The Harry Potter™ books
More comments about the Harry Potter
by Christians, a Wiccan, & book reviewers, etc.
More comments by Christians:
Nicola Creegan wrote an article in the New Zealand "Reality Magazine" --
a Christian bimonthly published by the Bible College of New Zealand.
She begins her article with some thought-provoking questions:
"What is magic, and when is it
- or any other power - dangerous? Does a world have to be explicitly
Christian to be religious in a good sense? Is our attraction to Harry Potter
proof of our deception, or evidence of his goodness? Are the Harry Potter
books in the same league as the fantasies of Tolkien and CS Lewis - a great
favourite and model for JK Rowling herself - or are they different? If
nothing else, Harry has caused us to ask these questions."
that some want to ban these books because they promote postmodern reality,
which involves "a blurring of categories," and a mixing and matching
of images. She holds these factors responsible for the
shootings at Columbine and elsewhere. She writes
"... great enthusiasm for Harry Potter is modified only by an
acknowledgement that even a word, at this time in history, can be an
invitation to the blurring of lines that can lead to violence or to the
occult or to madness. We live in a sea of images, very few of which we can
control. ... the real
drama of Harry Potter is moral rather than purely magical. Evil must be
discerned, discovered and overcome, not on the whole with some clever magic,
but with the fruits of virtue: courage, hard work, respect and love."
Jeff Fountain also wrote an article in Reality
Magazine. He contrasts writers of Christian fantasy, like C.S. Lewis and
Tolkien with J.K. Rowling. He states that:
"Harry Potter is a
post-Christian creation set within an occult cosmology. And his phenomenal
popularity with both young and old is a strong signal indicating where our
western culture is headed."
He describes his chance meeting with a
Neopagan, and a subsequent tour of a labyrinth. He concludes that over the
past few millennia, Europe has sequentially embraced and then rejected
Animism, Theism, and now Materialism.
"The sobering conclusion was
becoming obvious to me: unless there was a revival of Biblical Theism, the
future would be Animism in a new 21st century guise. [Europe in the
future] ... could increasingly resemble pre-Christian Old Europe - a Europe
where Harry Potter would feel very much at home." 2
||Roger Lynn: It is unclear whether this is a spoof or
a genuine letter by a person who has picked up some very strange beliefs.
Roger wrote, in part:|
[Author's note: To our knowledge, none
of the Harry Potter books mention Jesus, God, or Christianity -- except for
a passing reference to Christmas. They condemn harmful sorcery. The total
number of Satanists in North America has never been known with any accuracy. It may
currently be on the order of 10 thousand.]
||"Her creation openly blasphemes Jesus and God
and promotes sorcery, seeking revenge upon anyone who upsets them by
giving you examples (even the sources with authors and titles!) of
spells, rituals, and demonic powers."
"Since 1995, open applicants to Satan worship
has increased from around 100,000 to now... 14 MILLION children and
young adults!" 3
Beverly Green is a Sunday school teacher from
Eastman, GA, and mother of three. She appears to believe that reading Harry
Potter books will lead to indwelling demonic possession. She said:
Potter is saying you can dabble in witchcraft as long as it's entertaining.
If it's not good, it's evil. There ain't no in between. When you start
dabbling in demonic spirits, that's dangerous ground. You're opening up your
home, yourself to all kinds of attacks from the Devil." 4
||Other comments by conservative Christians: Some
random thoughts found from the media and on the Internet:|
||The books contain secret Satanic messages.
||The thunderbolt-shaped burn mark on Harry Potter's forehead is really a Satanic symbol.
"These types of writings are nothing more than Satan's way to undermine
Some book reviews:
The New York Times Book Review: Michael Winerip describes the
"...funny, moving and
impressive.... Like Harry Potter, [J.K. Rowling] has soared beyond her modest Muggle surroundings to
achieve something quite special." 5
The Washington Post Book World: Michael Dirda commented:
"Obviously, Harry Potter and
the Sorcerer's Stone should make any modern 11-year-old a very happy reader. The novel moves quickly,
packs in everything from a boa constrictor that winks to a melancholy Zen-spouting centaur to an owl
postal system, and ends with a scary surprise." 6
Booklist review: Michael Cart described the first book in the
"... a brilliantly imagined and beautifully written fantasy
that incorporates elements of traditional British school stories without
once violating the magical underpinnings of the plot. In fact, Rowling's
wonderful ability to put a fantastic spin on sports, student rivalry, and
eccentric faculty contributes to the humor, charm, and, well, delight of
her utterly captivating story."
Kirkus Reviews: They stated:
"This hugely enjoyable fantasy is filled with imaginative
details, from oddly flavored jelly beans to dragons' eggs hatched on the
hearth. It's slanted toward action-oriented readers, who will find that
Briticisms meld with all the other wonders of magic school.
Comments by a real Witch:
Christopher Penczak is a Wiccan, a follower of Wicca which is an
Earth-based Neopagan religion. Many religious conservatives have equated Wicca
and other Neopagan religious traditions with the fantasy witchcraft found in the
Harry Potter books. He writes:
"Ironically, conservative Christian groups in the United States have
accused the Harry Potter books and J.K Rowling of promoting witchcraft
in children. As a witch, I’d have to disagree. While the movies can
stimulate an interest in witchcraft and magick, 7 the magick depicted in
this world is nothing like mine. If you come into Wicca, Ceremonial
Magick or any form of modern magick thinking that you will be Headmaster
Dumbledore or Professor McGonagall (with their overt uses of magick),
you’ll be really disappointed. For a few, they will see what is missing
in Harry Potter and present in our traditions, and look to the spirit of
"While magick is a science to many of us, because there are repeated
patterns and theories, it is also a spiritual tradition. One of the
first definitions I learned of witchcraft is that it is 'science, art,
and religion.' Many traditions of magick, including the more
intellectual and educated ceremonial magick traditions, emphasize the
spiritual side of magick, if not the overtly religious side. For many of
us, magickal talents are considered gifts from the gods, and particular
talents indicate those blessed by particular gods. When speaking to a
layman about magick and spells, spells are often described as a form of
prayer, a petition, or supplication to the divine forces that rule over
a particular area of life. If the spell is successful, the prayer was
answered. Others look at it as a spiritual partnership with these
forces, not necessarily a supplication. In either case, it deals with
otherworldly and immanent divine forces that the magician communicates
with to create change."
"Many traditions of magick also put a moral code to magick. In Wicca, we
have the Wiccan Rede: 'An’ it harm none, do as ye will.' We believe that
what you do, good, evil or otherwise, returns to you threefold. It’s not
a judgment or moral code of the universe, but a mechanism of the
universe, like gravity. But the results of it help us create a more
pleasant magickal experience. Other traditions have similar traditions
of karma, and reaping what you sow. Many magicians go by one of the
numerous variations of the Golden Rule, popularized by Christianity, to
'[d]o unto others as you would have done onto you.' ..."
"While The Lord of the Rings and The Chronicles
of Narnia, both classics recently turned into movies, have
Christian associations due to the faith of their authors, no one
mistakes them for manuals on how to practice Christianity. While J.K.
Rowling is writing about witchcraft, she isn’t writing it from a modern
witch’s perspective, so don’t expect it to be an accurate practice book.
He recommends Dion Fortune's book The Sea Priestess as a work of
fiction that describes the mysteries of magick. 8
John Monk, an editorial writer for The State
in Columbia, SC, said the claim that Harry Potter lures children into
the occult is "poppycock." In an 1999-OCT editorial, he wrote:
"You might as well say 'Gone With The Wind' teaches young
readers to be slave owners, or 'Treasure Island' entices children to be
pirates, or 'Peter Pan' urges children to run away from home."
He stated that, contrary to the
claims of some who are opposed to the books,
"The Potter books promote –
through their characters – friendship, love, bravery, self-reliance, the
importance of family and tolerance toward those different from us. They
depict the quest for knowledge, wisdom and right action – the universal
journey every human takes. The books condemn bullies, falsity, rudeness,
greed and Nazi-like tendencies to denigrate and hurt those who aren't like
Monk does acknowledge Rowling's raw depiction of evil, and compares
the characters to those in the Bible. He wrote that Rowling's characters
"... struggle within themselves. But no worthwhile book, the
Bible included, has only plastic people. Life is played for keeps. Good
books reflect that." 9
Elsewhere he wrote:
"The books are great! They're wholesome and fun. If we ban
these books, a dark force stands to be unleashed. It's not the occult,
it's ignorance. The best approach is for parents to read the Potter
books with their children."
Judy Blume, one of the most successful children's
authors, commented on the attempts at censorship
of the Harry Potter series: She writes"
"It's a good thing when children enjoy
books, isn't it? Most of us think so. But like many children's books these
days, the Harry Potter series has recently come under fire. In Minnesota,
Michigan, New York, California and South Carolina, parents who feel the
books promote interest in the occult have called for their removal from
classrooms and school libraries. I knew this was coming. The only surprise
is that it took so long -- as long as it took for the zealots who claim
they're protecting children from evil...to discover that children actually like these books.
If children are excited about a book, it must be suspect." 10
The Luddite Reader views the books as a very
effective reading tool. They write:
"... our fourth graders do not score well on
basic reading tests...Recent news stories tell of schools buying laptop
computers (approximate cost, $1500 each) for students to take home. We
have a better idea. For a cost of only $6 per student...every fourth
grader in America can be equipped with a paperback copy of the first Harry
Potter novel, 'Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone.' This will help close
the great Harry Potter divide in America, where more than 60% of fourth
grade students have limited or no access to Harry Potter, a proven reading
motivation program that works particularly well with the difficult
audience of young boys."
The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above
essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.
Nicola Creegan, "Harry Potter and the magic of Hogwarts," Reality Magazine, Issue 42. Online at: http://www.reality.org.nz/
Jeff Fountain, "Harry Potter and the future of the West," Reality Magazine, Issue 42. Online at: http://www.reality.org.nz/
Roger Lynn, "Harry Potter chain letter," at: http://urbanlegends.about.com
Julia Scheeres, "The Trouble With Harry Potter," Wired News, 2001-NOV-15, at: http://www.wired.com/
Alan Jacobs, cited in Berit Kjos, "Harry Potter lures kids to Witchcraft - with praise from Christian leaders,"
Book reviews quoted in Amish Country Gifts' web site at: http://www.amishcountrygifts.com/ They refer to the first book in the series.
- PaganismWicca.Suite101.com defines "magick" as: "The use of energy and a person's own will and intent to cause change. It has a “k” added to the end to establish it as spiritually unique and to distinguish it as separate from magic tricks."
Christopher Penczak, :The Spiritual Wisdom of Harry Potter?," Llewellyn
Journal, 2007-JUL-16, at: http://www.llewellynjournal.com/
Julie Foster, "Potter books: Wicked witchcraft?: New documentary claims tales lead kids to the occult," WorldNetDaily at: http://www.worldnetdaily.com/
Judy Blume, "Is Harry Potter evil?," New York Times, Op-Ed page, 1999-OCT-22. Reprinted at: http://www.judyblume.com/
Copyright © 2000 to 2010 by Ontario Consultants on Religious
Originally written: 2000-JUL-3
Latest update: 2010-DEC-11
Author: B.A. Robinson