HARRY POTTER
HarrHarry Potter can be used to point to positive truths. This is the approach I would suggest, rather than making Harry Potter part of a Witch Hunt.
Review by Betty Hamm
and Annette Wierstra


HARRY POTTER
AND THE SORCERER'S STONE
(2001)


This page was created on November 3, 2001
This page was last updated on
June 9, 2005

END THE HARRY POTTER WITCH HUNT
Hollywood Jesus Newsletter #30
by David Bruce
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Review by
BETTY HAMM

bhamm@efcn.org

Movie Reviewer, Arts Director


Betty is happily married and serves as the Arts Director at the Evangelical Free Church, in Naperville. IL. (630)983-3232. She occasionally has a Chic Flic Night at her home (see Fried Green Tomatoes). She has an active interest in film. Some of her reviews include:
Best in Show, Brothers, Enemy at the Gates, Save the Last Dance, See Spot Run, Sweet November, Just Visiting, Mummy Returns, The Tailor of Panama, The Others Harry Potter and Score
Click to enlargeI read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer?s Stone. My reason was that any book that was causes this big of a stir, positive or negative, I needed to read and judge for myself. This ?fundamental Christian? enjoyed the book and looked forward to the movie. With a John Williams score, supporting actors such as John Hurt, and wonderful beings created in Jim Henson?s creature shop, I was not disappointed. I caught a 9:30 AM showing on a Friday with no school. I was worried it would be packed with noisy kids. I purchased my ticket an hour in advance and watched the theatre fill with moms and dads and kids ? some in costume. There was excitement in the room. Once the movie started, the audience quieted. I can understand the Harry Potter phenomenon. Harry is a delightful boy and the story cleverly portrays the trials of not fitting in. This I understand. I live in a world of Muggles, a world that does not understand me and does not love me.
If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. See how great a love the Father has bestowed upon us, that we should be called children of God; and such we are. For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know Him.
Click to enlargeEvery follower of Christ understands this. Harry lives with a family that hates him. I struggled with this. I struggled with this because I do not understand how someone could hate a child. I know we live in a world where children are abused, abandoned and killed, but I do not understand it.
Children are a gift from God, may a man have a quiver full.
Click to enlargeHarry receives a letter. Not an ordinary letter, but a letter that is addressed in such a way that Harry knows someone sees him and knows him. To Mr. Harry Potter in the cupboard under the stairs. We also have someone who knows us and loves us.
But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us. . .
Click to enlargeHarry discovers that there is another world, a world that was hidden to him, but is now open to him. In the same way there is much more to the world around us. Much more than what our eyes and ears can tell us. There is a spiritual world that is real, just as real as the world your eyes see.
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.
Click to enlargeHarry prepares to go off to school and soon finds out that instead of only having his cousin?s cast offs, he has an account in a bank that he may draw on for his needs. He did not know that his mother and father had left an inheritance for him. "He owns the cattle on 1,000 hills." His parents had provided for him and loved him just as our heavenly Father provides for us and loves us. In order to get to the train to take him to Hogwarts, Harry must take a leap or rather a run of faith. Off to school he goes where he quickly finds out that although he is a celebrity it is not a perfect world. Harry shows wisdom in choosing his friends which becomes very important later on.
Click to enlargeHarry Potter is filled with wonderful metaphors of how we should live. He has a David and Goliath-like battle with a troll. In the battle with evil a great sacrifice must be made. He is tempted by evil. The villain uses lies and half-truths in an attempt to lure Harry to his side. Very much like the tools of Satan, the father of all lies. Harry is told ?There is no good and evil, there is only power.? Harry?s response is ?You liar!?
For what does it profit a person to gain the whole world, and forfeit their soul?
And finally it comes down to love.
There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love.
I enjoyed Harry Potter. I enjoyed the fantasy, the battles, the story. It speaks to the desire of my heart that my battles make a difference. That I am not alone in the war against evil. That it is okay that I do not ?fit in? in this world, my citizenship is in heaven. Just as Jesus used the story pictures of His time, I believe Harry Potter can be used to point to truth. And that Truth is that Jesus sacrificed it all for you in order that you may have eternal life. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer?s Stone is the story of the struggle between good and evil, life and death, love and hate. It is the same struggle we face. We must choose. We can choose Christ and live. Or we can choose the world and die.
Jesus said to him, ?I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me.? Do not love the world, not the things in the world. If any one loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men, by which we must be saved.

And that name is Jesus.

-Betty Hamm

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REVIEW by
ANNETTE WIERSTRA
Email Me
Reporter, Writer

Annette is a writer and reporter living in Canada. Check out her in-depth interviews in Left Behind. Her reviews include Hollow Man, Chicken Run, Final Fantasy and What Lies Beneath

I have read all four Harry Potter books and I am anxiously waiting for the fifth. I have already seen the movie, which won't disappoint fans

I have heard all the fears and worries about Harry Potter but I find the majority of the people who express these fears haven't read the book.

There are so many Christian images in the movie. The central battle is a battle of good versus evil and Harry and the other character have to make really moral choices to save the school and the wizarding community.

At the heart of the story is Harry's survival and initial defeat of the evil Voldemort. His mother sacrifices her life to protect him and that love is what marks him and gives him protection against Voldemort. If that isn't biblical imagery I don't know what is.

It's rare that a book grabs so much attention. I think it's great that so many kids are reading. This is the perfect way to speak in the language of today's culture to non-Christians and show them how Jesus did the same thing for us. IF you are concerned about your children reading the book maybe you could use the same themes to talk to them about faith.

-ANNETTE WIERSTRA

Harry Potter main page -Review and Photos
HP more Reviews -Reviews by Hamm and Wiertra
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-Sol O Mann Top 10, Great HP Links
Harry Potter page 2 -Interview with JK Rowling, Vision of Dark & Light
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HARRY POTTER IS NOT WICCAN
Subject: Harry Potter
Date: Fri, 11 Jan 2002
From: Brian

WAY too many people assume that if he casts spells, Harry Potter must be a Wiccan.

At no point in the story is there any discussion of a higher power, neither the Christian God or the Male/Female forces of the Pagan ways. In fact, I've seen Star Trek characters in more chapels than Potter in any Temple...

There are no pentagrams, no explanations of the Rede or the Law of Three. No one is Skyclad (naked), no one has an athame. Even the 'familiars' are bought, sold and handed down, so there's no binding of souls between them and master. There are no ritual sacrifices (except for the unicorn, and that is more of a vampiric attack, the beast isn't sacrificed TO anyone).

Potter's spells are not cast by ritual invocation of any spirit or even by any lengthy incantation. He is born a wizard, and the purpose of the school is to teach him to control his own magical abilities. He points the wand, speaks Latin, and things happen. There isn't even a 'token Muggle' at the school to draw 'mundane' children into the magical world. Anyone saying this is a handbook for Satanism needs to learn what a handbook is, much less actual Satanism.

They celebrate Christmas in the school, which would have been a GREAT opportunity for a Wiccan-conspiracy director to point out the Pagan origins of the holiday we celebrate today (burning the Yule Log to let The Green Man free for the next spring, ). Personally, I would have pointed out that in some countries, it is traditionally a witch that brings the gifts, not a fat elf from a Coke commercial, as it would seem fitting in the general theme of the movie.

But, if people stop concentrating on the peripheral resemblance to what they might understand Wiccan to be, there are a lot of good messages in the movie. His main protection from the Evil One is not a Guardian Demon or any spell, but is based on his mother's love for him. He wins in the end because he is trying to save others, not to profit for himself. Evil Loses. All the time. Even the after-school-special evil of Malfoy and his house, and that's thru the good kids' bravery, intelligence and self-sacrifice. Where does the bible say THOSE are bad things....
Brian Lallatin
Sr. Specialist, Technical Training

Response: Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! -David

ARE ALL MOVIES OKAY?
Subject: harry_potter
Date: Thu, 10 Jan 2002
From: Kayle Vick

In all seriousness, I'm curious as to what your staff uses as a judgement and basis for movie viewing? Please explain to me what constitutes a movie Christians should not see.

What should I use as a guide when going to the theaters? Can I assume all "R" movies are okay? Is one naked scene okay? How about 7 scenes in a movie? What if it's extremely violent (even if the plot of the movie is good and faith is involved)? Please help me understand this so I do not live by a double standard. Thank you.

Response: Since "all things are lawful to you", you will have to set your own limits in terms of what is spiritually benefical to you personally. I can not ask you to be "subject to (some) one else's scrutiny." The important part here is "not be dominated by anything." Consider these scriptures: 1 Cor. 2:15: Those who are spiritual discern all things, and they are themselves subject to no one else's scrutiny. 1 Cor. 6:12: "All things are lawful for me," but not all things are beneficial. "All things are lawful for me," but I will not be dominated by anything. 1 Cor. 10:23: "All things are lawful," but not all things are beneficial. "All things are lawful," but not all things build up. -David

GO HARRY!
Subject: Harry_Potter
Date: Tue, 8 Jan 2002
From: Paul

I'm delighted (though hardly surprised) that you not only think well of the Harry Potter books and movie, but that you valiantly grapple with misguided Christians who condemn them.

Whether religiously or politically motivated, the obsessive self-righteousness of the censorious mind really has no shame. You should see the list, kept by a committee of the American Library Association, of books whose very existence on library shelves has been challenged by one party or another. Just about every acknowledged, beloved masterpiece of literature is there. Today Madeleine L'Engle, J.K. Rowling, and J.R.R. Tolkien are among their favorite candidates for extirpation, whereby these brilliant literary beacons of ethics, morality, and even faith for today's kids join the exalted company of Twain and Shakespeare.

This is insane; and when its perpetrators invoke Our Lord and Savior in the process, acutely embarrassing. Taking their lengthy blacklists as a whole, one can hardly escape the conclusion that what they really want is for The Good Book to be also the only book.

For such, I would recommend _Hard Times_, by Charles Dickens. Believing in nothing but palpable, material facts, Gradgrind was determined to eliminate any other consideration from the education of his two children. Deprived of all beauty and imagination, not only were their young lives extremely dismal, but they did not turn out well.

Alas, this portrayal being a work of literature and therefore suspect, such advice will probably go unnoticed by those most in need of it. Ignoring Dickens's warnings about causes and effects, they will have to suffer the effects first and then fumble their way back to the causes. Now that the two tallest buildings in our greatest metropolis have been wantonly toppled, and we scour the world for the guilty and what would make them do such a thing, we discover the so-called schools in the middle east and their young inmates, relentlessly drilled in a sacred scripture to the exclusion of all else.

Now, I ask those who would with-hold Harry Potter et al. from their own and others' children in the name of the Bible: just how, save maybe in degree, does your attitude differ from the operators' of those Wahhabist slave-schools?

If it isn't too forlorn to counter an evident general hostility to books with yet another book, let's glance finally at "The ethics of Elfland" from _Orthodoxy_ by G.K. Chesterton. Here a devout and conservative Christian apologist celebrates fairy tales, complete with magic and witchcraft, as forces on heaven's side. He points out how great is the faith of scientists in calling a regularity they observe a "law." It is nothing of the kind. "We do not count on it; we bet on it... it is the man who talks about 'a law' that he has never seen who is the mystic." It is more reasonable to say that "a tree grows fruit because it is a magic tree. Water runs downhill because it is bewitched."

Only a child who has this sense of joy and wonder in the world around him is likely to embark on the quest of discovering the God who made them.

Response: Thanks Paul, I always enjoy your comments. -David

HARRY POTTER COMMENT
Subject: Newsletter_31_Harry_Potter_Is_Dangerous
Date: Sat, 29 Dec 2001
From: Spota

Dear David:
I just stumbled upon your website today searching for reviews of the Harry Potter movie. I believe that we should be tolerant of the differences of opinion among brothers in Christ -- however, I was surprised at the "tone" and sarcasm of your answers. If you like the film -- that's o.k. -- but you seem to take it a step further, and really feel it necessary to DEFEND it. Something about your manner of response deeply bothers me. I wonder if we are reading the same Bible, because from your comments, it is difficult to see the fruits of the spirit in you.

I looked at your website because it had "Jesus" in the title and so I thought it would be from a Christian perspective. Surprisingly, you seem combative against Christians, and often "slam" them.

Response: Actual I thought the movie was weak and I do not defend it as great film making. It is reaction against it that I find curious. More specifically, it is the witch hunting by certain Christians that I dislike. Your comments are couched well, but your remark "I wonder if we are reading the same Bible" is as much a "slam" as anything I might say. Welcome to the club. -David

MOM SAYS DANGEROUS
Subject: Newsletter_30_Harry_Potter_Is_Dangerous
Date: Sat, 29 Dec 2001
From: Spota

I agree with your opinion that SOME Christians look for devils behind every bush -- however, I do have some reservations about introducing concepts of witchcraft to young children. As a teenager, I was very interested in the supernatural... God, as well as the occult. I read lots of astrology books, had my tarot cards read, and was interested in communicating with the dead. I think you will agree that all of these things are forbidden by God. What began as an innocent curiosity became an obsession with me -- I began to believe what my cardreader told me, and every time I had a problem or question, I couldn't wait to consult her.

As an adult, I became a born-again Christian. Based upon my background, I am alarmed to hear parents telling their kids that witchcraft and satanism is "just fantasy" or "just pretend". If you do not believe that Satan is alive and real -- you are mistaken. I don't believe he is just focused on bad people, or evil people -- he has already won them. I believe that Satan's last frontier is the Church -- and the minds of our children. That is who Satan came to kill, steal and destroy -- the children of God.

I do not want to return to the days of witchhunts; however, I believe that we, as Christian parents, must be careful to analyze the books and movies we are allowing our children to consume. There is a Black Dog and a White Dog in all of us. Whichever one you feed grows.

Response: Thank you for being a concerned mom. Harry Potter, to me, is fantasy and in no way underscores anything I know of Witch Craft in the real world. Apples and Oranges. -David

JUST SAY NO
Subject: Newsletter_30_Harry_Potter
Date: Thu, 27 Dec 2001
From: Wendy Pirtle

Harry Potter is about witchcraft. The first verse I could find on God's view of the subject was Exodus 22:18, "Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live." While we do not put witches to death in our present culture, that does not mean Christians should be ambivalent toward witchcraft. Verse 19 states, "Whosoever lieth with a beast shall surely be put to death." (What does bestiality have to do with Harry Potter? And how does the fantasy "witchcraft" in Harry Potter connect with the pagan witchcraft mentioned in Exodus 22:18? The same Exodus chapter also says that we are to stone a non-virgin bride to death (verses 20-21). Further it commands a rape victim to marry to marry the rapist! (verse 28). The chapter is extremely problematic. It is especially difficult to make a direct connection such anceint Israelite laws and modern day fantasy/fairy tales. Would you advocate killing non-virgins? Would you advocate victims marrying their rapists? Of course not. I am sorry to be so blunt. But I get tired of scripture being used out of context. The verses you carefully selected and use against fairy tales and fantasy, come from a text that has a very different context and self apparent application, indeed. Apples and oranges. -David)

Deuteronomy 18 has a whole list under the heading of "Abomination to God": making children pass through fire, divination, soothsaying, observing omens, enchanter, witch, sorcerer, charmer, medium, wizard, necromancer; also man lying with man as with a woman. Seems quite clear to me. (Perhaps to you. But I say nothing of your biblical list in Harry Potter. I know Christians have a long history of taking things of paganism and turning them to the use for God's glory. But I believe Harry Potter is trying to use Christian values to make it's not-so-subtle wickedness more palatable to us. I choose not to allow it in my life or my children's lives. Just as I explained that we don't support Pokemon because it is wrong to make your pets fight. (I appreciate your motherly concerns. Bravo! Please do watch being overly protective. -David)

There are so many wonderful things in literature and film that are truly worthy that I see absolutely no reason to be entertained by questionable material. (Is Lord of the Rings and CS Lewis okay? What about the fantasy wizards in those books? Do you forbide Star Wars? Are the Wizard of Oz, Peter Pan, Cinderella, and Mary Poppins unfit for your children? Etc. Etc. Etc. -David)
Wendy Pirtle

HP, LOTR AND ENGLISH LIT 101
Subject: Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings
Date: Fri, 21 Dec 2001
From: Tom Orr:

David: An interesting and lively dialogue on these tales. I won't add a lot right now except to say that Tolkien and Rowling fall squarely into a long and honorable English story-telling tradition dating back to Malory, Spenser, and Shakespeare, in which sorcery, magic, and enchantment serve as metaphors of the quest for knowledge and power, which, of course, is at the heart of the greatest story ever told in the New Testament. William Blake said, "Imagination is the divine body of Christ." These are tales of imagination, not manuals on witchcraft. May the saints preserve us from book-burners and the soothsayers of ignorance. David, God bless you in your good work through hollywoodjesus.com.
Grace and peace.
--Tom Orr

Response: You are so right. Thanks for the kind words. I appreciate them. -David

ENJOYED ALL THE VIEWS
Subject: Harry_Potter
Date: Tue, 18 Dec 2001
From: Pat

Hi, I've read all the comments posted and enjoyed all the various views. I particularly liked Kim's (Nov. 14th) & Maggi's (Nov. 15th). And I was impressed by parents who took the time to read the books before allowing their young children to read them. That is love and committment as a parent. Although, I must say that I am saddened by the anger against another follower of Christ just because he/she does not agree with his/her opionion. I wonder if these people ever question why young girls turn to wicca. Do they ever wonder why our churches are not reaching these people. Have our churches become stumbling blocks to the young? I have just finished reading, "Too Christian Too Pagan" by Dick Staub. It was a real eye opener for me.
Blessings, Pat

Continued

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