POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS
July 27, 2011
"I have been encouraged by my pastor at my CHRISTIAN church to read the Harry Potter books, because even though they have references to magic and sorcery, they can teach us more about the values of Friendship and Bravery than he can.... I am no longer Christian. Somewhere along the way my beliefs changed. I practice Wicca." A young visitor to our website
"Days before the release of the seventh and final novel in the series, youth leaders are being told they could use the popularity of the Potter books and films as a 'launch pad' for exploring Christian themes." Use Harry Potter to spread Christian message
"In its early years, 'Harry Potter' was a litmus test of orthodoxy for some conservative Christians, who expressed concern over its portrayal of witchcraft....The hysteria has largely died down, and not many religious leaders asked their flocks to avoid the final movie."
"[They] practiced witchcraft and soothsaying, and sold themselves to do evil in the sight of the Lord...." 2 Kings 17:17
I had plenty of company last Saturday morning as I hurried into the movie theater to see the final film in the Harry Potter series. Several families with children walked in ahead of me. Others followed. One little girl couldn't be more than three years old! How would she react to this scary movie?
For more than two hours, the audience sat immersed in a mystical world filled with frightening shrieks, explosive sounds of death and destruction, and enticing suggestions certain to appeal to power-hungry youth already attuned to the forces of evil.
If you are a parent, please don't take your children to see this movie!
By its end, it had exposed the two sides of today's popular evil. Like the yin-yang symbol, there is an obvious dark side and a more subtle "light" side to occult deceptions. To resist their mind-changing allure, we need to understand both.
THE DARK SIDE OF EVIL
This last part of the Harry Potter sequence promotes everything God bans in this warning:
"There shall not be found among you anyone who... practices witchcraft, or a soothsayer, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, or one who conjures spells, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead.... For all who do these things are an abomination to the Lord..." Deuteronomy 18:10-12
During the last three centuries, Americans have enjoyed relative freedom from the occult forces that have tormented many other parts of the world. From the beginning, the pilgrims and a significant number of other believers trusted God and built this nation on the foundation of His Word. Therefore God protected their land. Few were exposed to words and actions that led to the occult.
But times have changed and God's actual truth is forgotten. We can no longer shut out the well-marketed forces of evil that press into our lives -- even in churches. That's all the more reason to prepare for the spiritual warfare ahead. Let's begin by taking a closer look at the occult practices listed in the above verses from Deuteronomy. Each practice is featured in this movie.
But times have changed and God's actual truth is rarely heard in public places. We can no longer shut out the well-marketed forces of evil that press into our lives -- even in churches. That's all the more reason to prepare for the spiritual warfare ahead. Let's begin by taking a closer look at the occult practices listed in the above verses from Deuteronomy. Each practice is featured in this movie.
1. WITCHCRAFT: Trusting the occult spirit world for power to perform all kinds of magical spells and wonders.
Witchcraft was common in Old Testament days. Back then, it was already a "normal" part of life in cultures around the world. Finally, in the wake of the Protestant Reformation, such practices faded in the West. More recently, that trend has been reversed. The mind-changing fantasies spread by Rowling and her admirers have sparked a rapid revival of interest and delight in occult empowerment.
2. SOOTHSAYER: A fortuneteller, diviner or seer in communication with demonic spirits.
3. INTERPRETING OMENS: Receiving messages and interpretations -- usually ominous - from the spirit world.
4. SORCERY: Performing magical feats through occult forces.
If witchcraft and sorcery sound like fantasy and fairy tales to teens and children today, the devil must be very pleased. He is constantly on the lookout for those who will follow his ways -- even if "just" in their imaginations. As God warned long ago,
"They...walked in the counsels and in the imagination of their evil heart...." Jeremiah 7:24
5. CONJURE SPELLS: Manipulating occult forces according to mental formulas and projecting the spell through a physical object.
"To cast a spell is to project energy through a symbol," explained Starhawk, the wiccan author of The Spiral Dance. "Spells... require the combined faculties of relaxation, visualization, concentration, and [mental] projection."
Most spells in the movie were cast through magically empowered wands. The powerful Elder Wand apparently had a mind of its own and could choose whether or not to serve a new master. Wikipedia explains its bizarre history:
"In the preceding movie, Voldemort...opens Dumbledore's tomb and claims the wand as his own. Assuming incorrectly that Snape is the wand's current master, Voldemort slays Snape, not realizing that the wand's allegiance was to Draco....Harry had subsequently disarmed Draco and taken his wand. ...the Elder Wand's allegiance had since shifted to Harry....Voldemort uses the Elder Wand to cast his final Killing Curse against Harry's Expelliarmus charm. But since the wand's allegiance is to Harry, Voldemort's spell backfires and kills him once and for all."
Spells were also essential to the creation and destruction of the horcruxes used by Voldemort to secure his own immortality. "Invented" by J.K Rowling, they only exist in the imaginations of those who are captivated by her tales and by the additional "information" they inspire. For example, Wikipedia adds this gruesome description:
"...the creation of a Horcrux requires one to commit a murder, which, as the supreme act of evil, 'rips the soul apart.' After the murder, a spell is cast to infuse part of the ripped soul into an object, which becomes the Horcrux....Both inanimate objects and living organisms have been used as Horcruxes, though the latter are considered riskier to use, since an organism can move and think for itself....
"To be destroyed, a Horcrux must suffer damage so severe that repair through magical means would be impossible....Once a Horcrux is irreparably damaged, the fragment of soul within it is destroyed."
These dark fantasies share a common consequence with actual occult realities. Both stir cravings for new and ever darker occult thrills and knowledge. The natural consequences of pursuing such a path is spiritual bondage and torment. Listen again to God's warning:
would have none of my counsel and despised my every rebuke.
Therefore they shall eat the fruit of their own way,
And be filled to the full with their own fancies." (Proverbs 1:30-31)
6. CALL UP THE DEAD [Necromancy]: Invoking the spirit of a deceased person through occult formulas.
Here the story gets more complicated. Harry himself was one of Voldemort's horcruxes, since a piece of Voldemort's soul was hidden inside him. Therefore Harry had to die before Voldemort could be killed. That final realization made Harry's life bleak indeed. The months of hiding from Voldemort and his armies had taken their toll. Choosing to face his inevitable death rather than fight it, he walked unarmed into Voldemort's forest camp.
But first Harry wanted to see his dead parents and friends. His magical Resurrection Stone enabled him to call up the spirits of his father and mother as well as Remus Lupin and Sirius Black. They promised to stay with him until he died.
During his brief time in the state of "death," Harry was visited by the spirit of Albus Dumbledore who suggested that he return to life. Since "dying" had freed him from bondage to Voldemort's horcrux, he chose to return.
Many have equated Harry's death with the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ. They are way off the track! Any such comparison is a mockery of God's actual Truth.
THE LIGHT SIDE OF EVIL
Surrounded by Hogwarts ash-covered ruins, Harry wins his final battle against Voldemort. Later, as he stands on a high ridge with his best friends, Ron and Hermione, he pulls out his Elder Wand, the most powerful wand known to wizards. He breaks it in two and throws the pieces into the canyon below. Apparently, there's no need for it anymore.
Did he really believe that all warfare ended when Voldemort died? Would peace now prevail in the region cleansed of its cruel leader? What about Voldemort's surviving army of ambitious, murderous "death eaters"? Might not some of them fight for his lofty, tyrannical position?
Harry doesn't answers those questions.
The movie concludes with a brief glimpse of the three friends nineteen years later. Ron, of course, married Hermione. Harry married Ron's sister Ginny. Now the two couples are standing with their children on the magical railroad Platform 9¾, ready to send their older children off to school on the Hogwarts Express.
When Harry's middle son admits his fear of being "sorted" into the Slytherin dorm rather than Gryffindor, his father comforts him:
"Albus Severus, you were named for two headmasters of Hogwarts. One of them was a Slytherin [Severus Snape] and he was probably the bravest man I ever knew."
He was? The sour, sullen, ruthless Severus Snape was no friend to Harry during his school years. Nor was any other member of the Slytherin clan. Most of them were deadly enemies. Many joined the Death Eaters. In light of the previous Potter books, this sudden emphasis on peace, harmony and reconciliation makes no sense!
We might add this lie: EVIL is GOOD! In a world that despises God's Word and moral guidelines, it's not surprising that a series of books based on witchcraft and wizardry has won the hearts of the people. Occult themes, whether in books, movies or computer games, have become one of today's most effective tools for social transformation. Even churches are promoting the change. The "light" side of evil could hardly be more deceptive!
As God's Word tells us, "the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one." (1 John 5:19) That's reality today! But the consequences for those who believe his lies will be severe:
"Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; who put darkness for light, and light for darkness." Isaiah 5:20-21
GOD'S ULTIMATE VICTORY
Today's rising world system has called for unbiblical peace and a prescribed form of solidarity that has little tolerance for Christians who refuse to compromise. Yet, if we stand firm in Jesus Christ, our sovereign Lord, He will surely meet all our needs -- and much more! Those who resist the world's tempting lies in His name will be safe in Him -- now and forever!
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This world system denies the message of the cross. That's why the name of Jesus is banned from all kinds of public places. But we cannot be silent! What Jesus prayed to His Father almost 2000 years ago is now His message for us:
“I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one.... As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world." John 17:14-19
Harry Potter to spread Christian message," The Telegraph [a
British newspaper], July 18, 2007. This link is now obsolete:
2. Sarah P. Bailey, "How Christians Warmed to Harry Potter," Wall Street Journal, July 15, 2011 and also see John Granger's message.
3. Starhawk, Spiral Dance (San Francisco, Harper & Row, 1979), 25.
6. George Orwell, 1984.