Thursday, July 14, 2011

Harry Potter

(Another late post. Forgive me. I'm not trying to make this a habit. It doesn't help that I live in Mountain Time now either.)

I've written about Harry Potter three times before on this website. Once, I reviewed the sixth movie. Another time I spoke about The Harry Potter Generation--how the books brought my family together and made me friends I never had before. Then I talked about how Harry Potter introduced me to even greater books--how it literally changed my life.

And today is the day it all ends. The end of an era.

But today is also Thursday, so I'm supposed to talk about my faith. But I can get away with talking about Harry Potter today, because Harry Potter has been one of the most controversial Christian topics in recent history. (You know that and gay marriage. Somehow, I feel like Harry Potter should be a more trivial concern, but that's just me).

So how do I as a Christian rationalize reading Harry Potter? Well it's actually really easy.

Harry Potter isn't real. Can I say that again? Do you get that? HE'S NOT REAL. I may have been 11 when I started reading Harry Potter, but I wasn't stupid. Kids aren't stupid. We get it. Harry Potter is not real.

Yet somehow parents, who spend years convincing their children that there is a man in a red suit who sneaks into their house once a year to give them presents, condemn something that everyone accepts as not real.

Some people argue that Harry Potter is a gateway into witchcraft, which is clearly denounced in the Bible. However, I think there is a definition difference here. Witchcraft in the Bible seems to be calling upon spirits and using dark powers to do something. Wizardry (and witchcraft) in Harry Potter is not the same.

Even if at 11, had I thought Harry Potter was real, I would never have "tried to become a witch". Why? Because it's more like being a Jedi. You can't become a wizard. You're born a wizard. I received no letter at the age of 11 asking me to come to a magical school, so obviously I'm not a wizard by the definitions of Harry Potter.

As for Harry Potter not being a "Christian book" in general, if my parents had limited me to only "Christian books", I fear for what my reading level would have been. I love God. I love Jesus. I love my beliefs and my faith. But I do not love Christian literature. Most of it is poorly written and it patronizes the reader--even the adult ones.

So if I'm allowed to read The Sweet Valley Twins and The Boxcar Children, which aren't Christian books--where is the line?

As for the argument that Harry Potter is a bad role model because he disregards the rules and has no respect for teachers--I challenge that someone who makes this argument ever read this book. Harry respects the teachers who deserve his respect. He does not respect Snape because Snape treats him so poorly and unfairly. I would not respect a teacher like that either. Yet despite his disrespect for Snape, he rarely directly challenges him. And in the end, (slight spoiler! Skip to the next paragraph if you haven't read the books or seen the movie) Harry learns that not only was Snape worthy of respect, but he was the bravest man he ever knew.

Also, I would challenge the person making such an argument to find a middle grade fiction book where the protagonists actually obeys his elders. It doesn't exist.

I am 24 years old, and I have read Harry Potter for over half of my life. And I love my God with an undying devotion, and I uphold the teachings of the Bible higher than anything else. Clearly, Harry Potter has not scarred me for life. If anything, I believe Harry Potter has made me a better person and has made me a better Christian.

You have the right to believe whatever you wish, but I believe in God. And I don't think God is upset with me for having read and enjoying Harry Potter. I think He used it as a tool to teach me about friendship, good, evil, snap judgements, and how to socialize with my peers. He could have done it without Harry Potter, but I am grateful that He chose to use Harry Potter to teach me these things.

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