"It's no secret that the Harry Potter storyline about both good and evil wizards has fueled global teenage increase in Wicca and the occult."

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Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

I wonder if there are actual studies to back the idea that (a) there has been an increase in teen interest in the occult or (b) that this would not have occurred without the Potter stories.
But the idea of fiction marketed to teens that depicts demon indwelling as sometimes a good thing... disturbing.

Lee's picture

Scripture is crystal clear about spiritism and other forms of idolatry--they are not to have any influence in the church or believing individuals. One of the few ironclad commands enforced on local assemblies in the church age is to "abstain from pollutions of idols (Acts 15:20)." Spiritism is in-arguably idolatry, and these movies certainly qualify as pollutions, so it is really irrelevant if there is any study that verifies the premise of the article. We know from Scripture, both Old and New Testaments, that any involvement with idolatry, even at the furthest point from the source ("pollutions") will have a negative consequence on the believer and assembly. It's a no-brainer! Scripture says "flee from idolatry;" "guard yourselves from idols;" and "abstain from pollutions of idols." Studies that verify or no, it will have to be a matter of obedience.

Lee

Bob Hayton's picture

Harry Potter is an imaginary tale. It is fiction. And it is quite tame given the world it creates.

I really enjoyed Kevin Bauder's series on fantasy literature that specifically addressed Harry Potter. Christians that are fine with Narnia or Lord of the Rings, should have no principled objection to Harry Potter.

In fact this movie should give people something to talk about, as the 7th book included the concept of substitutionary concept in a riveting way.

Striving for the unity of the faith, for the glory of God ~ Eph. 4:3, 13; Rom. 15:5-7 I blog at Fundamentally Reformed. Follow me on Twitter.

Dave Talbert's picture

I have no objection to the fantasy of HP any more than to any other story or fable. My dislike of the Harry Potter series stems from the character of Harry himself as an often self-centered rebel. My dislike of the character of Harry was so strong by the fourth book that I only kept reading because my sisters hounded me about it. Harry's character stands in stark contrast to the essential nobility (flawed as it is) of the central characters in both the Narnia series and the Lord of the Rings.

Imaginary magic and pretend wizards? Meh. Selfishness and rebellion? OK, now I'm concerned.

Bob Hayton's picture

Dave,

I agree totally. Although I wasn't as put off by Harry, but my eyebrows were raised several times. That is the caution that Bauder stresses too.

My "no objection" was in the context of to the fantasy part of the story. If good wizards and bad sorcerers are okay in Lord of the Rings, in principle they should be fine in the world of Harry Potter.

Since you've read the series, you may agree with me on this next observation. I had heard through the grapevine that the series was bad literature, poorly written, and not really a positive thing for so many kids to be reading. It wouldn't help their literary skills at all. I found that to be a bald lie told by some Christians who don't like Harry Potter. The series is more simply written at first to match the intended audience, but it grows with the readers, and I found it to be very well written. It does take a genius of a writer to write a series that does so well, and that's what we have in Harry Potter.

Striving for the unity of the faith, for the glory of God ~ Eph. 4:3, 13; Rom. 15:5-7 I blog at Fundamentally Reformed. Follow me on Twitter.

Chip Van Emmerik's picture

Furthermore, the presentation of magic is entirely different in Narnia and HP. In Narnia, the Supreme Being is the giver of all power, to whom all wielders of power are ultimately accountable. In HP, the magic is innate to certain individuals who are free to use or abuse their power as they see fit. I was a principal when the first book came out, so I read it. Besides the magic, I was appalled at the poor character on display promoted by the hero. He lied, broke rules, and generally acted in rebellion, Yet somehow, there was never a negative consequence for his sinfulness. On the contrary, his wickedness was repeatedly rewarded and exulted, repeatedly promoting him as wiser than the authority figures he was disobeying. Frankly, I share Lee's concern with HP, as well as with the whole Star Wars genre.

Why is it that my voice always seems to be loudest when I am saying the dumbest things?

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

Lee wrote:
Scripture is crystal clear about spiritism and other forms of idolatry--they are not to have any influence in the church or believing individuals. One of the few ironclad commands enforced on local assemblies in the church age is to "abstain from pollutions of idols (Acts 15:20)." Spiritism is in-arguably idolatry, and these movies certainly qualify as pollutions, so it is really irrelevant if there is any study that verifies the premise of the article. We know from Scripture, both Old and New Testaments, that any involvement with idolatry, even at the furthest point from the source ("pollutions") will have a negative consequence on the believer and assembly. It's a no-brainer! Scripture says "flee from idolatry;" "guard yourselves from idols;" and "abstain from pollutions of idols." Studies that verify or no, it will have to be a matter of obedience.

Lee, I agree with you about spiritism and idolatry.
Whether works of fiction fit in that category is not a no brainer though.

I have slowly come to realize over the last decade that many Christians bounce between a kind of practical rationalism (basically denying the existence of anything supernatural or anything we don't understand or that can't be verified by science) and a kind of superstition (irrational fear of the supernatural/anything we can't explain/verify by science). These are both odd attitudes for Christians to have. The Bible is a bit vague about much what goes on among the principalities and powers and rulers of the darkness of this age, and even more vague about what goes among the angelic hosts. And it's not entirely clear that "good angels" and "bad angels" all there is either.

So what I'm suggesting here is that the real problem even among occultists is not that they believe in the supernatural or reject a view of the world where "everything real is measurable," but rather that they reject God and the gospel.
Here's a way to test your thinking on this... which of these is scarier?

  • A scientist who believes the empirically verifiable is all there is
  • A spiritist who believes spirits are real but rejects God

I contend that both are lost in darkness and the spiritist's warm darkness is not worse than the science-worshiper's cold darkness.

BryanBice's picture

I know I'm dating myself here, but I can still remember all the hullabaloo caused by The Exorcist & Rosemary's Baby. One would've thought an entire generation of teens was destined to join the Church of Satan. I personally knew of no converts in my suburban high school of 3500. And of course, in time, the fad passed, & preachers found new targets for their charge of THE tool of Satan to usher this generation into the abyss (e.g. disco, Cyndi Lauper, and contemporary Christian music). Potter mania? This too shall pass away. Anyone remember Twilight?

Susan R's picture

EditorModerator

I'm no HP fan, mostly for the reasons Bro. Talbert gave, but sometimes I wonder why we tend to get our knickers in a twist about HP and the occult and have no problem with Jurassic Park or Star Trek. I think kids are much more likely to be confused by evolution than by the use of magic. One is presented quite clearly as fantasy, but the other as science fiction based on fact. Random thought.

However, I'm not dismissing the possible dangers of fiction with occult elements. I was very fascinated with and susceptible to the occult in my teenage years. For some kids, HP could be a gateway to the 'real' world of the occult. I came very close.

I don't know how they can track vampirism or interest in Wicca to a particular movie, book, or tv show. It's always been around, and it's always been popular. Bela Lugosi and Christopher Lee, anyone?

As far as romantic teenage vamps go, Buffy the Vampire Slayer was HUGE (and still has a major cult following) from about 1997 to 2003, right around the time that HP first gained popularity. Witchcraft was a major part of that show, and it spun off into Angel. Also, Charmed began airing in 1998.

The 60's, 70's and 80's gave us Dark Shadows, Kolchak, The Lost Boys, Fright Night, Richard Matheson (and for 200 points, how many times has I Am Legend been done?), Stephen King, Anne Rice, The Hunger, Nick Knight, Brian Lumley, the Anno Dracula series...

Did I mention that I was fascinated with the occult when I was a kid? http://www.freesmileys.org/smileys.php ][img ]http://www.freesmileys.org/smileys/smiley-char018.gif[/img ]

Bottom line- I don't 'worry' over occult elements in fantasy fiction any more than I do evolution in science fiction, but I do read with my kids, and we talk almost every day about what we are reading, what the author's purpose might have been, how Biblical principles apply to the plot and theme... and I help them balance their intake of fantasy and sci-fi genre fiction with other kinds of literature.

Chip Van Emmerik's picture

You know, fantasy is great fun. But I don't understand why Christians are comfortable with fantasy about stuff prohibited in Scripture. There's much clearer commands to avoid the occult than say alcohol, but professing believers who have no qualms about make believe magic would never approve of fantasy stories involving drinking games.

Why is it that my voice always seems to be loudest when I am saying the dumbest things?

Susan R's picture

EditorModerator

It is not the element itself (magic, alcohol, drugs) IMO, but how it is treated in the story. We know the story of the witch of Endor, but we are not encouraged to engage in witchcraft by reading the account.

Shaynus's picture

Chip,

To Susan's point, it's how the element is treated in the story for sure. The Bible is full of magic and really, alcohol. It contains a story of those such as Noah and Lot, who got drunk and did some things they'd rather regret. It is through both negative and positive example that we learn.

For example in the Lord of the Rings (The Fellowship of the Ring) the company of hobbits goes into a tavern and famously exclaim "it comes in pints!?" Yes, the drinking seems fun at the time but it gets out of hand and trouble comes of it. Here we have a fantasy story with a negative example of the effects of alcohol in copious amounts.

Further, your comment (#12) seems to make a straight line between drinking alcohol and drinking games, and a movie containing witchcraft, and that witchcraft being out of hand. Both the analogy and the intended point take things to extremes that don't have to be taken there. Wisdom can prevail in both.

Shayne

Ron Bean's picture

BryanBice wrote:
I know I'm dating myself here, but I can still remember all the hullabaloo caused by The Exorcist & Rosemary's Baby. One would've thought an entire generation of teens was destined to join the Church of Satan. I personally knew of no converts in my suburban high school of 3500. And of course, in time, the fad passed, & preachers found new targets for their charge of THE tool of Satan to usher this generation into the abyss (e.g. disco, Cyndi Lauper, and contemporary Christian music). Potter mania? This too shall pass away. Anyone remember Twilight?

I remember a church boycotting a Christian school's spring concert because they were endorsing witchcraft by including http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BAJr1ixBdIc ]this mystical conjuring chant in a fun song segment. Then there was the protest against the evil Mary Poppins :O and the dangers of Disney's "The Sorcerer's Apprentice". (Excuse me. There are Mormons at the door. I think I'll turn them into toads.)

"Some things are of that nature as to make one's fancy chuckle, while his heart doth ache." John Bunyan

Shaynus's picture

@Ron HA! make sure your spell doesn't turn the Mormons into fairy princesses. That could mean a lawsuit, or a broadway musical!

Susan R's picture

EditorModerator

I think we need to keep in mind that "fools make a mock at sin". Witchcraft is undoubtedly sin. The presence of the occult elements in entertainment should not be taken lightly. I don't think we need to launch protests and march on Washington, but we also shouldn't dismiss it as harmless just because it is in a cartoon or presented as fantasy. We don't know what will be a particular stumblingblock to a child or a new/weak Christian, so discernment and honest communication is always always always important.

The first book with occult elements that I ever read was http://www.amazon.com/Candle-Her-Room-Knight-Books/dp/0340253398/ref=sr_... ]A Candle in Her Room . I was 9 years old, and it affected me deeply- I remember every bit of it to this day. I was terrified and thrilled at the same time. I kept seeking out that feeling in my reading choices. Not a good dynamic for spiritual growth.

I not only want to know what my kids are reading, but why.

Edited to add: The "fools" comment is not directed at previous responses in this thread, but at the portrayal of witchcraft in fiction as fun or frivolous.

Shaynus's picture

Susan,

Do you think there's a difference when the magic portrayed in literature or movies is happening in a clearly different fantasy world than our own? That somehow makes a difference in my mind. So: Twilight (which I despise for all kinds of reasons) happens in our world at a real school with real kids. In fantasy like the Lord of the Rings, there is an entire detailed and constructed world that will not confuse people that it's somewhere present on earth.

Additionally, did you watch the videos I posted above about magic with Doug Wilson? I wonder your thoughts on the difference between high tech and magic? Is magic really manipulating the physical world to get an enhanced, powerful effect? The line can be blurry. If we brought an iPad back in time to the Puritan era, they would clearly dunk me in the river for magic because what I would be holding is impossible to understand.

Shayne

Susan R's picture

EditorModerator

Wasn't it Arthur C. Clarke that said "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic"? The caveat is that high tech won't violate the laws of physics, while by definition magic must do so.

I did watch Mr. Wilson's videos (while washing dishes, so he didn't have my undivided attention) and from what I heard, I mostly agree. It isn't the presence of magic or sorcery, but who wields and why, and what is the source of their power? Biblical miracles all give glory to God, while most modern depictions do not.

I have to stop here and say that just because there are what we call 'objectionable elements' in media doesn't mean we (my family) won't watch/read it. There is more than one kind of reading/viewing, and we study some literature for its cultural impact or historical significance. The only elements that we absolutely will not tolerate are nudity of any kind and sexual situations (whether simulated or discussed).

So back to the point- I think we have to realize that one can't mindlessly enjoy books or movies. It is essential, especially with children, to point out the right and wrong and learn to properly critique what is being portrayed. Any time the bad guy is a sympathetic character or the hero uses immoral or unethical means to reach his goal or resolve the conflict, our Discern-O-Meters head for the red zone. That would include how and why occult elements are being used in a story.

Shaynus's picture

Magic can mean an illusion or a paranormal activity. So tech could be magic if it creates an illusion of reality.

Susan R's picture

EditorModerator

I think the difference between tech and magic is the source. Magic is not physically possible in our universe and the source is always supernatural. High tech generally follows the rules of science. Where it doesn't abide by the laws of physics, it becomes fantasy, but is not necessarily magic/occult. Star Trek is a good example of that- a transporter or time travel is not possible, but they are explained in the story as being 'scientifically' possible. 'Magical' powers are also given a 'scientific' explanation in superhero fiction like Spiderman and X-Men. An illusion has a natural explanation, so it isn't truly magic.

Cellular technology seems 'magical' to my mother (who is 84) because she doesn't understand how it works,, and she actually fears it to a degree. But it certainly is not magic.

Mike Durning's picture

Arthur C. Clarke's famous law was "Any technology, sufficiently advanced, would be indistinguishable from magic."

The delightfully funny corollary some wag created was "Any technology distinguishable from magic is not yet sufficiently advanced." This explains why people who are not technically informed become frustrated with their PC or Cell Phone not doing what they want it to. The whole thing seems magic to them, so why shouldn't it do as they will it to?

These observations, though, also betray a blurriness in our thinking on the issue. It might seem to some who are not spiritually informed that "magic" might be just another form of technology -- that it is the manipulation of forces our science does not understand. They might reason that "Magic-users" are people who are learning to manipulate these forces through trial and error, just as a village wise-woman in old England might stumble on a herbal cure that genuinely worked for a reason that we now know to be valid scientifically.

But this betrays a failure to understand the forces at work. What people call magic (other than in the prestidigitation sense) is always the harnessing of occult forces via entities. The user feels they are manipulating forces, but they are in turn being manipulated by the entities. Perhaps the only non-Christians who clearly understand the distinction would be the animists, who attempt to align themselves with occult entities to accomplish their goals. Of course, their animist theology does not account for ultimate good and evil, nor an ultimately good God who has power over all of things and beings.

And, of course, this only applies to the vanishingly tiny percentage of mystic things that actually occur, as opposed to the endless recounting of stories that are usually self-deceptions.

Dan Miller's picture

Dave Talbert wrote:
... My dislike of the Harry Potter series stems from the character of Harry himself as an often self-centered rebel. My dislike of the character of Harry was so strong by the fourth book that I only kept reading because my sisters hounded me about it. Harry's character stands in stark contrast to the essential nobility (flawed as it is) of the central characters in both the Narnia series and the Lord of the Rings.

Imaginary magic and pretend wizards? Meh. Selfishness and rebellion? OK, now I'm concerned.

Interesting objection. Harry is either rebellious or independent. When his adult companions are apathetic or oppositional to Harry in his fight against evil, he certainly does disregard their "leadership."

But I think that independence is a better term for this than rebellious.

The whole series presents independent kids. Harry is at a boarding school without much supervision in daily life. Yet the students (Hermione, especially) are really quite studious. I have always thought that was one of the big appeals of the books. The idea that kids can work and do their homework, chores, etc. without all the adult supervision.

I heard a acting coach talking on the radio several years ago. He was at an acting camp for junior high level kids. They gave the kids a project in which they had to invent a fictional character and develop him/her. Given multiple choices, about 90% chose to portray a child who was in some sense an orphan. A lot of children/teen books seem to build on this. The Narnia kids, while sometimes surrounded by adults of varying respectability, are themselves the decision makers and doers what needs doing in Narnia. They are independent.

Modern studies have born out that desire for independence peaks in early adolescence and wanes in the late teens.
I'm not quite ready to call this a criticism of the Potter books. I do think it is part of why they are popular.

Dave Talbert's picture

Dan Miller wrote:
Harry is at a boarding school without much supervision in daily life. Yet the students (Hermione, especially) are really quite studious. I have always thought that was one of the big appeals of the books. The idea that kids can work and do their homework, chores, etc. without all the adult supervision.

This is independence, and I applaud it rather than objecting to it. What I *do* object to is the constant breaking of rules and (later) even laws. That's not independence. That's rebellion.

RPittman's picture

Aaron Blumer wrote:
I wonder if there are actual studies to back the idea that (a) there has been an increase in teen interest in the occult or (b) that this would not have occurred without the Potter stories.
But the idea of fiction marketed to teens that depicts demon indwelling as sometimes a good thing... disturbing.
Research and statistics are purely descriptive methodological devices that collect, organize, and analyze data. Methodology cannot give valuation and make right decisions. Come on! We don't determine what is right and wrong, or good and bad, or moral and immoral by studies. Whatever happened to observations and human decision-making? After all, this is the way that we run our businesses, our lives, etc. I know the politicians live by the polls but that's not real life. Now the data flow is so immense and conflicting that information overload abounds and we can't even find meaningful directions in statistics. When all is done and said, it comes down to common sense and the gut-decision.

Now, if it only adversely affects a statistically insignificant portion of teen interest in the occult, is it justified? One victim is as significant as thousands. Even anecdotal evidence of a few pastors whose teens are led astray by Harry Potter stories can be enough to condemn the series. Does Harry Potter excite interest in the occult? Just open your ears and listen to the kids.

I do, however, agree with your point on marketing . . . this in the diabolical side of the business . . . . J-)

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

I don't think I said much about any of that. (But if one of X matters, it stands to reason that more than one of X matters more. I think this is pretty self evident.)
And I'm not against marketing either.

Several posts up, there was some back and forth about magic vs. tech.

I think the reason people are so comfortable w/imaginary futuristic tech. compared to imaginary "magic" is the bias I referred to in my previous post. We're conditioned by modernism to see science as safe and supernatural as spooky. We think of "occult elemnts" in stories as being a special province of Satanic attack but do not attach the same wariness to the kind of story that rejects all supernatural reality and all religion with it.

But is "spooky stuff" more likely to be used by Satan to allure people into deceit than non-spooky stuff? I'm inclined to think that in our day, he is more inclined to use the latter.
Christians, by definition believe in the supernatural. Nothing is more toxic to Christian faith than outright rejection that "there is more" than science can observe.

So my point is just that a "creepy" story with wizards in it is not more likely to be "Satanic" than a space story with lasers and robots in it and nothing supernatural at all.

Another note: suggest studying what "witchcraft" means in the Bible. We are getting the term via translation. I have not done much digging, but I wonder if the term has any resemblance at all to the spell-casting stuff of legend and lore.

Mike Durning's picture

Aaron Blumer wrote:
But is "spooky stuff" more likely to be used by Satan to allure people into deceit than non-spooky stuff? I'm inclined to think that in our day, he is more inclined to use the latter.Christians, by definition believe in the supernatural. Nothing is more toxic to Christian faith than outright rejection that "there is more" than science can observe.

C.S. Lewis, in his Screwtape Letters, has the demon Screwtape reflecting on how the mixture of a scientific worldview with vague superstition in mankind is a high goal of the demonic world.

Screwtape says, “I have great hopes that we shall learn in due time how to emotionalize and mythologize their science to such an extent that what is, in effect, a belief in us (though not under that name) will creep in while the human mind remains closed to belief in the Enemy. The ‘Life Force’ … may here prove useful.” He goes on, “If once we can produce our perfect work—the Materialist Magician, the man, not using, but veritably worshipping, what he vaguely calls ‘Forces’ while denying the existence of spirits—then the end of our war will be in sight.”

More relevant to the main thread of discussion here is what Lewis puts in the preface of most editions: “There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils. One is to disbelieve their existence. The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them. They themselves are equally pleased by both errors, and hail a materialist or a magician with the same delight.” I’m sure that, based on the later content in the book, he would say that the “Materialist Magician” would incorporate the dangers of both.

Aaron Blumer wrote:
Another note: suggest studying what "witchcraft" means in the Bible. We are getting the term via translation. I have not done much digging, but I wonder if the term has any resemblance at all to the spell-casting stuff of legend and lore.

Studied it. And it is not easy, since so much of our lexicography is derived from usage in our language.

I made this a key point in my discussions with parents who were alarmed by the Harry Potter novels. My argument was: “Evaluate the books as you would any other fiction your children wished to read, but have some balance on the ‘witch’ thing.” We discussed at length the passages forbidding occult practice from their Hebrew and Greek words. I then pointed out that we have a distorted view of such passages because the KJV (and subsequent English translations) translates those words with the English “witch”, which has connections to a particular image in our minds that is not necessarily found in Scripture. In fact, it almost certainly never existed.

Our English word witch comes from an older word, wic, that referred to the village wise woman, who had at her disposal many herbal cures (potions) that would be mingled with superstitious explanations as to their working. These wics were brutally suppressed as Roman and post-Roman Christians came to the British Isles, because their work was viewed as linked to their pagan theology (which would be more or less true, depending on the wic in question). The confusion is that the Roman Catholic church in the Middle Ages made little technical distinction between “pagan” and “Satanic” as categories. Therefore, the village wise woman went from herbalist whose beliefs were pretty typical for Pre-Christian Britain to agent of Satan in 2 short steps. A witch was in league with Satan.

Humorously, when talking to concerned parents in our church, one of the women who showed the greatest concern was a dear Christian grandmother who is very much a leader in the herbal remedies community and who speaks against what we now call “traditional medicine”. I pointed out that by old English reckoning, she would have been the witch! She got it.

As for modern “witches”, I suspect they have fallen into their own mythological trap. They believe the church’s version (there were witches, the church burned them at the stake, etc.). That’s not to say that Satan can’t use modern “witchcraft”, bereft of historical accuracy as it is, to lure someone into the true occult.

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

That was very interesting. Sounds like you did your homework on the whole thing. It's very difficult sometimes to help folks see that a word in Scripture may not actually have any equivalent in our language.

Shaynus's picture

Aaron and Mike,

Great set of comments there. Very clear thinking like this sets up some guard rails for not getting too extreme in either direction. I can't help but think of Romans 1. Both a witch and a technologist can make the mistake of worshiping the creation rather than the creator. At a basic level, that's the sin. Where would any movie, play or work of literature be without at least some of that in the storyline?

Shayne

JobK's picture

Bob Hayton wrote:
Harry Potter is an imaginary tale. It is fiction. And it is quite tame given the world it creates.

I really enjoyed Kevin Bauder's series on fantasy literature that specifically addressed Harry Potter. Christians that are fine with Narnia or Lord of the Rings, should have no principled objection to Harry Potter.

Lord of the Rings was written by a Roman Catholic. Further, J.R.R. Tolkien always emphatically denied that Lord of the Rings was ever supposed to be any sort of Christian allegory, but instead was his attempt to give England a system of mythical literature akin to that of the Celts, Norse, Greeks, Romans etc. Far from being a Christian allegory, Tolkien's Lord of the Rings universe is polytheistic. One can't tell so much from the most popular books, the Hobbit and the Rings books, but from the other books the Tolkien universe has a number of gods for its creators and rulers, and is also dualistic, as the "good gods" cannot defeat the "evil gods." It isn't quite the same as traditional polytheistic mythology, as the Tolkien gods are transcendent and not immanent, and they aren't tied up into agricultural or astronomical cycles, fertility rituals or anything like that, but it is still polytheism. And despite the attempts to propose Aragorn as some allegory or symbol of Jesus Christ ... Aragorn is NOT God in the flesh but a mere human. There is no "heaven" but rather just some magical place where its inhabitants never die, and entrance into that place is granted automatically to some (elves I suppose) but is earned by others.

Narnia: more of the same. If anything, the fact that Narnia was intended to be a Christian allegory makes it even worse than Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter. First off, we have to deal with Lewis's beliefs, which not only include Rob Bell-esque pluralism/inclusivism, but included strange, mystical/magical stuff. Explicit faith in Aslan is not required; there is no organized religious system (at least not concerning Aslan), no divine revelation or holy scriptures to speak of. Salvation is not only given to men that are made in the image of God, but to an assortment of beasts and creatures who appear to have nothing in common save the capacity for higher reasoning. Magic (or to be honest sorcery and witchcraft) is an integral part, and is used both by the "good" for their purposes and the "bad" for theirs, making it morally neutral, and moreover Aslan himself appears to be subject to the laws and power of magic. Consider his resurrection: Aslan was not resurrected through divine power, but by the power of magic thanks to his own adherence to the magical laws or rules. And what is Aslan anyhow? He is not the Word of God made flesh, and He most certainly is not a Trinity (no reference to the Father in whose Name He came and whose will He performed, or the Spirit by which He did mighty works, or how they live in Aslan and Aslan in them). Is Aslan omnipotent? Omniscient? Omnipresent? Nope. He just happens to be smarter and more powerful than his enemies. Also, like Lord of the Rings, salvation is earned by good works, by being and doing good, in Narnia.

Christians willfully project orthodoxy onto Narnia where none exists. "Oooh, Aslan died and resurrected for Edmund." Fine, but where is original sin and federal headship? As Edmund was not the originator of the human race - or any other race for that matter - why did his "sin" have anything to do with the Narnians, or for that matter with his brothers and sisters? With no federal headship or original sin, Aslan's act "atoned" for Edmund and Edmund alone. Further, what was it that made Edmund's act sinful to require Aslan's atonement to begin with? Aslan never told Edmund not to eat the Turkish delight from the white witch, nor was this behavior forbidden by anyone speaking on Aslan's behalf or any holy scriptures. The idea that he "betrayed" his brothers and sisters ... how was he to know that the white witch was evil? A ten year old boy with no prior useful knowledge of Narnia whatsoever, a 10 year old boy runs across some random woman, accepts candy from her and consents to her desire to meet his siblings with no way of knowing that what he did was wrong beyond a "don't take candy from strangers" sense. (Even had Aslan told Edmund not to do so ... who was Aslan to Edmund but a talking lion with magical powers from another world or dimension? Did Aslan present himself to Edmund as his creator and god and forbid him from eating the Turkish delight based on that sovereign authority?) This is akin to Adam - a grown man regularly interacting with God and given dominion of the earth - eating from the tree of knowledge of good and evil after being warned by God that if he eats it he will surely die how, exactly? So if Edmund is an allegorical reference to Adam, then it means that Adam was innocent of any guilt and was unfairly judged and condemned. God forbid that such be so! The idea that a person can learn anything useful or true about Christianity from "Narnia" is utterly false, and it is amazing that so many people have believed otherwise for so long.

Bob Hayton wrote:
In fact this movie should give people something to talk about, as the 7th book included the concept of substitutionary concept in a riveting way.

No it doesn't. The reason is that only Jesus Christ could perform substitutionary atonement. None other is worthy, none other is able, for none other is able to meet God's requirements of perfection, for none other is God in the flesh. So unless the true, actual Jesus Christ of the Bible and history is the subject and object, there can be no concept of substitutionary atonement in truth. Instead, it can only be a lie against the actual nature of substitutionary atonement because it is a lie against the nature, Person and work of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ wasn't just some guy who died for somebody else. Jesus Christ is the Word of God who became flesh when He was born of a virgin, died for the sins of many, was resurrected, ascended to the right hand of God the Father, lives forevermore, and will one day return to judge the quick and the dead. These Aslans, Harry Potters, the guy in "Lost" (Jack Shephard I think) ... are false Christs who are not presented as the solution for the dilemma of human sinfulness before a holy God, and even if they did they would be unworthy solutions. Instead, all they do is deny the existence of the dilemma, and mock and blaspheme the true and only Solution to the dilemma. Being someone with severe character flaws (and oh yeah, A WITCH), Potter was unsuitable to die for his own sins, let alone anyone else's. And this Potter was resurrected by magic, not by God, thanks to the sacrifice of his witch mother, not of the sinless God-man Jesus Christ. And Christians are supposed to learn about substitutionary atonement (or anything else Christian) from this idolatrous blasphemy how?

Now I am not against secular literature. But boundaries have to be drawn somewhere. If we can't say "no thanks" to Harry Potter, then what would be the rationale for saying that anything is wrong for a Christian to read or see? If works that promote witchcraft are OK, then what is the problem with X-rated movies that are (using your words) "quite tame considering ..."?

Solo Christo, Soli Deo Gloria, Sola Fide, Sola Gratia, Sola Scriptura
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