Thursday, 18 January 2018

Blogtext: How evil is Harry Potter?

As on every other issue there is a deep division between those who think  that the world of Harry Potter is of the Evil one and those who love, cherish, live and honour it.

I confess to have never read one chapter of any of the books, I have not seen more than snippets of a few of the films on TV, and although I saw at least four different shops selling Harry Potter and other witchcraft paraphernalia in the Shambles in York alone, I have never been tempted to buy a cloak that might make me invisible, or whatever it will do for my flying ability. I have observed close hand people caught up in the Hogwarth world however and followed the hype. Close at hand.

Like all other multimillion business enterprises the entire success depends on the grip that Harry Potter gets on the minds of the readers. If the storyline did not find a ready harbour in the minds of people, giving them "something to feed their need" then the story would have been merely a literary exercise in the realm of fantasy literature. And there is plenty of that, for better or worse, on the shelves. Some of it is from christian authors and is as well received by the public as the Potter Emporium. Case in point: The C S Lewis Narnian Chronicles, or the Tolkien Mega Hits about the famous quest for the Ring. Are those 'better' or less 'bad' because they are written by men who believed in the God of the Bible, if they did, than the works of J K Rowling who seems to ignore that issue altogether?


Apart from individual preferences and pure caprice, who is to say that any fairy story is morally right or wrong? If it brings people to a wider awareness of the world at large and adds new instruments of discernment, then fine. There are many ways to enter into the unseen realities behind that which seems to be. Live and let live? Right?

But!

Those who see no evil in Potter and those who see it as utterly seductive and negative, lack common ground for thinking one or the other. There are two distinct and very different positions regarding good or bad, right or wrong. Unless you have that as basis for any discussion about it, then the conversation is bound to be rather much a matter of lobbing hand-grenades over verbal barriers.

Two mutually exclusive and different views


1.) Every thing is relative, there is no ultimate right or wrong but what we chose to call so. There are no absolutes, each human has to be allowed the right to decide for itself, that is the true meaning of freedom. We have the inner quality of making right judgments if we would but listen to our inner voice. If a majority believes Potterism to be good, that must be decisive. "They can't all be wrong"! 

2.) There is a universal standard of what is right or wrong which does not arise out of human consensus, but is independent of what any man or woman thinks. It is a standard above and beyond the capriciousness of changing fads, it follows not the changes of the times over time but is like a buoy fixed in the flow of the river. No matter how much water and debris flows down the stream, the buoy stays and marks the dangerous rock on which the vessel will strand, yesterday, today and tomorrow. The flow of water in  the furrow does not change the danger in the deep.

The absurdity of relativism

There is both moral and intellectual dishonesty in the first position. Intellectually because if the statement about the relativity is to be taken literally then it contradicts itself. "Everything is relative" is an absolute statement.  Allowing no exception from the rule it rules that there is an absolute while denying the very existence of it. If everything is relative then no position on any issue is better or worse, because nothing that exists can be anything but relative to the other existing views and positions. All being equal then all are both wrong and right.
In fact wrong and right, good or evil cease to be meaningful categories. If something can be good one day and bad the next, chaos is the order of every day.

Only the majority view, the majority having the might to decide what is more right, can then be made into law. But no law can be claimed to be absolute, and when governments change, the previous rights may well become wrongs. Leaving the people in a constant flux of deciding either to change their morals or to fight against the new ones, begs the issue. It is not because they know whether either is right but because they don't like change that they fight. If ethics and morals are found to be based on Might only, then Might makes things Right, even when disastrous, and then madness sets in. 

Apply such relativism to the every day traffic for 15 minutes and you will see where it leads us. Exactly nowhere! One major traffic jam with zero mobility. And considerable loss of human lives.

The relative view is also helpless against new majorities. We do not think that rape is a desirable human trait and although it is a miserable reality it still is not elevated to the status of a law in the post christian cultures of the western European strands. Rule by rape is however a matter of fact by considerable masses in tribes in Africa and Asia and the Middle East, and the entire Muslim world, 1.6 billion, say that a woman who walks unaccompanied by a male and with uncovered head has only herself to blame for being raped.  Do those who defend a relativistic morality not see that their standards are nothing but a figment of imagination resting on quicksand? The day that the other Might takes over, Right becomes Wrong and Wrong becomes Right.


The Solidity of the Universal standard

The second and utterly contrary position is that of the biblical described set of absolutes. They begin with the creator and the creator's right to assert the principles and rules for how that creation is to be maintained. In every new book there is a phrase: "The author's right to this publication has been determined by law" or some such phrase. Jewish and christian morality takes it's starting point from the same insight. At least in theology and on paper. God, the HaShem, the YHWH of the Yeshua has asserted His right to His entire creation and His rules are not fluid or fickle. They are based in Himself, they are not mere expedients of temporary consideration. They are as eternal and as unchangeable as God is in the God self. He (for as a He he identifies himself) asserts His right to decide what is good or evil. "Be holy as I am holy" is the standard. If holiness did not have a fixed content it would not be holiness but 'anything goes-ness'.


So how about 'Harry Potter'? How about 'The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe'. One christian and the other not at all. The literary use of the witch in  the writings of C S Lewis is totally on par with that of the magicians in the Potter books. They are instrumental to the stories as they appeal to something inside of the readers. It does not mean that the reader necessarily and literally starts believing in the existence, power and claims of either. But they symbolize things in the inner world of imagination.They may titillate the imagination of the powerless to assume control over their destinies. They are helpful and useful in extrapolating some of our darker desires for world control onto some thing outside ourselves. If I am under the spell of a witch anything I do is not my fault! Various strong elements are included in the charms and incantations of the magicians.Together they are a powerful means of taking over the inner life of the individual. 

"If they have nothing inside them to stand against it."

In the absolutes of God sorcery is on par with things like incest, homosexuality and all forms of idolatry. 
"You shall not allow a woman who practices sorcery to live. Whoever lies with an animal must be put to death. He who sacrifices to any god other then to the Lord alone, shall be put under a ban for destruction." Exodus 22:18-20
"For he rebuilt the idolatrous high places which his father Hezekiah had torn down; and he set up altars for the Baals and made the Asherim, and worshipped all the host of heaven and served them. He built pagan altars in the house of the Lord, of which the lord had said, "My Name shall be in Jerusalem for ever." He built altars for all the host of Heaven.. he made his sons pass through the fire as an offering to his gods in the valley of Ben-hinnom; and he practiced witchcraft, used divination, and practiced sorcery, and dealt with mediums and spirits. He did much evil in the sight of the Lord, provoking him to anger."2 Chron 33:3-6
"Now the practices of the sinful nature are clearly evident: They are sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality,(total irresponsibility and lack of self control), idolatry, sorcery, hostility, strife, jealousy. fits of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions promoting heresies, envy, drunkenness, riotous behaviour, and other things like these. I warn you before hand, just as I did previously, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God." Gal 5:19-21
"Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit or have any share in the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived, neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate by perversion, nor those who participate in homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers nor swindlers will inherit or have a share in the kingdom of God." 1 Cor 6:9f
Where is every man or woman on earth? In the kingdoms of men. That is never the kingdom of God as such. "My kingdom is not of this world" In order to enter that Kingdom, you must acknowledge the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords and bow your knee to him and you must repent of whatever life style you had before and accept the fact that God has the right to decide what is right or wrong. Becoming a christian means accepting God's own holiness as the standard of what is good or bad, right or wrong. If that is not your concern, read no further.


To him who is pure everything is pure, and nothing can separate us from the Love of God, not even the reading of all the Harry Potter books. That purity is not self achieved by us, but is the imparted life and nature of Jesus Christ in us. To them that are outside the kingdom with no wish to enter it it matters not at all.

They may however be inspired to find the  answers to the eternal questions in the imaginations of the Potter books, answers that are already given by God, elsewhere. They will not soon be lead to the requirements of God's word but to the very sources God forbids. If Harry Potter prevents people from the Word of God, then it is truly evil. Only God is Good.

Are there many christians filled with the Holy Spirit among the Harry Potter fan club members? (There are preciously few even among church goers.)


If they want the real answers to the real questions then J K Rowling is a broken reed to be leaning on. By all means, if you want to use the time at hand in the short span of your life to read all about a world that is forbidden by God for you to enter, then read what you will. But don't then be surprised at being found outside the Kingdom when it's doors close.

If you adhere to the 'everything is relative' then you also lack the ability to discern between that which is allowed by God and that which is forbidden. It is not forbidden because it does not exist, but because it leads you away from God.

So how evil is Harry Potter? As bad as everything else that prevents you from turning to God while you have that option. It is as bad even as the worship of the bible instead of God. Or the life of the Snooker world, the Premier League, La Liga or your personal brand of religion.

If there is an absolute standard, if there is a plumb-line held up in the midst of us, that is what shows if something is good or bad. It is not our own arbitrary ideas that count, or a majority vote that defines that.


"The Sum of your word is Truth, Oh God."

Teddy Donobauer, Doncaster 18th of January 2018

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