(Many thanks to Eva for this thoughtful, truthful and helpful article – GR.)
The immensely popular “Harry Potter” books have charmed our country. The problem is that even a lot of Christians don’t realize how spiritually dangerous these children’s books are. The author, J.K. Rowling, is highly credited with getting millions of kids hooked on reading. In fact, her books are widely used in schools for reading and class projects. The truth is that those who read the books may get hooked on a lot more than reading. It is ironic that 100 years ago in the U.S., reading and writing were taught from primers which had scripture from the Bible printed on them. These days, many teachers feel their jobs are in jeopardy if they even mention the Bible. However, the “Harry Potter” books are filled with magic spells, sorcery and talking to the dead. They are now acclaimed as the latest ultimate teaching tool by most educators and librarians. That’s a far cry from teaching young people out of the Bible which repeatedly warns against sorcery, to teaching them from a book which encourages it.
I know that we have freedom of speech and freedom of religion in our country. I am very grateful for those privileges. However, it poses a crisis of morality for Christians as they face how they will use their freedom to buy and read these books. Perhaps the biggest crisis comes as we decide how we will handle our children studying these books in school.
We cannot expect society and the education profession to know that God has said sorcery and witchcraft are wrong, but Christians are embracing these books, also. Many are buying the series and all the merchandise that goes along with the books as quickly as everyone else. With that in mind, here goes one mom’s little voice pointing out the fact that God detests witchcraft.
Sorcery and witchcraft have been a problem even way back in Old Testament times, and it is becoming more widespread once again. It seems witchcraft and other forms of occult “religions” have always gained a foothold in society every time God’s people turn more towards the world, instead of Him.
We as Christians are going along with the flow in accepting “Harry Potter” along with all the other movies and TV shows which glamorize occult themes. Children (and adults) who read these books are slowly being desensitized into thinking
that witchcraft and magic are okay. Before you laugh and shrug me off as just another mom on her soapbox, let’s see what God says about it in His word.
What Does God Say About “Harry”
I’ve had relatives, teachers and Christian friends (as well as my own children) ask “What could possibly be wrong with an innocent book about a little boy?”
Perhaps that’s one of the most dangerous things about the “Harry Potter” series. It seems as though it should be harmless since its in a book written for kids. If you aren’t familiar with the story, well get to that in a minute. Then perhaps you’ll see the danger.
In Deuteronomy 18:9-13, it says, ““When you enter the land which the Lord your God gives you, you shall not learn to imitate the detestable things of those nations. There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, one who uses divination, one who practices witchcraft, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, or one who casts a spell, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead. For whoever does these
things is detestable to the Lord; and because of these detestable things the Lord your God will drive them out before you. You shall be blameless before the Lord your God.”” It shows a complete lack of trust in God to depend on spells to conjure up the power we desire. It must be a huge insult to the One who made us and desires to guide us through this life, when we turn to others to tell us our future. Here’s what the Lord says in Isaiah 8:19, “”When they say to you, ‘Consult the mediums and the spiritists who whisper and mutter’,’ should not a people consult their God? Should they consult the dead on behalf of the living?””
There’s over 50 places I found in the Bible that tell how God feels about witchcraft, sorcery, magic, fortune telling and trying to talk to the dead for advice. There’s probably a lot more.
When faced with the dilemma of what to do about “Harry” and other occult-type movies, shows and memorabilia, go to the Bible for input on your decision. Better yet, sit down with your children and look together. Then you will both know that you need to make a choice based on Gods clear instructions on the subject.
Who Is “Harry”?
There will be seven books in the series, according to Ms. Rowling. Three books have been released at the time this was written. Apparently, the British single mom has already written the final chapter that will end the series, which is scheduled to be published in 2003. The author has said that the books will grow along with Harry as he discovers the opposite sex and begins to deal with even darker themes.
Warner Bros. has the rights to the movie along with all the merchandise, TV rights,cartoons, home videos and interactive games. It’s been said they will spend $45 million on special effects alone. The craze is bad now, but think of how prevalent it will be then.
In the first book, we find Harry orphaned as a baby. The evil wizard, Lord Voldemort has killed Harry’ parents who were a witch and a wizard. Lord Voldemort repeatedly fails at attempts to kill baby Harry, which leaves little Harry with a lightening bolt scar on his forehead. The infamous Lord Voldemort loses some of his power in the process, making Harry legendary in the world of the occult.
Some “good wizard forces” leave Harry on the London doorstep of his Aunt and Uncle who are Muggles (People who are oblivious to witches and wizards). For the next ten years Harry is treated horribly by his uncaring relatives which earns the reader’s sympathy.
When Harry turns eleven, he learns his true identity and enrolls in Hogwarts, the most famous boarding school for witchcraft and wizardry. Harry learns how to use his power and battles Lord Voldemort and seeks revenge upon his mean relatives.
These books have caused a “Pottermania” as people line up to get the latest release. Rowling’s book signings have gotten out of control across the country as children and parents line up dressed in wizard outfits. Schools, libraries and bookstores host “Harry Potter” parties complete with broomsticks and all the witch paraphernalia mentioned in the books.
What Should The Christian Do?
These books don’t just mention witchcraft, that’s the whole premise of the series. One of the perilous things about “Harry Potter” is that as he is drawn further and further into the world of the occult, and unwittingly- so is the reader. The Bible clearly and repeatedly states Gods detest of witchcraft and sorcery.
My heart has been broken as I have seen some sweet Christian children carry “Harry Potter” books to church. I was shocked once to walk into a Christian Hospital gift shop and see a major display of “Harry Potter” books, along with spell bags and broomsticks.
The first thing we need to do is educate ourselves, our children, and other Christians on what God says about witchcraft. In Hosea 4:6, the Lord tells us “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.” That’s why I am compelled to write this article. God’s people need to know we are taking part of things God has repeatedly warned us against. We are encouraging our children in the very things we should be warning them against.
Our family decided together, after researching the Bible on witchcraft, to stay away from all forms of entertainment which glamorizes the occult. There’s a lot right now that’s specifically aimed at youth- “Sabrina, the Teenage Witch”, “Charmed”, “Buffy the Vampire Slayer ”as well as many cartoons and countless video games. Since then, we’ve faced with our hardest battle- how to handle “Harry Potter” at school.
It’s easier to control what is seen and read in the privacy of your own home.
Last year, one of our kids came home saying their whole English class would read “Harry Potter” together for a whole semester. There would also be class activities which would tie in with the book. Now our decision and our child’s decision had to become public.
My husband and I (and our children) are relatively quiet people. We don’t like to cause waves. Having read all that God had said about witchcraft, and having already made our decision to not take part in any of it, we couldn’t change our minds now.
As we sat around the dinner table, we discussed how to handle “Harry Potter” at school. One of our kids rolled their eyes up thinking, “Oh great, here goes my old-fashioned parents again!”
We quickly pointed out that God had given us the responsibility as parents to instruct our children in the way of the Lord. That was our job. We had to answer to our Lord. Some day it would be up to them to make their own decision if they would follow His ways or not. Then they would have to answer to Him for their own choices.
As we struggled with this issue, there was some ridicule and lack of understanding from family and friends, as well as some teachers. In the meantime, people have seen our child (and us) take a stand against
witchcraft and perhaps it’s been a witness for God. We’ve actually had to face this issuetwo years in a row with the same child. I’m sure we will again. I’m also certain many of you will, for “Harry Potter” is being taught in schools across the world. There are even interactive web sites for students and teachers to use in classrooms.
We wrote a letter to our child’s English teacher thanking them for teaching our child. Then we proceeded to explain why our child made the decision not to read “Harry Potter.” We told the teacher that we didn’t expect everyone to agree with us and that we realized how difficult it must be to teach such a wide variety of students in a public school. Then we offered to help our student with their own report at home or suggested they could go to the school library during that class. We sent the letter in a polite respectful manner explaining our beliefs, not condemning anyone for theirs.
Last year, the teachers let our child, along with several others who
felt the same way, wear headphones while reading another novel in the same classroom. There were a few problems. One
time, one of our child’s headphones wasn’t working. Upon hearing the “Harry Potter” reading above the music, our child adjusted the volume to cover the reading. The teacher reprimanded our child and the volume had to be turned down. Our student was exposed to things they didn’t wish to hear.
We prayed as parents and as a family for knowledge on how to handle the
situation. After discussion, our child decided to stay in the classroom unless there were problems with the headphones again. Then they would ask to go to the library. We made it through last year, and our child seemed to grow in strength from the Lord from standing up for God’s ways. When another student tauntingly asked, “Are you a Jesus Freak?” Our child, without hesitation, proudly said “Yes!” There seemed to be an air of respect from that point on.
This year, we are faced with the same exact dilemma (with another teacher),
except the whole room is completely filled with “Harry Potter” memorabilia. Once again, we are faced with how to handle this issue as Christians. This time our child will be completely surrounded by witchcraft trappings.
Sometimes it is tempting to take our kids out of public schools. We would put them in Christian schools if we could afford to put all our kids there. We even talked about home schooling. In many ways, it would be wonderful to have them in a sheltered Christian environment, but they need to learn to be the light of the world. You have to be in the world, not hiding, to light it up!
There also comes a time when it’s right to take an even stronger stand. It didn’t seem right for our child to sit day in and day out in a room that was a menagerie of witchcraft. This time, we talked to the administration, counselors and teachers. We decided the only solution was to take our child out of that class, but felt it was important that the school know why.
Again, I thank God that we live in a country where we have the right to take our child out of a class we don’t agree with.
This “Harry Potter-in-the-classroom” struggle is a prime opportunity to teach our children how we are in this world, yet we must be set apart from it. People need to see holiness in us. Yes, it’s hard to stand up and be different from the world. But that’s what Jesus calls us to do. Christians are to be the salt of the earth. Jesus warned us if we lose our saltiness, we are no longer valuable.
This year, when I realized we would have to face this battle again, I wearily said to our child, “This is one of those times it’s hard to be a Christian.”
My middle school child looked at me with confident determination, smiled and said, “Yes, it is,” knowing full well that we would face it together with the Lord.
This quiet, easy-going child of ours is growing into a strong Christian, knowing they can face anything with God’s help as long as they obey His will. Perhaps we will all learn something from “Harry Potter” at school after all!
WHAT THE BOOK SAYS ON “HARRY”
Words from the Bible on witchcraft for you and your children:
Hosea 4:12 Malachi 3:5 Revelations 18:23
Revelations21:8 Galatians 5:19-21 Daniel 1:20
2 Kings 21:6 Acts 8:9-24 Acts 19:19
Leviticus 19:31 Leviticus 20:6 Isaiah 8:19
2 Kings 23:24 Isaiah 19:3 1 Samuel 28:5-20
1 Samuel 15:23 Numbers 24:1 Isaiah 65:11
Ezekiel 13:20 Revelations 22:15 Daniel 5:7-8
Daniel 2:1-4 Jeremiah 27:9-15 Isaiah 44:25
Exodus 7:6-12 Exodus 4:1-5 Genesis 30:27
Deuteronomy 18:9-13 Acts 16:16-18 Jeremiah 23:33-40
IF YOU’VE READ HARRY POTTER
It seemed appropriate to add a very important message to those of you who have read “Harry Potter” books, or bought them for your children, or participated in any type of magic, sorcery, fortune telling, or mystical practices. I pray that God’s word cut through your heart as it did mine concerning these sins. The good news is that even though God hates these things, He loves you! He wants the very best for you. He is offering you a fresh new start. All you have to do is tell Him you’re sorry for doing things which offend Him. Ask Him to help you live a pure and holy life. He will. He’s already sent Jesus to take the blame for all we’ve done. He even sends Jesus to live in our hearts to give us more power than we could ever dream. No chants or spells are required!
Parents, as you lead your little “Harry Potter” fans through the Bible study and they realize that they have sinned, please share this message of hope with your precious children.