Saturday 28 February 2015

How US evangelical Christians threw away the greatest opportunity for Christian evangelism in several decades - the Christian attacks on the Harry Potter books

Discerning Christian scholars of the Harry Potter novels by JK Rowling - such as John Granger (Eastern Orthodox), and Jerram Barrs (Calvinist Protestant) - have proved beyond reasonable doubt that these books are profoundly Christian in their attitudes and messages and in many symbolic references; and this is confirmed explicitly albeit discreetly in the text and authorial interviews.

(I have also written about this on this blog - the pieces can be found by word-searching 'Potter' and 'Christian'.)

The Harry Potter series has also been a sales sensation, and have reshaped the whole publishing environment.


This should, of course, have been the greatest possible news among evangelical-minded Christians of all denominations - the best news in decades! - a tremendous opportunity for those who want to spread the word, and encourage Christians in their faith.

Instead, a sizeable number of influential Christians in the USA launched and sustained an aggressive, ill-informed and slanderous (false, dishonest) attack on the Harry Potter phenomenon; so that Christians labelled these books as anti-Christian in intent and tendency - and did their best to prevent their own and other children from reading them.

The Christian anti-Rowling attacks were avidly encouraged by the mass media (which should have been sufficient to warn serious Christians of what was going on).

The result has been a disastrous lost opportunity and self-inflicted wound for Christianity:

1. The most popular books in decades have been labelled, and interpreted, as if they were anti-Christian; and instead distorted into a frame which supports the dominant culture of secular Leftism.

This was a tragically lost opportunity for Christianity in the West - perhaps the biggest lost opportunity for several decades.

2. For Christians, the depth and faith strengthening beauty of these books has been lost.

3. The author seems to have been astonished and wounded by these attacks from Christians; and from subsequent interviews and published novels it seems very probable that she has become apostate, has changed sides - and now consistently takes a pro secular Leftist (and implicitly anti-Christian) stance.

Clearly this was very wrong of her - but my point is that this corruption and change in JKR was (in my view) probably begun by the vile and hysterical attacks on her personally and on the HP books by Christians.


One consequence may have been that the very popular movies based on the books, which followed a few years later, almost-entirely deleted the Christian elements - and indeed inverted some of the primary moral and spiritual messages of the novels.

Given the innate tendency of movies to usurp the understanding and interpretation of novels,this was a further deep wound inflicted on the potential-for-good of the Harry Potter series.


In conclusion, the Christians who campaigned against Harry Potter seemingly ended-up inflicting very serious damage on Christianity, and doing the work of Satan.

How did this happen?

There were good and bad intentions at work - as usual.

The good intentions were thoughtless and lacking in discernment - regarding the HP books with prejudice rather than actually reading them with sympathy. This attitude means that inevitably Christians will reject on a priori grounds any Christian phenomenon successful among non-Christians, and any potential major opportunity for evangelism.

The bad intentions were the usual ones - seeking any 'plausible' excuse to indulge in hatred, moral showboating and status striving, the pleasures of controlling and bullying others...


The Harry Potter phenomenon handed Western Christians a great opportunity. The same applies, of course, to the Narnia books by CS Lewis, and the Middle Earth books by JRR Tolkien.

That opportunity remains - but an aggressive and influential minority of US supposedly-'evangelical' Christians are working against this great opportunity - by gifting this Christian literature to anti-Christians: handing it to them on a plate!

Unsurprisingly, this kind self-destructive lunacy by Christians has been given every possible encouragement and amplification by the secular Leftist mass media.


The damage has been done - water under the bridge - why write about it?

Well, now that the scenario has played out, now that the scale of damage can be surveyed; those serious Christians who participated in the slandering of Harry Potter should now be able to see the extent of their error, and to repent.


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