by David Sisler

This has been a difficult column to write, but not because I did not know what to say – the first version, as I outlined it, would have run on for many pages and read like a graduate research paper without footnotes.

Another problem was the title. I tried several attempts at being clever and discarded, “I’m Not Wild About Harry,” “Harry Potter and the Threatening Tome,” and “Give ‘Em Hell, Harry.”

In the meantime, the weekend dollar count materialized.

If Harry Potter’s celluloid adventure had been an Initial Public Offering on Wall Street, you could have spent a few bucks and made a fortune. It would have been like buying Microsoft or Wal-Mart in the 1970s (invest a thousand dollars in either one back then and be a millionaire today). The difference between that missed stock purchase and Harry Potter is, the former does not promote witchcraft, astrology, numerology, divination, and other occult practices. But today, money rules.

J.K. Rowling’s acknowledges she did extensive research into the occult, into witchcraft in particular, to make the books more accurate. As sales of the books soared, the danger of witchcraft was dismissed with, “It is fantasy and kids are reading.” Now the movie sets box office records – it opened on 8,200 screens, it took in $31.3 million the first day and $93.5 million the first three days – and the raves crash against the shores of common sense.

Ten-year-old Lauren says, “Oh, yes – it was very good!”

Ten-year-old Amber thought it was “great.”

Eleven-year-old April “loved it.”

Eleven-year-old Tyler gives the movie “thumbs up.”

Ten-year-old Meagan says, “It was the best!”

Eleven-year-old Brittany says, “It was awesome, very realistic, and wonderful to see!”

Does anyone notice a pattern in those mini-reviews as reported by The Augusta Chronicle? If I read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, and I did, I will not be seduced by the allure of witchcraft, and I wasn’t. But the ten-year-olds and the eleven-year-olds? And what of the talk of “fantasy.” Brittany says the movie was “very realistic!”

Richard Abanes wrote Harry Potter and the Bible. He says, “We see [Harry Potter and his friends] doing the same spells that the evil [wizards] are doing. They are actually trained at the same school as the evil wizards. In order to overcome evil they must learn more of the same sorts of spells and powers.”

The message is, Abanes writes, “you can be a great person and yet do all these bad things.”

As Stephen McGarvey points out for Crosswalk.com, Connie Neal’s book, What’s a Christian to Do with Harry Potter? offers another perspective. Mrs. Neal “defends J.K. Rowling’s portrayal of a blurry ‘good vs evil’ struggle,” but Mr. McGarvey writes, she “does not defend Harry Potter.” Instead, Mrs. Neal says, “I just want to show that there is not a ‘Christian’ position on Harry Potter. I want to help people understand that this is a disputable matter.”

Let’s see, the Bible still condemns occult practices.

Harry Potter is exposing the very young and very impressionable to the occult.

The very young and very impressionable are placed in spiritual danger by Harry Potter.

If that is not adequate proof of the danger of Harry Potter, how much would be enough? What shall we dispute?


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Copyright 2001 by David Sisler. All Rights Reserved.

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