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Redeeming Harry Potter

The initial Christian outcry against the boy wizard seems to be dying down. Maybe that's because more and more of us are discovering multiple redemptive themes in the series.

I was recently interviewed on live radio about current movies, and when asked which I was looking forward to the most, I rattled off a few of my obvious choices—including Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, which opens this week.

"Uh oh," said the host half-jokingly, "you've just lost half our audience." I was then asked to justify how a Christian could possibly accept and endorse a series of books and films that promotes the occult. Looking back on my fumbled response, I can't help but think of that verse in 1 Peter about being prepared to give an answer to anyone who asks.

Harry Potter remains a hot potato, polarizing Christians left and right because of three words: wizards, witches, and magic. Deuteronomy 18:10-11 warns us to avoid engaging in pagan rituals and sorcery, and for sure, Christianity and witchcraft don't mix.

But in the last five years, I've noticed a gradual attitude shift toward Harry Potter among Christians. Though many still condemn the series—and anyone who approves of it—they seem to be diminishing in number even as others write in praise of it. In my interactions with other Christians from all over the U.S, I'm finding more indifference—and even enthusiasm—in recent years than condemnation, regardless of region or denomination.

I count myself among those whose minds have apparently changed. Interestingly enough, I was first exposed to Potter-mania when Goblet of Fire was published in 2000. Like many Christians, I was skeptical to the idea of enjoying a children's book about witches and wizards; it seemed too immature—and pagan—to appreciate. Then some Christians whom I trust insisted I give the books a try. I did, and now regard Harry Potter as the best fantasy ...

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Redeeming Harry Potter
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