Friday, July 27, 2007
Pondering Potter . . . Harry, that is.
It's a miracle that I've been able to work at all today. Some online friends and I have been discussing Harry Potter, and several raised rational, informed facts about how the Potter books HAVE spurred some children to evidence an interest in the occult. That's not good. Definitely not good.
Someone asked, "As a Christian novelist, could you have your hero use witchcraft in one of your books?" And I had to answer . . . no. Not even if I could sell it. Not even under a pseudonym.
My opinion about Potter has always been that they didn't bother me, but parents need to be the guide for their children. Still, I worry about children who don't have spiritually-aware parents.
Because the issue came up on this blog, I think I need to be as honest about my reservations as I've been with my praise. So all day, as I’ve been working, I’ve had this ping pong match going on in my head. Like this:
Side one: They’re right about the occult and witchcraft. It is an abomination and we should steer clear of it.
Side two: But a STORY about witchcraft isn’t the same as dabbling in witchcraft. In fact, we write stories about murder and lying and adultery all the time; we even touch on some of those issues in children's books. What’s the difference?
Side one: Yes, but are we writing stories in which the murder and lying are portrayed as good?
Side two: Well . . . no. But there are godly themes in Harry Potter, and now everyone knows it! And the HP books are more about good versus evil than witchcraft. They're about self-sacrifice and the power of love.
Side one: There are godly themes in lots of the world’s literature, but that’s simply a reflection of common grace. And good versus evil is the plot of practically all books.
Side two: But so many people read HP without being tempted to use or even think about witchcraft. So isn’t Potter sort of like a glass of wine? Innocent on the surface and for most people, but dangerous for children, alcoholics, and weaker brothers?
Side one: Yes, but Angie, you don’t drink wine for the express reason of not wanting to hurt the kids in your world.
Side two: Well . . . . okay, so you have a point. So . . . Where does that leave us?
Side one: Pondering, that’s where it leaves us. Praying for discernment.
See what I mean? :-) No wonder I talk to myself.
In any case, my friend Marlo Schlansky has written an excellent blog piece on Potter. You can read it here: http://marloschalesky.blogspot.com/.
And now, I need to finish up the day's work.