Why Christians should avoid Harry Potter

My neighbor asked me if my son could go to see the "Harry Potter" movie with her and her son.  I was not sure what to say because I did not know enough about it so I said, "No."  What do you think about the Harry Potter movie?

I appreciate your wisdom in not allowing your son to see the movie unless you were sure. The question about whether to see Harry Potter is really about whether God approves of such an action and, thus, the question for the Bible-believing Christian is, "What does the Bible say?" 

Whenever I comment on the movie the first question is, "Have you seen the movie?"  This question usually comes from someone who has seen it and who has read all the books.  (Interestingly, these same people have not read what the Bible says about the subject.)  Therefore, before going any further it must be known that I have seen the movie.  (I had a free ticket.)  My purpose in seeing the movie was to fairly evaluate it for myself and to expose its wrongfulness if that was the case. 

My conclusion after seeing it: I will be sure not to see any of the future movies nor will I read the books.  Viewing "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" is clearly a sin to anyone who claims Jesus Christ as their Lord. 

Deuteronomy 18:9 "When you enter the land which the Lord your God gives you, you shall not learn to imitate the detestable things of those nations."  Here, God gives, not a suggestion, but a very clear instruction with the words "you shall not."  So what are these "detestable things?"  Verses 10 and 11 tell us: "There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, one who uses divination, one who practices witchcraft, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, or one who casts a spell, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up from the dead."  How does God look upon those who do such things?  Verse 12 tells us: "For whoever does these things is detestable to the Lord…" 

John Ankerberg says, "Of [these] nine practices God prohibits, I think a case can be made that eight of them, if not all nine, are described in the Harry Potter books."  I will point out just one of these practices in the movie.  Clearly Harry and his classmates "learn to imitate" the practice of witchcraft.  The school is called "Hogwart's School of Witchcraft and Wizardry."  Unashamed, a spokesman for Warner Brothers stated: "The film is an accurate portrayal of things that happen in Witchcraft."  The witchcraft in the movie is not just "mechanical magic" like pulling a rabbit out of a hat.  Instead, it is unmistakably the same as witchcraft as defined by The Encyclopedia of Wicca and Witchcraft.

One might argue that the viewer is only observing these activities and thus is not a participant.  The sin in viewing these kinds of activities in such a powerful film is seen in Philippians 4:8, "…whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things."  Sure there are the positive moral qualities of courage, bravery and friendship.  A story about Adolf Hitler and his cronies could also exhibit courage, bravery and friendship.  Some might say Harry represents good witchcraft and good wins over evil.  God is clear in His word, He never condones witchcraft of any kind and never considers witchcraft good.  "Beloved, do not imitate what is evil but what is good..."3 John 11  Also consider Isaiah 5:20, "Woe to those who call evil good and good evil…"

Others have said that it is acceptable because it is just a child's fantasy.  The acceptance and the popularity of the book in government schools including the Rockdale County schools is best summed up by this quote from secondary language arts curriculum coordinator Dr. Sue Thrasher from the November 18 issue of this newspaper: "It is a book that is excellent fantasy reading."  This dangerous logic is best understood with the following analogy:  Instead of "Hogwart's School of Witchcraft and Wizardry" let's say the book series was about Harry attending "Hogwart's School of Racism and Bigotry."  In this school he learns the "art" of racism.  Instead of learning the proper wording for an incantation his classmates learn how to call Afro-Americans a word that starts with an "n."  How would this be different using Dr. Thrasher's logic?  As long as the series was "just child's fantasy" and if it was well written with names of characters that had Latin roots, it should also be accepted according to this reasoning.  The issue is a sin issue.  Christians consider witchcraft just as sinful and offensive as racism.  Christian opposition should not be censored.

Dr. Thrasher also commented, "The thing our language arts teachers like about 'Harry Potter' is that the students really get inspired to read…"  By this same reasoning the schools should offer Playboy and Playgirl magazines in order to stimulate the children to read.

"Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" is not something you, your son or any Christian should see.  The central theme of Harry Potter is witchcraft which is clearly abominable and detestable in the sight of the Lord.  The fact that Potter is an adventure fairy-tale is no excuse.  Regardless of the setting, we are to "…Abhor what is evil, cling to what is good." Romans 12:9.  Ravi Zacharias sums it up best quoting Simone Weil: "In reality nothing is so beautiful as good; nothing so continually fresh and surprising; so full of perpetual ecstasy; nothing so monotonous and boring as evil.  With fantasy good becomes monotonous, boring and dull and flat.  Fictional evil becomes varied, intriguing, attractive and full of charm."  The popularity of Potter and widespread acceptance even with Christians shows the depth of deception and demonstrates how desensitized our culture has become to evil.

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©Tom Carpenter
Originally published in the Rockdale/Newton Citizen