Controversial Books for Christians – Harry Potter
Have you read the Harry Potter series? Here, Steph Nickel looks at some of the controversial books she has read and why.
Is The Harry Potter Series a Controversial Read?
Many Christian readers have strong opinions not only about what they like to read but also about what they think other believers should or should not be reading.
This is just one more area in which we must extend grace to one another.
Why did I open today’s review this way?
This week I want to discuss a series of books you may love—or detest. I’ll be sharing reasons not to read the Harry Potter series as well as reasons I chose to finally do so.
Reasons Not to Read the Harry Potter Series
So, why wouldn’t you want to read the series?
- Obviously, it’s about witches and wizards as well as all manner of magical creatures, and the Bible clearly reveals how God views magic.
- The hero, Harry Potter, is a rule breaker. Those in authority who oppose his actions are, by and large, the villains.
- Although written for children, this is a dark series that grows darker with each book. I was told that the difference between writing for children and writing for adults was simple but vital. You can take both adult and children to dark places, but in the case of children’s books, you must leave a door open and a light on outside that door. There has to be hope. There are many times in the Harry Potter series that there doesn’t seem to be any hope—although readers are holding onto the belief that there’s no way Harry could lose the final battle.
- Practically speaking, you may choose not to read the Harry Potter series because you’re not interested in reading books written for children.
- Reading the entire series is a significant time commitment and you may not be willing to invest that much time on a series you have concerns about in the first place.
Keeping Kids From Magic
When my children were young, I kept them from magic in any form—even classic Disney movies and the Smurfs. I didn’t want them to be confused about the difference between living biblically and compromising with the world.
As they grew older, we read The Chronicles of Narnia and other Christian fantasy books.
When they grew older still, we watched and read some secular sci-fi and fantasy.
Do I think my standards slipped, that I began to compromise? I certainly hope not. The kids were older and better able to distinguish between reality and make-believe, something young children are incapable of doing.
Am I suggesting that you should change what you watch and what you read if you feel convicted about a certain genre? Absolutely not!
But if you’re curious as to why I chose to read the Harry Potter series as a woman in her late 50s who loves the Lord and truly wants to honour Him in all areas, I’d like to share a few thoughts, reasons you may identify with.
Before I share these reasons with you, I should mention that I read the first book in the series years ago and chose, at that time, not to continue. The primary reason was the portrayal of Harry’s “family.”
His cousin was cruel and abusive. Harry’s aunt and uncle indulged their son and thought he could do no wrong, all the while, giving Harry nothing but the crawlspace under their stairs for a bedroom. As a Christian, I struggled with rooting for the young wizard while despising these muggles, non-magical humans.
A Second Shot at Harry Potter
Still, years later, I decided to give the books another shot. And why have I read or listened to the first five books and plan to listen to the others on Audible?
- Other Christians I respect had read and enjoyed the series. I was curious as to why.
- I do enjoy fantasy, as I mentioned earlier.
- I enjoy reading not only books written for adults but also those written for a younger audience as well.
- Once I get past a certain point in a book or a series of books, I want to make my way through to the end.
- Character growth is important to me, and sometimes there’s very little of it in the books we read and shows we watch. All the characters in the Harry Potter series seems to grow and develop—although not always for the best.
- As you know if you’ve listened to my other reviews, the relationship between characters is paramount to whether or not I enjoy a book. The characters’ interactions and developing relationships keeps me coming back.
- Not only do characters have to grow and interact with one another, they have to be believable and relatable. What questions does Harry struggle with that readers might be able to relate to? Where do I fit into the world? Does anyone really love me? Are the things that make me unique good or bad? How can I protect my friends? What do I do if everyone seems to doubt my word? How do I decide which is the lesser of two evils? What do I do when I find out I didn’t really know someone after all? Can you relate to one or more of these questions? I know I can.
Stick With Your Convictions
If you believe you shouldn’t read the Harry Potter series, please stick with your convictions.
If, however, you’ve read them or decide to do so, I’d like to hear your thoughts. You can contact me through my producer’s page on HopeStreamRadio.
Stephanie is a freelance writer and a contributor to our Christian internet radio station, HopeStreamRadio.
More Podcasts You May Enjoy:
Images courtesy of:
Hogwarts Castle – TuendeBede
Harry Potter – Wikipedia
Harry Potter Books – NatashaG