Christians and Magic/Harry Potter

Discussion in 'Belief and Spirituality' started by wandering_wind, Aug 27, 2005.

  1. wandering_wind

    wandering_wind Member

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    Hey everyone!

    Hope everything's going well lol

    Okay, well I read this kind of... well message on a website while browsing around and it was about how it was wrong for a christian to have anything to do with magic whether it be directly or as entertainment like Harry Potter and all. The link is at the bottom. So yea I was wondering what you guys thought of magic and if it really is a form of satan language or whatever. I won't go into my opinion haha, but all in all, I do Not agree with what the message says. I'm just curious to see what you think.

    Thanks!

    Jess

    http://www.ericbarger.com/potter-christians.htm
     
  2. Thomas

    Thomas Administrator Admin

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    Well, can I start by saying this anti-HP furore is a particularly American phenomena? As far as I know there's nothing like it here in the UK or elsewhere.

    There's a huge amount of nonsense about HP, and mostly generated by astute marketing people intent on keeping HP atop the bestseller lists, or those who, like the link you give, try to draw fame to themselves by attaching themselves to the source of fame.

    Possibly a disingenuous comment, but if I'm being unchristian, let me be forthright. HP is lightweight nonsense, and the comment is crap.

    HP is lightweight, harmless and its morality is childishly simple. But it does stir the imagination, and than is to be commended. If it gets kids reading, then I'm all for it.

    Hopefully they will move on to other books, The Earthsea Trilogy for instance, or The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, whose imagery is the same but far more sophisticated, but they haven't been made into blockbuster movies so no doubt escaped the notice of such guardians of Christian morality.

    What do they say of The Lord of the Rings (Christian morality through and through) or The Matrix (gnostic)?

    (Whereas Pullman's trilogy is in fact far darker and a more profound attack on Christianity, but that's not a movie yet so no doubt has equally escaped their notice.)

    Then of course there is The Name of the Rose, or Foucault's Pendulum, but these are written by a philosopher, so I doubt if such critics would ever make it to the end of the book anyway, nor understand enough to make any kind of valid critique.

    In the same vein, The Da Vinci Code is another book of poor literary merit and even poorer research which has gained fame far beyond its worth - I don't condemn it - I always take some light and inconsequential reading on holidays or train journeys, Bridget Jones' Diary I read on holiday and a wonderful read too!

    As a child I read Greek and Roman mythology, and Dennis Wheatley! But I didn't build a philosophy on it, nor do I sell my soul to the devil on the back of it.

    What really worries me is this 'tyranny of the ignorant' who, by their targets, betray their paucity of vision, lack of education, of reason, of common sense and of any real intelligence. These men are far more frightening to me than Voldemort or Sauruman and all his crew!

    Read everything, for an unformed mind cannot discriminate.

    Thomas - in outspoken mode!











    Good v evil.




    I grew up reading Dennis Wheatley, which is far more informed about magic than HP, and it didn't send me into the gates of hell, and I seriously doubt HP will damage any child in such way, either.

    What is more unfortunate is the silencing of the imagination. I wonder what these
     
  3. Faithfulservant

    Faithfulservant Well-Known Member

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    Well Im an American Im a Christian and I bought my daughter all the HP books that came out the day they were on the shelves... So I could read them! This is a case of one group of loud people making an issue of something.

    I think the story of Ms Rawlings is an uplifting one and Im a firm believer in kids exercising their imaginations.

    The problem here is that some groups believe that our children do not have the ability to seperate reality from fiction..

    Good point on the Lion Witch and the Wardrobe since those were written by a Christian author CS Lewis and another set of books that I grew up with and my kids are growing up with... If you read the books you know that the author was writing about Christ and the last days and fictionalizing it.

    Do not judge all American Christians by these loud people that claim to speak for all of us.. :)
     
  4. Thomas

    Thomas Administrator Admin

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    Hi Faithfulservant -

    Indeed I will not!

    We too have all the books, although I am two behind now. I do recall one family holiday where we queued to read the latest. ('Bridget Jones' was a one-day filler as I was at the back of the queue.)

    Ms Rawlings' story is, as you say, something of a fairytale in itself. I didn't mean to abuse her - the stories are lightweight, and hardly original, but they are, as they say, a cracking good read ... real page turners, and she is not claiming to have made a breakthrough in any literary sense. Graham Greene wrote novels (his serious stuff) and entertainments (his lightweight) - and the HP series is first class entertainment, and full of food for the young mind.

    I once heard Sir Alec Guiness asked why, as one of the foremost actrors of his generation, he agreed to play Obi Wan Kenobi in Star Wars. His answer was simple: when they gave him the script, he found he had to read the whole thing, he had to turn the page to find out what happened next, which, from a lifetime's experience of scripts, he knew as a very good sign.

    My mother is an avid reader, and despaired of me who, at eight, could barely read a page! She took to dragging me down to the local library, where I wandered, bored and ill-tempered, until I found a book on Greek mythology. From then on you could not get me out of the place.

    Today, I join libraries where I live and where I work, and if out with the family and go missing, the bookshop is the first place they look. The house is a mess of books, but I cannot bring myself to get rid of them. Stacks in corners, on the staircase...

    Nowadays, on school holidays, the TV is on with endless reruns of mind-numbing sitcoms (one channel shows nothing but repeats back to back, I swear I've seen all of Friends a million times, and I happen to think that's one of the best) that makes me despair, but then I see my youngest take possession of the bathroom with a book, so all is not lost.

    Thomas
     
  5. Dondi

    Dondi Well-Known Member

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    Curious. I saw a book in a book store called Looking for God in Harry Potter by Jogn Granger which extolled that HP actually contained Christian themes and symbols. Has anyone read this yet? If so, what do you make of this assertion?
     
  6. wandering_wind

    wandering_wind Member

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    Yea exactly I agree with you guys lol, I don't know how anyone could like prevent a child from using his/her imagination. I know that my nextdoor neighbor won't let her 8 year old girl read any of the books or go see the movies and when I found out about that I could hardly believe it! I mean, before HP I never read anything at all, I couldn't stand looking at a book haha, but after discovering it by my 4th grade teacher I was hooked, so yea, to me HP is like one of the greatest things ever lol.


    But people like the guy who wrote that message are speaking for nothing, because a) it's great for kids to read (he surely doesn't have any haha) and b) it was approved by the pope for crying out loud! So he better find another passtime.
     
  7. Awaiting_the_fifth

    Awaiting_the_fifth Where is my mind?

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    Sorry to drag up an old thread but I recently became aquainted with a good christian man (and all round nice bloke) who will not let his kids see or read Harry Potter.

    It is obviously his choice, but I dont understand it at all. Yes, it does say in the Bible to avoid magic, but the bible also forbids eating Lobster!

    And even if you do accept the bible and want to avoid magic, does this include fiction?

    The bible clearly says "Thou Shalt Not Steal" Does this mean Christians cannot watch Oceans Eleven?

    "Thou shalt not kill" means no Christian should watch James Bond?

    "Thou shalt no commit adultery" This one must rule out half the films and books ever made!

    This whole Anti-Potter thing just seems like sensationalism to me.
     
  8. wil

    wil UNeyeR1 Moderator

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    I always like to ask exactly what they have objection to.

    And then what page and chapter that is in.

    Most that won't let their kids read it haven't read it.

    The television, juggling, flying, would all be magic in a different place and time and banned as well...

    But everyone is allowed there world.
     
  9. juantoo3

    juantoo3 ....whys guy.... ʎʇıɹoɥʇnɐ uoıʇsǝnb

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    Actually, Awaiting, you bring up a good point.

    I find it interesting that there is furor over something like Harry Potter, but there is seldom stink made by the same people over any Disney productions. I mean, Bedknobs and Broomsticks, is that not "magic?" How about Mary Poppins? Or Darby O'Gill and the little people? Or Escape from Witch Mountain (parts 1 and 2)? Or goodness me, Aladdin? (remember the fuss over the smoke? but not the "magic?") How about Mickey Mouse as the Sorceror's Apprentice in the original Fantasia? Disney is rife with pagan symbolism, back to Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty and Snow White and before. Disney made pagan "cool" in America.

    Do I dare mention all of the "evil" portrayed in saturday morning cartoons? (Or at least used to, I haven't watched in about ten years now, but even stuff like Pokemon would qualify under what we are discussing!)

    Yes, I do find a bit of double standard applied. I found myself on this track at one time. To be honest and sincere in such a boycott, one must of necessity get rid of all video equipment, TV's, movies, stop going to theatres, etc. Goodness, even "Passion of the Christ" stirred controversy! And who knows what evil you may have to pass (and have to avert your eyes from) should you attempt to go see something at the movies. Or what evil you may have to put up with in commercial television, or the trailors and games they put in videos and dvds. It doesn't end.

    It is noble, but somewhat misguided to believe one can separate oneself and one's loved ones completely from influences that contradict or threaten one's own beliefs.

    In my opinion, it is far wiser to teach how to sustain one's beliefs while interacting with the world. In Christian terms, "to be in the world, but not of the world."

    I do applaud the intent of such people. If equal effort or more is applied to proper understanding of the lessons of Christianity, and how to apply those lessons on a daily basis in interactions with all kinds of people, not just other Christians, then such effort is worthwhile. If the sole and only focus is a boycott of Harry Potter, or avoidance of reality, then it is not genuine Christianity, in my humble opinion. Speaking as a reformed zealot.
     
  10. Quahom1

    Quahom1 What was the question?

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    Haven't read that book, however the author of the HP alluded to a surpise for all in the last book she writes, during an interview she gave. And the allusion was to something about...Christianity? This should be interesting.

    As far as "magic" and Christianity, let us be quite frank that it is after a fashion, alive and well within the faith. It is simply under a different name and based on a different set of rules.

    After all, what are the "seven sacraments"? And what is faith healing? What is the "gift of discernment", or speaking in tongues? Or the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit?



    Wisdom, Understanding . Counsel. Fortitude, Knowledge, Piety, Fear of the Lord



    These all go beyond conventional understanding. And what about the declaration that some can not be killed by poison, because of their faith and fortitude? Is that not like magic? Daniel and the lions, the three thrown into the furnace, Moses parting the sea, bringing forth water from the rocks, manna from heaven. All supernatural. Magic!



    The rule is that it comes from God, not from self, or other than God. Hence it becomes divine.



    The difference between a prophet and a seer? Who provides the insight of course.



    In fact there is a passage in the Bible that asks, "if man is wise enough to interpret the stars, why is he not wise enough to look to Him who put the stars there to begin with?" (para)



    Like any other faith, some Christians can become so close minded as to not see the forest for the trees.



    I like what my dad says about magic. "It is science as yet explained."



    my thoughts



    v/r



    Q
     
  11. Scarlet Pimpernel

    Scarlet Pimpernel demned elusive

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    Thank you for this post, Q. In fact, that's how I look at it too - also within my faith. Whenever I do ritual or spellwork, I see the results of that as coming, ultimately, from God. For me, magic or ritual is a modified form of prayer.
     
  12. bananabrain

    bananabrain awkward squadnik

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    harrumph. i don't see where "lord of the rings" is christian. perhaps aragorn is a messiah-figure, but that's not specifically christian; he's more of an archetypal "hidden king", not restricted even to the abrahamic ethos.

    kindly justify yourself!

    b'shalom

    bananabrain
     
  13. presser_kun

    presser_kun Well-Known Member

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    Yay Thomas! I heartily agree. If one did agree with Mr. Barger, then wouldn't it behoove her to be informed about the "enemy"?

    peace,

    press
     
  14. presser_kun

    presser_kun Well-Known Member

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    I've heard of this, but am not familiar with the book(s). In my opinion this is just as crackpot an idea as the HP Is Evil! (HPIE)idea. I suspect it originated in a desire to counter HPIE.

    J.R.R. Tolkien wrote in the preface to the second edition of The Lord of the Rings that many had accused him of writing allegory, specifically about the politics of the day. He stated plainly that nothing of the sort was the case. He simply wanted to create a good story for the pleasure of reading it.

    I think this is the most sensible thing to be said on the subject.

    peace,

    press
     
  15. presser_kun

    presser_kun Well-Known Member

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    Made me smile to read this.

    The problem, and there is a problem, is that Mr. Barger isn't engaged in a pastime. He'd deadly serious about converting the world to his set of beliefs.

    While I will defend to the death his right to hold those beliefs, I will agressively oppose his attempts to impose them on others.

    peace,

    press
     
  16. presser_kun

    presser_kun Well-Known Member

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    Quite right. Arthur C. Clarke (inventer of the telecommunications satellite and author of 2001: A Space Odyssey) famously said,

    "A sufficiently advanced technology will seem like magic to us."

    Who's to say the things HP can do won't be simply common sense, commonplace children's entertainments in the 28th century?

    peace,

    press
     
  17. stevemb88

    stevemb88 Well-Known Member

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    All Harry Potter is is entertainment nothing more nothing less its what sells so they make it. I think it is rediculous that Christians aren't seeing the movie because it has to do with "majic" and all of that wizard/witch stuff. If a movie makes you question your religion (in a negative way)than you are weak in your beliefs! A book/movie that is clearly marked as fantasy, that is made to stimulate a child/young adults mind should never be regarded as an unchristian thing.

    -two cents
    ~Stephen
     
  18. presser_kun

    presser_kun Well-Known Member

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    Right.

    Right again.

    Right for the third time, Stephen. I'd say your two cents are more like two dollars -- at least, in my book.

    peace,

    press
     
  19. stevemb88

    stevemb88 Well-Known Member

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    Thanks a lot you have no idea how well that lightened up my day!:) ;)
     
  20. presser_kun

    presser_kun Well-Known Member

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    Just thought I'd share with my thread-siblings that I'm in contact with Eric Barger, the man who wrote the letter to Mallary that got this started. I've shared with him some of our thoughts here (without sharing identities) and we have agreed to dialog a bit. After we get to know each other a bit I'll ask him for permission to share with you what we're discussing.

    It's a challenge to me, doin this, but I think I'll benefit from it.

    As I do from engaging your minds and spirits, friends.

    peace,

    press
     

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