Sunday, February 12, 2006

An exWitch's thoughts on Harry Potter...

Seems everyone has passionately held views about young Harry...

OK seems like it's time to jump in with my 2c worth...

I certainly wouldn't try to 'prevent' anyone from reading HP books or watching the flicks... I think it would be just plain stupid and an infringement of another's right to choose their own entertainment (so long as it is not harming another)

However... That said.

While I don't think that anyone and everyone who watches a HP flick is going to run off and become a demon worshipping psychopath - which *rolls eyes* I've heard some (who should know better) claim - I do see the potential that a small number of the total number of viewers/readers will be influenced into thinking that magick is all fluffy, harmless bumpf... any serious practitioner of Magick will tell you that there ARE dangers... *shrugs* Hey! I was a pagan (on the Left Hand Path) myself... (you can read a bit more about that HERE)

But now that I am a Christian I feel that it is only right (and a responsibility to - for want of a better term) to warn people of the dangers in Magick (both those acknowledged by practitioners) and those defined in Scripture. The old analogy of "If someone was in a burning house would you warn them to get out?" comes in here. Yes - I know it's not a 'perfect fit' but few analogies are but I think you see what I'm getting at.

As is often pointed out by Wiccan and neo-Pagan apologists, Harry Potter makes no mention of the Wiccan Rede, the Sabbats etc etc... but Wicca is not the only form of Witchcraft nor is it even the only form of Neo-Pagan Witchcraft... My old Coven did not practice the Wiccan Rede and in fact 'The Rite of Vengence' was officially accepted into the Coven's 'Book of Shadows'. This was even reflected in the Coven's Motto: "Sic Gorgiamus Alius Subjectatus Nunc" ("We Gladly Devour All those Who Would Subdue Us")

I personally think much more is made of Harry Potter than is neccessary - others will disagree - but as I said that's my personal view.

But as I said above and I say it again so there is no ambiguity here - and I say this as one who was the High Priest of a Neo-Pagan Coven before coming to Christ... Harry Potter is NOT a 'training manual' designed to intruduce kids to Witchcraft!!!! AND... Reading the books or watching the filns does NOT mean that your child will become a demon worshipping, blood drinking maniac (as I have herad some claim).

That said...

It does have SOME impact however... in much the same way as TV shows and movies like Charmed, The Craft et al.

When I was High Priest of a Coven here in Western Australia out of every 100 enquiries re Coven membership only a handful were NOT from teenaged girls who wanted to be like Willow from Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Shannon Doherty from Charmed... Yes it is a false view of Wicca and Neo-Pagan Witchcraft and certainly not what my Coven was about... but that's what they were after and to a large extent the likes of $ilver Ravenwolf and Fiona Horne catered for them and lined their pockets with the proceeds.

So when Oberon Zell (founder of the Neo-Pagan 'Church of All Worlds') is putting out stuff like this...

...and...

...to say that Harry Potter has NO effect or inflience ... Well... such claims just ring hollow now-a-days!

Whether or not Harry Potter was intended as such (I personally think it was not) it is recognized by some at least in the Wiccan and Neo-Pagan communities as a powerful 'recruitment tool'... and dare I say it - is obviously and quite openly being "ca$hed in on" - quite literally by the looks of Oberon Zell's books and "School of Wizardry" website.

I must admit that with Hogwart's being such an AGGRESSIVELY protected trademark (Harry Potter fan-sites are always being shut down for copyright breaches) old Oberon has been quite clever in his presentation of his Hogwarts 'clone' "School of Wizardry" and - dare I say specific - in his 'target audience'.

I don't know about anyone else, but it sure as eggs looks to me that Oberon Zell and the 'Church of All Worlds' (CAW) must be really miffed about all that lost income from potential CAW memberships that $ilver Ravenwolf and Fiona Horne nabbed by NOT larfing at those teen girls that liked The Craft and Charmed et al and wanted to be "just like Shannon Doherty".

So when respected and recognized 'figureheads' within the Wiccan and Neo-Pagan community so openly recognize HP's influence I am left somewhat gob smacked when I find Christians who attempt to deny it.

So what should a Christian's response be to Harry Potter?

Harry Potter books and films are full of stereotypical magic. Witchcraft and wizardry are central themes, and the lead roles are played by wizards, witches, and other magical creatures. Although the characters practice casting spells, reading crystal balls, etc., they do not communicate with spiritual (supernatural) forces. While this may be considered a positive by some, one definite negative - in my opinion - is that there is no higher power to answer to at all!

Unlike other fantasy children's stories that contain witches and the like, such as C.S. Lewis' The Chronicles of Narnia, Harry Potter does not have a positive biblical worldview.

The distinction between good and bad can become blurred as both the "good" and "evil" characters participate in different types witchcraft and magic. The Bible clearly condemns all kinds of witchcraft, sorcery and spiritism (Deuteronomy 18:10-11) Philippians 4:8 tells us to "fill your minds with those things that are good and that deserve praise: things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, and honourable."

So does this mean that all Christians should avoid Harry Potter altogether?

For some families, the answer to this is "Yes!"

In my view the Harry Potter series is not for young or spiritually immature children, as they may not have the ability to distinguish between reality and fantasy, right and wrong, or good and evil.

At best, they may be left confused about God's views about the occult, and at worst, they may become enchanted by the magical existence of Harry and his friends, becoming desensitized to occultic lifestyles.

In addition, there are issues such as violence and mildly foul language that each Christian family will be sensitive to at different levels.

Paul teaches in 1 Corinthians chapter 8 on a somewhat similar grey area of his time: whether or not Christians should eat meat that was sacrificed to idols.
He explained that some Christians have "knowledge" about the fact that there is only one God, and meat sacrificed to idols was not really sacrificed to anything. However, other Christians did not have this same "knowledge", and if they saw another Christian eating meat that was sacrificed to an idol, their conscience might be "...emboldened to eat those things offered to idols..."

To these, this would be a sin in their own minds because of their weaker understanding. Paul warns us of letting our liberty become a "stumbling block" to those who are weaker, or have less understanding. He says in verses 11 and 12, "And because of your knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died? But when you thus sin against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, YOU sin against Christ." (emphasis added)

At the end of the chapter, Paul offers his solution to this problem. He says in verse 13, "Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never again eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble."

Same could be said of young Harry VERY easily... ;)

For my part... I personally don't think young Harry is half as bad as some make him out to be...
...but I won't 'partake of' or 'indulge' myself for the reasons just given above...

Just a thought... ;)

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