Harry Potter Exposes a Real Problem with Christianity
So what’s the problem with Harry Potter?
You may have guessed it already, however, this is the problem. We are able to quickly provide the answer to which spell is necessary to help a make-believe story. This is because we have spent lots of time reading about and watching Harry Potter. We have almost made ourselves one of the characters in the story. This is what makes a story good. It draws you in, it keeps you interested, and you begin to wish that it was real. This is especially true with Harry Potter. Who wouldn’t want to be able to use magic in order to overcome daily tasks that we do not feel like doing?
My question, and ultimately the problem is this; how quickly (if at all) can we provide passages of Scripture that fit the needs in our actual everyday life? We are constantly under attack on this planet. Satan and his demons are out to get us whenever possible. Other people will try to discredit us and cause us grief. We will struggle with doubt and temptation on a daily basis. There will be people who come to us seeking help and understanding. Are we able to provide them with biblical truth at a moment’s notice? Or do we wish we had an invisibility cloak so that we can just disappear?
Perhaps the best example of the importance of knowing scripture as well as we know Harry Potter spells is Jesus’ forty days in the desert. The story is found in Matthew 4. Satan tempts Jesus three times, and three times Jesus immediately replies with a passage of Scripture. Even when Satan tries to use Scripture against him, Jesus is able to return fire. Newsflash: Jesus is quoting the Old Testament (you think it might still be important to us today?). Newsflash 2: Jesus didn’t pull out his pocket bible, or his smartphone to look it up. He had to know it quickly and with assurance.
The problem is not with Harry Potter. The problem is that we as Christians know Harry Potter better than we know our own Bible.
Let’s take a few examples.
We are able to quote the necessary spells in Harry Potter situations. However, do we know a verse to provide to someone who struggling with their faith amidst temptation (1 Cor. 10:13)? Do we know a verse that shows Christians should be careful with their words (1 Peter 3:10, James 3)? What about when someone is feeling worthless (Proverbs 3:5-6)? Or to someone who just lost a loved one, or what about when a person feels guilty (Matt. 5:4, Psalm 103:11-12)? Do we even have Bible verses memorized that can help us to lead someone to Christ? What if someone literally came up to you and said “I want to become a Christian!” Can you walk them through Scripture and help them to say a prayer of salvation (John 3:16, Rom. 3:23, Rom. 6:23, Rom. 10:9)?
I know that for a least a couple of those verses I just provided I had to look them up. I was relatively familiar with what they said, but I couldn’t have said with absolute surety where the verses were and exactly what they said. This is a problem. We know other books and stories better than we know the life changing Word of God. There is nothing wrong with watching Harry Potter and reading the books, or any other movies and books for that matter1Within reason of course. Remember, everything is permissible, but not everything is beneficial. You know what you should and should not watch/read.. Matthew 6:21 expresses the problem. “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
Let me reiterate one final time. I do not think there is anything inherently wrong with Christians who want to read the Harry Potter books and watch the movies. Should parents make sure that their children have a proper understanding of the truth? Sure. One of the reasons my mother might have been against Harry Potter is because we as children used to copy everything. I remember when The Simpsons got banned in our house because my brother and I were acting like Bart. Not necessarily the best role model. However, Harry Potter did expose a real problem to me that I think Christians of all walks of life struggle with. We can never know the Word of God enough. While we can’t spend every waking minute of our lives reading the Bible, we do need to make sure that we are well versed in what it says.
Perhaps one of the things that we could do is challenge ourselves. Ask yourself a question that an actual person might ask you. Do you know how you would reply using the Bible? If you don’t, do some research and figure out how you would answer the question with God’s help. The Bible has answers to pretty much everything we could ever imagine. We simply have to look for it. After all, I think God would agree with Dumbledore in saying “help will always be given to those who ask for it.”
Footnotes [ + ]
|1.||↑||Within reason of course. Remember, everything is permissible, but not everything is beneficial. You know what you should and should not watch/read.|