Why Christians should avoid Harry Potter (1 of 2)
Most [wilderness] survival situations arise in one of two ways: either you are thrust into a situation not of your making and beyond your control, or (as is more often the case) a situation develops because of a sequence of events that could have been avoided had you recognized the danger signs and acted on them at the earliest opportunity. Unfortunately, most survival situations occur as a result of ignorance, arrogance, an overconfident belief in one's own ability, or because the forces of nature have been underestimated.1
As with wilderness survival, I think many times the spiritual crises in our church are the result of ignorance, arrogance, and overconfidence; and in the case of Harry Potter especially, I also think it also involves an underestimating of the forces of Satan. I feel that watching Harry Potter for entertainment is like heading out into the wilderness of Satan with an overconfident attitude; it is begging for spiritual trouble.
Most in the church believe Harry Potter is a matter of individual liberty and conscience. However, I think this just feeds the overconfidence of many people. Like the forces of nature to the explorer, the forces of Satan are not to be underestimated. And, unlike the forces of nature, which are "passive" in the sense that they are neither intentionally helpful or hostile to the explorer, the forces of Satan are "active" and specifically targeted at destroying your soul.
One article gives a disturbing speculative answer to the question, "What Would Jesus Do?" regarding Harry Potter:
Jesus might look at the multitudes who love the Harry Potter stories in the same way he looked at the multitude who came to him hungry for food. He might tell his disciples to feed them, giving them what they were hungry for on the surface of things (a great story with supernatural aspects) then offer them what they are truly hungry for – him.2
To me, quotes like this from mainstream Christian sources demonstrate how far the church has wandered off-course. In the next post in this two-part series, I would like to answer common reasons and counter-arguments people give for justifying Harry Potter. Today, I would like to look at four reasons I believe Christians should avoid it completely:
- It fills our minds with witchcraft
- Kids will role play as Harry and his friends
- It can lead others into sin
- It portrays witchcraft as cool and good
1: It fills our minds with witchcraft
First, Christians should avoid Harry Potter because it fills our minds with witchcraft. Wandering into the wilderness of Satan is not like hiking through beautiful mountains and seeing amazing scenery; rather, it is like walking through a "dry and thirsty land" (Psalm 63:1), trudging through a bog or a desert of "doleful creatures" (Isaiah 13:22). When we head into Satan's wilderness, we fill our minds with evil, death, and gloom. The following quote is written by someone who watched the first Harry Potter movie:
Clearly Harry and his classmates "learn to imitate" the practice of witchcraft. The school is called "Hogwart's School of Witchcraft and Wizardry." Unashamed, a spokesman for Warner Brothers stated: "The film is an accurate portrayal of things that happen in Witchcraft." The witchcraft in the movie is not just "mechanical magic" like pulling a rabbit out of a hat. Instead, it is unmistakably the same as witchcraft as defined by The Encyclopedia of Wicca and Witchcraft.3
Harry Potter does not simply "contain" witchcraft; rather, witchcraft forms the basis for the entire plot and fills the movies and books, and so when we watch them, we are filling our minds with these things as well.
One saying which has been quite popular in the tech world is: "Garbage in, garbage out" (GIGO). In other words, if you are using a computer program and enter garbage data, you can expect garbage results. The same is true of our minds. If we fill it with garbage through the chute of entertainment, garbage will come out. Have you ever been around someone who constantly takes God's name in vain and uses foul language? Perhaps you've found yourself subconsciously "thinking" in terms of those swear words without realizing it. Obviously we can't always control what we are exposed to in the world, but we do have a choice in entertainment. If we fill our minds with witchcraft willingly, which is spiritual filth, then that is what will come out eventually.
Filling our minds with witchcraft is an issue for at least three reasons:
- It violates the "simple concerning evil" principle. We don't want to learn about darkness when we don't have to.
- It violates Philippians 4:8. No one can seriously say, "I want to catch the movie Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone so that I can fill my mind with things that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, of good report, and full of virtue and praise." At best, such a statement would be sarcastic.
- Witchcraft is especially dangerous. This area of witchcraft likely forms the deepest caverns and most deceptive traps in Satan's wilderness. By it, people are introduced to the power of Satan, unmasked, unashamed, and unapologetic. When a story's excitement is fueled by the power of Satan, it is extremely dangerous.
2: Kids will "role play" as Harry and his friends
Second, Christians should avoid Harry Potter because children will "role play" as Harry and his friends. If you have watched a Western with children around, you know how quickly they can point their "gun"-shaped hand at their sibling and say, "Stick 'em up!"
When my siblings and I were younger, we saw a movie about the basketball player Pete Maravich. After that, our family went into a phase of lots of basketball practice. Movies have a way of getting us excited about things; we want to imagine ourselves as making the game-saving basketball shot or doing whatever the hero does. I believe this is especially true with children.
Playing basketball is fine, and I don't see much danger in an innocent joke to "stick 'em up" with a fake "hand" gun. But do you really want your children pretending to cast spells on each other or pretending to practice sorcery? It is perhaps the most direct link to the satanic realm of demons. Keep away! Don't play with fire.
3: It can lead others into sin
Third, Christians should avoid Harry Potter because it can lead others into sin. Even if you believe that you will make it through Satan's wilderness without harm (though I don't think that is possible), consider the harm others could face who follow you. Some child might say, "So-and-so in the church watches Harry Potter, so it must be okay." And some person who has a tendency toward witchcraft might walk right into the depths of Satan while using your life's example to rationalize it.
Sheep are pretty stupid. I've read that a farmer put his foot in the way of a line of sheep walking, and the sheep naturally jumped over it. When he removed his foot, the sheep continued jumping at that spot because that's what the sheep ahead of them did. Sheep definitely have a "herd mentality," and in many ways, we people are like that too. The Bible compares us to sheep. Be careful with the example you leave for others. Putting aside the harm that I believe it does to your own heart, think about the harm it could do to others. Witchcraft is serious business, and the power of Satan, though finite, is strong. Some people can become extremely fascinated with the occult and possibly even become witches themselves, or at the very least, have their hearts darkened. I wouldn't want that on my conscience. It is just too dangerous to take lightly.
4: It portrays witchcraft as cool and good
Fourth, Christians should avoid Harry Potter because it portrays witchcraft as "cool" and "good". Satan attempts to confuse and disorient those who wander in his wilderness to the point that they think north is south and south is north. It is bad enough that Harry Potter fills our minds with images and sounds of sorcery; but it is even worse when it tries to trick us into thinking it's not that bad, or maybe even good. I've read some professing Christians online trying to defend Harry, saying he did what he did for a good cause. Since Harry is the hero, this is obviously the intent of the writer--to make witchcraft seem acceptable, as though it can be used for good.
Even some posts taking a more liberal approach to Harry Potter understand this point. For instance, one popular post states:
The distinction between good and bad can become blurred as both the "good" and "evil" characters participate in different types witchcraft and magic.4
When the movie portrays to children (and adults) a "good" character performing witchcraft, it sends a powerful message to the heart in an attempt to overturn clear thinking according to the Bible. Witchcraft is evil, not good. "Woe unto them that call evil good..." (Isaiah 5:20).
Harry Potter would have been almost universally condemned by the church had it been around fifty years ago, and even some people who would have been considered more liberal in the church spoke against it when it first came out. Just because the church has removed most of its "danger" signs doesn't mean the danger is reduced; it just means the church has become less discerning and more drowsy spiritually. Please don't be like the overconfident wilderness explorer who underestimates danger, bringing about a survival situation. Stay away from Satan's wilderness altogether, and instead enjoy the great things that God's Word and wholesome entertainment afford. Shunning the evil works of darkness will help you to keep your heart with all diligence.
The Survival Handbook: Essential Skills for Outdoor Adventure; Nicky Munro and Richard Gilbert, Senior Editors; Second American Edition, c2012, DK Publishing; p. 16 ↩
http://www1.cbn.com/books/what-would-jesus-do-with-harry-potter, accessed 2018 February ↩
http://www.creationdefense.org/91.htm, accessed 2018 February ↩
https://www.gotquestions.org/Harry-Potter-Christian.html, accessed 2018 February ↩