Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Ruth Dahlin: Why Christians Should Read Harry Potter (Or at Least Give it a Chance)

Today I start the first of my third-Wednesday-of-the-month guest posts with a post by Ruth Dahlin, whom I've known for some time. She's a really fun girl, and this is her first guest post!

via Goodreads
Hi! My name is Ruth Dahlin, and Lauren was kind enough to let me do a guest post, (applause and cheering for Lauren) which I have wanted to do for a long time.

So before we get all serious, let me tell you a little about myself,

I read a lot (all day if I could get away with it) my favorites are dragon books, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, and The Constitution, and a good science book or two. I write, I make sarcastic remarks, follow politics, and take care of a lot of plants.

And did I mention my 8 brothers? 
Now, let’s all put our Sirius (Black) faces, and get down to business.
Why Christians should read Harry Potter (or at least give it a chance)

I Love Harry Potter, and logical decisions, and am always saddened by people making illogical decisions. One of my pet peeves is Christians insisting Harry Potter is an evil book.
First, let me state the reasons they would be against Harry Potter.
1. (And this is the most common one)It has magic in it - and all magic is evil! 2. It has swear words in it
3. It never mentions God

Now, let me argue with those points, and expound on No. 1. A little more 

1. It has magic in it (and all magic is evil!)
First, if magic is so evil, what do you call Jesus’ miracles? (Other than miracles)

That’s right, magic. I once read an article in a Thriving Family magazine (I've forgotten the exact issue and title, but if you know, please leave it in the comments) about how a lot of teenagers are becoming interested in magic, and using crystal balls, and Ouija Boards and how parents should be concerned. This is true, after all, Leviticus 19 verse 31 says, “Give no regard to mediums and familiar spirits; do not seek after them, to be defiled by them: I am the Lord your God” (Notice it says,"Don't use magic from spirits", not, "Don't read books about magic!!")

But it also implied that fictional magic books are evil, and a Clubhouse magazine (again, I've forgotten the particular issue number I apologize profusely) said in a movie review that “Most movies rely on magic for plots” and “God hates the Occult” and “movies and books are relying a lot on magic for their plots. We should be careful”

But we, as, Christians should rejoice that this is happening, because we, are Christians are saved, and Loved by God, and Jesus died on the cross for us, and we wrestle with a supernatural being on a daily basis. Pretty cool, right?
via Goodreads

After all, if we are in extraordinary events ourselves, shouldn't reading books and watching movies about supernatural things happening to supernormal people and the supernormal people succeeding make sense?
We shouldn't idolize them, of course, but don’t you agree?

Also, if the kind of magic that is in Harry Potter is ‘evil’, why isn't the magic in Narnia and Lord of the Rings isn't called ‘evil?’(I've never heard of complaints to Narnia and the only objection I've heard to Lord of the Rings is that LOTR is “scary for kids younger than 12”) 
2. It has swear words in it
Yes, but only, I've found, on average, two per book, and if it’s that problematic for parents, they can go black them out.
3. It never mentions God
Neither do classics like (yes I just did that) LOTR and Narnia.

And let me put it this way, the plot would be pretty darn boring if God just appeared every time that Harry was in trouble and solved everything (and if God was only mentioned a couple times, Christians would be saying that God didn't do enough!)
And besides, you’ll admit there have been times in your life where God has been (seemingly) kept silent and you enjoyed a book where God helped a character through his “invisible hand”
So, go enjoy (re)reading Harry Potter!

Ruth is pretty great, isn't she? Thanks for writing this guest post, Ruth!
So what do you think? Should Christians should read Harry Potter? Do you agree with Ruth's points, or have other ones that you'd like to bring up? Feel free to disagree and state your reasons why.
Would you like to write a guest post for this blog? Click here.


  1. Great points! I think the moral lessons of Harry Potter far outweigh all the 'evil' things anyway.

    1. Thanks Ava! Yeah,you're right I was going to say something about Harry sacrificing himself(like Jesus) but didn't want to spoil the 7th book

  2. The Bible also tells us not to kill and commit adultery, and to honor our parents, etc. By that same reasoning we'd have to avoid murder mysteries, romance novels and almost everything that is YA just for starters. There is a difference between being entertained by magic in fiction and trusting magic for our lives. Nice post.

  3. I've never read all the books but I've seen the movies and I like them. I am always wary of telling people. But I wanted to see what Christians claimed was so bad, and all I found were stories on friendship and struggles through life and doing what is right even when it is hard or seems impossible. I read many stories with magic in them, but it isn't like I'm going to go out and try it. There are some things in the movies I wasn't crazy about, but there are many things in other books and movies I'm not. One just must be careful and hold to convictions.

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I am glad to see I'm not alone.

    And this to Lauren. The quote was from a Percy Jackson book, Son of Neptune. They are funny, and a lot of fun - well, Percy is a lot of fun. He's the reason I read the books, to be honest. *Smirk*

    I am glad you liked the snippet! And speaking as someone who can brag about her Artist's work because she is amazing, I think you will really like the picture. Clair is brilliant, no matter what she says.

    Allons-y now and have a Happy Thanksgiving!

  4. I do have a question though, not with whether we should read them or not, but about the style of magic used in Harry Potter versus the kind of magic that we see in books like '100 Cupboards' by Wilson, 'The Chronicles of Narnia' and C. S. Lewis' novels, and (more lightly) Tolkien's works.

    I do believe in magic for starters. But I have the idea that there is magic, and then there is a perversion of that magic which is controlling it (like a magician) and manipulating it to please us. Even now, I realize that magic is more of an adjective than it really is a noun, you can't really 'run out' of the stuff, but anyway, how does HP reflect and view magic?

    I don't mind reading them (and enjoying them!) but I do want to read it with my eyes wide open and understand the point that Rowling is making in her novels.

    1. Hi Josiah, I'm not sure I understand your question, but I'll try to answer it anyway.
      HP treats magic as a special ability, and also practical,(after you learn more about it) but NOT to be abused, under any circumstances.
      That has many parallels to Christianity, if you've noticed,and if you read Harry Potter in light of scripture, you'll find many others.
      And you are right, there are powers in the world using magic to ensnare us, so we definitively need to be careful around magic, but I don't like the idea of insisting all magic is bad.
      I don't know if that answered your question or not,so let me know if there is more to your question.

  5. I read them personally just this summer and really greatly enjoyed them. I didn't find anything particularly wrong with them, not enought to put them on the banned books list anyway. I really appreciate your post Ruth and thought you brought up some great points, it always grates on my nerves when I hear people openly condemning these books without actually knowing anything about them.

    Although I must admit I first read them just so that I would get all the memes that refer to them. haha. They totally sucked me in and after the first couple of pages I was hooked. :)


  6. I've not read the books but I have seen all the movies. I've never understood why people objected to them. (And yes, I am a Christian.) People don't give kids enough credit for knowing the difference between reality and fantasy.



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