Harry Potter

This tag is associated with 6 posts

Really Recommended Posts 8/19/16- singing the Psalms, the Ontological Argument, and more!

snowl-owl-post-arpingstoneHello friends! Another week has passed and it’s time to kick back on Friday and relax with some Really Recommended Posts that I’ve collected for your perusal. This edition is a snowy owl edition for two reasons. 1) New Harry Potter Book (check out my post on it here); 2) hopefully it will bring in colder weather. By the way, if you ever have suggestions for future Really Recommended Posts, let me know!

The Ontological Argument– check out this page and video from William Lane Craig at Reasonable Faith that gives the basics of the ontological argument. Be sure to also check out my own posts on the topic.

Response to Peter Jones on “Conservative Moms” and “Stunted Masculinity”– Here’s a thoughtful response to a surprising accusation from a pastor who argues for men leading in the home. His argument is basically that, despite doing everything right, “conservative moms” are the ones responsible for “stunted masculinity” that comes from their male children.

“You Lift My Head” based on Psalm 3– A frankly beautiful song that is based on a Psalm. Overview Bible is also going through all the Psalms to try to make a hymnbook that includes every single one. Check it out and follow this excellent site.

A 60,000 Year Varve Record from Japan Refutes the Young-Earth Interpretation of Earth’s History– Did you know that varves, tree rings, and radiocarbon dating align on coming up with dates? It’s awfully hard to just dismiss this kind of interwoven evidence. How could they line up if they are are faulty ways to date the age of the Earth?

“Harry Potter and the Cursed Child”- A Christian Perspective- Re-enchantment, Grace, and Loyalty

hpccThe new Harry Potter book is out, and people all over the world are diving back into the series. What kind of world does the latest adventure depict? How might Christians interact with the book? There will be SPOILERS in what follows. There will also obviously be SPOILERS for any other books in the series.

Harry Potter and Christianity… what?

Some may immediately object to the notion that Christians can or should interact with something like Harry Potter. What I say likely won’t convince anyone. But what I would say is that Harry Potter helps re-enchant the world, and our world is in great need of re-enchantment. The Bible speaks of a world created by God, inhabit by angels and demons, and full of the miraculous. The world we most often observe is utterly mundane in comparison: a world which we often think we have entirely figured out.

Harry Potter, however, opens the door to re-enchantment. The world of Harry Potter is magical–and the wonder of magic is similar to the wonder that readers have the first time they enter that certain Wardrobe from the Spare Room or see the White Wizard reappear. It’s a world that moves beyond the mundane and speaks to something more. And Christianity teaches that there is something more. The world is not just what we see with our eyes–it is a world that is utterly enchanted, full of mystery, and created by a loving God.

What’s more, the Harry Potter story so far ended in a kind of re-telling of the Messianic story. Potter laid down his life for his friends, was resurrected, and saved them. It’s a familiar story with different trappings, but one that each generation must learn anew.

Grace

One of the most important themes in “Cursed Child” is grace. Harry must have the grace to love his son, Albus, despite the imperfections. Albus must forgive his father and show grace to him to begin healing their relationship. Albus must learn the lesson Harry learned long before–that grace can defeat evil. He spares Delphi, an act of grace, despite her deserving great punishment. It’s a lesson that is brought forward time and again. In every relationship mentioned in the book, grace is needed to help heal wounds of doubt, of barbed words, and more.

Loyalty

Loyalty is another theme that shows up time and again throughout the series, and Serverus Snape’s loyalty to Lily and Dumbledore is perhaps the greatest example. Even in the alternative future that Albus visits, Snape remains loyal to the memory of Lily and his promises to Dumbledore. He fights alongside those who, in some cases, he has every reason to despise, at least historically.

That history is another major theme of the book: does one’s past determine one’s present and future? Delphi felt as though she must follow a prophecy that would allow her to be reunited with her father. Snape had to get beyond the history that he had with Harry’s father to continue the fight against darkness in an alternative future. Harry and his son Albus’ relationship is strained both by their own history and by the history of Harry. Who you are, it seems near the beginning, is determined by what you–or your parents–were. But that myth is dispelled as it becomes apparent that current action and decisions can break away from the bonds of history. Through the power of grace, as already mentioned, relationships may be healed, people may move forward.

But is it good?

Okay, okay, we get it. There are themes that interact with Christianity in Harry Potter. Is the new book worth reading?

I’d say absolutely, for fans of the series already. It’s not as detailed as the novels are, because it’s a script. But it is a good script, and the characters do develop quite a bit. There are some moments that will make you gleeful as you pick up references to previous books. The main complaint I’d have is that because it is a script, there is so little description of the environment and the characters’ internal struggles–something Rowling excels at. It’s a good entry in the series that won’t make you completely disappointed, but it isn’t as fabulous as the previous books in the series.

Links

Be sure to check out the page for this site on Facebook and Twitter for discussion of posts, links to other pages of interest, random talk about theology/philosophy/apologetics/movies and more!

Popular Books– Read through my other posts on popular books–science fiction, fantasy, and more! (Scroll down for more.)

SDG.

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The preceding post is the property of J.W. Wartick (apart from quotations, which are the property of their respective owners, and works of art as credited; images are often freely available to the public and J.W. Wartick makes no claims of owning rights to the images unless he makes that explicit) and should not be reproduced in part or in whole without the expressed consent of the author. All content on this site is the property of J.W. Wartick and is made available for individual and personal usage. If you cite from these documents, whether for personal or professional purposes, please give appropriate citation with both the name of the author (J.W. Wartick) and a link to the original URL. If you’d like to repost a post, you may do so, provided you show less than half of the original post on your own site and link to the original post for the rest. You must also appropriately cite the post as noted above. This blog is protected by Creative Commons licensing. By viewing any part of this site, you are agreeing to this usage policy.

Really Recommended Posts 2/13/15- Sci-fi, Genesis 1, Professor Snape, and more!

firebird-tyersWhew, burning the midnight oil to get this one written by Friday! I ask for your prayers for uninterrupted sleep, dear readers. Still sleep training little man and boy is he stubborn! Anyway, I have here an assortment of great reads for you. We have a biblical look at the length of the days of creation, an interview with the great sci-fi author (and woman of faith!) Kathy Tyers, a response to 50 Shades of Grey, a look at companies who profit off porn, and Harry Potter. Oh yeah, that’s all right here for your perusal! As always, let me know what you think–I love to read your thoughts. Be sure to let the authors know your appreciation as well.

Biblical Reasons to Doubt the Creation Days Were 24-hour Periods– One of the most frequently repeated canards of the Young Earth Creationist side is that anyone who isn’t YEC is somehow undermining the Bible. Here’s a post from the conservative site The Gospel Coalition on some reasons to doubt the notion that strict literalism must be held regarding the length of creation days.

Interview with Kathy Tyers– Kathy Tyers is the author of the exceedingly awesome Firebird Trilogy (link to my post on the books) along with its sequels. She is also the New York Times Bestselling author of two Star Wars novels. Here’s an interesting interview about her body of work, her faith, and more!

50 Shades of Broken– Okay, I know there are a ton of posts out there on 50 Shades of Grey and Christian responses, etc. I still think this one is the one to read. I have a mind to respond to a specific post about the book, but this post itself presents the notion that our sexuality is broken, and the popularity of the book points to that.

Companies Who Profit Off Porn– Time to give these companies some feedback about their profiting off porn.

Someone Put Snape’s Scenes in Chronological Order and it will Make You Feel Things– Harry Potter is a series with some major moral and philosophical points to think about throughout the series. Here is a spoiler-laden set of the scenes of Professor Snape from the movies in chronological order, which reveals (SPOILERS HERE:) how his self-sacrifice ultimately preserved Harry’s life and by extension saved the wizarding world. Yes, there are major themes of redemption and sacrifice in Harry Potter. Check out my posts on the movies and books here.

 

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2: A Christian’s View, Redux

I’ve made no secret of the fact that I’m a huge Harry Potter fan. I think the books are phenomenal, and the movies have often been just as great. What interests me, as usual, is how the Christian can relate to this extraordinarily popular series.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2 released on Blu-Ray and DVD today. I was at the midnight showing with my wife (then fiancee) when the movie came out in theaters. The best description I can give of our feelings when it ended is this: bittersweet. The series is over. The books and movies are no longer coming. This is the end! Or is it?

THERE ARE MAJOR PLOT SPOILERS BELOW

That is the feeling I got throughout the movie. Is death the end? The movie takes little time to get going. Soon, viewers are thrust into the epic final conflict in which Harry Potter rushes to destroy all the horcruxes (pieces of the evil Lord Voldemort’s soul) in order to finally defeat his enemy. Things get going fairly well. Harry shows up at Hogwarts again with resounding support. He quickly uses his allies to take back the school and set it up for a final showdown with evil. As his friends battle the forces of darkness closing in around them, Harry searches frantically for another horcrux while Hermione and Ron locate a basilisk fang–one of the only things capable of destroying these pieces of soul.

But once both Harry and Hermione/Ron have achieved their missions, the goal is still only close at hand. They must destroy Nagini, Voldemort’s snake (and another horcrux). They immediately set off to find the snake and witness the murder of Professor Snape–who turns out to be a double-agent after all. The fact that he killed Dumbledore turns out to not show his final betrayal, but the depth of his loyalty. But from Snape’s dying memories, Harry gleans the truth: Harry himself is an unintentional horcrux. When Voldemort killed Harry’s parents, he sealed part of his soul inside Harry. So Harry must die if evil is to be defeated.

Harry goes willingly to his death. He meets Voldemort among his followers, and allows himself to be killed. But it turns out that this is not the end. Dumbledore had sealed the Resurrection Stone inside a gift to Harry. This stone allows Harry to speak with his dead friends and family. Harry, once dead, is made alive once more after a discussion with Dumbledore. Harry awakens in a pivotal scene in which Voldemort is announcing his victory over all wizards, and he and Voldemort battle in a final, epic showdown in which Harry overcomes evil once and for all.

Christians reading this should be sensing some interesting underlying themes here. Harry Potter is innocent–he’s thrust into the events upon him. He willingly goes to his death, knowing it is literally the only way to defeat evil. And, once he’s died, he is resurrected, back to finally bring about his victory over Voldemort. Yeah, it seems Rowling might have borrowed a bit from the story of Jesus.

What explains the astounding popularity of the Harry Potter series? J.K. Rowling has weaved a series of books which tie together in sometimes amazing ways. What seem like random details and “fluff” in one book turn out to be of immense importance later in the series. Each book, mostly self-contained, features a different thrust. Yet they are all tied through broad overarching themes. But could it be that there is another theme, oft-ignored in discussions of Harry Potter? It seems so. The climax of the series occurs in the death and resurrection of Potter. The Christian story culminates in the same. Potter is fiction, but his tale, so wonderfully complex, leads us to the story of Christ. He had to die for the sake of all–Voldemort would have overcome. Jesus, similarly, had to die for the sake of all–lest sin and the devil overcome.

This parallelism with Christianity was not revealed until the final book, yet perhaps it can explain how Rowling was able to make the conclusion to her epic so satisfying. She was telling a story we all knew. She was telling us, in a very different way, what must happen for evil to be overcome. Her story is fiction, Christianity’s story is real. What we want to believe in (Harry Potter) is what many of us do believe (Christianity). Whether intentional or not (and I think it was intentional), Rowling wrote a story which resonates deeply with Christianity’s own. And her fiction points us towards the greater reality.

Christians, I encourage you to read and watch Harry Potter. The books and movies are just phenomenal pieces of literature and filmography. Think of the themes that are woven throughout the books. Think of the final showdown between good and evil. And think of Jesus while you do so. You’ll find that within Potter, we discover hidden truths of our own faith.

But hey, you don’t really have to think of all these themes. And it’s highly questionable whether these parallels are intentional or not. It’s okay to just enjoy the movies anyway. My point is that, as a Christian, I saw these themes. And I found it thrilling.

Links

I discuss a number of other popular movies and books. If you liked Harry Potter, check out The Hunger Games and John Carter.

SDG.

——

The preceding post is the property of J.W. Wartick (apart from citations, which are the property of their respective owners) and should not be reproduced in part or in whole without the expressed consent of the author. All content on this site is the property of J.W. Wartick and is made available for individual and personal usage. If you cite from these documents, whether for personal or professional purposes, please give appropriate citation with both the name of the author (J.W. Wartick) and a link to the original URL. This blog is protected by Creative Commons licensing. By viewing any part of this site, you are agreeing to this usage policy.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, A Christian’s thoughts

I’ve made no secret of the fact that I’m a huge Harry Potter fan. I think the books are phenomenal, and the movies have often been just as great. What interests me, as usual, is how the Christian can relate to this extraordinarily popular series.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2 released over the weekend. I was at the midnight showing with my fiancee. The best description I can give of our feelings when it ended is this: bittersweet. The series is over. The books and movies are no longer coming. This is the end! Or is it?

THERE ARE MAJOR PLOT SPOILERS BELOW

And that is the feeling I got throughout the movie. Is death the end? The movie takes little time to get going. Soon, viewers are thrust into the epic final conflict in which Harry Potter rushes to destroy all the horcruxes (pieces of the evil Lord Voldemort’s soul) in order to finally defeat his enemy. Things get going fairly well. Harry shows up at Hogwarts again with resounding support. He quickly uses his allies to take back the school and set it up for a final showdown with evil. As his friends battle the forces of darkness closing in around them, Harry searches frantically for another horcrux while Hermione and Ron locate a basilisk fang–one of the only things capable of destroying these pieces of soul.

But once both Harry and Hermione/Ron have achieved their missions, the goal is still only close at hand. They must destroy Nagini, Voldemort’s snake (and another horcrux). They immediately set off to find the snake and witness the murder of Professor Snape–who turns out to be a double-agent after all. The fact that he killed Dumbledore turns out to not show his final betrayal, but the depth of his loyalty. But from Snape’s dying memories, Harry gleans the truth: Harry himself is an unintentional horcrux. When Voldemort killed Harry’s parents, he sealed part of his soul inside Harry. So Harry must die if evil is to be defeated.

Harry goes willingly to his death. He meets Voldemort among his followers, and allows himself to be killed. But it turns out that this is not the end. Dumbledore had sealed the Resurrection Stone inside a gift to Harry. This stone allows Harry to speak with his dead friends and family. Harry, once dead, is made alive once more after a discussion with Dumbledore [thanks to an astute reader for making this point more clear]. Harry awakens in a pivotal scene in which Voldemort is announcing his victory over all wizards, and he and Voldemort battle in a final, epic showdown in which Harry overcomes evil once and for all.

Christians reading this should be sensing some interesting underlying themes here. Harry Potter is innocent–he’s thrust into the events upon him. He willingly goes to his death, knowing it is literally the only way to defeat evil. And, once he’s died, he is resurrected, back to finally bring about his victory over Voldemort. Yeah, it seems Rowling might have borrowed a bit from the story of Jesus.

What explains the astounding popularity of the Harry Potter series? J.K. Rowling has weaved a series of books which tie together in sometimes amazing ways. What seem like random details and “fluff” in one book turn out to be of immense importance later in the series. Each book, mostly self-contained, features a different thrust. Yet they are all tied through broad overarching themes. But could it be that there is another theme, oft-ignored in discussions of Harry Potter? It seems so. The climax of the series occurs in the death and resurrection of Potter. The Christian story culminates in the same. Potter is fiction, but his tale, so wonderfully complex, leads us to the story of Christ. He had to die for the sake of all–Voldemort would have overcome. Jesus, similarly, had to die for the sake of all–lest sin and the devil overcome.

This parallelism with Christianity was not revealed until the final book, yet perhaps it can explain how Rowling was able to make the conclusion to her epic so satisfying. She was telling a story we all knew. She was telling us, in a very different way, what must happen for evil to be overcome. Her story is fiction, Christianity’s story is real. What we want to believe in (Harry Potter) is what many of us do believe (Christianity). Whether intentional or not (and I think it was intentional), Rowling wrote a story which resonates deeply with Christianity’s own. And her fiction points us towards the greater reality.

Christians, I encourage you to read and watch Harry Potter. The books and movies are just phenomenal pieces of literature and filmography. Think of the themes that are woven throughout the books. Think of the final showdown between good and evil. And think of Jesus while you do so. You’ll find that within Potter, we discover hidden truths of our own faith.

But hey, you don’t really have to think of all these themes. And it’s highly questionable whether these parallels are intentional or not. It’s okay to just enjoy the movies anyway. My point is that, as a Christian, I saw these themes. And I found it thrilling.

SDG.

——

The preceding post is the property of J.W. Wartick (apart from citations, which are the property of their respective owners) and should not be reproduced in part or in whole without the expressed consent of the author. All content on this site is the property of J.W. Wartick and is made available for individual and personal usage. If you cite from these documents, whether for personal or professional purposes, please give appropriate citation with both the name of the author (J.W. Wartick) and a link to the original URL. This blog is protected by Creative Commons licensing. By viewing any part of this site, you are agreeing to this usage policy.

Harry Potter: A Christian Youth Perspective

There Will be Spoilers Throughout This Post for the Harry Potter Series.

Alright, maybe I’m stretching it when I call myself a “youth” (I’m 23 now), but I grew up with Harry Potter. Harry was my age when the books came out, and I’ve followed them throughout.

The popularity of the Harry Potter books is undeniable. Few in my generation don’t at least know about the series. The movies are consistently blockbusters, and surprisingly well made.

Christian parents rightly wonder whether these books–which are filled with sorcery, witchcraft, curses, hexes, and the like–are suitable for their children. Let me preface the rest of my discussion with my conclusion: the Harry Potter books are enjoyable literature which will build vocabulary, expand minds, and get children excited about reading.

Synopsis

The series follows Harry Potter through 7 years of his life, starting when he is 11. It is set in modern day England. There are two worlds in the series: the world of “muggles”–those who can’t use magic–and the world of wizards. The wizards go to great lengths to keep their world a secret from any “muggles” who are unrelated to wizards (or in important positions like the Prime Minister). Thus, when the series starts, Harry Potter knows nothing of his wizarding past, having been raised by his aunt and uncle, who hate everything having to do with wizards.

Despite his lack of knowledge about the world of wizards, Harry Potter is himself hugely famous to wizards. He is known as the “Boy Who Lived” because when he was but a baby, an evil wizard known as Lord Voldemort (frequently referred to as “You-Know-Who” or “He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named”) attempted to kill him and failed. Harry’s parents were killed in the scuffle, but when Voldemort tried to kill Harry, the killing curse rebounded and killed Voldemort instead. Thus, Harry is seen by many as the defeater of the greatest evil wizard of all time. Everyone knows his name; there is a monument to him at his old home; he has a lightning-bolt shaped scar which clearly identifies him, and he knows nothing about this.

Then his life changes when, at age 11, he is invited to attend Hogwarts, a school for wizards. Thereafter, the books follow Harry’s growth as a wizard with his friends, as well as the rumors of and eventual rise to power of Voldemort. It culminates in the final book, The Deathly Hallows, when Harry races against time with his friends to destroy Voldemort. (For a more in-depth synopsis, check out the page here. Check out the links for each book’s plot synopsis on the same page.)

Analysis

The question which has been asked repeatedly within the Christian community is “Are these books appropriate for my children?”

I started reading Harry Potter when I was 11 years old. As each book came out, I devoured it immediately (except for a brief hiatus before book 5). The books do have very scary, and even disturbing, moments. Voldemort is an evil wizard, and he is portrayed as such. He orchestrates murders and he and his cohorts murder with an attitude of nonchalance. The books also have many scenes of “kids being kids”. Harry and his best friend, Ron, often cheat off their mutual friend Hermione in order to complete their homework. Ron’s older brothers are pranksters of the highest level, whose very lives are dedicated to perfecting their antics. Rivalry between youths is also portrayed, as Hogwarts features four “Houses” which compete for top honors at the end of each year. The books also pull no punches in the realm of “magic”; the children are engaged in hexes, curses, charms, astrology, and the like.

Suggestions for Parents

So what should a Christian parent do with this series? It is impossible to issue a blanket statement that will apply to all parents. Instead, I want to offer several suggestions and comments.

First, there are few books which will keep children and youths reading as well as the Harry Potter Series. It has helped to increase literacy in a generation from which appreciation for books seems to be disappearing. (See the interesting article here for some insight on this phenomenon.)

Second, the Harry Potter books distinguish between good and evil to an extent that much other literature does not. There is no doubt that Voldemort is evil and that Harry and friends are the “good guys.” However, this leads me to the third point: the series acknowledges that no human is perfect. Everyone, from Harry’s father to Dumbledore (headmaster of Hogwarts) has things in their past they regret. I don’t think this is a fault of the series (though some people do–arguing that this diminishes the distinction between good and evil); rather, it brings to light something we–as Christian in particular–acknowledge is true: all people are sinners in need of salvation (this is not a theme developed in the books).

Fourth, despite the use of magic of all kinds, there remains a clear distinction between acceptable practice and unacceptable practice. Some have feared that Harry Potter would increase the interest in witchcraft and wizardry in youths. I personally think this is ludicrous. But that leads me to the fifth point.

Fifth, you as parents are responsible for teaching your children the difference between reality and fiction. My parents did a fantastic job on this. Reading Harry Potter never made me want to explore witchcraft, alchemy, or astrology. I knew such things were to be avoided. That is, I could distinguish between reality and unreality. I think that too often, Christian parents in particular underestimate the power of youths to make this distinction. Yet few parents would object to their children reading Star Wars. Perhaps it is the use of “witch” and “wizard” which makes parents leery. But, in my opinion as a Christian who grew up reading Harry Potter, there is no need to fear… unless children have not been taught to realize a difference between fact and fiction.

Sixth, parents need to be informed. When their children are interested in something like Harry Potter, it is too often that parents read only the negative sources. What better way to judge whether something is appropriate for your children than by reading the book yourself?

Questions

Kenneth Samples (cited below) argues that there are three major questions for parents to ask about Harry Potter (and other books). First: “How can Christian parents test their decisions in terms of Scripture, conscience, and reason?” Christian parents should always turn to these sources to figure out whether something is appropriate for their children.

Second: “Is it appropriate to use dark and occult images in fantasy literature to convey a narrative in fantasy literature?” Samples notes that C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien both use these images to convey their message. Are these appropriate usages? (I think yes, but the key here is that there is no quick and easy answer for everyone.)

Third: “Does the book use these images at literary devices to propel the broader story, or, rather to promote occult involvement?” Samples argues this is a critical question. If the Harry Potter books simply use the occult images as a literary device, then it seems like there is no problem. The Harry Potter books do seem to be in the former category rather than the latter.

Fourth, “What is the overarching worldview reflected in the books and how does it compare or contrast with the Christian worldview?” This can spur discussion on books and series that aren’t even intended to convey the Christian worldview.

Conclusion

I said earlier that there is no fast and easy way to say “yea” or “nay” for all parents to a series like Harry Potter. I hope that my comments will help concerned parents figure out where to stand on the series. I want to make my own view absolutely clear, here at the close. I think the Harry Potter books are fantastic. They feature memorable characters and exciting plots. Not only that, but they get kids interested in reading. They build vocabulary (I remember personally grabbing a dictionary once in a while when I was younger and reading Harry Potter). The books distinguish between good and evil while maintaining the reality no one is perfect. They will spur discussion. Ultimately, I recommend Harry Potter to parents, but with the qualifier that parents have taught their children about fact and fiction and that they are willing to engage their children in discussion, which may (probably does) require reading the books themselves.

Source

Samples, Kenneth. “To Read or Not to Read: Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Response.” Straight Thinking Podcast. 10/20/2009.

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The preceding post is the property of J.W. Wartick (apart from citations, which are the property of their respective owners) and should not be reproduced in part or in whole without the expressed consent of the author. All content on this site is the property of J.W. Wartick and is made available for individual and personal usage. If you cite from these documents, whether for personal or professional purposes, please give appropriate citation and provide a link to the original URL. By viewing any part of this site, you are agreeing to this usage policy.

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