"...Harry Potter...will lead to a whole new generation of youngsters discovering witchcraft and wizardry....Increasing numbers of children are spending hours alone browsing the internet in search of Satanic websites and we are concerned that nobody is monitoring this growing fascination." Peter Smith, general secretary of the British Association of Teachers and Lecturers
While forbidding prayer in the name of Jesus, most schools seem to welcome spells and sorcery in the name of Harry Potter. Some public schools even bussed their students to see the movie. Teachers will facilitate classroom discussions that train students to seek "common ground" and conform to group consensus. Most public libraries where the children go also have huge posters and books promoting Harry Potter.
One library held a Harry Potter party and about a hundred children showed up to decorate Wizard hats and paint the lightening mark of Harry Potter fans on their foreheads. They provided a captive audience for adult fans of Harry's world view. Parents had to wait outside.
God shows us that witchcraft, sorcery, spells, divination and magic are evil. He hates those practices because they blind us to His loving ways, then turn our hearts to a deceptive quest for self-empowerment and deadly thrills. Harry Potter's world may be fictional, but the timeless pagan practices it promotes are real and deadly. The final result is spiritual bondage and oppression.
The movie's foundation in fantasy, not reality, doesn't diminish its power to change beliefs and values. Imaginary (or virtual) experiences and well-written fantasies can affect the mind and memories as much, if not more, than actual experiences. Designed to stir feelings and produce strong emotional responses, a well-planned myth with likeable characters can be far more memorable than the less exciting daily reality - especially when reinforced through books, toys and games as well as movies.
Each occult image and enticing suggestion prompts the audience to feel more at home in the dark, paranormal setting. Children identify with their favorite characters and learn to see wizards and witches from a popular peer perspective rather than from God's perspective.
Immersed in the values taught at Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry, children become spiritually blind. They lose their natural aversion for the devious spirits represented by the creatures and symbols in this eerie world. Caught up in the exciting story, they absorb the suggested values and store the fascinating images in their minds -- making the forbidden world of the occult seem normal.
This inner change is usually unconscious, for the occult lessons and impressions tend to bypass rational scrutiny. After all, who will stop, think and weigh the evidence when caught up in such a fast-moving visual adventure? Fun fantasies and strategic entertainment has a special way of altering values, compromising beliefs and changing behavior in adults as well as in children. This learning process has been named "edutainment" -- a favored way to train multicultural citizens for the envisioned 21st century community. Its power to influence beliefs and behavior is illustrated by today's marketing firms which spend billions on entertaining ads that touch emotions, ignore the facts, yet motivate people to buy the product.
The implied source of power behind Harry's magical feats tends to distort a child's understanding of God. In the movie as in the books, words traditionally used to refer to occult practices become so familiar that children begin to apply the same terms to God and His promised strength. Many learn to see God as a power source that can be manipulated with the right kind of prayers and rituals -- and view his miracles as just another form of magic. They base their understanding of God on their own feelings and wants, not on His revelation of Himself.
Blind to the true nature of God, children will synthesize or blend Biblical truth with the pagan beliefs and magical practices demonstrated in the Harry Potter movie. In the end, you distort and destroy any remnant of true Christian faith.
God tells us to "train up a child in the way He should go." It starts with teaching them God's truths and training them to see reality from His, not the world's perspective. To succeed, we need to shield them from contrary values until they know His Word and have memorized enough Scriptures to be able to recognize and resist deception. Once they have learned to love what God loves and see from His perspective, they will demonstrate their wisdom by choosing to say "no" to Harry Potter.
While some argue that Harry Potter and his friends demonstrate friendship, integrity and honesty, they actually model how to lie and steal and get away with it. Their examples only add to the cultural relativism embraced by most children today who are honest when it doesn't cost anything, but who lie and cheat when it serves their purpose.
The interest in sorcery and witchcraft generated by the Harry Potter stories has prompted an Australian university to launch a special course open to the public. The 12-week course at Adelaide University will explore the witchdoctors of Africa, shamans from the Amazon and Zambezi valleys, witches from the 16th century and others who practice magic rituals.
"The Pagan Federation has appointed a youth officer to deal with a flood of inquiries following the success of the Harry Potter books which describe magic and wizardry." Potter fans turning to witchcraft
While children everywhere crave supernatural thrills, Great Britain, the birthplace of Harry Potter, has been a wonderland of options for exploring practical witchcraft. And plenty of youth have caught Harry's vision. They want to learn his wizardly ways. So what are some of the responses from children who have read Harry Potter books and seen the movies? Read the statements below and think about it.
"I was eager to get to Hogwarts first because I like what they learned there and I want to be a witch." Gioia Bishop, age 10.
"I like the third book because here [Harry] meets his godfather and Professor Lupin, a really cool guy [This really "cool guy" turns into a werewolf]...." Harry Libarle, age 7.
By age ten, Jacqui K. was fascinated with anything supernatural. Since her parents set no limits, she read every fiction and fantasy book she could find on the magical world she craved. In her imagination, she met wizards and witches, power and excitement.
"I continued reading Harry Potter-type books through grade school, high school and into college," she says. "Three to five a week! The older I got, the easier they were to find. The whole time I considered myself a Christian! If someone had pointed out to me what I was doing, I would have laughed. I was a normal teenager and a leader in my church group."
The mystical characters in her fantasy world filled her thoughts during the day and her dreams at night. But when some of them began talking to her, she recognized the power she had pursued:
"I cried out to God to help me, and He did. The voices stopped. I was no Bible scholar, but I recognized that they were from Satan. Some people said that I became delusional because I couldn't separate fantasy from reality. They were wrong. The problem was that I COULD, and had no idea that reading fiction could put me in contact with REAL evil."
"Thirty years ago, I had to search for those kinds of books, but now they're everywhere. The fantasies I craved then were extreme, but now the child who stays away from occult books is the exception. I fear that what happened to me is happening to more and more Christian children. I can speak with authority on the dangers of straying into territory that God forbids."
Might Harry Potter seem as real as life to his young fans around the world? Do children accept Harry's lessons in practical witchcraft as an open door to an occult reality? Many Christian leaders have denied any such danger, but author J.K. Rowling admits that this happens. In an interview with Newsweek's Malcolm Jones, she said, "I get letters from children addressed to Professor Dumbledore [headmaster at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, the books' setting], and it's not a joke, begging to be let into Hogwarts, and some of them are really sad. Because they want it to be true so badly they've convinced themselves it's true." (The Return of Harry Potter)
Two British reports on this phenomenon show us the obvious: popular forms of occult entertainment "have fueled a rapidly growing interest in witchcraft among children." Naturally, the island's Pagan Federation is pleased. Though it refuses to admit new members under age 18, "it deals with an average of 100 inquiries a month from youngsters who want to become witches, and claims it has occasionally been 'swamped' with calls." [TV shows fuel children's interest in witchcraft]
"It is quite probably linked to things like Harry Potter, Sabrina The Teenage Witch and Buffy The Vampire Slayer," explains the Federation's media officer, Andy Norfolk. "Every time an article on witchcraft or paganism appears, we had a huge surge in calls, mostly from young girls." [Potter fans turning to witchcraft]
Apparently, Ms Rowling the author of Harry Potter, knew how to find the books that nurtured her fascination even as a child. Now she, in turn, spreads her love for the occult to children around the world. Without a firm foundation in Biblical truth, they have little resistance to her seductive call. And since most older children have been thoroughly immersed in the multicultural world view in their public schools, they are likely to prefer paganism to Christianity.
From the world's perspective, why shouldn't they? Why not follow the crowd and seek a new consensus in the name of peace and unity? After all, "paganism is recognized as a valid religion," says Mr. Norfolk of the Pagan Federation. He sees no reason why parents should be alarmed by their children's sudden interest in magic.
"Siberian Potter fans drink poisonous potion" is the news headline of BBC News. (Saturday, 20 April, 2002) Harry Potter fans in the Siberian city of Novosibirsk are believed to have been poisoned after drinking a "magic potion" inspired by the series of books about a boy wizard. The 23 children taken to hospital are out of danger, but the police have launched a criminal investigation, accusing the school of not storing its chemicals properly.
A reporter from Moscow's Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper who went to the school, said children told him they had been inventing potions and ceremonies. "He said there would be some initiation, so we came to the classroom and tried it," Sergey Ivanov, one of the pupils, told Russian NTV television. Other students told NTV they would try a "magic potion" if it were offered to them.
In the toys and games industry, two trans-national giants have been swallowing up most smaller companies: Mattel and Hasbro. The latter bought Wizards of the Coast, which makes and distributes role-playing games and cards for Pokemon, Magic the Gathering, and D&D fans around the world. What's more, Warner Brothers -- producer of the Harry Potter movie scheduled for release next year -- granted Hasbro licensing rights to produce a variety of Harry Potter toys and games. Pagan fun has become big business!