Thursday, April 14, 2005

It's not about the witchcraft

The name Harry Potter raises a lot of eyebrows in the circles of people I visit. For many Christians the HP books teach the evils of witchcraft, or at the very least, condone a practice that the Bible forbids. These charges have some merit, and parents are right to be concerned about these issues, but, as a father of seven, witchcraft (although I do object to it) isn't my biggest complaint about Mr. Potter and his young friends.

I write fantasy for a living, so I understand how an author can use fantasy elements with no intention of promoting them or their real world counterparts. I have no idea if Ms. Rowling intended to encourage young people to explore real world witchcraft, so this is not my main complaint, although I have heard stories of children dabbling in the occult because of the series.

There is another very real evil shadow lurking in the Harry Potter stories. The concept is simple. The characters constantly break the rules in order to succeed. Not only that, the author takes great pains to promote rule breaking as a virtue. In the beginning of the first book, Hermione is portrayed as a rule-keeper, but she is an irritating brat. Once she joins the boys in their rule-breaking, she becomes "cool." In fact, one sentence reads something like this: "After that, Hermione was less concerned about keeping the rules, and she was much nicer for it." It's hard to get more blatant than that.

As a writer, I understand the need to allow young protagonists to succeed on their own in a story, but they don't have to rebel against authority to do so. There is no doubt that J.K. Rowling purposefully crafted her story to promote a "kids rule" mentality that makes kids the ultimate authority. Her story rewards every instance of ignoring the rules and belittles those who try to keep them. Frankly, I find this digusting.

So many people say that the Harry Potter books are harmless, even beneficial. They say the witchcraft is fantasy that doesn't promote real witchcraft. I think it very well could promote witchcraft, but I think the deeper evil, the spirit of rebellion, lurks as a more sinister reality. It teaches young readers to reject authority, to believe they know better than those older and more experienced, to expect to be rewarded and thought "cool" when they reject the option of trusting anyone other than their peers.

Rowling's work is not merely fantasy; it is a perversion of reality that contributes to an improper view of juvenile independence. Parents are well advised to reject these books or at least closely monitor their children who read them and discuss a proper view of authority, that, yes, some adults are stupid and can't be trusted, but many more are trustworthy, and rule-breaking will ultimately fail to bring about the successes that Harry Potter and his friends always seem to achieve.

35 comments:

Lynne said...

I've never read the Harry Potter books, so I don't really have an opinion about them particularly. They could very well glamourize something not-good.

So my comment is just a general one. I'm just reminded that rules are not everything. Rules and discipline are important, but some rules can be harmful or limiting. Unfortunately in a lot of environments, like public schools, children are not allowed to be themselves and the system tries to turn them as quickly as possible into miniaturized adults. Children can't articulate what's wrong, they only know what they are taught, but just my thoughts from my own childhood...

I was a rule-breaker. I was far too much for my teachers, so I'm told, and they tried to box me in, fit me to a model. I never succumbed but I fought it and I got in trouble numerous numerous times for talking back, in the younger grades, and I was suspended several times in the older grades. And yet at the same time I harshly have discovered the effects that the treatment I received at school have played in my life and not for the better. Oh, I've been growing past it, but for many years I was still caught in it. Something happened to me in highschool, I found spirituality. A few years later I found God.

And now I've become an intentional rule-breaker. :P Not in the sense that I think it's important to break rules for its own sake, but in the sense that I will not listen to a stricture or custom or value that I don't believe in. Which includes anything, really, that is not based in love and life.

Um, to further explain. Though I've really always had that attitude, it used to be cynical and rebellious, and now I have to say that it is inspired by the example of Jesus. The religious authorities in his day were obsessed with rules and laws and keeping them all, and those who didn't meet the requirements of the purity system and the laws were considered to be dirty sinners. Jesus was pretty fed up with the religious authorities of his day. 'You strain a gnat and swallow a camel.' Too much attention to rules can be as dangerous as too much disregarding of them. Law was made for man, not man for law. Where rules are no longer helping people but hurting them, they need to be changed. Unfortunately, the general attitude is that those in power want to STAY in power, and will not change them. It's up to the common people, then, to lead the way and say 'this isn't right'. If the people lead, eventually the leaders too will follow.

So I'm thinking perhaps, in the series, maybe that was what the author was going for? I haven't read it so again I don't know. Children too are the common people, the non-leaders.

Although I certainly agree with you that rule-breaking doesn't happen without consequences and rarely rarely ends with good results for the rule-breakers, at least immediately. Look what happened to Jesus, who was a huge subverter of rules and laws. He was brutally crucified! In the end, though... people see. The early Christians saw. Rules and laws were not important--new transforming life in Christ was. Christ brought freedom from bondage of laws and fear of death.

It really does remind me of the patterns in my own life. I broke rules and rebelled, and my punishment was cynicism, lack of confidence, a locking up of my own creativity and potential. But through that experience I was able to be reborn and have found that new life in Christ.

Those are my thoughts, anyway. ^-^; I ought to read the HP series sometime though so I have a better idea of what it is you're talking about... since it's certainly unrealistic for rule-breaking to be glamourized without its consequences on all sides.

MacPhilly said...

While I understand the point that Bryan is making about Harry, et. al., I would like to point out that in the books J.K. Rowling clearly separates the instances when Harry and the crew are breaking rules for the sake of breaking the rules, and when they are breaking the rules for the "greater good" so to speak.

There are many examples in the books where Harry (or Ron or Hermione) will break the rules and they suffer the consequences for their actions, because they are breaking the rules for their own selfish means, or ends. For example, when the children break the rules by drinking the polyjuice potion Hermione ends up having cat features and hair. Are they trying to help? No, they're just trying to find out information without using wisdom and contrary to instructions.

In other cases - such as in the first book where Harry insists upon Malfoy giving back Nevile's remembral and chasing it down - then ultimately Harry is rewarded as he's made the Seeker on the house Quidich team.

If you look through the books, you'll see this theme replayed over and over. When the kids do break rules - that have been made abitrarily or unjustly - while they are specifically on an errand that is required to help or assist someone they generally don't get in trouble. When they're breaking rules as rebellious children, they most often get caught and/or in trouble.

Having said that, I wouldn't encourage parents to read, or allow their children to read the Potter series - especially as by the fourth and fifth books things get dark and they are certainly PG-13 rated. Harry is an interesting character, and Rowling writes a marvelous story, but he's not a hero or a roll model. He's not really someone that your children should want to emulate. Additionally, the Potter series will suck you into the universe - I know it did me, and I was reading it because I just wanted to do the research on it. Personally, I can't stand it when Christians speak about things without knowledge, so I wanted to have a reasoned response. Next thing I knew, I'd read all the books and was checking web sites. So, the stuff is addictive for those with curious minds. Thankfully, by the grace of God and the conviction and deliverance of the Holy Spirit - I stopped that habit. Please remember though, that was the response of a mature adult to the voice of God - you can't reasonably expect a child to exercise the same self-discipline. So, as parents, please be careful when dealing with the Potter series.

Of course, the great thing is that you can let the kids get into the Dragon's in our Midst series. These kids are good role models, the precepts and principles that are espoused and emulated by the characters are firmly biblically based. Bryan does a wonderful job of making that happen.

Hey Bryan, how about doing a learning series that us home schoolers can use as a unit lesson that will allow us to share and enforce these virtues with our kids? :-)

Best,
Phillip

Jedi Kid said...

I agree with Macphilly. Yes, sometimes they break rules wrongly, but those times they are punished. Normal people don't have such a great evil chasing us, so we can obey that authority. Also, it's always for the greater good, not just for the sake of breaking the rules. I guess all I can say is that I support J. K. Rowling and the HP series.

Clefspeare said...

I appreciate Macphilly's comments, but we have to understand the concept of crafting a story. I understand that sometimes the kids break rules in order to do something that is unselfish, but wouldn't it be much better to create a story so that this doesn't have to happen?

You see, Rowling created the scenarios in which rule-breaking seemed necessary in order to bring about a greater good. This was her choice to create such a dilemma. She could have chosen another way, but it's obvious that she deliberately created a "rule-breaking is good" world.

By doing this, Rowling creates a world in which young people have to rebel against authority in order to do what's "right." This is unnecessary and dangerious.

Why not have a story where the kids follow the rules in order to succeed? Rowling chose not to do that, and for this reason heavy criticism is just and proper.

cpquest said...

Umm...... Well.... I am a kid and I have in no way seen a promotion of "rule breaking" in Harry Potter. Umm..... I don't want to start a fight or anything butI have disagree with you.I am glad that a well known christian finally realizes that the books aren't promoting witchcraft. I know that the only magic in this world is 'black magic' but Harry Potter is a FICTION novel meaning that the themes in it are FICTION. I don't understand why people are constantly thinking that Harry Potter is evil. I havn't tryed using magic because of Harry Potter. I understand a parents concern for that but I think they need to anylyze it from the kids point of veiw. Like this...

Ok, it's true that there is magic in Harry Potter and that some of the magic is good. But is my kid going to be encouraged to practice witchcraft if he reads Harry Potter.
No!

Is the author a witch or something?

No! She is a normal (although very rich) person. She even has kids.

.................. Ok now that I's done blabbering on about the witchcraft critisisms I can focus on the rule breaking critism.

I uncderstand Mr. Davis's point but, the book just doesn't promote rule breaking. Yes, the characters do break the rules but i don't know any way that someone could be encouraged to break the rules because of it. I also have to say, if the charaters are doing any rule breaking, it is doing it for good, so in the way I think, It is promoting breaking rules only for the greater good.

Here's an example. It is true now that some school's in this country don't allow kids to pray in school becasue it make other kids in the school feel uncomfortable or something.If Iwent to one of those schools, I would break the rules everyday. I would pray all the time. I am not showing off or making it obvious that I am a christian, but I am proud of my faith and i will not refrain from practicing it in school. This is a free country, and we should be able to practice any religion here. So, you can compare this rulebreaking in Harry Potter to that. i will admit, sometimes adults don't have an open mind about things like kids do. In Harry Potter, he and his friends tried to save the sorcerers stone without breaking the rules, but the teachers were to narrowminded to believe that the stone could be stolen.

Jesus broke rules. But he only did so becasue he new that there was a problem with the rules and that God thought that things should be different. So in conclusion, I think that Harry Potter only promotes rule breaking for a good cause not just plain rule breaking

As for her writing the story differently, I can't argue except for that It would be boring if they followed the rules. I want you to imagine a Harry Potter book where they never broke the rules. It definintly wouldn't be at the top of a bestseller list.

MacPhilly said...

OK, back in :-)

Bryan is completely correct in his argument of how Rowling created the world and her creating the scenario where there was the necessity to break rules in order to achieve the greater good. It is a vaild point and also one that I normally note. As the author she didn't have to create a situation where by breaking the rules the characters become "heros." It's actually a very familiar theme along with how many books and movies (especially Disney) create worlds where the kids know more and/or better than the adults (which does happen a lot in Potter).

So, again, in this regard I agree with Bryan.

Lynne
------
In your situation it wasn't as much your fault in being a rule breaker as the adults responsible for you not recognizing or being able to respond to your needs. If they had done what they should, or had been able to respond to your needs, I doubt you would have been a "rule breaker."

cpquest
--------
I disagree. I think Rowling could most certainly write a book that would be a best seller without having people "break the rules." And yes, Jesus broke man's rules, but not God's laws. In many cases he did so and also illustrated the hypocracy (sp?) of the laws the Jews had made to replace God's law (selling in the temple, healing on the sabbath, tithing (good) but not obeying the weightier matters like LOVE, honoring parents, etc.).

And God's law is always the higher authority, and that's the reason why if the government said "stop praying" (just like it did to Daniel in the OT) it would still be right and just to continue to pray.

ABOUT Magic
------------
Yes, Potter is a fiction book, all magic in this world is "black magic" which God hates. Having said that, Rowling also created a fictional world where "magic" as it were is inherent in the person, which also makes it different than this world.

The place where once again she made a decision, was that she created a world clearly without God (or even gods for that matter - odd considering all the mythos that she draws from). She created a world where it was all about self-reliance and the power within ones self. By doing this she completely dismissed God - the creator of all things, including her. Why? I don't know. Still, it works to the advantage of the enemy of our soul. Regardless of the world that Harry operates in, if it is devoid of God then it is devoid of real Truth and Love being that God is defined as both (Jesus is the Word, the Word is Truth. God is Love).

So, after all that, yes we can say that it isn't "magic" as we know it, but we can also safely say that Rowling spends her time creating a world of situational ethos, situations where doing wrong (even if it is for the greater good) is rewarded and where God doesn't exist.

I'll stick with my recommendation. Parents, don't let your kids read the books - have them read Bryan's instead. There's no doubt there is a God in heaven who loves us, cares for us and wants to be involved in our life. And, there's no doubt that the kids know that and respond to that, as well as respecting the ones that God has placed around and over them to assist them in their journey. Bravo Brian!

Whoops said...

I believe with all my heart there is not a thing wrong with the Harry Potter books. This rule breaking appears often in other books, but because of Harry Potter's popularity many people go insane over the small facts. I understand where you're coming from, but from my stand point you're off.

To have a book that has heros who don't break the rules is all fine but to have a book with heros who do break the rules I believe is alright as well. This world is what it is today by the brave heros who ventured out to be different and break the rules for the greater good. Look in history, the enlightenment. If it weren't for Petrach stepping out and writing statments about the corruption of the church, the renniasance might have never happened. Rosa Parks was told to move to the back of the bus but she didn't move therefore breaking a law. It didn't seem like a great outcome at first, but she became an African American hero. What if women had never opened their mouthes during the feminist revolution? Would I have any chance at being anything today if it had not been for those who were brave enough to break a rule for the greater good? For the overall outcome? Some rules I understand, are not to be broken. Thou Shalt not kill for example. Others I believe are their for interptation. Our very forefathers broke rules for us to be here and I think it's good for children to understand that.

As for the Harry Potter books turning dark, well yeah. I actually like it really. I mean, it's all dandy and great years 1-3 until Harry starts to grow up and see the horrors of the world. I would very much recomend reading 4-5 to children. Believe it or not, they are exposed to the world. I know parents don't want to know that but they are. They may seem innocent to parents, but I promise you there's things there you don't even know. I still consider myself a child, a teenager is kind of half and half. I know, from expereince that adults don't tend to listen to the younger simply because they think they know more about the world then us. It's unfair to me and other children who have a voice but can't speak.
Harry in that retrospect has become our role model. He speaks out but the adults don't listen until it's to late. In book five, Harry tries to tell the minstry of magic all year that Voldemort has come back but they dub him a little loony who cries for attention. It isn't until the minster of magic sees him with his own eyes does he even start to believe Harry.

But Harry isn't only a role model, he's someone to relate to. I believe that people (children and adults) read characters and like them because they relate to them. Harry has grown up in the epitome of normality and with him we discover a world that throws away the linings of 'normal'. He is someone we hope to be one day. Someone who has discovered something else. That is not unhealty. It's normal. He is a role model because he's just like us. No matter what, we identify with him on some level.

Tara said...

I am a high school student who has been homeschooled my entire life--mostly with A Beka Academy. For various reports and such I have studied HP extensively from a Christian perspective. I have indeed found much that is very, very wrong with the books.
I had never even thought of Mr. Davis' objection as a possibility, but now, that is just another addition to my list of things that are wrong with HP.
I do, however, strongly disagree in one thing: Mr. Davis' belief that HP does not promote Witchcraft. I know from personal experience that it does exactly that. After seeing the trailer for the first film, I couldn't help thinking how totally awesome it would be to be able to do the things Harry does. Of course, I didn't know it was Witchcraft until my mother told me about it. But that's just it! Children want to be able to do the things that Harry does. And they can do them if they are inhabited by evil spirits.
The spells, potions, symbols, and other things in HP are all very real in the world today. The colors, for example, are symbols for different things. Grey, the color of Lord Voldemort's eyes, means death. And he is the lord of evil, of death. Green, the color of Harry's eyes, is the devil's color!
I own an extraordinary video that goes through the main points in HP and exposes them! I have loaned it to friends, and each of them has come away completely awestruck by the things they saw. If you would like to check into this video, I will have the info at the bottom of my post.
I personally believe that JK Rowling intentionally puts things in her novels that may lead children astray, that do lead children astray. I was almost led astray! And I can only thank God that I was not drawn into HP's world of Witchcraft. By God's grace, I am free from that bondage, and am able to tell others about it! I can only pray for those who have been caught up in HP's evil spell.
The video I mentioned earlier is a must-see for anyone who is skeptical about the evil influence HP has on children. In this video, Caryl Matrisciana, who is a Christian expert on the Occult, answers questions and draws "parallels between Harry Potter and true Witchcraft as practiced today..."
Go to www.therealpottervideo.com for more information.

Mr. Davis, I love your books and I can definitely see God's hand in your writing. I hope that the truth in my post does not offend you, but that it will cause you to be in prayer about this matter.
In Christ,
Riley Anne Thompson

Something To Be Said said...

In all instances and cases success in a personal goal is not attainable through the laws of man. Harry is rule-breaker, most children are, but it is not all for his own selfish wishes; admittedly at times it is, but even the original author of this topic cannot be innocent of something so trivial.

The concept behind Harry's "scandalous" behavior is a very simple concept present throughout thousands of fantasy and adventure novels: Sometimes, in order to do something right, one must do something wrong.

The issue of Rowling "promoting" bad behaviour in youth is absolutely pitiful. Because it is not an issue. It's important to remember that such fictitious tales cannot be looked at with such a serious eye. It simply causes conflict where there's no need for it.

At any rate, part of the joy of being young is breaking the rules and learning the consequences thereof. If a child were to grow up without such a chance, he would undoubtedly be the most boring and saddest creature I ever knew. Is Harry Potter not allowed to have that same realistic element in his own adolescence simply because a world of impressionable minds are reading? There's nothing interesting about a book that lacks any realistic element. If parents are so worried about Harry Potter influencing their children in such ways, perhaps they should redirect their attentions to their children's friends-- the people who really make a difference.

Harry Potter is a brilliant concept and story. Perfect in it's simplistic writing and the complexity of it's storyline. Let's not get bitter because someone accomplished something great.

Clefspeare said...

I am thankful that people are chiming in on this topic and that they feel free to disagree. I like friendly interchange.

As you might expect, I disagree with the Harry Potter supporters who have left their comments, and I will try to address them directly.

Jedi kid wrote, "Yes, sometimes they break rules wrongly, but those times they are punished." And cpquest said, "if the charaters are doing any rule breaking, it is doing it for good, so in the way I think, It is promoting breaking rules only for the greater good."

That is simply untrue. Harry and company frequently violate rules for selfish reasons and escape punishment through lying. For example, in book 3, Harry uses a stolen map to get to Hogsmeade. When he returns, he lies, and the lies of Ron and Professor Lupin get him out of trouble. This kind of thing happens many times. Harry is a persistent, selfish liar over and over. Yes, at times he breaks the rules for a greater good, but the story is crafted to make that happen. It doesn't have to be that way. A character can do great, heroic things without lying or selfishly breaking rules.

Some have compared Harry's rule-breaking to Rosa Parks or even Jesus. Give me a break! Harry sneaking into Hogsmeade with a stolen map in order to get his fill of candy and butterbeer doesn't exactly qualify. To even compare the selfish liar, Harry Potter, to Jesus, the completely selfless savior, is beyond offensive.

Something to be said (STBS), said, "The issue of Rowling promoting bad behaviour in youth is absolutely pitiful." and STBS goes on to say "At any rate, part of the joy of being young is breaking the rules and learning the consequences thereof."

Well, my friend, the "pitiful" comment isn't exacty friendly interchange, but I will answer your argument. Harry doesn't learn the consequences of rule-breaking, because he often lies his way out of it. The example I gave above is one proof of that. This is not the "realistic element" I want my children reading about. I want them to identify with heroes who have integrity, not selfish liars.

STBS also wrote, "If parents are so worried about Harry Potter influencing their children in such ways, perhaps they should redirect their attentions to their children's friends-- the people who really make a difference."

This is the old "either/or" fallacy, stated as if an HP objector like me doesn't pay attention to the friends of my children. A good parent actually does both, so your argument is pointless.

STBS also wrote, "Harry Potter is a brilliant concept and story. Perfect in it's simplistic writing and the complexity of it's storyline. Let's not get bitter because someone accomplished something great."

I'm not bitter. I'm merely objecting to a book series for a very good reason. It's an unhealthy story with poor role model characters. We should be able to do a lot better. When you imply bitterness on my part, you're really using an ad hominem attack that adds nothing to the discussion.

I am amazed that so many people are willing to excuse the mean-spirited, lying, and selfish behavior of these so-called role-model characters just because they love the series so much. Sure, they are heroic at times, but at what cost do we excuse or defend their destructive behavior? To call it "realistic" is simply whitewash. My children don't lie and deceive like HP and his gang, and I won't provide them with literary heroes who lie and deceive. If these fictional characters are what is "real" in the world, then I'll teach my children to be unreal.

Nimelen, I was not offended by your concern over the magic and witchcraft. I agree that the HP series should not have heroes who use those arts. I also agree that some children may be pushed toward dabbling in the occult because of their love for the series.

My main point is that the lying and deception is more of a concern than the magic, and the comments of some of the people here prove that readers are not bothered by Harry's lack of integrity. They think that this is realistic, proving that our culture's lack of integrity is so pervasive that people actually expect such behavior even in their heroes. God help us!

Yes, the magic is a problem. I originally wrote, "I don't think the HP books encourage young people to explore real world witchcraft." Since this actually does happen on occasion, I will edit my entry to make my comments more accurate.

Tara said...

Mr. Davis, I am glad that you read my comment and that we agree about this matter. I appreciate your willingness to consider what I had to say.
God bless,
Nimelen

Sparkling said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Sparkling said...

Ha Ha.... I read this post just a few days after it was written (where are the new entries BTW? I've been looking for a month and am hoping that the silence in the blog is a result of activity towards finishing the last book of the Dragons series!) but I didn't coment at that time. Now after reading all (ok, I didn't read ALL of them) these messages, I'm inclined to add one variation on the perspective.

Do I agree with the multitude of Christians who say Harry Potter teaches witchcraft? No. There is no more witchcraft in Harry Potter than in the myriad other secular fantasy novels, such as those by Piers Anthony. Yes, I'm aware that many Christians are adamantly against reading anything other than the Bible, but as a Christian who enjoys reading fantasy, role playing games, and writing fantasy I can say most assuredly that they do not promote witchcraft. There is sin in the world because we live in a fallen world. A person can find something inherently wrong with just about every facet of our existence. Does that mean we should all take the nearest exit out of this world? NO! Because if we do not stay, who will lead others to the Savior? Jesus commanded us to be in the world, just not of the world. You don't have to read Harry Potter or any fantasy novel to join a coven. The best key to avoiding the temptations of darkness is to walk in the light: read the Bible daily, pray daily, put on the armor of God and balance whatever else you are reading at least equally with time spent in the presence of our Lord also.

Do I agree with the allegations that the Harry Potter books promote disobedience and lying? Yes. And I have been frustrated with that fact since book one. J.K. Rowling is a fantastic writer. Her stories are captivating, and exciting. Her writing style is inspiring (meaning that she encourages others to take up or return to creative writing also). She comes from a destitute and impoverished background, making her own biography a motivational "rags to riches" story in itself. I know she has stated that the character Hermione is in many ways like she was herself in school. I can't help but wonder also if in some small way her stories are a means of re-writing her own childhood in such a way as to get vengeance on the injustices she endured in her own life. But I suppose we will never know the answer to that. I do agree that she is responsible for creating a story where the characters have to break rules in order to succeed. Often in the stories I have seen where she COULD have had the main characters approach an adult for help, but instead chose not to have them do that. It's much more of a "Home Alone" style story in that way, where there is this idea that kids can only be heroes if they do everything without adult help, and break the adults' silly rules to prove everyone else wrong. I wish she had chosen better role-models for her main characters.

Do I agree that parents should stop their children from reading these books? No. On the contrary I think they are still very good books and if a child is willing to plow through over 700 pages to get to the end of the story, then they should be allowed to do so. HOWEVER, not without the parents reading the story. and participating with the child also! I think these books make excellent read-alouds for families. (Yes, I'm a homeschooling Mom of 4 children, and do read chapter books aloud to my children.) In so doing, when you get to a point where it is blatantly obvious that the characters are doing something they ought not to do, you can stop and talk about what other things they might have chosen to do instead, and why it's wrong to behave in the way the characters are doing. This teaches children to become thinkers, and not JUST readers. Not to accept things at face value but to think outside the box. By reading the story together, we can discuss the pitfalls and still allow them to be exposed to talented writing, which may possibly inspire them to create new stories of their own someday, hopefully with characters of more integrity.

And I've spent rather longer writing this than I had anticipated. And now I see that this does not allow the "special" option for posting coments. I am registered with Blogger, but I don't have my own blog page there, I use the Angelfire blog instead, so I hope this thing lets me add my comment.

Thank you Bryan, for writing the Christian Fantasy novels which are selling out of stock at bookstores here in the Northwest. I hope this is the start of a new flurry of creative writing in the industry. I have a family of voratious readers, and I would love it if there were more Christian Fantasy genre books available to read. The options are painfully few right now. Blessings to you all.

-Sparkling
http://www.tinyzoo.com

Clefspeare said...

It may be true the Ms. Rowling did not intend to encourage witchcraft, but the stores who are promoting the newest book in the series certainly are. In Seattle/Tacoma, Borders is offering a tarot card reading to kids who come to their midnight HP party, and Barnes & Noble will include a presentation, "Tarot for Witches & Wizards" by Teresa Michelsen.

Hmmmm. Sounds like a problem to me.

Tara said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Tara said...

I have just read the latest comment by Sparkling and have been impressed to write a response to her comment.
Sparkling, did you read my first comment? If not, then please do. And if you do not agree with what I said, then by all means look into the video I speak of in the comment. I believe you would benefit greatly from seeing it.
I do not think that it is wrong to read books other than the Bible. If it were wrong, then why would God give people such as Mr. Davis the gift of writing? I do not think reading fantasy is wrong either because there can be very many Biblical truths portrayed in fantasy. The Lord of the Rings is an example. The Chronicles of Narnia as well! The authors were Christians and they wrote using the gifts God gave them for God's glory! And look what has become of those tales!
I do not wish to come across as a know-it-all or someone who just spouts off ideas with no idea of what I am speaking about. I do know very well what I am speaking about. Just look at my first comment.
All I can say is that I hope that you will not reject the truth that I am putting into my comments because it is not my truth that you would be rejecting. It would be God's truth. And if what I am saying is God's truth, then parents will answer to God for letting their children be influenced by HP.

In Christ,
Riley Anne Thompson

Christian mom said...

I've been following the comments on Harry Potter. I have heard parents praise the books for helping their children learn to think. One of the main fallacies I see in many parents' thinking is the popular worldly notion that their children need to learn to think--just for the sake of thinking. Using the Bible as our standard for truth, we have to look at God's perspective on this topic (and all others!!!).

In Romans 12:2 warns: "Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect." Romans 12: 3 says that we are "to think so as to have sound judgment."

In 1 Corinthians 2 Paul is comparing the "natural man" (someone who operates in the flesh and not according to God's Spirit) and the "spiritual man." Verse 15 says that "he who is spiritual appraises all things," and verse 16 says that "we [Christians] have the mind of Christ."

In chapter 3 Paul goes on to say this: "For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ." Paul explains that our work will either stand or burn based on the foundation that is laid. If our foudation is worldly wisdom (which amouts to lies), then what we do in this life will have no eternal value; it will be wasted.

It is foolishness to place into our children's minds the evil ideas in such literature as Harry Potter or any other media that is not based on a good foundation of God's truth for the sake of "teaching them to think" or to entertain them or to develop their imaginations or for any other reason. Like Nimelen said, there is good literature out there that teaches God's truth--truth that God can use in their lives to mold them into the image of Christ. It would be better for children not to read at all than to read anything that promotes witchcraft and rebellion. It's up to us as Christian parents to guard what our children see and hear for the sake of their eternities and ours.

Julian said...

I've herd a lot about the Harry Potter books and I agree with Bryan's comments

BeckyJoie said...

I agree with your comment that the Harry Potter books promote breaking the rules. They also paint adults as untrustworthy and unknowledgeable compared to the children. Whether or not J.K. Rowling intended to promote witchcraft, she certainly opened the door by teaching kids rebellion. In witchcraft, one of the key ways to "earn power" is by breaking the rules. One example is that people in the occult say the Lord's prayer backwards and do many things backwards, symbolizing the undoing of things that are good. We all know that breaking the rules is rebellion, which the Bible says is as the sin of witchraft. So, regardless of the fact that there are some rare instances where breaking the rules is the right thing to do, the Bible says that we are to obey them that have rule over us, not defy them. The only instance would be if they are asking us to do things which conflict with Scriptural law. In the case of Harry Potter, both the students and the teachers are in defiance of God's law by practicing witchcraft so it might make it a moot point. It is not merely fantasy, but a semi-realistic portrayal of occultic practices and attitudes.

Over all, the series appear to be well-written, interesting and very imaginative. It is regretful that the content is promoting harmful things and behavior.

Myjic Believer said...

For starters, I just read Raising Dragons, and I love it. Second, I've read all 6 HP books thus far and LOVE them too. I don't won't to get into the wichcraft aspect of the books, because I truely don't see one. However, I do wish to saw that I can see your point of view about children breaking the rules. And I agree that rule breaking does happen in the books. But I also want to say that sometimes the rules must be broke for the greater good. Couldn't one say that HP teaches us to think for ourselves, and know when the rules must be broken for our own good?? Since rules can sometimes be made and inforced by people who aren't good and rules are just to keep so much control that people aren't able to be themselves. I think the HP books are absolutly great and teaches children alot of good things. And adults. I don't think books can "make" somebody do anything.
And just to comment on something I saw by someone else... the only magic in the world isn't "black magic"...but that's a whole different subject.

Myjic Believer said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Clefspeare said...

Wolfmyjic,

I understand that rules sometimes must be broken. The problem in HP is that the kids often break rules for selfish reasons, and they usually get away with it, often lying to do so.

It seems that Ms. Rowling has created a culture of lying and cheating, making it a virtue of sorts. I gave an example in an earlier comment, and I could give many more.

I know it upsets, even offends, some HP fans when someone criticizes books they love so much. I'm not saying they should be banned or that anyone is sinning by reading them. I'm just giving out a warning, as a father of seven, to anyone who cares to listen. I certainly am not offended when people disagree with me on this subject, so we can have opposing opinions in a spirit of grace and love.



The ma

SafireRains said...

You people talk about Witch Craft like you know everything about it when its clear that you know nothing! Witch Craft is not evil yes there are witches and wiccans that ARE evil but it is not the craft itself, its the person using the craft. As for Harry Potter it shows a child's view of Witch Craft all fun and games well it is NOT! It's a religion. People that practice Witch Craft do not worship the devil or evil they worship the gods and goddesses of the moon, the stars, the trees, the water, and nature itself. Oh, yes and who's to say that your god as in Jesus Christ is even real? Who are you to push it onto people and tell them that your god is good and the Witch's is satanic? For all we know your god is the satanic one. Christian children born with half a brain and gruesome deformities what kind of god would do that? That is as far as im going to attack your religion because I don't like it when you attack Witch Craft and I respect your religion which is what you should do for those who practice Witch Craft.

~SafireRains~

Elzan said...

Ok, before I start, I must say that I have read the first two HP books, but it was so long ago that I don't remember them. I had my own experiences with those books, which I may discuss later, but first I wish to address SafireRains comment.

First of all, I don't know that much about witchcraft - I will be the first to admit it. However, I do know that it is a religon, practiced by people everywhere, and I do know a little something about how they worship goddesses of nature. I think people often confuse witchcraft with satanists, which, although to Christians they may seem very similar, are different. But, as I said, I know very little of these matters, and hope to learn more so that I am not speaking from ignorance. I agree with you, SafireRains, insomuch that I think we should treat these two as religions, just as we treat Islam or Hinuism (sp?) - disagreeing, but being nice and kind about it, and still loving the people involved. people often treat witchcraft as all 'fun and games' as you put it, and I think that is definitly wrong. This comes from the strong influence of the media in our culture which is fascinated by the storybook withcraft, which is very different from what actually exists.

I disagree with SafireRains (by the way, I really like your name) when you say that the people practicing witchcraft are evil. I think that a person's actions can be very evil (for istance, I do believe that witchcraft is wrong - this is because I am a Christian, so Jesus is the center of my life, and not gods and goddesses of nature, but this is the same way i disagree with other religions), but that doesn't mean that person is 'evil'. there is only one truely evil force in this world that guides many pawns towards its will. It saddens me to see humans, God's could-be children, and sometimes those who are his children, used in such a manner, in many other ways besides witchcraft.

But, getting away from the witchcraft subject, I wanted to address your other comments, although I won't be able to answer all your questions. When you talk about how horrible things happen to people for no reason, and blame God for these things, I think you are looking the wrong way for blame. According to my beliefs, which you can attack if you like, humans were the ones who allowed evil into the world - you've probably heard the creation story in Genesis - it was mankind who brought sin into the world, according to what Christians believe. Sin causes these horrible and bad things, not God. God gave us free will to choose bad or good - not because he wanted us to choose wrongfully, but because he wanted children and friends, not robots who would be unthinking and rather bad company! But that also doesn't mean that, for instance, if your grandmother became sick with alziemer's (sp?) it was specifically your fault. I do believe that we have all done things wrong before, and because we as a people allow these wrong actions, the world isn't a perfect place. Anyway, you are wrestling with big questions, when asking why things go wrong. Honestly, I don't really know why God allows deformities and illnesses and accidents, and death, and tsunamis and earthquakes and starving children and aids victims and the hosts of other things that happen to us in this world. I do know that they serve a purpose that we cannot see - looking at the scope of history, one seems so small and insignificant. And really, we are small - we can't see the big picture, and why one small action can cause a chain of reactions that can lead to huge movements or massacres. Looking at Rosa Parks shows that, since she was mentioned before. So, we are significant in that sense - our actions mean something to the people around us. Anyway, that doesn't mean the bad things that happen are really good - it just means they serve a purpose, that I don't know or can't see. That doesn't mean either, that we shouldn't try to stop horrible things from happening - I believe whole-heartedly in supporting those less fortunate than us who have time and money to be blogging on the internet.

As far as not knowing if Jesus is the satanic god and not all the other gods/goddesses of the world, I can only suggest studing the matter and going by what proof says and not by what other people may say. Look at the facts that we have - the ancient, prophetic promises of the Jews, and the testimonies (although they may be biased) of Jesus's disciples or other ancient documents that may mention Jesus (sorry, I don't know any - just throwing out ideas). Also, read books by people comparing Jesus to other gods/goddesses - I know there are a few by Christian authors, but I'm sure there are some by non-christians too, which may appeal to you more. I have noticed differences already, although i'm the first to admit I don't know very much about the religions of this world. I will admit I have been a Christian all my short life - I will admit that this is truly all I've ever known - I will admit that I'm biased! :-) But I will also admit that by looking at my friends and relatives even, I see a difference between my life and their's. There has to be a truth somewhere in all this mess of lies and deceit - without truth, humans would shrivel and die. we thrive on truth (this isn't just coming from a Biblical standpoint - many of us search for other kinds of truths, from children wanting to turn on the light to make sure there really aren't any monsters under the bed, to scientists in their labs trying to make a breakthrough in the truth of medicin) Anyway, I'm sorry I'm very long winded - I hope to be a writer someday, it looks like I'm off to a good start . . . but, all in all, what I want to do is respectfully show you what I think, not to 'convert' you, and not to 'attack' witchcraft or any other religions, whether you are sympathetic to them or not. (please excuse any spelling and grammatical errors, as well as odd organization - it's past midnight here, and I'm getting really sleepy!)Anyone else, please critic (sp?) and add to what I've said, disagree and argue!

SafireRains said...

Elzan, I appreciate your comments both agreeing and disagreeing. I was simply just tryen to say that people shouldn't look down upon things they have not researched or do not understand. And if i might say your future in writing looks bright! I sence that you are a good person and that you will go far in the world of writing!
Always
~SafireRains~

Jabez said...

Your right, it's not about the witchcraft. I've always been against Harry Potter for young readers but as a 21 year old, personally, I love the books. First of all I have heard very good supporting evidence and read many interviews that lead me to suspect that J.K. Rowling believes in God but is also a Christian. The witchcraft in Harry Potter is nothing like withcraft in the real world and any book (fiction) that talks about things such as witchcraft or things such as computer hacking, exploration, etc. sparks an interest and to some may lead them into the activity itself. It's not just because it's witchcraft that it leads them into it, it's the curiousity of the unknown.

As far as the rule breaking, I'm not justifying it, or saying it's right, but frankly, it's the real world. Everywhere you go people are either being punished or rewarded for rule breaking. Even Christians do it. I mean, for example, I'm in a setting and I'm supposed to do something that goes against Christianity, but I don't do it. In essence, I'm breaking a rule and would be praised for it because I stood up for what I believed. Would you not speed to the hospital if your wife was on the verge of having her baby in your car? You'd be breaking a rule. Not to mention that although Harry and his friends do break a lot of rules they are always told they are wrong. But wouldn't you also think that he's stupid for not standing up to Voldemort, the ultimate evil, just because a simple rule says he shouldn't do something. When it comes to saving the world, I'm sorry but I'd break a few rules too. Like me and some of my professors say (I go to a Christian college) it's just a book! I recommend Looking for God in Harry Potter by John Granger (he's a Christian writer).

Clefspeare said...

Jabez, I appreciate your comments, and I know I'm sounding like a broken record, but I don't have a problem with breaking rules in order to achieve a greater good. The problem is that Harry frequently lies, cheats, and steals for selfish reasons. He is a law unto himself. Many times he lies to get away with his selfish purposes, and he even has authority figures who help him lie.

Ms. Rowling has purposefully created the stories so that rules must constantly be violated to progress the story. Adults are usually either evil or stupid. Cheating is a way of life. This is not a good world for kids to be reading.

christiandragon said...

Mr. Davis,
You are right. Breaking the rules for the 'greater good' is O.K. but, cheating, lying and running around in the middle of the night; thats not my liking. Even though I am only 12, I understand what you mean (my mom agrees too). I am allowed to watch the movies but, if my parents start to see me breaking the rules of our house, then I will not be able to see the movies or anything that hjas Harry Potter in it. I am also a Christian so I know not to get into the witchcraft junk, but the rule breaking is harder to stop. Only because after a while you don't know that you are doing it and it becomes a habit.
thanks, bye =)

The Blah Brain said...

I found a site while searching google and the site gives you previews of I found previews for the NEW - NEXT Harry Potter book 8, the book AFTER the half blood prince, it's insane... i have no idea how they got the previews maybe they know J.K. Rowling..
www.HarryPotter-Fan.com

froggyluvsbirdy said...

ok i am 14 and a very big fan of the harry potter series. i see where your coming from when you say that harry potter promotes rulebreaking, but have you read the books? if you had youd note that rowling clearly marks the line between breaking the rules for selfish means and breaking the rules to help others. when they break rules to help others, they get away with it, whereas if its for selfish means they get punished. As a said im 14 and a very big fan of the harry potter books. Ive been reading them since i was 11 when the first book came out. Now back then i was a straight A student, and very beginning hermione like. i read constantly and followed the rules to the t. Since entering junior high and now highschool i must admit that i bend the rules a bit, but i never entirely break them, and ive maintained an A B gpa. im positive had i not read the harry potter books i wouldve been the same. if harry potter influenced anyone it would be those weak of mind, and if one is weak of mind anything could influence them, so why condone one series of books when there are so many other things worse that may influence ones mind? if harry potter did anything to me it was to show me that it was ok to be different from everyone else. before i read the books i was very conscerned with being "just like everybody else". well as conscerned as an 11 year old can be. now i don't care about trends and whatnot. if i like something, i like it. if i don't, then i don't. no big deal. all im saying is that harry potter has many more positive aspects then it does negative. such as many of my friends never read, until they discovered harry potter. harry potter books are very long as you may well know. and instead of sitting down playing computer games or video games many kids are reading. the books increased my reading level very quickly. by 6th grade i was reading so often that i was at a 12th grade reading level. so why complain about something thats grabbing hold of so many peoples imagination that they are reading instead of getting in trouble?

Clefspeare said...

Froggy,

I'll try to respond to several of your points.

You asked, "Have you read the books?"

Through book four, yes.

You wrote, "If you had youd note that rowling clearly marks the line between breaking the rules for selfish means and breaking the rules to help others. when they break rules to help others, they get away with it, whereas if its for selfish means they get punished."

I wish this were true, but it's not. Harry and company frequently lie and break rules for selfish reasons without getting punished. As I wrote in an earlier comment to give an example, in book 3, Harry uses a stolen map to get to Hogsmeade. When he returns, he lies, and the lies of Ron and Professor Lupin get him out of trouble. This kind of thing happens many times. Harry is a persistent, selfish liar over and over.

You asked, "Why condone one series of books when there are so many other things worse that may influence ones mind?"

Do you mean "condemn" one series? If you really meant "condone" I can't understand your statement. In any case, I mention Harry Potter because it's so popular. I would also criticize books that are worse, anything that negatively influences young people.

You wrote, "Harry potter has many more positive aspects then it does negative. such as many of my friends never read, until they discovered harry potter. harry potter books are very long as you may well know. and instead of sitting down playing computer games or video games many kids are reading."

Getting kids to read is good but only if they're reading books that don't carry a bad influence. And I don't agree that HP has more positive aspects than negative.

You asked, "Why complain about something thats grabbing hold of so many peoples imagination that they are reading instead of getting in trouble?"

I disagree with your premise. I think the HP books are getting readers into trouble. They influence kids by giving them heroes who have no respect for authority. They show a world where nearly every adult is either evil or stupid. They create heroes who lie, cheat, and steal whenever it suits their purposes. This helps to create a culture of kids who see this as normal and harmless. The very fact that you can't see this helps to prove my assertions.

flair said...

hello Mr. Dsvis! TDY from the DIOM forum here!

I high;y agree with all of your statements about the Harry Potter series. I have read all of the books so far (book 6 is now out), and i am a big fantasy fan. However, I agree with what you're saying about the rule-breaking. It's ridiculous how many times they have gotten away with broken rules (i.e. in book 1 when Harry and Ron went to find Hermione when the troll was in the building. Yes, they got there in time to save Hermione, but they broke the rule at the risk of getting themselves killed. Something the size of a troll should not be handled by first-years).

Have you read Frodo and Harry by Ted Baehr and Tom Snyder? It goes through and compares HP and LOTR, particuarlly the use of magic in both series. I highly reccomend it!

I am confused by all the rumors going around about J.K. Rowling being a witch? OWuld you happen to ahve an idea of these rumors are true? I know she's denied them many times . . .

Anonymous said...

I partially agree with Mr. Davis on this one. It's not about the witchcraft for two reasons: If we're ridding the world of book containing magic, we'll have to get rid of such classics as THE LORD OF THE RINGS and NARNIA. No Santa for the little kids. In fact, we'll have to rid ourselves of fiction! Two: this was all caused by a joke in the UK when a group of comedians made a JOKE about HARRY POTTER promoting witchcraft. It got into the wrong hands, and now even the Pope calls them awful. A work of FICTION! How absurd.

Now for the other part of Mr. Davis's post. I can see where he is going with it, but I think he is stretching too far. I myself read the series as a skeptic, to know what I was up against. The only real magic in these books is the kind that Mr. Davis's books have. The kind of magic that gets kids to read and keeps them reading. The author is a mother! She has kids! She wouldn't teach that behavior to them if she wanted them to become normal members of society! And she wouldn't want abnormal children.

This is a very interesting post anyway, and I am glad someone is confident enough to post it.

Anonymous said...

I heard that J.K. Rowling used actual witchcraft spells in the books...

Bryan Davis said...

I have heard that, too, but it's not true.