Saturday, March 24, 2007

What's a Little Heresy... Among Friends?


hilary said...

"But it's got some good in it..."

I heard this so much from my nice net-cath friends. They especially liked to talk about the many "Christian" virtues to be found in the Harry Potter books.

I answer that:
If someone hands you a glass of orange liquid and tells you there's mostly orange juice and only a little cyanide in it, do you drink it?

Do you try to just drink the parts that are orange juice avoid the cyanide?

Or do you get out of that house fast because you have just realized that your friend is trying to kill you?

I can imagine your wounded and bewildered friend standing on her doorstep, holding the glass and calling to you as you screech your tires getting out of her driveway: "But there's some good in it, isn't there?"

hilary said...

"neo-Cath" friends I meant.

Anonymous said...

"A lie is always more believable when sandwiched between two truths."
~ Deep Throat, the "X-Files"

elena maria vidal said...

Excellent quote.

Simon-Peter Vickers-Buckley said...

Thing is, where does that leave such things as The Aeneid, Golden Ass, Iliad, The Histories, Dialogues, Purgatorio, Inferno, Paradisio, Don Quixote, Confessio Amantis,The Faerie Queene, even the so-called Apocrypha &c. and so on and so forth? Should we no longer read Dickens - despite his insights into motivation and the soul - because everything he writes does not square? Tolstoy? Dostoyevsky? Pushkin? Chekov? Gogol? Donne? Sidney? Spenser? Marlowe? Haywood? Pope? Dryden? Aeschylus? Eurpides? Lucretius? Juvenal? Horace? Aurelius? Chaucer? Webster? Rosetti? Milton? Fielding? Steele? Browne? Addison? Defoe? Blah, blah, blah.

Where does one draw the line?

Harry Potter at it's best is just a rehash of of much that has gone before. It appeals, in part, because of ignorance of same.It's so very second-hand and worn. Rather boring.

Is there something else about Potter that I am missing? If I understand rightly, one complaint levelled is that unlike "traditional" fairy tales, it proposes a (moral) equivalence between good and evil. Is this a difference between many of the works of the writers I mentioned above, where even when they were mistaken about the precise line between a good and an evil (and source) in specific cases, they nevertheless are *clear* in that there is *good* and *evil*, and one is to be avoided and condemned, the other sought and embraced?

It's a fair point that one must be cautious in reading anything containing the truth (with a small t), lest one is ensnared by the accompanying false or tendentious.

I am just asking, not trying to make points.

M. Alexander said...

Simon Peter-
Good points. My take on it, which is uninformed but opinionated, is that as long as the work in question has as its theme Redemption, virtue, goodness, and all the other Christian virtues the work is worthy.

I think the quote is speaking to doctrine. For example if (and this I doubt) Fr. Teilhard de Chardin contributed something positively to philosophy or anthropology yet that he is a heretic all his work becomes suspect and in better days would have been on the Index of Forbidden books.

If an individual is flawed in their outlook and makeup I would not trust myself to read their work. I don't want to be mislead.

Harry Potter is firstly, poorly written. Secondly the overriding theme is that the ends- lying, cheating, stealing justify the ends- Harry's selfish ends. Thirdly sorcery is glamorized.

Harry Potter is a useful cultural index- if people like reading these books and defend them I know immediately that we have absolutely nothing in common.

It's a timesaver really.