Letters to the Editor

Posted: Wednesday, December 26, 2001

Adults creating Harry Potter uproar; kids have always enjoyed fairy tales

What does God think of Harry Potter?

Well, let's see. God is the Creator of the Universe, of the Earth, of all the creatures of the Earth, and all the energies of the Cosmos. God loves. God inspires. God supports and promotes those things that bring us into a closer relationship with one another -- humans to humans; humans to other living things; humans to the Divine.

Now, what is Harry Potter all about? I would think that the general consensus would be that he's all about love, faithfulness, loyalty, perseverance under adversity, justice, fair play and commitment. All positive, God-affirming principles. But he's a witch! He uses magic! The Bible says all these awful things about magic and witches! He must be a servant of the Devil!

Really? How can that be? Harry Potter does only good. Are the opponents of Harry Potter implying that the Devil wants to promote good? That's odd. I was always told that the Devil was the adversary of God.

Ah, you say, but this is just the Devil's diabolical way of turning good Christian children away from God -- teach them to do good things, but introduce magic and witchcraft as the vehicle, so that they're really doing evil!

Convoluted thinking, isn't it? What about this -- what if we said that magic was just energy and God created energy, ergo God created magic, and therefore magic is good?

But, you say, the Bible speaks against magic and witchcraft! True, but the Bible also speaks against eating pork, shellfish and bottom-feeding fish. The Bible also says "Thou shalt not kill," yet the Israelites are told to commit genocide in order to acquire land and power. This same book encourages stoning people for minor offenses, animal sacrifice, wanton destruction of private property and a whole slew of unsavory (yet God-supported) practices.

Now, why is it OK for a "good" Christian to: wear garments of linen and wool (forbidden in Leviticus 19:19); cut his hair and beard (forbidden in Leviticus 19:27), or lend money with interest (forbidden in Leviticus 25:37), but magic is a huge "no-no"?

The point I'm trying to make is that the Bible is full of "do's" and "don'ts," and all of these words of wisdom and advice, written over 2,000 years ago, were designed to protect people from things they couldn't understand (the prohibition against eating certain foods was certainly linked to the risk of food poisoning), to promote positive social interactions (coveting your neighbor's stuff is not a good social practice), to enhance one's connection to God (hence the animal sacrifice, which culminated in the human sacrifice of Christ), and to generally encourage people to lead more productive and satisfying lives.

But here's the catch -- no where in the Bible does it say that you can choose to interpret some portions literally and other portions figuratively! So, you can either look at the Bible as an excellent tool to develop a closer relationship with God and this Universe He has created (meaning that the Bible can be interpreted figuratively and allowed to evolve to suit the changing times), or you can perceive the Bible as "the word of God" (meaning the entire Bible, even the parts that don't make sense or no longer apply to life in the 21st century, must be taken completely literally).

So, if you're going to condemn a children's fictional storybook, based on the literal writings found in the Bible (Old Testament, by the way), then you also must not cut your hair around the temples, or shave your beard, or wear makeup, or do any type of work on the Sabbath, or eat any forbidden foods, or ever marry outside of your own genetic ancestral lines, or ... the list goes on.

As for those of you who are concerned that the Harry Potter character will encourage good Christian children to set aside their Bibles in favor of a book of spells, consider this: If no one had raised such an uproar over this book to begin with, those same children would have never thought to investigate the matter further. Kids have been reading fairy tales for centuries without needing to race out and practice what they have read. It's only when the adults make a big stink about something that kids feel the need to see what all the fuss is about!

Chill, people! It's just a book. It's just a movie. It's only real if you make it so, and the more Christians scream about the threats of magic and witchcraft, the more real they will make magic and witchcraft! (Now, could that be the real diabolical plan here? That the Christians themselves will make magic "real"? Something to consider.)

Elaine Hall

Clam Gulch

More on Harry Potter: Real danger is religious fanatics, not fantasy tale

As you know, much has been written to the editor regarding the Harry Potter movie, "The Sorcerer and the Stone," recently. Most of the letters are very negative, claiming it's an evil, twisted, witchcraft-promoting and unholy movie, along with the several books that J.K. Rowling has written.

I do not feel this way at all. My children have read all the books. They have yet to see the movie, because we are waiting for it to come out on video so we can purchase it. Those adults who feel this movie is not appropriate, because it doesn't follow the Bible, need to get a grip. This movie was meant to do one thing, entertain the young and young at heart. Kids are not going to turn into witches and demons after watching the movie! If anything, it will give them something fun to imagine in a harmless way. Some adults are so quick to judge and point fingers about things of this nature, because they have lost the ability to stay young in their minds.

Our children have to grow up so fast these days as it is, with things rapidly changing day by day. Why not let them enjoy their youth? They have plenty of time to learn about the Bible, and worship God, when they are old enough to understand it. Kids are not allowed to be kids anymore, and that is a shame. Let their young minds enjoy being able to wonder, explore and enjoy fun movies without being judged.

I grew up in the late 1970s, attended high school in the 1980s and enjoyed lots of different music that my parents didn't care for. To this day, as I was then, I'm a KISS fan, and always will be. I listened to their music at the height of when it was thought the records played a "demonic" message if played backward. This, too, was found to be a ploy by religious fanatics who wanted to make the band out to be "Knights in Satan's Service." I remember my parents being worried when I began listening to their music, but it was only until I proved to them they were actually amazing artists, that all the rumors around our house stopped.

I grew up to be a good-standing citizen, not a devil worshiper, and had two wonderful kids. As a matter of fact, my kids love KISS! As with Harry Potter, I suppose there will always be religious fanatics out there who will go out of their way to spoil fun, all in the name of God, when in reality, they are pushing their beliefs onto the impressionable young. If you are a good parent, you will instill good values in your kids, so they can make those decisions as to what is right and wrong on their own.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying let your kids do what they want 24/7, but you have to teach them morals, and what is fake or real, or they learn nothing. You learn by doing and making mistakes, not by someone "telling" you how to live. I'm all for Harry Potter, as I love good fantasy tales, and so do my kids. I intend on letting them have an imagination while they still have time to be a kid. They are adults far longer than they are children.

Remember, you don't have to allow your kids to go see the movie, that is your right. Don't try and use religion as your basis of dislike, however, and try and compare it to what the Bible says. I don't believe that was the goal the writer had in mind. It was meant to expand your imagination! It's called freedom of speech and expression. If you don't like it, don't watch it. Don't ruin it for those of us who enjoy fantasy movies. Remember the movie "Legend"? I suppose with all the fairies and little troll-like creatures in that movie, it also would be deemed evil. Get real!

Kara Steele

Kenai



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