My parents think Harry Potter is evil! Please help!

I received an email note last week from a 15 year old Harry Potter reader. I have responded already but wondered what you All-Pros would have said if this had landed in your inbox. I promise to pass on your comments if she writes back.

Subject: My parents think Harry Potter is evil! Please help!
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From: Melody
Date: Thursday, Jul 17, 2008 at 2:39 PM
To: john@hogwartsprofessor.com

Mr. Granger,

I am a teenage christian who LOVES Harry Potter! I completely understand the christian values in the books and grow in my faith because of it. I have read your book “Looking for God in Harry Potter” and agreed with you throughout the whole thing. I do have one problem though, my parents who are also christians are convinced that the books are evil and horrible and will refuse to be told otherwise. I don’t know how to start a conversation with them explaining how Harry Potter benifits my walk with God because I know that no matter what I say they won’t listen. Please tell me how I can get my parents to have an open mind so I can convince them Harry Potter is not evil indeed the oposite of evil!

– Melody, 15

Comments

  1. revgeorge says

    I’m not sure there’s any way to get her parent’s to have an open mind. It depends somewhat on what brand of Christianity her parents belong to. But a good place to start talking with her parents is telling them how much she likes the series & asking them to read some books like “Looking for God in Harry Potter” & listening to some podcasts like The Secrets of Harry Potter with Father Roderick. Of course, if they’re from particular evangelical backgrounds, they’ll think Catholics & Orthodox aren’t really Christian either!

    If it’s just her parents set against HP, she might try feeling out her family’s pastor on the series.

    And although she may not like, she needs to remember that the 4th commandment tells us to be obedient to our parents, even if we think they’re wrong, so long as what they command us to do doesn’t violate God’s Word.

  2. I’ve found this to be the most challenging question surrounding the Harry Potter books. I’ve tried to have just that conversation with parents at day camp when we decided (twice) to use Harry Potter as the theme for the week. We didn’t delve into the books (except for a trivia challenge–individually done between campers/counselors and those of us at Head Camp, which meant I usually got to answer).

    I felt like I always failed to adequately explain why the parents didn’t need to see Harry Potter as a threat to their Christian beliefs. And mostly it came back to what revgeorge said — their particular Christian beliefs did not allow for taking a look at the books with an open mind, so they insisted that their children not read them either. So sad.

    There was one mom who stuck with us as a counselor who had misgivings. But by the end of the week, she said that the week had been fun. We had only used the structure of Hogwarts — sorting (dividing) all the groups into houses, having competitions that vaguely had to do with things in the books. (Guess how many Bertie Bott’s beans are in the jar? The winning group got the jar to share. They earned points for their “House” by participating in camp activities and by doing things to help other groups.)

    We chose to do the trivia contest on a low key basis because not everyone had read the books or wanted to. But that allowed those of us who loved the books to share them without forcing them on anyone else.

    Still, even with that approach, we had parents who withdrew their children or switched to a different week. We had parents whose children knew just how to push their hot buttons concerning Potter — rather disturbing to learn that one third grade boy told his mom that we were casting spells. Um, sure, we used a match to start the cooking fire? Anyway, it made me realize that the parents who are so intent on protecting and shielding their children have much bigger problems than whether or not their child reads Harry Potter or any book.

    By banning or forbidding their children to read and decide for themselves whether they like the books, the parents have slammed shut that crucial door of communication. And they have seriously compromised their own credibility if the child reads (as they so often do when forbidden) the book and discovers that it isn’t the evil that they have been told it is.

    In the case of Melody, my heart goes out to her. She has discovered what so many of us, as adults, have found — that there is so much about the books that strengthen our Christian beliefs. So much of that has come through in all the discussions here and at The Hog’s Head, where so many of the commenters are Christians.

    But, apart from asking her parents to read Looking for God and hoping that they will, I’m not sure what else she can do. As revgeorge says, she is not an adult, and she still needs to be respectful to her parents and to their rules. Talking to a pastor might help, unless that’s where the parents got the misinformation about the Harry Potter books. (So many of the anti-Potter parents I have encountered are reacting based solely on what their pastor has told them about the books — and of course, the pastor hasn’t read them either. (*sigh*) So if the pastor isn’t her best bet for convincing her parents that there’s no harm in Potter, and potentially that there are some very possible Christian positive results, then she might try a teacher or maybe an adult friend of her parents who has read Harry Potter and has a different perspective.

    (And just out of curiosity, John — would you be willing to share your response, or the essence of it? It seems that we are still faced with the problem of people being against HP even after the final book.)

    Pat

  3. Have you considered the possibility this letter was from someone other than a 15 year old girl? I have. I hope what I wrote does not wind up on Krjit Bjos’ website, in pieces, with a long commentary on my presumption in responding to her at all!

    I’ve also wondered if the girl’s parents weren’t responding to Wizard Rock (WRock) bands and the growing “convention culture” online for slash, fan-fiction, and role playing. If that had been my first exposure to the mania, I’m curious if I would have read them or shared them with my children. I know families that don’t read Tolkien because of D&D culture they understand to be an off-shoot and some who find the Bible impossible to take seriously because it is what Religious Right preachers read.

    Ah, association and identity…

    My response to Melody:

    Dear Melody,

    Your prayers.

    There is nothing I can tell you that will open your parents’ minds, I’m afraid. I assume — and please correct me if I’m wrong — that your folks have not read the books and that they have chosen not to read the books because an authority in your worship community has told them Ms. Rowling’s Harry Potter novels are “evil and horrible.” If this is the case, my arguing with them (or supplying you with arguments which comes to the same thing) would mean I was setting myself up as a counter authority to their pastor in their lives and second-guessing them as parents in your life.

    I hope you can understand that I don’t want to do either of those things. Their acting in obedience is an important quality of Christian faith, probably the most difficult and essential step in the life in Christ. It isn’t my place to intervene here. The most I can suggest to you is that you offer my book to the leader of your church who has taught others that the Potter series is spiritually evil and ask him to read it with an open mind.

    If, on the other hand, your parents have come to their convictions about Harry Potter on their own after reading one of the books or reading internet commentary or a book by Richard Ab-n-s or Michael O’Brien, you can tell them that Looking for God in Harry Potter was published by a Christian publishing house and been endorsed by traditional Christians around the world. Ask them to read it with an open mind. Best yet, tell them if they read it and remain unconvinced that you will accept their decision and not make Harry Potter a point of division in your family. Then follow through on that commitment!

    I love reading and discussing these books, and, as you know, I think they’re wonderfully edifying reading. Having said that, I don’t think they’re worth the peace of a church community or of anyone’s home.

    I suspect you’ll find that a horribly wimpy answer. I’m sorry I cannot wave a magic wand or say a prayer to change your parents’ minds. I do hope that you will try to work the greater magic of obedience, charity, and forgiveness in this matter, especially if your folks remain Harry Haters. God allowing, you will come to understand that they have taken the position they have because of love and in the hope that they are preparing you for a greater life in Christ. I’m pretty sure God honors those intentions more than getting the right answers on the “what Harry Potter really means” test. We should, too.

    Thank you for writing — and let me know how it turns out!

    Fraternally in Christ,

    John

  4. As I said to you privately, I think your response is right on the mark. And it’s important not to get folks so worked up about the goodness of Harry Potter that it becomes as much of a test for the faith as rejecting it is for those who think it’s evil. It’s great, potentially life-changing literature, but it ain’t Holy Writ. It’s not worth splitting up families or not acting graciously toward family members with who you adamantly disagree.

  5. revgeorge says

    John, a wonderful answer to her! And not to be pretentious, but you hit upon the same points I did! 🙂

    Ever notice how it’s the first four commandments that are the hardest to obey? To fear, love, & trust God above all other things in our life et al & then to obey, love, honor, & cherish our parents as God given authorities who are there to provide for us & keep watch over us in the household of God. Not that the other six are easy to keep either. 🙂

    I hope Melody, whether she’s 15 or 55, takes your words to heart. I always tell my catechism students in regard to the 4th commandment that we spend our growing up years thinking our parents are unhip, dull, out of it, totally ignorant, arbitrary, & unable to consider our feelings. And then we grow up & find out they were right about almost everything!!

    And even when they may be wrong, as in the case of thinking Harry Potter is evil, they’re still right in exercising their responsibility as parents. A quality that seems to be getting rarer & rarer these days.

  6. Sayf Bowlin says

    John, I can’t imagine that you could have written a better answer. As a seminarian, I am constantly confronted with young people in the parish whose parents have taught them a particular position which I believe is wrong but that ultimately it is not my place to challenge (at least not to their face as a contrast to their parents). I have, of course, expressed my own support for Harry Potter in passing, but I would never never say “Jill, I”m sorry your parents are against it. It must be tough having parents who are wrong”. We teach that parents are the first and primary instructors in the faith to their children.

    And thank you for emphasizing obedience! Most difficulties in a parish are because of lack of obedience, either parishoners to their pastors or pastors to their bishop/the Magisterium. As a future priest, I can say that celibacy won’t be easy, but it won’t be nearly as difficult as holy obedience.

    Keep up the good work.

  7. Arabella Figg says

    All wonderful answers. I would add the following:

    During the teen years, there will be points of friction between teens in the process of exploration and parents in the practice of protection. This tension can become highly strained over certain things.

    I would advise Melody to practice restraint and grace with her parents: love and accept them as they are and allow them their sensibilities, even if those about HP aren’t logical or based on credible knowledge of the books’ content. Melody doesn’t need to “convert” her parents, she needs to demonstrate the obvious maturity shown in her letter.

    Instead of pressuring them to embrace the series (thus, stiffening resistance), she can turn this around. Show them how a Christian HP fan is ennobled and enhanced by the books, by gracefully demonstrating Christian attributes, including character and sacrificial love–two of the strongest points of HP. This is in the “show, not tell” category.

    Also, Melody might want to “relieve her pressure valve” by using what she knows to be true about HP as an opening with friends and acquaintances to discuss the Christian content. This may open doors with others that are closed with her parents.

    To sum up, don’t let the HP books become a fruitless point of contention which may engender trust issues. Let this be a growing and maturing experience in differing points of view amongst those closest to one.

    Now if only the kitties would grow and mature…

  8. I too wondered about whether the email was really from a 15 year old. But I think, John, that the answer that you gave was exactly what the person needed to hear, whether it’s from a real 15 year old or from someone trying to set you up. Either way, your answer — and everyone’s here, strikes the right chord, that of honesty, respect, and plain old common sense. Too often in the fervor over whether or not to allow children to read Harry Potter it has been the common sense that has been forgotten.

    Pat

  9. John, I think you gave a very wise answer. As a young person (22) whose parents are Harry-wary, I have struggled with this as well. I think one of my mistakes was being overly enthusiastic and wanting desperately to prove my point. As a young adult, and not a high schooler, I do have somewhat greater freedom, but I have also striven to be respectful of my parents’ wishes– I do not watch, read or listen to anything Potter-related in the presence of them or my young siblings. It is a bit of an uneasy peace. I tried to get them to read your book, but, as you know, it’s a very busy life to be working jobs and raising quite a few kids. I still have hope that they will some day.

    To Melody, I would second some of the advice that others have so wisely given. I would not pretend that I didn’t like Harry, but I would recommend her like of it be a quiet one. Let the flowers of reading a book that has helped you spiritually be fully expressed in your actions and deeds. Good results will sooner or later attract notice. If your parents ask you what has made the difference, tell them the truth, briefly and gently, with perhaps one or two core things that meant a lot to you in your faith. Then, leave it be. Any maturity you show, especially in being very respectful of very justified concerns over witchcraft (even though we know HP is not promoting the occult), can only help them to consider.

    Knuckles, if he ever visits, would approve my repeating a Haitian proverb, ‘Little by little, the bird builds its nest.’ Small steps, done in obedience and respect, are the key to a peaceful understanding. My parents have proven as willing to listen as I am to not beat them over the head with it or try to prove my points. They ask tough questions, and sometimes I have to admit I haven’t got an answer, and sometimes they admit my answers are pretty darn good. Mom even went with me and my teen-aged sister to see Order of the Phoenix in theatres last year, and watched GoF before going. I think they’ve decided that JKR didn’t mean to write anything that would encourage witchcraft, but are rightfully wary that it could be dangerous in ways she did not intend.

    but perhaps more than any of this, pray pray pray! for guidance and a deepening of faith, and the strength to do God’s will- and if HP serves that, then I think it’ll work out in the end.

    ~Nzie

  10. revgeorge says

    John wrote: “Have you considered the possibility this letter was from someone other than a 15 year old girl? I have. I hope what I wrote does not wind up on Krjit Bjos’ website, in pieces, with a long commentary on my presumption in responding to her at all!”

    I assume you’re intentionally misspelling Kbjos (sic) name? Kind of like with He Who Must Not Be Named on Blogs? Sadly, I think, John, no matter what you do or say, these people will not give it a fair shake & will willfully misrepresent it.

    But I think your response was very diplomatic & judicious while still offering useful advice. And if such people like Kblogs or HWMNBNOB complain about your response, they should take it up with C.S. Lewis who responded to the numerous letters he received from children.

  11. I am thinking of Father Thomas Hopko’s 55 maxims… Number 43 reads, “Don’t try to convince anyone of anything.”

  12. Arabella Figg says

    It’s not important whether Melody’s letter is genuine or a hoax. The letter’s contents are authentic in representing young people’s legitimate bind regarding Harry’s acceptance (and their own as HP readers) in their families. Perhaps many silent “Melodys” are reading this post.

    What IS important is how these concerns are addressed, and how “Melodys” implement the suggestions offered. The contributions here have been gracious, sensible and helpful in maintaining and balancing good family relationships with budding, independent thought. I hope all Melodys will find comfort and guidance in them.

    Fullatricks just offered some “guidance” to Curious Black, who promptly hissed at her…

  13. John, you are right on that this letter may not be from a 15-year old, although I wish that every 15-year old would have a copy of Looking for God in Harry Potter. Either this was written by a mature 15-year old or it was an adult who is putting you and us to the test.

    Arabella’s observations are correct. Its not important whether the letter is genuine but HOW we answer the letter’s plea. With Melody’s parents being Christian I would point them to Matthew 2 and the story of the Magi — http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magi. The Magi, according to historical text, were a priestly caste of the Persian/Median culture. They were astrologers and interpreters of dreams and yet they came to worship the Christ Child! This shows how God honored them by placing them within the Holy Bible even though they come from a mythic pagan origin. There is a mosaic in a church in Italy from the 6th century that depicts the Magi wearing (dare I say it) pointed skullcaps. Does this bring to mind anyone from the Potter books???

    I would point Melody’s parents to a book entitled “Surprised by Joy”, authored by one whom many consider the father of Christian apologetics of the 20th century, C. S. Lewis. The young C. S. Lewis grew up and through his school years in college turned from the faith of his parents to become an atheist. He studied English and northern European literature along with Norse and European myth/folklore. These works led Lewis through the stories of the dying/rising from the dead gods, i.e. Norse/European/Egyptian legends to the True Myth of the historical death burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. C. S. Lewis then became a Christian. Other writers (Tolkien, Chesterton, and Dyson) also had an influence on his decision to become a Christian.

    J.K. Rowling with Harry Potter, like C. S. Lewis with The Chronicles, brings forth the elements of Christian symbolism within their stories which then become doors and portholes to the Christian faith within Harry’s saga and Aslan’s walk.

  14. globalgirlk says

    Hello, it’s been a while since I’ve written on this site but the post caught my attention. I just finished reading What’s a Christian to do with Harry Potter? My experiences with all but about five or six people in church regarding Harry Potter have been negative. I’ve been ashamed that I read and enjoyed the books. Her experience seems to be the norm for many who enjoy the books.
    I understand the genuine concerns of parents knowing that my parents would have not allowed me to read the books when I was young. However, upon catching the last fifteen minutes of GoF on HBO one day, my parents were finally open to the possibility of even discussing the books. Once, I expalined to them what I could having read bits and pieces of Finding God… and doing some research on the internet, my parents do not mind me reading or watching the books/movies. Keep in mind that I am twenty-five and live with my parents. I still honor them in this way since I live in their house.
    I think that the decision to read or not to read Harry Potter is a personal choice just as many would choose to read or not choose to read Cosmo or People. I think that the downfall of this entire series is the controversy and the unintentional division it has caused in the church. I enjoy the books but know when to keep quiet and when to speak up. Maintaining the peace between my brothers and sisters in the Lord, whom I love very dearly, is important to me.
    That being said, I think that our goal here, as it has been stated several times, is to respect each parents’ decision and encourage the child/ren to honor their parents. God will honor the child, the parents, and us for recognizing the authority that He has placed in their lives.
    All the same, I am saddened that I am not able to share my enjoyment with the people I love. Perhaps that’s the point though, enjoyment shared with the people God loves can bring them to a knowledge of Him. Oh, what a wonderful realization. He was sent for the sick…not those who were well…

  15. globalgirlk, I was once walking in the opinion of your parents and many in your church. I believed that the Harry Potter books were a clever way to promote witchcraft to children and I would not allow our then 10 year old daughter to read the books.

    Many Hogpros on this site know my story. I’m a Christian Apologist (defender of the faith) for my local church and as one in that field would and should do, I dug further into the HP/ Christian controversy which was all over the news from about January 2000 onward. I read just about every Harry Potter related book available from both Christian and non-Christian authors.
    What I found amazed me! Most if not nearly all of the anti-Harry commentators NEVER read the books or only leafed through them, yet they were on national radio/TV condemning the HP books! I also found that the books have no connection nor do they promote wicca/witchcraft or the occult!
    There is a quote that fits this well, “The beginning of knowledge is the discovery of something we do not understand” by Frank Herbert. The anti-Harry people were making judgements without “knowledge”, I know because I was once in the same camp. Now, I am speaking at local and national Harry Potter conferences as a presenter regarding the Christian symbolism J K Rowling has written within the HP books.

    Much of this “knowledge” I have gained in HP world comes from the gentleman who developed this blog, John Granger and his books.
    Connie Neal (Whats a Christian to do with Harry Potter) was also a big groundbreaker for me into the HP world.

    So globalgirlk, you are on the right track and you are also wise in the way you are handling the HP controversy with your church and your parents.
    We as Christians should not let the subject of Harry Potter be used as a wedge to divide us as believers and co-workers in the cause of Christ.
    The desire of our heavenly Father is unity within His church and to “Love one another as I have loved you”, John 15:12
    And didn’t J K Rowling teach us that LOVE is the most powerful magic!

    Simply direct those who are questioning your interest/enjoyment of HP to
    the same sources you and I have found by the authors mentioned here.

    God Bless your search.

  16. Andy MacBride says

    John,

    The question is extremely relevant; restated, it’s asking how we can provide perspective on Harry Potter’s world to folks who have a preconceived idea of what this world is. I would point Melody to the following articles, and I highly recommend them to folks who are trying to make sense of the books:

    http://www.firstthings.com/article.php3?id_article=2502 — written in 2000 well before the series was over, and analyzes the world of HP and what role magic plays in it.

    http://www.christianitytoday.com/bc/2007/005/1.47.html — written in 2007 after the last book was finished and analyzed the underlying themes Rowling unfolds throughout the course of the books.

    http://www.firstthings.com/onthesquare/?p=844 — debunks the charges that the books are occultic, anti-God, etc.

    I first encountered Harry Potter on a visit to England somewhere around 1999 – 2000. We were visiting with friends who were running a drug rehab program in Birmingham, solid believers and wonderful people. Their daughter came home from school one day and announced they were going to have a Harry Potter tea party during the next day’s class, and she was rather excited about it. Her parents didn’t have a clue about the books, and I (erudite and informed scholar that I pretend to be) had just become familiar with HP by reading the back of the first book. Based on that, and the fact that everyone seemed to be gaga about the books and surely THAT is an indicator that all isn’t well here, I formed an instant opinion that this was one more book that Christians (and especially their children) should do without. (What can I say; I was following in a long evangelical tradition (heck, christian tradition) on damning something I know nothing about; please don’t get me started). At any rate, I determined (after denouncing the book) that I should probably “know the enemy” and read book 1 . . . and promptly fell in love with it. I ended up (months later) apologizing to our hosts for my rash and uninformed assessment.

    Tangential question — who is this “Kbjos” person?

    Andy MacBride

  17. Andy and Beritt Kjbos of Crossroads Ministries

    http: // www. crossroad. to/

  18. @Andy MacBride – Those articles you linked to were fantastic! Thanks 🙂

  19. Arabella Figg says

    The most serious problem with Harry-Haters perpetuating negativity based on hearsay, and authors like Abanes, is that they speak from ignorance based on misinformation. I’ve learned of a sincere Christian, ‘B,’ who gave a church teaching against the HP books (B hasn’t read them). B’s unfortunate past involving the occult, with resultant anxiety, dominates B’s thinking about HP.

    Out of compassion and courtesy, I wouldn’t tromp on anyone’s phobic sensibilities. However, B, by manipulatively positioning self as a HP authority, has zero credibility. This controlling behavior–“if I’m afraid of them, I must make sure everyone else is, too,”– represents just what we’re seeing on the “Flee Occult Harry!” front.

    How do such people feel about Bible-haters speaking against the Bible, without having read it? Having their children in literature classes where the teacher condemns Dickens, Austen, Twain and Hugo as unworthy, yet has not read or studied the authors? Or in a geometry class whose teacher rejects most theorems based on hearsay? Or a history class whose teacher, whose ancestors are British royalty, thinks King George III was a fair and balanced ruler? Wouldn’t parents yank their kids out of such classes?

    Melody represents the dilemma of teens who wish to respect their parents, but also approach adulthood feeling their parents are beginning to let go and trust their judgment. Melody’s parents get kudos because they apparently haven’t forbidden her to read the books, even if they’re uneasy about and uncomfortable discussing them. I stand by my original advice to her.

    GlobalGirl, you represent those now adults, who should have autonomy in making their own value judgments. Of course, living at home, you want to honor your parents’ sensibilities (and you sensibly have). Your parents are respecting your adult choices. But too many aren’t.

    The tension between kids, teens and parents over HP is understandable. Such tension between adult children and hovering, controlling parents, who cannot let go, baffles me. I do feel respect is a two-way street.

    I don’t get any respect from the kitties but cats are cats…

  20. revgeorge says

    Arabella said, “B’s unfortunate past involving the occult, with resultant anxiety, dominates B’s thinking about HP.”

    I think this is an important point. It seems that the people with the most fervent belief that HP causes occult behavior are those who are either former occultists or else spend most of their time doing apologetics against the occult (oftentimes without actually doing much research on it). Kind of like how ex-drinkers & smokers are the most fervent in their opposition to those behaviors.

    Not that some of these people who are concerned about Harry Potter don’t have good intentions & even some good worries, after all the occult is dangerous & can lead to all sorts of problems, but a lot of them either haven’t done their research or go off the cliff in their vehement opposition to HP. A lot of them seem to assign way too much power to the occult, as though simply reading the books will inexorably move readers into becoming witches & warlocks.

    So, the problem is not in taking the devil & the occult seriously. That’s good & proper. The problem is in taking the devil & the occult too seriously & assigning too much power to them. It’s almost superstitious in many ways.

  21. Arabella Figg says

    RevGeorge, you are absolutely right. Assigning too much power to Satan has been a prominent failing for the last several decades. In the ’70s, Satan was everywhere, under every bed. But his most prominent place of impact was the Christian bookstore which overflowed with books on him. It was very unhealthy. God seemed practically impotent by comparison.

    Fervent debates swirled around whether a Christian could be possessed. Flip Wilson’s humorous “The devil made me do it!” was actually no joke within the Christian community busy finding signs of the devil everywhere, in the most innocuous utterances and things, and assigning spiritual value to everything from clothes to bowling and beyond.

    Jesus came to release us from this kind of thing, so we could toss out the “garlic.” Scripture is clearh clear that, while Satan is a malignant influence, we humans, with our corrupted hearts, are our own worst enemies.

    Opposition to, and discomfort with, the occult is one thing; letting irrationalfear and unbiblical of it rule you (and therefore others in your sphere) is another.

    I don’t need a crystal ball to see that Remus Loopy is about to whang Tom Piddle…

  22. globalgirlk says

    The articles were good. The blog was…wierd…the man has issues with Narnia. I never thought I’d see that. I would honestly love it if people stopped taking themselves so seriously. I like to think of these stories as modern day parables.

  23. Arabella Figg says

    I didn’t read the blog, GlobalGirl, but I knew a woman who refused to read, or let her children read, the Narnia books due to the word “witch” in the title of LWT. She didn’t even know what the books were about. She had irrational feelings about the occult (i.e., exaggerating its power), but I don’t know where they came from. I could not convince her of the value of the books in the face of her vociferous resistence.

    It’s a sad day when we are afraid, literally afraid of words, as if they are able to compell us, against all resistence. to be overpowered by them.

    The only word the kitties abhor is the word “no!”…

  24. Arabella, I can certainly understand “sincere Christian ‘B’,s” anti-Harry stance considering B,s past involvement with the occult. There can be certain words used within HP (spells, potions, incantations, divination, etc.) that are a “trigger” to very unpleasant events in ‘B”s past. I would accept and respect ‘B”s resistance to read anything that contains those words or actions. I would only point out to ‘B’ that the vast majority of HP readers out there have never touched that world and only have an imaginary, fantasy picture of witches and wizards in what is presented in J K Rowling’s world.

    Mr. Abanes has no excuse for his anti-Harry stance. He knows better that the World of J K Rowling is presented in Mythic/Fantasy form just as the worlds of J R R Tolkien and C S Lewis, both of whom he admires. Maybe its the post-modern elements within the actions on part by some of the characters ( that makes the HP world work in an important way to complete the canon) that he is so afraid of? Only Mr. Abanes knows for sure.

    Should Christian parents be aware of what words from Harry’s world their children COULD click into on the Internet (witch, wizard, spellcasting, etc.)?
    Absolutely, and depending on their age the parent should be discussing the dangers of delving into the occult world with the child/teen if they see an interest.

    revgeorge, you are right in the observation that some in the church give too much attention and power to the devil and occult. Particularly in the research I have done into the practice of wicca/pagan religions, the Harry Potter saga has no connection to that world other than the terminology that is used in the British tradition of folklore/mythic storytelling.
    In fact, in the early days of the Christian/HP controversy wiccans were quite amused at all of the uproar by certain Christian leaders and writers, simply because the HP saga has no connection to the actual practice of their religion! Those Christian leaders have only embarrassed themselves by not doing their research before they get on the airwaves or on their websites.

    Arabella, great point! Isn’t the power of the name of Jesus greater than any face that Satan or the forces of darkness can muster in the present world.
    So why would the Christian world be fearful of a story of a boy wizard with round glasses, a wand and a broom??

  25. Arabella Figg says

    David, thanks; I agree with all you wrote. And great point about parents overseeing their children’s research into HP terms.

    I should clarify something, lest I appear ungracious to people like B and the Narnia-resistor. When I wrote “she had irrational feelings,” I meant that what she felt was not based on concrete evidence. All feelings are irrational. And triggers do feed, positively or negatively, into them in powerful ways.

    I would never push or condemn anyone who refuses to read something they fear; I would inform and encourage exploring. However, I would strongly protest anyone speaking as an authority on a book they’ve not read, based on second- or third-hand opinion. And doing so to spread their own fears to those uneducated about the book.

    Yes! The name of Jesus is the most powerful word there is. If we’re always looking over our shoulders in fear, we aren’t joyfully facing forward to embrace him who defeated the source of all fear.

    Mrs. Fleasley is fearful sometimes, but is soothed by a little love…

  26. maggiemay says

    Dear Melody, have patience, they will come around. How do I know? I was exactly where they are 10 years ago, when my kids were 13, 10 and 8. And I had an undergraduate degree from an ivy league school! I think it was just easier to let someone else do my thinking for me, as you may find out if you someday have children. It’s very tough to stay current with everything they are exploring out in the media. Perhaps you could suggest having a “book club” with your mom and a few other girls and moms, and start with The Scorcerer’s Stone. Then, let your mom pick the next book, and go back and forth. I just learned about this idea and it would have helped me grow closer to my 2 daughters. Thankfully, I finally did read HP and was hooked! I even got threatened with administrative leave at the Christian elementary school where I worked becasue the principal was planning a tea to indoctrinate the parents on the evils of HP (she hadn’t read them) and I was discussing with another pro-HP mom what our response should be. It was all very Professor Umbridge-like!! But as you know, there is still some HP fear out there in some Christian circles, but thanks to the work of Mr. Granger, it’s ebbing away. In fact, at the same school I mentioned, there were several seniors planning their senior presentation around the general theme of: Why Harry Potter is good/ beneficial, etc. So be thankful you’ve been able to read all the books!

  27. I face the same problem as melody and I find it very hard to talk to my parents (mainly my mom) about the fact that harry Potter isnt evil. No matter how many perfectly true and logical points i may bring up (“I’m not going to get possessed and let the book control my life”, “It has absolutely NOTHING to do with Pagan witchcraft, occult, or devil worship”, “I’m not obsessed or possessed, and I know what’s true and what’s a story”, “IT’S JUST A BOOK!”) but unfortunately she is hellbent on sticking to her (dreadfully wrong and irrelevant) beliefs. Of course, she hasn’t read a single one of the books, and hasn’t seen a single movie and has absolutely no idea what it’s about, it’s themes or anything of the sort. But for one reason or another , that’s the opinion she’s formed–but the more she wrongly goes on about it, the more incredulous i find her opinion to be. I, myslef, as a practicing Catholic who prays to the Lord everyday of my life is able to look past the “magical” elements of the books into the themes which are more God-like, in my opinion, than many other books. For example, Tom Sawyer was one of my summer reading books and Tom Sawyer himself appears to be the gluttoness, lazy (sloth), type and seems (quite unnecessarily) proud of himself for his fooling around and misdemeanor, and seems a smidge greedy also. That is, I think, four of seven deadly sins that are easily represented by the main character of that story, but I don’t see my mom having a problem with that. But anyway, i’m not sure if there is a way that you can get stubborn parents to change their own ignorant beliefs; but you can (politely) attempt to tell them that they are being ignorant.

    Also, i realize that doing so may come across as disrespectful and that according to God’s Law we must “Honor or mother and father” but i like to think of it as enlightening them, and honoring them with open-midedness and truth and knowledge

  28. Harry Potter is Evil! says

    Harry Potter is evil. He gets rewarded for disobedience, practices magick, can speak to snakes, and has a lightning mark on his forehead! Half of the swastika! Also, you may argue that the books don’t teach legitimate spells. They don’t, but the idea is that if kids can learn the right words, they can cast a spell. They can learn spells online at Teen Witch, the Witch’s Voice, and other online websites that teach Wicca and witchcraft. For more information look at this letter from a former witch:

    http://www.pacinst.com/witch.htm

    I have once read the Harry Potter series, all seven and loved them, but now hate them. My mom always knew they were evil, I should’ve listened to her. You should do the same and listen and obey your parents.

  29. Errr…. I have not been able to read Harry Potter for 15 years of my life. On my 15th birthday, a month ago, I asked my mom if I could read Harry Potter yet, and she finally said yes. I just barely finished the first book, and now I am in the middle of the 2nd. I am thinking about not reading anymore because my mom was right- it is kinda evil. But its your descision, so you do what you think is right.

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