Wednesday, July 05, 2006
What's Wrong with Harry Potter?
What's wrong with Harry Potter? After all they are all in harmless fun. Mildly entertaining and they are getting kids to read. And that is the important thing right? How can they be so appealing if they are truly evil?
These are the defenses that I hear from people who quite self-defensively promote reading the Harry Potter series. There are several objections. The first is aesthetic- the books are banal, poorly written and the American versions specfically "dumbed down" for our public school educated audience. I wouldn't lower myself but that is the snobby English major in me talking.
Morally is where the real problem lies and is the only reason that ANYONE cares who is reading Harry Potter. We hear they are appealing and therefore cannot be evil. When we made our Baptism vows we promised to avoid the "glamour of evil". So if evil were not glamourous it would not tempt us. That argument is easily dismissed. We cannot rely upon whether something is good based upon our feelings about it. I could easily convince myself to eat an entire box of chocolates. After all, food is good for you and nourishing, chocolate is high in iron and the box was a gift so it must be good to do show my appreciation in such a dramatic way? Feelings are no basis for anything except concern and suspicion. Our dedication to the good must be objective and overcome our inclinations.
There is the small matter of the subject of the books. After all they are about sorcery and witchcraft right? The sorcery does not represent grace as it does in the Lord of the Rings, written by the very devout J.R.R. Tolkien. Sorcery in Harry Potter represents power, and specifically power over "muggles" the normal, average people. In the Lord of the Rings, the normal people (or hobbits their representatives) are the means by which God shows his grace. The humans become conduits of His grace and cooperate with His divine plan. In Harry Potter the only plan is Harry's revenge. A bit of a difference, no?
In this article, the greatest threat or obstacle to evanglizing people with the Truth is sorcery and witchcraft. Strange to us who don't really believe in evil or sorcery and that is why we do not have the proper fear of books like Harry Potter. We think we are superior to them and any appeal they hold. These evangelists understand that this is not the case and witness the playing out of the battle between good and evil for souls. This article further explains that the Holy Father is on record as saying that the Harry Potter books are a type of seduction to evil. Fr. Gabriel Amorth, Rome's chief excorcist who believes very much in evil agrees. But what do they know?
There is also the consideration of what do you want to dwell upon in your mind? What is pure, godly, salvific, encouraging? Or what is evil masquerading as good? Women used to labor over their embroidery samplers that contained a pious verse, sing hymns while they worked, read the Bible on Sundays. Haven't we fallen very far indeed when our entertainment is watching Inside Edition, reading People magazine and watching sitcoms on TV? When you acclimate yourself to evil by immersing yourself in it you lose your ability to protect yourself from it. And you cannot advance spiritually.
I often think of the Bible verse, "As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." A good sentiment that rallies one to righteousness.