In fact, I’d argue that being exposed to other opinions including religion is very importante. It helps us broaden to the views of others but also refine our own as we see how our beliefs are different from others. In fact, probably one of the biggest insights I got was from talking with a Muslim over the merits of the bible versus the Quran. The bible is fundamentally a collaborative work, the Quran isn’t.
I’m aware Just reminds me of the similar panics.
Why do you say this? I thought it was the witch craft and spells in it that made for the stock objections.
But the Qur’an is a collaborative work. It has borrowed liberally from the Hebrew Bible the New Testament, changing and adding stories. It has even borrowed from the late Christian apocrypha, stories not deemed reliable for the Christian canon. For example, there is the story of Jesus making clay pigeons fly.
The difference is that many Christians welcome scholarship, even when they don’t agree with it. But is Islam, you can get yourself in deep doo by straying from the accepted story that an angel dictated the Qur’an.
Personally I’ve never understood people that get upset over things like Harry Potter or Marvel Universe, etc. They are fiction and clearly intended as such. I don’t know any child personally that read Harry Potter and thinks there really are wizards and witches in the world as a result, or that watches Thor movies and actually thinks the character is a real god. Heck, they barely even touch on the details of Norse mythology, and Thor is often kind of laughed at when he refers to himself as “the god of Thunder” so there certainly is no message in there that he is someone to be worshiped. Depending on the age of the children, it’s more whether the themes in the movies and shows are appropriate for the age (Narnia has some VERY scary elements in it!) and need some monitoring and/or discussion. But trying to shield kids from such things I would think would just make them all the more curious about them and actually give them MORE credence than just treating them as nothing important.
That my point. Ok I might not have been clear, I’m talking about perception rather than maybe reality. The Qur’an in the eyes of the Muslims is literally the word of god dictated by the angel Gabriel. The bible is a collection of books that are mostly inspired by god but not dictated. The only bit of the bible i can think of that comes directly from god is the 10 commandments that were given to mosses on a stone tablet. their for the Qur’an was made by instruction were as the bible was made threw the lives with whom god collaborated.
In the “Falcon and the Winter Soldier” series (on DisneyPlus), there are some serious and poignant conversations about race relations in the U.S. btw, the new Captain America is Black!
I agree with you… but all it takes is one story of a child getting interested in “the occult” or ouji boards or anything like that because of Harry Potter, and it will spread. James Dobson (Focus on the Family) was not a fan of Harry Potter, back in the day – I bet that influenced my family far more than any actual analysis of the stories themselves.
Well considering how long they’ve been out, if such a story hasn’t come out by now, it seems unlikely we’re ever going to see one, certainly not in any legitimate media (you can always find sites that are happy to jump on any story, or just outright make them up, to create click-bait).
The funny thing is, the “stories” that did go viral as a warning about the books being dangerous, were from satirical sites making fun of those beliefs. Such as this one from The Onion.
BTW - if you haven’t read the Wikipedia article on this topic (specific to the Harry Potter books) it’s a pretty good and in-depth compilation of all the arguments on one side or the other, and nuances in between.
Well, sure… that’s kind of what I’m talking about. I’m not saying I’d put much stock in those kinds of click-baity stories, but for those who expect demons around every corner, it can resonate.
Just for fun, I dug up an old Focus on the Family article about Harry Potter, and one of the primary concerns for this particular author seemed to be that the Harry Potter series has no major “higher authority” figure, as opposed to Narnia, which does. The series does contain good vs. evil, but anyone could wield power without it being given to them by a power above them.
For those that “expect demons around every corner” there will always be something that they can be stressing out over. And anything in popular culture is a particularly common target for them.
One has to wonder sometimes if the people that write these critical articles even READ the books before making such claims. Because this is completely inaccurate. The children in HP books have very strict rules about the use of magic, it’s a running theme through the books. There are clear authority figures from Dumbledore and the other teachers, to the Ministry of Magic, that set rules for the use of magic and penalties for not following them.
So without reading the actual article in question, this to me just seems like a way to try and come up with an arbitrary (and rather disingenuous) reason why the Narnia books are “okay” for Christians while another obviously fantasy series with magical elements is not.
Sure, there are authority figures, but no ultimate authority, unless it’s magic itself. Those in charge just happen to be better and more experienced at magic than most others – not divine or omnipotent the way that Aslan might be seen to be.
I’m not saying I’m all that compelled by the argument – I think there’s a lot of mystery inherent in the idea of “magic,” which isn’t a bad thing, plus Dumbledore could be read as something of a Christ figure at different times.
The Ministry of Magic is that ultimate authority (in the books at least). They aren’t just “better” at magic, they set the rules around the use of magic. They even have a jail for those that don’t follow the rules. Obviously they aren’t “divine” but that doesn’t make them any less of an ultimate authority within the bounds of the fictional world they are in. What you seem to be saying is there isn’t any omnipotent “God” figure in the book… but why should there be?? That is again, just an arbitrary argument that hasn’t been used against other similar books before. While there may be an “omnipotent” force in Narnia, that’s actually a rarity in most fiction (it’s generally considered a cop-out as a narrative element, ala deus ex machina). There certainly isn’t an omnipotent being in LOTR, and no such argument is used as why that would be dangerous to read. In fact, there is vastly more control over the use of magic and who is allowed to use it in HP than in LOTR.
I’m not saying there should be. It was just an argument made by a major Christian organization at the time. The authorities in HP are all people with varying levels of ability. In Narnia, you could theoretically ask, “Who gave anyone the use of magic to begin with? What authority does it ultimately come from?” and get an answer. In HP you couldn’t, and apparently for some, that’s what makes Narnia “safer” for Christian families than HP. Again, not saying I agree with that argument – I enjoy both series.
Again, my point is that that argument is an extremely weak and disingenuous one since it only holds up for that single series of books… and not for other popular ones with magic in them that most Christians don’t object to.
FYI - Aslan isn’t even the ultimate “authority” if you will in the Narnia books. That would be the Emperor-beyond-the-Sea. The White Witch’s magic certainly doesn’t come from Aslan… but she does seem to be compelled to follow the rules of The Deep Magic that are from the EBTS. Again, it is a hard narrative device to have a truly omnipotent being as a main protagonist.
I’d be more inclined to recommend against Disney as a stance against corporate greed. That doesn’t mean that everyone has to boycott them, but that there may be some different and valid reasons to object. But I don’t subscribe to any sort of cable or streaming, not thinking it worth the price, so I’m not really boycotting any one option.
True… which is partly why I don’t think it’s a great argument. From my recollection, the Emperor beyond the Sea is barely mentioned in Narnia – he’s certainly not an active character in the story. But maybe that’s the point? As long as the characters at least mention or give lip service to some kind of mysterious “ultimate authority,” they’re good.
I agree. Magic is certainly presetned as something mysterious that gives life meaning. And it is a discovered meaning, not an attributed one. But JKR never really discusses where magic comes from. Whilst certain aspects of the world might indirectly challenge a person’s worldview. JKR world-building doesn’t really require anyone to suspend or set aside their religious worldview to read it. For example, she stays clear of insinuating that historical religious figures (Jesus, Moses, Mohammed, etc.) were magicians.
Not to mention that her quotations 1 Corinthians 15 on the Potters gravestone, and Dumbledore’s insistence that love is the most powerful magic shows that JKR is leaning heavily on a Judeo-Christian worldview, IMO. And that for Harry (and for most characters), certain magics and actions (eg. Horcruxes, oppressing muggles, etc.) are seen as objectively evil under every and all circumstance. The books generally look poorly on those who use magic for power, as opposed to bettering the world and protecting the weak.
— HERE BE SPOILERS —
However, I would say that the books are also full of wonderful examples of love motivated sacrifice. Lily and James die to save Harry. Sirus dies protecting the members of the DA. Dumbledore dies to save Harry and Draco. Harry dies, in the ultimate Christ moment, to protect those he loves. It is a very 'There is no greater love than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. Additionally, Harry’s ‘death and resurrection’ ensures that those he dies to save are protected from Voldemort until the end of the battle. When the one who is controlled by love (Harry), defeats the one who sees himself as the master of death (Voldemort).
There were plenty of witches, evil spells, enchantment, and the like in my childhood books and movies. There were good and bad witches in the Wizard of Oz, not to mention Snow White, Hansel and Gretel, and so forth. Thankfully, there was no silly fundagelical Focus on the Family hell-bent on ruining childhood.