Deathly Hallows be thy name

There is no denying Harry’s popularity as ‘Book 6’ breaks all sales records.

And amongst certain branches of Christianity the debate seems to rumble on about whether or not Christians should be reading about ‘witchcraft’ and the like (a really good summary article of both positions here).

But having finished reading The Deathly Hallows yesterday, and also having watched Order of the Phoenix (OOP) on the same day, it strikes me that this argument is often carried out on far too superficial a level.

In the past I have defended the books on the basis of their general ‘moral framework’ of good and evil. But I now think that the reality is less positive than that.

In OOP, Sirius tells Harry, “We all have dark and light within us. What matters is the part we choose to act on.” Although positively this avoids the naive assumption that everyone is ‘good’, this kind of self-determinism is clearly a long way away from the Biblical picture of mankind helpless to choose the good without the work of the Spirit.

There is more to be said about the worldview of Harry Potter, but I am convinced that it is precisely because this mirrors so accurately the worldview of so many in the West that the book has done so well. In saying this I acknowledge firstly, that this may happen on an entirely subconscious level for many if not most readers and secondly, that it is also an excellent story which keeps its reader gripped.

So the ‘danger’ for Christians reading or watching HP, is that they do so with an uncritical mind, and begin to accept the worldview presented there, rather than critically evaluating it against the Biblical truth.

(For further reading, Hollywood Jesus provide a typically stimulating discussion of OOP here)

4 thoughts on “Deathly Hallows be thy name

  1. Whilst I agree completely, I think that your argument could be applied to the vast majority of ‘secular’ literature available. (The Sound of Music, with the song “I believe in me” is one of my pet hates in this regard!!)

    The particular danger with the Harry Potter books, I believe, is not in driving children directly towards witchcraft (I doubt that many children really believe the witchcraft depicted is real, although I have no evidence for this) but more subtle: I suspect it reduces any natural apprehension of more real elements of the occult, such as ouija boards, tarot etc. If they are seen as harmless fun, in the same way as magic in the HP world, then children will not realise the dangers.

    Just my tuppence.


  2. A fair comment Mike. Although I would also add that some of the responsibility here lies with the churches in their teaching – how can we expect children to take seriously the real dangers of the occult when our churches so often underplay the reality of the spiritual realm of life? We need to be teaching clearly on the reality of the Devil and his work if we are to expect children or adults to take this seriously.

  3. Phil

    I was wondering whether you might link to my EN comic strips site: BTW the latest one is loosely derived from a deathly hallows experience.

    I hope you are well


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