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My Take: Why we’re drawn to Harry Potter’s theology
July 13th, 2011
11:29 AM ET

My Take: Why we’re drawn to Harry Potter’s theology

Editor's Note: Danielle Elizabeth Tumminio is an ordained Episcopal Church priest and is author of "God and Harry at Yale: Faith and Fiction in the Classroom."

By Danielle Elizabeth Tumminio, Special to CNN

It’s been 13 years since the first Harry Potter book landed on store shelves and provoked some Christian conservatives to begin voicing opposition to J.K. Rowling’s world of wizardry.

“Let me say something about Harry Potter. Warlocks are enemies of God,” said Becky Fischer, a Pentecostal pastor featured in a documentary called Jesus Camp. “And I don’t care what kind of hero they are, they’re an enemy of God."

“Had it been in the Old Testament,” Fischer continued, “Harry Potter would have been put to death. You don’t make heroes out of warlocks.”

First reviews of 'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2'

I was a graduate student at Yale when I first heard words like these, and it made me want to delve deeper into the nexus of Harry and Christianity, to see whether the books really were heretical.

So I decided to pitch a class on the subject to Yale, where I continue to teach on the intersection between Christian Theology and Harry Potter.

One of the questions I get asked most frequently about the class is what makes the Harry Potter series so spiritually rich. My sense is that, unlike some other famously theologically driven books, like "The Chronicles of Narnia" or "The Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter" is less interested in teaching doctrine than in asking questions of ultimate meaning:

How can a person—wizard or Muggle (Rowling’s term for non-wizards)—respond to evil?

Is it possible to maintain relationships with those beyond the grave, just like Harry sought to have a relationship with his deceased parents?

Is it worth believing in God or, for those in Harry’s world, love, without evidence of its transformative power?

These are the questions to which Harry seeks answers throughout the series, most explicitly in "The Deathly Hallows," part 2 of which opens in movie theaters on Friday. (I tell my students that not for nothing does Harry play Seeker on Gryffindor’s Quidditch team, Quidditch being the wizarding world’s sport of choice.)

J.K. Rowling: 'Never say never' to more 'Potter'

Yet these are also the questions that motivated Rowling — who was struggling with her mother’s recent death — to write the series in the first place. Indeed, they’re the questions asked by all who seek a deeper understanding of our world.

In other words, the reason the Harry Potter series resonates with so many is that Harry’s journey is our journey; what he seeks, we seek.

But is what we find heretical, as some Christians have claimed?

The first winter I taught at Yale, I was a true seeker. I had moved out of my cozy attic apartment and into my parents’ home after doctors diagnosed my father with a rare neurological disease called Primary Lateral Sclerosis (PLS).

PLS is similar to Lou Gehrig’s Disease and Multiple Sclerosis, the illness from which J.K. Rowlings’ mother suffered. Like those diseases, PLS is progressive and incurable, immobilizing the muscles without affecting the mind.

Driving home from class one day, alone in my car, I found myself overwhelmed by my father’s illness, by the pained look in his eyes as he struggled to cut food with a knife, by the anxiety that plagued my mother.

And then I thought of Harry Potter.

Each week, I’d been asking my Yale students to look at Harry’s journey and to determine the significance of that journey for them. In that moment, I wondered about the significance the books held for me. Could they offer consolation, and would that consolation be antithetical to Christian faith?

In the car that day, I remembered the end of "The Deathly Hallows," when Harry, walking towards his nemesis Voldemort in the Forbidden Forest, finds himself surrounded by those who died but who loved Harry well: his mentors, Sirius and Lupin, and his parents, James and Lily.

Lily speaks first: “You’ve been so brave.”

“You’ll stay with me?” Harry asks.

“Until the very end,” responds James.

In other words, it is community and love that see us through even the greatest losses. That’s the same for Rowling and for Christians, for whom God is love. It is friendship and faith that help us walk—or drive, as I was doing at that moment—bravely to our destiny.

In that, I found consolation.

In the new Potter film – reportedly the last in the Potter franchise – we’ll see Harry as a different kind of seeker, one who struggles with his faith. His mentor, Dumbledore, is absent in a time of evil, as the wizarding world is subjected to a Hitler-like campaign to abolish anyone not of pure wizarding descent. Meanwhile, the equivalent of a tabloid journalist has published a book smearing Dumbledore’s previously unadulterated reputation.

Though Dumbledore taught Harry that the only way to defeat Voldemort is through the power of love, that force has been seriously called into question. With subjugation and violence all around and with Dumbledore’s image smeared, love doesn’t seem much worth trusting.

As Harry wanders through the wizarding world, he must seek for himself what is worth trusting and what is not. And, without giving too much away, let me say that when his faith in love finally takes root, transformative things begin to happen.

As movie theatres reel the final film, and as we reflect on the years we shared with members of Dumbledore’s Army, perhaps this is the takeaway: Seek.

Seek with all your heart and all your soul and with your closest friends by your side.

If you do, you may find yourself on an unpredictable path to places you never knew existed. You may meet people so unlike you that they could be properly called a centaur and you a house elf. You may walk into a dark and forbidden forest. You may battle your greatest enemy.

Through all of that, you may very well find love. And at the end, you may conclude, as J.K. Rowling did, that “All was well.” Kind of sounds like Christianity, doesn't it?

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity • Movies • Opinion

soundoff (703 Responses)
  1. kim

    The religion conveyed through Harry Potter is the religion of mediocrity. The stories are all about the fantasy triumphs of the otherwise very mediocre mewling adolescent characters. That is why they appeal to all the world's losers. But if it gets the kids reading . . . As for you grownups (if you can call yourselves that), have a little dignity.

    July 13, 2011 at 9:21 pm |
    • Up Your Rear Admiral

      jealous kim.

      July 13, 2011 at 9:38 pm |
  2. stormy123

    Sorry, but this article failed 100% to understand both what religion is about as it relates to modern man and the meaning of fantasy books like Harry Potter.

    Ever read Joseph Campbell? Go check it out. His works explain in fluid detail the relationship of mythology and its relationship to modern man. Its not complicated. Star Wars, Harry Potter, Batman, King Arthur...its all the same. The Lord of the Underworld and relics of ancient Celtic archetypes will always bubble up into our Anglo-Saxon culture. Same as any culture. Its nothing to be scared of and has no relationship to devils or evil. Its part of mankinds primitive past. We cannot escape it. Those books have nothing to do with modern Christian religion. They affect us profoundly because they are embedded with thousands of references to ancient Info-European mythologies and symbols. My kid just like yours and for generations will always turn to these mythological characters and be fascinated with them. Elves, faeries, trolls....its not about evil its about archetypes and symbols. Christianity itself is filled with its own symbols and yes some real history but a lot of mythology too. All culture and all religion is an amalgem of these things. Rowling just tapped into a new form of Grimms Faery Tales....she didnt do anything different than what Lewis or Tolkien did. And many new authors yet born will continue to do that same.

    These religious fanatics need to go back to college and learn something about the world...

    July 13, 2011 at 9:14 pm |
    • ariel

      I don't think this article failed at all

      July 13, 2011 at 9:19 pm |
    • stormy123

      If you want to understand Harry Potter, start a class on Joseph Campbell. He spent a lifetime studying these exact types of books and movies and traveled the world studying religion. His work explains the connection, if any to modern religion. Which really has no connection in this case. The connection is with ancient pagan symbols and pre-Christian religion. Which is nothing to be scared of. Go read "The Hero with a Thousand Faces". You will understand exactly why Harry Potter appeals to Christians and Non-Christians alike.

      July 13, 2011 at 9:32 pm |
    • Ino

      I agree with you 1000%!

      July 13, 2011 at 9:34 pm |
  3. Muneef

    THE QUR’AN
    AND
    MODERN SCIENCE
    by
    Dr. Maurice Bucaille
    Edited by Dr. A. A. B. Philips

    RELIGION AND SCIENCE

    There is, perhaps, no better illustration of the close links between Islam and science than the Prophet Muhammad’s often-quoted statements:

    “Seeking knowledge is compulsory on every Muslim.”

    “wisdom is the lost property of the believer.”

    “whoever follows a path seeking knowledge, Allah will make his path to paradise easy.”

    These statements and many others are veritable invitations to humanity to enrich their knowledge from all sources. It comes as no surprise, therefore, to learn that in Islam religion and science have always been considered as twin sisters and that today, at a time when science has taken such great strides, they still continue to be associated. Nor is it a surprise to learn that certain scientific data are used for the better understanding of the Qur’anic text. What is more, in a century where, for many people, scientific truth has dealt a deathblow to religious belief, it is precisely the discoveries of science that, in an objective examination of the Islamic scripture, have highlighted the supernatural nature of revelation and the authenticity of the religion which it taught.

    July 13, 2011 at 9:11 pm |
    • Colin

      Muneef, you say " in Islam religion and science have always been considered as twin sisters". Can you name one devoted Muslim who has ever won a Nobel Prize for physics, chemistry or medicine (or any international prize of similar prestige) and who attributed his scientific success to Allah and/or the Qu'aran? Please answer yes or no and be honest.

      July 13, 2011 at 9:20 pm |
    • Hana

      @ Colin

      Please do your research before trying to start trouble. Why not look up Dr. Mohammad Abdus Salam who won the Noble Prize in Physics in 1979.

      http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/physics/laureates/1979/salam.html

      July 13, 2011 at 9:29 pm |
    • Colin

      Great Hananh, and was he a devoted muslim who attributed his success to his religion – as I asked?

      July 13, 2011 at 9:31 pm |
    • Muneef

      Knowledge is seeked to be Devoted to humanity and not to religion !!

      July 13, 2011 at 9:38 pm |
    • Hana

      @ Colin

      I provided you the link to his information, including his Banquet Speach... try reading.

      Quote from the speech

      "The creation of Physics is the shared heritage of all mankind. East and West, North and South have equally participated in it. In the Holy Book of Islam, Allah says:
      Thou seest not, in the creation of the All-merciful any imperfection, Return thy gaze, seest thou any fissure. Then Return thy gaze, again and again. Thy gaze, Comes back to thee dazzled, aweary.

      This in effect is, the faith of all physicists; the deeper we seek, the more is our wonder excited, the more is the dazzlement for our gaze."

      A person who is not practicing and not thankful to God is not likely to Quote Allah in his speech.

      July 13, 2011 at 9:45 pm |
    • Hana

      @ Colin

      Or there is this quote if you wish from other bibliographies...

      Salam was a devout Muslim and a member of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community[91] who saw his religion as integral part of his scientific work. He once wrote:

      "The Holy Quran enjoins us to reflect on the verities of Allah's created laws of nature; however, that our generation has been privileged to glimpse a part of His design is a bounty and a grace for which I render thanks with a humble heart."

      July 13, 2011 at 9:48 pm |
    • Muneef

      The instructions were clear from God to The Messenger that He is to ;
      [96:3] Read, and your Lord, Most Exalted.
      [96:4] Teaches by means of the pen.
      [96:5] He teaches man what he never knew.

      [96:0] In the name of God, Most Gracious, Most Merciful
      [96:1] Read, in the name of your Lord, who created.*
      [96:2] He created man from an embryo.
      [96:3] Read, and your Lord, Most Exalted.
      [96:4] Teaches by means of the pen.
      [96:5] He teaches man what he never knew

      July 13, 2011 at 9:49 pm |
    • Hana

      Wow, just caught where I said bibliographies instead of biographies... i am on a roll tonight for typing mistakes. Sorry.

      July 13, 2011 at 9:57 pm |
    • Muneef

      Sorry was in a hurry for the fajar prayers...Any way why attribute ones knowledge to his religion rather any one would say that he attributes it to God for having had been able to understand it and gain it as signs of thanks to God.
      Although should admit that religion might have given the bases of knowledge and encouraged reading and learning as per the first verses of Quran that Prophet Muhammed (saws) had received ;
      [96:1] Read, in the name of your Lord, who created.*
      [96:2] He created man from an embryo.
      [96:3] Read, and your Lord, Most Exalted.
      [96:4] Teaches by means of the pen.
      [96:5] He teaches man what he never knew.

      July 13, 2011 at 10:13 pm |
    • Hana

      Salam Brother Muneef. Thank you for the quotes.

      July 13, 2011 at 10:26 pm |
    • Muneef

      http://adelhasanin.yolasite.com/resources/The%20Quran%20and%20Modern%20Science%20(Dr.%20Maurice%20Bucaille).pdf

      July 13, 2011 at 10:29 pm |
    • Muneef

      Hana.
      Hi there sister you are welcome and thanks.

      July 13, 2011 at 10:32 pm |
    • Muneef

      Colin.
      What is that about the "Noble Prize" ? Is it some thing sold like the FIFA?

      July 13, 2011 at 10:35 pm |
    • Muneef

      Colin.
      What is that about the "Noble Prize" ? Is it some thing that is sold like the FIFA?

      July 13, 2011 at 10:36 pm |
  4. Dallas

    It's funny that 13 years later I see an article by a protestant showing appreciation for the life lessons in these kid's books when Catholic critics noticed this from the start. Interestingly enough, the church had no issue with this form of story telling.

    July 13, 2011 at 9:11 pm |
    • BadTigz

      Not all protestants held the view that these books were "evil" or whatever. Only those with radical views. (well, what I call "radical" others I guess would call it "ultra-conservative" or even better.... "looney-bin" views. )

      July 13, 2011 at 9:25 pm |
  5. DiamondSky

    Narnia and Lord of the Rings bring about spiritual truth in this universe, whereas Harry Potter intentionally cuts out God and paint Him and His people bad. The evil is humanity's filthy thirst for autonomy, nothing else. The West – Europe and America – is completely worthless without the Christian Church.

    July 13, 2011 at 9:08 pm |
    • stormy123

      This makes no sense whatsoever....just like all the other Christian televangilist mumbo jumbo on here.

      July 13, 2011 at 9:17 pm |
    • mike

      @ stormy123
      You haven't been here long have you?

      July 13, 2011 at 9:21 pm |
    • ariel

      the Harry Potter books aren't anti-God, moron

      July 13, 2011 at 9:22 pm |
    • JrzygirlLA

      @DiamondSky, I have to say, it doesn't sound like you've read the books or watched the films, at all.

      July 13, 2011 at 9:28 pm |
    • DiamondSky

      I don't need to actually read them. I pray to my magic Jesus action figure, which used to be a Barbie, but a sharpie and a bit of cloth and voila! Jesus! Or Virgin Birth Barbie. Whatever.

      July 13, 2011 at 9:48 pm |
    • Scott-1

      The West needs the christian church like a fish needs a bicycle

      July 14, 2011 at 4:56 pm |
  6. johnny

    Harry Potter is appealing because it is an escape.

    July 13, 2011 at 9:01 pm |
  7. DiamondSky

    God is holy, not just love – a concept foreign to the pagan Westerners. Pagans get drawn to Harry Potter, because filthy panganism is a delicious theology to them. God's children stay away from deceitful stuff like Harry Potter as Daniel did from king's filthy food. (Daniel chapter 1)

    July 13, 2011 at 8:53 pm |
    • Hana

      LOL! That made me laugh! The last H.P. movie that came out, I went to see it with a Catholic woman, a Mormon house wife, my mom, who is Protestant, and several other of various "monotheistic" religions. Yet, my Pagan friends were the ones that decided not to go.

      July 13, 2011 at 8:57 pm |
    • its2011

      dude... relax.

      July 13, 2011 at 9:03 pm |
    • JW

      Pizza is delicious to me but I do not worship it. I can worship God and eat pizza. In the same way people can enjoy delicious Harry Potter and worship God or not as they choose.

      July 13, 2011 at 9:12 pm |
    • JrzygirlLA

      Oh dear, something tells me you don't understand Christianity, either.

      July 13, 2011 at 9:30 pm |
    • jeffroweld

      "Oh ye of little faith." I think most people's faith lives are strong enough not to let a simple movie influence their beliefs and core values. The Potter movies are great entertainment, and If I'm not mistaken, in most of the Potter movies, they incorporate a Christmas break during the school year! Harmless fun : )

      July 13, 2011 at 9:53 pm |
    • Scott-1

      "I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things." (Isaiah 45:7)

      July 14, 2011 at 4:58 pm |
  8. Rob Allan

    I can't for the life of me figure out what the big deal is with Harry Potter.
    Just like Oprah, JK Rowling is an egomanical overblown windbag with more money that she can count.
    Why anyone with a life gives a sh– I have no idea!!!

    July 13, 2011 at 8:41 pm |
    • HappyModerat

      Ha well then why did you take the time to read and respond to this article?

      July 13, 2011 at 8:48 pm |
    • J.K.R.

      Rob, I don't give a sh!t about you either.

      July 13, 2011 at 8:50 pm |
    • Hana

      Personally, I dont care about J.K. Rolling much, but, I love the books. I dont know why they are so hugely popular, they just are. For me, I simply love fantasy books in general and I think that this series is well imagined.

      July 13, 2011 at 8:51 pm |
    • Pop goes the....

      @ Hana
      The books became so popular because Christians saw the book as a threat to the younger generation (by including murder and magic) and decided to make a stink about it. And like all PR, good or bad, people heard about the book and gave it a chance. So the Christaian groups should have turned their cheek. Had the Christians done what their lord taught them to do, none of this would even be happening.

      July 13, 2011 at 9:17 pm |
    • Scott-1

      Oh, I don't know. Her rise from poor, unemployed single mother to richest woman in England is prety intereseting

      July 14, 2011 at 5:01 pm |
  9. Robert Watson

    I think that the Harry Potter books are a great take on what Christianity and all other religions should be. Thank you J.K.R., for yet another twist to an entertainment source called books.

    July 13, 2011 at 8:33 pm |
  10. Hana

    You know, J.K. Rolling came from a Christian background. And a good author writes from what they know. I dont think she intended anything to be part of a Christian Theology, or any theology for that matter. It was just a foundation of good verses evil and she wrote from her heart and mind... if that has some similarity to Christianity, it would not be surprising, but probably not intended. J.K. Rolling would have to answer for a more concrete answer.

    Just enjoy it for the fiction that it is. A great set of books that brought around great, fun movies.

    July 13, 2011 at 7:53 pm |
    • The Baffler

      Well said, but not realistic, unfortunately. People just have too much fun winding themselves up with self righteous fervor.

      July 13, 2011 at 8:48 pm |
    • Hana

      @ The Baffler

      I know it is unrealistic. That is in and of itself, a very sad commentary. I just prefer to answer honestly.

      July 13, 2011 at 8:55 pm |
    • The Baffler

      Indeed.

      July 13, 2011 at 8:57 pm |
  11. mike??

    takin trollin to a new level see ya on another blog to waist your time and my own lol I wonder what alias I will be next, mabey the guy or girl who is an athiest mabey a zionist jewish person. Whoever it might be I'm sure cnn will block me soon

    July 13, 2011 at 7:43 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      You'll be easy to spot, bozo.

      July 13, 2011 at 8:11 pm |
    • Peter

      Hmm that's odd. You didn't spot my other alias'.

      July 13, 2011 at 8:17 pm |
    • ooh my

      don't call people names

      July 13, 2011 at 8:36 pm |
  12. Muneef

    Could the Harry Potter's Theology be as wrong as it is when it comes to Angels and Demons beliefs?

    Belief in Angel Messengers;

    As it seems that we even have our differences of belief with Christians in the Terms of Angels;

    -Islam says "Gabriel" is the Arch Angel while Christians belief it is "Michael" the Arch Angel...
    -Islam says Archangels and Angels were created from a substance of light,Christians not specified any substance.. 
    -Lucifer (Satan/Devil) is from DJinn and they were created from a substance of smokeless poisonous fire, Christians thought they were created as of Angels and called him and his tribe the fallen Angels.. 
    -Adam was created from a substance water and colorful mixture like clay.
    Muslim sites;
    http://www.missionislam.com/knowledge/Angels.htm
    http://www.alislam.org/books/study-of-islam/angels.html
    Christian sites;
    http://breadandwineministries.org/how%20to%20see%20angels.pdf
    http://www.whyangels.com/devil_demons.html

    July 13, 2011 at 7:39 pm |
    • Muneef

      blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blahblah blah blah blah blahblah blah blah blah blahblah blah blah blah blahblah blah blah blah blah wah wah wah wah wah wah wah wah wah wah wah wah wah wah wahwah wah wah wah wahwah wah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blahblah blah blah blah blahblah blah blah blah blahblah blah blah blah blahblah blah blah blah blah wah wah wah wah wah wah wah wah wah wah wah wah wah wah wahwah wah wah wah wahwah wahwah wah wah mumbo jumbo in yor gumbo hocus pocus locus

      July 13, 2011 at 7:45 pm |
    • Muneef

      islam mislam dislam shislam shazam blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blahblah blah blah blah blahblah blah blah blah blahblah blah blah blah blahblah blah blah blah blah wah wah wah wah wah wah wah wah wah wah wah wah wah wah wahwah wah wah wah wahwah wah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blahblah blah blah blah blahblah blah blah blah blahblah blah blah blah blahblah blah blah blah blah wah wah wah wah wah wah wah wah wah wah wah wah wah wah wahwah wah wah wah wahwah wah

      July 13, 2011 at 7:46 pm |
    • Muneef

      Seems some Devil is burning from the inside and decided to use my name in posting his blah blah garbage...

      (His dominion encompasses the heavens and the earth, and ruling them never burdens Him. He is the Most High, the Great).

      July 13, 2011 at 8:21 pm |
    • J.K.R.

      I am the most high. I inhaled the most.

      July 13, 2011 at 8:51 pm |
  13. Lycidas

    @Artist- I argue against those that don't tell the truth. Might be why you and I tend to go at it.

    I still don't recognize your ability to call anyone here schizophrenic. And since you are imagining what the experiences of others might be without any facts...wouldn't that make you schizophrenic by your definition?

    July 13, 2011 at 7:21 pm |
    • Ummm

      I wouldn't say schizophrenic but it is like a petulant 8-year-old, we keep asking why, why, why, why. In the end, the answer is either "just because" or "for God made it so." Take your pick.

      July 13, 2011 at 7:25 pm |
    • Lycidas

      It is the way it is...might not be a great answer, but sometimes it is the correct one.

      July 13, 2011 at 8:31 pm |
  14. ohh my

    Just looked at the time alot of these posts were made. Do people spend all day here.

    July 13, 2011 at 7:15 pm |
    • Ummm

      It's called multi_tasking sweetheart.

      July 13, 2011 at 7:17 pm |
    • mike

      oooops I forgot the question mark ahahhahahahahahahahahha

      July 13, 2011 at 7:23 pm |
    • Artist

      Some of us are self employed and get bored from time to time.

      July 13, 2011 at 7:37 pm |
    • Mike?????????

      @ Artist
      Your tellin' me. I see someone found my 'ohh my' alias. I love stirin' up crap, seeing what people do and say to what. Can you people say sociopath? Who should I be next people? Don't say a dead persons name, because I'm not goin' to die anytime soon.

      July 13, 2011 at 7:59 pm |
  15. ohh my

    I wanna finnish the books before I go watch the movies. Oops sorry, I forgot to bash someones opinion while I was making that statement.

    July 13, 2011 at 6:34 pm |
    • Thin Skin

      Wah wah wah.

      July 13, 2011 at 6:49 pm |
    • Oh I'm Really Fooled by the New Name

      A mike by any other name would smell as stupid.

      July 13, 2011 at 7:08 pm |
    • John Richardson

      That's 'finish'. Finnish is a language.

      July 13, 2011 at 7:13 pm |
  16. Nicholas

    It seems to me that the religious nuts of the states (i.e., christians) are now trying to twist Harry Potter to fit their belief systems. They tried the opposite when the series first came out with little success. I guess if you can't beat them, join them? Sad, pathetic lot the religious of the U.S. are.

    July 13, 2011 at 6:30 pm |
    • Lycidas

      Oh yes...and the biggest nut had to be the one that believed that there were biblical quotes directly taken out of the Bible in the story.
      Oh wait..that nut was J.K. Rowling herself: http://www.mtv.com/news/articles/1572107/jk-rowling-talks-about-christian-imagery.jhtml

      Think before writing eh.

      July 13, 2011 at 6:35 pm |
    • JD

      The author is not Christian. She is Episcopal, which is a group that used to be Christian but now only calls itself Christian while basically believing anything it wants to. Her writing in the article is at odds with Christianity. Nicholas, however, seems to hate Christianity enough to not care.

      July 13, 2011 at 6:44 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Episcopalians are Christian, jackwit.

      July 13, 2011 at 8:12 pm |
    • Liutgard

      JD, your ignorance is showing. Rowling is a member in good standing of the Church of Scotland. And Episcopalians and Anglicans are Christians. And it is not for you to decide who are Christians and who aren't. That's God's prerogative, not yours.

      July 13, 2011 at 8:45 pm |
    • Nicholas

      @ Tom, Tom,
      Didn't you just read what JD said? Episcopalians are a Christian group that believe what they want to. Jackwit. Read it again. Than make your fun.

      July 13, 2011 at 8:55 pm |
  17. bob

    Harry Potter is a great theology! If you like black magic, and worship satan.

    July 13, 2011 at 6:08 pm |
    • Lycidas

      I would guess you actually know very little about the series.

      July 13, 2011 at 6:20 pm |
    • bob

      Where do you think magic comes from? Yep, you guessed it the devil.

      July 13, 2011 at 6:25 pm |
    • Lycidas

      That's not exactly a Biblically sound point of view Bob. It would be more fair to say that magic is not of God. To be honest, Satanism has nothing to do with the Harry Potter series.

      July 13, 2011 at 6:27 pm |
    • bob

      Harry Potter gets kids to emulate magic. Magic is a form of pagaism. Paganism is of the devil. Is the biblically sound enough for you?

      July 13, 2011 at 6:37 pm |
    • BadTigz

      Wow, I didn't know that. I guess Jesus should have been burned at the stake then, huh. As well as all the Saints. (who I believe have to have produced one "miracle" in their lifetime) A "miracle" to one person may appear "magic" to another.
      I guess Joseph also should have been considered of the devil since he could interpret dreams. And lest we forget that the antichrist and his followers will also be able to produce "miracles" such has Jesus did.......

      Bob, I think you need to read your bible and forget what some idiot behind the pulpit is saying. The bible is open for all to read and understand....not just those that lead sheep. To be a sheep is baaaaaad.

      July 13, 2011 at 6:41 pm |
    • Artist

      Lycidas

      That's not exactly a Biblically sound point of view Bob. It would be more fair to say that magic is not of God. To be honest, Satanism has nothing to do with the Harry Potter series.
      -------–
      Now this is entertaining....Lycidas arguing with a christian nut. lol
      .
      From what Christian Taliban Bob is implying...we are going to have a generation of future wizards running around doing the devil's work. Bob sees things that go bump in the night that the rest of us cannot see nor hear.
      .
      Schizophrenia is a mental disorder that makes it difficult to tell the difference between real and unreal experiences, to think logically, to have normal emotional responses, and to behave normally in social situations.
      As the illness continues, psychotic symptoms develop:
      • False beliefs or thoughts that are not based in reality (delusions)
      • Hearing, seeing, or feeling things that are not there (hallucinations)

      July 13, 2011 at 6:43 pm |
    • Ummm

      Bob do you even read the bible dude?

      Exod. 7:10 So Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and did just as the LORD commanded. Aaron threw his staff down in front of Pharaoh and his officials, and it became a snake. 11Pharaoh then summoned wise men and sorcerers, and the Egyptian magicians also did the same things by their secret arts: 12Each one threw down his staff and it became a snake. But Aaron's staff swallowed up their staffs. 13Yet Pharaoh's heart became hard and he would not listen to them, just as the LORD had said.

      July 13, 2011 at 6:44 pm |
    • bob

      Sigh. I'm not talking about the mircles jesus and his prophets did. I'm talking about kids emulating pagan magic. Harry Potter will lead our youth to the wrong religon. Regardless of whether magic is real or not.

      July 13, 2011 at 6:51 pm |
    • Ummm

      Bob there is far worse things that lead the youth away, drugs, alcohol, gangs, video games, TV, and Catholic priests. If parents are doing their JOBS those things wouldn't temp the youth away you want to blame someone turn your attention to your own community and what's happening there. It's called entertainment for a reason and in moderation it's fine.

      July 13, 2011 at 6:57 pm |
    • bob

      "Bob there is far worse things that lead the youth away, drugs, alcohol, gangs, video games, TV, and Catholic priests"
      No paganism is the absolute worst thing that can lead our youth astray. Pagans use violent rituals and often drink during their "group meetings"

      July 13, 2011 at 7:01 pm |
    • Ummm

      "No paganism is the absolute worst thing that can lead our youth astray. Pagans use violent rituals and often drink during their "group meetings""

      What group are you talking about? Since you are making that claim you've been to one.

      July 13, 2011 at 7:09 pm |
    • Lycidas

      "Harry Potter gets kids to emulate magic. Magic is a form of pagaism. Paganism is of the devil. Is the biblically sound enough for you?"

      Considering you used no Biblical passages...no, it's not.
      Paganism is what it is. It did not require the devil to worship.

      July 13, 2011 at 7:12 pm |
    • bob

      Great theory except for..... o yeah all the information you can learn from books or any other scholarly source.

      July 13, 2011 at 7:13 pm |
    • Lycidas

      @Artist– I argue against those that don't tell the truth. Might be why you and I tend to go at it.

      I still don't recognize your ability to call anyone here schizophrenic. And since you are imagining what the experiences of others might be without any facts...wouldn't that make you schizophrenic by your definition?

      July 13, 2011 at 7:22 pm |
    • Lycidas

      "Great theory except for..... o yeah all the information you can learn from books or any other scholarly source."

      Yeah, what are those sources Bob? From my own study on the occult, paganism, satanism and the Tanakh....paganism and the devil doesn't really have a lot connecting them.

      July 13, 2011 at 7:23 pm |
    • Artist

      Lycidas

      @Artist– I argue against those that don't tell the truth. Might be why you and I tend to go at it.

      I still don't recognize your ability to call anyone here schizophrenic. And since you are imagining what the experiences of others might be without any facts...wouldn't that make you schizophrenic by your definition?

      ---------
      I disagree, I generally don't argue facts, just offer opinion. Perhaps you are confusing my perception or opinion as lies?
      .
      As to the schits I just offer my humble opinion based on what they state. By your rational, I suspect no one is qualified and we should open the doors to the nuthouses. I suspect they cannot see what their patients claim to see.

      July 13, 2011 at 7:27 pm |
    • bob

      @Lycidas
      I agree with you about the schizophrenic comment. Ironically coming from an atheist that always demands proof.

      July 13, 2011 at 7:37 pm |
    • Artist

      bob

      @Lycidas
      I agree with you about the schizophrenic comment. Ironically coming from an atheist that always demands proof.
      .
      I am atheist now? Interesting. Do not assume that because I do not accept what men have written that I am atheist. Because I do not put my faith in man does not mean I am an atheist. Focus and think about what I am saying.

      July 13, 2011 at 7:42 pm |
    • Hana

      Wow! Haven't you heard of "make believe" and "fantasy"??? I am sure you grew up with the stories of Kind Arthur and the wizard Merlin (Disney even made a great cartoon of it), did that lead you down some con-demned path of thinking it was all real?

      July 13, 2011 at 8:05 pm |
    • Hana

      Sorry about the typo... Kind Arthur is supposed to be King Arthur... obviously.

      July 13, 2011 at 8:06 pm |
    • Lycidas

      @Artist-"By your rational.."

      By my rational we are on a comment board that offers very limited means to figure out anything..let alone the mental state of unkown ppl.

      July 13, 2011 at 8:33 pm |
    • Artist

      Lycidas

      @Artist-"By your rational.."

      By my rational we are on a comment board that offers very limited means to figure out anything..let alone the mental state of unkown ppl.
      ---------
      Sure I can. I can observe and offer my opinion. If the shoe fits they can choose to wear it.

      July 14, 2011 at 12:12 pm |
    • Lycidas

      "I can observe and offer my opinion."

      Your observation is limited and therefor so is your opinion.

      July 14, 2011 at 1:50 pm |
  18. JD

    How can the author teach a class on this while being completely unaware of what Christianity is? She describes Christianity as a security blanket of nothing but psychological value. As something that only matters if you feel you need it; if not, no loss. That's what Christian-haters call it, but it's far from what Christians believe. Christians believe that God is real, which is a pretty big deal even if you don't think you need Him. To a Christian, not believing in God is like not believing in gravity – if you step out of a plane, you're going to fall whether you believe in gravity or not.

    The message of Harry Potter, as presented by this author, is strongly at odds with Christianity, but not because of the magic. It suggests that good comes from within, reality is whatever you want it to be, and trust in yourself is key. "Harry Potter love" is not an equivalent of God.

    Whether you are Christian or not doesn't change what Christianity is. Harry Potter's message and Christianity are at odds. A Christian would call Rowling's writings the vain searching of a person desperate for comfort but lacking the truth. The relationship between the two belief systems is not subject to the author's wishful thinking.

    July 13, 2011 at 6:05 pm |
    • Barbie

      Believing don't make your god real. Dumbledore is the real deal.

      Dumbledore F-T-W.

      July 13, 2011 at 7:40 pm |
    • Wooluf in some sheeps duds

      According to the World Christian Encyclopedia (year 2000 version), global Christianity had 33,820 denominations with 3,445,000 congregations/churches composed of 1,888 million affiliated Christians.

      Read more: http://wiki.answers.com/Q/How_many_different_types_of_Christianity_are_there#ixzz1S24T4e1G
      There is no such thing as "Christianity". You assume your version is better than everyone else's. Arrogant much ?

      July 13, 2011 at 7:51 pm |
    • Liutgard

      "It suggests that good comes from within"

      As God intended. According to your Bible, he made us good. On the day he created man, he finished up and "God saw all that he had made, and it was very good." Sin was a secondary addition- and not what he had planned. He created something good, which would suggest that there is good within.

      Unless of course, you wish to tell God that he made something that is not good? Directly opposing what he said about it?

      July 13, 2011 at 8:53 pm |
  19. BadTigz

    I actually liked this article. I usually don't try to "compare" the Harry Potter series with God and the bible. Harry Potter is a work of fiction, and the Bible, for believers is an article of faith. However, the struggle of good vs evil is epic in both.

    However, I did just have a realization while reading this article. The writer mentioned the walk that Harry took into the forest to meet Voldermort...a walk to his (supposed) death...as the article stated his mentors materialized around him and gave him peace and comforted him on that walk to death.....And suddenly, Psalms 23 sprang into my mind. (" Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.") I doubt very seriously that JK Rowling had this in mind when she wrote this part of the story....but it is in essence placing a "wizarding world" equivalent to the 23rd Psalms in the story.

    You can always find biblical reference in something if you are looking for one (even if one wasn't intended)....Harry Potter, Star Wars, etc. After all, the fight of Good vs Evil is ingrained in all of us...and always makes for a good story.

    July 13, 2011 at 5:58 pm |
    • Barbie

      The fight against good and evil pre-dates Christianity. And someone's apparently put quite the vanishing spell on your god, since he's never appeared, ever.

      July 13, 2011 at 7:42 pm |
    • Liutgard

      Actually, I'd bet that she in fact did have Psalm 23 in mind while writing that passage. There's a number of places in the series, and in that last book in particular, that are infused with Biblical tradition.

      And that scene made me sob like a baby, BTW.

      July 13, 2011 at 8:56 pm |
    • BadTigz

      Strangely enough Barbie, I don't recall saying, in the post above, what religion I belong to...so why do you assume it is Christianity?

      July 13, 2011 at 8:56 pm |
  20. ohh my

    I see lots of people like to bash a highschool kid. Why not teach Mike? Instead of just telling him he is wrong. Ignorance, not stupidity, is what is wrong with this country. For a person who knows how to swim, to stand and watch a person drown, is a stupid mistake to make.

    July 13, 2011 at 5:49 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Oh, please. He's an arrogant little twerp who doesn't have any desire to learn a thing.

      July 13, 2011 at 6:28 pm |
    • ohh my

      ....... I disagree. Some of the things Mike has pointed out are not on shown in school, he found that info on his own time. Sounds like desire to learn to me.

      July 13, 2011 at 6:49 pm |
    • Artist

      ohh my

      For a person who knows how to swim, to stand and watch a person drown, is a stupid mistake to make.
      -------
      One person's mistake is another person's relief for the better of the whole. Let his god save him from drowning.

      July 13, 2011 at 6:49 pm |
    • Look! It's ohh myke! Same bad grammar and spelling!

      mike isn't drowning. He's making a jackass out of himself. You don't rescue jackasses; you let them implode.

      July 13, 2011 at 7:05 pm |
    • ohh my

      @ Artist.
      You are a really good example of what evil is. That's nothing to be proud of.

      July 13, 2011 at 7:10 pm |
    • Artist

      ohh my

      @ Artist.
      You are a really good example of what evil is. That's nothing to be proud of.
      ---------
      I disagree. Evil to one is freedom to another.

      July 13, 2011 at 7:22 pm |
    • Peter

      I like food and 'mike'. Oh wait that's me.

      July 13, 2011 at 8:06 pm |
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About this blog

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.