A gracEmail subscriber asks, “What do you think of the Harry Potter witchcraft issues? With books and a movie coming out, is this something we need to be informed about so as to defend the faith?”
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Harry Potter, I am afraid, poses a threat to young minds equalled only by the wizardry in Grimms’ Fairy Tales, by the witches in Walt Disney movies, or by the magic in J.R.R. Tolkien’s “Hobbit” and “The Lord of the Rings.” Imagination is a healthy and pleasurable part of normal life — for adults as well as for children. Of course, conscientious Christian parents will want to teach their children to distinguish between make-believe stories about wizards, which are quite harmless, and real-life occult practices which the Bible condemns. That is true whether they read Harry Potter or “The Wizard of Oz.” If that task proves too difficult, perhaps they should select other books altogether.
I have read all the Harry Potter volumes but the latest, and have found them wholesome and delightful works of fantasy fiction. So far as I know, British author J.K. Rowling is not a professing Christian. She is an enormously gifted story-teller, however, and she has faithfully used her God-given talents of imagination and word-crafting to draw millions of children away from television and into actual, old-fashioned reading — entertaining millions of us adults in the process. (One of her own favorite authors is Christian writer C. S. Lewis, she says in an interview.)
The Harry Potter books focus on the struggle between good and evil, and they clearly cheer for the side of good. They honor characters who exhibit such virtues as kindness, honesty, generosity and loyalty, and they present in an unfavorable light characters who do not. These books no more encourage occult practices than do “Cinderella” or “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.” An article widely circulated via internet claiming otherwise and supposedly quoting blasphemies from the author and from young readers was a total fraud. You do as you think best, but I can’t wait to see the movie!