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Why Christians Shouldn’t read/watch Harry Potter?

This is going to be a two-part series.  Do not miss part 2 for the argument that will be posted later today.  The author for this post is Jack Wilkie.  You can read more of his work here.  You can also read the unedited version of this post there. I’m letting these guys discuss it since I have never read the books and/or watched the movies. When you finish read Eli Schnell’s response here.

There’s no denying that Harry Potter has taken the world by storm. About 11 years ago I picked up the books for the first time on my mom’s suggestion, and I was completely fascinated. It’s the best fiction I’ve ever read. However, a few years after I started my mom found a book that discussed why Christians should look into Harry Potter a little more closely before reading the books and watching the movies. To be completely honest, I didn’t care at all. I loved the books and I wanted to read the upcoming book just as much.  However, a little over a year ago I decided to really examine the issue for the first time. In the next few paragraphs I will discuss why I don’t plan on going to see the final two installments.

It’s quite clear that the Bible speaks out against sorcery and witchcraft. However, I (and the vast majority of Bible believers) found ways to defuse whatever the Bible says about sorcery by claiming that it had nothing to do with Harry Potter. So, in this post I want to first examine what the Bible says about sorcery and witchcraft before looking at the reasons given for why those Scriptures may not deal with Harry Potter.

In Galatians 5:20, sorcery is listed as part of the “deeds of the flesh” along with things like idolatry, drunkenness, and fornication. “Sorcerers” are named in a similar list in Revelation 21:8. In Acts 19:19, those that practice magic brought their books and burned them when they turned to the Lord. In the Old Testament, Deuteronomy 18:10-14 warns the nation of Israel about the things they will face in their new land – like idolatry, child sacrifices, and witchcraft. 2 Chronicles 33:6 says that King Manasseh “practiced witchcraft, used divination, practiced sorcery and dealt with mediums and spiritists. He did much evil in the sigh of the Lord, provoking Him to anger” (NASB). Clearly, in both the Old and New Testaments God was against sorcery, witchcraft, and divination

So, how does that not apply to Harry Potter? The first claim is the words mean something different than the kind of magic practiced in Harry Potter. Let’s look at the words. The Greek word (roughly transliterated) is pharmakeia. Yes, that’s where our word “pharmacy” comes from. Typically that leads people to say that this word is talking about drug abuse, thus it does not apply to HP.  While I can see why they make that claim, those that translated practically every English version of the Bible seemed to think that it had to do with more than drug abuse. BDAG, a definitive lexicon on New Testament Greek, defines it as “sorcery, magic” and “magic arts” (Bauer 1049). Clearly it implies more than just simple drug use. However, even if it did, would Harry Potter’s use of potions pass this test?

What about “witchcraft”? This one is a little tougher since it isn’t used in the New Testament. The Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon defines it as one who practices “soothsaying or spiritism or magic or augury” (Strong #6049). So, witchcraft is a much broader term than sorcery. It includes magic, but it basically is about fortune telling and divining the future. These (sorcery and witchcraft) terms have everything to do with the kind of magic practiced in Harry Potter.

The next claim is that Harry Potter is just fiction and this kind of magic isn’t real, so there’s nothing wrong with HP. First, just because it is fictional doesn’t get us off the hook. Remember, sorcery was listed as a deed of the flesh along with idolatry and sexual immorality. I don’t know of any Christian that would make a case for watching movies where fornicators and homosexuals are the heroes. I have a hard time seeing how just saying “it’s fictional” makes it acceptable. Second, this magic may not exist as much today (although there are still practicing witches and warlocks), but it clearly isn’t a completely foreign. In Exodus 7, Pharaoh had sorcerers that would come out and try to match the miracles that God.  This is why God felt it necessary to warn His people about men like these in Deuteronomy 18. King Nebuchadnezzar also kept a staff of magicians, sorcerers, and conjurers in Daniel 2:2. While some may claim that people can’t work these acts today, it hasn’t stopped the Wiccan “religion” from staying alive and well. It hasn’t disappeared completely, so saying that it is fiction or such a far-fetched idea that we need not worry about it doesn’t work either.

On top of what the Bible says about witchcraft, don’t forget that the Harry Potter movies have become increasingly dark. Having read the book, I’m pretty sure that the next two movies will involve murder, torture, cursing, and things of that sort that Christians should think twice about before viewing. I think that a lot of people (me in the past included) are willing to write off those blemishes in the movies and books because they like the story . Let us never become desensitized. At some point we have to go back to Philippians 4:8.

To conclude this post, I can’t say that I condemn Harry Potter outright. However, due to all of the things I discussed above, I don’t feel comfortable with being involved in the stories anymore. With the evidence against it I don’t want to take the chance. Like I said before, the stories are incredibly well-written and I really enjoyed them, so if anyone can justify it please share. If we can’t justify it by the Book, we shouldn’t do it.

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14 Comments

  1. And now we should know HP is a series that parallels Christianity and the Resurrection

    Guys, Rowling uses magic as a tool- when we look at the themes, it is apparent she is trying to tell us to fight for our friends and family and other things like that. The way these wizards did was to use magic. She teaches us to use our own “magic”-our gifts, to fight against Satan.

  2. Noelle Sumlin

    July 31, 2012 at 9:46 am

    Hey, I tired to leave a comment but I don’t know if I did it right or if it worked. If it did work I wasn’t all done leaving my comment to You. When U get a chance PLEASE, PLEASE Email ME. My Email is Allynoelle16@yahoo.com .

  3. Dear!
    thanks for your time invested given such an encouraging for the children of GOD to watch such a film.
    I think that film has may be, been a helpful to you so much in some ways!?
    The Bible tells us to be careful of what we HEAR and or of-course what we see or watch. I don’t believe this film can help us think we can fight our enemies. What POWER do we have?
    This is not what my bible tells me.
    Jesus is warning us to be careful at the end time. LOVERS OF MONEY… the enemy have seen the interest of mankind, the desire of man’s heart, that’s why he is also smart to blind the eye of GOD’s children to see evil as although good.
    Do you think Jesus is behind this film?
    I will advise, stop encouraging christians to be watching this film, PLEASE!
    Talking about, leading a righteous and HOLY life!
    For they that are lead by the spirit of GOD, they are the sons of GOD I think, a real, HOLY SPIRIT filled person wouldn’t watch such a film.
    Rom 1: 21-32 .Many scriptures can proof this.
    What ever we do, watch, hear, or see has a spiritual influence especially, on children.
    DO not be surprise if a school buy/girl draws his or her pistol to kill their teacher.
    Can we imagine, what kind of horror dreams, teens and the youth are having at night? They are rather under destruction!
    Do we know what they go through? because of such films, not only HP?
    Do we know what most parents are going through at their homes due to such films?
    Do we know, what kind of influence they have, that has lead them into such like witchcraft… killing…practice?
    We can ague or discuss more about this HP film, and, even more but, the truth is; What ever we do, hear, or say, … on this planet earth, should glorify GOD through CHRIST JESUS. For we will give an accounts to it.
    I Will never, ever, encourage anyone especially Christians to watch HP.
    JESUS is the only WAY, the truth and light, to overcome, our enemies there is no other way, no other power only the power of GOD.
    I think, if a christian needs to watch a film, that will help, overcome his or her enemies then, that film should be his prayer and also leading a righteous life. “THE RIGHTEOUS IS AS BOLD AS A LOIN´´
    For GOD, is watching to see that our enemies falls at our feet. GOD has soooooo many promises for and about us concerning our enemies. We need to seek… and depend on him, for, and, on everything.
    Sorry! the truth is, not advicesable for christian/s to watch HP due to it’s spiritual influence….In JESUS name! This wouldn’t help us grow, according to the words of JESUS.
    thanks! The LORD bless and have mercy on us all.
    L.G Bedrock.

  4. ^^^^ramblings^^^^

    It comes down to weather u tought ur children well enough to decern from good and evil and whats real and whats fake. if u tought them well and gods spirit is strong withen them, then they shall not wounder from the path of god and will be able to enjoy the story as long as they keep in mind that its not real and most of it does not reside with god. I don’t think there even one pasture or preacher or priest or w/e that has secluded them selfs from the bad things of this world. because if they did that then how would they be able to teach others what so to stay away from. I my self did not know what diviniation was but because of harry potter, If I were to stumble across the real thing I would know how to recognize it and stay away from it. SEE THE DAMN BOOK TOUGHT ME HOW TO STAY AWAY AND RECONIZE EVIL. if u think that u souldnt read the books an stay away from things like it then u may want to think about how strong the power of god is in u. one sould prepare a defence agenst these things and sheltering urself from it just makes u weaker and unable to recognize what u may encounter in life. and if ur afraid of ur children falling pray to these things then by all mean don’t let them read it until u have made sure that they can tell the diference from wrong and right and whats fake and real.

  5. Just as hp should not be read and watched by everybody so is this article not meant to be read by all but serious christians who are interested in pleasing their MASTER.

    Put on the whole armour of God so you can withstand the tricks(wiles) of the devil. Eph 6:10-18.

  6. There is a real wizard school online that is based on harry potter and uses it as a text book for one of its subjects. It accepts children as young as 11 and has 4 “houses”and subjects just like Hogwarts. Oberon Zell Ravenheart runs it. I know this sounds absolutely crazy but if you google his name with Wizard School you will find it. Harry Potter books are evil

  7. I am a Christian, but my parents do not allow me to watch Harry Potter, I’ve already seen it once though. They forbid it in our home, the weird thing is I really want to watch it. I’ve never felt this with another movie… It’s just really interesting although I know not to get into witch craft and garbage like it. Is this feeling I’m having normal? Or how can I persuade my parents to let us watch it?

  8. I agree completely. Well-written, informative, and successful argument.

  9. First of all, let me start with that I have never seen any of the HP books nor have seen the movies, so this comment is not really related to that. What it is related to is a part of this article that sort stuck in my head. Where it says:
    “I don’t know of any Christian that would make a case for watching movies where fornicators and homosexuals are the heroes.”
    I’m a little confused by this. Most action films, dramas, suspense, etc., have characters in it that are displayed as the heroes but are also technically fornicators. In The Matrix when Neo slept with Trinity, I’m pretty sure they weren’t married. However, if you’ve seen those films, would you argue they weren’t the heroes? Also, if in a movie (or real life for that matter) I saw a homosexual man or woman burst into a burning house to save another person, or do any other self sacrificing act of bravery similar to that; I would see them as a hero. Their sexuality wouldn’t change that. I honestly don’t understand how it could. Sorry, I just thought that part of the argument weren’t really good examples. I am Christian by the way, and this is just my opinion of course. Have a nice day 🙂

  10. I think you have over looked a very important element in your argument. The Chronicles of Narnia uses magic. The Wizard of Oz uses magic. The Lord of the Rings use magic. The Magic Tree House uses magic. Most children series that are not entirely based in realism (and most aren’t) use elements of magic. Paddington the Bear, a talking, walking teddy bear? Sorcery! The Cat in the Hat, a talking, prank pulling cat? Wizardry! The basis of a good argument is consistency and proof. You have none. The Bible warns against the PRACTICE of magic. If you read the HP series Rowling’s spells are combinations of Latin words that mean exactly what the spell is supposed to do. Forgive me but I believe Latin was one of the main languages the Bible was written in, and remains the language of choice for the Catholic Church. As a child who grew up alongside this series I have ten years of “research” and can confidently say I saw NO ONE ever practice magic, pretend or otherwise, after watching the movies. Nor do I know anyone who converted to the Wiccan practices.

    I understand that you seem to be threatened by the “magic” in Harry Potter. However, she isn’t given children a guidebook to Wiccan culture. She doesn’t tie her characters to real world sorcery at all. In fact Rowling’s world is not ours. If you aren’t willing to stop watching all the series, or books listed above that use magic you are a hypocrite. Before you write another article I would suggest you behave more academically. As it is now, your main argument is unsubstantially supported and your research poorly done.

  11. Hi Amy i can totally relate my dad hates Harry potter and forbids it but you know whatI’m on the last book still I have been showing him articles and verses to my dad on why he should let us but I still read it cause I know it’s not real just protect your mind with the word of god .

  12. Oh come on… Witch craft and wazardry are just about as real as God and satan! If someone who is so influenced by this FICTIONAL movie should see help. If people find the threat of sourcery so real because that’s what your religion says, then technically you should go burn all the ACTORS since they are now tied to the devil! It is a fictional story just like the bible.

  13. When I read Harry Potter, I don’t find myself dwelling on darkness or divination. I come away with good models of friendships. I see the classic battle of light versus darkness, good versus evil. I see the love of Harry’s mother saving his life. I see Snape’s story in which he turns from darkness. I see Dumbledore laying down his life in order that Harry may remain protected. I see nobility, truth, love.

    Also, I wonder why people are condemning HP when reading Percy Jackson, which celebrates gods and goddesses. In fact, maybe we shouldn’t read mythology. Didn’t God say to worship no one but him? Have no other gods?

    Just some thoughts.

  14. I know its a bit late to comment on this topic, but I myself was a avid Harry Potter Fan, until hours ago, I live with my mother at almost 30, for the past 6years I have lived a life of a Lazy man, spending hours a day reading Fanfiction, the main stories were Harry Potter fictions themselves. My mother is sensitive to the spirit, and for the last few years shes been having problems with her stomach, we have tried everything from doctors to hospitals, nothing showed up, Yesterday she told me something and it stuck, so I looked up “book’s Christians shouldn’t read” on google search, bought me to a blog with comments like this site, as I was reading the comments some quoted scriptures as well, and had many site links related to this, here is one http://harrypotterpower.com/

    Now I read article, and I was shocked it was the most info looking into this topic that I have read, its a few years old and has quotes from J.K herself, with quotes from the stories, and from other sources, I suggest reading it. Back to my comment about why I was a fan and am not now, after reading it, and falling asleep hours ago, I had a dream/nightmare, during the few hours I slept I kept waking up, I had decided the article was correct I couldn’t chance it, now every time I woke up, my mind kept trying to make random HP stories appear in my head, I would stop my line of thought, then go back to sleep, it wasn’t until the 5/6 time waking up that I experienced a nightmare within a dream. in this nightmare, my mind was being forced to think harry potter like scenarios, but then my body became heavy, I couldn’t even speak, it was like I was muffled and weighed down, I kept screaming for help but no sound came from me, by this point, I had to fight for my live to regain control of my own body, I began trying to speak lines from the bible, trying to force them out, to tell whatever was holding me to release its hold, in Jesus name, to command it bound, and so on, eventually my body started responding to me, slowly and steadily, however this is still a nightmare, it hasn’t gone back to being a dream yet, no chance to be woken up till then, but eventually I make it out of my room, or the room I was in, it looked like décor from HP films, I managed to get into the room my mother in the dream was in, after I made it too her, I began to speak, to tell her about it, that’s when the nightmare stopped being a nightmare and was back to a normal dream. not long after that I woke to a loud knock right next to my head, from my wall, I awoke covered with sweat, after getting my berings I prayed against the spirit of witchcraft, the demons that held me, the visions given by the enemy, on the spirit of The Lord, against words spoken to me, and against the devil himself, there was no hesitation on me in rebuking them. This experience showed me that no matter how much I thought I was a Christian, I was ensnared by the enemy, that this seemingly simple story which came out when I when I was in middle school and looked so Benign was indeed the work of the Lucifer himself, for if it was a harmless story, why did my mind keep waking me up, why did I have a nightmare where I couldn’t control my own actions, me a person who hardly ever has dreams at night…. Someone got his claws into me by my own naivety, even when the books were thrown out of my house that spirit, that demon was still here in my house, clouding my mind into believing the story was just a simple childrens tale, Please I implore you all, to look into it, look at quotes made by people J.K knew, to seek guidance from the Word of God, From the words about witchcraft, at least read the article I posted. Seek the answers on your own from the different sources yourself, but prepare your heart, fill it with the word of God, I made the mistake of falling into the Trap, if even 1 person can be spared by my words, then I thank God for pulling me out when he did. Thanks for your patience, and God Bless.

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