Make sure you read Jack Wilkie’s article on why we shouldn’t watch Harry Potter. This article is by Eli Schnell. You can read more of Eli’s work here. Enjoy the two articles and I hope they help you think through the issue!
Before I begin my discussion of the subject at hand, I would like to clarify that Jack Wilkie is my brother in Christ and we both have the same goal in mind: to do what God desires for us to do. Although I disagree with Jack on the point under discussion, I still consider him a brother in Christ and a fellow servant of God. I am not maliciously going after Jack personally, but rather am simply attempting to make clear a subject that has been muddled.
You can read Jack’s article on why we shouldn’t read Harry Potter here.
ARGUMENT #1: The Bible condemns the practice of sorcery and witchcraft and the sorts of things happening in Harry Potter fall under the category of Sorcery and Witchcraft.
ANSWER #1: Yes the things being portrayed in the movies would be considered witchcraft. If I were to practice witchcraft I would be in violation of God’s commands. I am not, however, practicing witchcraft by watching a movie. Next argument.
ARGUMENT #2: Watching fictional witchcraft is the same as watching fictional sexual immorality.
ANSWER #2: There is at least one major difference between the two: Watching fictional sexual immorality (in most cases) is going to cause me to lust after the people portraying the fiction because of the activities they are engaging in on the screen. This is why watching this sort of content is wrong. However, we cannot compare watching sex on screen to watching a boy say “abra cadabra” and a book floating in the air. We have two totally different discussions on our hands at this point. The reasoning behind not watching sexual immorality is solid, but does not apply to Harry Potter, or other such movies.
ARGUMENT #3: It is wrong for us to be entertained by fictional characters using fictional spells because some people still attempt to use spells/witchcraft in real life.
ANSWER #3: Obviously just because some people are extremely misguided does not change whether or not something is wrong or right in the eyes of God. Whether or not “Wiccans” and “Witches and Warlocks” still exist is of no consequence in a discussion of right and wrong. The very mention of other people in this discussion, however, opens a door that I would like to step boldly through. If we converted a “practicing” witch or warlock or a Wiccan, it is possible that having them sit down and watch Harry Potter with me for entertainment would place a significant stumbling block in front of them because of their background. They may begin wondering if witchcraft is alright to still practice, or they may be reminded of their days spent “spell-casting” and lapse back into practicing something God condemns. In this case I would be sinning because I am not considering the greatest good of my brother. Again, I am not sinning simply because I am entertained by “abra cadabra” and a floating book, but because I am damaging the conscience of my brother in the process (1 Corinthians 10:23ff).
In Hebrews 11 we have our “heroes of faith” who are discussed and brought up by name. Among those names we find Rahab. Rahab was a harlot, a prostitute, and a liar. I ask myself at this point, does the fact that she was a harlot and a liar make her story less inspiring? Does it make her story sinful for me to read about? No. I can focus on the good she did for God and the overall moral of the story rather than the fact that she was a liar and a prostitute. We can do the same with Harry Potter. We can place our focus on the moral of the story instead of thinking “OOOOOOOO!!! I wanna do MAAAAGIC!”
ARGUMENT #4: Harry Potter has dark undertones and this makes it sinful to watch.
ANSWER #4: I ask the question: do dark undertones make a movie sinful to watch? The darkness that is there is portrayed by the evil characters, not the protagonist Harry. The evil is triumphed over at the end (I assume). Also, as a side note, swearing can be dealt with by purchasing a filter for your DVD player that can remove the swearing so that when you rent/buy the movie you don’t have to deal with it being placed in your ears. Also worthy of note: Harry Potter has very little if any swearing within the movies that I can recall. It has been some time since I have indulged them, but I wanted to make the statement.
I don’t see any damning evidence being presented in these arguments. Would it be wrong for a Christian to begin worshipping “House Gryffindor” or “House Slytherin?” Absolutely. Would it be wrong for a Christian to begin attempting to learn how to cast magic spells using power from sources other than God? Absolutely. But is it wrong for me to watch a movie where a writer has created a fictional story about a little boy who can use magic and goes to a school for “gifted individuals” where he deals with moral dilemmas and issues of right and wrong, heroism and villainy? I have yet to see where the Bible would condemn such an action.