Harry Potter

We touched on Harry Potter in our sermon discussion time at church Sunday, after I preached 1 Samuel 28 - the witch/medium/sorceress of Endor. Here's some of what I said...

Suspension of disbelief makes it possible to read Harry Potter without disobeying God’s Word, regarding magic. You enter a fictional world where magic isn’t forbidden by God, but is a secret, academic subject, to be used for good or evil. I don’t believe it is inherently wrong to enter that fictional world, as long as you keep the magic there, as long as your Biblical worldview of reality isn’t altered because of it. Séances and witchcraft are not cool, fun, much less right, just because Harry Potter did it. Going through 1 Sam 28 would be a good orienting point for your older children who read Potter. I’ve only read the first book, and I did see some moral lessons and Gospel parallels in it. There’s plenty better stuff to read, but it won’t be forbidden to my children when they reach the right age (able to keep the magic in the fantasy world).

Some say we have no business imagining a world that contradicts the Bible. In response, I would agree it would be bad to delight in a storyline where homosexuality is a celebrated norm. The catch is that magic isn’t the same kind of problem, because magic is the perfect literary device to allude to unseen spiritual powers, over which Christ has triumphed. Col 2:15 “Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it.” Satan and his minions wage warfare against us with no physical exertion of force whatsoever. In 2 Kings 6, Elisha’s servant could not see the army of fiery chariots protecting them from the Syrians. One way to portray this reality and remove the materialistic, rationalistic blinders we moderns have on today, is stories like Narnia, Potter and Tolkien. Now, compared to Narnia, Potter’s world is further removed from (more opposed to) the biblical worldview. Tolkien is in the middle, and Narnia is closest to the biblical worldview. So it takes greater discernment and filtering to read Potter. But the purpose of a story isn’t to make the imagined world as like Biblical reality as possible. That’s missing the purpose of a fictional story. The purpose of fiction is to advance the values and desires of the hero of the book. And Narnia, Tolkien and Potter all have heroes striving to stop evil through self-sacrifice.

So, it takes a suspension of disbelief. I say if we can’t do this, we disparage the gift of fiction, and we are missing a great deal of rich, Biblical truth to be found in stories like Narnia and Tolkien’s middle earth.

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