SHOULD YOUR KIDS READ HARRY POTTER?
The Harry Potter series has been a hot topic of debate in conservative families since it first came on the scene. I recently read the entire series for myself and would like to share my thoughts with you.
Much of the debate about Harry Potter centers on the type and prevalence of magic in the series. Unless your family prefers to avoid all magic in a story line, I honestly don’t think that the magic itself posed much of a danger. Most of it is very much along the lines of Cinderella’s fairy godmother—waving a wand and saying variations of “Poof!” Honestly, sometimes the magic and the way it is presented is even clever or funny. However, there are a number of other causes for concern in the books and that is what I’d like to address today.
1. There is profanity—the d word, b-word and a softened form of the…word. Harry and his friends use these words themselves, not just the bad guys.
2. There are some completely inappropriate sexual innuendos, beside the problematic assumption that young teens falling in love is totally fine and acceptable.
3. There is potty humor and a lot of just plain gross stuff.
4. There is sickening disgusting, very disturbing violence, particularly in books 4-7. People die hideously. People are tortured gruesomely. Some of these graphic and vivid depictions I found very disturbing, even as an adult. There is no way I would give these books to anyone under age fifteen.
5. While the run-of-the-mill magic stuff is tame and even kind of cute, there are a number of instances, especially in the later books, where Harry is essentially possessed by the wicked nemesis, Voldemort. He unwillingly sees inside Voldemort, knows what he is thinking, and even feels like he IS Voldemort. He has terrible scary visions that leave him unconscious, in pain and sweating on the floor. I found the likeness to demon possession bothersome.
6. There is a tacit endorsement of what essentially amounts to euthanasia. In the last book, we learn (spoiler alert) that Dumbledore, the school headmaster, has suffered a curse that will eventually kill him within the year. While there are other factors involved, Dumbledore gives instructions to another professor to kill him directly, in part so that he can die a dignified death. Granted, Dumbledore is also trying to keep his death off the conscience of a student who wants to kill him, but he says candidly that he would prefer a “quick and painless exit” rather than falling into the hands of the enemy. The other professor complies and kills Dumbledore, a move which conveniently throws the enemy off the scent.
Works out great, a win-win for everyone, right? It all sounds very noble, until you realize that the author, with no grappling of the ethics involved, is essentially presenting assisted suicide to children as a perfectly acceptable end-justifies –the-means tactic of fighting a war and escaping an unpleasant death.
7. Harry is a bad role model. His friends praise his ‘noble soul,” but the best you can say for Harry is that he is brave and loyal to his friends. Since the most wicked people on earth are often brave and loyal to their friends, this isn’t a particularly stunning endorsement. Harry has frequently and remorsely and not just for the “good of the cause’” he cheats on his schoolwork routinely, copying a friend’s work. He is continually angry and has a poor grip on his temper.
He is appallingly disrespectful. He is reckless and thoughtless. He breaks rules all the time, seldom with any consequences. There really isn’t much to admire about him. If you have a child who harbors resentment easily and likes to fancy themselves a victim, the last thing they need to do is to hang out with Harry.
8. I found it bordering on the blasphemous to find the author using Scripture in the last book. Harry finds on his parents’ tombstones the quotation (not attributed to Scripture in the book) that, “The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.” This is a verse referring to the powerful work of Jesus Christ, not a mythical work of imaginary wizards using wands, jinxes, curses and spells.
When I finished reading the series, I pulled out my Bible and read the last chapters of Revelation to clear my mind and remind myself of the real ending to the story of evil. When I read C.S. Lewis Narnia series or Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, the underlying philosophy and the admirable characters in those books are compatible with Christianity and I have never felt a need to “cleanse myself with the Bible afterwards.” [Ed: C. S. Lewis believed in purgatory and Tolkien was an ardent R.C. fiction writer, so we disagree with the article author here!]
In conclusion, I personally would not recommend the books, but if you are still interested in them, I strongly encourage you read them for yourself before deciding if they are appropriate for your children. The books get progressively darker and more graphic the longer the series goes, so if you just read the first book and think it’s innocuous, you need to read books 4-7. Leave Harry Potter on the…” [Sorry, last sentence missed in copying-D.J.]
Ed: Raquelle Sheen has a bachelor’s degree and is currently pursuing her master’s degree. For more article s by the Sheen family, visit www.homeschoolfamilyforum.com; article copied from The Times Examiner, 10-4-2017, pp. 9-10.
|DECEMBER 2017-JANUARY 2018 The Fundamentalist Digest; Permission granted for reprint, so long as proper credit is given. The above item is a sample of the numerous timely articles that are contained in the bi-monthly issues of The Fundamentalist Digest.|