Why Listen To Harry?

What is the big deal with a young man who is a hero to millions of young readers around the world, enrapturing children as they embrace the reading experience?" The children are reading! These are the cries and shouts of praise that are being heaped upon J. K. Rowling, the author of the wildly popular four books that have been published in a series of seven (three have yet to be released). Harry Potter promoters, supporters and fans range from children, not even old enough to read, to the elderly. Never in the history of book writing has there been such an enthusiastic response to a series of books; never has a single author ever been able to bridge all age, gender and societal gaps! Religious, racial, social, and economic barriers have all seemed to disappear. The world has gone Potter crazy!

"It’s Just Magic"

When the people involved with Harry Potter and the world-wide empire it has become are questioned as to the secret of Harry’s success, they all too often have responded with: "It’s just magic! We can’t explain it . . . it is just magical!" The publisher, Scholastic Books, and the proponents of Harry Potter contend that the subjects of witchcraft, wizardry, and sorcery do not pose a threat to children because these books are "just fantasy." They espouse that the children of today are sophisticated enough to discern fiction from reality. J. K. Rowling herself has said in numerous interviews, "Not even one time has a child come up to me and said, ‘Ms. Rowling, I’m so glad I’ve read these books because now I want to be a witch.’" Then Ms. Rowling needs to read one of the many books that have been published as a tribute to Harry Potter. One such book is entitled Harry Potter, You’re the Best! A Tribute from Fans the World Over by Sharon Moore. (Griffin Trade Paperback, N.Y., 2001.) Here is what young Ewan of Surrey, Eng-land writes: "I myself am a Christian, and I do not understand why a Christian school banned the Harry Potter books; even my minister reads them! The school says they are unchristian. Harry Potter books are like the Bible though—good against evil—and to all the tiniest details. If I were in that school, I personally would disobey that rule to the full extent." Ibid., 11, 12. Melissa, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 9 years old, writes: "I wish I was a witch, and I wish I could go to Hogwart’s. Oh well, I do play witches with a friend, though. I’d love to know when Harry Potter’s birthday is and if he reads his own books." Ibid., 15. (Hogwart’s School of Witchcraft and Wizardry is the make-believe school that Harry and his friends attend.) Here is another from Alicja, Ontario, Canada, 8 years old: "I think Harry Potter books are good for children of all ages. I’m trying to learn to be a wizard! It’s hard work." Ibid., 23. Kelsey, 11 years old: "I am involved in an unofficial Harry Potter club supervised by our librarian, Mrs. Dryer. We are doing things such as making wands, creating artwork, exploring the Internet, and best of all playing quidditch." Ibid., 136. (Quidditch is a soccer-like game that is played while flying around on broomsticks.)

Innocent Fun?

Friends, it may seem like innocent fun (or not) right now. But God has told us to have nothing to do with witchcraft or sorcery. He says: "A man also or woman that hath a familiar spirit, or that is a wizard, shall surely be put to death . . . ." Leviticus 20:27.

I have three different books that are tributes to Harry Potter. Each is largely built on children’s letters, however, each book also has an adult section. One parent and literary agent wrote: "From my perspective as a parent, I have a great appreciation for these books. . . . The recent negative press about the books is hard for me to understand. In today’s world, where people are sophisticated, educated, and exposed to new ideas, such an attitude seems very old-fashioned. It’s like something from the days of the Salem witchcraft trials." Sharon Moore, We Love Harry Potter, St. Martin’s Griffin, N.Y., 1999, 96–98.

Finally, this from a parent in South Carolina: "I think it is wonderful the books let children see magic in a positive way. . . . The potential that children have when they open their minds is tremendous, and that’s what I see Harry Potter doing. He lets people into his world and shows them how wonderful life can be; indeed, how magical it can be. I am appalled to see some educational and religious institutions trying to take these books off the shelves. These books encourage kids to read! . . . I intend to start my child’s reading experience with them." Ibid., 141.

The lack of spiritual discernment of these parents just amazes me. One of the great dangers in these books (that children and most parents do not understand) is that it is acquainting readers, especially young readers, with occultic themes, spells, charms, curses and satanic magic in such a way that the reader’s guard is lowered to the actual occult activity in the world around us. The books have sanitized the occult and have presented it as the way to life and happiness. But the truth is, "Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost." Romans 15:13.

Who is Harry Potter?

Harry Potter is a likable, young wizard who is orphaned in infancy, raised by "muggles" (his non-magical relatives who are depicted as stupid and ignorant because they do not approve of magic and wizardry). He is later informed of his magical abilities and invited to study at Hogwart’s School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Harry Potter is espoused to be a standard tale of good versus evil. "By following Harry and his best friend Ron, the reader gets a glimpse of true loyalty and friendship, as well as self-sacrifice," different reviewers proclaim.

On the other hand, one does not have to look very far to see that witches, wizards, and other magical characters play lead roles. And, of course Harry and his friends are the focus—they are wizards (in training). Harry and his friends practice spells, create potions (drugs) and use them, and use hexes and magic on others. And the face-offs with "evil" are predictably intense. Each of the seven books chronicle a year of Harry’s education at Hogwart’s.

Just "Fantasy"

Many supporters of Harry Potter claim that the stories are just fantasy and that they are no different than classics like Sleeping Beauty, The Wizard of Oz and others. Yes, it is true that these stories have magic and sorcery in them, which is forbidden by God. They are not good reading for Christian children either, even though in these stories the character that the reader is asked to identify with is not the wizard! Also, the reader is not introduced to the intricacies of magic and wizardry. The Harry Potter books are written as never before; the children are identifying with the wizard, with the witch, with the sorcerer.

Keep in mind that the proponents of Harry Potter justify the means because of the end. They say, "Harry wins over the evil . . . in the end. So, good triumphs over evil, and that is a good message for kids." Never mind that witchcraft, wizardry, sorcery, divination, and evil occultic components are littered throughout the stories. Occult experts, ex-occultists, and ex-wizards all confirm that in order to do the things that Harry and his friends do in these books, the forces of evil must play their part for the wizards to have success! The source of the power for the "good" wizard and the "evil" wizard is the same, according to God. It is demonic! There is no such thing as a "good" wizard.

World-wide Deception

A U.S. consumer survey reported that over half of all children in the United States between the ages of 6 and 17 have read at least one Harry Potter book. In fact, "there are 116 million books in print in 200 countries. They have been translated into 47 languages." Claudia Puig, "Harry Potter Could Conjure Record," USA Today, October 22, 2001.

The first three Harry Potter books have grossed a conservatively estimated $480 million in three years. Those figures do not include the most recent released book four!

At 12:01 a.m., July 8, 2000, bookstore doors opened and kids pressed in. They ran; they pushed and shoved, and began shelling out $25.95 for book four. This was the publisher’s dream come true! Scholastic, the largest publisher and distributor of children’s books in the world had advanced orders topping 1.8 million and a first printing of 5.3 million copies. Newsweek Magazine said "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, the fourth installment of the series, promises to break every book-selling record in the book." Malcomb Jones, "Why Harry Potter’s Hot," Newsweek, July 17, 2000, 53.

Satanic Messages

But there is more to come. Ms. Rowling plans seven books in all, and she admits that each book will grow darker and darker and deal with death and loss and evil.

In just the first three books Rowling depicts many satanic themes, symbols, names, stories, and creatures—all vividly and correctly described. The fundamental occult philosophy that "the end justifies the means" permeates all of the books. To achieve a goal that is deemed good, Harry and his friends consistently break the rules, steal, defy authority figures and use witchcraft on others.

Friends, it is so amazing to me that some dare to fight for these Harry Potter books, praising them for bringing the children back to the bookstores and to the libraries. Never mind that they could lead unsuspecting children to Satan’s world of darkness. The argument that the books are fantasy just does not hold up. A recent trip to a local bookstore revealed an entire display of occult and satanic books right next to the Harry Potter display! These books are being used as a springboard into real-world witchcraft and wizardry.

There is an official web site on the Internet where children can enroll at Hogwart’s School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. A list of supplies and books is given for first year students. A search on any Internet search engine will find the needed items. When children begin searching for the supplies, however, just think what will open up to them. For instance, a search on "casting spells" will give 45,400 hits; enter "witchcraft" for 341,000 hits or "black magic" for 58,000 hits. It is not a very large step from the occultic themes in the "fantasy" books to the real occultic activity in the world.

The world has been bewitched by Harry Potter. No one seems able to explain the massive success of the books. But their success should come as no surprise. Surely Satan himself is behind Rowling’s writing! Through these books the world of Satanism has been repackaged in a powerfully fun, well-written story that is stealing the hearts, and possibly the souls, of millions of children.

Reprinted from The Shepherd’s Call, Special Issue January/February 2002, P. O. Box 1119, West Point, CA 95255.

Editor’s Note: "Says the prophet Isaiah: ‘When they shall say unto you, Seek unto them that have familiar spirits, and unto wizards that peep, and that mutter: should not a people seek unto their God? for the living to the dead? To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.’ Isaiah 8:19, 20. If men had been willing to receive the truth so plainly stated in the Scriptures concerning the nature of man and the state of the dead, they would see in the claims and manifestations of spiritualism the working of Satan with power and signs and lying wonders. But rather than yield the liberty so agreeable to the carnal heart, and renounce the sins which they love, multitudes close their eyes to the light and walk straight on, regardless of warnings, while Satan weaves his snares about them, and they become his prey. ‘Because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved,’ therefore ‘God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie.’ 2 Thessalonians 2:10, 11." The Great Controversy, 559.

"Rapidly are men ranging themselves under the banner they have chosen, restlessly waiting and watching the movements of their leaders. There are those who are watching and waiting and working for our Lord’s appearing; while the other party are rapidly falling into line under the generalship of the first great apostate. They look for a god in humanity, and Satan personifies the one they seek. Multitudes will be so deluded through their rejection of truth that they will accept the counterfeit. Humanity is hailed as God.

"There are but two parties. Satan works with his crooked, deceiving power, and through strong delusions he catches all who do not abide in the truth, who have turned away their ears from the truth and have turned unto fables. Satan himself abode not in the truth; he is the mystery of iniquity. Through his subtlety he gives to his soul-destroying errors the appearance of truth. Herein is their power to deceive. It is because they are a counterfeit of the truth that spiritualism, theosophy, and the like deceptions gain such power over the minds of men. Herein is the masterly working of Satan. He pretends to be the savior of man, the benefactor of the human race, and thus he more readily lures his victims to destruction." Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 364, 365.

Christian Berdahl