all. It’s about a school, and the kids are born, almost with a genetic predisposition you could say, for magic, and they go to this school to control their magic and learn how to do things like hover charms. In my opinion, there is a difference between witchcraft and magic.
But there are evil wizards in it, you say. Yes. I won’t lie and say that there aren’t. But I’m also going to more extensively address that in a moment. You see, I figured, other than the couple of paragraphs I have already written, the best way to go about my defense of Harry Potter from a Christian’s perspective, I’m going to make a list of reasons why it is an amazing story, for people of all ages, whether you’re a Christian or not.
- It teaches about friendship.
Especially for kids, there are important lessons on building and maintaining lasting friendships in the story. And let’s face it, as adults, even we can be reminded of the importance of healthy friendships. Throughout the story, Harry and Ron, and eventually Hermione, come from three totally different backgrounds but they build a friendship starting in the first book that carries them through all of the good times and the bad for the rest of their lives.
- It teaches the importance and satisfaction that comes from sharing.
Again, a lesson that is obviously beneficial to kids, but which adults sadly need to be reminded of as well. One of the things I love about Harry, which you discover very early on in the first book, is that he is unselfish. He loves to share with others and is happy to do so because he has never had anyone to share anything with.
- As with friendship, it shows the value of family, both adopted, extended, and otherwise:
Harry is an orphan who doesn’t have it too great living with his own aunt and uncle. But he at least recognizes that they are the only real family he has. And later on throughout the series, the Weasley family sort of adopt him as their own. Then, he makes a connection with his long-lost godfather. These people are all there for him and for each other, and even though they might not like each other sometimes, they always love one another.
- It shows the importance of responsibility.
Whether you’re a child or an adult, there are always specific responsibilities that belong to you. Perhaps most evident in Hermione, but also with the other characters, the book shows the different responsibilities that we have as we grow up, from school work, to our attitudes, and to doing something we know we must, even if we don’t want to and even if it scares us.
- It shows us that we have the ability to make our own choices.
Harry’s headmaster, Albus Dumbledore teaches a true lesson to us that we all must learn at some point in our lives. It does not matter how many wonderful abilities we possess or what they are geared for; it matters whether we choose to act on them, and if we choose to do so for the betterment of others, or just for our own benefit.
- It teaches us the responsibility we have to speak up for the less fortunate around us who might not have that ability.
House-elves are slaves, many of whom are severely mistreated, in the series. By the 4th book, Hermione takes a keen interest in liberating them from the unjust treatment that they face, and even just treating them as though they have rights, because they should. How many people can you think of, whether as a group or individual, are mistreated?People who deserve the right to speak from themselves but are passed over or ignored..
- It teaches us, both on a basic and deeper level, the difference between right and wrong.
Again, a valuable lesson to learn or be reminded of for us all. As children we learn the basic difference between right and wrong. If we choose to act out then we are choosing to take the consequences for our actions. This lesson follows us into adulthood, only our consequences can become so much bigger and impact us even more. Harry Potter teaches this in so many different ways. Harry learns this lesson and chooses to act on the light and good inside of himself because that is who he really is. Voldemort does just the opposite.
- It shows us, time and again, that good will always triumph over evil in the end.
Voldemort chooses his own path of evil and he is unrelenting in his ways. Over and over again, and in different ways throughout the stories, Voldemort gains more power–things seem dark and the paths of the other characters who fight against him become more difficult. But always, in smaller ways in the earlier books, and then ultimately in the end, it shows that Voldemort’s power is meaningless because of the choices he has made, and he is always defeated by good.
- It shows the power of love and the effect it has on us and our lives.
This is evident from the beginning. Harry’s parents died to save him, because they loved him. Many others are willing to die for Harry and the good that he represents, and by the end Harry is willing to die for those he loves. Love, love love. It drives so many of our actions and effects us in so many ways.
- It teaches about the concepts of life and death, and coping with losing someone we love.
There are many different types of loss, but the loss of life is one that is addressed from several different points in the series. Harry loses many of the people he cares about, and he has to learn to cope and to grieve and eventually he learns that there is nothing to be feared from death.
- Most importantly, it’s fun and helps develop and exercise your imagination!
There’s just no getting around the fact that Harry Potter is fascinating and full of humor. I lost track of how many times I’ve read the series a long time ago, but whenever I decide to read it again,I am always just as fascinated by it as the first time I read it. And it never loses its humor; no matter how many times I’ve read those same lines, they always make me laugh.
Tell me, fellow Christians who are against Harry Potter, why would you want to ban your kids from reading a book that helps them distinguish from right and wrong, shows good triumphing over evil, teaches them about life and death, love, responsibility, sharing, family, and friends, helps them develop their imagination, and entertains them with life lessons and fun anecdotes from memorable characters that they will grow up with like friends and who they will remember for a lifetime?
I mean,pardon the expression,but that’s the magic of a good story,isn’t it?
If you’re going to say they can’t read Harry Potter, then why don’t you just also say they can’t read fairy tales which have princesses locked in towers, dragons, fairy godmothers, evil queens, and unrealistic (and sometimes creepy) expectations for men?
Answer me that.