PDA

View Full Version : Not the Usual Question Re Harry Potter



ldumont999
07-28-2005, 10:48 PM
Almost hate to ask this since I know so many people have been around and around on the whole Harry Potter vs. Christianity thing -- but I'm going to dive in and ask what you all think of the Harry Potter crazy among the young readers. I see them dress up with ties and sweaters, try to talk with an English accident, wait all night to get the next book... and I can't help but think of adult Trekies (star treck fans).

Personally, I have more problems with the characters rule breaking than I have with their use of "magic." C. S. Lewis and J. R. Tolkien both used "magic" of sorts. Potter people don't actually delve into the black arts or do any real Wiccan things. The writing is superior and the author does everything right to keep her audience reading. Any way, that is MHO.

My questions...
Do you see any Christian young people adversely affected by these books?
Do you see any Christian young people positively affected by these books?
Other than the obvious (more reading being done) have you seen any positive affects on the secular audience through these books?

Vanessa
07-28-2005, 11:24 PM
Personally, if I may dive in here. I think the Harry Potter thing is like a fad; It's new and the in-thing. It's different and it's obviously what kids want to read these days. I think it's entertaining. I understand your concern as far as the content, but also as you stated, the writer keeps the story moving along to be right where it needs to be to keep the reader enthused. It'll wear over like the latest trend of jeans or the hot new music over the radio. But then again, if the writer keeps adding a twist keeping the stories moving along, then it may be here to stay for a while. CORRECTION: I think most kids believe in the make-believe.

Honestly, I'm not a fan, but I'm very familar with the content having several nieces and nephews and being a former teacher in the elem. school system.

That's my lil' nickel minus three pennies.http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/images/smilies/Emotesnoopy.gif

Sarita
07-28-2005, 11:44 PM
Personally, if I may dive in here. I think the Harry Potter thing is like a fad; It's new and the in-thing. Actually, if I may? Harry Potter and the Socerers Stone was published 7 years ago and it didn't take long for it to become popular. Some schools are even working the series into their ciriculum, starting the students in book one at age 11 (the same as Harry in book one) and having them continue through the series along with their grades. (only up to a certain point of course, since the books only reached 15 until a few weeks ago)

Sorry for butting in here. I really wonder the same things re: adverse/positive effects. Most of my family is Christian and some of them won't allow their children to read Harry Potter.

PattiTheWicked
07-29-2005, 01:57 AM
Personally, I have more problems with the characters rule breaking than I have with their use of "magic." C. S. Lewis and J. R. Tolkien both used "magic" of sorts. Potter people don't actually delve into the black arts or do any real Wiccan things. The writing is superior and the author does everything right to keep her audience reading. Any way, that is MHO.



I'm not Christian, but the title of this thread caught my eye, so I'm gonna jump in if no one minds.

I think there are a lot of positive things in the Harry Potter books no matter WHAT your spiritual path is. It's a series of stories about friendship, loyalty, honor, and the power of love. The characters face tough choices, make hard decisions, stand by their friends, and understand that sometimes it's okay to make mistakes and not be perfect.

I am aware that there are detractors out there who worry that HP will lure kids into practicing witchcraft, but I genuinely beleive they're a small -- albeit vocal -- minority. As someone who's been pagan for more than half my 36 years, I can honestly say that Harry Potter magic has little to no similarity to *actual* magick. If nothing else, the books probably get kids interested in mythology more than anything, since Rowling draws a good deal of her inspiration from worldwide mythos.

Frankly, I think the fact that millions of kids stayed up till midnight just to buy a BOOK is simply amazing.

ldumont999
07-29-2005, 04:18 AM
Author, humorist and newspaper columnist, Jim Watkins, wrote a very interesting, and I might add, very balanced review of the whole Harry Potter phenomena. Here is the Jim Watkins article on the matter:
http://watkins.gospelcom.net/harrypotter.htm

And thanks, Patti, for chiming in on this. Even though it was on the "Christian" forum I'm glad to get some input from others as well.

ldumont999
07-29-2005, 04:44 AM
Thought I'd throw in a plug for one of my favorite authors, Bryan Davis. He's written a series called Dragon's in Our Midst. It is a YA series but even as an adult I was riveted by the story. I was pleasantly surprised to find that each book (there are three out now I think) got better than the previous ones.

This is a series about two young people who find they are part dragon and part human. It is a Christian series but there isn't any Bible banging or preaching. It sends great moral messages and helps young people realize that being different doesn't mean being bad. It let the reader see that we all have gifts (some of them pretty unique - like dragon wings or breathing fire <g>) but that each person is held responsible for using the gifts they are given in the best way possible.

Can't imagine any kid not enjoying this series. If your kids like Harry Potter they'll probably love these as well. :Clap: The first book is called Raising Dragons.

PattiTheWicked
07-29-2005, 05:37 AM
Thought I'd throw in a plug for one of my favorite authors, Bryan Davis. He's written a series called Dragon's in Our Midst. It is a YA series but even as an adult I was riveted by the story. I was pleasantly surprised to find that each book (there are three out now I think) got better than the previous ones.

This is a series about two young people who find they are part dragon and part human. It is a Christian series but there isn't any Bible banging or preaching. It sends great moral messages and helps young people realize that being different doesn't mean being bad. It let the reader see that we all have gifts (some of them pretty unique - like dragon wings or breathing fire <g>) but that each person is held responsible for using the gifts they are given in the best way possible.

I think that's one of the things I find the most appealing about the HP series. I'm big on personal responsibility. When Harry or his friends screw up -- and they do indeed, because they are not perfect at all -- they have to deal with the consequences, good or bad. Each of the main characters has made choices that have caused pain to others, and they've all had to own up to it and make things right when possible. When they couldn't make it right, they have had to deal with the heartache of knowing they've hurt another person, sometimes even one they care very much about.

There's a quote by Dumbledore in one of the books, and I can't remember which one it is, where he says to Harry that "it's our choices that make us who we are, more than our abilities," or something along those lines. And I think that's a very important distinction. You can have a story about good and evil, but the fact is that not everything is black and white, and sometimes decent people do rotten things, and bad people occasionally do things that are nice. Harry and his friends have skills which can be used to harm or to help, and it's the decisions they make which frame who they are and who they will become, rather than ths skills themselves.


Can't imagine any kid not enjoying this series. If your kids like Harry Potter they'll probably love these as well. :Clap: The first book is called Raising Dragons.

Sounds like it would be worth looking for. My son loves dragons. I'll take a look next time I'm in the library.

Puddle Jumper
07-29-2005, 07:09 AM
I don't know how it affects kids since I don't know any personally who read it. Don't hang around kids that often actually. But I liked stuff like that when I was a kid and I never saw it as anything other than make-believe.

I love the Harry Potter series, I think they're a fascinating read. My copy of the Half Blood Prince arrived in the mail the day it was released and I had it read before I went to bed Sunday night.

I see a lot of Christian parallelisms in the books.

1. People become Christians by someone coming to tell them that they were destined for something more than this mundane life and it's up to them to make a choice whether to follow that path or not.

Likewise in Harry Potter, Hagrid came to tell him that he was destined for something more than this mundane life and it was up to him to make a choice whether to follow that path or not.

2. Evil stole us from the life we were meant to have. (garden of eden)

Likewise evil stole Harry from the life he was meant to have.

3. Christianity teaches us that we need to be in fellowship with one another.

Harry Potter learns that he needs his friends and doesn't do as well without them.

That's all I can think of at the moment.

As for the kids breaking the rules, all I'll say is that they always do so for good purposes. They don't skip class just to go goof off, they don't pull pranks on people for the fun of it, every choice to break the rules is for a good cause. But we've also seen that for their breaking the rules they haven't always faired so well and have had to pay consequences. We see the kids getting detention. When Harry decided to head off to the ministry of magic in OotP someone very dear to him died because they found out he went there and headed off to help out. So the kids break the rules and we see them punished when they're caught. And sometimes life punishments are worse.

Angyl
07-29-2005, 07:41 PM
Do you see any Christian young people adversely affected by these books?


No, because I don't generally hang out with any young Christian people who would pick up these books in the first place. Most of them know better.

As for whether or not the others are being affected adversely by these books, there are plenty of articles out there that point to the rise in inquiries to Wicca and other pagan religions that suggest that 'yes, people are being adversely affected.'

"A few, maybe..." someone might say.

Well to that I reply that it only takes one:

Matthew 18:6 (http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?book_id=47&chapter=18&verse=6&version=9&context=verse)
But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.

One child. ONE child, who reads any of the HP books, and takes it into his head to "just look into" the real thing, has been offended (by definition, led astray) by the author of these books.

I believe it's safe to say that Rowling has offended many a more than one.

To the happy hype that our kids are standing in line all night to read a book, I say "so what?" The Bible tells us that we come out of our mothers wicked to the core. I could easily make a lot of different books that would get kids standing in line for DAYS to read it.

Problem is, most of polite society would not like their 8 year olds reading graphic porn. So the trick is not in finding something the KIDS will like to read, but finding something their PARENTS will think is harmless and let them read, but which appeals to a child's nature, which once again, scripture tells us is what?

I'd better get off my soapbox now before I really get flying. Let me just say that I've had these arguments a billion times before and the responses and counter-responses are always the same.

If you like it, good for you, stick with it, I'm NOT going to change your mind.

Let me say now that you're not going to change mine either, so there's no point in arguing the matter. I just had to answer the question and throw in my .02 cents like those before me. Is HP adversely affecting our youth?

Answer: Even if it's not en massè, it surely has been at least one or two...

And the follow up question:
How many have to be threatened with (or led to) hell before you think something is wrong?

All right, go ahead, hit me with the Cinderella, Little Mermaid, Hansel & Gretel, Lord of the Rings, Narnia, et. al arguments now. :-)

brinkett
07-29-2005, 10:05 PM
As for whether or not the others are being affected adversely by these books, there are plenty of articles out there that point to the rise in inquiries to Wicca and other pagan religions that suggest that 'yes, people are being adversely affected.

If Harry Potter is causing children to explore religions other than their own, that's fantastic.


Frankly, I think the fact that millions of kids stayed up till midnight just to buy a BOOK is simply amazing.

Me too!

Pat~
07-29-2005, 11:43 PM
I'm a Christian, and I guess I'm just going to have to read HP just to see what all the fuss is about. I've read alot written about HP, pro and con, but have never actually read any of the series, simply because I'm not a fiction fan (except when it comes to C.S.Lewis' Narnia series, which nothing can hold a candle to!).

I have no objection to my kids reading/thinking about what I've seen of it so far, but if I do discover something objectionable, it'd be very important to discuss any objections I have to it in a rational, calm manner, rather than a knee-jerk, dogmatic, emotional manner. In other words, rather than me telling them what's wrong with it, and quoting Scripture, I would want to raise LOTS of questions, and lead them to form conclusions which they can own. I respect my kids' ability to think, and want them to be able to articulate what they believe, and to know in their own minds why they think the book is good or bad. My kids are older, but I think even younger children can be taught the basic concepts in this way. I guess it's just the schooteacher in me...but it's also a strong distaste for raising my kids in a legalistic form of Christianity, which was very damaging to my faith earlier in life.

Angyl
07-30-2005, 12:58 AM
Just s' no one is confused about my credentials on this matter, I have read it. (the first two books, at least). I heard so many people comparing it to CS Lewis years and years ago, I had to check it out.

I found he writing to be puerile before I'd ever formed an opinion of it as a Christian, but then I got further and it was all I needed to see. The book is about people who use witchcraft in a "good" way, and I just don't recall the passage in my Bible that distinguishes real from "imaginary" sins.

Wait...yes, I do. Man, imagining sex with a woman...just as guilty as if he'd actually done it. What do you know? Our imaginations can get us in trouble too!

PattiTheWicked
07-30-2005, 06:11 AM
One child. ONE child, who reads any of the HP books, and takes it into his head to "just look into" the real thing, has been offended (by definition, led astray) by the author of these books.

I believe it's safe to say that Rowling has offended many a more than one.


I think what's important is that if parents DO have an objection to Harry Potter, or any other book, for spiritual or moral or ethical reasons, it's important that they TALK to the kids about it. It's all fine and dandy to say something is "bad" or "evil", but kids tend to benefit more if you explain to them why you think it's bad and evil.

It also depends on how one defines "led astray." While I respect that some folks may think that reading about other spiritual paths is being led astray, in my belief system it's perfectly acceptable -- and in fact encouraged -- to explore other options.

And honestly, if someone is really spiritually opposed to their children reading Harry Potter, that's okay -- it's their prerogative as a parent. As long as they don't presume to tell MY kids they can't read it, it's fine.


To the happy hype that our kids are standing in line all night to read a book, I say "so what?" The Bible tells us that we come out of our mothers wicked to the core. I could easily make a lot of different books that would get kids standing in line for DAYS to read it.

I *do* think it's amazing that kids are standing in line until midnight to buy a book -- not a video game, not seeing a movie, but an honest to goodness hundreds-of-pages-long book. It's something that most people my age have never seen before, and a phenomena we may never see again. Honestly, I'd LOVE to see kids react like this to more books. Heck, I'd like to see them react this way to EVERY book. But they haven't. If you can produce a book that had kids standing in line for days to read, more power to you. I certainly wish you the best of luck with that.

ldumont999
07-30-2005, 04:20 PM
No, because I don't generally hang out with any young Christian people who would pick up these books in the first place. Most of them know better. First of all, thank you for so honestly offering your response to my questions. I won't try to persude you one way or the other. As a fellow believer I would like to make a comment on the statement you made (quoted above). Perhaps your influence would serve Christ better if you DID hang around with a few of those Christians. Your concerns are real but how will they know if you have no contact with them?


As for whether or not the others are being affected adversely by these books, there are plenty of articles out there that point to the rise in inquiries to Wicca and other pagan religions that suggest that 'yes, people are being adversely affected.' I understand what you are saying here but I read of a person who decided to use their car to kill someone because they read about the woman who backed over her husband a few times to kill him. That doesn't make the newspaper who reported the first incident bad or irrisponsible. Ultimately we are all held accountable for our own actions. BTW the Bible says that it is not sin to have satan whisper an evil thought into our head -- it is sin to DWELL on that thought.


I could easily make a lot of different books that would get kids standing in line for DAYS to read it. Problem is, most of polite society would not like their 8 year olds reading graphic porn. So the trick is not in finding something the KIDS will like to read, but finding something their PARENTS will think is harmless and let them read, but which appeals to a child's nature, which once again, scripture tells us is what? I'm sorry, but here you imply that kids only want to read what is evil. Certainly the Bible says we are all born sinners and we are tempted to do evil but the Bible says we are "to be like little children." To imply that children would only want to read graphic porn is a stretch I'm not willing to make. My own boys (my "baby" is now 6'6") loved adventure, knights saving maidens, C.S.Lewis, Tolkien, sci-fi, biographies and yes, reading Bible stories. As grown men they are still avid readers. My 20 year old is home from college and currently enjoying the Christian YA novels (Dragons in Our Midst) that I mentioned in a previous post. God gave them fabulous imaginations - I say let them use those minds as He sees fit.


I'd better get off my soapbox now before I really get flying. Let me just say that I've had these arguments a billion times before and the responses and counter-responses are always the same. I do appreciate your taking the time to speak up again. Even though you've heard the arguments before, some may not have. Individuals in this audience are both Christian and secular and I think this is a good place to share our thoughts/views in a way that is not antagonistic.


If you like it, good for you, stick with it, I'm NOT going to change your mind. Don't be too sure of that :). You may be planting seeds you don't even know about.


Let me say now that you're not going to change mine either, so there's no point in arguing the matter. I just had to answer the question and throw in my .02 cents like those before me. Is HP adversely affecting our youth? Answer: Even if it's not en massè, it surely has been at least one or two... I think we have to be careful to take scripture in context. When the Bible talked about "not leading even one little one astray" it wasn't talking about kids, it was talking about new believers. Now that COULD be a kid but not necessarily. Everyone knows someone who took something they saw or heard to an extreme. Individuals are still responsible for their own actions. I think a better verse/chapter here might be 1 Cor 8 Chapt 8. I don't want to use up space here printing the whole thing but it ends with the following:

7 However, not all Christians realize this. Some are accustomed to thinking of idols as being real, so when they eat food that has been offered to idols, they think of it as the worship of real gods, and their weak consciences are violated. 8 It's true that we can't win God's approval by what we eat. We don't miss out on anything if we don't eat it, and we don't gain anything if we do. 9 But you must be careful with this freedom of yours. Do not cause a brother or sister with a weaker conscience to stumble. 10 You see, this is what can happen: Weak Christians who think it is wrong to eat this food will see you eating in the temple of an idol. You know there's nothing wrong with it, but they will be encouraged to violate their conscience by eating food that has been dedicated to the idol. 11 So because of your superior knowledge, a weak Christian, for whom Christ died, will be destroyed. 12 And you are sinning against Christ when you sin against other Christians by encouraging them to do something they believe is wrong. 13 If what I eat is going to make another Christian sin, I will never eat meat again as long as I live – for I don't want to make another Christian stumble.


All right, go ahead, hit me with the Cinderella, Little Mermaid, Hansel & Gretel... Not going there... believe it or not one of my sisters' names is Gretel and I've heard all the things I want to about that name... LOL Thanks for a great post.

brinkett
07-30-2005, 05:11 PM
And honestly, if someone is really spiritually opposed to their children reading Harry Potter, that's okay -- it's their prerogative as a parent. As long as they don't presume to tell MY kids they can't read it, it's fine.

That's a good point.

When I was a kid, being told I couldn't do something sometimes led to me doing it (depending on what it was). My curiosity always got the better of me. If my parents had forbid me from reading Harry Potter, you can bet I would have been at the library to find out what the fuss was about.

Pat: I like your attitude. What happens if the conclusions your children form differ from yours? Do you accept their views?

Pat~
07-30-2005, 05:56 PM
Brinkett, in response to your question...

It depends...I might continue to engage them in conversation about it, and raise questions in their mind, or I might just let it rest, and simply pray that God would direct their thoughts in this area, as in all others. There would be future times when the topic could be addressed again. Incidentally, my kids both read HP when it first came out, before all the hoopla about it, so it's not like I'd forbid them to read it at this point :) . I'm more interested in how it shapes their thinking and world view--and I know that as they grow, their viewpoints are likely to change, anyway, so I'm not overly concerned about where they might stand on any one particular day. My children (17 and 12) are both Christians, as well, having made their own decision to follow Christ, and I know that they are 'in process'--fellow pilgrims. God is day by day renewing their minds and shaping their thinking to be conformed to Christ. Neither of them have had an interest in Wicca as a result of HP--they have an understanding of God's view of good and evil, and because their faith is real and is their own (however immature), they are simply not inclined to consider dabbling in witchcraft. They know that their God is the more powerful being to place their faith in, based on all the Bible stories they've heard over time. Now, if they were to want to dabble in it, it would be my responsibility to hold to God's standard, and not condone it...but of course, once they are out on their own, I wouldn't be able to impose my beliefs on them. That's why I think it is so critical to develop their ability to think through their faith now, rather than just having me tell them what is right or wrong.

One last thought. It's not my responsibility to 'raise a God-fearing kid.' It's my God-given job to raise them according to the pattern set in the Bible, but I firmly believe in Ephesians 2:10, "for we are God's workmanship..."--as long as I'm doing my part, how my kids turn out is God's responsibility, ultimately. He is the One with the pattern of my kid's life journey, and He is the One who is ultimately in control.

MacAllister
07-30-2005, 07:10 PM
I love Pat's approach--I'd applaud any parent for taking the time to read what their children are reading, and then discuss the content.

I worked at a bookstore for a number of years, and parents would ask about books their kids wanted on a regular basis, "What about this book for a 10-year-old..?"

The only answer for that, on a number of occasions, is "It depends on the ten year old." But on a number of occasions, I'd recommend parents read the book too, so if questions arose, they could answer.

(I should probably specify that I'm pretty wildly and rabidly anti-censorship.)

:)

brinkett
07-30-2005, 08:11 PM
Pat, thanks for answering. I think your approach and way of looking at it is great.

Doyle
07-30-2005, 11:52 PM
And so I date myself a little. Remember the Beatles? (Probably not) well, think of what "group" or "thing" was THE THING when you were growing up (big assumption there -- I'm still growing, more out that up, but anyway . . .)

My point is that to some degree it doesn't matter, if it wasn't Harry Potter, it would be something else that was "in," and for all its faults (?) Harry Potter is A-OK in my book.

True Christianiy is not about a set of rules of do's and dont's, but a personal and loving relationship with the Creator.

Give the kids a break, let them grow up, they will figure it out. The real damage is done by the hypocrisy all around them, not by what everyone knows is fantasy.

Pat~
07-31-2005, 05:03 AM
Thanks Mac, Brinkett. Hey Doyle, I think I just might remember the Beatles...then again, if you ask me tomorrow I might not. (Old age does that to you ;-) ).

Angyl
08-05-2005, 05:25 AM
I think what's important is that if parents DO have an objection to Harry Potter, or any other book, for spiritual or moral or ethical reasons, it's important that they TALK to the kids about it.

Agree 100%!! In fact, it's one of my core principles of parenting that I decided on when I was a child. That I would never ever say to my children simply "because I said so" whey they ask why they can't or must do something.

Everything has a reason, and deserves an explanation. I likewise would NOT ever tell my kids "You can't do this or that just because..."

I relish the opportunity to open up scripture and show them why I won't allow it, and if I've raised them in a way I believe is proper (to take the Bible at face value), then they will see for themselves why they shouldn't get into it.

Angyl
08-05-2005, 05:43 AM
Perhaps your influence would serve Christ better if you DID hang around with a few of those Christians. Your concerns are real but how will they know if you have no contact with them?
Perhaps you are right, but I generally dont make friends easily, and those people I do find to hang out with I generally get to know from my church, which is pretty conservative (even more conservative than I am).


I understand what you are saying here but I read of a person who decided to use their car to kill someone because they read about the woman who backed over her husband a few times to kill him. That doesn't make the newspaper who reported the first incident bad or irrisponsible.
But we're not talking about the reporting of a fact, we're talking about collected fiction (or pseudo-fiction, depending on who you ask :-)) That makes the writer at least partially responsible for the influences they provide.


Ultimately we are all held accountable for our own actions.
Absolutely true, but we are also held accountable for the influences we spread in the world to some degree. The seed you plant while out soul-winning, when that person gets saved years down the line, will earn you reward in Heaven. The father who molests their child and has that child grow up to be a molester or rapist is going to face some responsibility for that. No person is an island.


I'm sorry, but here you imply that kids only want to read what is evil.
I don't mean to imply that at all. Only to state that they WILL gravitate toward that which is evil. They will read things that are good too if they're presented properly. It doesn't take much tickling of your imagination to know what would happen if I took 1,000 copies of Hustler magazine and placed them in a junior-high schoolyard after having the principal announce that for today only, anything the kids do will NOT be reported to their parents...

Every magazine will disappear... guaranteed. We can assume they took them to read the articles, okay? :-)



To imply that children would only want to read graphic porn is a stretch I'm not willing to make.
Again, sorry for the misunderstanding, I did not mean to imply that at all. Of course children read plenty other than porn. I was just saying that I can get them to stand in line all night to read that too...it doesn't make it GOOD, does it?


I think we have to be careful to take scripture in context. When the Bible talked about "not leading even one little one astray" it wasn't talking about kids, it was talking about new believers. Now that COULD be a kid but not necessarily.
We're going to have to respectfully disagree on this here:

"2And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, 3And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.

4Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

5And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me.

6But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea."

I see Jesus sitting with a little child on his lap and saying "offend one of these little ones that believe in me." You may interpret that to mean a new believer but I'll take it literally, and be exceedingly careful about what influence I have on new Chrsitians, children and adults alike.

God Bless and thank you for the discussion.

Angyl
08-05-2005, 06:12 AM
Oh, and I meant to address:

It also depends on how one defines "led astray." While I respect that some folks may think that reading about other spiritual paths is being led astray, in my belief system it's perfectly acceptable -- and in fact encouraged -- to explore other options.

You are essentially polythestic, right? Well then I can see where you're coming from with that belief, but you understand, of course, how polytheism has no place in a religion whose founder said "I am the way...no man cometh unto the Father but by me."?

Where I will agree with you is that a study of other religions for a Christian is a good place to gain knowledge...AFTER YOU ARE GROUNDED. I would no more send a child to study Wicca or Islam for knowledge than I would send them to a prison to learn about crimes men commit.

It may sound closed-minded to not want to expose our kids to other faiths early on, but in actuality, Chrsitians follow a very closed-minded, ego-maniacal, "my way or the highway" being.

Is that bad?

Well, if Christ is who he said he is, he has every right to a monstrous ego, doesn't he? :-)

And I would never presume to tell your children what they can or can't read. Likewise, I would draw the line if a school, for example, tried to suggest a child of mine HAD to read certain questionable fiction for a class.

brinkett
08-05-2005, 07:00 AM
You are essentially polythestic, right? Well then I can see where you're coming from with that belief, but you understand, of course, how polytheism has no place in a religion whose founder said "I am the way...no man cometh unto the Father but by me."?

I guess women are off the hook, then.

PattiTheWicked
08-05-2005, 07:53 AM
You are essentially polythestic, right? Well then I can see where you're coming from with that belief, but you understand, of course, how polytheism has no place in a religion whose founder said "I am the way...no man cometh unto the Father but by me."?.

Oh, absolutely. Really, I'm not sure how anyone could reconcile a strictly monotheistic path like Christianity with even the existence of other paths. However, never having been Christian, it's not something that worries me too much. Just falls onto my "Hmmm. That's interesting" list.


Where I will agree with you is that a study of other religions for a Christian is a good place to gain knowledge...AFTER YOU ARE GROUNDED. I would no more send a child to study Wicca or Islam for knowledge than I would send them to a prison to learn about crimes men commit..

I'm not entirely sure that your comparison of Wicca and Islam to prisoners and criminals is complimentary, but I'll assume you didn't mean it in the way that it sounds :)

Honestly, I don't know what's a good place for Christians to gain knowledge, because I would never presume to speak for a religion I've never been part of. All I know is that in my belief structure, which yes, is polytheistic, I think one can learn about other faiths without being in any spiritual danger. Your belief structure, I suspect, tells you otherwise, and that's your business.


It may sound closed-minded to not want to expose our kids to other faiths early on, but in actuality, Chrsitians follow a very closed-minded, ego-maniacal, "my way or the highway" being.

Is that bad?.

Good or bad is all kind of a matter of opinion. I don't understand the "my way or the highway" perspective, but I'd never presume to say it's bad. I simply know that it doesn't work for me, and my own path is all I have the right to comment on.



And I would never presume to tell your children what they can or can't read. Likewise, I would draw the line if a school, for example, tried to suggest a child of mine HAD to read certain questionable fiction for a class.

Oh, no, I didn't mean to imply that you personally were advocating censorship. I hope that's not what you thought I was saying. My observation about "As long as they don't presume to tell MY kids they can't read it, it's fine" was meant in the most generic of ways.

And I do think it's your right as a parent to object if your child's school is asking them to read something you find morally or spiritually questionable. While I don't think any book should ever be banned (again, I understand that you're not advocating this) I do think that parents should speak up if there is a reading assignment that's offensive to them.

My point was simply that parents who request Harry Potter or Lemony Snicket or The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe be banned from school libraries -- or that kids not be allowed to read them at all -- are overstepping their boundaries. That's all I was saying.

Jamesaritchie
08-05-2005, 11:42 AM
Oh,

My point was simply that parents who request Harry Potter or Lemony Snicket or The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe be banned from school libraries -- or that kids not be allowed to read them at all -- are overstepping their boundaries. That's all I was saying.


Sayingno kid should be allowed to read a book is overstepping the bounds. Saying a book is bad for kids isn't.

And it's a parent's duty to request books they find morally objectionable be removed from a school library. No book should be banned, but a parent has just as much right, and just as much duty, to ask that Harry Potter be removed as she would to ask that Playboy or Penthuse be removed.

This does not mean the book will be removed, but not stocking a book in a school library should always be the decision of parents who have kids in that school, and majority rules. A parent who does not ask that a book they find morally objectionable be removed is a poor parent, whatever the religious faith of that parent, and whatever the book.

It's nonsense saying that a book removed from a school library is a banned book. Only governments can ban books, and any book that's being published, and that is available by simply getting online or visiting a bookstore is NOT a banned book.

brinkett
08-05-2005, 04:25 PM
Really, I'm not sure how anyone could reconcile a strictly monotheistic path like Christianity with even the existence of other paths.
It's all in the interpretation. Not every denomination is that strict. Some are; some see Christianity as one path, not the only path.

Angyl
08-05-2005, 06:58 PM
I agree...those parents are stepping over bounaries. :-)

Angyl
08-06-2005, 11:21 PM
It's all in the interpretation. Not every denomination is that strict. Some are; some see Christianity as one path, not the only path.

Gonna hafta agree with Patti on this one. Jesus (the founder of Chrsitianity Himself), said he's the way...the ONLY way. There's simply no way to misinterpret that statement.
Any denomination of Christianity that believes there are "other paths" is flagrantly denying the words of their founder/leader and God.

Now, within Christianity itself, you get lots of deviation within that bedrock principle, like what else may or may not be required to get saved. But either Christ was wrong, and there is more than one way to "Heaven" or he was right and every other faith is wrong.

You really can't, (logically), reconcile that any other way.

brinkett
08-07-2005, 12:26 AM
Gonna hafta agree with Patti on this one. Jesus (the founder of Chrsitianity Himself), said he's the way...the ONLY way. There's simply no way to misinterpret that statement.

a. Jesus didn't say it. Whoever wrote the gospel said it.
b. The passage doesn't have to be interpreted literally.



Any denomination of Christianity that believes there are "other paths" is flagrantly denying the words of their founder/leader and God.

a. Jesus didn't say it. Whoever wrote the gospel said it.
b. The passage doesn't have to be interpreted literally.

There are indeed Christians and denominations that don't think the passage means "the only way to heaven is to be a Christian." You can disagree with us, but you can't deny our existence, nor can you force your interpretation on us as the one and only truth. Neither you nor I can claim the truth; we can only state what we believe.

Angyl
08-07-2005, 05:51 PM
a. Jesus didn't say it. Whoever wrote the gospel said it.
b. The passage doesn't have to be interpreted literally
a. That would be an interesting sort of belief, coming to your Bible with mental scissors in hand. "This was really true, that is not." "This really got said, that did not." "I accept this as real, that is not."
How is one to separate fact from fiction that way on their own strength? And wouldn't it be hard to find a church with like-minded believers when your Bibles are all custom-tailored to suit you?

and

b. Just out of plain curiosity, how else could the statement "No man cometh unto the father but by me" be interpreted "non-literally" to allow for multiple Gods or beliefs? Cuz I just can't wrap my mind around the concept.

brinkett
08-08-2005, 01:46 AM
a. That would be an interesting sort of belief, coming to your Bible with mental scissors in hand. "This was really true, that is not." "This really got said, that did not." "I accept this as real, that is not."

But everyone does. I doubt very much you live your life according to a literal interpretation of everything that's in the bible.



How is one to separate fact from fiction that way on their own strength? And wouldn't it be hard to find a church with like-minded believers when your Bibles are all custom-tailored to suit you?

You can't establish fact from what's written in the bible, so there's no point trying. For every expert you can point to that says "verse x means the following," there will be another expert who disagrees. Why does everyone have to believe the exact same thing to get along? Talk to three people about God and you'll hear three different stories--why is yours the only acceptable one?


b. Just out of plain curiosity, how else could the statement "No man cometh unto the father but by me" be interpreted "non-literally" to allow for multiple Gods or beliefs? Cuz I just can't wrap my mind around the concept.
"Do as I did" is one.

Carole
08-11-2005, 03:39 PM
My questions...
Do you see any Christian young people adversely affected by these books?
Do you see any Christian young people positively affected by these books?
Other than the obvious (more reading being done) have you seen any positive affects on the secular audience through these books?

I hope no one throws stones at me here, but perhaps I have something of at least a little value to add. Although I would likely be labeled Pagan, I detest lables so I won't get into that. My boys, however, are definitely Christian. My ex-husband comes from a preacher's family and at birth he and I vowed to teach our boys in the ways we were raised. I have not varied form that except to also teach them to not take any man's word as golden because all men are fallible. I teach them to always read and understand...to believe because they believe, not because anyone told them to.

My 18 year old son is in a gap where the Harry Potter books are concerned. He is a little too old to enjoy them as the kids do and not old enough to realize that a lot of adults devour them just like the kids do.

My younger son who is 16 still reads them. He has every one, and received this last one for his birthday.

I do not see any adverse affects on any healthy, well rounded children. I wasn't impacted by all the fairy tales of childhood filled with witches and magic, and I would like to believe that I am raising boys who are well adjusted enough to not have their lives influenced by a story. They know it is a story and nothing else.

I don't think the Harry Potter books would play any significant role in any child's life other than entertainment unless that child is lacking something to begin with. For my boys, they have been entertainment only and the same goes with all their friends.

There does seem to be a sense of community with a lot of the readers, much like Trekkies as you suggested, but I don't see it as any different than when my boys discovered Star Wars. They spent hours of playtime dressing up as the charachters, making light sabers out of empty paper towel rolls. They also went through an Indiana Jones phase, begging me for leather jackets, hats and whips (NOT likely! ;) )

My mother completely flipped out when the Harry Potter books first hit the shelves. Her church actually had an emergency women's meeting to discuss the matter. She became so focused on how these books were filled with magic but I did what I could to remind her that they were fables not unlike the ones I read when I was a girl. More elaborate maybe, but the magic elements are still the same.

I believe as long as a parent is involved with thier children and have raised them so far to understand the difference between fantasy and reality, the books would have no impact other than entertainment.

Just my 2 cents :)

Carole
08-11-2005, 03:49 PM
p.s. Before it seems like I am contradicting myself, perhaps I should clarify something. When I said that I wa not affected by the fairy tales of childhood and I also said that I would likely be labeled as Pagan, I realize that leaves me wide open for criticism. I assure you...the fairy tales of childhood have absolutely nothing to do with who I am today just as I am certain the Harry Potter books will not figure significantly in the spirituality of my boys.

loquax
08-13-2005, 08:05 PM
I personally think that if one wants to treat Harry Potter as an influential, religious scripture, one should also treat the Bible in such a way. And by that, I mean don't expose children to the Bible before they are old enough to know what it's about. The Bible is infinitessimally more influential than Harry Potter, but Christians are not so eager to prevent their children from reading it.

Bear in mind that to Jews the new testament is as destructive to young children's minds as paganism or any other religion. What this all boils down to is either 1) Stop children from reading ANYTHING lest they become influenced, or 2) Let them read everything and make their own minds up.

IMHO for religious parents to teach their children scripture but not let them read influential fiction is utter hypocrisy.

NicoleJLeBoeuf
08-13-2005, 08:45 PM
1. People become Christians by someone coming to tell them that they were destined for something more than this mundane life and it's up to them to make a choice whether to follow that path or not....Or they are raised Christian from birth, no? (Or is this an adult-conversion only conversation? ;) )


As for whether or not the others are being affected adversely by these books, there are plenty of articles out there that point to the rise in inquiries to Wicca and other pagan religions that suggest that 'yes, people are being adversely affected.'I've been very puzzled by the claims that Harry Potter is turning kids into Wiccans. There is absolutely nothing Wiccan about the magic that goes on in Harry Potter. If the claim instead is that Harry Potter books involve magic, and kids reading about magic will be more likely to investigate magic-believing faiths such as Wicca, then that's not the fault of Harry Potter so much as its timing--a fantasy book involving magic, published in an age when Wicca is becoming increasingly mainstream and easy to have heard of/find out about. Why not blame Diane Duane's So You Want To Be a Wizard as much as Harry Potter, or any other fantasy book about children magicians published today?


Agree 100%!! In fact, it's one of my core principles of parenting that I decided on when I was a child. That I would never ever say to my children simply "because I said so" whey they ask why they can't or must do something.That's awesome. I remember deciding the same thing as a child. My parents told me, "Just wait until you have one. You'll change your mind." I haven't had children yet, but I haven't changed my mind, and I'm glad to hear others haven't either.

Carole
08-15-2005, 08:49 PM
IMHO for religious parents to teach their children scripture but not let them read influential fiction is utter hypocrisy.

Maybe it is because of where and how I was raised, but I never refused to allow my boys to read their Bibles. When my older son was 5 years old he began the tradition of reading the Christmas story form the Bible on Christmas eve for the family. He struggled with it at first, but when he came to something he did not understand he came to any of the adults and we would explain to him what he was reading.

I have also encouraged both my boys to always read their Bibles and never take any man's word over what they believe in their hearts. I have always believed it is very important to allow them to learn and understand with guidance rather than being spoon fed what I want them to believe.

AdamH
08-21-2005, 07:43 PM
How is one to separate fact from fiction that way on their own strength? And wouldn't it be hard to find a church with like-minded believers when your Bibles are all custom-tailored to suit you?

Just to throw my hat in the ring, isn't that why there's so many different denominations and religions? No two interpret the Good Book in the same way. That way someone will eventually find some church that's tailored to their individual beliefs. I think it would be tougher to find if there was only one religion and one way of looking at things.

As far as Harry Potter, everyone is entitled to their own beliefs on the subject whether it's good or evil. I don't see anything wrong with them. And I don't see anything wrong with people who don't like them. To each their own. Just like religion, no two people will interpret the story the exact same way.

Ralyks
08-28-2005, 03:44 PM
I haven't read Harry Potter. I've only seen the movies. They appear to teach good moral values--loyalty, self-sacrifice, courage. I don't see how they can hurt kids. This whole fear of magic-in-literature thing is relatively modern in the Christian community and ignores the long and rich tradition of magic in Christian literature, from Arthurian legends on down, and it assumes children can't differentiate fantasy from reality. And if Harry Potter gets a 5th grader to read a 500 page book...wow. Now, those kids who are so obssessed with it as to dress up and wait in long lines...as a parent, that would concern me, whether it was Harry Potter or anything else on the face of the earth...I just wouldn't want my kid placing that much importance on anything that was entertainment related.

coffeecupkat
08-29-2005, 10:56 PM
If I may, bein' a newbie and all, I'd like to commend ya'll on this thread. A "hot potato" well-handled, with proper respect shown to all. A rare thing on message boards these days.

I'm a Christian, and I've read the first two or three of Rowling's works, as well as Lewis' Narnia series, LOTR, and more Edgar Rice Burroughs than any person should subject themselves to in one lifetime.

I think the common ground found here is refreshing: WHATEVER your kids are reading, TALK to them about it. In the movie "You've Got Mail," Meg Ryan's character says that the books you read as a child help you become who you are going to be. Not in the literalist sense of "if you read fantasy you'll become a pagan" but in the sense that books shape our ideas about the BIG STUFF in life. What books do for children, (and movies, for that matter) is offer up questions about life. As parents, its our privilege and responsibility to sit down with our kids and talk about those questions.

For example, in the first book, Harry and Ron break school rules to rescue Hermione from a troll. That is the jumping off point for a great discussion with your kids. Why didn't the boys tell a teacher or other authority that Hermione was in danger? Was it because they were young and didn't think that far ahead? Because they knew she was hiding and crying and wanted to spare her embarrassment? Did they not have faith in the adults to handle the situation? Why or why not? Do you think the fact that she was in danger because of their thoughtless words earlier was part of the reason? There are a lot of really meaty themes and topics of discussion that these books can bring up. Prejudice is a major theme with the whole "mudbloods and purebloods" subplot. The nature of evil: why is it so hard to destroy real Evil? Why, when everyone was so glad to be rid of Voldemort when Harry was a baby, did he gain new followers so quickly when he returned? His parents sacrificed themselves to save him. Why is self-sacrifice so powerful?

Meaty topics, indeed.

Elwyn
09-15-2005, 06:28 PM
IMHO, one of the very best resources for answers to questions about the Bible and Christianity is at www.rbg.org (http://www.rbg.org/) They deal with all serious questions and subjects in a rational way - and with a great deal of scholarship. Note that I have been a student of scripture for a great many years, and have read tons of books on theology - but I find these folks as being the best at answering tough questions.

If you'd like to read what they have to say about Harry Potter, here is a link:
http://www.rbc.org/questions/answer.php?catagory=religion&folder=witchcraft&topic=Witchcraft&file=potter.xml

You may be surprised at what they have to say.

Robin Bayne
09-17-2005, 08:14 PM
I just wouldn't want my kid placing that much importance on anything that was entertainment related.


And unfortunately, the stronger you discourage or forbid kids to read/watch something, the stronger their desire becomes. I can recall being in the 6th grade when "The Exorcist" came out, and at the time I thought horror movies were really cool. I argued and pleaded but Mom wouldn't let me read or see it---and finally years later I did read it, and realized I had read much worse stuff even back then.

It was the hype, the "fad," that drew me-- much like Potter.