Thursday, November 01, 2007

Conversions to witchcraft? Or, thank you Harry Potter.

This Reuters article - click the title of this post to view since I do not know how else to do it - is very telling to say the least. In my personal meanderings, both electronic and human, I've encountered many a person - and many a Christian - who will claim that Harry Potter is a wonderful story of good versus evil where magic may be employed but certainly not to any dangerous extent. The Reuters story paints a different Potter.

The article states:

"Inbaal said that while her interest in witchcraft was sparked by a love of Tarot cards, for most people nowadays it was sparked by television programmes such as 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer'."

And we can all add, with a sigh, "or Harry Potter." Harry Potter is mentioned in the opening of the article. When a self-proclaimed "high priestess" explains the situation as such, based on her experience in the occult world which many of us happily do not know, then do the arguments about the merits of Mr. Potter really carry much weight? No, honestly, they begin to collapse in the name of reality. While there may be some degree of literary merit to the books (or not), while there may be some aspects of good versus evil portrayed in them (who would read anything that does not correspond at least in some basic way to human experience?), that does not cancel out the elements which may lead children to think more of learning magic than of being a virtuous person when they grow up.

Why isn't "The Lord of the Rings" mentioned in the article alongside such infamy as Buffy and Harry (both of which, unconsequentially, are quite attractive and simple names ending in "eee")? Here is a fundamental difference between two widely popular literature mammoths turned theatrical blockbusters. While Gandalf may be a wizard, there is no mention of going to wizard school to learn every detail of wizardry nor is there any emphasis on the details of magic spells and the ways of wizards. Sure he has a wonderful white staff which accomplishes dazzling and powerful feats, but who is really going to obtain such a staff? It is perfectly imaginative and intangible, quite ambiguous except for the power it possesses. And that power is used as analogy, it points us to the higher reality of God's power used to vanquish the dark enemy. "Harry Potter," from what I ascertain since I don't expect to spend any time or effort on him, actually goes to school to learn all of the details of spells and potions, all things warlock- and witch-like. J.K. Rowling has apparently, from what I understand, done her research into the world of magic to make her literature as accurate as possible. Thus we come to the essential difference: Gandalf in no way is of a sort that a child may hope to actually emulate his magic powers but Harry's powers are practiced by many every day in our fallen world. Just ask Inbaal, your local "high priestess."

Evil persuades us in many ways. If it only came out, growling with blood dripping fangs and red irises, we may easily avoid it. Yet satan prowls swiftly and attacks using many diverse strategies. He may attempt to lure us in unassumingly, then weaken us for awhile, before he actually jumps for the jugular in order to send us to eternal ruin. Quite often he takes his time, using a variety of seemingly insignificant means, to get us weak enough for the kill. He is no fool, at least not in the ways of destruction. Notice how it works with sin: many venial sins dispose us to commit mortal sins. First we're weakened with the seemingly insignificant - although we ought never think such a thing of any sin, venial or mortal! - before we're brought to the death blow.

A further distinction can be made about the nature and circumstances of characters. For instance, some stories may have homosexual characters but not all literary use of such a character is in itself problematic. For example, one of the characters - forgive me if I do not recall the name since, as I said, I am not a Harry Potter reader - is now said to be homosexual, something long thought to be the case by devoted Potterites. The character they say is lovely, warm, such a great individual which, Rowling tells us, shows us that homosexual individuals need to be accept and loved because they are so wonderful. Now switch to "Brideshead Revisited." Brideshead employs quite a few characters meant to be homosexual but as the story progresses, they end up being the ones who are always searching. They never seem content - even with each other. Their relationships come and go, never quite stable. Charles is never quite as happy with Sebastian as he is with Julia (but even the relationship with Julia eats away at them because of their affair). Two different messages. For Potter, a message - however implicit - is given that homosexual individuals are great people. Brideshead, on the contrary, portrays that such individuals are unpeaceful, unrested, never quite at peace (regardless of whether or not they are otherwise swell guys).

But our day is one of tolerance. Our "priestess" Inbaal speaks with horror of her native land, Israel, outlawing witchcraft and sorcery. Here in England, she proclaims with magnificent and horrendous joy, the people are more tolerant of witches. We ought to learn to tolerate homosexuals, Rowling said in her meeting with readers, because they are so wonderful just like her character. Yes, the world is warm and fuzzy Inbaal and J.K. Everything is smiles. Let us hug and accept all things, even sin, lest our comfort and pleasures perish - but nevermind that talk of an eternal soul.

It is a tricky battle, this spiritual warfare. Oh it sounds so serious! Too serious! Maybe we should relax - only to fall right into the teeth of our enemy.