Last week, Russ Breimeier's commentary, "Redeeming Harry Potter," noted a number of redeeming themes worth applaud in the books and movies about the boy wizard.
We only received a few e-mails in response to that commentary, but a couple of them were so vitriolic in tone that I cited them in our weekly CT at the Movies newsletter. My intro, titled "There's Something About Harry", quoted one reader who implied that we were among the "deceived elect" because we dared to find some good things in Harry Potter. Another accused us of "supporting the magical arts," adding, "I guess next you'll start endorsing homosexuality or perhaps bigamy?"
Hmm. We didn't need to come to our own defense. Many readers did, though a few also thought we'd gone off the deep, dark end for saying anything positive about Harry and his world.
Anyway, here's a sampling of what some of our readers said—divided up into the pros and cons.
In light of criticism you've received, I would like to state that what you do best, in my opinion, is rise above the stupid, predictable, and confining rhetoric of both conservative and liberal points of view. I appreciate how your reviews assume that your readers possess both faithfulness and intelligence; and, how individual believers are assumed capable of wise decision-making using CT's insights as helpful, but not instructive, tools in their own media discernment process.
Evangelicals have some of the most overworked knee joints. We react without becoming educated so often that people think we are a part of a faith whose primary mission is to oppose things. When my mother taught 7th and 8th grade at a Christian school back in the 1980s, she was fired for reading stories about witchcraft. Her chosen book? The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. When she told the superintendent it was by C. S. Lewis, he said, "Then none of his books will be tolerated in this school." He was clueless. Thanks for all your help in finding decent films to take my family and church groups to see.
My wife and I loved your common sense article and agree wholeheartedly with it. Enough of the legalism.
I am thankful that Harry Potter created an interest in my children for reading. No other series, including Narnia, has done that for them. It's tough to get the emerging generation interested in novels, but these books have done it for many. The key issue here is helping your children process both fantasy and reality.
Harry Potter is a story! Who believes that it's reality?! If people have no more faith in their children's ability to separate fiction from fact, then they really do need to read Harry Potter together. For my son (now 12) and I, the books have made for some very interesting discussions. The books can open up an honest, serious discussion between children and their parents. Most people I've talked to that oppose these books have not even read one of them; they base their opinion on what others have told them. Now, how is that for thinking for oneself?
These people who wrote to tell you that you were the "deceived elect" seem to have missed the point that dedication to Christ does not mean they have stepped into a turn-key existence where they are no longer required to think, challenge themselves with differing opinions, and decide what is really appropriate and true in their lives. There are believers of Truth, and then there are True Believers. What I like about your reviews is that you are open-minded and honest. Your faith is quite palpable to me as a result. You aren't afraid to stretch and question. I, for one,will keep reading your reviews, whether or not you are damned to hell.
Thanks for your thoughtful article, "Redeeming Harry Potter." As Christians, we should be quick to embrace/discern the good and to recognize/avoid the evil. Armed with such resources as your article, Christian teens and adults can help nonbelievers who have experienced Pottermania to (better) see the truth of Christ.
As one who loves stories, in general, and the imagination that we have been blessed with, it is so refreshing to hear of redemptive qualities in works like Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, or Chronicles of Narnia. I applaud Christianity Today Movies not only for taking a solid stance on truth, but also seeking to reveal that truth in the artwork our culture produces. What creative ways to shed light on our Savior and Redeemer
Just read your article. I say, "Right on!" I think we spend too much time trying to knock down the world. No, I don't condone witchcraft, but let's let fantasy be fantasy and spend our energy teaching our children truth. If we spent half as much time sharing the love of Christ with the lost as we do criticizing each other, most of this would be a non-issue—there would be fewer people under Satan's influence. Thanks for calling it like you see it.
Thank you for your thoughts on the issue of Harry Potter/witchcraft and our response as followers of Jesus Christ. While no Potter fan myself, I believe if we are to share the good news, we need to be less salt and more light. By engaging people where they are, and by what registers with them, we can show that Christians are not as narrow-minded as we are portrayed. Your articles are a source of balanced information for me.
The Evil One, the Prince of Darkness, thanks you for your support of Harry Potter. It's nice to contribute to the confusion of God's people these days. God himself will hold you accountable.
Hogwash. The Chronicles of Narnia and The Lord of the Rings treat witchcraft as an evil or a force to be fought. In the Potter flicks, witchcraft is a force that can be used for good and needs to be learned! Heaven forbid! Have you lost your minds? You need discernment and I pray that you will reconsider your stance.
You need to go back to the Word of God. I am surprised by your endorsement of the movie. We are not to approve of evil, no matter how attractive it is.
I am thankful that you have had such negative response about Harry. Witchcraft is always an abomination to the Lord. There are no good witches. You are flipping good and evil. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe does not make witches the good guys. Harry does. Please consider the penalty in the Old Testament for this abomination. This is serious stuff.
I'm a fan of your e-zine but I've got to say, "You know better." It's not about Christians just "slamming" Harry Potter's "whimsy or fancy." It's about the effects of spiritism in a Jesus/Holy Spirit-seeker's life. The enemy's greatest device on the body of Christ is complacency, distraction and just plain getting soft about the rough corners of what we choose to view. We're either with God or not. We can't be fence walkers without paying a spiritual price. I'm not a legalistic, panic or fear stricken believer. I'm pretty open-minded and walk in the true freedom of Jesus. However, I understand the spiritual and psychological ramifications of toying with entertainment that sprays portions of "yuk" on me. Don't you agree that Potter is over the top? However good the writing, acting and production as art—still, it's so not of God.
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