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> Harry Potter, Info from an Australian Ministry
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Tassiecelt 
Posted: 20-Jul-2007, 02:50 AM
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The following is from a ministry I support here in Oz. It's called Saltshakers, they are very much about helping Christians to understand the Christian World View as opposed to the atheistic/Humanistic world view we are bombarded by every day.

Their latest newsletter deals with the nonsense (and worse) surrounding Harry Potter
Part of it is below, I hope we who are Christian and love celtic things will achieve a balanced understanding of one of the most negative images of our times.
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Harry Potter - movie and book release

The film of the fifth Harry Potter book ‘Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix’ has just been released.

The seventh, and final, book in J K Rowling’s series about Harry Potter, titled ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows’, is scheduled for release this Saturday 21 July 2007.

We are concerned about the promotion and practice of witchcraft in these books/movies by the hero. Our primary principle in this situation is that the Bible tells us to have nothing to do with witchcraft.
Young people are often enticed to further explore the occult. For instance, Fiona Horne's book on being a 'Teen Witch' teaches girls how to be a witch and cast spells.

We have a page on our website which contains an analysis of the 'Harry Potter series.
It contains the following newly-added articles as well as a range of previous articles, and references and a list of books/videos that we stock.
See http://www.saltshakers.org.au/html/P/12/B/79/

We urge parents to carefully analyse this situation and read the following information - especially if your children are asking to see the movie(s) or read the books.


Some new articles:

MOVIEGUIDE has a review of the new film - ‘Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix’.
At http://www.movieguide.org/index.php?s=reviews&id=7499

KJOS Ministries has written many insightful articles about the Harry Potter series.
The latest one is on the current movie - "The Deadly Magic of Potter Movies - The Order of the Phoenix is not "just fantasy!""
Berit Kjos - 2007
At http://www.crossroad.to/articles2/007/phoe...oenix-movie.htm

KJOS has a review of the book behind the movie ‘Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix’.
At http://www.crossroad.to/articles2/2003/phoenix.htm

KJOS has an overview that compares Harry Potter and the occult – this has been written by a man who was a member of an occult order.
Overview and Application (Books 1-3)
At http://www.crossroad.to/ask-peter/hp-overview-1.htm

Overview and Application – ‘Order of the Phoenix’. (Book 5)
At http://www.crossroad.to/ask-peter/phoenix-overview.htm




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oldraven 
Posted: 24-Jul-2007, 10:26 AM
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I think people need to realise that reading fantasy doesn't turn people away from Christ. Hearing people 'speak for' other Christians in a lunatic manner however does turn people away from Christ.

How many people know where terms like Witch and Witchcraft came from (which is one reason I cringe every time I hear someone call themselves a Witch)? Fear, igonrance, and a lack of desire to understand (or a need to force control) created the whole concept of the Witch and their 'craft. It was in fact created by The Church. Up until that time these people simply lived as Pagans. They'd never heard of a Witch before. The Church made its bed and now has to lie in it.

Harry Potter is a case of 'if you don't like the program, change the station'. I'm sick and tired of people giving my faith a bad name. Not that it has ever been any different or ever will be, so long as men try to speak for God. Christ would probably be rolling his eyes right now, given his ultimate message and the fact that people ignore it for details that give them a sense of power over others.


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Caw

"I am a Canadian by birth, but I am a Highlander by blood and feel under an obligation to do all I can for the sake of the Highlanders and their literature.... I have never yet spoken a word of English to any of my children. They can speak as much English as they like to others, but when they talk to me they have to talk in Gaelic."

-Alexander Maclean Sinclair of Goshen (protector of Gaelic Culture)

We need more Stan Rogers.

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gaberlunzie 
Posted: 24-Jul-2007, 11:37 AM
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QUOTE (oldraven @ 24-Jul-2007, 05:26 PM)
I think people need to realise that reading fantasy doesn't turn people away from Christ. Hearing people 'speak for' other Christians in a lunatic manner however does turn people away from Christ.


Harry Potter is a case of 'if you don't like the program, change the station'. I'm sick and tired of people giving my faith a bad name. Not that it has ever been any different or ever will be, so long as men try to speak for God. Christ would probably be rolling his eyes right now, given his ultimate message and the fact that people ignore it for details that give them a sense of power over others.

My sentiments exactly. I agree with you, oldraven and couldn't have said it any better.


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"Now here's my secret", said the fox, "it is very simple. It is only with ones heart that one can see clearly. What is essential is invisible to the eye."

("The Little Prince" by Antoine de Saint-Exupery)


"The soul would have no rainbow, if the eye had no tears."
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Shepherdess 
Posted: 24-Jul-2007, 12:56 PM
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If someone asked me, I'd point out the philosophical weaknesses in the Harry Potter universe and I think that's as far as my "assignment" as a follower of Christ leads me. I won't let my kids watch it because they don't have discernment yet - they aren't exposed to a lot of stuff, even some "Christian" stuff, for that reason.

Patrick and I are huge Sci Fi geeks. We love to watch something like Stargate Atlantis and roll our eyes at the huge-mongeous philosophical booby traps they scatter for themselves in their attempts to consolidate fashionable postmodern thinking ("ascension") with good old Western moral sensibilities ("freedom good/slavery bad"). Crash and burn. Well, the special effects are neat, anyway - and how about that David Hewlett? Can he get any funnier?

When our kids have reached that level they can enjoy this stuff along with us, as long as the shows haven't gotten too edgy, if you know what I mean.

I've never read more than a fragment of the HP books but I've seen the first, I don't know, three movies when they came on TV. I was terribly unimpressed. The last Star Wars, ditto. I'm a writer AND took a year of TV/film in college, and I'm pretty picky about things like story, character depth, and direction. Just, meh.

I don't see a future where Harry Potter is a significant cultural force - you have to have quality to be a staying power, like Tolkien, Lewis, and heaven help us, Robert Heinlen and Carl Sagan.

Hey, wouldn't it just rock if someone made a movie of Lewis' Space Trilogy? Someone's got to be thinking of that, somewhere, surely?


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Irena Farm, North Carolina, USA
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oldraven 
Posted: 24-Jul-2007, 01:44 PM
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I think the most important word here is 'fantasy'. Fantastic, as in fictitious. We've steered down the wrong alley when our own children are forbidden from saying 'what if' or having an imagination.

A great example of this misguided cause would be the love of the Christian community for Lewis' Narnia series. There is no mention of God, Christ or the Devil. We see both good and evil using magical powers, and even the appearance of Santa Claus. At one point many hooved men are bowing to a walking and talking animal. The world was discovered by a 'Magician's Nephew' when he places magical rings on his fingers and finds a limbo plane with many portals.

The entire series, however, is accepted on the parallels to the Gospel in ONE of the books. I see no difference between one piece of Children's fantasy and another when they both teach of the triumph of good over evil.

If religion wasn't meant to be progressive we'd still be denying the people of the Antipodes, who with their backward feet are far less offensive to closed minded faith than the Faun.
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Shepherdess 
Posted: 24-Jul-2007, 07:00 PM
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Good fantasy is believable - suspension of belief occurs when you find the proposed universe meshes with what you believe to be true. Hence, I giggle when a show or book wants to simulateously hold to objective principles like freedom, the goodness of love and the evil of hate, and so forth - yet also proposes that each man entirely makes his own destiny, and so forth.

Have you read much else by Lewis? His views on the intersection of the pagan and Christian world are fascinating and give one much to think about.

The end of That Hideous Strength is rather astonishing if you are unprepared for frank discussion of sexuality and sensuality which emanates from a spiritual source - in the context of the Christian faith. But God is love, yes? - and that's every kind - "godly", friendship, and sensual passion.

Ditto the forces represented by the beings who specialize in wisdom and justice, and battling evil. In the Lewis universe these beings do not desire worship but serve the function of reflecting the nature of God for our benefit. The "wheeled creatures" in Ezekiel are canonical parallels, with the ideas of fertility/creativity/love, wisdom, power, and justice again reflected.

The "beasts" who go hand in hand with the interaction with the primitive powers, are not seen here on earth in any of Lewis' books. He proposes multiple creative events for both of his fantasy series, where these creatures appear.

And actually, there is at least one lesson in each Narnia book, reflective of the Christian faith - or Lewis' view of it anyway. Most have multiple arcs which involve each main character, and all are consistent with Christian teachings if you accept that Aslan is Narnia's face for Christ (hence the creatures offer homage to the Lion).

Tolkien again never mentions any Christian concept by name but the opening chapters of the Silmarillion take my breath away each time I read it. The arc of truth through the entire body of work is that a person can do no better, than to do one's best to do right, no matter what terrible circumstances he's given. And doing so can make a great difference in the course of events, even if one seems to fail miserably at the time. And not holding to this can lead to horrific consequences.

Oh, and if the Valar invite you to tea at their place, decline politely. But if they ask for a Silmarillion, better to agree. biggrin.gif
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Shepherdess 
Posted: 24-Jul-2007, 07:19 PM
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One other thing. As to my children being denied the use of their imagination. At their age there is plenty of scope for their minds in the actual physical world that they are just now starting to discover - I'd rather they learn that while frogs can swim, toads can't - and that cars with straight wheels go faster than cars with bent axles.

They exercise their imaginations making up epic tales and constructing universes to go with their various animals, figurines picked up at McDonald's rolleyes.gif bits of wood, funny shaped rocks - and even their hands and feet if they don't have an object to figure in the tale of the moment.

They are their parent's children and their eyes will fire up, I know, the first time we read Shakespeare, Morte d' Arthur, Arabian Nights, Beowulf, the Tale of Gilgamesh, or the Odyssey together. No need to rush. I'd rather feed them milk than candy now, so that later on their stomachs will be able to handle steak with ease.
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oldraven 
Posted: 24-Jul-2007, 08:11 PM
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Oh, I didn't make that comment to you in particular. It was for the original topic of sensoring children from Potter simply for including witchcraft. I have no idea what your kids are like or their ages even. wink.gif I meant no personal offense.

These books are not meant to be torn down page by page by experienced readers. They're meant to give kids something interesting that can be well wrapped up with their limited scope of understanding. Not many eight year olds can handle the Silmarillion (I haven't even read it yet), let alone Beowulf. If you were to look at the Potter series from a child's perspective I'm sure you'd find plenty of explanation. That is too say there is just enough universe to allow the reader to 'get on with the story'. Again, eight year olds don't have much patience for back story. I personally would have been mad about these books had they been on the shelves when I started reading heavily at fourteen. An age I'll admit as being late to the Potter game.

To me the bigger issue here is when our own personal worlds have real and frightening threats, why do we waste our time making a stink over something so trivial as what is effectively getting children to read, and love reading? This is no hate literature. It's children's fantasy. Something all children should be enveloped in.

I know my daughter will be allowed to choose what she wishes to read, so long as it is not harmful to the mind. In my opinion, allowing a mind to fully open can never cause harm. I'll just be excited to see her want to read from a source with full grammar. Meaning literature properly edited and in print, rather than quickly slapped down on a keyboard with no logical meaning whatsoever.
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Shepherdess 
Posted: 25-Jul-2007, 09:12 AM
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LOL. Well, there is that. PJ (eight) just finished The Boxcar Kids, which was one I didn't really like when I was his age, and is starting Hardy Boys which should keep him in good stead until he's twenty, or he realizes that every book has the same plotline, whichever comes first.

He's surprisingly interested in poetry so I've given him some baby versions of Tennyson, Blake, and Dickenson. When he was six he memorized the first eight lines of Canturbury Tales ("Cu cu"). This wasn't any drive on my part to produce a super genius or be a show-off - it was all his idea.

I was a really weird kid and missed out on a lot and my biggest goal is to make sure my kids grow up having been kids. I think part of that is not loading their heads down with the Big Questions of life and no way to find the answer and that's one of my quibbles with fantasy series like Harry Potter.

I think it IS important that a kid read those things and stop and say, "OK, Harry has to choose between an action that will save the World As We Know It, and saving his best friend's life. What led up to this situation? Could he have avoided it to begin with? What are the moral implications of each choice? Are there objective truths that could guide his actions (ie, it's wrong to directly take an innocent person's life)?"

But a six year old doesn't have the discernment and experience to reason in that way. Nor even an eight year old. In fact, it's been shown that analytical thinking on that level doesn't typically emerge until the teens - and that's only if the groundwork is well established during the concrete thinking years.

The thing is, that when a child devotes time to reading, or even watching a show, I feel it's important that they bring all their mental capacity up to that point, to bear on what's entering their minds. Otherwise, they get out of the habit of doing so in "real life". That gives them a disadvantage because real life throws nasty stuff at them - mommy's best friend getting sick and dying, the death of a pet lamb at the "hands" of their pet dog, daddy ending up in the hospital, mama and daddy having an argument.

Emotions are OK but getting in the habit of bringing reason, and their underlying value systems, to bear FIRST on any situation they are in, is a tool that will stand them in good stead for a lifetime.

"Whatever is true, honest, just, pure, beautiful, respectable - if you hear of virtue or praiseworthiness - keep your mind on these things." Phil 4:8 (paraphrase)
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Shepherdess 
Posted: 25-Jul-2007, 09:39 AM
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Oh, don't you hate it when people reply to themselves? wink.gif

I wanted to clarify this:
QUOTE
I think part of that is not loading their heads down with the Big Questions of life and no way to find the answer and that's one of my quibbles with fantasy series like Harry Potter.


What I mean is that many modern fantasy books like this have the same problems of inconsistency I was alluding to before. If PJ wants to read Melville or Tolkien or George Elliot or heck, even Douglas Adams or Asimov or Voltaire or Sartre, I'm cool with that because they are consistent. The answers are right there to the Big Questions. We'd have some nice long talks, I'm sure, but I'm good with that.

Believe it or not, I don't give him a lot of the modern "Christian" kid's literature either, for the same reason. Doesn't square with real life.

Actually, that reminds me - the Asimov Norby books were a lot of fun, I'll have to dig those out for him . . .

And you haven't read Silmarillion? Oh, say it isn't so! Tolkien's idea was to build a back story for British pre-Christian Celtic culture - but with the assumption under that, that the Judeo-Christian God is real, but essentially sanctioned the administration of creation to angelic-type spirits. Um, OK, sounds boring but - way not. It's not square with Christian thought but it's consistent within its own universe - the Big Questions have answers between the covers of the book.
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oldraven 
Posted: 25-Jul-2007, 10:25 AM
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Many of the books you noted in your posts have been on my list for quite a while. The remaining Tolkien books very high on that list. (Have you heard about the new Tolkien/Middle Earth book that was recently finished by his son? It is JRR's work, but unfinished in edited form. I'm very excited about it. http://www.theonering.com/articles/19956,1.html )

The books that really got me started were from a series by David Eddings called The Belgariad. They were incredible, but full of 'deeper meaning'. I read a lot of books like that. Maybe that's why I spend half of my life contemplating things I can't control or ever truley understand. wink.gif
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Muircheartach 
Posted: 28-Aug-2007, 03:59 PM
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Hi all,

I don't want to provoke anyone, but thought that I could provide something that would be of help... rolleyes.gif

Following the Harry Potter thread, several years ago I lead a study group at my church and at a bible study at work on HP - specifically, Connie Neal's book "What's a Christian to do with Harry Potter?". I read the book several times through before I suggested the study and I was surprised to get such an overwhelming acceptance to do the studies. Eveyrone in my groups said that they profitted from the study and could understand much better what was going on. I found that many Christians who are anti-HP are of that opinion because they listen to people who have never read the books and have either adopted a position that anything to do with magic is satanic, or (I heard this from two people) that J.K. Rowling is just out to make money at any cost, so all her books are bad.

The bottom line was this - when you look at the big picture of fantasy, C.S. Lewis, J.R.R.Tolkien, Walt Disney, George Lucas (Star Wars), L. Frank Baum (The Wonderful Wizard of Oz), Christopher Paolini (The Eragon Trilogy) and all the rest gave us great fantasy - whether you catagorized it as pure fiction or allegory (like Narnia, which shows Aslan the lion as the representation of Jesus Christ).

This is not to say that all fiction is good to read or watch and like Shepherdess mentioned, there are things that parents shouldn't let their children be exposed to until they can tell fiction from fact. I would further that thought by saying children of all ages - there are so many things out there that are not good to put into anyone's mind!

That being said, I've read all seven books of HP and even if the seventh was the most difficult for me to get through, I can understand both pros and cons to letting people be exposed to it. However, as my groups discussed several years ago, it doesn't really make very good sense to listen to a person talking about how much they love Star Wars or Lord of the Rings and criticise HP, since it's all fiction.

The topic of sin came up again and again in the studies and we came to the understanding that sin to one person isn't necessarily sin to another (like what the Apostle Paul spoke about in 1 Corinthians 8). I don't see a problem with HP, but my wife does, and she also dislikes anything to do with magic or fantasy of that kind. I respect this and don't flaunt HP in front of her, possibly accounting for the 32 happy years we've been married! smile.gif


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Siobhan Blues 
Posted: 27-Sep-2007, 02:57 PM
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QUOTE (oldraven @ 24-Jul-2007, 02:44 PM)
A great example of this misguided cause would be the love of the Christian community for Lewis' Narnia series. There is no mention of God, Christ or the Devil. We see both good and evil using magical powers, and even the appearance of Santa Claus. At one point many hooved men are bowing to a walking and talking animal. The world was discovered by a 'Magician's Nephew' when he places magical rings on his fingers and finds a limbo plane with many portals. The entire series, however, is accepted on the parallels to the Gospel in ONE of the books. I see no difference between one piece of Children's fantasy and another when they both teach of the triumph of good over evil.

The Narnia books are just fun, imaginative fantasy works written initially for the amusement of children. They indeed are not a Christian work, they are a Fantasy work... but as a Christian, C.S. took the opportunity to illustrate thru fiction the thing he believed to be true: there was once a hero who was blameless but took the punishment for someone elses transgression. This hero paid with his life, but unlike any other hero he was not defeated by death and returned to lead and love his followers.

I read that CS himself once said he hoped the reader would enjoy The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe and then at some point when they read the account of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ they would think hmm, that sounds familiar... and eventually explore this Christ to the point they would realize as CS did that THIS story is true.

Siobhan


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"All that is gold does not glitter, Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither, Deep roots are not reached by the frost.
From the ashes a fire shall be woken, A light from the shadows shall spring;
Renewed shall be blade that was broken, The crownless again shall be king..."
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