Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Harry Potter: Part I

Okay, as most of you know I am anti-Harry Potter. So, you are probably wondering, "Why?" Oh, I am so glad you asked! ;) I'm going to be posting a series of articles on why Harry Potter is bad. So here goes the first one:

Mainstreaming Witchcraft? by Tim Drake

As the Harry Potter movie hits theaters, parents and experts continue to disagree about whether the story will lead children into the occult.

As Harry Potter and the Sorcerer´s Stone opened to record-breaking crowds the weekend of Nov. 17, parents and experts continue to agree to disagree upon its appropriateness for children. While some see the series as merely adventuresome entertainment, others wonder if the film might take the stigma away from witchcraft and the occult, opening children to danger.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer´s Stone is the first in the series of four Harry Potter adventures written by Britain´s J.K. Rowling. The film follows the exploits of a bespectacled orphan with magical powers who attends the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

In the first three days of its release, the film made a record $93.5 million. Audiences packed theaters, with thousands lining up for midnight screenings.

"I have never attended a movie on opening weekend," admitted Barb Hennen, a Catholic mother of seven in Ghent, Minn. "Yet, it was really fun for my 13-year-old son and I to see the film together."

She and her son Robert saw the film at their local multiplex on Nov. 17. "I was disappointed that some of the characters in the book were not in the movie," recalled Robert. To date, only one of Robert´s 15 classmates had seen the film. "I hope to go see it again," said Robert, who admitted that he has read each of Rowling´s four books at least five times each.

However, Barb Hennen cautioned that the film was probably not appropriate for anyone under the age of 9. "Lord Voldemort is scary," she said. "At one point he absorbs a man´s body. That´s not as clear or visible in the book. That certainly would not be appropriate for younger children to see."

Otherwise, she said it was a fine movie. "The Christian mothers I´ve talked to have agreed that it´s an imaginative and adventuresome story. I don´t think it´s right to focus only on what could be wrong with it." While she admitted that it could be an entry point for a child into the occult, she added, "A child leaning in that direction might … but Harry Potter wouldn´t be the only source the child would go to."

Michael O´Brien respectfully disagrees.

"I think it is a mistake to take a child to the Potter film," said the Canadian Catholic artist and author of A Landscape with Dragons: The Battle for Your Child´s Mind.

"The series uses the symbol-world of the occult as its primary metaphor," he explained. "This has the potential of lowering a child´s guard to the actual occult activity in the world around us, which is everywhere and growing."

O´Brien argues that both the books and the film present serious threats to the moral integrity of the coming generations. "In the film, an added dimension of psychological influence is at work," he said. "Any serious student of modern media recognizes the power of film to reshape consciousness. By using overt and subliminal techniques, it can override the mind´s natural critical faculty."

He added that the widespread devotion to the Potter phenomenon, even among Catholic parents and scholars, "is a symptom of our naivete about the power of culture. In our modern culture we have all become accustomed to eating a certain amount of poison in our diet; indeed we often no longer even recognize the poison. Why have we accepted a set of books which glamorize and normalize occult activity, even though it is every bit as deadly to the soul as sexual sin?"

Clare McGrath Merkle, a former New Age "healer" and a revert to the Catholic faith, said she has seen firsthand that O´Brien´s warning should be heeded. "We just don´t understand that our children live in a reality steeped in violence, sex and the occult," she said.

She said the problem with Potter remains, despite the explanation that the books depict an innocent, even humorous, white magic. "There is only one kind of magic," said Merkle. It´s "variously known as black magic, occultism, diabolism, or the dark arts."

The Defense

Los Angeles film critic Michael Medved, known for his defense of traditional virtues and criticism of Hollywood´s rejection of them, defends Harry Potter.

"A number of Christian organizations have objected to the whole Harry Potter phenomenon, suggesting that its benign, light-hearted treatment of witchcraft and the occult will lead young people into dangerous realms. I resisted this argument concerning the books and I reject it even more with the movie," he said. "It´s hard to imagine any child who will want to study necromancy, spells or Satanism as a result of seeing the film."

Medved contends that the film projects a "deadly serious battle between good and evil, while highlighting humane values of generosity, loyalty, discipline and selflessness."

"Magic," said Medved, "remains a staple in most of the best children´s literature in history, and generations of young people have indulged in those fantasies without satanic influence. In Grimm´s Fairy Tales, for example, magic and witches and shape-changing and curses and incantations have always played a role."

British Catholic home-schooling mother Debbie Nowak also believes that the film can be viewed as good entertainment.

She has seen the film with four of her eight children and doesn´t worry about her children falling into the occult.

"Harry Potter has an invisible mark inside of him that his mother gave to him when she sacrificed her life for his," she said. "This mark, unlike his lightning bolt scar, is one of love. Because he has this mark of love, evil cannot bear his touch."

Mary Weyrich of Paso Robles, Calif., warned that, in these days of cross-marketing, much of the danger with the book is extraneous to the story.

"I recently went shopping and noticed the sold-out Harry Potter display," the Catholic mother of eight said. "There on the same shelf was a book of Spells for Children. It looked like a cookbook, except that it was filled with the sorts of things that Harry does, in the books and movie. It was user friendly, easy for children to try."

She looked into the matter further, she said.

On the Internet, "I went to a large online bookstore´s Harry Potter site, found Harry´s ´related subjects,´ which included witchcraft." Three clicks connected her to The Witch Bible, she said.

Her conclusion: "Many will say that the Harry Potter books and movie are just fiction. Many will say that they are so glad that the children are reading again. Many will say that the movie wasn´t that scary and it is no big deal. But I do believe that it is a very big deal."

The Harry Potter phenomenon and franchise - and debate - is only just beginning. Warner Bros. was scheduled to begin shooting a sequel in November, and fans are already looking forward to Rowling´s next book.

~Tim Drake is the executive editor of Catholic.net and author of the book There We Stood, Here We Stand: 11 Lutherans Rediscover their Catholic Roots.


Anonymous said...

Why until now, you didn't know that Catholic is an Anti-Christ, Anti-God religion?

You read the Bible but you didn't understand what the real meaning of its messages.

Turwethiel Merilwen said...

Well, to begin with, I never said that I became aware that Catholicism was a “Anti-Christ, Anti-God religion” simply because it isn’t. The very center and heart of Catholicism is Jesus Christ. This is what we profess at every Mass:

"We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, of all that is, seen and unseen. We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, of one Being with the Father. Through him all things were made. For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven: by the power of the Holy Spirit the became incarnate from the Virgin Mary, and was made man. For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate; he suffered death and was buried. On the third day he rose again in accordance with the Scriptures; he ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end. We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son. With the Father and the Son he is worshipped and glorified. He has spoken through the Prophets. We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church. We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins. We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen"

Now, I don’t know about you but that sounds pretty pro-Christ and pro-God to me. True, there is a lot of teachings and traditions that surround our faith, but they all come from Christ and God’s laws.

Now your second statement: “You read the Bible but you didn’t understand what the real meaning of its messages.” I would like to share with you a quote by Peter Kreft, a Calvinist to converted to Catholicism and is now a professor of Theology, (and this is not word for word, but pretty darn close) “If you can’t see that Scripture points to the [Catholic] Church, then you either aren’t reading them, or you are illiterate.” This statement is so true, whether you want to believe it or not. The Catholic Church is who gave you the Bible, or whatever Bible you read came from the Catholic Bible. It didn’t just drop out of the air; it was put together by Catholic Bishops at early Church councils. As a matter of fact, the very first King James Bible (which is now in a Chicago library) has the exact same books as the Catholic Bible! And later on the books were taken out. So, how could the Bible – God’s book -, which came from the Catholic Church, be anti-Christ?

I hope this gives you a little insight to Catholicism, and helps you to see that my faith is a very pro-Christ and God religion. ;) Also, if you leave another comment on my blog, I would like to ask that you please not comment under “anonymous” and if you do please sign your name, because it would help me to know who I am conversing with.

God bless!

Juhani said...

J.K. Rowling has said that she doesn't promote witchcraft in Harry Potter books. J.K. Rowling has also said that she doesn’t believe in witchcraft “in the sense” how critics say, and that she doesn’t “believe in magic in the way” how she has described magic in her books. Does she believe then witchcraft and magic in other ways and why she has very accurately written about witchcraft and magic? It seems that she knows very much about those things. J.K. Rowling has also said that she has researched mythology, folklore and occult beliefs (pagan religions, celtic religions, druids religions, witchcraft, and satanism) in order to write her books. She knows also that majority of the spells, which are used in her Harry Potter books are used in real life, in witchcraft and occultism. It is very obvious that she knows what she has been doing as writing her books. J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter books are stories about evil, not about good things. Those books are not harmless fiction, but tell for real evil witchcraft with magic spells and other evil things. Rowling has not written Harry Potter books merely by using fiction, but has used precise and accurate knowledge of occultism and her Potter books are not thus only a fiction, but based also to real evil.

J.K. Rowling has said that she is a Christian, and that she believes to God. Why Christian who believe in God write books, which emphasize witchcraft and sorcery and occultism? I think that she thinks that she believes, but actually she doesn't believe as it has been written in the Bible. Because he/she who really believe to God and the Bible don't write a book saying that there is good and bad witches, because the Bible say that all witches are evil. J.K. Rowling says in her books that Harry's witchcraft is good and this one statement alone is enough to prove that Harry Potter books are evil. Of course there is also much more evil in those books. All books which promote witchcraft and don't say that it is evil are evil books. There is no matter is author Christian or not, if he/she writes such books. The Bible says that all witchcraft and sorcery are evil, and so we have to believe as Christians.


Turwethiel Merilwen said...

Thank you for your post, Juhani. Although I don't know much about the actual spells in HP; friends that are HP fans have told me that the spells in the books are not real ones. *shrugs* However, whether they are real or not they could lead to more dangerous/real ones.

I agree that anything that promotes witchcraft of any kind is evil.

Evil is evil.
Good is good.
Truth is truth, and the Truth is Jesus Christ.

You cannot make evil good. The bottom line about Harry Potter is that which Rowling attempts to do just that. Whether it was on purpose or not, HP presents two forms of magic: good witchcraft and evil witchcraft. There is no such thing.

So, enough said.

God bless!