Gary: You are listening to Search the Scriptures Daily, a radio ministry of The Berean Call. Still to come, Dave and Tom continue their weekly in-depth examination of the doctrine of salvation. Please stay tuned.
Now, Contending for the Faith. In this regular feature of our program, Dave and Tom respond to questions from listeners and readers of The Berean Call. Here is this week’s question:
“I’ve read some reviews of the very popular British books the Harry Potter series. The reviews were mostly favorable, even though the books have generated some controversy. What do you guys think about the Harry Potter books?”
Tom: Dave, as you know and some of our listeners know, we’ve been going over the seduction of our youth, and we’ve dealt with all of the things that are out there that have encouraged kids to get involved in occultism, and certainly I know there are mixed reviews of these books, but I don’t think anyone would deny that kids are exposed and encouraged to occultism through the Harry Potter series.
Dave: Well, some people might try to argue that. They would argue on this basis, that Harry was born a wizard, and that – what are they called? – muggles, or…
Tom: Yeah, those who are outside the world of fantasy, the mundane, everyday people like you and me, and particularly those who see occultism, sorcery, magic, witchcraft, as something evil or demonic even. That would be the world of the muggles.
Dave: They’re the ones that can’t do this. You have to be born into this world of Harry Potter. So some people say, “Well, you see, that is therefore not encouraging them, because it’s not holding it out for everybody.” On the other hand, I think they’d be hard-pressed to find a child who wouldn’t have some ambition to maybe develop these powers, and they’re taught these powers in the school that Harry Potter goes to.
Tom, it’s a difficult situation to discuss in a very brief time that we have, lest people think that we’re just against everything. We’re not against everything, we’re only against what God is against. There are those who would say, “Well, how is this different from fairytales?” I can’t even remember as a child, you know, how I took fairytales. I don’t think I took them seriously. We live in a world today where science fiction is no longer fiction, but it’s held out there as a possibility. You can gain these powers through scientific means. I mean, we’re advancing so rapidly (space travel and so forth), and you get that all mixed in with magical powers. So it’s something that a child could aspire to. But they would say, “Well, it does…” I’m reading here from a Catholic review – this is from Our Sunday Visitor, November 7, 1999. That’s a very conservative and major Catholic paper, and they give a rather favorable review. It’s a bit mixed, but on the whole, it’s favorable. It says – let me quote it: “That’s not to say that Rowling’s [that’s the author] books are a clear Christian allegory, but they do show that in Harry Potter’s world, good is good and evil is seen as and is called evil.” Now, that sounds okay. I guess in the Star Wars film series, there’s good is good and evil is evil. There’s a dark side and a light side of the force, but it’s not a biblical basis for evil. God is the one who defines evil. In fact, sin is coming short of the glory of God, and you can’t really know what sin is and what evil is and who Satan is unless you know who God is, and God is absent from the Harry Potter books. There is no Christian viewpoint given at all. So that concerns me that people get a wrong impression of what is good.
Then we have white witches today! They claim to only do good, but they have witchcraft, so why not aspire to be a white witch? Surely I wouldn’t want to be a bad wizard, you know?
Tom: But as we’ve said before, there really isn’t any difference…
Tom: …so why not pick the side that’s most exciting and offers the most as long as you’re getting involved? There’s no morality here.
Dave: Charles Coulson gave a review in which he said, “Well, for those of you out there that might be – parents that might be concerned about this, don’t worry. This is not the occult, but Harry’s magic is purely mechanical.” A Ouija board, I supposed you could say, is mechanical. What about a crystal ball, tarot cards, astrology, the movement of the stars, and so forth? So I…
Tom: Dave, let me take you off the hook here.
Dave: All right.
Tom: You see, now maybe this is just my simple mind, but we’ve been going over weeks and weeks and weeks your book, Occult Invasion. The Bible condemns sorcery, witchcraft, occultism, and this book, that’s the heart – these series, that’s the heart of it! For whatever reason Harry’s involved, or whatever side he’s on, you know, in the world of fantasy, whatever, the point is the books are heavily based upon and that’s their attraction, it’s the wizards’ world!
Dave: Yes, and this is commended, because Harry is the good guy, and he uses it for good. You’re right, Tom. So we’re commending witchcraft and wizardry, but only if you use it for good? That’s not biblical.