A Dialogue About Harry Potter Books

“Just call me the Oblivious Mother,” Diane said. “Either I never knew you were watching those movies or I didn’t understand what they could do to you. I’m so sorry. Tonight Daniel’s at this anger-management class he has to pass to get back in school. Well, yesterday I asked Daniel how he first heard about the Ouija board, before his uncle gave him one. You know what he told me? Remember those Teddy Ruxpin books, Jilly? There was one called The Missing Princess.”

“Sure. I remember you reading it to us.”

“We still have it—I went and looked it over, and if I hadn’t I’m not sure I’d believe it. The children go to someone called the Wizard of Wee Gee. Get it—wee gee? They consult a Ouija board to find where the princess is. Daniel says he always thought that was really cool. We read that book out loud, and I never thought twice about it. I feel like a terrible parent.”

Harry Potter“Don’t blame yourself, Mom. I should have known better. After he came to Christ, Dad talked to me about movies and some of my romance novels. But by then I’d already seen and read a lot of stuff I shouldn’t have. Hey, I’m the one that gave Daniel the Harry Potter books for Christmas, remember? I thought he’d get into the fantasy and the supernatural stuff. At first he turned up his nose because it seemed like they were for little kids, but next thing you know he was reading them all the time, and checking out the other ones.”

“As a teacher and a mom,” Jodi said, “the Harry Potter books are a hot button with me. Kristi and I have talked about it a lot, haven’t we? More kids and adults are reading these books than anything else. Their sales are incredible—something like tens of millions of them. What bothers me, is I keep hearing Christians say that the magic in Harry Potter books is no different than the magic in C. S. Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia stories and Tolkien’s Hobbit and Lord of the Rings. Well I’ve read both and they are different. In the Narnia books the children are brought to Narnia through ‘magic.’ But it’s the Creator, it’s Aslan who does the miracles, including empowering them each time to get from earth to Narnia.”

“Exactly,” Kristi said. “And that ‘magic’ is just another name for supernatural acts, miracles done by God. What Lewis called the ‘ancient magic’ is God’s eternal standards that sin would have to be judged, and that the Son of God’s redemption would win back human sinners who have betrayed him. That’s a magic beyond the witch’s power and understanding. And when the King’s servants do magic, they recognize Him as the source of power. It’s more like the apostles praying to God to do miracles.”

“But the white witch’s magic is different,” Jodi said, “it’s evil. It’s disconnected from God. There’s a clear distinction between the two kinds of magic in the Lewis books—you just can’t miss it. Supernatural acts done by God are welcomed. But the ones empowered by evil are to be avoided at all costs. But in Harry Potter, the distinction’s not so clear. There’s no recognition of God as Creator, Judge or Savior.”

“I admit for the most part I like the stories,” Kristi said. “But they wouldn’t be good for someone like Daniel, because the source of Harry’s magic isn’t clear. Yeah, it doesn’t appear to be evil. I mean he’s this likable young wizard who’s orphaned, then raised by non-magical relatives and invited to study at a school of witchcraft and wizardry. It’s good versus evil, and good always wins in the end. Harry has mostly good character and motives, there are virtues like loyalty and friendship and self-sacrifice. But it’s full of wizards and witches, and you end up feeling good about witchcraft. But who’s actually behind it? What makes the magic work? Is it God, the devil, angels, demons, hidden human powers, nature, impersonal cosmic forces, New Age entities, or what?” “One thing’s for sure,” Jodie said, “it’s not the God of the Bible. It’s not Jesus. And in Scripture there’s no such thing as neutral supernatural power sources—they’re either good or evil. Those that don’t believe in God’s Son are evil, even if they’re disguised as good.”

“That’s what I’ve told Brittany about Skyla,” Jillian said. “She keeps quoting me the Wiccan creed ‘Do no harm.’ That’s supposed to make witchcraft okay. But Rob has shown me these Scripture passages saying it’s forbidden for us to call on or try to communicate with any supernatural powers except God himself.”

The Ishbane Conspiracy“Rob’s right on target there,” Greg said.

“And if you’re not sure,” Kristi said, “you have to stay away. That’s why when we have kids I wouldn’t want them to read Harry Potter until they’re old enough that we can read them together and use some discernment. If you’ve got a strong Christian filter in place, you can screen out the part that’s off base, but if you don’t...”

“You don’t want it to be a doorway to something else,” Greg said. “How many kids—and even adults—watch the programs and read the books and learn that witchcraft is really okay, that there’s no reason to fear it, that you can use supernatural powers to good ends, even when the God of the Bible has nothing to do with it? It’s subtle, but it’s dangerous.”

Portions of this dialogue appear in The Ishbane Conspiracy by Randy Alcorn, Angela (Alcorn) Stump and Karina (Alcorn) Franklin.

Randy Alcorn (@randyalcorn) is the author of over sixty books and the founder and director of Eternal Perspective Ministries