Harry Potter: Parallels to Christianity and the Bible
Harry Potter and the Bible?
I will state up front right now, I love all the Harry Potter books. I read them as soon as they were released, almost within hours.
I think J.K. Rowling is a genius. I want to be her. At the same time, I have to weigh in on the debate of the good versus evil, Harry versus he-who-shall-not-be-named force that is the theme threading through all seven of the books and thousands of pages. Many people have accused Ms. Rowling of being anti-religion, or anti-Christ. In fact, the witchcraft theme of the series have led to its being banned by several organizations that see it as promoting the occult.
While the church is not mentioned at all (nor is any organized religion), I see themes of true good versus evil, that many would agree is akin to Jesus versus the Anti-Christ. So, can we read the Harry and Voldemort battle in this light? I tend to think that the answer is yes, rather than no! Of course, the books should be read in conjunction with formal religious education, rather than in place of it. I write this hub only to defend the Harry Potter series against criticism that its themes of wizardry and witchcraft somehow merit demotion from the bookshelves of Christian children. With proper discussions between parents, religious leaders and the children themselves, a rich, deep enjoyment of church lessons can result.
ALERT: If you haven't completed reading the entire series... don't read this Hub. It may spoil your enjoyment of the last book!
Harry Potter Movies
Common Themes Between Harry Potter and Christianity
Harry: The Chosen One
Harry seems to have been chosen, somehow, to be able to withstand both severe physical and mental demands. As an infant he miraculously repelled a curse that killed both of his parents. At Hogwarts School, he arrives with a reputation that precedes him. This is the famous Harry Potter. Not all people are happy that he appears to be the one, however. From instructors, to class-mates, there are many that simply do not wish to believe that he may be the one that wil duel the evil Lord Voldemort. You can challenge your children to discuss the parallels between Harry's life and Jesus's life. I see a few.
Harry: The Tempted One
In the middle of the series, Lord Voldemort takes a human form and begins to threaten the Wizarding world (perhaps mankind as a whole). He taunts Harry a number of times, saying that Harry is not strong enough to withstand the pull to the dark side. Harry, time and time again, proves otherwise. But not without some significant struggle. There appears to be a connection between him and the Dark Lord. Just as there is a connection between the Devil (a fallen Angel), Jesus, and God. In the Harry Potter books, Harry puts his love for his friends above all else, and his dedication to preventing evil from overtaking all. Similarly, Jesus resists the Devil's temptation to literally grant him the world if he would fall down and worship him (the Devil), during Jesus's 40 days and 40 nights in the wilderness - Christian's observation of Lent.
I think this would be great fodder for discussion at home or in Sunday school. Children are very enthusiastic about these books, and if you can get them to talk about a topic in which they are interested, you may be much more successful in driving home lessons of the Bible!
Harry: Dies and Then is Reborn
This is probably the most striking parallel! Harry Potter fans were on the edges of their seats wondering what would happen in the final book. Only one could live - either Harry or Voldemort would die. In an amazing wand duel, it happens. Harry does die. Or does he? It's a strange, dream-like sequence, in which he sees a small crying creature in the corner of the room. The beast. Harry comes back to life, reborn. Voldemort is vanquished and the world is saved. Harry has literally sacrificed himself (his scar is now gone) to save the world. OK, class, now tell me about the Easter story!