In step with the release of the final Harry Potter movie, The Wall Street Journal has published a good article by Sarah Pulliam Bailey at about how Christians, for the most part, have “warmed-up” to the fantasy series of books and movies.
To quickly summarize, Bailey pulls together a good history of the concerns Christians have had over the portrayal of “witchcraft”, and how at this stage most Christ-followers are praising the biblical themes running through the series. Also, she shares a little about author J.K. Rowling’s Christian faith, comparing her experience with other Christian authors, such as C.S. Lewis, whose work has been misunderstood by other Christians.
When I first heard about the series, I must admit it felt uncomfortable hearing the setting being a school of wizarding and witchcraft. I immediately thought of the popular images of satanism, complete with human sacrifices inside flaming pentagrams. Upon reflection, I think it was the word “witchcraft” that bothered me the most. For some reason I don’t seem to equate wizards with satanism as I do witches. Maybe it’s because I first think of Merlin and Gandalf …but I digress.
By the time book four came out, I had begun reading the series. At first it was simply to be educated enough to make an informed decision. My fears melted away upon seeing the non-religious use of “magic” and seeing how these kids persevered, learned, and grew to become young men and women striving to do the right thing and make a difference. And now, having read all the books and seen movies 1-6, I wholeheartedly recommend the series.
My daughter is a bit too young for Harry Potter, but when she’s ready I will allow her to read the books and see the movies. But… I will also use them as a way to teach her how to judge something objectively and intelligently, to help her learn how to find the light and darkness in something that at first may seem gray.
You see, it would be easy to just ban anything gray and tell her to only stick with 100% pure Christian products. But unfortunately, the world isn’t so black and white and Christianity isn’t 100% pure either. A wise man once said, “It’s best to stay in touch with both sides of an issue. A person who fears God deals responsibly with all of reality, not just a piece of it.” (Eccl 7:18)
So what do you think about Harry Potter?