ADVERTISING
 
Wednesday, May 24   Sign in or Register
 
Evangelical Focus
 

 
ADVERTISING
 
 
FOLLOW US ON
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Google +
  • Instagram
  • Soundcloud
 

Newsletter
Newsletter, sign up to receive all our News by email.
 

POLL
Freedoms
Should all religious groups in your country be legal?




SEE MORE POLLS
 

 
TOP 10 MOST VIEWED



José de Segovia
 

Harry Potter returns

Our character, relationships and even our spirituality are reflected in these books. Christians, however, have launched a campaign to prohibit the books in schools and libraries, some going as far as to burn copies in public.

BETWEEN THE LINES AUTHOR José de Segovia TRANSLATOR Esther Barrett 28 JANUARY 2016 08:39 h GMT+1
jim kay Jim Kay made the illustrations of the new edition.

Eighteen years later, a new illustrated edition of J.K. Rowlings’s books – in album format, as interpreted by Jim Kay –  has been published. By now, there is no question that Harry Potter is a classic of children’s literature, having helped many young people to discover the pleasure of reading. A lot of ink has been spilled in Christian circles regarding the dangers that these stories hold for children, but do their magic have anything to do with sorcery and occultism? Many now understand this series in the context of the feeling of orphanhood among the divorce generation.  



As is the case for any good story, Harry Potter not only entertains, but it tells us a lot about ourselves. Our character, relationships, priorities, communities and even spirituality are reflected in these books. Christians, however, have launched a campaign to prohibit the books in schools and libraries, some going as far as to burn copies in public. As in so many instances in History, I wonder whether we know who our real enemy is. The desire to protect society from evil has not always promoted our best values.



Potter-phobia should be circumspect in considering the facts, before pronouncing its sentence. Evangelical books such as Richard Abanes’ Harry Potter and the Bible, fail to provide any examples of anyone being led to occultism through reading the books. That is why, when talking about the hidden danger of this fantasy world, we should measure our words. We could otherwise be adding fuel to a sense of paranoia that has led to a new “witch hunt”.



 



J.K. Rowling, author of the books.



Between 1380 and 1680 more than 40,000 women were burnt for sorcery in Europe. The evidence for the majority of these had been obtained through torture. In 1692, a group of girls in Salem, Massachusetts, started shouting, convulsing and barking like dogs. A year later, 19 people were executed for sorcery. Not one of the people brought before the court was declared innocent! The evidence provided was based on dreams or the defendants having warts or other physical deformities. We now have no certainty that any of the people sentenced had anything to do with the crime of which they were accused.



 



OUR FEARS



In “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban”, the Defense Against the Dark Arts professor, Remus Lupin, introduces his third-year pupils to the study of boggarts. In the always precise words of Hermione, these creatures can “take the shape of whatever a particular person fears the most”. Lupin explains that that is why they live in dark and closed places. They have no real shape, but they take the shape of the thing that inspire the greatest terror in the person with whom they come into contact. For Neville, they take the shape of Professor Snape. In Ron’s case, they look like a hairy man-eating spider, following his horrible experience in “The Chamber of Secrets”.



However, for Lupin and Harry, they don’t take the direct shape of what they fear, but of what their fear represents. For Lupin it is a silvery white sphere floating in the air, in other words a moon, which terrorizes the professor because of what it can do when he becomes a weir-wolf. But for Harry, the boggart becomes a dementor, a creature that “sucks out its victims’ soul”. However, what Harry most fears is the Dark Lord, the sinister Lord Voldemort. The professor guesses his thoughts, but Harry says that although he had thought of Voldemort first, he has realised that what he fears most is in fact the dementors. Lupin explains it by saying that “that suggests that what you fear most of all is – fear”.    



In a certain sense, the Harry Potter books are like a boggart. The threat that they represent comes from the fears that we, as readers, bring to the books. Those whose worst fear is sorcery and occultism, fear the threat posed by these books. Those who are afraid of the abuse and corruption that their children may face, see them as a slippery slope to a sick society. Parents who express concern, as in South Carolina, at their “serious tone of death, hate, lack of respect and sheer evil”, are not seeing Harry Potter, but their own fears. Those fears need to be faced…



 



THE MAGIC OF HARRY POTTER



The magic and sorcery of the Potter world is a fictional one, which vastly differs in tone and contents from the sorcery that Christianity is up against. The word that Rowling uses, wizard, rather than warlock, suggests as much. This is a medieval word that originally meant “wise man”. This is the magic that has, for centuries, been a part of children’s stories. There is no devil, or demons in the Potter world. Magic is simply a force or an instrument that characters use, like electricity.



This is the type of magic that we find in stories such as the “Chronicles of Narnia” by C. S. Lewis: a force that can be used for good, or for evil. This is the same magic that we see in the “Lord of the Rings” by J. R. R. Tolkien, although there it is somewhat more sophisticated due to the duality and the realism of the characters. It can be compared to the ring, a force that is essentially neutral, a form of power that, as Lord Acton famously said, “tends to corrupt”. One way of interpreting the magic of Tolkien and Rowling is to see its symbolic nature as a representation of the use of power.



The witches in Macbeth predict the future King of Scotland. They predict who it will be, but they don’t make it become a reality. Shakespeare’s story is therefore not one of sorcery, but of power, ambition and guilt. That is why Hermione does not give any importance to her magic, which is nothing but “Books! And cleverness!”. There are “more important things” for her, such as “friendship and bravery”. That is what Harry Potter is about: it is the story of a gifted yet vulnerable boy. Harry has friends with talent, but who are also vulnerable, having grown up in dysfunctional families, going through the problems of their times and discovering the power of good and evil.



 



The first Harry Potter book now appeard in an illustrated edition.

In “The Philosopher’s Stone”, it is his effort and sacrifice, that mean that Harry’s courage and ingenuity, Ron’s skill at chess and Hermione’s logic, allow Harry to reach the final chamber to face Voldemort. It is the ambition of Quirrel and the hatred of Voldemort, that make their plans to obtain the Elixir of Life fail. That why, in the “Chamber of Secrets”, Hermione’s knowledge, Ron’s bravery and Dumbledore’s phoenix, enable Harry to face the image of a young Voldemort, who is finally beaten by a tooth taken from his own deadly basilisk. Therefore, magic is never the fundamental element with which problems are solved.  



 



THE POWER OF LOVE



The strongest message in these stories is, in fact, that of the unbreakable power of love, to which Harry owes his life and which overcomes evil through an act of self-sacrifice. Far from denying the Gospel, the Harry Potter series opens the way for children and adults, to seek the truth and reality.



This isn’t a Christian allegory, as in the case of Lewis’ world of Narnia, where the character of Aslan is used as a representation of Christ. Regardless of Rowling’s faith – which many people unjustly ignore, even though she says herself to be a believer, and a member of the Presbyterian Church of Scotland –, Lord Voldermort is not the devil, and Azkaban is not hell. Even though, in its description, we can see traces of a Christian vision of the world, we are in the presence of a new exploration of the problem of good and evil, given that the Harry Potter stories are fundamentally moral.



Harry is like all of us: vulnerable and limited. He needs to wear glasses. We meet him as a defenceless baby, who has to grow up in an abusive family environment, with the sorrow of being an orphan that accompanies him for the rest of his life. When he makes friends at school, none of them are perfect, or able to do anything for themselves. The characters are thereby made not only believable, but we can also sympathise and identify with them. This imaginary world speaks precisely of its humanity. Despite his courage, Harry is full of doubt. His weakness attracts us more than his strength.



 



Rowling's magic reflects mostly on real situations in life.



Every literary creation is also a moral one, and Harry Potter is no exception. All his world of magic is profoundly moral. No accusation could be more unjust than to say that Rowling’s books defend a universe of moral relativism, in which there are no absolute values. However, given that good an evil exist in Harry Potter’s world, its morality is not at all simplistic, but incredibly realistic, and is in line with the biblical premise that we live in a fallen world.



Things and people are not what they appear to be: those who appear to be evil, have redeeming features, and those who are apparently good, have great weaknesses. This is the case of characters such as Sirius Black, Remus Lupin or the professor Severus Snape.



If we are honest, we have to recognise that same ambiguity in ourselves. We identify with the words of Paul to the Romans: “For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing.” (7:19). Whereby, “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.” (1 John 1:8). We have all failed. We are not angels, or demons. Our moral world is a lot more complicated than the world of children’s stories. The last books in the series look further into Harry’s dark side because, who can fight against evil?



This is what sets the Gospel apart from all other form of moralization. Salvation is not found in the human struggle to try to be better persons, but in a costly redemption, through which One has freed us through sacrificial love.



This can be compared to the sacrifice made by Harry’s parents, who saved his life; to Black and Lupin’s readiness to die rather than betray their friends; or the way in which Harry, Ron and Hermione are constantly putting their life at risk for others. This is the redeeming power of love, by which One has laid down his life for His friends (John 15:13). “For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!” (Romans 5:10). That life reveals, as Lewis would say, a “deeper magic”…



 


 

 


0
COMMENTS

    If you want to comment, or

 



 
 
YOUR ARE AT: - - - Harry Potter returns
 
ADVERTISING
 
 
 
AUDIOS Audios
 
Michael Schluter: Relationships are the key to build Europe Michael Schluter: Relationships are the key to build Europe

The economist summarises the manifesto “Confederal Europe: Strong Nations, Strong Union” and explains why personal relationships should be at the centre of our economy, education and democracy. 

 
Gary Wilkerson: The Bible, the Holy Spirit and the Reformation Gary Wilkerson: The Bible, the Holy Spirit and the Reformation

Pastor Gary Wilkerson talks about what all evangelical Christians can learn from the Protestant Reformation and underlines the need for more churches with both a sound doctrine and obedience to the Holy Spirit.

 
Israel, the UN resolution and the long conflict Israel, the UN resolution and the long conflict

Shira Sorko-Ram, pastor and journalist in Israel, shares her views and a historical and biblical context on the latest events.

 
Lindsay Brown: Islam and the Gospel in Europe Lindsay Brown: Islam and the Gospel in Europe

Is the arrival of thousands of Muslims to Europe a threat to Christianity? What is the growth of evangelical churches in Eastern and Southern Europe? An interview with theologian and Lausanne Movement representative Lindsay Brown.

 
Giovanni Traettino: “Pope Francis is my brother in Christ” Giovanni Traettino: “Pope Francis is my brother in Christ”

Evangelical Focus asked the well-known Pentecostal pastor about his “open” approach to Roman Catholicism. Traettino defended his position about ecumenism during the Italian Evangelical Alliance 2016 assembly (8-9 April, Rome).

 
Efraim Tendero: Relationship with Roman Catholicism and other current issues Efraim Tendero: Relationship with Roman Catholicism and other current issues

The World Evangelical Alliance Secretary General participated in the Italian Evangelical Alliance assembly (Rome, 8-9 April). In this interview with Evangelical Focus, Bp Tendero talks about the need to listen to local churches and to face challenges like the refugee crisis and climate change. 

 
Thomas Bucher: Vision of the EEA Thomas Bucher: Vision of the EEA

Influence in society, evangelical identity and projects in Europe. An interview with Thomas Bucher, secretary general of the European Evangelical Alliance.

 
Evi Rodemann: Youth and mission Evi Rodemann: Youth and mission

“We want to see the youth not just being equipped, but also being multipliers”, Evi Rodemann director of Mission-Net. The European Congress took place in Germany from December 28 to January 2.

 
Greg Pritchard: European Leadership Forum Greg Pritchard: European Leadership Forum

Pritchard explains the vision of ELF, comments on the 2015 event in Poland and reflects on what it means to have an "evangelical identity".

 
Pablo Martinez comments on Evangelical Focus’ launch Pablo Martinez comments on Evangelical Focus’ launch

Author and international speaker Dr Pablo Martínez discusses the main challenges in Europe nowadays and hopes Evangelical Focus will be a useful tool to help build bridges between churches and society.

 
PICTURES Pictures
 
The Bible in Spain’s history The Bible in Spain’s history

An exhibition in the region of Galicia shows the impact of the Bible despite many obstacles. Photos: Marina Acuña.

 
Stamps to commemorate the Reformation Stamps to commemorate the Reformation

Poland, Lithuania, Namibia and Brazil are some of the countries that have issued special stamps on the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s 95 theses.

 
‘Reconciliation’ in the Basque Country ‘Reconciliation’ in the Basque Country

Bilbao hosted the Spanish Evangelical Alliance's annual meeting (assembly). Politicians, professors and evangelical representatives shared views on social reconciliation. The theme was also analysed from a theological perspective and in workshops. 

 
WPF17: A look at the world’s current issues WPF17: A look at the world’s current issues

A selection of pictures of World Press Photo 2017.

 
The Progress of Europe, deeply connected to Bible The Progress of Europe, deeply connected to Bible

Indian author Vishal Mangalwadi spoke about how the biblical worldview shaped the West. 300 professionals attended annual GBG meeting on faith and work in Cullera (Spain). Photos: J.P. Serrano, S. Vera.

 
Impressions of Lausanne's #ylg2016 Impressions of Lausanne's #ylg2016

Around 1,000 young Christian leaders from 150 countries are participating in the 2016 Lausanne Younger Leaders Gathering, to reflect on global mission.

 
“Spain, we pray for you” “Spain, we pray for you”

Hundreds of evangelical Christians from many denominations marched in Madrid (Spain) to pray for their city, the authorities and asking God to bring hope to its society. Many gathered in other cities on June, 11.

 
VIDEO Video
 
Mangalwadi: Education and the Reformation Mangalwadi: Education and the Reformation

Indian author Vishal Mangalwadi talks about how a renwed view of the Bible changed education systems in Europe.

 
What role does the Church have in Europe? What role does the Church have in Europe?

Evi Rodemann (Germany) talks about the unique contributions to society that only the Church can make. 

 
Students in Europe: “We are present” Students in Europe: “We are present”

A summary video of the IFES Europe conference which brought together 1,700 students from many countries in Aschaffenburg (Germany) to reflect on God's mission in society.

 
What does the story of Job teach us about suffering? What does the story of Job teach us about suffering?

By Jelena Sivulka, psychologist and Director of Hana's Hope.

 
Proverbs 31 Proverbs 31

A powerful video recites Proverbs 31:10-31, from the Bible. Produced by World Relief. 

 
You-To live-How? You-To live-How?

The Roldan Camacho are a Spanish couple with deafness. They tell us how the whole family experiences everyday life through sign language. A video report by Gabriela Pérez.

 
Philip Yancey interview Philip Yancey interview

An 8-minute interview with Philip Yancey on the role of Christians in a secularised society. Recorded in Madrid, September 2016.

 
An interview with Prof. John Lennox An interview with Prof. John Lennox

New atheism, the definition of "faith", Christianity in Europe, the role of the Bible in mission, and the need to listen more. An exclusive interview recorded at "Forum Apologética" (Tarragona, Spain) in May 2016.

 
 
Follow us on Soundcloud
Follow us on YouTube
 
 
WE RECOMMEND
 
PARTNERS
 

 
AEE
EVANGELICAL FOCUS belongs to Areópago Protestante, linked to the Spanish Evangelical Alliance (AEE). AEE is member of the European
Evangelical Alliance and World Evangelical Alliance.
 

Opinions expressed are those of their respective contributors and do not necessarily represent the views of Evangelical Focus.