I recently finished reading the entire Harry Potter series. It took me some time to get through them as I had some breaks. It began as reading to my sons at bedtime but I eventually read the rest of the series for my own enjoyment.
I have had some Christians surprised that I would read Harry Potter. I appreciate people’s concern and I am happy to explain my appreciation for the Harry Potter series.
Why I Like Harry Potter
At its foundation, the Harry Potter books are about the battle between good and evil. It deals with the evil nature of Tom Riddle, a young wizard who eventually becomes the most powerful dark wizard, Voldemort. Voldemort killed Harry’s parents and attempted to kill Harry. Harry survived only because of the power of love. Circumstances lead to a final battle between good and evil. Along the way is a story of friendship and sacrifice.
Do the Harry Potter Books Indoctrinate Children in Sorcery and Satanism?
I have no reason to believe any children have gone from reading Harry Potter books to joining a witch’s coven or a satanic cult. Do some children wish they had a magic wand or a flying broomstick? Such imagination has been a part of childhood for as long as fairy tales have been around.
The truth is that world created by J.K. Rowling has nothing to do with the religion of Wicca. While Wiccans believe in magic, I doubt you can find one who shoots laser beams out of magic wands. What about Satanism? Wicca and Satanism are not the same religion. Wiccans don’t believe in Satan much less worship him. I really do not see how anyone could make the jump from reading Harry Potter to worshipping Satan (which most Satanists don’t do any way).
Doesn’t the Bible Prohibit Sorcery?
The Bible does indeed command against sorcery. The question is, what is the nature of sorcery that the Bible addresses? This understanding of magic and sorcery seems to be calling upon spiritual beings (gods or demons) to manipulate their power for dark purposes. The Bible especially critical of divination which was a real problem in the ancient world.
What is the World of Harry Potter Like?
Any reader of Harry Potter will notice that there are no spiritual beings on which the wizards and witches call on. In fact the world that Rowling created was not one which people can just choose to practice magic. Magical ability is something that you are born with, not something you choose. In the Potter universe, such power is often genetic with one or both parents having magical ability. A child manifests magic as a natural ability without using spells. Those who don’t have magic are called muggles and there is no sense that they can just learn spells or call upon a demon. At times, magical parents have a child with no magical ability and they are known as squibs. Magic in the Harry Potter books is much closer to the mutant phenomenon in the X-Men more than what we find in the Bible. It should also be noted that divination is criticized in the Potter books and it is clear that Trelawney, professor of divination is a fake.
I am not suggesting that people uncomfortable with Harry Potter should start reading the books. If you think it is wrong, don’t do it. But for those who read Harry Potter along with other fantasy books with witches and wizards (e.g. books by C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien), it is completely compatible with Christian faith. I found the final book, The Deathly Hallows, to be filled with Christian themes (and a number of biblical passages). I speak only for myself when I say I appreciated the series.