Mr. and Mrs. Evangelical, of number 316, Piety Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much. Then their children (some of whom supposed they had been living in a cupboard under the stairs) learned about a world of witches, wizards, and schools for both: J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series. Now, twenty years after the first Potterverse film premiered in theaters, how do we as Christians view the adventures of the Boy Who Lived?
- Bradley Caffee’s novel The Chase, from Mountain Brook Fire
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- We won’t focus so much on the magic at this time.
- For more on that topic, see our Fictional Magic series.
- Also see Marian Jacobs’s recent article about discerning fictional magic.
- We’re focusing on the greater themes of Harry Potter and its fans/enemies.
- When we address “political” issues, it is really about religious worldview debates.
Introducing G. Shane Morris
Shane Morris is a senior writer at the Colson Center and host of the Upstream podcast as well as cohost of the BreakPoint podcast. He has been a voice of the Colson Center since 2010 as coauthor of many BreakPoint commentaries and columns. He has also written for The Federalist, The Christian Post, and Summit Ministries, and he blogs regularly for Patheos Evangelical as Troubler of Israel. Shane lives with his wife, Gabriela, and their three children in Lakeland, Florida.
Chapter 1: Origin! How did you discover biblical faith and fantastical stories?
- Shane grew up in a loving Christian home, learning the biblical gospel.
- He also discovered fantastical stories, such as Tolkien and Lewis, that reflected joy.
- At first he criticized the Harry Potter series, then a friend challenged him to read them.
Chapter 2: Cancellation! Why did evangelicals initially object to Harry Potter?
- Stephen recalls many Christians warnings about Harry Potter’s dangers.
- Christians shared a primary concern: HP’s emphasis on magic and/or occult.
- Some shared a second concern: Harry’s attitudes and rebellion in school.
- A few urban legends spread about, such as Rowling’s secret Satanism.
- Some evangelicals acted foolishly. Competing religions over-mocked.
From Shane Morris’s 2018 article, “Why is Harry Potter More Christian Than His Creator?“:
I remember a time when my fellow Christian “Potter” fans and I were beleaguered and hiding beneath our invisibility cloaks from the rest of the Christian right (who thought we had all sold our souls to the devil). We held out hope that Rowling would turn out to be one of us. She certainly has identified herself as a Christian in the past, even confessing that she preferred not to make the fact public because she feared it would give away the ending of her story.
Well, the ending of her story has been available in bookstores for over a decade now—sacrificial death-and-resurrection-of-the-title-character and all—and it’s little wonder she was so secretive.
Chapter 3: Cancellation (part 2)! Why do leftists despise the wizarding world?
More from Shane’s article:
Rowling has come out for abortion “rights” and cheered LGBTQ causes and the redefinition of marriage, family, and gender at every turn. She has opposed conservative and traditional political causes and not only strip-mined her story for cheap talking points, but encouraged her left-wing followers to see themselves as a real-life Dumbledore’s Army resisting the dark and prejudicial forces of Brexit, Donald Trump, and pro-lifers.
Rowling has reduced her own work—a series that shepherds children and adults alike through the very deepest questions about love, death, the afterlife, friendship, and self-sacrifice—into a dime-store political allegory.
- Well, that was 2018. Since then, many of Rowling’s secular fans have turned on her.
- Rowling now speaks out on sex and gender issues (and shares her reasons here).
- In November several of her critics tried to “doxx” her by revealing her home address.
- Despite some of Rowling’s contradictions, her story-world remains “based.”
- The wizarding world critiques power abuses by government and media
- Rowling insists on showing the evils of dark magic, used to manipulate others.
- The wizarding world also overtly praises family, self-defense, and many virtues.
Next on Fantastical Truth
What if you were a princess in a Rohan-like kingdom, exiled from the palace to guard the borders? And what if you were riding a wild horse you had barely tamed—that could itself on fire and explode from its head like a dragon? Naturally, Gillian Bronte Adams can answer these questions, in her new novel from Enclave Publishing, Of Fire and Ash. She will join us to explore this fantasy world with its elemental horses and elemental fantastic themes.
Explore the best Christian-made fantasy, sci-fi, and beyond, and apply these stories' meanings in the real world Jesus calls us to serve.