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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. Frenchie

    I agree with her article on why some are drawn to Harry Potter! I'm a Christian and I've read all the Harry Potter books and I love them!!! My roommate (who is a Christian as well) have read them and we have the movies on DVD. Plain and simple Rowling is a great author and she tells a great story that kids can relate to. Plus, its packed with adventure and love. And I agree too that its just a fictional book. There is no need to freak out about it. Why can't a book make us ask questions? Reading Harry Potter has not made me question my faith or anything, its just good entertainment. And people shouldn't talk crap about anything until they've taken the time to investigate it and read up on it. I'm sorry that there are people out there (christians in particular) who judge people for reading Harry Potter, its pretty ridiculous. Like the J.K. Rowling writes and as true Christians believe, love conquers evil. So lets just love each other and stop arguing about a book.

    July 15, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
  2. some old nobodaddy

    I would love to see Ms. Tumimmino's citations where Tolkein "teaches doctrine." That's a big stretch, and it makes me doubt that she's ever read LOTR. Missing, too, from her analysis is Ursula K LeGuin, who wrote about student wizards back in the 60's. From her words, I would guess that she's only read Ms. Rowling, and received her other information on fantasy literature from the movie screen. Her words are interesting in a sort of "arm-chair" philosopher sort of way, but I'm a bit shocked to learn that Yale would pay her good money to teach this subject, when she appears to have only bothered in researching a very small part of it.

    July 15, 2011 at 4:53 pm |
  3. Kate S

    I am so sick of right-winged evangelicals who are close-minded idiots bashing Harry Potter. It is a literary work of pure genius. Unfortunately, their minds are small and shallow, and they will never understand what brilliance it is.

    July 15, 2011 at 4:07 pm |
  4. Muneef

    [4:68] islam blah blah wah wah wah koran blech wech nech ya ya ya

    [4:62] islam blah blah wah wah wah koran blech wech nech ya ya ya

    [5:11] islam blah blah wah wah wah koran blech wech nech ya ya ya

    [1:23] islam blah blah wah wah wah koran blech wech nech ya ya ya

    [7:12] islam blah blah wah wah wah koran blech wech nech ya ya ya

    [3:12] islam blah blah wah wah wah koran blech wech nech ya ya ya

    [3:12] islam blah blah wah wah wah koran blech wech nech ya ya ya walla walla walla

    -always the same shiite

    July 15, 2011 at 12:39 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      The moment that you steal another's name and post under it is the same moment that you admit that you can not defeat his or her arguments.

      July 15, 2011 at 12:43 pm |
    • Hana

      Good point Mark.

      July 15, 2011 at 1:28 pm |
    • SnowVeil

      Good point Muneef.

      July 15, 2011 at 4:12 pm |
    • Muneef

      When will your Snow Veil melt and you get your warmth to warm the hearts of the cold souls...it is all for God alone whether it Judisem or Cath/Christianity or Islam... It is for God and the Words of wisdom from God...

      July 15, 2011 at 6:04 pm |
  5. Richard S Kaiser

    HP is but an Anthology whereby the Esthetical Paradigms Nourish the Minds' of Antebellums' onslaughts giving to Rising Inequalities of Bereaved Lamentations that do Mainly encroach upon Soulful Sorrows onward to Spirit-Filled Joyousness! The Bitterness Evoked by Anglicans of Devout Imperfectionalisms does decree upon the Gamely warrants of Pacifications’ Embolisms where the Eschewing Graces of Unpardonable Retributions cannot Stand without Clemency's Purificationed Vitalities. As Life Traverses the Timeliness of Fruitioned Benevolences, many Parodies will be Proxies of Ponderousness whereby some will cleave upon Godliness and others toward Godly Ambivalences.

    July 15, 2011 at 11:29 am |
  6. metoo

    What is wrong with everyone? Harry Potter is a work of FICTION. JK Rowling is a Catholic, she isn't trying to convince children to become witches and wizards. In fact, a lot of religious critics of the book have not even read it, I even heard one say she was going to read it but it was "too long." If they had, they might notice that the magic is just what helps the story flow, the real point of the story is about what the author of this article says; friendship, love, bravery, perseverance. Get off your high horse, kids aren't turning against Christianity because of these books, they're learning to love reading. It's Freedom of Speech, or are we not allowed to write about anything fictional anymore?

    July 15, 2011 at 10:15 am |
    • Free

      No more than the writers of Superman what kids to jump off roofs. Before Potter there sure were a lot of the same Christian types who felt uncomfortable with the parallels between Superman and Christ. Try reading The Gospel According to the World's Greatest Superhero by Stephen Skelton.

      July 15, 2011 at 12:20 pm |
  7. Steven

    Am I the only who sees that HP is just a book for pure entertainment??? The Christians who criticize only prove one point – the only way to force your beliefs is to criticize others.

    July 15, 2011 at 10:08 am |
    • Free

      "Fantasy is escapist, and that is its glory. If a soldier is imprisioned by the enemy, don't we consider it his duty to escape?. . .If we value the freedom of mind and soul, if we're partisans of liberty, then it's our plain duty to escape, and to take as many people with us as we can!"
      — J.R.R. Tolkien

      July 15, 2011 at 12:16 pm |
  8. Pastor Paul

    Anytime someone brings out your emotions with a sad story such as Harry Potter's story or this author's story (who both make money due to this story) then feeds you theology...think twice. If you are a true seeker, read the book of John in the Bible to know who Jesus is...not Harry Potter.

    July 15, 2011 at 9:17 am |
    • Free

      Pastor Paul
      Best to skip all literature and films described as being 'inspirational' then, like Soul Surfer, Heaven Is For Real, Letters To God, and so forth. May as well never step into a 'Christian Bookstore' either because they are all filled with feel-good stories and music with theologies attached. That's how the people in the religious marketplace make their money, after all.

      July 15, 2011 at 12:14 pm |
  9. SnowVeil

    Present secular/pagan Westerners are back to barbarism by de-christianization, hailing Sodomy and butchering babies in the womb. Christians and other monotheists try to stop this barbarism. Pagans always keep Christians busy.

    July 15, 2011 at 7:58 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Oh, look, another screen name for AddledBrain. Ho-hum. The idiotic rhetoric never changes, though, because you're mentally ill.

      July 15, 2011 at 9:03 am |
    • SnowSentZeldalinaVeil

      I love you Adelina. Oops, that's me.

      July 15, 2011 at 12:34 pm |
  10. Not Seeking

    HP's "theolology" sounds like Christianity because it reflects moral universals that apply to most humans regardless of their faith or lack thereof. Indeed, it's generally religion that causes people to lose sight of these universals (mostly Islam doing this these days, but Christianity and certainly Judaism, if the Old Testament is any guide, have had their eras of barbarity. I have to say it is not surprising to find the believer Tumminio trying to appropriate the rather basic moral truths of HP as the exclusive property of her particular dogma – that's the kind of thing religion does to one's brain.

    July 15, 2011 at 5:09 am |
  11. SnowVeil

    Present Westerners are thoroughly pagan; the reason they love the theology of Harry Potter. The Western Civilization is a junk without the Bible or Christianity.

    July 14, 2011 at 11:19 pm |
    • Ron

      What a delusional statement.

      July 14, 2011 at 11:53 pm |
    • Severinus

      The Western World was better off before monotheism. Christianity was one of many causes of the fall of the Roman Empire. Christians burned the library at Alexandria giving the West the cultural and historical equivalent of a lobotomy. No. Apollo, Bacchus, Minerva and Zeus never hated. No crusades, witch hunts, or cross burnings ever happened in their name. At least paganism is tolerant of other races and faiths. When Rome conquered, the gods of the vanquished were added to the Pantheon.

      July 15, 2011 at 8:46 am |
    • Pastor Paul

      You speak the truth and your comment only seems delusional to the pagan pseudo christians.

      July 15, 2011 at 9:13 am |
    • wydok

      How is it different then CS Lewis? Children in a magical land saved by a talking lion who is basically a four legged version of Christ.

      The mechanics of the story aren't as important as the meaning it's trying to convey. Harry Potter's struggle against Tom Riddel is a story of love and sacrifice and forgiveness. Just because the characters carry wands doesn't make the theme pagam.

      July 15, 2011 at 4:06 pm |
  12. James Black

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aGSvqMBj-ig
    ^.

    July 14, 2011 at 10:58 pm |
  13. TheyNotHim

    The HP series and the bible can be easily compared since they are both works of fiction. It's Comparative Literature 101. Rowling drew on her own traditions to populate the morality of some of her characters, just as the author's of the bible drew on previous pagan tales to illustrate the morality of their characters.

    Brilliant!

    July 14, 2011 at 10:19 pm |
  14. WizardAssistedSuicide

    The real ethical question for me with HP: What on earth is going on with Dumbledore asking Snape to kill him? Does anyone else find old blue eyes whole explanation a bit shaky? Snape was right to object, and then wrong to follow his orders! There's something rotten in Hogwarts.....

    July 14, 2011 at 9:23 pm |
    • Free

      I thought Dumbledore was dying painfully anyway from being cursed by wearing that ring, and then drinking that bad water in the cave. So asking Snape to kill him was both an appeal for a merciful death and a way to both spare Draco Malfoy from being forced to do it, and to give Snape some cred as his enemy.

      July 15, 2011 at 12:30 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      Do not forget the tie in with the ownership of the Elder Wand.

      July 15, 2011 at 2:03 am |
    • metoo

      Dumbledore asked Snape to kill him because he was already dying. He wanted to save himself from an embarrassing death and protect Draco Malfoy from becoming a killer. His other purpose was to change the allegiance of the Elder Wand, which, it was lucky he did because it was instrumental in the final moments of the book.

      July 15, 2011 at 10:09 am |
    • Free

      Oh yeah, I forgot about the Elder Wand ownership angle. Thanks guys!

      July 15, 2011 at 11:59 am |
    • WizardAssistedSuicide

      But after consideration of the plot benefits, Snape still killed another human being, didn't he?
      With friends like Dumbledore......

      July 15, 2011 at 1:19 pm |
    • Free

      WizardAssistedSuicide
      It was war within the Wizarding world, and sometimes it's necessary to sacrifice lives in time of war, right?

      July 15, 2011 at 11:48 pm |
  15. Muneef

    Quran verses;
    [45:16] We have given the Children of Israel the scripture, wisdom, and prophethood, and provided them with good provisions; we bestowed upon them more blessings than any other people.

    [45:17] We have given them herein clear commandments. Ironically, they did not dispute this until the knowledge had come to them. This is due to jealousy on their part. Surely, your Lord will judge them on the Day of Resurrection regarding everything they have disputed.
    -----
    [10:19] The people used to be one congregation, then they disputed. If it were not for a predetermined word from your Lord, they would have been judged immediately regarding their disputes.
    ----–
    [2:213] The people used to be one community when GOD sent the prophets as bearers of good news, as well as warners. He sent down with them the scripture, bearing the truth, to judge among the people in their disputes. Ironically, those who received the scripture were the ones who rejected any new scripture, despite clear proofs given to them. This is due to jealousy on their part. GOD guides those who believe to the truth that is disputed by all others, in accordance with His will. GOD guides whoever wills in a straight path.*
    -----–
    [43:78] "We have given you the truth, but most of you hate the truth."
    ------

    http://www.kalamullah.com/Books/BibleQuranScience.pdf
    http://www.kalamullah.com/Books/true_message_of_jesus.pdf

    July 14, 2011 at 5:46 pm |
    • Reality

      Some of the passages of the koran that need to be deleted:

      o "Believers, take neither Jews nor Christians for your friends." (Surah 5:51)

      "Believers, when you encounter the infidels on the march, do not turn your backs to them in flight. If anyone on that day turns his back to them, except it be for tactical reasons...he shall incur the wrath of God and Hell shall be his home..." (Surah 8:12-)

      "Make war on them until idolatry shall cease and God's religion shall reign supreme." (Surah 8:36-)

      "...make war on the leaders of unbelief...Make war on them: God will chastise them at your hands and humble them. He will grant you victory over them..." (Surah 9:12-)

      "Fight against such as those to whom the Scriptures were given [Jews and Christians]...until they pay tribute out of hand and are utterly subdued." (Surah 9:27-)

      "It is He who has sent forth His apostle with guidance and the true Faith [Islam] to make it triumphant over all religions, however much the idolaters [non-Muslims] may dislike it." (Surah 9:31-)

      "If you do not fight, He will punish you sternly, and replace you by other men." (Surah 9:37-)

      "Prophet make war on the unbelievers and the hypocrites and deal rigorously with them. Hell shall be their home." (Surah 9:73)

      "Believers, make war on the infidels who dwell around you. Deal firmly with them." (Surah 9:121-)

      "Say: 'Praise be to God who has never begotten a son; who has no partner in His Kingdom..." (Surah 17:111)

      "'How shall I bear a child,' she [Mary] answered, 'when I am a virgin...?' 'Such is the will of the Lord,' he replied. 'That is no difficult thing for Him...God forbid that He [God[ Himself should beget a son!...Those who say: 'The Lord of Mercy has begotten a son,' preach a monstrous falsehood..." (Surah 19:12-, 29-, 88)

      "Fight for the cause of God with the devotion due to Him...He has given you the name of Muslims..." (Surah 22:78-)

      "Blessed are the believers...who restrain their carnal desires (except with their wives and slave-girls, for these are lawful to them)...These are the heirs of Paradise..." (Surah 23:1-5-)

      "Muhammad is God's apostle. Those who follow him are ruthless to the unbelievers but merciful to one another." (Surah 48:29)

      "Shall the reward of goodness be anything but good?...Dark-eyed virgins sheltered in their tents...They shall recline on green cushions and fine carpets...Blessed be the name of your Lord..." (Surah 55:52-66-)

      July 14, 2011 at 5:50 pm |
    • Muneef

      For whom it might benefit;

      [89:0] In the name of God, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

      [89:1] By the dawn.

      [89:2] And the ten nights.*

      [89:3] By the even and the odd.*

      [89:4] By the night as it passes.

      [89:5] A profound oath, for one who possesses intelligence.

      [89:6] Have you noted what your Lord did to `Aad?

      [89:7] Erum; the town with tall buildings.

      [89:8] There was nothing like it anywhere.

      [89:9] Also Thamoud, who carved the rocks in their valley.

      [89:10] And Pharaoh who possessed might.

      [89:11] They all transgressed in the land.

      [89:12] They spread evil throughout.

      [89:13] Consequently, your Lord poured upon them a whipping retribution.

      [89:14] Your Lord is ever watchful.

      [89:15] When the human being is tested by his Lord, through blessings and joy, he says, "My Lord is generous towards me."

      [89:16] But if He tests him through reduction in provisions, he says, "My Lord is humiliating me!"

      [89:17] Wrong! It is you who brought it on yourselves by not regarding the orphan.

      [89:18] And not advocating charity towards the poor.

      [89:19] And consuming the inheritance of helpless orphans.

      [89:20] And loving the money too much.

      [89:21] Indeed, when the earth is crushed, utterly crushed.

      [89:22] And your Lord comes, together with the angels in row after row.

      [89:23] On that day, Gehenna will be brought forth. On that day, the human being will remember – but what a remembrance – it will be too late.

      [89:24] He will say, "Oh, I wish I prepared for my (eternal) life."

      [89:25] On that day, no retribution could be worse than His retribution.

      [89:26] And no confinement is as effective as His confinement.

      [89:27] As for you, O content soul.

      [89:28] Return to your Lord, pleased and pleasing.

      [89:29] Welcome into My servants.

      [89:30] Welcome into My Paradise.

      July 14, 2011 at 6:37 pm |
    • Muneef

      Wake up to the Reality...our life time is consumed with every breath we take and release...we have limitations to our hearings and sights to hear,see,feel what is veiled from us as transmissions or waves...   

      [50:16] We created the human, and we know what he whispers to himself. We are closer to him than his jugular vein.

      [50:17] Two recording (angels), at right and at left, are constantly recording.

      [50:18] Not an utterance does he utter without an alert witness.

      [50:19] Finally, the inevitable coma of death comes; this is what you tried to evade.

      [50:20] The horn is blown; this is the promised day.

      [50:21] Every soul comes with a herder and a witness.

      [50:22] You used to be oblivious to this. We now remove your veil; today, your vision is (as strong as) steel.
      ----–

      One that day man vision becomes to see the unseen and all that he disbelieved or believed in...

      What a stand on that day and what a feelings must every soul face whether believer or disbeliever.... On that day deeds speak for them selves from your written records...

      July 14, 2011 at 7:00 pm |
    • Muneef

      On that day deeds speak for them selves from your written records;

      [27:84] When they arrive, He will say, "You have rejected My revelations, before acquiring knowledge about them. Is this not what you did?"

      [27:85] They will incur the requital for their wickedness; they will say nothing.
      ------

      Who will confirm their Written Records;

      [24:24] The day will come when their own tongues, hands, and feet will bear witness to everything they had done.

      [24:25] On that day, GOD will requite them fully for their works, and they will find out that GOD is the Truth.
      -------

      [12:53] "I do not claim innocence for myself. The self is an advocate of vice, except for those who have attained mercy from my Lord. My Lord is Forgiver, Most Merciful."
      -----–

      July 14, 2011 at 7:27 pm |
    • Reality

      What the koran has wreaked upon the world:

      The Muslim Conquest of India – 11th to 18th century

      ■"The likely death toll is somewhere between 2 million and 80 million. The geometric mean of those two limits is 12.7 million. "

      and the 19 million killed in the Mideast Slave Trade 7C-19C by Muslims.

      and more recently

      1a) 179 killed in Mumbai/Bombay, 290 injured

      1b) Assassination of Benazir Bhutto and Theo Van Gogh

      2) 9/11, 3000 mostly US citizens, 1000’s injured

      3) The 24/7 Sunni-Shiite centuries-old blood feud currently being carried out in Iraq, US troops killed in action, 3,483 and 925 in non combat roles. 99,901 – 109,143 Iraqi civilians killed as of 3/3/2011/, mostly due to suicide bombers, http://www.iraqbodycount.org/ and http://www.defenselink.mil/news/casualty.pdf

      4) Kenya- In Nairobi, about 212 people were killed and an estimated 4000 injured; in Dar es Salaam, the attack killed at least 11 and wounded 85.[2]

      5) Bali-in 2002-killing 202 people, 164 of whom were foreign nationals, and 38 Indonesian citizens. A further 209 people were injured.

      6) Bali in 2005- Twenty people were killed, and 129 people were injured by three bombers who killed themselves in the attacks.

      7) Spain in 2004- killing 191 people and wounding 2,050.

      8. UK in 2005- The bombings killed 52 commuters and the four radical Islamic suicide bombers, injured 700.

      9) The execution of an eloping couple in Afghanistan on 04/15/2009 by the Taliban.

      10) – Afghanistan: US troops 1,141 killed in action, 242 killed in non-combat situations as of 03/03/2011. Over 40,000 Afghan civilians killed due to the dark-age, koranic-driven Taliban acts of horror

      11) The killing of 13 citizen soldiers at Ft. Hood by a follower of the koran.

      12) 38 Russian citizens killed on March 29, 2010 by Muslim women suicide bombers.

      13) The May 28, 2010 attack on a Islamic religious minority in Pakistan, which have left 98 dead,

      14) Lockerbie is known internationally as the site where, on 21 December 1988, the wreckage of Pan Am Flight 103 crashed as a result of a terrorist bomb. In the United Kingdom the event is referred to as the Lockerbie disaster, the Lockerbie bombing, or simply Lockerbie. Eleven townspeople were killed in Sherwood Crescent, where the plane's wings and fuel tanks plummeted in a fiery explosion, destroying several houses and leaving a huge crater, with debris causing damage to a number of buildings nearby. The 270 fatalities (259 on the plane, 11 in Lockerbie) were citizens of 21 nations.

      15 The daily suicide and/or roadside and/or mosque bombings in the terror world of Islam.
      16) Bombs sent from Yemen by followers of the koran which fortunately were discovered before the bombs were detonated.

      17) The killing of 58 Christians in a Catholic church in one of the latest acts of horror and terror in Iraq.

      18) Moscow airport suicide bombing: 35 dead, 130 injured. January 25, 2011.

      19) A Pakistani minister, who had said he was getting death threats because of his stance against the country's controversial blasphemy law, was shot and killed Wednesday, 3/2/2011

      20) two American troops killed in Germany by a recently radicalized Muslim, 3/3/2011
      21) the kidnapping and apparent killing of a follower of Zoraster in the dark world of Islamic Pakistan.

      22) Shariatpur, Bangladesh (CNN 3/30/2011) - Hena Akhter's last words to her mother proclaimed her innocence. But it was too late to save the 14-year-old girl. Her fellow villagers in Bangladesh's Shariatpur district had already passed harsh judgment on her. Guilty, they said, of having an affair with a married man. The imam from the local mosque ordered the fatwa, or religious ruling, and the punishment: 101 lashes delivered swiftly, deliberately in public. Hena dropped after 70 and died a week later.

      July 15, 2011 at 7:45 am |
  16. me

    It only sounds like Christianity IF your understanding of Christianity is incredibly shallow. Study your faith first, before going off the deep end and seeking God in Harry Potter.

    July 14, 2011 at 2:58 pm |
    • Free

      Lots of magic in the writing of Tolkien and Lewis as well, with wizard heros like Harry. So, are the Rings and Narnia books also too 'shallow' for Christians' faith?

      July 15, 2011 at 12:53 am |
  17. scott

    Funny how many conservative Christians have not brought this up in 5 years or more. Yes christians were wrong about HP but now this article and many others is just adding fuel to a small flame.

    July 14, 2011 at 12:15 pm |
    • AvdBerg

      For a better understanding what it means to be a Christian we invite you to read the article Can Christianity or Any Other Religion Save You? listed on our website http://www.aworlddeceived.ca
      The answer may surprise you.

      July 14, 2011 at 1:34 pm |
  18. Kyle

    I find it amusing that so many people criticize the Harry Potter series for morally corrupting youth when the Bible is one of the most violent and cruel works in the history of man.

    If I were to choose between a book that includes witchcraft or one that approves child-killing, I'd go with Harry Potter any day.

    July 14, 2011 at 11:28 am |
    • scott

      The Bible does not approve of child-killing. It is used in the worship of the god molchek which is considered very evil in the Bible.

      July 14, 2011 at 12:09 pm |
    • DamianKnight

      This is asinine. The reason that the Old Testament is so bloody and violent is because MEN are bloody and violent. It's a historical.

      July 14, 2011 at 2:12 pm |
    • Scott-1

      And Moses said unto them “Have ye saved all the women alive?... Now therefore Kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known a man by lying with him, but all the women children, that have not known a man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves” Num 31:1-2, 9-11, 14-18

      July 14, 2011 at 4:29 pm |
    • Nonimus

      Tell it to Abraham...

      July 15, 2011 at 12:16 pm |
  19. Rev. Rick

    Quoting Tumminio's article, "Seek with all your heart and all your soul and with your closest friends by your side." That all sounds good, but I had to break free of conservative Christianity in order to do my "seeking". When I left, I lost the support of most of my friends and almost all of my family. While I miss the support of most family and friends, the seeking has had unexpected benefits – I am now free of the years of arrogant fundamentalism and guilt I felt in orthodox Christianity, and I've found an even closer relationship with God and with Spirit. God loves us even more than Christians think He does.

    July 14, 2011 at 10:13 am |
    • Myrna

      AMEN...AMEN !!

      July 14, 2011 at 10:28 am |
    • HeavenSent

      God sent us tornadoes, tsunamies, plus cancers and other diseases and suffering too numerous to mention.

      Quite the "loving" god he must be. No, actually, he'd have to quite an as-shole by any reasonable standard.

      July 14, 2011 at 1:42 pm |
    • Blackrosebud86

      I hear that!

      July 14, 2011 at 2:06 pm |
    • DamianKnight

      Congrats!

      July 14, 2011 at 2:14 pm |
    • Rev. Rick

      @ HeavenSent – God takes the blame for much, but He did not send any of those things you mentioned. Fundamentalists (Christians and Muslims in particular) want us to believe that God sends those events as punishment for our sins. But many of those are natural events, and God does not suspend the laws of physics or nature for anyone. What happens, happens. I believe we (humanity) are punished BY or sins, but not FOR them. We bring devastation and destruction upon ourselves – think of it as karma if you wish. Our relationship with God depends totally on whether we wish to develop that relationship, and God will not force Himself on us, and He certainly does not want others (fundamentalists nor extremists) to force us to believe in Him. God can take care of Himself and he doesn't need our help. The choice is ours to make of it what we will.

      July 15, 2011 at 9:00 am |
    • Free

      Rev. Rick
      "God does not suspend the laws of physics or nature for anyone."

      You don't believe in miracles then?

      July 15, 2011 at 12:07 pm |
    • Rev. Rick

      @ Free said, "You don't believe in miracles then?" If that's all you got from my post, then you totally missed the point. However, your question is not without merit. I believe that miracles do not happen by a suspension of the laws of physics or nature. This would go against God's own natural order. I believe that "miracles" occur at a level that we humans simply do not understand.....yet. That's the reason God gave us (1) an intellect, and (2) people like Einstein and other scientists and researchers who think at a level beyond what most of us are capable of, and (3) the freedom to think for ourselves when it comes to matters of religion and spirituality. Our religious "talking heads" – those religious leaders who tell us what we MUST believe in order to be "saved" – are more of an impediment to our relationship to God. Especially if that religious leader says they know the absolute "truth" when it comes to belief. This would include most evangelicals, religious conservatives, and other "men of God" who promote the murder of innocent men, women and children in order to promote their own version of a sick and demented theology. I am not saying there are not holy men among us who deserve to be heard, but they will be known by their compassion, and not by their compulsion for us to follow them.

      July 18, 2011 at 1:50 pm |
  20. 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 14, 2011 at 8:17 am |
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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.