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Harry Potter

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I’d have asked him if the whole Adam and Eve thing was a metaphor, and whether that meant that the whole Original sin thing was also a metaphor and therefore whether the whole Jesus dying for our sins was also a metaphor, and if we wanted a bunch of metaphors maybe we should just scrap the Bible and go with Harry Potter because even though it’s mediocre it’s better than the bible.

Harry Potter is a book that very many adults and children find exciting to read though those from the Ivory tower may think it's mediocre.

Does Harry Potter promote belief in magic?

American Christian fundamentalists

Some from the American Religious Right and even the Roman Catholic Church believe those books can interest children in the occult. [2] [3] American Christian fundamentalists fear that Harry Potter can encourage children to think magic is benign. Well naturally Christian fundamentalists think all non-Christian supernatural beliefs are evil. People who really believe in magic sometimes see it as good and other times as bad. There is for example a tradition of black magic (bad) grey magic, (neither good nor bad) white magic (good). Harry Potter follows that tradition rather than the Christian fundamentalist tradition and naturally Christian fundamentalists don’t like it. Incidentally Harry Potter is more likely to encourage moral behaviour than for example Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice Isaac in the Bible. [4] [5] There are times when it's right to lie and cheat. Yes we mean that. For example in Nazi Germany many good people lied to prevent the Gestapo finding fugitive Jews. Harry Potter introduces children to the need sometimes to break a rule in order to prevent something worse. [6]

Rational adults and children

To sensible rational adults Harry Potter looks like harmless fantasy but children are more credulous. When children read stories about magic in a context of trains and schools and teachers and other concepts that are part of their own lives it can be harder for them to separate fact from fiction. [7] [8]

What should parents do?

So what should parents do if their children want to read Harry Potter books or watch Harry Potter films? Christian fundamentalists are likely to ban all Harry Potter material imagining its Satanic. Then resentment over the ban can be a factor in getting their children to reject Christian fundamentalism as they get older. In any case Harry Potter has some good influence when it encourages children to read. [9] The best probably is if atheist parents let their children read Harry Potter. But especially if the children are young it's good to spend some time making sure they understand the magic is no more real than magic in traditional fairy stories like “Cinderella“ or “Hansel and Gretel“. Do teens reading this have younger brothers or sisters who like Harry Potter? Probably. It’s as well to make sure younger brothers and sisters understand Harry Potter is as unreal as for example “The Wizard of Oz“.

References

  1. Unintelligible theology
  2. Why the Christian Right hates Harry Potter
  3. 'Harry Potter and yoga are evil', says Catholic Church exorcist
  4. Harry Potter: Religion, Philosophy, Ethics, and the Harry Potter Books
  5. Do the Harry Potter Books Promote Immorality and Immoral Behavior?
  6. Do the Harry Potter Books Promote Immorality and Immoral Behavior?
  7. Does Harry Potter Promote Wicca or Witchcraft? Is Harry Potter a Pagan Book? Part 1
  8. Does Harry Potter Promote Wicca or Witchcraft? Is Harry Potter a Pagan Book? Part 2
  9. Harry Potter's influence continues as kids grow into teens who love to read

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