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Harry Potter and the Paganization of Children's Culture
Catholic Culture ^ | April, 2001 | Michael D. O'Brien

Posted on 03/10/2005 9:55:31 PM PST by Coleus

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Harry Potter: Agent of Conversion

Harry Potter and The Lost Generations; Former New Ager Explains Potter Danger.

2117 All practices of magic or sorcery, by which one attempts to tame occult powers, so as to place them at one's service and have a supernatural power over others - even if this were for the sake of restoring their health - are gravely contrary to the virtue of religion. These practices are even more to be condemned when accompanied by the intention of harming someone, or when they have recourse to the intervention of demons. Wearing charms is also reprehensible. Spiritism often implies divination or magical practices; the Church for her part warns the faithful against it. Recourse to so-called traditional cures does not justify either the invocation of evil powers or the exploitation of another's credulity.

2138 Superstition is a departure from the worship that we give to the true God. It is manifested in idolatry, as well as in various forms of divination and magic.

Deuteronomy Chapter 18: 9-14

9 "When you come into the land which the Lord your God is giving you, you shall not learn to follow the abominations of those nations. 10 There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, or one who practices witchcraft, or a soothsayer, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, 11 or one who conjures spells, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead. 12 For all who do these things are an abomination to the Lord, and because of these abominations the Lord your God drives them out from before you. 13 You shall be blameless before the Lord your God. 14 For these nations which you will dispossess listened to soothsayers and diviners; but as for you, the Lord your God has not appointed such for you.

1 posted on 03/10/2005 9:55:32 PM PST by Coleus
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To: Coleus

I'm stuned. This is Hugh. I'm series.

Now that the Potter books have outsold the Bible, we're doomed.


2 posted on 03/10/2005 9:59:25 PM PST by peyton randolph (Warning! It is illegal to fatwah a camel in all 50 states)
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To: Coleus
O'Brien writes children's books. Every Harry Potter book sold is one less dollar that would go to him.

Of course, his books wouldn't sell as well if Harry Potter weren't around, but I taste some sour grapes in O'Brien's lament.

3 posted on 03/10/2005 10:03:12 PM PST by sinkspur ("Preach the gospel. If necessary, use words.")
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To: Coleus
Relax, it's fiction.

Were these folks just as upset about the "The Force" in Star Wars? How about LOTR?

Kids can tell the difference between fantasy and reality, and to them the HP books are just good fun. ....and kids like to have fun.

4 posted on 03/10/2005 10:06:42 PM PST by Mr. Mojo
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To: Coleus

At the risk of sounding like a jerk I have to say this:

Harry Potter "discovering he's a wizard" doesn't make me think I can be a wizard (or want to) any more than reading the Bible would make me think I'm the Messiah.

HP just a story, the Bible is not. Those who read the Bible and don't just quote it know this.

Read it. Read King Arthur tales as well. And read up on mythologies of the ancient world. They are fascinating STORIES. None of them make me think I am the physical son of any deity.

That being said, God bless. I hope you learn to enjoy some creative works.

5 posted on 03/10/2005 10:07:59 PM PST by MacDorcha (When I say "democratic" I don't mean "Athenian Mob Rule")
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To: Coleus
Witches, wizards and magic oh my!

I guess he equally deplores the un-Christian, magic-laden, "good witch" harboring, gender-changing (Ozma), supernatural creature ridden Wizard of Oz? Oh he doesn't? All distinctions are without difference in comparing HP and Oz. HP is inveighed against, Oz is venerated.

Only real difference is that we've had Oz for over a century, and are used to it.

6 posted on 03/10/2005 10:09:29 PM PST by Plutarch
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To: Coleus

Twelve Practices God Forbids....

1. Necromancy: Communication with the dead, conjuration of the spirits of the dead, for the purpose of revealing the future or influencing the course of events. Deut 18:11; I Sam 28:1-25; Isa 8:19; I Chron 10:13-14

2. Enchantments: The act of influencing by charms and incantations; the practice of magical arts; use of human voice or music to bring another under psychic control. Lev 19:26; Deut 18:10-12; II Chron 33:6; II Kings 17:17; Isa 47:8-11; Jer 27:8; Dan 1:20

3. Witchcraft: Dealing with evil spirits. Deut 18:10-12; II Chron 33:6; I Sam 15:23; Gal 5:19-21

4. Sorcery: Use of power gained from assistance or control of evil spirits, especially for divining. Jer 27:9; Isa 47:9; Rev 21:8

5. Divination: Fortune-telling. Deut 18:10-14; II Kings 17:17; Jer 27:8-9, 29:8-9; Acts 16:16-24

6. Wizardry: Magic, sorcery. Deut 18:11; II Kings 17:17; Exo 22:18

7. Charm: A spell; to affect by magic. Deut 18:11; Isa 19:3

8. Star Gazing/Astrology: Divination of the supposed influence of the stars upon human affairs and terrestrial events by their position and aspects. Isa 47:12-15; Jer 10:2; Dan 1:18-20, 2:1-49, 4:1-37; 5:7-15

9. Soothsaying: Foretelling events; prophesying by a spirit other than the Holy Spirit. Josh 13:22; Micah 5:12-15; Acts 16:16-18

10. Prognostication: To foretell from signs or symptoms; prophesying without the Holy Spirit; soothsaying. Isa 47:12-15; Josh 13:22; Micah 5:12-15; Acts 16:16-18

11. Observing Times: Astrology. Lev 19:26; Deut 18:10-14; II Kings 21:6; II Chron 33:6

12. Magic: Witchcraft. Deut 18:10-12; II Chron 33:6, I Sam 15:23


7 posted on 03/10/2005 10:27:48 PM PST by viaveritasvita (The Grace of God has appeared, bringing Salvation to all men. Titus 2:11)
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To: Coleus

Good article. I'm a fan of Potter, and with 12 yrs experience in Dragons [the game]. Also a fan of Lewis.

The article raises interesting points, many I've seen before. Complaints from readers will be prejudiced by a society that readily accepts occult themes in its entertainment.

8 posted on 03/10/2005 11:27:02 PM PST by Fenris6 (3 Purple Hearts in 4 months w/o missing a day of work? He's either John Rambo or a Fraud)
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To: Fenris6
It makes you think. I'm a recent convert to the Church and I've been fascinated with fantasy literature all my life. I've played Dungeons and Dragons since I was 8 years old (34 now), I've been immersed in this stuff all my life. I have dozens if not hundreds of fantasy books and I've read the Harry Potter books (and seen the movies).

I was also a Wiccan for 8 years - have I been corrupted by this sort of thing? Of that I have no doubt.

The other side of it is Science Fiction, fantasy and sci-fi often go together in a person. I have always been a fan of both. All sci-fi that I can think of is dogmatically naturalistic, if religion is mentioned at all it is in the context of some anachronistic practice of a backward people. I first picked this up on the series "Sliders" where the hero ( a genius scientist and his friends) are constantly battling murderous religious fanatics. That's the plot line of about every 1 out of 3 episodes.

I'm also more than a little disturbed about the new plotlines in the re-made "Battlestar Galatica" series. It is not totally revealed yet but so far human race, who have a polytheistic religion (the "Lords of Cobol", based on Greek gods and goddesses), are being persecuted and nearly exterminated by the monotheistic Cylons whose religion seems to have a great deal in common with Christianity (in one episode Dr. Baltor is forced by his Cylon handler to "repent of his sins"). They have even gone as far as to trot out Cylon "suicide bombers".

Now I remember the original Battlestar Galatica, and yes the Humans worshipped the same Lords of Cobol but I do not recall it ever being anywhere near such an integral part of the storyline as it is in the new and no mention was ever made of the Cylons having a religion. It seems the persons responsible for the remake of the series have made the conflict a religious war, and the Monotheists are the bad guys!

9 posted on 03/11/2005 5:25:03 AM PST by kjvail (Judica me Deus, et discerne causam meam de gente non sancta)
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To: HairOfTheDog; JenB; RosieCotton; SuziQ
Harry Potter and the Tale of the Hysterical FReepers ping...
10 posted on 03/11/2005 6:19:12 AM PST by Corin Stormhands (One Iraqi purple finger took more courage than John Kerry's three purple hearts.)
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To: kjvail
Fantasy and sci fi are some of my more favorite recreational reads. However, as I have grown older I have ran into the same things you did. Most fantasy and sci fi are anti Christian. If any Christianity is in a sci fi book, you can bet it is promoted as backward and bad.

I love Tolkien, and have found memories of Lewis. I just wish there were more Christian writers in this field. My brides cousin asked for some recommendations for her son. I can't think of that many sci fi writers who I would want a boy of ten to read.
11 posted on 03/11/2005 6:32:54 AM PST by redgolum ("God is dead" -- Nietzsche. "Nietzsche is dead" -- God.)
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To: Coleus

Hmmm. I'm printing this out and will read it during Clare's writing class.

12 posted on 03/11/2005 6:37:18 AM PST by SuziQ
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To: Coleus

Publisher & Date:
Ignatius Press, April 2001

13 posted on 03/11/2005 6:44:05 AM PST by sharktrager (The masses will trade liberty for a more quiet life.)
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To: Coleus
Throughout the Chronicles, witches are portrayed in classic terms, as malevolent, manipulative, deceiving, and destructive —

It's an awfully long article, but I scimmed down to find reference to Narnia. I want to see how people seperate "good" books from "bad" books. Is it only the 'witch' character that matters? Or wtchcraft in general? Magic is used throughout the Narnia chronicles by both the good and bad characters. As an adult, I didn't make the distinction between who was labeled a witch and who wasn't. I don't think kids do either. They see a book as either 'having' magic in it out not, much like science fiction.

14 posted on 03/11/2005 6:48:26 AM PST by eccentric (a.k.a. baldwidow)
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To: redgolum
Not really for kids, but Kathy Tyer's Firebird trilogy is a pro-Christian science fiction.
15 posted on 03/11/2005 6:53:00 AM PST by eccentric (a.k.a. baldwidow)
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To: Coleus

Is the Wiz next?

16 posted on 03/11/2005 6:56:21 AM PST by js1138
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To: MacDorcha

"HP just a story"

Well, no. Everything we read changes us to some degree, and a lot of the time we don't even realize that we have been convinced of a proposition at the time.

Unless you're reading with a hostile, analytical mindset, that risk exists.

Back when I was an agnostic, I ventured the opinion that a man had the obligation to stay with a woman he impregnates and raise the offspring. To which, naturally, the other fellow asked, "Why?"

If there's no God telling you to do so, why should you?

I thought about it very carefully, and finally realized that I had picked that idea up from the writings of Robert Heinlein in my early teens, thirty years earlier.

I didn't realize that I was picking that notion up and accepting it as though it were Scripture, but that's what happened. And it seems to happen to all of us. Many (or perhaps all) of us believe things that we are not aware that we believe.

How is that possible? Well, we act as though they were true without examining our reasons.

Nothing is "just a story" or "just a movie."

17 posted on 03/11/2005 7:19:50 AM PST by dsc
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To: Mr. Mojo

Mr. Mojo,
I agree completely! If parents (especially fathers) do the jobs with which they have been charged by God himself (raising up children in the fear and admonition of the Lord), the children, like the parents will not only understand the fun of fiction and fantasy, but they will not fear it.

As a Christian, I understand the dangers the devil brings into the world and those with which he attempts to ensnare us. However, I refuse to bow to his desire that I fear him. I am a child of the Christ, as I train my children to be. Therefore, I have nothing to fear from Satan or any of his evil creations.

This argument of Harry Potter, LOTR, or any fantasy fiction being evil is the same argument too many people use to condemn Halloween. If we are truly Christian and loved of God, why wouldn't we dress up and make fun of those things that Satan wants us to fear? That's what early Christians did. It makes no sense for me or anyone to give Satan more power by condemning and fearing a series of novels which, to my mind, promote love for one's neighbors, courage to do the right thing, even if it involves breaking the rules, loyalty, an understanding that what goes around comes around (The Dursley's treatment of Harry and their difficulties), goodness, and self-sacrifice, just because it involves a story that couldn't possibly be real and , horror of horrors, has some magic (good and bad) in it.

The long and short of it is that if parents will do their jobs, knuckleheads like the author of this article, a well as those who blame everything on society (and not their inability or unwillingness to parent) would be out of a job.

Finally, let's give the kids some credit; if the parents are involved, the kids know fanstasy from reality. Next thing you know, I'll be called a some kind of heretic for reading my children stories in which animals talk and act like people.

18 posted on 03/11/2005 7:21:21 AM PST by the lone haranguer (Sola Scriptura, Sola Fide, Sola Gratia)
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To: the lone haranguer
Next thing you know, I'll be called a some kind of heretic for reading my children stories in which animals talk and act like people.

Well, according to the poster above you, nothing is ever "just a story" or "just a movie."

So, if you find your child talking to the family dog, know where he got it.

19 posted on 03/11/2005 7:30:07 AM PST by sinkspur ("Preach the gospel. If necessary, use words.")
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To: Coleus
Much better than most 'Potter = evil' screeds, but still wrong-headed.

In these details and a plethora of others throughout the series, the child reader is encouraged in his baser instincts while lip service is paid to morality. In fact, nowhere in the series is there any reference to a system of moral absolutes against which actions can be measured.

"A system of moral absolutes"? Well, no, not in the sense that the characters discuss religious principles or debate the basis of objective morality. So? They don't do that in Nancy Drew novels, either, but that hardly makes them diabolical. The Berenstain Bears books seem rather lacking in theological import, too, now that I think about it.

I just got done re-reading Goblet of Fire (Harry Potter book IV), and at the end Dumbledore is speaking to the school; he encourages them, whenever they are torn between what is easy and what is right, to remember the sacrifice of their fallen fellow student. That's good enough, IMO, for a fantasy book that makes no claims of religious significance.

20 posted on 03/11/2005 7:39:52 AM PST by Sloth (I don't post a lot of the threads you read; I make a lot of the threads you read better.)
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