Contending For The Faith

September 17, 2009

Why Christians Should Not Read (or Watch) Harry Potter

Filed under: Christian lifestyle — Lynda O @ 3:45 pm
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This post comes after my recent discovery that a seemingly upright Christian family at church (homeschool with 8 children, the father a church deacon) seems more interested in the world’s entertainment than in pursuing a more godly Christian life and walk.  Now to the particulars:  the father has taken off three weeks of vacation in one block, and just staying around the house–not to complete any “honey-do” list, or any other perhaps worthwhile endeavors, but with this as his stated top goal: to read all 7 of the Harry Potter books.  Another couple at church, friends of theirs who I also had thought more highly of, are also really into the Harry Potter books and movies.  They point out that the author is really gifted, and the books are entertaining; I was rather physically tired at the time, waiting to go home, and so did not pursue the matter further as to why they think such books are okay reading–though they would probably give the common excuse:  it’s just entertainment.

To me such choices clearly reflect an attitude and worldview of indifference, a lifestyle of a believer caught up in the trappings of this world.  So here are a few questions and thoughts concerning this interest in Harry Potter.

Is it wise to read something which advocates witchcraft and the occult?  Or to read stories that lack traditional morality, stories which ridicule traditional Christian adults, stories that portray and promote the idea of children who actively rebel against adult authority figures?  Is that the way to treat God, to openly break His clear commandments concerning idolatry and occultism?

I can hear the objections now.  “It’s just entertainment.”  Or, it’s a matter of conscience, one of those areas related to the stronger and weaker brothers, like alcohol, or eating meat sacrificed to idols.  If it doesn’t bother you and you don’t see anything wrong, enjoy it.  At a very basic level, such responses remind me of the “Dad’s Brownies” story, in which a dad responds to his three teenagers who really want to see a popular PG-13 rated movie.  They can go to the movie if they’ll eat his brownies, which have a “special ingredient” of a little dog poop added to them.

Another reference on this overall topic is my recent post about Genesis 19 and Lot, the worldly believer.

From a scriptural perspective, God’s word is clear about staying away from anti-Christian worldviews and philosophies.  Our God is a jealous God and will not share His glory with another (Isaiah 48:11).  But if that’s not enough for you, consider Paul’s exhortations to believers in his many New Testament letters.
Romans 12:2 — “Do not be conformed to this world,  but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”

1 Corinthians 6:12 — “Everything is permissible for me”—but not everything is beneficial. “Everything is permissible for me”—but I will not be mastered by anything.

1 Corinthians 10: 14 — Therefore, my dear friends, flee from idolatry.
1 Corinthians 10:21-23 — You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons too; you cannot have a part in both the Lord’s table and the table of demons.  Are we trying to arouse the Lord’s jealousy? Are we stronger than he?
“Everything is permissible”—but not everything is beneficial. “Everything is permissible”—but not everything is constructive.

Consider especially that last part:  not everything is beneficial, or constructive.  Not everything is edifying or profitable, to you individually as well as to the church body, which is those you influence.  Consider the race to run, to win the prize. Paul speaks of the Bema Seat judgement at which our works will be evaluated, and those of wood, hay and stubble will be burned up.  So much of our time is spent on meaningless pursuits.  Should we value as so little what we do here, in light of eternity, that we should devote time to reading the Harry Potter books?  How about spending that time reading and studying the Bible instead?  Sadly, too many Americans, and I suspect it’s also true of most Christians, know more about the Harry Potter stories than God’s word.  What do we really value?  It shows in such things as what we spend our idle time on.  This same issue applies to reading “The Shack” or anything else offensive to God’s word and the Christian worldview.

Consider verses such as these:
1 Corinthians 9:24-26 — Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it.  Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.  So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air.
Hebrews 12:1 — let us run with endurance the race that is set before us

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