How Should Christians React to Harry Potter?

I would be lying if I said I didn't grow up with Harry Potter. For those who might be unaware, Harry Potter is a fantasy book series written by J.K. Rowling about a boy named Harry Potter who lives with his aunt and uncle after his parents are killed by a dark wizard. When the wizard tried to kill Harry too as a baby, a lightning bolt scar was left on his head instead. On his eleventh birthday, he receives an acceptance from a magic school called Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. A half-giant named Hagrid brings him to the wizarding world, where he attends Hogwarts and meets two other students known as Ron Weasly and Hermoine Granger. During his years of studying, he also faces the same dark wizard that tried to kill him, known as Lord Voldemort. And that's basically the bare-bones premise. The books have also been adapted into a successful billion-dollar film franchise, with a new film based on each book released every few years.

As a kid, I really liked Harry Potter. But after being saved back in 2014 when I was 20 years old, I started to get second thoughts about the morality of the series. Some people think that they are good books for children with good morality, like how there seems to be a clear "good vs evil" story. But a deeper examination may say otherwise. One obvious thing is that the premise is centered on witchcraft, which is condemned in both testaments of the Bible. Some may wonder why I am not okay with magic in Harry Potter but okay with magic in other fantasies like The Chronicles of Narnia. And I will explain that in a second. I also think there are more problems with Harry Potter than just magic.

The obvious problem is that humans in the world of Harry Potter are meant to practice magic if they are predisposed to do it. It isn't just evil characters that do magic. The "good" characters practice magic too. But the Bible teaches that all magic is bad. Even "white" magic. Also, magic in Harry Potter is practically limitless. The spells in Harry Potter let the users do absolutely anything such as transforming anything at will like turning animals into objects. This contrasts with the magic in Narnia. In Narnia, almost all of the magic comes from a lion called Aslan, who represents Jesus Christ. In fact, the appropriate term for this magic so-called would be godly miracles and not necessarily magic. The first Narnia book ever written does have an evil witch that used her magic to make Narnia snow forever. Keywords here are evil witch, which means you are not supposed to side with her and agree with her magic. She gets defeated by Aslan at the end of the story. Also, in the novel "The Voyage of the Dawn Treader", the character of Lucy tries to use magic but ends up suffering consequences for it, meaning that humans were not meant to use magic.

Aside from the magic, the characters in Harry Potter aren't even good role models. Throughout the series, Harry Potter lies to his teachers, to his friends, and to the headmasters of the school. He also steals from teachers such as Professor Snape. But Snape is a bad teacher, so it's okay, right? Sometimes the bad actions they commit are rewarded, like when Harry breaks the rule of not flying a broomstick without a teacher present to chase after another student who has stolen something. Because it's okay for kids to break rules for a noble cause, right? But then Harry Potter gets rewarded for it. So what about morality in Narnia? The kids in Narnia aren't exactly innocent people themselves. Here's the thing. When the kids in Narnia do something terrible, there are consequences for those actions, that make them realize that they should not do that again. The character of Edmund from "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe" sides with the white witch over his family, and the consequence was that he would suffer death on the stone table. But Aslan instead died in his place and rose again, which is an allegory for Christ's death and resurrection.

That all said, Harry Potter is everywhere. Certain kids will inevitably get curious and want to read or watch them. So what should our reaction be? While we do want to make sure to raise our kids in godly things, I don't think we should completely shelter them either. Doing that makes kids think they always need to have their parents protect them and they won't learn how to protect themselves. Instead, kids should be trained to be good apologists so that they can counter the lies of the world themselves. So if your kids are ever curious about Harry Potter, simply tell then you don't want them to be exposed to that just yet. When you think they are at an age where they are ready to read or watch Harry Potter with accompaniment, sit down with them as they do and explain to them what Harry Potter is about and what the characters do, in comparison to other fantasies out there such as the Narnia series. That way they will understand and be trained to counter anything ungodly with the Word of God. 

If you think I missed anything, let me know. And I will be sure to do a follow up to this. In the meantime, pray about this and consider what I have just said. God bless!


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