Harry Potter’s Christian fans come to his defense

John Killinger: God, the Devil & Harry Potter, St. Martin’s, 2002.
Connie Neal: The Gospel According to Harry Potter, Westminster John Knox, 2002.
John Granger: The Hidden Key to Harry Potter, Zossima, 2002.

CHRISTIAN Harry Potter fans, unite!

It has been over two years since Richard Abanes wrote Harry Potter and the Bible: The Menace behind the Magick, a scathing critique of just about everything to do with J.K. Rowling’s bestselling series about an orphaned English boy who goes to a boarding school for witches and wizards.

Since then, no one has really added to Abanes’s criticisms, but quite a few Christians have lined up to defend Rowling and her books against the accusation that they are simply trying to warm children up to the sort of real-life occultic practices that are forbidden in the Bible.

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Fantasies and fairy tales speak to our spiritual needs

MAGIC is everywhere you look these days. From bookstores to movie theatres, stories about wizards, witches and mythological beasts are all the rage; and for a person like me, who grew up with hobbits, aliens, flying horses and Jedi Knights, the current fantasy craze — and the various Christian responses to it — bring back a lot of memories.

How popular is fantasy right now? The most successful movie of the year (so far) is Shrek, a cheeky parody of the fairy tale genre that turns conventional wisdom about ogres, dragons and beautiful princesses on its head. That film’s box office performance could be surpassed in a few weeks by Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, the first film based on J.K. Rowling’s phenomenally popular novels about a young orphan and his classmates at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

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Is Harry Potter a menace to our children’s souls?

Richard Abanes: Harry Potter and the Bible: The Menace Behind the Magick, Horizon, 2001.
Connie Neal: What’s a Christian to Do With Harry Potter?, WaterBrook, 2001.

YEARS AGO, as a teen, I heard a man at a church speak on the evils of popular culture. I expected him to rail against the usual suspects — rock and roll, Star Wars, Disney cartoons with grey-bearded magicians in pointed hats — but I was entirely unprepared for when he turned his attention to My Little Pony. Some of these seemingly innocuous toys, he noted, had wings or horns, like the unicorns and flying steeds of Greek myth, and this, he said, was not good. “There’s nothing wrong with ponies,” he said with utter conviction. “God made ponies. But God didn’t make little unicorns.”

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Review: The Lost World: Jurassic Park (dir. Steven Spielberg, 1997)

Atheism may be in vogue among people who like to read, but movie audiences still need something to believe in. That, at least, is one way to interpret the implicit pantheism Steven Spielberg has injected into The Lost World and its predecessor Jurassic Park, both of which he adapted from the considerably more sophisticated novels of Michael Crichton.

Crichton’s original story was a cautionary tale about the dangers of commercialized science, but he also took an explicit stand, through the character Ian Malcolm, against attempts to find any sort of higher meaning in nature.

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