Is Harry Potter Different than Lord of the Rings?
Thousands of Evangelical Christians have read C. S. Lewis' Tales of Narnia and J. R. R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings. I am one of those. I found those books to be not only enjoyable reading, but thought-provoking literature that caused me to think deeply about Good and Evil. I view those readings as a valuable part of my development.
I'll admit, I have not read, fully, the Harry Potter books.
However, I have read a lot of articles about Potterarticles by clear-headed Christian authorities who have> read them.
A fundamental difference between Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter is the clear identification of evil in the latter. Tolkien wrote his trilogy in order to teach us about the existence and depth of evil in the world. Potter is about entertainment, with little apparenet discernement of evil. Another difference is the age group to which the works are directed. Potter is aimed squarely at children who have much less discernment than they will have even at high school age.
Here is my basic problem with the Potter series: I find no indication that the author, J. K. Rowling has any awareness of the evil infection that can come from involving oneself with occultic practices. Worse, she has invited children to look kindly upon such practices.
I am very familiar with the occult and its influence on modern culture. I watch, with growing concern, the fervid interest in Americans for witchcraft, and psychic divination (ie. advertisements for Miss Cleo's Tarot Readings saturate television). It seems modern culture cannot distinguish among the various "spiritual" phenomena floating like bacteria in our atmosphere. If it is spiritual, it is presumed to be good.
Further, I am convinced that a child's undirected interest in the occult can lead him or her into overt witchcraft practice, and if not curtailed, Satanism itself. Every year teenagers are tried for ritualistic murder in America. These murders are the culmination of a spiritual trail that began with unsupervised involvement in the occult. Sometimes these children began with something as simple as playing with an ouija board.
If you really want to get an understanding of what I am saying, go to your local Barnes and Noble or Borders Books and browse the occult, New Age, or Spiritual section. You will find books teaching witchcraft (No, Virginia, there is no white witchcraft!) and Satanism. You will find Anton LaVey's The Satanic Witch. You will find things that turn your stomach and give you genuine chills.
So, where does Harry Potter come in? I found this comment on the Focus on the Family website:
. . . we live in a culture that glorifies and promotes witchcraft and the occult. No matter what the essence of Harry's magic, the effect of it is undoubtedly to raise curiosity about magic and wizardry. And any curiosity raised on this front presents a danger that the world will satisfy it with falsehood before the church or the family can satisfy it with truth. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone definitely raises those curiosities.
Rowling's approach to this subject is totally different from that of Tolkien and Lewis. She does not seem to have any uneasiness about witchcraft, certainly she doesn't seem to think it hurts kids to become baptized in it.
I suggest you take a look at the discussion at the Focus on the Family website.Focus on the Family website.