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Christians start to see the light – in Harry Potter

August 18, 2009

Since the first book, the Harry Potter series has incited religious conservatives and over-protective parents to reprehensible acts against intellectual freedom, including book bannings and even book burnings. As the later books in the series were published, more theologians began to come around (spoiler alert!) – finally – to the overarching ethical and spiritual themes and narratives that make the series not just a fun, imaginative children’s story but a commentary on some of life’s most important issues: love, friendship, trust, morality, equality, good vs. evil, sacrifice.

(Boston Globe Photo / Tim Bower)

(Boston Globe Photo / Tim Bower)

No time to read the article? Here are two take-aways:

At the same time, scholars of religion have begun developing a more nuanced take on the Potter phenomenon, with some arguing that the wildly popular series of books and films contains positive ethical messages and a narrative arc that is worthy of serious scholarly examination and even theological reflection.

Paul V.M. Flesher, director of the religious studies program at the University of Wyoming and the author of an article about Harry Potter for the Journal of Religion and Film: “There’s a Christian pattern to this story. It’s not just good versus evil. Rowling is not being evangelistic – this is not C.S. Lewis – but she knows these stories, and it’s clear she’s fitting pieces together in a way that makes sense and she knows her readers will follow.”

And if you didn’t see The Onion’s take on the anti-Harry Potter movement, it’s definitely worth checking out.

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