7 Answers to 7 Common
Questions about Harry Potter
Question 1. - "Why are some Christians warning against the Harry Potter books?"
Answer: One of the most general concerns about the books is that they tend to introduce children to the world of the occult. Children are unknowingly learning, or being conditioned to accept Witchcraft. In Deuteronomy 18:9 God says to the Israelites, just prior to their entering the promised land: "Do not learn to imitate the detestable ways of the nations." He then lists various practices that they should keep away from. Things such as child sacrifice, divination, charms, mediums, contact with the dead. All these things, as well as many other aspects of the occult, can be found in the Harry Potter books.
God says, "Do not learn to imitate the detestable ways of the nations." The Hebrew word for "learn" here means "to study, to become accustomed to, to instruct or train to practice" There can be no doubt that children are certainly becoming accustomed to occultism through these books. In fact, it would seem that there is to be a steady diet of occultism for a long time to come - Seven Harry Potter books in all, each having seven films, and seven video releases. On top of all this are the spin offs and merchandise.
Even some occultists themselves recognize that some children are being led into the occult as a result of the current interest being promoted by fictional Witchcraft. BBC News reported:
"The Pagan Federation, which represents druids and witches, says it has been "swamped" with calls following teenage programmes featuring good witches. Speaking to BBC News Online the Pagan Federation's Steve Paine, the high priest of a coven, said the hit US drama Buffy and the highly successful Harry Potter books were popular amongst practising witches. "They are taken as fantasy entertainment. But they do encourage people to think about different forms of spirituality", he said."
The article then goes on to say that the Pagan Federation are getting about a 100 requests a month from young people, and have had to appoint a youth worker to deal with the demand.
So the truth is, that Harry Potter (and popular fictional dramas like Buffy the Vampire Slayer) does indeed lead some children into the occult.
Question 2. - "What would you say to the objection that children are not going to become Witches or turn to the occult because of Harry Potter?"
Answer: J.K. Rowling herself, often says something like: "No child has ever come up to me and said "Miss Rowling, now that I have read the Harry Potter books, I want to become a Witch." Whether this is true or not in J.K. Rowling’s own experience, one thing is for sure, as was seen above from the quotation from The Pagan Federation, it does certainly seem that there are some children who are thinking along these lines.
Furthermore, it would appear to me that children are certainly being conditioned to see Witchcraft in a positive light, and therefore be more ready to become involved in it when they get older. I am convinced that many teenagers and young adults, in the next generation, will be fascinated with Witchcraft and the occult.
Question 3. - "What do you say to those who claim that if there is danger in the Harry Potter books, then Christians should also be warning against reading Snow White, or even C.S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia, or any other fairy-tales which have magic or Witches in them?"
Answer: I believe one of the main differences is that of ‘focus’. The whole focus of Harry Potter is on Witchcraft and occultism. Harry and his friends go to Hogwart’s Schools of Witchcraft and Wizardry, all the people who teach him are accomplished occultists. In the lessons he attends he learns, and is exposed to, real occultism. Here is a list of just some of the actual real life occultism found in the Harry Potter books -
Arithmancy (a Chaldean and Greek method of divination by numbers)
Crystal ball gazing (Scrying)
Spiritualism (Contact with the dead or Channelling)
Tea leaf reading
Another difference between Harry Potter and other children’s fantasy literature is that the Witches, as a general rule, do not normally teach the children occultism and are mostly portrayed in a negative light. Even some Witches themselves have recognised this latter point:
"It is much rarer to hear of the "good" witch in children's fairy tales. In recent years the Harry Potter books and other inventive creations are changing some of these perceptions..." (Sally Griffyn, Wiccan Wisdom Keepers, p. 10).
Question 4. - "But the Witches in Harry Potter are good Witches fighting evil Witches. It is the classic tale of good verses evil. What’s wrong with that?"
Answer: There is nothing wrong with good verses evil in and of itself. But the question of exactly where the source of a power is coming from should be questioned. In Harry Potter, the distinction between good and evil becomes quite blurred at times. For example, Harry apparently has some of Voldemort’s power in him. In Ollivander's: Makers of Fine Wands shop, Harry eventually chooses a wand that is suitable for him (or more accurately, the wand chooses Harry). After some difficulty, Mr Ollivander hands Harry a wand that is eventually right for him. Mr Ollivander finds it "very curios" that the wand that Harry finds to be right for him has a connection to Voldemort:
"I remember every wand I've ever sold, Mr Potter. Every single wand. It so happens that the phoenix whose tail feather is in your wand, gave another feather - just one. It is very curious indeed that you should be destined for this wand when its brother - why, its brother gave you that scar." (Philosopher`s Stone, p. 65).
So, the implication is being made that the same power that flows through Voldemort's wand, also flows through Harry's wand as well.
In book two, The Chamber of Secrets, Harry discovers that he actually has some of Voldemort's power within him, which was transferred when he was attacked as a baby (The Chamber of Secrets, p. 245).
The concept that there is a power in magick, that is neither good nor evil, black or white, is taken directly from popular modern day occultism. For example:
"Magic itself is neither good nor bad, white or black, it is a neutral force in the same way as electricity is. " (Kate West, The Real Witches Handbook: A Complete Introduction to the Craft, p. 5).
So in Harry Potter, it is not so much good verses evil, but rather dark verses darker, or occultism verses darker occultism.
Question 5. - "Some people object that the Harry Potter books do not teach legitimate spells, and are therefore harmless. What would you say to that?"
Answer: What the books do teach children is the concept of magick, that is to say, they learn that if they say certain words, and do certain things, they can get certain results and control people. Harry and his friends manipulate spiritual forces to achieve these ends.
This is what casting spells and working magick is all about. Modern day occultism is very eclectic, and many witches and occultists regularly make up their own spells. So even though most of the formulas and wording for the spells in Harry Potter are not written in actual occult books, the principle is the same. Certain results are achieved by saying certain words and manipulating spiritual forces.
Question 6. - "Since the Harry Potter books have encouraged so many kids to read, how can we say these books are bad?"
Answer: Everyone is for children reading books and being inspired to read. But no one would say, "It doesn't matter what children read, just as long as they are reading."
For example, no one would pass out Stephen King horror novels in school classrooms just because it would inspire children to read! There would be an outcry! However, some of the imagery in Harry Potter is very dark indeed and sometimes comes quite close to King’s novels. The scene at the end of the Goblet of Fire comes to mind, where Harry's friend, Cedric, is killed so an evil ceremony can take place, a grave is exhumed, a servants hand is cut off, and blood is taken from Harry so that Voldemort is able to rise up. Parents would object if this was being read out of a Stephen King horror novel would they not? Yet such a scene could easily have come from one of King’s books.
Question 7. - "What would you say to people who say that we shouldn't object to children reading the Harry Potter books because they know the difference between reality and fantasy?"
Answer: While it is true that Harry Potter is fiction with its flying broom sticks, flying cars, talking paintings, trolls, and elves, this does not mean that it doesn’t have themes based in reality too. How do we really know that children who read these books are absolutely clear about what fantasy and reality is? Many of the people who are reading these books are very young and their minds are still developing. They are more susceptible, and vulnerable, to some of the dark and occultic themes that run through the Harry Potter books.
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