Shared Text: Islamicist Terror and ‘The Voldemort Effect’ on Lateline

At 5:40 in the talking heads discussion below, please note the reference to “the Voldemort Effect,” the inability of Western liberals and the US President specifically to name jihadist terror as evil or even to accept it as existing. Whatever your politics, there’s no denying that Harry Potter is the only YA title mentioned in this challenging discussion between a public atheist and a Muslim committed to secular values.


  1. To me, this whole conversation is the perfect example of the “wrong way” to share an imaginative text.

    It is anti-literary, unimaginative, and perhaps the worst is how far away it gets from the ground level life that most people try to struggle through day by day.

    If anything, this whole conversation might just prove why literature in the end, in order to survive, must answer to themes that are bigger than mere divisive, political ideology.

  2. Fascinating discussion. I found myself, as a Christian, enjoying common ground with both “talking heads.” With respect to the Voldemort comment and Harry being one who can name him and indeed acknowledge his existence(something Fudge and Umbridge can’t do), I am reminded of this quote, “There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them. They themselves are equally pleased by both errors and hail a materialist or a magician with the same delight.”
    – C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters

    Also, the comment by the atheist about how this type of evil is unimaginable in 2015 reminds me of a belief that Christians have from Bible verses, that from the heart of man comes all sorts of evil. We all carry the possibility of unimaginable types of evil around in our hearts, so unfortunately it will always be possible. More troubling to me is when a prominent US leader makes a comment that the Charlie Hebdo massacre can be understood or rationalized, and that barely gets a mention in the news.

    A great source for trying to understand worldviews/philosophy is This is Ravi Zacharias’ site.

    I realize politics and religion can be touchy subjects and I have no desire to engage in a battle over them. Discussion yes! thanks for posting. Kathleen

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