Well, into the midst of what seemed like an empty theological field came the new and final Harry Potter book, and--not quite against my better judgment--the driving need for me to once again take a stand against, in my view, this arguably irredeemable series which celebrates "good" wizards, denigrates "bad" wizards, and generally has no Biblical foundation which questions the whole idea of "wizards" in general.
So, just as I had made some comments to a co-worker regarding the occult underpinnings of the Potter series, I came across this online review of the new book from the Wall Street Journal:
The article makes the following astounding assertion: "It has been widely observed that J.K. Rowling owes a creative debt to Christian fantasists J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis (apart from their fondness for initials). It's odd now to remember that, at the same time, some parents have objected to the magic depicted in the Harry Potter books as a glorification of satanic practices. For "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" confirms something else apart from the well-thought-out-ness of Ms. Rowling's moral universe: It is subtly but unmistakably Christian."
Well now, just what do I do with that? Read all seven books to see if I can follow the Christian thread? Certainly I can't accept the word of the Wall St Journal on something this critical, can I?
OK, in the meantime, I ran across this from the Christian Science Monitor:http://news.yahoo.com/s/csm/20070725/cm_csm/ysawyer. This article--in unintentional opposition to the previous--chides the Potter series for not having a true moral center: "If literature truly reflects society, then the end of the Harry Potter series spells trouble for us all. Because, after 10 years, 4,195 pages, and over 325 million copies, J.K. Rowling's towering achievement lacks the cornerstone of almost all great children's literature: the hero's moral journey. Without that foundation, her story – for all its epic trappings of good versus evil – is stuck in a moral no man's land."
Quite logically, I will leave you to click on the links and examine each article. Also, I leave it to you to judge the moral value of the Potter series. I did read one of the books--the first really "long" one (about 800pp) a few years ago, and it collided head on with my Christian worldview. It also collided with my personal experiences in the occult before I gave myself to Christ. In that one book--at least--I saw nothing of redemption, nor did I see anything to be redeemed (especially in judging whether my kids should be exposed to the series).
So . . . now what? It is at best doubtful that I will spend money to read all seven volumes of this series to trace alleged Christian foundations, and it is equally unlikely that I can--in conscience--utterly dismiss the possibility. I have been a sci-fi fan my whole life, and I continually find redemptive value in the oddest places. I'm currently just finishing the "Dune" series by Frank Herbert for about the 5th time, and, although it is hardly Christian, it has strong redemptive, religious, and even messianic themes.
I guess the best I can do at this point is point out the main reason some Christian folks I know like the Potter books: "Good triumphs over evil." I shouldn't have to point out that this alone does not make the series Christian.
Nonetheless, I would like to raise one devastating question about that oft quoted moral virtue in quotes above:
Who, in the end, establishes what is "good?"
Certainly not . . .The Thief
Certainly not . . .The Thief