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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. Reality

    Harry Potter, the book, pure fiction about a moral wizard, brilliantly written.

    Christianity, semi-fiction, about an embellished, sometimes "mythicized" magic man with mediocre writing.

    To wit:

    As per the NT, Jesus was a bit "touched". After all he thought he spoke to Satan, thought he changed water into wine, thought he raised Lazarus from the dead etc. In today's world, said Jesus would be declared legally insane.

    Or did P, M, M, L and J simply make him into a first century magic-man via their epistles and gospels of semi-fiction? Most contemporary NT experts after thorough analyses of all the scriptures go with the latter magic-man conclusion with J's gospels being mostly fiction.

    Obviously, today's followers of Paul et al's "magic-man" are also a bit on the odd side believing in all the Christian mumbo jumbo about bodies resurrecting, and exorcisms, and miracles, and "magic-man" atonement, and infallible, old, European, white men, and 24/7 body/blood sacrifices followed by consumption of said sacrifices.

    July 13, 2011 at 11:59 pm |
  2. Odessa

    Everything good Europe and America have is from the Bible and from Christianity.

    July 13, 2011 at 11:31 pm |
    • Rev. Rick

      Actually, those first pilgrims who eventually became "Americans" had to leave Europe in order to seek freedom from religious persecution and intolerance.

      July 14, 2011 at 10:17 am |
    • Scott-1

      So where in the bible does it guarentee freedom of speach?

      July 14, 2011 at 4:31 pm |
    • Ron

      Scott-1

      So where in the bible does it guarentee freedom of speach?

      No where. There is NO freedom of speech or the concept in the bible.

      July 14, 2011 at 11:55 pm |
  3. Odessa

    Europeans were child-sacrificing, tree-worshipping demonic barbarians before Christianity saved them and made them civil. Present West does similar barbaric things by blaspheming and killing the unborn babies.

    July 13, 2011 at 11:29 pm |
    • Kyle

      Have you never heard of the Roman empire or the City-states of ancient Greece? The foundation of Western society was built upon these cultures, not Christianity.

      July 14, 2011 at 11:10 am |
    • Ron

      Really Odessa?
      ...well my Pagan Gods can beat up your god...
      Odessa, grow up. Your statement is a belief not a fact.

      July 15, 2011 at 12:13 am |
  4. Odessa

    The Pagan theologies such as Hary Potter's problems are they deny God's existence or distort the image of God. Present West is a headless, glory-less civilization because of its hatred toward the one true living God whom the Bible teaches, taking in the old snake's lies all the way through.

    July 13, 2011 at 11:26 pm |
    • Pharris

      There is no god. It's as made up as Hogwarts and far less interesting. Once the religious zealots finally understand this we will achieve world peace. Do yourself a favor and release this ridiculous dependence othe invisible man in the sky. He doesn't love you, he doesn't know you, he doesn't exist except in your imagination.

      July 14, 2011 at 6:35 am |
    • Kyle

      If you would take the time to actually read the books instead of ignorantly criticizing them, you would find nothing regarding hatred towards God anyway in the series.

      July 14, 2011 at 11:11 am |
    • myweightinwords

      As a Pagan, I can assure you that Harry Potter is not Pagan. Some of the messages in the book transcend religion and speak to human struggles with good and evil, with rising above the self, with understanding your place in the world, with loyalty and family....those are all things we Pagans embrace, but we would not presume to have a solitary claim on them.

      July 14, 2011 at 11:28 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Gosh! I am sure EVERYONE is going to immediately stop buying HP books and going to see the movies. Because we all know what a brilliant biblical scholar and upright citizen Addled is.

      July 14, 2011 at 10:06 pm |
    • Ron

      I am Wiccan which is one of the Pagan religions.
      The series, Harry Potter has nothing to do with Paganism. They do wish each other merry Christmas or at other times, happy Christmas. That's about as religious as it gets. The story is essentially about good triumphing over evil. That is a non religious statement as no religion can honestly claim that it is the creator of morality (atleast not in an honest manner.)
      Evangelical Christians make a lot of claims based off of their bible and their beliefs but it still does not make it a fact.
      The world was fine before Christianity and will do fine after it, though it's a shame really because Christianity does have some wonderful things to teach and offer but Evangelical Christians are the ones, imo, that are giving Christianity a bad name, which is why so many people are leaving Christianity and no longer care what Evangels have to say. Every day they become more and more like that group in the Middle East killing and demanding that people all over the world should follow their beliefs because they're the only ones right.

      July 15, 2011 at 12:04 am |
  5. Odessa

    Harry Potter is anti-God.

    July 13, 2011 at 11:15 pm |
    • Odessa

      Anybody who supports or watches Harry Potter supports the works of the Devil.

      July 14, 2011 at 12:04 pm |
    • News Flash

      Ok Odessa. Whatever you say. Now run outside and play.

      July 14, 2011 at 8:48 pm |
    • Ron

      The concept and creation of the devil, is your religions doing. Early Christianity has always had issues with controlling others. The devil was a wonderful creation to keep in line and under their thumb and when all else failed, threaten them with eternal punishment to keep them in line and in fear.

      July 15, 2011 at 12:08 am |
  6. Logan9773

    Christianity or Harry Potter. Both are fairy tales.

    July 13, 2011 at 10:25 pm |
    • The Way It Is

      Harry Potter is better written, and his fans are not stupid enough to think he actually exists.

      July 13, 2011 at 10:59 pm |
  7. miscnelson

    I read the entire series during my third year of medical school. It was great stress relief. I think it was the only thing that kept me from becoming clinically depressed.

    July 13, 2011 at 10:06 pm |
    • Joe

      I hope you md intelligence is stronger than your literary intelligence, considering you read kids books.

      July 13, 2011 at 10:14 pm |
    • duh

      "I hope you md intelligence is stronger than your literary intelligence, considering you read kids books.'

      Your stupid comment shows you don't understand the series because it wasn't all for kids. Nice job on showing you don't know what you're talking about.

      July 13, 2011 at 10:25 pm |
    • The Way It Is

      Actually, the Harry Potter series is indeed considered children's literature.

      July 13, 2011 at 11:06 pm |
    • It's for children

      J. K. Rowling: "I will continue writing for children because that's what I enjoy."

      July 13, 2011 at 11:09 pm |
    • Kyle

      The series is very well written and its audience has included far beyond children ever since it was published. The author may have directed her writing towards children at first, but if you actually bothered to read the books, you'd find that as the series progresses her writing is directed more towards an older, more general audience.

      July 14, 2011 at 11:16 am |
  8. Kerry

    I feel that the Christians who claim that Harry Potter is occult and evil are just silly. There's an evil witch in Snow White, a fairy godmother in Cinderella, and a fairy in Pinocchio. Are your children allowed to watch those?

    Harry Potter glorifies virtues such as love, loyalty, and showcases the epic battle between good and evil. I don't see a problem with it unless your children can't tell the difference between fantasy and reality.

    July 13, 2011 at 10:02 pm |
    • Joe

      The first movie glorified stealing credit from others.

      July 13, 2011 at 10:12 pm |
    • Kyle

      Highly religious people can't distinguish fantasy from reality. That's why they're threatened.

      July 14, 2011 at 11:19 am |
    • Scott-1

      Of course they don't want there children to be able the tell the difference between fantisy and relaity. If the kids could it would be impossible to indoctonate them in christianity

      July 14, 2011 at 4:36 pm |
  9. Annoyed

    I don't know why good literature has to be elite (depressing) literature. Ms. Rowling has wrote a series of wonderful childrens books, and some of you act like they need to be something like Kafka or Tolstoy. There is great literary value in Lewis Carroll, E.B. White and countless other authors writing for primarily children. I'm with Aldiz... King has written some wonderful stuff, and some crap, and Spiderman has just as much to say about human nature in western society as anything written by Dickens. You don't seem smart by knocking popular literature or culture. You just seem like a pretentious tool who doesn't realize that Shakespeare was writing just as much for the groundlings as he was for the educated in the seats.

    July 13, 2011 at 10:02 pm |
    • Raoul Duke

      "Spiderman has just as much to say about human nature in western society as anything written by Dickens."

      So the Dark Ages have been replaced by the Lite Ages.

      July 13, 2011 at 10:09 pm |
    • Joe

      Western civilization is over. Not every heart string is good art. Btw shakespeare's characters like hamlet are amoral, have you read hamlet did he not kill an innocent man without regret. No you don't get it at all. Btw Sherwood schwArtz died sad but nit equal to when Fellini died.

      July 13, 2011 at 10:40 pm |
  10. tmm77625

    Lord of the Rings is not theologically driven. You may find Christian values in it, despite it having a pagan religion based on Norse and Celtic myths, but if this professor is finding a theological angle to it, she is finding what she wants to see, not what the author intended. You might as well call the Conan novels theologically driven or historical fiction for that matter.

    July 13, 2011 at 9:56 pm |
    • chuck

      @alienfactor: It just really bothers me that an unprovable theory is not allowed to be challenged by you so-called academia. I think your mind is closed on the subject, am I wrong? I believe in intelligent design. I also believe in natural selection in nature as you describe it, but do not believe in macro-evolution. Call me non-enlightned but I think you are swallowing the kool-aid... OPEN YOUR EYES PEOPLE!

      July 13, 2011 at 11:12 pm |
    • Really?

      Tolkien was a staunch conservative Catholic who helped bring the former atheist C.S. Lewis to a belief in Jesus. C.S. Lewis then argued back to Tolkien that the Lord of the Rings wasn't Christian enough, but it is still there. Just because you are an atheist that enjoys Tolkien doesn't mean he was an atheist too. Far from it.

      July 14, 2011 at 1:06 am |
  11. Anthony

    Really well written. Too often people get bogged down by dreamed up "hereticism" and lack of "literary merit" when Harry Potter is called into question. It's nice to read an article by someone that doesn't take him or herself a bit to seriously.

    July 13, 2011 at 9:50 pm |
  12. You believe in magic? Seriously?

    Nothing starts a cr@pstorm in the blogosphere faster than pointing out similarities between two works of fiction.

    July 13, 2011 at 9:47 pm |
  13. chuck

    So Christians are not allowed an opinion? I did not let my kids read HP because I did not want them exposed to the things of the occult, which I consider real and dangerous. Is that such a crime? Everyone brings up their kids as they see fit, give us a break. I know how attractive this subject is to kids and the story is well-done and engaging. I chose to give my kids classic literature and expose them to third world countries through travel, things like that, and music, etc. Some of you God-haters on here are really sad in your hatred, and the funny thing is that you all probably believe in the worlds biggest fiction (and religion) of all: evolution....LOL. I can't wait to see the responses to this, bring it on.

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

      You are a terrible father. Shame on you. I feel so sorry for your poor children. Denying them literature...and you wonder why people roll their eyes when you tell them you believe in a sky wizard.

      July 13, 2011 at 9:51 pm |
    • chuck

      @John: Can you even read?

      July 13, 2011 at 9:55 pm |
    • th0ughtcr1me

      you believe magic and witches really exist?

      July 13, 2011 at 9:58 pm |
    • DoubtSalmon

      If it helps you just think of the magic as "miracles" and I'm sure you'll find them to be excellent books.

      July 13, 2011 at 9:59 pm |
    • chuck

      @thoughtcrime: Fair question, I believe in spiritual power, but not a guy in a red suit with a pitchfork.

      July 13, 2011 at 10:00 pm |
    • tmm77625

      Well, golly gee, John, I'll run right out and get every kind of literature I can find and shove it in my kid's face. Atlas Shrugged will be right along with Penthouse Letters.

      July 13, 2011 at 10:00 pm |
    • Lizzy10

      As a Catholic Christian, I found nothing wrong with reading Harry Potter. There isn't a "satanic" theme to be found. Perhaps if you bothered to read it, you would know that. Fiction isn't evil, people are.

      July 13, 2011 at 10:01 pm |
    • chuck

      @doubt salmon: I know they are good books and movies, that is part of my point. I am trying to get my kids interested in other things that I believe are better for them.

      July 13, 2011 at 10:03 pm |
    • chuck

      thank you TMM

      July 13, 2011 at 10:05 pm |
    • Really?

      Let me first say that I respect how you want to raise your kids. If you think HP is real and scary, then go ahead and do as you see fit. A close family friend thinks Disney is the devil and consequently has denied her daughter of all things Disney. Go figure.

      But, that does not give you the right to bash the worlds "biggest fiction"-evolution. As a scientist, I always find it funny when die-hard Young-Earth Christians deem it upon themselves to play scientist and call into question a pretty firm scientific fact. I myself have personally looked at rocks and dated rocks millions of years old. I have also studied invert and vertebrate paleontology to a level I am going to assume that you have not. So I kind of take offense when you call what I study, and what I believe, the world's greatest lie. There is no reason one cannot believe in both evolution and the Christian God.

      I point to you Richard Collins, the most accomplished scientist of our time- both a Christian and an evoluntionist. So, next time before you bash evolutionists (which I am) and other Christians (which I also am), please stop and reconsider the appropriateness of your statement in this forum.

      July 13, 2011 at 10:06 pm |
    • chuck

      @Lizzy: I did read the first book and decided I did not want my kids to read it, that is my choice as a dad. There are millions of good reads out there. They would most likely be fine if they read all the books and saw all the movies. But remember, things are not always as innocent as they appear.

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

      Are you so insecure in your faith and its teaching that you won't allow your children to be exposed to something that you think might contradict your teachings? Keep them from experiencing, as you seem to consider it, an 'alternate' understanding? How about taking a brave stand and say: "Here it is. Read/watch, and then I'll explain why it does not conform to our beliefs." Do you not understand that that which is banned only becomes more attractive?

      At first I was thinking it was a matter of ignorance, but now I conclude that it is a matter of fear. You are afraid that they might become free-thinkers and question the narrow-minded faith that you are indoctrinating them into. Letting your beliefs be challenged is the only way to test their true strength. If, by your understanding, you have taught them well they will be able to read/watch Harry Potter and still believe as you do, and reach the same conclusion about the material as you have.

      July 13, 2011 at 10:18 pm |
    • Lizzy10

      I don't have any disagreement with your right to bring up your kids, that's a given, unless you abuse them and denying them Harry Potter isn't abuse. I would disagree with your assessment of the books, but as your kids grow, they will start being exposed to things you will not agree with. One of the hardest things as a parent is letting a child make up their own mind about things you feel aren't good for them. Unless there is an obvious danger ie:drugs, drinking/driving, you need to let them experience life for themselves. They won't always follow the path you set down for them but that doesn't mean it isn't the right path. Kids grow up and a parents job is to allow them to do that with love-hey, that's the whole theme of those books, love.

      July 13, 2011 at 10:23 pm |
    • chuck

      @really: Good I am glad you are offended at my comments about evolution, now you know how I feel as evolution is crammed down my throat and the throat of every kid who braves government schools. If you are really a scientist then you should know that evolution makes lousy science and that it should be taught in philosophy or religion class. Then I will respect the THEORY. I know that will never happen so go ahead and believe your evolutionary faith (oops science) with your circular reasoning, mathematical impossibilities, and preposterously unprovable tenants.

      July 13, 2011 at 10:24 pm |
    • okydoky

      "I did not let my kids read HP because I did not want them exposed to the things of the occult, which I consider real and dangerous. Is that such a crime? Everyone brings up their kids as they see fit, give us a break. I know how attractive this subject is to kids and the story is well-done and engaging."

      So according to you, your kids should read things like...

      Out, da-mn'd spot! out, I say!—One; two: why, then
      'tis time to do't.—He-ll is murky.—Fie, my lord, fie, a soldier, and
      afeard? What need we fear who knows it, when none can call our
      pow'r to accompt?—Yet who would have thought the old man to
      have had so much blood in him.

      Or can't you explain what that means?

      July 13, 2011 at 10:36 pm |
    • chuck

      @alienfactor: Yes I think fear is a part of it, most things in our culture rail against my faith and values. My kids were too young to be freethinkers when HP came out. Now my 16 year old has formal and informal logic under his belt, comparative religion, and has studied the great thinkers of western civilization. But they get Christian apologetics also, he will move into his own faith now or abandon it. I just try to use wisdom how much of "the culture" he needs day in and day out.

      July 13, 2011 at 10:36 pm |
    • chuck

      @lizzy: agreed, no argument, see my post @alienfactor.

      July 13, 2011 at 10:52 pm |
    • AlienFactor

      About the idea of evolution as a 'theory'. In science, to call something a 'Theory' is not a sign that there is doubt about the legitimacy of the idea; it is an all-encompassing concept. From Wikipedia: "A scientific theory comprises a collection of concepts, including abstractions of observable phenomena expressed as quantifiable properties, together with rules (called scientific laws) that express relationships between observations of such concepts. A scientific theory is constructed to conform to available empirical data about such observations, and is put forth as a principle or body of principles for explaining a class of phenomena." In short, a 'Scientific Theory' summarizes the relationships between a set of known FACTS. To call something a 'Theory is not an admission of doubt. Do you question Einstein's 'Theory of Relativity'?

      What do you think about drug-resistant Tuberculosis? Man discovered the cause of tuberculosis – a pathogen. Man devised a cure – various antibiotic treatments that were successful. Various strains of Tuberculosis later proved to be immune to this cure. Did your God decide that mankind still deserved to be inflicted with a this disease and created a completely new version, or did the pathogens that cause the disease EVOLVE to develop a resistance to the treatment – those not initially killed off by the treatment adapted to be resistant. Adaptation to the Environment, ie, EVOLUTION.

      I commend your belief in your faith, but I abhor your resistance to enlightenment. Keep sticking your head in the sand.

      July 13, 2011 at 10:57 pm |
    • wildbynature

      If you think evolution is fiction, I truly do worry for how you've brought up your children. Are you one of those special folks that thinks dinosaurs never existed, too?

      July 13, 2011 at 11:17 pm |
    • Q

      Don't go confusing poor chuck with facts about science and evolution. He's clearly ignorant of the topic and like most other creationists, would prefer to remain this way. He's not interested in how the fossil record displays a clear progression of the major classes of life. He's not interested in why men have ni-pples. He's not interested in a very well represented diversity of pre-modern human hominid species. He's not interested in the fact his genome bears a defunct gene for the production of egg yolk protein. Etc, etc, etc...

      July 13, 2011 at 11:47 pm |
    • Q

      P.S. I believe Really was referring to Francis Collins, current director of the National Inst-tutes of Health? Both Christian and evolutionist, he is best described as a theistic evolutionist (i.e. one who accepts evolution as the deity's creative mechanism for biodiversity). Indeed, very accomplished for his work on the Human Genome Project, but most accomplished? Debatable... 🙂

      July 13, 2011 at 11:53 pm |
    • i wonder

      chuck,

      If the message of the Bible is so weak and flimsy that it can't stand up to the test of simple fantasy stories, and they endanger your children's indoctrination; and if J.K. Rowling poses a threat as being a more convincing storyteller than the Bible writers, perhaps you ought to think it out again...

      July 14, 2011 at 2:35 am |
    • Tropical

      Chuck, I suggest you enjoy your children while you can. The overwhelming liklihood is that your attempts to shelter them from reality will ultimately lead to them considering you a backwards, half-wit god-nut who they cannot stand. A bit like we all do here.

      July 14, 2011 at 3:53 am |
    • Pharris

      You're a fool, Chuck. E worst part is , you're raising fools. Either that or they will open their eyes one day and will reject you. Either way, you've ruined your children with your foolish behavior/beliefs. You believe ithe occult? What existence of magic have you ever seen? I tell you what, I beleive in talking cans of tuna fish, therefore I won't allow my kids to eat seafood.

      July 14, 2011 at 6:40 am |
  14. Up Your Rear Admiral

    Bumper sticker text:

    "Republicans for Voldemort"

    July 13, 2011 at 9:35 pm |
  15. supernester

    It is just a movie. I think people make too much of it http://nabacar.com

    July 13, 2011 at 9:34 pm |
    • LP

      Um, actually it's a series of books that has been adapted to a series of movies. You might want to try reading once in a while. Or, at least you could find out about those paper things that people keep raving about.

      July 13, 2011 at 9:48 pm |
  16. Aldizzleeee

    hmm.. you know, it's a great book series. i'm a lit. major at Cornell and I personally find ms. rowlings work to be very good. Also, Stephen King WILL go down as one of the greatest authors of the age and I'm not quite sure what your slide towards him was all about...

    July 13, 2011 at 9:33 pm |
    • If an angel named Moron shows up at your door, pretend you aren't home.

      You write very poorly for a literature major from Cornell.

      I dare you to stand up in each of your literature classes and say that Stephen King WILL go down as one of the greatest authors of the age.

      July 13, 2011 at 9:59 pm |
    • Joe

      What has my alma Marta come to, king is the worst writer ever, and potter is a shame, you are not worthy of a lit degree, stick to romance novels and stop embarrassing Cornell. Having a degree is now proven to mean nothing. What a loser I guess you just can't get literature so you read kids books.

      July 13, 2011 at 10:21 pm |
    • Logan9773

      And why wouldn't he?

      July 13, 2011 at 10:28 pm |
    • duh

      "Duh, duh, duh, sorry you were born that way."

      Thanks again for proving you don't have the intelligence to attend Yale. That wouldn't even pas_s as a fart. LOL!

      July 13, 2011 at 11:04 pm |
    • tallulah13

      That's "alma MATER", Joe.

      As for Stephen King, if you pull back the horror/fantasy label, you will find well-crafted stories about love, friendship, courage and honor. I suppose that literature is in the eye of the beholder.

      July 14, 2011 at 1:16 am |
    • Kyle

      Many, if not most of the novels we consider to be classics today incited a lot of ethical controversy. It makes sense. Iif the work doesn't excite some sort of social discourse, it probably isn't worth very much anyway.

      July 14, 2011 at 11:22 am |
    • Bucky Ball

      "What has my alma Marta come to",?
      Seriously ? Who is embarrassing whom ? You did NOT go to Cornell. (It's alma mater).
      Marta is the Metropolitan Area Rapid Transit Association, (Atlanta) or something. Moving --– Rapidly Through Atlanta.

      July 14, 2011 at 6:45 pm |
  17. Colin

    The article states: "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."

    Can you believe it? The intersection between Harry Potter and Christian theology? If anybody applied for a job with me with that on his/her resume, I would refuse to interview them. I would suggest they call the local fortune teller to see if they could get a job ripping off silly old women by reading their tarot cards..

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

      Yeah, I'm sure you don't get a lot of job applicants like that at McDonalds.

      July 13, 2011 at 9:55 pm |
    • Joe

      Yale can't be for real. Imagine if science went the wAy of literature, we,d have college students studying mixing oil and wAter with great surprise.

      July 13, 2011 at 10:45 pm |
    • duh

      "Yale can't be for real. "

      You're jealous because you weren't smart enough to get into it so you have to bash it. Typical of people who's ego's can't handle their not good enough.

      July 13, 2011 at 10:50 pm |
    • Joe

      Duh, what do you know about me, tell my life story I challenge you. Or is duh your natural stance?

      July 13, 2011 at 10:56 pm |
    • duh

      "Duh, what do you know about me, tell my life story I challenge you. Or is duh your natural stance?"

      Thanks for proving me correct if you had gone to Yale you would have said so you're nothing but a person stroking their own ego because your life is otherwise meaningless.

      July 13, 2011 at 10:59 pm |
    • Joe

      Duh, duh, duh, sorry you were born that way.

      July 13, 2011 at 11:03 pm |
    • duh

      "Duh, duh, duh, sorry you were born that way."

      Thanks again for proving you don't have the intelligence to attend Yale. That wouldn't even pas_s as a fart. LOL!!!

      July 13, 2011 at 11:05 pm |
  18. Reverend Bluejeans

    I don't believe that the Harry Potter books are an effrontery against Christianity or any other religion.

    I believe the Harry Potter books are an effrontery against Good Literature.

    They are the popular trash of the first decade of the new millennium. They are one of the reasons that the 2000s (or the double-naughts or whatever we'll call that first decade) will be seen by history as the tepid cesspool of culture that it was.

    July 13, 2011 at 9:27 pm |
    • Kathleen

      I think you meant to say "the Twilight Saga", not Harry Potter.

      The Twilight Saga is an effrontery against good literature.

      July 13, 2011 at 9:49 pm |
    • Reverend Bluejeans

      No, I meant to say the Harry Potter books. They are poorly written and juvenile–and are being passed off by some as Good Literature. They aren't.

      As shallow as they are, though, at least they are written in English. The Twilight Saga which you mentioned isn't written in English. It's written in Tweener.

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

      Well reverend....they are "juvenile" because they were......
      wait for it......
      written for children.

      However since the storyline progresses for 7 years, then I would have to say children to late teen.

      I personally find the books endearing and ageless.
      Just because a book is "easy to read" doesn't make it worthless as a "classic", which Harry Potter is destined to become (as opposed to a "flash in the pan" story).

      July 13, 2011 at 10:36 pm |
    • Joe

      My lord oh lord what have my people come to. To only understand the need to poop!

      July 13, 2011 at 10:47 pm |
  19. Joe

    She teaches a yale?? What else, stephen king, nora whoever, spiderman? My god what has literature come to?

    July 13, 2011 at 9:22 pm |
  20. reallyfubar

    So, if Harry Potter is an enemy of God, what does that make Lord Voldemort??

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

      Michele Bachmann

      July 13, 2011 at 9:37 pm |
    • Lizzy10

      @ Up Your Rear Admiral-That is without a doubt the best reply ever. Thanks.

      July 13, 2011 at 10:03 pm |
    • tmm77625

      Nah, Voldemort is a power hungry evil madman, like Bachman, but he's actually intelligent, learned, and can speak with refinement and dignity, which is a power Bachman will never have.

      July 13, 2011 at 10:08 pm |
    • wildbynature

      Up Your Rear Admiral, I think I love you for that response xD

      July 13, 2011 at 11:19 pm |
    • Up Your Rear Admiral

      tmm77625, point taken.

      I apologize for insulting the Dark Lord with Bachmann, the greater evil.

      Instead maybe Bachmann as Bellatrix Lestrange, throwing a dagger at a loyal and heroic friend of good.

      July 14, 2011 at 12:24 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.