- Family and Parenting
Harry Potter: The Chosen One or the Devil in Disguise
Two Sides to the Harry Potter Story
Pope Benedict XVI (before he actually became Pope) described them as "subtle seductions" capable of corrupting young Christians and yet others believe they teach excellent Christian themes and show that good wins out over evil every time. There's a lot a rope between these two extremes and we sometimes hang ourselves with it. I'd like to take a look at both sides of this debate and see what we can sort out. As mother of five teenage children, I'm especially interested in helping other parents discern whether this should be on their approved reading list. I'd like to review the serious concerns as well as the accolades this $24 billion dollar empire has conjured up like a magic potion.
Teen Exorcists Say Harry Potter's Magic Comes From Satan
Fighting the Forces of Evil
Three demon chasing teenage girls, who say London's reputation as a hotbed of witchcraft peaked with Harry Potter appeared on a documentary in London on September 12, 2013. One of the girls, Tess Scherkenback, age 18, had this to say during an interview with The Christian Post:
"I think it's been centuries in the making. But I believe it all kind of came to a pinnacle, a peak with, well Harry Potter books that have come out and the Harry Potter rage that swept across England," said Savannah in the clip discussing the popular books in the back of a London taxi.
"The spells and things that you are reading in Harry Potter books, those aren't just some things that are made up. Those are actual spells, those are things that came from witchcraft books," added Tess.
A list of these from the Harry Potter books are posted on the website pojo.com. This site lists over 50 from mild and humorous to not so very nice (depending of course on how seriously you take them). It ranges from Riddikulus, which is recommended that you use this and you will laugh to defeat a boggart. Or Orchideous which conjures a bunch of flowers. Then you have the one which allows the caster to delve into the mind of the victim and one that claims it is to murder the opponent and at least it is listed as "an unforgiveable".
Pope's Exorcist, Fr. Gabriele Amorth, Calls Harry Potter 'Satanic'
Behind Harry Potter hides the signature of the king of the darkness, the devil - Father Gabriele Amorth (Exorcist of the Vatican)
An American exorcist told us about a young girl he exorcised who was into Harry Potter and Pokemon. He has exorcised many children who have become possessed through involvement in these. A priest told this exorcist that he read Harry Potter and found nothing wrong with it. The exorcist rebuked this ignorant priest, "But you guys don't do exorcisms!"
These are some pretty strong statements and should not be taken lightly. They were posted on a site created by These Last Days Ministries (tldm.org). I agree that we are involved in a spiritual battle these days and that much good can be accomplished by being aware, praying daily and immersing ourselves in good and wholesome activities.
Stand Up and Be Heard
So are you for or against the reading of the Harry Potter series?
Fantasy and Fiction: Can Readers Discern
How many classic other tales have magic (including dark magic) in them? Just about every Disney film ever made includes a curse and some magical elements. The Narnia series is one of our families personal favorites and there is no lack of darkness in the White Witch and other evil villains. Tolkien's Lord of the Ring gives us Sauron and the nasty Orgs to contend with as well as all the good qualities and virtues of Sam, Frodo and Gandolf. Are the evil forces in these books different than those of Voldemort (or he who can't be named) in Harry Potter?
I wonder if the problem is being looked at in a very backwards kind of way. Is it truly this book or that one which leads one into a life of witchcraft, the occult or lives filled with evil and violence. Perhaps, we need to look much more directly at the reader and not the reading material.
No one believes that everyone that reads Potter, Narnia or Lord of the Rings will end in total destruction. I'll admit when the series first came out, we chose not to allow our then young children to read them. We reversed this decision after careful discernment and the kids getting a bit older. We have now read these tales both out loud as a family and individually. I asked our oldest daughter, age 19, if she felt the books were leading kids astray. She laughed and said, "that is riduculous. They are fantasy books and readers have to be able to discern what is real and what isn't. If they don't know the difference, the problem certainly doesn't lie in the literature but in the formation and upbringing of the child." This daughter happens to be studying for a Masters degree in Theology and Philosophy. She has read the Potter series several times and watched all the movies. She attends Mass daily on campus, has a very beautiful prayer life and the envy of most my friends with teenage girls. I'd say she is not going to be leaving her faith because of her enjoyment of the Harry Potter books. She also loves Agatha Christy books but I don't fancy her becoming a murderer because she reads murder mysteries.
Does Harry Potter Lead Youth to Cults?
I have heard people join a cult because they became like a family to them. Everyone wants to feel a part of something and have a sense of belonging. If kids don't get this fundamental need met at home, they are more likely to go looking for it elsewhere. So again we may need to point a finger (or a wand in this case) in the direction of parents and not reading materials to find out why teens turn to cults or witchcraft.
"There's always a pretty good number of self-appointed pied pipers, self- appointed messianic people, self-appointed gurus in any society who say to the confused masses: 'Follow me! I have a simple solution for the complex problems of life.' But if the social structure has not broken down, very few people will follow them," says Margaret Singer, a clinical psychologist and a professor at the University of California's medical school in San Francisco and in the Psychology Department at the University of California, Berkley. Singer has talked to more than 500 cultist and ex-cult members, and has worked individually and in group therapy with more than 200 people who have come out of cults.
The first step in "processing" cult recruits away from their past lives, according to Margaret Singer, is separating them from their families and friends. "Many of the groups refer to themselves as 'the family' in one way or the other and emphasize 'We are your new family now!'" she explains.
I'm inclined to believe that good kids with loving parents don't randomly run off and join a cult after they finish the 7th book of the Harry Potter series. Perhaps the root of the problem is not the books our children read but whether or not they have parents that are involved, nurturing and leading them to a path of truth, beauty and goodness.
Author Nancy Brown's new book, , asks questions like "Are the Harry Potter books evil?", "Can children really learn spells from the books?", "What about the magic, witchcraft and wizardry in the books?", and "Are they satanic?" Many will find her answers to be a breath of fresh air. The Mystery of Harry Potter: A Catholic Family Guide
The author, a mother and Christian writer, who previously had not allowed the Harry Potter Books into her home, has arrived at a surprising conclusion after her in-depth look at Harry Potter:
After reading Harry Potter for myself, I had to conclude that the Potter series is not about the occult or witchcraft but actually just the opposite," reflects Brown. "The stories are morality tales filled with excellent opportunities for family discussions. In short, the Harry Potter books are great for all families and especially Christian parents, who for centuries have used literature to illustrate the struggle between good and evil when teaching their children.
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Harry Potter Profits Unfathomable
Total Movie Sales
Total Harry Potter Sales
Virtue Lies in the Middle
In summary, I'd simply like to say: Sic virtus est in medio! No I have not just placed an evil spell on you that will make you buy stuff you don't need on eBay, the phrase is Latin for Virtue Lies in the Middle.
I really believe that parents need to pay close attention to everything their children are involved in and make individual choices as to what is and isn't appropriate based on their values and beliefs. I encourage people to turn off the television (we haven't subscribed to cable as a family ever and don't watch television). We read books, right now as I write this 4 of my 5 kids are playing cards together. Most nights finds us in front of a warm fire with a book on tape or one of the older kids dramatically reading a series to us all aloud. We raise our children to know right from wrong, to love God and neighbor, to have lots of good clean fun and to make wise choices with the knowledge that they are loved unconditionally and always will be. I am passionately convinced that if more families spent quality time together and created strong bonds (especially with your teenagers), that we wouldn't need to be having this discussion about a book series being the downfall of this generation. I do believe that the Potter books, Twilight series, and other Fantasy books in the hands of troubled youth can lead to more trouble. Ultimately, you get to decide how to raise good kids that will make amazing and virtuous adults.
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