Yeah, it's the age old Christian debate. Is Harry Potter Biblically ok? Now I am generally unphased by 'wizards and weird stuff' but there are one or two issues that I have with Harry Potter that caused me to throw away my own copies. Actually, my issues with Harry Potter itself are in fact rather limited, what I have been struggling with recently is other Christians responses to finding out that I have thrown away my Harry Potter books.

Holier than thou?
No of course not. I believe that Christians make decisions based on their convictions. The Bible, by nature, does not address directly the hundreds and thousands, and indeed millions of scenarios and issues that we find ourselves faced with everyday, rather, it presents a set of principles; principles that either allow, or disallow certain ways of living. So it was no surprise that I could not find anywhere in any translation of the Bible a particular passage that alluded to whether or not it was canonically acceptable for a Christian to read Harry Potter.
Now if a Christian feels, by their own conviction and reading of the Bible that it is fine to read Harry Potter then that is absolutely fine. I am not anti-Harry Potter and this is not an anti-Harry Potter blog, I don't read in myself anymore but I'm not spearheading a movement to have the books stripped from the shelves.
So, the thing that has been an issue for me is the amount of opposition I have had from Christians on finding out that I threw my books away. What I have found is that those avid fans of the Harry Potter series who are also Christian become very quickly defensive when they come across a Christian who disagrees with the series.

I'll explain the reasons why I felt it was right to ditch my Hogwarts collection. I'm a fantasy fan as much as the next person who has read Lord of the Rings, Narnia and played a Final Fantasy game or two. And I did myself enjoy a bit of Harry Potter. The thing for me that I started to become unhappy about with the Harry Potter series was not so much the magic and wizards, because that stuff is quite present in other fantasy genres that I feel are fine, but more the incredibly accurate parallel with the occult. Fantasy magic by my standards is fine but Harry Potter includes a good amount of well researched elements of the occult that is practiced for real.
These are one or two things that the Harry Potter books include (please understand I am not trying to convince anyone to get rid of their books, but just explaining the reasons why I got rid of mine):
witches, potions, spells, magic wands, flying broomsticks, books titled: standard book of spells, history of magic, magical droughts and potions, dark forces: a guide to protection, the idea of ghosts and spirits as being helpful, the study of the stars as a way of increasing magical ability in spells and herbs and fungi used for producing various magical arts.

These are all elements that are intrinsically linked to the occult. The occult is not just another religion, it is the antithesis of what I believe as a disciple of Jesus. So that alone is enough conviction for me to not have anything to do with it:

10"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,
11or one who casts a spell, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead.
12"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.
13"You shall be blameless before the LORD your God.
14"For those nations, which you shall dispossess, listen to those who "practice witchcraft and to diviners, but as for you, the LORD your God has not allowed you to do so.
[Deuteronomy 18:10-14]

Harry Potter presents the occult as something that can be used for good as well as bad. Unlike Narnia where any practice of the occult was destroyed by what is purely good. To me this seems like quite a deception.
So why do some Christians deem it to be ok to read and others not? My general observation has been that those who think it is fine, think so on the grounds that it is (1) a harmless kids books (2) it's underlying themes are about love, not magic and (3) it is just so damn good.
My answer to the 3 points of argument are (1) perhaps it is harmless and kids aren't turning to the occult left right and center, but I don't think that negates the responsibility of a Christian to exercise wisdom and dessernment and to remove a work of literature that promotes occultish influence rather than just accepting it. (2) This looks very much like the half-lie tactic of the enemy, that something good is bound to mixed into it to make it look alright. Good heavens I've had Christians telling me that there are strong Christian parallels in it and that it is a Christan book because of the clear cut good vs evil themes. Harry Potter is not the only book that has good vs evil. The fact that that good is linked to a type of magic that is so opposite to what I believe as a Christian just sends up a warning signal to me. (3) I wouldn't mind seeing some Christians defending the Bible with same passion with which they defend Harry Potter. I've read it. Yes it is a flipping good read, but not so good that is stands up against the Bible. As I mentioned earlier, if you read it and by conviction feel that it is fine for you to read, then read it but if you just like it so much that you don't want to give it up then I would suggest reevaluating the focus. In Timothy, Paul says that the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; it has been the same in every age. There comes a time in our Christian walks where it is easier to embrace and believe what people say because it fits in with our own theology and philosophy of life than to conform to biblical truth. Fact. Sometimes we see Christian friends doing, saying, reading, watching or buying things that you just feel a Christian shouldn’t do, say, read, watch or buy. Because the sinful nature always looks to what you can get away with and the righteous nature always looks to see what is lawful to God. I used to thoroughly enjoy the Harry Potter books, they are cracking stories, but I just couldn't keep hold of them knowing that I felt wrong about it but not letting them go because they are such a good read.

Now, I know that the Deuteronomy verse talks more about actively taking part in the practice of the evil things and that Harry Potter would barely qualify as actively taking part in the occult, but for me; thinking of Philippians 4:8

whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.

I just find it much healthier to keep my eyes on things that are from Jesus and not dwell on things that are not, however seemingly harmless they are, which for me includes novels that are affiliated with the occult.

So, are the Harry Potter books harmless? yeah probably. Probably not many people practice the occult as a result of reading Harry Potter and the Philosopher's stone. But is it good practice for a Christian to be constantly reading or for children to be reading, I would personally say not.

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