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Harry Potter was a good Christian?
December 28th, 2010
06:00 AM ET

Harry Potter was a good Christian?

By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

In a new book out this month, author Danielle Tumminio asserts Harry Potter is good Christian. Tumminio argues Potter lives a life that lines up with Christian values.

“I see him best as a seeker in a world where Christianity is not the vocabulary. I see him best as a seeker trying to live a life of faith in the same way a Christian seeker tries to live a life grace,” Tumminio told CNN.

Tumminio said she wrote God and Harry Potter at Yale: Teaching Faith and Fantasy Fiction in an Ivy League Classroom, to explore the contention by conservative Christians that Harry Potter is akin to heresy.

“I felt like the conversation about the Harry Potter series among Christians was really narrow,” Tumminio said.

Tumminio self-identifies as a Christian in the Episcopal tradition and has a two Masters degrees in religion from Yale University’s divinity school. The book grew out of an undergraduate course on the Potter series she taught at Yale.

When the Harry Potter series first burst on to the scene in 1998, some Christians denounced the book about a young wizard learning the ways of magic. Several small independent churches even publicly burned the books. The series ranks first in the American Library Association’s Top Banned/Challenged books from 2000-2009.

Lauve Steenhuisen, a visiting assistant professor at Georgetown University, says the criticism is understandable given the framework of faith for many conservative Christians.

“The Christian paradigm is that you implore the divine - you await the grace of the divine - God is in total control. It’s dueling kingdoms,” she said. “In conservative Christianity there’s two kingdoms: the kingdom of God and the kingdom of Satan. If (Harry’s) not on one side, he’s on the other.”

But the criticism of the books stung Tumminio on a personal level. She said that criticism “wasn’t’ just doing the books an injustice, it was doing Christianity an injustice. First of all I was astounded so many of (the critics) hadn’t read the books.”

“I think that Harry lives a life that is in line with the values Christians line up with. What he grows to be good at is loving others - the fact he gives his life for his community, the fact that over and over he makes decisions that are better for others,” Tumminio said.

But that doesn’t make Harry Potter a Christian said Steenhuisen.

Hogwarts Academy is a very moral place but that morality is an ethical code entrenched in secularity, she said.

“The faculty is very eager to say we never do the curse of the this or that. There are rules that they are learning that are morally designed. I think it’s incredibly moral. There is tons of restraints of the power they’re gaining. They’re just not Christian. To be Christian it has to be intentional about being in Christ,” she said.

Steenhuisen agrees with Tumminio that Potter is doing his best to grow morally. “He is acting like a moral man. But she is appropriating Christian language and using it metaphorically. He is not a good Christian because the faith is missing,” Steenhuisen said.

Tumminio said it’s up to the reader to bring his or her own metaphorical magic to and read between the lines to see Potter’s faith. She does not think Potter author J.K. Rowling intended the series to be a tome on faith.

“It feels to me that (Rowling) is not a Christian writer in the style of C.S. Lewis, showing them how great Christianity is, to get them to convert. I think for her it’s much more the journey of a seeker exploring and deepening a faith,” she said. The books are, “not for the purpose of creating other Christians.”

Those books have sold over 400 million copies worldwide. Tumminio hopes she has enough credibility with Potter fans to sell her own book. She said she too once stood in line at midnight waiting for the newest Potter book to release.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Belief • Books • Christianity • Culture & Science • Movies

soundoff (857 Responses)
  1. Peter

    Christians should not be involved in the occult, therefor he is not a Christian. Harry Potter misleads people into believing that they can fight "evil" with evil occult practices in the name of good, instead of relying on the Word of the Lord Jesus Christ.

    December 28, 2010 at 10:31 am |
    • I Killed Kenny

      Hmmm...reminds me of catholic priests and little helpless boys...but whatever

      December 28, 2010 at 10:37 am |
    • The Jackdaw

      I killed two dragons and an evil wizard with some words that Jesus used. The deadly words were "it, and, is" and "sunshine."

      December 28, 2010 at 11:08 am |
    • boocat

      Having the belief that someone can walk on water, raise the dead, cure leprosey, rise from the dead and ascend into "heaven" sure sounds like the occult to me.

      December 28, 2010 at 11:48 am |
    • David Johnson

      @Peter

      Word of comfort for you:

      There are no evil spirits. There is no devil. There is no monster beneath your bed or in your closet.

      Harry Potter and the creations of Stephen King and so many others, prove that some humans have the talent to write. To make up stories that other humans like to hear.

      If you could show that humans just don't ever exhibit the ability to invent myths or creatures that don't exist...If all the ancient Greek and Roman gods didn't have virgin births and man-gods etc. then yes! You could announce that only Jesus will save us from the boogerman! Jesus is a lot like Spiderman, huh?

      Cheers!

      December 28, 2010 at 12:34 pm |
    • stan

      how is the occult evil if used to champion the good and the just AND fight evil?

      December 28, 2010 at 12:58 pm |
    • Larry C. Lyons

      And here I thought that zombies were part of the occult.

      December 28, 2010 at 4:19 pm |
    • S. Anity

      "Occult" means literally "Hidden". So, what are these "evil occult practices" of which you speak? Doctors seeking occult blood in stool samples?

      January 17, 2011 at 10:26 pm |
  2. common sense

    Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent.
    Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent.
    Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil?
    Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?

    December 28, 2010 at 10:30 am |
    • David

      usually when someone "borrows" someone's material credit will be given unless Epicurus has risen...

      December 28, 2010 at 10:46 am |
    • Lex

      These are very important questions – studying and reading and thinking through how to answer them is often what brings people back to or to discover faith all together. Don't stop 'doubting', but don't just sit there and doubt, find the reasons and answers others have discovered over thousands of years – find your ow answers! It will change your life (whatever faith you are or aren't!)

      December 28, 2010 at 10:52 am |
    • common sense

      sorry, I would like to thank Epicurus for the above quote. And I would like to thank early humans for not understanding the world enough to make up the worst fairy tale of all time. They could have thrown in a couple of car chases and possibly a Buford T. Justice character to make it more enjoyable

      December 28, 2010 at 11:01 am |
    • nopretense

      I have often wondered this myself, I think it is overly simple to say that because bad things happen there must not be a God or that God is not a loving God. My reasoning is that free will and randomness in nature may be intertwined (while understanding that the existence of randomness itself can be questioned). So a person getting cancer is part of the same mechanism, randomness, which allows free will to exist. You cannot have free will without randomness and the ugly things that it brings to the table (car accidents, airplane crashes, cancer etc.). For the religious people if God "wants" free will than he also must accept the things that come with it.

      I want to point out that I do not believe in religion which is spawn from the willfulness, vanity and cleverness of people who seek power and, in some cases, an explanation for the "why" when ambiguity is too frustrating. I am not sure if there is a God or what God is or if there is a "why" at all but I do not discount that there might be a God in that there might be a purpose for and to our consciousness. My question is, can any of this exist at all without some form of consciousness to perceive it?

      I goggled randomness and free will to see if someone has done some thinking on this and sure enough, Wikipedia:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Randomness

      December 28, 2010 at 12:01 pm |
    • RichardSRussell

      I would be very dubious of any thot process that resulted in someone turning to faith as a source of answers. Faith is the world's absolutely WORST decision-making technique. Nobody uses faith if any superior form of decision-making (like reason or trust or even chance) is available. Faith only gets hauled out when there's absolutely no reason whatsoever to believe what you so desperately WANT to believe — and often lots of evidence against it.

      Don't believe me? Next time you're at a busy intersection, close your eyes, stick your fingers in your ears, and rely on faith to tell you when it's safe to cross. (Really. True believers please do this. It'll also provide supporting evidence for evolution.)

      December 28, 2010 at 12:09 pm |
    • nopretense

      Not sure if you are responding to my post but I am pretty sure I never even mentioned faith. I discussed free will and randomness.

      December 28, 2010 at 12:22 pm |
    • Lex

      Richard – keep replies within context please – Common Sense is asking theological questions, I merely suggest in his questioning he look to theological works as well as his own skeptical opinion. Doubting and Skepticism and questioning is what has brought most advancements in our world, theoretical, mechanical, theological, etc.

      But, if on the other hand, you just want to be nasty and sarcastic, by all means – please use this forum as a means of 'proving your point'

      December 28, 2010 at 12:23 pm |
    • RichardSRussell

      I was responding to Lex's comment in praise of faith as the ultimate copout: "These are very important questions – studying and reading and thinking through how to answer them is often what brings people back to or to discover faith all together."

      December 28, 2010 at 12:30 pm |
    • Larry C. Lyons

      Please get the quote and the citation right:
      "Either God wants to abolish evil, and cannot; or he can, but does not want to. If he wants to, but cannot, he is impotent. If he can, but does not want to, he is wicked. If God can abolish evil, and God really wants to do it, why is there evil in the world?" — Epicurus, as quoted in 2000 Years of Disbelief

      But your version is the more commonly known one.

      December 28, 2010 at 4:00 pm |
    • Larry C. Lyons

      Pardon, I should have read all the replies before replying.

      December 28, 2010 at 4:01 pm |
  3. common sense

    Tell a devout Christian that his wife is cheating on him, or that frozen yogurt can make a man invisible, and he is likely to require as much evidence as anyone else, and to be persuaded only to the extent that you give it. Tell him that the book he keeps by his bed was written by an invisible deity who will punish him with fire for eternity if he fails to accept its every incredible claim about the universe, and he seems to require no evidence what so ever

    December 28, 2010 at 10:30 am |
    • I Killed Kenny

      Can someone tell me why there hasnt been a movie made about a talking snake in a "heavenly" garden tempting a woman to eat an apple and therefor causing all menstrual and labor pains in women as punishment for eating that apple? Id watch that. We could even combine both movies and call the snake Nagini.

      December 28, 2010 at 10:41 am |
    • common sense

      They did. It's called Mary Poppins. Just look at the way she was with Jane and Michael.

      December 28, 2010 at 12:01 pm |
    • Damiana

      common sense: Tell him that the book he keeps by his bed was written by an invisible deity who will punish him with fire for eternity if he fails to accept its every incredible claim about the universe, and he seems to require no evidence what so ever

      That's because he had to swap his brains for his bible.....the usual terms of trade.

      December 28, 2010 at 12:46 pm |
  4. Joel

    You do all know this is just make beleive don't you?????

    December 28, 2010 at 10:29 am |
    • Thomas

      That's the scary part. Some do believe this... and they vote.

      December 28, 2010 at 2:02 pm |
  5. common sense

    Top Ten Signs That You Are An Unquestioning Christian:
    10- You vigorously deny the existence of thousands of gods claimed by other religions, but feel outraged when someone denies the existence of your god.

    9- You feel insulted and ‘dehumanized’ when scientists say that people evolved from lesser life forms, but you have no problem with the Biblical claim that we were created from dirt.

    8- You laugh at polytheists, but you have no problem believing in a Trinity god.

    7- Your face turns purple when you hear of the ‘atrocities’ attributed to Allah, but you don’t even flinch when hearing about how God/Jehovah slaughtered all the babies of Egypt in ‘Exodus’ and ordered the
    elimination of entire ethnic groups in ‘Joshua’—including women, children, and animals!

    6- You laugh at Hindu beliefs that deify humans, and Greek claims about god sleeping with women, but you have no problem believing that the Holy Spirit impregnated Mary, who then gave birth to a man-god who
    got killed, came back to life and then ascended into the sky.

    5- You are willing to spend your life looking for little loop-holes in the scientifically established age of the Earth (4.55 billion years), but you find
    nothing wrong with believing dates recorded by pre-historic tribesmen sitting in their tents and guessing that the Earth is a couple of generations
    old!

    4- You believe that the entire population of this planet wi th the exception of those who share your beliefs—though excluding those in all rival
    sects—will spend Eternity in an infinite Hell of Suffering. And yet you consider your religion the most ‘tolerant’ and ‘loving’.

    3- While modern science, history, geology, biology, and physics have failed to convince you otherwise, some idiot rolling around on the floor, speaking in ‘tongues,’ may be all the evidence you need.

    2- You define 0.01% as a “high success rate” when it comes to answered prayers. You consider that to be evidence that prayer works. And you think that the remaining 99.99% FAILURE was simply the will of God.

    1- You actually know a lot less than many Atheists and Agnostics do about the Bible, Christianity, and church history—but still call yourself a “Christian.”

    December 28, 2010 at 10:29 am |
    • Silver Chair

      Why did the atheist cross the road? He thought there might be a sidewalk on the other side, but wasn't sure unless he could test his hypothesis.

      December 28, 2010 at 10:48 am |
    • Lex

      An 'unquestioning' anything is a terrible thing, we are human, we are meant to seek knowledge, doubt, learn and hope. We are meant to love, respect and trust – but to do any of these well, we must suffer through the doubt, "be shipwrecked" and come out stronger for it.

      December 28, 2010 at 10:49 am |
    • uncommon sense?

      Wow @common sense, a lil spiteful aren't we?

      @Liz, that's a good point. Christianity, or any other religion doesn't have a lock on morality, people do what they choose...

      However... in the original Hebrew, m'khashepah is the word used... The word means a woman who uses spoken spells to harm others – e.g. causing their death or loss of property.

      That would seem to indicate that it was 'sorcerers' that aim to harm people. Some have decided that this might include those that use slight of hand, i.e. thieves... but that's not what the hebraic origin seems to indicate.

      December 28, 2010 at 10:53 am |
    • Jared

      Wow, I see we have a great copy/paster on our hands...

      Provide evidence that God does not exist, and you will have some credibility. If Christianity was nonsense, scientists wouldn't be spelling billions of dollars every year TRYING to disprove nonsense.

      There have been MANY archeological finds that coincide (I will not use the word PROVE, as there is no physical proof for either side) with the teachings of the Bible.

      I can assure you that MOST Christians know more about the Bible and its teachings than any Atheist or Agnostic. They claim to have studied the Bible, but most that I have debated have NO clue what they are talking about.

      December 28, 2010 at 11:01 am |
    • common sense

      @Jared... rational thought tells me God doesn't exist. I love when bible thumpers say crap like that. Tell me, if your god does exist, why does he kill babies, give good people cancer, burn their houses down, take a parent from a young child, force them from jobs making them homeless, make old people insane, and about 10,000 more everyday disasters????? If that is what he does "because he loves us", then I would hate to see if "he" didn't. And you are going to need to come up with something better then "god's will" or "part of his plan" cause that song is WAAAAAAAY overplayed.

      December 28, 2010 at 11:16 am |
    • steven harnack

      Thank you. Rarely do I see it summed up so neatly.

      December 28, 2010 at 11:20 am |
    • Bob

      @Silverchair you said... Why did the atheist cross the road? He thought there might be a sidewalk on the other side, but wasn't sure unless he could test his hypothesis.

      Umm, he/she could probably have seen it. Plus he/she lived all his life seeing sidewalks on both sides of the majoirty of the street.

      Yeah, that joke (if it even qualifies) sucks.

      December 28, 2010 at 11:21 am |
    • Lex

      'God' doesn't DO those things. Study any faith for the answers and you will find some solace in the answers – but grief, concern and doubt will still be there – you will be stronger for the search. (Maybe read Paul's 1st letter to the Corinthians – be sure to use a translation that provides footnotes – really, it will expand your knowledge regarding this question you ask – it's up to you to read it)

      December 28, 2010 at 11:22 am |
    • Jared

      "Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight” (Proverbs 3:5-6).

      You may think that it's overplayed to say that it's God's will, but it's even more overplayed to say that God is fictional because of 'rational thought'.

      I think that God allows suffering for several reasons. You claim that only .01% of all prayers are answered (I beg to differ on this as well), but many people pray for strength, patience, courage, etc.

      God will not just GIVE you strength. He will not just GIVE you courage, or patience. God will throw obstacles into your life (sometime including the pain and suffering), which will help BUILD strength, courage, patience, understanding, etc.

      I'm sorry that you don't believe, and that you think YOUR way is the only truth, but >2 billion people on this planet disagree with you.

      December 28, 2010 at 11:24 am |
    • common sense

      @Jared... Does that mean that the other 4.5 billion are going to "hell"? If so, I would rather hang with that crowd then yours. But the way I am taking it, and please correct me if I'm wrong, is you like that god kills innocent children so he can make the parents "stronger"?

      December 28, 2010 at 11:31 am |
    • Lex

      I think we will all come to 'god' in our own way. I cannot believe it is the intention of our 'maker' that we go to hell, that is only something we choose of our own accord. Good people are good people – and that is what we are called to be. "good'

      December 28, 2010 at 11:35 am |
    • Jared

      Exactly. I LIKE that children are killed. lol.

      I do like how you like to twist things to meet your needs though, that is rather cute.

      How about READING the Bible and gain some knowledge on the topic, instead of copy/pasting other people's works and using that as your understanding.

      I think its funny that you claim that Atheists know more about the Bible than Christians, but you seems to know NOTHING about the Bible at all. Oh wait, I guess that's just the 'common sense'. You're a troll on a CNN forum trying to disprove what BILLIONS of dollars and hundreds of years of scientific work has been unable to disprove. Congrats...

      December 28, 2010 at 11:36 am |
    • Reality_Check

      We Catholics aren't causing problems in this country. Protestants and Atheists are stirring up more trouble than we are.

      December 28, 2010 at 11:43 am |
    • coffeeandtea

      Yes, CommonSense – thanks for the post. I am tired of religious people (of all faiths) using their myths to dictate science, politics, technology, and culture. Imagine, in a science class, teaching children creationism. That belongs in a mythology class. Pull your head out of the sand and dispense with the whacko religiosity, religious people. Keep the Bible in your home and your family, don't spread your ill thinking and mental perversions to the rest of us who do not want that nonsense.

      December 28, 2010 at 11:47 am |
    • Silver Chair

      @Bob

      No, the fact that you don't have a sense of humor and take things so literal is what truly sucks. Lighten up and enjoy what life has to offer.

      December 28, 2010 at 11:48 am |
    • Jared

      @coffee , Hypocrit much? I see more atheists declaring their views than I do 'Bible Thumpers'.

      December 28, 2010 at 11:50 am |
    • common sense

      @ jared... how did I twist anything up? Your EXACT quote: "God will not just GIVE you strength. He will not just GIVE you courage, or patience. God will throw obstacles into your life (sometime including the pain and suffering), which will help BUILD strength, courage, patience, understanding, etc." That tells me that if a baby dies then he's trying to make the parents stronger. That's why you can't ask a bible thumper a question about god, cause they can't answer it without looking like the bad guy themselves. If you were to say "Yes, god wanted that helpless, innocent child to die so he could teach the parents a lesson" I would have been fine with that. But instead of saying what is right, you are too afraid to p*** "him" off, so he wouldn't kill someone in your life to teach you a lesson.

      December 28, 2010 at 11:51 am |
    • Jared

      @coffee , Hypocrit much? I see more atheists declaring their views than I do 'Bible Thumpers'. So you are allowed to take your views to the streets, but Christians can't? Haha, I love it.

      December 28, 2010 at 11:51 am |
    • RichardSRussell

      Jared, rather than rely on faith for your belief that Christians know their Bible better than atheists, try googling "Atheists Know More about Religion than Christians" and read for yourself the widely covered results of the Pew Forum survey published this past September. Unless, of course, you can't be bothered with actual evidence. That would be completely consistent with being a "good Christian", after all.

      December 28, 2010 at 11:55 am |
    • Chris

      Top sign that you're an atheist:
      You claim an intellectual superiority over those who believe in God despite the core of your own belief is that in a void of time and matter an ever expanding complicated universe just magically appeared capable of producing at least one planet close enough to, yet far enough from a sun to sustain life despite that in your life you have never seen something just appear from thin air.

      You don't have to believe what I believe, that's fine. But you should know that a) your talking points aren't applicable to the vast majority of Christians who don't believe the earth is only 6,000 years amongst other things and b) we're not going to be lectured on our beliefs when the core of yours is something magically appearing.

      December 28, 2010 at 12:00 pm |
    • Jared

      @ Russel - Common said this, "You actually know a lot less than many Atheists and Agnostics do about the Bible, Christianity, and church history—but still call yourself a “Christian.” "

      That survey was 32 questions about ALL different religions. Just because an Atheist got 4 questions more correct about other religions, doesn't mean that Atheists know more about the Bible and Christianity than Christians. So again, I say that his statement is false.

      If the survey had been 32 questions pertaining to the Bible and Christianity, and atheists and agnostics answered more questions correct than Christians, than his statement would be truthful.

      December 28, 2010 at 12:02 pm |
    • common sense

      @ Chris, the bible says the Earth is only 6000 years old so it HAS to be true. Right? The bible isn't wrong is it and if so, what other stories are wrong that are in the bible?

      December 28, 2010 at 12:05 pm |
    • stan

      Jared – no credible scientist is out there trying to disprove the existence of god because any good scientist knows that you can never do such a thing. it's impossible to prove a negative. you would literally exhaust the resources of the universe trying to prove that there is no god. by the same token you can not prove that the easter bunny does not exist. all science can do is state that there is an exceedingly low probability that both god and the easter bunny are anything but made up, imaginary creatures. one other thing science will tell you is that when you make extraordinary claims you need extraordinary proof. religion has only thousands of year old texts written by men who lived 100 years after the fact and who would have thought an instant camera was magical. thats not credible evidence in my book, let alone extraordinary evidence. it doesnt matter how many people agree with you. the notion that a belief is popular doesnt make it any more correct. only a few hundred years ago nearly everyone you asked would have told you the earth is flat and if you sail too far you will fall off the edge and end up in a land full of dragons. But we know how well that belief system turned out. the simple fact is that the simplest, most logical answer is often the right one. religion is neither of these.

      December 28, 2010 at 12:05 pm |
    • stan

      chris, thats actually not true. if you use an x-ray telescope that is looking for 511kev photons you will find black holes emmiting hawking's radiation. this is the exact same phenomina as what created the universe, but on a microscopic scale. the creation of matter out of nothingness. if you have ever used a scanning tunneling microscope, the image that the computer builds up is the direct result of quantuum tunneling, a process where matter exists in one place and spontaneously with no input from the outside world pops up somewhere else, a process related to the creation of matter from nothing.

      December 28, 2010 at 12:13 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @Jared

      You have an odd view of science. Science is not trying to prove there is no god. Science cannot, to the best of their ability, be biased. They must be objective.

      Early man invented the gods, because they were afraid of death and he didn't know very much about the world around him.

      God was used to explain this world. What makes the rain? God makes the rain. Why does the sun cross the sky? The god(s) drive the sun across the sky. Why does the mountain rumble? God(s) is angry.

      Using god to fill in the gaps in man's knowledge, is called: "God of the Gaps". Catchy huh?

      As man's knowledge increases, there are less and less gaps for God to hide in. There is less and less for Him to do. Good thing he has carpentry skills huh?

      Science sets out to discover why something works the way it does. They don't set out to "prove" god is not responsible. If when science looked through their telescopes, they saw god peering back, there would be very few unbelievers.

      The fact is, that science cannot find a need for god.

      Extraordinary claims, require extraordinary evidence. – Carl Sagan

      God has no place in any scientific equations, plays no role in any scientific explanations, cannot be used to predict any events, does not describe anything or force that has yet been detected, and there are no models of the universe in which a god's presence is either required, productive, or useful.

      God does not exist, as far as science can tell. This isn't absolute. It does not deny for all time any possible existence of god.
      If at some point, science comes to the conclusion that there is no other explanation for something other than god, then so be it! I will be on my knees. But this is very unlikely.

      You like to quote scripture. Like most fundies, you put the cart before the horse. First you need to establish that there is a god and then that the bible is the word of that god. If you do that I will listen.

      Love and Prayers!

      December 28, 2010 at 12:18 pm |
    • Chris

      @common sense. I really don't interpret the Bible as saying the earth must be 6,000 years old. I believe the "seven days" to create the earth is much more complicated then our present day interpretation of a twenty four hour period. Of course, I wasn't there and neither were you.

      I know it kills you guys when we don't fit into the pigeon holed Christian description you've decided to run with, but no the Bible is not my history book. If most of the stories in the old testament were simply metaphors I would still find them useful. If I took the entire book literally then I would have no eyes as would be the case with all men as Jesus instructed "if your right eye causes you to look in lust at another woman, cast it out as it is better for your eye to be lost than for your whole body to be in hell." I'm paraphrasing, if anyone wants to look it up its in Matthew 5-7 (the sermon on the mount). No one is capable of living to that standard, but its Jesus teaching about the sinful nature of man.

      Again, whether you want to accept it or not is your choice. I'm sure you'll follow your atheist talking points and tell me I'm cherry picking the Bible to fit my beliefs. But the teachings of Christ and belief in a deity make sense to me. You sir, believe in magic. So until you have some better counter for your own beliefs, spare me the picking apart of my own.

      December 28, 2010 at 12:25 pm |
    • RichardSRussell

      As I suspected, Jared, your belief makes you impervious to evidence. Typical.

      However, since I myself am quite pervious to evidence, would you care to take a crack at citing something for me in support of YOUR claim that the typical Christian knows more about Christianity than the typical atheist? I am open-minded on the subject.

      December 28, 2010 at 12:27 pm |
    • zamboni

      BRAVO Common sense. You are my hero. I think this top ten list needs to be done for all the other religions too and plastered across the world in every language. I use to be respectful and "tolerant" of people who believe in religion, but now I am sick of it. My patience is gone. Religious belief is primitive and rediculous. Religious doctrines are no different then telling stories like that of Harry Potter and trying to live your life based on the author's hidden (or sometimes) literal meanings. Here are some truths people – I don't know if there is a god and neither do you. I do know (and so do you) that all other past religions have gone the way of the dodo bird when conquering nations came in and imposed their "true religion". You really don't know if your religion is the "true relgion"...keep your religion out of my life.

      December 28, 2010 at 12:29 pm |
    • Bob

      @Silver Chair

      The problem is that I do have a sense of humor. 😛

      December 28, 2010 at 1:07 pm |
    • jules

      one mans "believer speaking in tongues"
      is another mans "guy who needs to be exorcized"
      and a sane man's "guy crying out for attention while acting like an epileptic"

      December 28, 2010 at 2:41 pm |
    • JudyTX

      @ common sense: I think I love you!!!

      December 28, 2010 at 2:56 pm |
    • Kate

      Jared – you've been so completely humiliated and had the facts pointed out to you so incredibly many times, I'm astonished your computer hasn't curled up and died with shame.

      You really need to actually read the replies you get before you post again. You aren't a very honest man I'm afraid.

      December 28, 2010 at 3:40 pm |
    • Peace2All

      @common sense

      Well said...

      Peace...

      December 29, 2010 at 4:34 am |
  6. Matt

    This woman is a total fool. How many times did Harry Potter mention Jesus? He was simply a good moral hero, the antagonist of a Christian. Jesus did everything for sinners who could do nothing right. She has no concept of what Christianity is about.

    December 28, 2010 at 10:28 am |
    • Evan

      Yes, with two Masters in religion, she clearly doesn't have a clue...

      December 28, 2010 at 10:45 am |
    • Kate

      You gotta wonder about someone who supposedly has a Masters that apparently misses that to be a Christian you have to promote Jesus or you don't qualify.

      December 28, 2010 at 3:30 pm |
  7. hobbes

    Wow, do we really need to go attaching religion to a series that seems to explicitly avoid mentioning it? Further, Potter embodied many good traits; I doubt he fits in a single religion. Christianity hardly has the lock on everything good and pure, after all.

    December 28, 2010 at 10:27 am |
    • Calvin and

      At least Harry was a man of my own tastes and wanted to snog that asian girl

      December 28, 2010 at 10:43 am |
    • Lex

      I agree with you, Hobbes. Harry offers much to all in teaching how to be selfless and the struggle he faces while doing so. He is an excellent role model for youth today, the 'fantasy' is just the wrapping to keep youth interested and intrigued – the fun.

      All faiths really come back to the same core values, and those are the values Harry demonstrates... (even in his doubts, struggles, anger, etc.)

      December 28, 2010 at 10:47 am |
    • Silver Chair

      Finally, an atheist that posts something intelligent and respectful. I agree with this post. I'm a Christian and have read five of the seven Harry Potter novels(missed Order of the Phoenix and Half-Blood Prince), and have seen all of the movies except for the most recent one. I never understood any of the criticism from the very small minority of Christians who objected to the novels, and in fact many of the Christians that I know have read the novels and taken their kids to see the movies. For me, the Harry Potter story is just an entertaining tale – no more, no less. It has good points of moral emphasis as a backdrop to a very entertaining and compelling story, but I wouldn't ascribe its plot or characters to any religious dogma. Just my opinion. Harry Potter a good Christian? Really? Meh, frankly I've never made any connection between the two, and I still don't. But if someone wants to write a book about it, and peddle it in a free market economy, then be my guest. Either way it doesn't affect me or my views on the Harry Potter saga. I find the whole issue to be a big shrug of the shoulders.

      December 28, 2010 at 11:21 am |
    • Kate

      Finally a Christian who says something that isn't rude and disrespectful (except that line about atheists posting).

      The story is about good vs evil, which is universal in just about all children's books. There's nothing in Christianity that has any ownership on that theme. All religions have it but only to a degree, as Christianity only partially focuses on it. It's an overriding theme in secular stories and has been since the beginning of stories.

      December 28, 2010 at 3:28 pm |
  8. MountainSoldier

    I hope not.

    December 28, 2010 at 10:27 am |
  9. Richard Poje

    who cares!

    December 28, 2010 at 10:26 am |
    • Paladin

      Amen!

      December 28, 2010 at 12:53 pm |
  10. JohnQuest

    Inquisitor, for must of us to understand and\or enjoy fiction we must be able to relate to it, which means we must associate certain characteristics. What fun would it be to read Ian Fleming if James was a floating lump of goo with no recognizable emotions solving cases for other floating lumps of goo with no recognizable emotions? Now take those same lumps of goo and give them will, hate, love and jealousy.

    December 28, 2010 at 10:26 am |
  11. HarryPotterIsFictional

    How can Harry be a Christian? He's not from the American South.....

    December 28, 2010 at 10:25 am |
    • jules

      umm that would make him a baptist (equivalent of protestant) not a christian....

      December 28, 2010 at 2:34 pm |
    • chuck

      Hey Harry, so all Christians are from the South and all racists are from the south. Just like all Republicans are from the South...wait for it! No the South was Democratic for most of american history and for the most part still true today. Remember the separation of powers comes from the 1st amendment and this was turned into the so called separation of church and state by judge Black. This judge was a KKK grand dragon and was mad at the catholic church when he made his ruling. So every time you hear someone say separation of church and state remember this came from a racists and not a so called liberal. The South is not the hub of Christianity or racism and neither of them go together. No racist is a true Christian and no one walking this earth has the ability to say who is a true Christian period.

      December 29, 2010 at 12:04 pm |
    • chuck

      Just like all Republicans are from the South...wait for it! No the South was Democratic for most of american history and for the most part still true today. Remember the separation of powers comes from the 1st amendment and this was turned into the so called separation of church and state by judge Black. This judge was a KKK grand dragon and was mad at the catholic church when he made his ruling. So every time you hear someone say separation of church and state remember this came from a racists and not a so called liberal. The South is not the hub of Christianity or racism and neither of them go together. No racist is a true Christian and no one walking this earth has the ability to say who is a true Christian period.

      December 29, 2010 at 12:05 pm |
  12. Sean m

    Harry potter is a fictional story aimed at children nothing more nothing less. There is no need or reason to read into to further than that. Or better yet knock off these idiotic blogs and interview the author ask them what they think b/c they created the charecter.

    December 28, 2010 at 10:25 am |
    • Frogist

      @Sean m. I beg to differ. Just because the story is fictional doesn't mean it is nothing more. This is the importance of art and literature. A good story provides a reflection of our world and ourselves that we relate to. Harry is no exception. One can glean ideas about morality, family, society, conformity etc etc from the Harry series. This is the nature of literature. It provides a backdrop for us to understand and absorb complexed ideas more easily.

      December 28, 2010 at 10:44 am |
    • Peace2All

      @Frogist

      Nice...

      Peace...

      December 29, 2010 at 4:29 am |
  13. Eric G.

    This article brings up an interesting question. Before we can decide if Harry Potter is a good Christian, I think we will need to clearly define what a good Christian is. This is a three part assignment.

    1. Please provide exactly what moral and ethical values are required to be a good Christian.
    2. Please provide evidence to prove that these moral and ethical values are exclusive to being a good Christian and are not secular in their origin.
    3. Please provide evidence that this is how your God wants you to live your life.

    I think this is important because believers of all religions keep moving the target on what makes a "real believer". Once we have a firm list of criteria to define a true believer, we no longer need to listen to anyone who does not meet the standard. Please let me know when you have your answers ready. Be prepared to discuss and explain your answers in debate form.

    December 28, 2010 at 10:24 am |
    • Frogist

      @EricG: Good point. Everyone interprets the term "good Christian" according to their own morality. To me a good Christian is someone who is not biased against gays, but that's obviously not the same as the "good Christians" of Focus on the Family. Is a "good Christian" just someone who declares themselves saved by Christ? Or someone who is only a Catholic? Or does charitable deeds? I doubt we will ever find an answer to your questions that will be universally accepted.

      December 28, 2010 at 10:37 am |
    • Eric G.

      @Frogist: That is my exact point. There will never be a universally acceptable standard. At what point do we realize that it is just a bunch of stuff someone made up. Because there is no standard to define a "true believer", anyone who claims to be one, is a true believer. No definitive standard requires no evidence. But, I await the response of believers to my questions. I admit that my views are biased, and thus welcome a different perspective.

      December 28, 2010 at 10:47 am |
    • James Swanson

      I would argue that the first two questions are irrelevant, because Christianity is all about your third question and the moral and ethical guidelines/framework/questions come from the third answer. That is probably the biggest question inherent in all religion and I think that's where many Christians move toward the category of the Pharisees in the NT. They feel that they have a monopoly on righteousness while claiming a book that says no man can know another man's heart. So I think the answer is that each of us puts each situation up to the "Is this how God, whom I have come to know, would react in this situation?" The hard part about thinking this way is that we do our best to follow the Holy Spirit and then trust that God honors the attempt, because really none of us have all the information, Christian or not.

      December 28, 2010 at 11:04 am |
    • James Swanson

      To answer your last question....Faith and belief don't require evidence.

      As a non-believer there are certain things you have to believe as well. (i.e. even with the vast amount of information we have, if you can believe all of it, there is still no basis for how the universe was created. There is some "theory" about the universe moving out from a single point, but not even any theories as to how it got the energy/momentum to do so. So, if you don't believe in God, then you must "believe" in something because there is no proof or evidence as to how the earth got to its current state.)

      December 28, 2010 at 11:08 am |
    • Reality_Check

      Faith and Reason go hand in hand.

      December 28, 2010 at 11:37 am |
    • Lex

      @ Reality_Check – yes!!!

      December 28, 2010 at 11:41 am |
    • RichardSRussell

      When you hear "good Samaritan", what's the 1st thot that pops into your head? A kind, good-hearted person, right? No irony or surprise at all, just somebody whom you EXPECT to be helpful and caring.

      Well, that wasn't the original meaning at all. A Samaritan was somebody from Samaria, blood rivals of the Hebrews, and kindness was the LAST thing a Hebrew would expect from one. The modern-day equivalent would be something like "good Nazi" or "good terrorist".

      That's why, as an atheist, I'm always bemused by the expression "good Christian", as if it's kind of a redundancy, when even the most cursory review of history shows that it's a pale imitation of the irony embedded in "good Nazi".

      December 28, 2010 at 11:46 am |
    • LEB

      Christians seem to believe that if you're good you must be Christian, and if you're bad you must be something other than Christian. And if you're good and not Christian, then you've been influenced by "Christian values" and that's why you're good. It's an extremely arrogant viewpoint that frustrates me to no end. Christians DO NOT have a monopoly on morality, or marriage, or the choice to be a decent human being. They did not invent any of the above, no matter how much they like to claim that they did.

      December 28, 2010 at 2:44 pm |
    • Eric G.

      @James Swanson: I must question your logic in your response. You prove my point by saying that a question is irrelevant because of your understanding of what christianity is really about. As to your post about the big bang theory... A theory is judged on the demonstrative evidence presented to support it. A lack of capacity to understand the evidence is not a valid argument against it. Using the big bang theory as an example, if you could present verifiable evidence to disprove the big bang, does that prove your creationist theory? Both theories require their own verifiable evidence to support them. Please provide the verifiable evidence you have to support the creationist theory so we can subject it to the same level of scrutiny and examination that the big bang theory has had to endure. I anxiously await your evidence.

      December 28, 2010 at 3:46 pm |
    • James Swanson

      All I meant by irrelevant is that they don't define anything in Christianity, it is defined by Jesus. I was not saying anything about the Big Bang being wrong, actually I was stating the opposite. Maybe it is true, but you talk about it as if it is the end all, be-all of arguments. The momentum and/or energy had to come from somewhere, so all I am trying to prove is that you "believe" in something too and belief doesn't require proof, as I said before.

      December 28, 2010 at 10:42 pm |
    • Peace2All

      @James Swanson

      Hi James...

      You Said: "The momentum and/or energy had to come from somewhere, so all I am trying to prove is that you "believe" in something too and belief doesn't require proof, as I said before."

      I think I have and understanding where you are coming from. And ultimately, depending upon the outcome and context of your 'beliefs,' as long as... you recognize that your 'beliefs' are not necessarily = to 'absolute facts,' especially when you are making claims about the ultimate nature of reality, one is being a bit clearer. So, when you said about the 'big-bang' : "The momentum and/or energy had to come from somewhere." When you used the words 'had to' you are inferring your beliefs, as facts.

      Also, beliefs 'may' require proof again, depending on what you are talking about. I'm sure that there are many, many things that you would demand 'proof' of over someone's 'beliefs'...yes...?

      Nothing wrong with 'beliefs' in general. Just sometimes we all forget that we may act as though they are fact.

      Peace...

      December 29, 2010 at 2:46 am |
    • James Swanson

      Assuming the big bang is true, nobody knows whether or not our laws of physics hold true during that time, so yes I am putting my beliefs that they would into that context. I'm not saying that I know how the universe was created, just pointing out that the big bang has some big holes to fill if explaining creation is the goal of its researchers. This is the difference between science and faith. Science at its very core requires falsifiable conclusions and faith, except for its historical context, cannot be subjected to palpable, falsifiable experiments. So I and everyone else require experimental proof of science but not of faith, because they are two separate and unequal things.

      I try not to put God into a box, so if scientists figure something out that makes sense, maybe God designed it that way. And by figure something out, I mean theorize how something may have happened.

      December 29, 2010 at 11:23 am |
    • James Swanson

      Yes, we all act as though our beliefs are facts. Personally, I try and put other's beliefs up to the standard of mine, that Jesus is the epitome of bringing the Kingdom of God on earth and see if those aspects of what they believe is about bringing heaven (at least my concept of it) to earth. If it seems more like Christ than my current att-itudes/actions then I am completely open to change but as I say we all think our beliefs are the best and it is difficult to get past these as-sumptions sometimes. Whether or not this att-itude is what Jesus wants, I don't know for sure, but its my best attempt.

      December 29, 2010 at 11:37 am |
    • Peace2All

      @James Swanson

      Hi James...

      You Said: "Assuming the big bang is true, nobody knows whether or not our laws of physics hold true during that time, so yes I am putting my beliefs that they would into that context."

      O.K... and most the more likely scenario, given the continual discoveries concerning these things is that we will 'know' at some point one way or another. Again, not relegated to 'faith.'

      You Said: "I'm not saying that I know how the universe was created, just pointing out that the big bang has some big holes to fill if explaining creation is the goal of its researchers."

      True... And, as time marches on, the scientific community seems to be closing the gaps in said 'big holes' of their theories. And... the overwhelming verifiable evidence supports the models asserted. In time, I 'believe' that science will eventually find out most if not all of these metaphysical questions that most of us want to know the answers to. Of course, that is just my belief, and... I am very well aware and truly open to any possibilities, and I could end up being flat out wrong.

      You Said: "This is the difference between science and faith. Science at its very core requires falsifiable conclusions and faith, except for its historical context, cannot be subjected to palpable, falsifiable experiments. So I and everyone else require experimental proof of science but not of faith, because they are two separate and unequal things."

      And yet, as I was speaking of earlier, there are many things that people take on 'faith' that could be subjected to verifiable experimental proof. I am not speaking about the 'emotion' of 'faith,' because, as such, it is an intangible bio-physiological complexity of emotion. However, taking something on 'faith' can be a different story. As our understanding of the world through science and technologies continues to emerge and grow, things that right now, for some may be taking on faith, will be relegated no longer to faith, but proven fact... one way or another...yes...?

      You Said: "Yes, we all act as though our beliefs are facts."

      My very comment to you was to watch out for acting as if your 'beliefs' = facts. While we may all do it on occassion, some more than others, i would suggest that it does not: always happen with all people, all the time, about everything. There are obviously times when it is insanity to think that beliefs are = facts. My point was about being careful of this very phenomena. I was merely pointing it out (respectfully) where it appeared that you were acting as though your 'beliefs' were = facts.

      You Said: "Personally, I try and put other's beliefs up to the standard of mine, that Jesus is the epitome of bringing the Kingdom of God on earth and see if those aspects of what they believe is about bringing heaven (at least my concept of it) to earth. If it seems more like Christ than my current att-itudes/actions then I am completely open to change but as I say we all think our beliefs are the best and it is difficult to get past these as-sumptions sometimes. Whether or not this att-itude is what Jesus wants, I don't know for sure, but its my best attempt."

      You are making a few unquestioned as-sumptions here. 1) There was and still is a Jesus 2) Jesus has wants–concerning your or our atti-tudes. All 'beliefs' yes...? Actually, I was the one, I 'believe' intimating that everyone thinks their 'beliefs' are the best, but regardless, again, the point is... they are just beliefs not necessarily facts.

      Good to know that you are flexible enough, even though, you have beliefs (about Jesus, etc...) you are open and subject to change depending on where the verifiable evidence takes you.

      Thanks for the discussion by the way -James.

      Peace...

      December 29, 2010 at 2:56 pm |
    • James Swanson

      No problem Peace, its been good to get your thoughts...

      Do you have an example of what you are talking about as someone taking something on 'faith' and it being able to be experimentally determined? I agree that experiments about the origin of the universe can offer an explanation as to why things are happening now, however there is no way to be 100% sure that these (i.e. the Big Bang) things were exactly what happened, because nobody witnessed them. So proven fact is relative as well unless you are able to witness the exact same thing happen over and over again as in a chemistry experiment.

      Actually I think that God looks on those who question in a good light, because they are looking into their own minds, souls, whatever you want to call our introspective selves. So I have questioned these as-sumptions and find them to still be true.

      One of the only exceptions to the verifiable evidence is disproving the existence of God, so besides my faith in the trinity, yes I am flexible (maybe with a few other exceptions too, but can't think of any at the moment).

      December 29, 2010 at 5:23 pm |
    • Eric G.

      @James: "One of the only exceptions to the verifiable evidence is disproving the existence of God, so besides my faith in the trinity, yes I am flexible (maybe with a few other exceptions too, but can't think of any at the moment)."

      There is no verifiable evidence to disprove the existence of your, or any other god. You have presented no evidence to support your claim that your god exists, thus the evidence cannot be verified. You have been a very good sport throughout this thread, but I must ask you to stop avoiding questions. The burden of proof lies with those making extraordinary claims. If you really do support the concept of verifiable evidence, please provide the evidence you have to support your claim that your god exists. This is not an outrageous request. Do you have any verifiable evidence to support your claim? Yes or no?

      December 29, 2010 at 8:44 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      While the big bang theory is incomplete, it is much more complete and verifiable than creationism. As mentioned above, the gaps in the big bang theory are steadily being closed, whereas the creation myth has not evolved much, if at all, in 2000+ years. But believers will cling to their faulty science and blind faith because to do otherwise will only accelerate the demise of their tribal myths.

      December 29, 2010 at 9:29 pm |
    • Peace2All

      @James Swanson

      Since you claimed originally that we will never know how things started... that the "big bang" has some 'very big' holes in it, and that unless something can be re-produced in a lab, then things like something from nothing, etc...would most likely never become evidence or fact.

      So, since we are all seekers and attempting to learn here, and since I personally am a big fan of Professor Hawking and others, and I found this post from @stan below, that I thought might start to attempt to 'fill' those 'holes' on the universe. He seemed to put it much more concisely than I would have.

      @stan said in relationship to a very similar discussion we are having:

      -"chris, thats actually not true. if you use an x-ray telescope that is looking for 511kev photons you will find black holes emmiting hawking's radiation. this is the exact same phenomena as what created the universe, but on a microscopic scale. the creation of matter out of nothingness. if you have ever used a scanning tunneling microscope, the image that the computer builds up is the direct result of quantuum tunneling, a process where matter exists in one place and spontaneously with no input from the outside world pops up somewhere else, a process related to the creation of matter from nothing."

      Anyways, thought it might fit here...

      Peace...

      December 30, 2010 at 12:30 am |
    • James Swanson

      Again, as I said above, science and faith are two completely separate and different things. See above post for an answer to the first post.

      Peace...That sounds like some pretty amazing research. I do however have something of note, the other guy's post said that matter could pop up from one place to another without outside influence which is different than matter from nothing, at least if I understand his post.

      I just reread some of the posts... Earlier, if you were meaning unverifiable assumptions, then that is what I think faith is, questions without verifiable answers.

      December 30, 2010 at 10:22 am |
    • Peace2All

      @James Swanson

      Wow... Interesting discussion...yes...? 🙂

      Anyways, you might want to go back and read the post carefully. In it, at least twice, they mention that this 'is' a process that relates to the concept of 'matter from nothing.'

      Maybe, I'm wrong, but from re-reading that and... from reading Hawking's book, "The Grand Design" which is one of the central themes of his book, I do believe that .... that is what is being said and inferred here. So, experiments such as these are being reproduced and demonstrating that .... 'matter can come from nothingness'.

      If you desire to or have have the time, I might suggest re-reading the post above where I quoted about the experiment, and get back to me and see if you think we are in agreement on this or not.

      Thanks again -james for chatting....

      Peace...

      December 30, 2010 at 12:53 pm |
    • James Swanson

      Eric: That's exactly what I was saying in most of my posts. That you cannot prove or disprove the existence of God in a palpable, scientific way. It is faith, which is outside the realm of the scientific method.

      Peace: I read it again, and went down to the discussion below and all it seems to say is that they have a thought as to how the universe may have been created and that it relates to another experiment where matter moves. I guess it comes down to what we have been talking about belief in theories or God.

      December 30, 2010 at 6:19 pm |
    • Peace2All

      @James Swanson

      O.K... well, it seems we may have to agree to disagree... although, I have a 'hunch' we are more in agreement than not...yes...?

      And, as for the experiment in question and the general direction of science, it appears that they just may be getting closer and closer to the discoveries that we have been talking about.

      Whether or not they ever get to the 'all of it all'... for lack of better words, I guess it remains to be seen. Stay tuned...yes...?

      It's all good...

      Again, thanks for the discussion -James.

      Peace...

      December 30, 2010 at 7:34 pm |
  14. Inquisitor

    When will people stop trying to make fictional characters christian, jewish, gay/straight, etc? They are what they are as they appear in the text/movie/song/picture-THEY ARE FICTIONAL!

    December 28, 2010 at 10:19 am |
    • Meat Wagon

      Dumbledore was gay...omg

      December 28, 2010 at 10:44 am |
    • Ykcyc

      If Elvis is alive, then why can't Henry Sporter be real?

      December 28, 2010 at 11:29 am |
    • FictionLover

      My point exactly – a fiction is a fiction – enjoy it as a fiction 🙂

      December 28, 2010 at 4:01 pm |
  15. dNa

    No he wasn't a christian, and why is someone wasting their time trying to fit Harry Potter into a framework? What is this really accomplishing? Some people get published for the most moronic work.

    December 28, 2010 at 10:11 am |
    • DeAguaDulce

      Very true! The "publish or perish" rules of American universities in the last thirty years have led to the worst kind of scolarship and this is a shining example.

      December 28, 2010 at 6:37 pm |
  16. Frogist

    Harry is a good person. He has flaws and we get to recognize those flaws in the end. But he does his absolute best, to the best of his knowledge to protect others from danger and carry the burden that threatens to destroy everyone he loves. He never declares himself Christian, but I'm glad he doesn't. That leaves all his actions up to interpretation without pushing an obvious agenda. I find it absolutely ridiculous that people will reject his story on the basis of it not being "Christian". It speaks of the narrow-mindedness of certain Christians. And how hard it is for them to fit in with society. And the ultimate irony is how many non-believers are willing to read every religious book, apologists and all, while conservative Christian types are more than happy to remain ignorant by refusing to read non-Christian material but condemning it anyway.

    December 28, 2010 at 9:56 am |
    • Ykcyc

      He is a fiction (means not real), but don't tell anybody I said that. It'll be our "little" secret.

      December 28, 2010 at 10:00 am |
    • JohnQuest

      Frogist, as I have come to expect from you, very well said. Consider this; if Christians were to read non Christian material there would be less Christians (That goes for any religion). Knowledge has a way of opening the mind, something that the religious leaders can not tolerate, religion can not stand up to logic, that's why they ban books and persecute those that disagree.

      December 28, 2010 at 10:02 am |
    • Ykcyc

      It used to blow my mind, when I would hear my soon to be ex-wife discuss events they saw in a soap opera, as if it were real. So and so was pregnant, died, got divorsed, etc. I used to say, "it is not real", someone had made it up. It mattered not. Are people capable of distinguishing actual (real) events from the ones they imagine? Where does the illusion end and reality begin? Are they one and the same? How does an insane person know they are insane? Where does one get currage to admit what they believed to be the truth is not? Does it matter?

      December 28, 2010 at 10:27 am |
    • Frogist

      LOL@Ykcyc! I won't tell if you won't!

      @JohnQuest: I think you might be right about that. But I also think it's partly the arrogance that they have the absolute truth in everything. It's a state that doesn't really leave room for looking at other sources. It's just that some of them truly believe they've found the correct answer and no longer feel the need to search beyond that. It's also the fear that Christians are taught at a very young age. Sat-an can get to you through books and tv and the internet. So don't look at certain things or risk being overcome by temptation. Religion used to be a educational pursuit. A religious man was once considered an intellectual person who had access to books, and science, and philosophy. Today, most of us have the ability to read for ourselves. And unfortunately people are being told that they cannot use that power responsibly. So they should close their eyes and pretend they can't read or understand for themselves and let someone else do it for them. I personally have never understood why that hold is still so strong on some people.

      December 28, 2010 at 10:33 am |
    • JohnQuest

      Ykcyc, I don't know if that's the right question "Does it matter?" I think it does and from I get from your writing it also matters to you but life is relative to the individual. If I am having a delusion that I am blogging with you, who can tell me that I am not?

      December 28, 2010 at 10:33 am |
    • Jers

      @ JohnQuest: At the heart of pretty much all religions lies a series of unfalsifiable propositions... as such, they stand up to empirical evidence as well as any other unfalsifiable theory does. And what is or is not logical is relative to one's value system (meaning preferences, beliefs, etc.). Since that is generally also an unfalsifiable construct, religion also holds up to logic relatively well. This is, of course, profoundly unsatisfying from a scientific perspective, but unfortunately it's also hard to dispute. I wish more non-believers and believers both would be cognizant of the subtly of the relationship between religion and science.

      December 28, 2010 at 10:34 am |
    • David

      JohnQuest – considering your comments, I'm figuring you have not read Confessions or City of God – give it a go and then come back and post about fides et ratio

      December 28, 2010 at 10:41 am |
    • Lex

      I think the majority of you are referring to 'fundamentalist' Christians – many mainstream faiths look for this as is mentioned here:

      "I wish more non-believers and believers both would be cognizant of the subtly of the relationship between religion and science."

      There is a huge difference between believing in God and being a fundamentalist, and trust me there are fundamentalists in every sect of every faith.

      December 28, 2010 at 10:43 am |
    • John

      Harry Potter is as much a Christian as Frodo Baggins.

      December 28, 2010 at 10:44 am |
    • Ykcyc

      Frodo was not a wizard and did not practice magic and witch craft – all signs of a "good" christian. I wich there was a time machine and I could bring one of the "early" ones to see the movie – we would probablybe worshiping him by now. And what about Santa?! How come no one mentions him anymore?! Everybody got their presents and forgot him already? Shame on you!

      December 28, 2010 at 11:05 am |
    • John

      Harry Potter is as much of a Christian as Galadriel.

      December 28, 2010 at 11:31 am |
    • Reality_Check

      I've read non-Christian material in the past. To say that we don't have any logic is just retarded. As I observe the posts by atheists, they are the ones being narrow minded

      December 28, 2010 at 11:35 am |
    • Lex

      @ Reality_Check – I agree with you!

      December 28, 2010 at 11:41 am |
    • Chris

      Frogist,

      I am a die hard Christian fundamentalist. I believe the bible from cover to cover I attend church 3 times a week, Wednesday night, Sunday morning, and Sunday night. That being said, your following quote is gold.

      "And the ultimate irony is how many non-believers are willing to read every religious book, apologists and all, while conservative Christian types are more than happy to remain ignorant by refusing to read non-Christian material but condemning it anyway."

      I agree 100%. I always thought it was important to know your enemy, so I read their literature. How can one adequately defend a position if you don't understand your opponent's position? My faith has grown stronger by understanding the arguments against my faith. It is also important to know when someone isn't your enemy. Harry Potter isn't my enemy. It is a wonderful world that sparks the imagination. No telling how many children grew up with a fondness of reading due to these books.

      December 28, 2010 at 12:09 pm |
    • JackieInDallas

      Well said. As someone who is a Christian, but an open-minded one - and a well-read one - I cringe every time one of these self-anointed Christian "experts" start going off! I believe, like many who really think about what they believe, that my interpretation is good for me - but may not ring true for others. But unlike many so-called Christians, I do not think that others are wrong because their beliefs do not match mine. I've sought the univeral Truths all my life by reading the holy books of other faiths, by talking to the religious teachers of other faiths, and by reading and studying history. I like to focus on what is common among faiths, not our differences. According to fundamentalist Christians of the more rabid sort, if you do not agree with them 100%, you will burn in H*ll. Well, I also read where you shouldn't judge others lest you be judged.

      My take on Harry Potter is that he is growing into a moral man, who defends those who need to be defended (even those who despise him) and who knows that he might be called upon to sacrifice even his life to prevent the ultimate evil from taking over the world. Sounds remarkably Christian-based to me, where our most important rule is love others as we love ourselves, and that to lay down our lives to protect others is the supreme act of goodness. Those who do not understand analogy, symbolism, or other literary tools will never see the good in NOT beating children over the head with religion!

      December 28, 2010 at 12:19 pm |
    • Ykcyc

      Hail Harry!!!

      December 28, 2010 at 12:44 pm |
    • Why5

      @Reality_Check: Prove that they are atheists. Just because someone makes a rational, logical arguement against a certain religion or belief system on an open board, it doesn't mean they are atheist. Don't categorize people just because you don't agree with them.

      December 28, 2010 at 12:45 pm |
    • Frogist

      @Chris: "It is also important to know when someone isn't your enemy." I think that statement is important. Yes, know your enemy, but know who isn't your enemy as well. Unfortunately when people approach something with preconceived notions, often times that is what they will get out of it. And that is the tragic thing about the series. So many conservative Christians have already made up their minds without knowing much about it. I think the focus of such a person is wrong. They see the goodness of it as an endorsement of witchcraft, instead of seeing the magic as a harmless stage setting for moral ideas.
      @Why5: Love your response!

      December 28, 2010 at 2:17 pm |
    • jules

      How dare you question the existence of our lord Santa Claus! If you truly believe in him he will become real for you! He requires only the holy sacrament of milk and cookies and he will deliver unto you every year a present with good tidings and joy!
      I am aghast at the number of people who have no care for their eternal soul and still worship false religions. May Rudolph have mercy on their soul...

      December 28, 2010 at 2:23 pm |
    • DeAguaDulce

      @JohnQuest: Your argument is rather specious. You presuppose that no Christian goes to college or reads anything, but the Bibe, etc. I'm sure you would be the first to cry foul if such stereotypes were used against gays, black or whatever. However, you have no problem with maligning those who believe in a loving Savior. Being atheist/agnostic does not make you more intelligent, kinder, more sophisticated or whatever you like to think about yourself. My grandfather was an atheist and he was by far the cruelest, most hateful, vengeful man on earth. You see, we can all point to people of any persuasion whom we do not like and try to paint all of their fellows in the same light. It does not, however, make it true.

      December 28, 2010 at 6:33 pm |
    • Peace2All

      @Chris

      You Said: to @Frogist-– "I agree 100%. I always thought it was important to know your enemy, so I read their literature. How can one adequately defend a position if you don't understand your opponent's position?"

      In my observation, while it seems that you are agreeing with @Frogist, your use of words and phrases such as: '.. thought it was important to know your 'enemy.' How can you 'defend'...'opponent' etc... suggest otherwise, to me. It appears that you are doing an on the surface reading of your 'enemies' 'beliefs' so you can 'defend,' which doesn't really look or sound as if you have given their beliefs any validity or relevance. It is all on the surface about how to 'debate' 'defend' your position, as if you are in need of... 'winning.'... yes...?

      Someone with another belief system or of another faith ..i.e..Buddhism is not necessarily your enemy, just because they believe different from you. And, are you not just taking the extra steps that -Frogist suggested of 'reading' ... but just discounting and condemning it (their religion/beliefs) anyway...?

      Since no one can actually *prove* their respective religions as 'the truth'...as all are basically merely taken on *faith*... why the need to defend...? Why not understand to connect and learn and grow together... learn from each other. Not... just to learn their 'positions' and 'beliefs' so you can 'defend' yourself from them because they are your 'opponents.'

      Just some thoughts. That may not be how you intended your posting, however that is just how it came across to me, due to the words and analogies offered.

      Peace...

      My faith has grown stronger by understanding the arguments against my faith. It is also important to know when someone isn't your enemy. Harry Potter isn't my enemy. It is a wonderful world that sparks the imagination. No telling how many children grew up with a fondness of reading due to these books.

      December 29, 2010 at 4:20 am |
    • Can

      this is a reply to all above, as well as to Frogist.

      I would tend to agree that Harry is not a Christian per se, but he is certainaly a strong Christian symbol–one of many in the series–and indeed at certain points, he is even a Christ figure. This is obvious to anyone with a background knowledge of Christianity who has read the books and it only adds a deeper meaning to the books.

      I once was one of those "ignorant Christians' who criticized the books/ refused to read them. I am so glad that I did. I now see so much in the series that encourages me in my beliefs rather than the opposite.

      Rowling's goal was not to evangelize the world., through her books, but she embedded religious symbolism in them nonetheless. Her main theme is that love is the deepest magic, love is what conquers evil.

      That is why The Bible was written, as a love letter from our Creator. Where it says "do not do this" or "do this" it is because it is for our good and it is because we are loved by our Creator, no matter what.

      I can respect other people's right to say and believe what they want, and I'm seeing a lot of people getting emotional and sharing "hateful words" –from both sides of the belief spectrum on this topic. I think as adults we can respond to one another in a mature way, without denigrating each other's beliefs.

      December 31, 2010 at 5:10 am |
  17. Bob

    Why is it that Christians have to assoicate popular people or characters with Christianity?

    December 28, 2010 at 9:44 am |
    • JohnQuest

      Bob, Christians have to continue to evolve, for Christianity to survive it has to grow (even if it's just in perception, after all that's all religion is, perception).

      December 28, 2010 at 9:50 am |
    • HotAirAce

      As a means of attracting new suckers to their tired story?

      December 28, 2010 at 9:58 am |
    • Frogist

      @Bob: I don't think they have to associate popular characters etc with Christianity. I think they just do. They look at it through their own particular bias like we all do to a certain extent. What I can't stand is when the purpose of that comparison is only as a means of rejecting everything that is not Christian defined by very narrow criteria. It is as if there is no room for literary metaphor, inference, subtlety etc. Everything has to be declared Christian first for it to be ok. Anything that doesn't tacitly proclaim Christianity from the rooftops is rejected. Like the article says, if it's not white, it must be black... no shades of grey. I wonder what a dull world Christians must live in sometimes.

      December 28, 2010 at 10:07 am |
    • JohnQuest

      Frogist, I think they do have to, if not they will cease to exist, once their membership drops below a threshold (I don't know the threshold, 1000 members, 10000 members), they will no longer be considered a religion but a cult then a delusion.

      December 28, 2010 at 10:19 am |
    • Lex

      I think one of the key components of the Judeo-Christian faiths is that we see God/Spirit/Grace at work everyday in our world, even with 'non-believers' it points to the validity of our faiths values. When Rowling writes of Harry Potter she is extending the greatest commandments we are given: Love God (or goodness) "Therefore, you shall love the LORD, your God, with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength." and "Love you neighbor as you love yourself." – Harry does this at all times – bravo to Rowling for exhibiting the core values that all should have.

      December 28, 2010 at 10:40 am |
    • John

      "Why is it that Christians have to associate popular people or characters with Christianity?"

      That's how it has gotten so popular and stayed so popular. Christmas was an appropriation of Deus Natali Sol Invictus, and the virgin birth story was appropriated from a number of contemporary beliefs.

      December 28, 2010 at 10:43 am |
    • ModMom2010

      Because that's how modern Christianity came to be, appropriating just about everything from Christmas (which was a Pagan holiday, Yule, long before Christ) to the halo around Christ's head (from Mithras and other sun gods) to building many early churches on the sacred sites of earlier religions. It was how they got people to join, by making Christianity more like the religion(s) they were familiar with.

      December 28, 2010 at 11:58 am |
    • Jeremy

      I think it's as simple as, "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em" - or, failing even that, at least pretend that they've joined you, somehow.

      December 28, 2010 at 3:34 pm |
    • Andre

      I don't think Christians have to always associate popular characters with Christianity, and a lot of times, the educated population at least, don't. It's ignorant to assert that many stories don't derive from Shakespeare, and other historic literature. But it can also be said that the Bible contains just about any emotion or situation there may be found in a story. May it be greed, lust, forgiveness, happiness, love, or jealousy; it's all in the Bible.

      December 28, 2010 at 3:44 pm |
    • DeAguaDulce

      @Bob: I wouldn't take her words too seriously. She seems to be trying to get "in the face" of Evangelicals. For someone with two degrees from Yale in religion, she doesn't seem to know jack about Christianity. In Christianity there is no such thing as "the Kingdom of Satan." Dualism is not part of traditional Christianity, never has been. Christians and Jews see Satan as a prosecutor, a tester of faith and the Accuser, but never, never as a king. As a religion professor she should know this.

      December 28, 2010 at 6:22 pm |
  18. JohnQuest

    It makes it correct for the interpreter, no one else has to agree, time and logic usually prevails. Recall that Nicolaus Copernicus believed that the Earth revolves around the Sun, no one (at least those in power didn't) believed him at the time either. Also this is still a Flat Earth Society.

    December 28, 2010 at 9:15 am |
    • Ykcyc

      But isn't it obvious, as the sun rises and sets down. The evidence is right there in front of us. What should we draw our conclusions from?

      December 28, 2010 at 9:33 am |
    • JohnQuest

      I agree, we should draw our conclusions about the universe from the evidence and the intuitions we get from the evidence, I think it's just common sense. However, common sense has never been a common virtue amongst our species, throughout history we have been plagued by supersti tions and wishful thinking about the how the universe actually works. We have been on this rock for about 200,000 years and it's only been about 200 years since we found out that we are not the center of the universe ( a very short time). On the upside, look what we have accomplished in that 200 years, imagine the 200 years.

      December 28, 2010 at 9:46 am |
    • Ykcyc

      It is a question, wether the last 200 years may be called an "accomplishment". If we continue, we may not advance much further than the yeast, we use to make wine. Somehow, we've concluded that we are the smartest and the most advance thing out there and know more than an ant, our planet, our galaxy, the Universe, and hell, more than the Life itself. Some even know what God wants! When in reality, most of us have ussues, even to properly moving our bowels. I would say, we are getting a little ahead of ourself. Don't you think?

      December 28, 2010 at 9:58 am |
    • JohnQuest

      I don't know if I agree with that, cases can be made that individuals are not as bright as the whole, but the whole have accomplished more in the past 200 years than the previous 199,800 years.

      December 28, 2010 at 10:13 am |
    • Ykcyc

      Oh, you mean like the weapons of mass destructions, chemical, biological weapons, genetically modified viruses and bacteria, multinational corporations, profit margins, etc. Can you give me some specific examples?

      December 28, 2010 at 10:20 am |
    • sean

      #ykcyc: For starters: eradication of smallpox, near eradication of polio, delivery of electricity, increases understanding of space/time (allowing satellite communications among other things), increased understanding of atomic properties, blah blah blah; r u effin trolling (good job!) or a crank?

      December 28, 2010 at 3:07 pm |
  19. JohnQuest

    Anyone can read anything and interpret it any way he\she wants to.

    December 28, 2010 at 8:59 am |
    • Ykcyc

      They do, but does that make them correct when they assert their interpretation to be the only truth and dimiss or reject al others? Is it only yes or no, either or?

      December 28, 2010 at 9:06 am |
    • Susan

      Including the Bible, which is a compilation of stories, lessons, revelations, laws, and history spanning generations and cultures.

      December 28, 2010 at 11:59 am |
    • Know What

      "Including the Bible, which is a compilation of stories, lessons, revelations, laws, and history spanning generations and cultures."

      ...with liberal doses of myth, legend, fantasy and superst!tion.

      December 28, 2010 at 12:12 pm |
    • jules

      and much rewriting, and creation of new characters (satan), and deletion of phrases which are no longer deemed pc such as Genesis where the lord said go out and partake of the herb, and where moses said the Kahnebis oil should be used to annoint.... etc etc

      December 28, 2010 at 2:13 pm |
  20. Ykcyc

    In case anyone has missed it – Harry Potter was a fictional character. Therefore, a fictional charachter should fit very well into a fiction. ;0))

    December 28, 2010 at 8:59 am |
    • Minimee

      Agreed! And to add religion has NOTHING to do with it.

      December 28, 2010 at 3:30 pm |
    • Randy

      Finally someone with a brain!

      December 28, 2010 at 4:04 pm |
    • neoritter

      Oh i c wut you did thar! Vry funy, lololol.

      I guess any good characteristics that are probably wise to follow and emulate should be dismissed since you know it's fiction. Cuz you know, fictional stuff can never have any truth in it right? Ooo! Why don't I emulate Stalin since, you know he's not a fictional character and you emulate the 20 million people he had killed? Sound good?

      December 28, 2010 at 4:24 pm |
    • Paul

      Christianity actually has a lot to do with Harry Potter. It's a massive Christian allegory, as Christian as anything C.S. Lewis wrote. You'll notice that, in Book 7, (spoiler alert) he sacrifices his own life to save those of his friends, family, and the Wizarding World. And when he dies, he has a vision that he meets up with Dumbledore at the Underground Station known as King's Cross. KING'S CROSS.

      Plus, Rowling talked about the books' religious themes in an interview with MTV's Shawn Adler in October 2007: "To me [the religious parallels have] always been obvious. But I never wanted to talk too openly about it because I thought it might show people who just wanted the story where we were going."

      When Harry visits the graveyard in Godric's Hollow, the inscriptions on the headstones are from Matthew 6:19 and 1 Corinthians 15:26.

      There are hundreds of other examples: John Granger, no relation to Hermione 😉 , has written several books that explore this. But this doesn't mean that Rowling is preaching to her readers; rather that (as Granger argues) humans yearn to be told stories like this; that resurrection stories give us comfort and speak to an innate need humans have.

      But it does mean that all the "Christians" who say that Harry Potter is anti-Christian are incorrect.

      December 28, 2010 at 4:32 pm |
    • Leif

      @Paul King's Cross is just the name of the train station in London. I think that's pretty much a coincidence.

      As for the resurrection thing, sure, Christ is known for it, but Christianity does not have a monopoly on resurrection stories. It was a pretty common tale before Christ, so it's not surprising that people are still telling it today, just with different characters.

      December 28, 2010 at 5:26 pm |
    • Tony

      Why can't Harry Potter just be a good series of books? Why does EVERYTHING popular with the masses have to revolve around Christianity? Can't you keep people interested with your own book?

      December 28, 2010 at 8:04 pm |
    • Frogist

      @Paul: Thanks for the info! I know there are many parallels but I didn't know about JKR's interview. It gives a whole new meaning to "The Boy Who Lived".
      @Leif: King's Cross may have been the name of the station but it doesn't it wasn't significant. It may mean the station might have been picked for the purpose of using it's name.

      December 29, 2010 at 9:18 am |
    • Hannah

      @Paul I wrote a whole paper on all the parallels between HP and the resurection; there are so many things that can be twisted into a Christian allegory, but I think if anything its a coincidence; like I don't think JKR purposely said "I'm gonna make this allude to the bible." Which is great, because I probably wouldn't enjoy the books as much if the books had an alterior motive in wanting to convert Christians like the Narnia books does.

      December 30, 2010 at 2:07 am |
    • A concerned Christian

      That article about "Harry Potter" was ridiculous. Tumminio ripped any possible allegory that could be ripped from "Harry Potter" there is no semblance of Christianity to that series. I was an idiot to read them, a fool to even consider them. I denounce them entirely. They have nothing to do with Christ. "Seeking" as Tumminio put it, is not what Christianity is about, the fact is that Christ came "to seek and to save that which was lost." I don't care where Tumminio studied, or how many degrees she has; the whole idea was just bad scholarship all around.
      I would like to ask her one simple, biblical question: "What must I do to be saved" (Acts 16:13) if that question were answered Biblically, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house." (Acts 16:14) that is the focus of Christianity, and the foundation.
      Harry Potter had nothing to do with Christ.

      January 1, 2011 at 1:51 am |
    • abukwrm

      I also agree! 2 FICTION books!

      January 1, 2011 at 11:19 am |
    • MichiganMan

      I don't understand why you had to remark on this comment. Yea religion may have nothing to do with the good of people, but that's not at all what this individual was trying to convey. You attempt to spark a debate on an article that provoke no such thing. Another thing you have done was attempt to villify religion as though it is an enemy of society. It's the people whose actions and rhetoric are soooo far from the religion they identify with that cause these rifts in society. Don't say religion is pushing anything but love, because that is untrue. If people act outside of love in the name of their religion, it's their wrong interpretation of what is actually said. We should find the beauty of how diverse this world is, rather than to pick a side and neglect to respect the views of those in this world. Christianity is beautiful. Atheism is beautiful. Buddhism is beautiful, etc. Just because you can't find, haven't felt or decided that evidence of the love of a religion isn't present doesn't mean it doesn't exist. Religion, science and society can be interwoven, we just cannot have this ignorant rhetoric thrown around or the disrespect of other people's views lingering in society. Otherwise we're no better than the far right =)

      January 16, 2011 at 6:39 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.