Incrementalsim within the church.
Twelve reasons not to see Harry Potter Movies
Berit Kjos – 2001
Notice the suggestions at the bottom of this well-distributed Harry Potter magazine:
“CAST A SPELL, MIX A POTION, TRY A TRICK!
“The premiere of Harry Potter the movie 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 
Psychic Eye Book Shop manager cheers “the Harry Potter craze”: “It’s taken away a lot of the fear. People are more accepting of things like witchcraft and magic after Harry Potter came out. We find that we are a supporting environment for customers like that.” Mountain View Voice, CA, 7-26-02.
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone opened on November 16 at a record-breaking number of theaters across the country. “Christian” as well as public schools bussed their students to see the long awaited movie based on the first book in J. K. Rowling’s ground-breaking series. Teachers are facilitating classroom discussions that train students to seek “common ground” and conform to an ever-changing group consensus. While forbidding prayer in the name of Jesus, most schools seem to welcome spells and sorcery in the name of Harry Potter.
The pressure to participate in the fun and frenzy is intense. So what can a Christian child do in the midst of such hype, hypocrisy and popular wizardry?
1. 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. Well aware that the final result is spiritual bondage and oppression, He warns us:
“There shall not be found among you anyone who… practices witchcraft, or a soothsayer, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, or one who conjures spells, or a medium, or aspiritist, or one who calls up the dead. For all who do these things are an abomination to the Lord…”
2. 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. Small wonder Harry’s fans have been counting the days until their next fantastic journey into Hogwarts’ classes on sorcery, divination, potions and spells.
“But they hearkened not, nor inclined their ear, but walked in the counsels and in the imagination of their evil heart, and went backward, and not forward.”
3. Each occult image and suggestion prompts the audience to feel more at home in this 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. Those who sense that the occult world is evil face a choice: Resist peer pressure or rationalize their imagined participation in Harry’s supernatural adventures.
The second choice may quiet the nagging doubts, but rationalizing evil and justifying sin will sear the conscience and shift the child’s perception of values from God’s perspective to a more “comfortable” cultural adaptation. Even Christian children can easily learn to conform truth to multicultural ideals and turn God’s values upside down – just as did God’s people in Old Testament days:
“But they hearkened not, nor inclined their ear, but walked in the counsels and in the imagination of their evil heart, and went backward, and not forward.” Jeremiah 7:24
“Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil;
Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness….
Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes,
And prudent in their own sight!” Isaiah 5:2-21
Harry Potter Special [Magazine] interviews actors Daniel Radcliffe (Harry), Rupert Grint (Ron), Tom Felton (Draco), Harry Melling (Dudley):
4. God tells us to “abhor what is evil” and “cling to what is good.” (Romans 12:9)
But when Christian children and teens love the Harry Potter myths, delight in the movie and read the books again and again, they are desensitizing their hearts and minds to its evil. Turning God’s truth upside down, they are learning to “love” what is evil. The natural next step is to reject God’s wise boundaries and “abhor” what He calls good.
“You love evil more than good….”
5. Immersed in Hogwarts’ beliefs and values, children learn to ignore or reinterpret God’s truth. 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 more normal than the Kingdom of God.
Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ.”
6. 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.
“Turn away my eyes from looking at worthless things, and revive me in Your way.”
7. The main product marketed through this movie is a new belief system. This pagan ideology comes complete with trading cards, computer and other wizardly games, clothes and decorations stamped with HP symbols, action figures and cuddly dolls and audio cassettes that could keep the child’s minds focused on the occult all day and into night. But in God’s eyes, such paraphernalia become little more than lures and doorways to deeper involvement with the occult. In contrast, He calls a person “blessed” who –
“walks not in the counsel of the ungodly,
nor stands in the path of sinners,
nor sits in the seat of the scornful [mockers];
“But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night. Whatever he does shall prosper.” Psalm 1:1-3
It might be hard to escape the symbols that remind people of Harry. His words and phrases help fuel today’s cultural transformation:
The mainstream media uses the word “muggles” to deride those who don’t want children to read Harry Potter books.
“A columnist from the Chicago Daily Herald used Harry-Speak…. He said that a particular NBC Olympics commentator was the ‘dementor of the sports commentators.'”
“Coeur d’Alene, Idaho is going to name this year’s snowstorms after the Harry Potter characters. The first blizzard of the year will be called Albus….”
8. The implied source of power behind Harry’s magical feats tend 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.
“You thought that I was altogether like you; but I will rebuke you….”
9. Blind to the true nature of God, children will blend (synthesize) Biblical truth with pagan beliefs and magical practices. In the end, you distort and destroy any remnant of true Christian faith. For our God cannot be molded to match pagan gods.
“For My people have committed two evils:
They have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters,
And hewn themselves cisterns—broken cisterns that can hold no water.”
10. 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 all day long 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.
“And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.”
11. While some argue that Harry and his friends model friendship and integrity, 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.
“And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased [depraved] mind, to do those things which are not fitting…. They are whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.”
12. God has a better way. When His children choose to follow His ways, He gives them a heart to love Him, spiritual eyes that can understand and delight in His Word, a sense of His presence and a confidence in His constant care — no matter what happens around us. Harry Potter’s deceptive thrills are worse than worthless when compared to the wonderful riches our Shepherd promises those who will ignore evil and walk with Him.
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.” Philippians 4:6-8
“…this film truly glorifies hideous creatures, egregious acts by young children, imaginings that are far more scary and graphic than ANY child should be subjected to (or adult for that matter), yet every kid in the audience craves more and more. Young boys in the audience were quoting out-loud the exact words of Dobby, a self-mutilating elf, before he spoke them….” Julianne Evans, author.
“It’s darker and much scarier…” Rupert Grint who plays Harry’s friend, Ron Weasley.
Spells, potions, dark arts, psychic writing, magical healing, trance possession, ghostly encounters with the dead…. All fit together in Warner Brothers new Harry Potter movie. And all enter into the viewer’s virtual experience and mental bank of occult suggestions – whether they realize it or not.
Harry’s second year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry is full of occult thrills and forbidden rituals, but few seem to mind. The poor, victimized hero is such a polite and sympathetic wizard that his fans naturally want him to win. His magical spells only make his triumphs more exciting. So viewers simply shut their minds to God’s warnings, flow with the fast-action story, identify with the “good guys” and cheer the power they wield. Immersed in this occult fantasy world, they adapt their values to fit their new fellowship.
Surrounded by children and teens in the sold-out movie theater on November 16, I sensed that empathy. The audience laughed together when Harry’s muggle (non-magical)uncle fell from the window. Horrified silence reigned when an army of big, flesh-eating spiders descended on Harry and his friend, Ron, seeding nightmarish images into the minds of the children. And when the staff and students at Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry clapped for Harry at the movie’s end, the enthusiastic audience joined in the applause.
I didn’t. Troubled by the message and suggestions behind the enticing story, I pondered a dialogue near the end of the movie. It takes place in the mysterious Chamber of Secrets. Harry had discovered the entrance, slid down a massive pipe, and found Ginny, Ron’s lifeless little sister, in the cavernous depths. Now he faces Tom Riddle, a youthful representation of the dreaded wizard Lord Voldemort who, like Darth Vader of Star Wars, had chosen the evil side of the force. But Harry’s first concern is Ginny. He calls out to her,
“Please don’t be dead. Wake up, wake up!”
“She won’t wake,” says the handsome Tom Riddle.
“What do you mean, she won’t wake? She’s not….”
“She’s still alive, but only just.”
“Are you a ghost?”
“A memory preserved in the diary for 50 years.”
“She’s cold as ice. You’ve got to help me, Tom…. Give me my wand….”
“I’m afraid I can’t do that, Harry. You see as poor Ginny grows weaker, I grow stronger….”
Harry is puzzled, so Tom Riddle spells out his true identity with the wand and the words appear on the wall: “I am Lord Voldemort.”
“I fashioned myself a new name,” he explains, “a name I knew wizards everywhere would one day fear to speak, when I had become the greatest sorcerer in the world!”
“Albus Dumbledore is the greatest sorcerer in the world!” argues Harry. His declaration of loyalty to the beloved headmaster summons an unexpected helper. A fire erupts on a nearby pillar and out of its flames rises Dumbledore’s crimson phoenix. It flies to Harry and lands on his shoulders.
The book behind the movie gives a clearer description of this scene. While I don’t like to include occult details, I hope the paragraph below will (1) help us appreciate God’s warnings, (2) stir our conscience and (3) lift our understanding of good and evil far beyond today’s complacent acceptance of occult entertainment.
After all, the very practices that God forbids, Ms. Rowling has been using as captivating bait for her wizardly world. Planted into a context that idealizes occultism, these thrilling practices stir a love for evil and a craving for more. But God shows us another way: “Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good.” (Romans 12:9)
Now, consider this dialogue between Harry and Voldemort, alias Tom Riddle:
“Ginny poured out her soul to me, and her soul happened to be exactly what I wanted…. I grew stronger and stronger on a diet of her deepest fears, her darkest secrets. I grew powerful enough to start feeding Miss Weasley a few of my secrets, to start pouring a little of my soul back into her….”
“What d’you mean?” said Harry, whose mouth had gone very dry.
“Haven’t you guessed yet, Harry Potter? said Riddle softly. ‘Ginny Weasley opened the Chamber of Secrets. She strangled the school roosters and daubed threatening messages on the walls. She set the Serpent of Slytherin on four Mudbloods…
When Harry wonders “why”, Riddle answers, “Because I told her to...“ He continues,
“Of course she didn’t know what she was doing. I wish you could have seen her new diary entries…. Dear Tom, he recited…. I think I’m losing my memory. There are rooster feathers all over my robes and I don’t know how they got there. Dear Tom, I can’t remember what I did on the night of Halloween…. There was another attack today and I don’t know where I was…. I think I’m going mad.… I think I’m the one attacking everyone, Tom!”
Ginny was right. Controlled by Voldemort’s curse and filled with a part of his soul, she did what she was told. Riddle admits that she was in a trance — an altered state of consciousness — and wasn’t consciously aware of her violent actions.
Keep in mind, this phenomenon is not just a fantasy that one can indulge in without consequences. In today’s real world, those who dabble in virtual occult experiences risk spiritual bondage to forces they can neither see, control, nor escape.
The Western world was relatively free from such demonic “madness” for several centuries. But, now, as our cultural fascination with occultism soars, the spiritual safety zone we have long taken for granted is fading away.
The diary is important, for its blank pages carried the mystical communication between Tom and his victim. Just as symbols have traditionally been used by sorcerers and shamans to transmit magical forces, so this diary became a vehicle for the dark forces that were now draining her life.
In a dramatic scene, Voldemort summons the massive slithering basilisk and tells it to kill Harry. Well aware that a glance into the evil eyes of this serpentine beast would kill him, Harry fights and kills the basilisk — but not until one of its poisonous fangs had pierced his arm.
The legendary healing power of the phoenix saves the young wizard, but by now nearly all of Ginny’s life has been drained from her body. Desperate to save her, Harry grabs the bloodied fang and plunges it “into the heart” of the mystical diary. Riddle screams, then quickly disintegrates and disappears. Ginny awakens, her life force restored.
Perhaps you noticed a similarity between voodoo and the magic that saved Ginny and destroyed Voldemort. Rooted in the polytheism of West Africa and Haiti, voodoo (vodun) includes curses and spells that require effigies or fetishes — dolls, carved wood, animal parts or other physical objects that would embody the spirit of a targeted person. By stabbing the effigy, a sorcerer could injure, sicken or kill the targeted person. And the demonic spirits would usually comply — as long as their servant stayed loyal to those forces.
The Wiccan leader Starhawk, founder of the Covenant of the Goddess, affirms the use of symbols, charms and other objects as transmitters of spiritual forces. “To cast a spell is to project energy through a symbol,” she wrote in The Spiral Dance, her popular manual for witchcraft.
Does this sound like a movie for children? Or for teens whose schools and computers offer countless tempting doors into the deadly world of the occult?
The Harry Potter books and movies are merely the beginning — the first enticing steps into the world of dark and deceptive arts. When children tire of this movie, the tireless makers and marketers of Harry Potter games and gadgets will still be promoting the enticing wares that perpetuate the craze. Almost 10 million games were spawned by last year’s Harry Potter movie, and many expect the trend to grow.
“This holiday season,” we are told by gamerstemple.com, “the Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets videogames will transport fans from the non-magical world to an even richer, deeper interactive adventure of wizards and wonder, while representing an interactive adaptation of the book’s story line.”
Together, the ceaseless repetitions, captivating games, popular posters, action figures, videos and audio recordings will intensify the cultural pressure on everyone to accept and adapt to this occult phenomenon. Since the cruel nature of this occult world has already lost its shock value, these dangerous forces now seem almost “normal” to many of our youth. They don’t realize that demonic possession, evil curses and spiritual torment once characterized most of the world’s pagan civilizations. As happened many times in past centuries, they could quickly change today’s cultural landscape.
But our caring God, who wants us to find safety in Him, tells us, “Do not be conformed to the world…” Instead, “be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” That means filling our minds with the saving truths that set captives free and bring peace and triumph now and forever. [Romans 12:2]
Those truths include all the Scriptures that show us His heart and will. Politically correct or not, His eternal Word can’t be ignored or adapted to fit our pluralistic culture. Deuteronomy 18:9-12 is as true and valid for a Christian today as it was three thousand years ago:
“There shall not be found among you anyone who… practices witchcraft, or a soothsayer, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, or one who conjuresspells, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead. For all who do these things are an abomination to the Lord…” Deuteronomy 18:9-12
That doesn’t mean imposing God’s standard on others. In America, each person is free to choose the wide or the narrow way. And those who choose His way know well that, only by His grace and His Spirit within us, can we live the life He has shown us.
“Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it.” 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24
For a practical list of suggestions and Scriptures that highlight the dangers of deception, the power of God’s Word, and the victory we have in Christ, see Twelve reasons not to see Harry Potter movies.
1.Warner Brothers’ interview with Rupert Grint (Ron Weasley) at http://harrypotter.warnerbros.com/web/dailyprophet/article.jsp?id=interview_rupert&arc=1
2.Ibid.: “How did you feel shooting the Spider’s Hollow scenes?” asked WB. “I hate them, they are so scary,” answered Rupert. “I don’t like them at all. And that scene with all the spiders and the four tonne spider Aragog really didn’t help my fear.”
3.In the end of the movie, Professor Dumbledore says to Harry, “You must have remained faithful to me while you were down there…that is what brought the Phoenix to you.”
4.These words were part of the dialogue in the movie, not in the book.
8. Gaming News
Harry Potter & The Order of the Phoenix
“It’s only fantasy” and other deceptions
by Berit Kjos (2003)
“The story of Harry Potter is an allegory: It is written and packaged to look like fantasy when, in truth, it is a carefully written true description of the training and work of an initiate in an occult order…. The story line aligns with real occult books written by Gavin and Yvonne Frost, who, themselves, run the foremost school of witchcraft in the British Isles.” Peter, a former member of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. 1
“The new Harry Potter book made book-publishing history this weekend. Barnes & Noble Inc., the nation’s largest bookstore chain, was on track to sell one million books in the first 48 hours, as much as it had expected to sell in a week….”2 The Wall Street Journal, 6-23-03
“It makes me feel as though I am Harry. Here I feel I am a student at Hogwarts.” Greg Fitzgerald, 13, New York Times, 6-26-03.
“I couldn’t believe she killed off a character. I was so depressed…. I know I’m getting worked up over what’s fiction. My mom keeps reminding me of that. But I said, ‘It’s all real in my mind.’“(Nancy Chen, 14, of Tulsa) “
Summer Solstice — an ancient pagan celebration in Europe and elsewhere in the Northern Hemisphere — seemed a fitting release date for J. K. Rowling’s fifth book. At midnight on June 21, young and old were waiting in line at bookstores around the world to get the next installment of their favorite myth. With my camera ready to document the event, I found a place in the “K-L” line behind a mother with three children.
“What do you think of the Harry Potter books?” I asked her.
“I love them,” she answered. “I’ve read all of them twice to myself and once to my children.”
“How old are your children?” I asked.
“Nine, eleven and fourteen. But they were six, eight and eleven when we started.”
Only six and eight! I looked around at the costumed adults and their children in Harry Potter glasses, black robes and pointed black hats. How many of them would call themselves Christians? I wondered. How would this next level of training in occult practice affect their faith and their lives?
My concern grew over the next two days as I read the 870 pages. In their fifth year of occult training, Harry and his friends were more sophisticated in their understanding of the dark arts and far more rebellious toward authorities. Even their relationships with each other seemed darker and more fragile. One of J. K. Rowling’s favorite verbs seems to be snarl (as in “‘About time!’ Harry snarled”, p. 43), a word she repeated again and again. Lying and rule-breaking had become the norm and, most of the time, the young wizards and witches got away with it.
While some readers will see the anger, rage, swearing and cruel jinxes as nothing more than “fun” and fantasy, this immersion into angry and hateful environments will surely strengthen the notion that rage, rudeness and rebellion are cool as well as okay. It doesn’t help that millions of children around the world are encouraged to feed their minds with images such as this:
“Harry longed to bite the man. . . but he must master the impulse. He had more important work to do. But the man was stirring…. Harry saw his vibrant, blurred outline towering above him, saw a wand withdrawn from a belt. . . . He had no choice. . . . He reared high from the floor and struck once, twice, three times, plunging his fangs deeply into the man’s flesh, feeling his ribs splinter beneath his jaws, feeling the warm gush of blood. . .
“The man was yelling in pain. . . then he fell silent. . . . He slumped backward against the wall…. Blood was splattering onto the floor…. His forehead hurt terribly.” (p. 463)
No, Harry hasn’t morphed into a vampire. Instead, he illustrates an occult principle called bilocation. While his physical body was asleep at Hogwarts, a part of his soul/spirit was far away — inside Voldemort — acting out this murderous assault as a vicious serpent.
Our article on The Matrix shows the same mystical correlation. Actions in the dream world correspond perfectly to actual changes in the real world. So while the sleeping Harry — in his mind — saw and shared in the brutal act, the distant victim was bitten, torn and left to die.
In that nightmarish scene, Voldemort, an evil wizard with the cravings of a vampire, had turned himself into a snake (occultists call it transmutation). And since Harry was psychically linked to this dark, powerful wizard, he participated in the attack as if he were actually inside the snake — as if his spirit had possessed the serpent. Harry feltVoldemort’s hatred and shared his thirst for blood.
To guard against such disturbing intrusions into his mind, Harry must learn occlumency, “the magical defense of the mind against external penetration.” It’s “an obscure branch of magic, but a highly useful one,” says Professor Snape. (p. 519)
Don’t dismiss it as “just fantasy!” It’s an actual formula for defense against psychic attacks in the real world of high-level occult orders.3 And the key to success is a basic principle behind all occult training. Snape said it well: “Clear your mind and let go of all emotion.” Love, hate, delight, disgust … these can be manipulated by a powerful opponent. Therefore all feelings must be purged.
Readers who never make it past the middle of the book will miss this gruesome scene, but they still face the horror of a heartless assault in its opening pages. Consider how a child might be affected by the following images of deadly dementors:
“Harry felt a creeping chill behind him that could mean only one thing. There was more than one….
“A towering, hooded figure was gliding smoothly toward him, hovering over the ground, no feet or face visible beneath its robes, sucking on the night as it came.
“Stumbling backward, Harry raised his wand. [He tried to cast a spell but it fails]
“He could smell the dementor’s putrid, death-cold breath, filling his own lungs, drowning him…. The dementor’s icy fingers were closing on his throat – the high-pitched laughter was growing louder and louder, and a voice spoke inside his head – “Bow to death, Harry”
[He casts the spell again]
“An enormous silver stag erupted from the tip of Harry’s wand; its antlers caught the dementor in the place where the heart should have been; it was thrown backwards….”
Ms. Rowling’s dementors are like psychic vampires. They suck energy out of humans, not unlike the “Haunter” in the Pokemon myth who “sucks out the opponent’s soul.” Their depraved goal is to destroy their foe.
So is the goal of advanced members of sophisticated secret societies such as the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. “Peter,” a former member who has helped us understand the actual nature of today’s popular occultism, said it well: “Like psychic vampires, these dementors feed on the emotional energy of people.”1
Harry saves the day with an advanced spell that banishes the dementors. By the time the readers have relished a few more chapters, such magic formulas begin to seem familiar — almost normal. After all, Harry is their hero! The readers are all rooting for him. They want to see him win — and the stronger the magic the better! No wonder witchcraft is on rise these days. The world is learning that magical training brings virtual success. It feels good. So why not go for the real thing!
Many do. Marysia Kolodziej — a young thelemite or solitary witch — tells us why:
“You are not wiccan unless you have been initiated, which I hope eventually to be – and a ritual magician in practice. … I am a [Harry Potter] fan for several reasons. Initially it’s the universe. The books with the largest pull have this highly detailed, well-thought out universe that almost seems real and, importantly, that you would want to be a part of. You are not just drawn into the story but into that world. Then through talking about them with fans you fall further and further in love with the characters, you analyze them and worry about them untilthey feel real to you. Then you have, in a way, become a part of that shared universe, and it is a wonderful place to be.” 4 Harry Potter: The witch’s view
Marysia should be pleased with the Order of the Phoenix. Whether she realizes it or not, it actually offers many of the key lessons she longs to learn. Showing the progressive stages of magical training, it provides a tantalizing replica of the intense program that shapes chosen initiates for leadership in actual occult orders.1
Since Ms. Rowling’s storytelling skills are hard to resist, young readers find it all too easy to identify with life at Hogwarts. As Time magazine points out, “Rowling shows an uncanny understanding of how adolescents deal with one another.”5
“She gets almost everything right,” says ligia Mizhuquiri. “What happens [at Harry’s school] happens to us. Some of us are popular. Some of us are not. Some of us get bullied. Some of us are bullies.”5 By empathizing with the characters and their dangerous choices, readers learn to delight in the very things that God calls abominations: witchcraft, divination, sorcery and spells… (Deut 18:9-12)
Those who refuse to enter this enticing virtual reality often face rejection or wrath from their peers. The pressure to join the crowd, justify occultism, compromise one’s faith and rationalize the spiritual shift is rising fast. These comments sent to our website illustrate the process:
“I am a strong Christian and love the Lord with all my heart. The problem is I really enjoy reading the books and nothing about them conflicts with my spirit…. ” A youth pastor
“The bottom line is that Harry Potter makes children, teenagers like myself, and even adults HAPPY. I’ve read the books to several children that I know or babysit for, and watched all of them laugh, smile, and cry happily…. Children wouldn’t be so desperate for Harry’s world to be real if the series wasn’t just that good.” M. L., age 17
“I have been encouraged by my pastor at my CHRISTIAN church to read the Harry Potter books, because even though they have references to magic and sorcery, they can teach us more about the values of Friendship and Bravery then he can…. I am no longer Christian. Somewhere along the way my beliefs changed. I practice Wicca….” A.
“I am positively OUTRAGED at what I just read on your page. Children all around the world are enjoying Harry Potter and why shouldn’t they?!” B.
I’m not surprised that the first two writers measure right and wrong by their feelings, not by God’s Word. In today’s postmodern churches, few children or adults learn the Scriptures that would train their conscience to be a trustworthy guide along God’s Way. Today’s feel-good churches tend to avoid the Biblical truths that might conflict with the tolerant and politically correct atmosphere they like to exhibit.
As a result, many church members are more comfortable with the world’s ways than with God’s ways. Compromise seems more “right” than God’s call to separation. [See 2 Cor 6:12-18] The way back to God is through conviction and repentance, but that rarely happens among those whose conscience has been trained to match the world’s values. If you don’t accept God’s standard for right and wrong, you have little reason to repent. See Isaiah 5:20
In a world that rejects God’s unchanging guidelines and loves occult thrills more than His wonderful presence, the spiritual battle is sure to intensify.6
“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore….” Ephesians 6:10-18
God’s children had better be dressed for battle, not for a party, when they face these principalities and powers of darkness. This unseen army is as real as we are, and its cruel master wants our children.7
So teach them to “put on God’s armor.” Then, “clothed in Christ” and filled with His Spirit, they will be ready to face a world that has little love for the God we follow. No need to escape into a fantasy world for real-life fellowship with Him is far more exciting and wonderful than all the short-lived and addictive thrills that captivate youngsters today.
The last part of the armor tells us to take hold of the “Sword of the Spirit, the Word of God.” The key scriptures that show us God’s attitude toward witchcraft and wizardry are listed in Twelve reasons not to see Harry Potter movies. Please read this article.
We all face a choice. Will we focus on the world’s fragile and illusive “happiness” and make “fun” and fantasy our aim in life? Or will we seek God and find the wonders of His peace in the midst of turmoil, His strength in our weakness, His amazing joy even when all looks dark from a human perspective? We can’t have both. Therefore –
“Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve….
But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”
The Harry Potter books would not have been culturally acceptable half a century ago. Today’s cultural climate –an “open-mindedness” toward occult entertainment together with “closed-mindedness” toward Biblical Christianity — was planned a century ago. It was outlined by the United Nations in the late 1940s and has been taught and nurtured through the developing global education system during the last six decades.
To understand how the world was prepared to welcome Harry Potter and to hate the Christian “muggles” who refused to approve its favorite entertainment, read the following articles and chapters:
Brainwashing in America | The International Agenda | Chronology
Establishing a Global Spirituality | Reinventing the World | Popular Occultism
The Power of Suggestion | Conforming the Church to the New Millennium
Charts: Paradigm Shift – Total transformation
1. See Overview and Application of Harry Potter at this website.
2. Emily Nelson, “Harry Potter’s Magic Remains, as New Book Sets Sales Records, The Wall Street Journal, June 23, 2003.
3. See The Order of the Phoenix at this website.
4. Marysia Kolodziej, “Harry Potter: The witch’s view“, BBC News (6/23/03) at http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/arts/3012270.stm
5. Nancy Gibbs, “The Real Magic of Harry Potter,” Time, 6/23/03; page 65.
6. See America’s Spiritual Slide at this website.
7. “Ask Peter” – Find Biblical answers to questions about occult entertainment at this website.
Using Alchemy to Teach Christianity?
A chapter by chapter examination of
Author: John Granger
Christian Publisher: Tyndale House (June 2004)
Note: To say that I was disturbed to discover that a respected Christian publisher such as Tyndale House would publish a book that applauded alchemy and sorcery as a pathway to God would be an understatement. Throughout His Word, God warns us to shun any association — real or imagined — with the dark world of the occult. But in our times of blurred visions and spiritual blindness, even the occult secrets of alchemical sorcery and hermetic magic are once again becoming acceptable to people who call themselves Christians.
To highlight the deception promoted in this book, I will let the author, John Granger, speak for himself. My indented comments (in blue, italicized letters) follow the quotes from his book. The bold letters in his quotes are added for emphasis.
Verses from the Bible are also indented but not italicized.
Background information from the article, “The Alchemist’s Tale“ by John Granger
“Understanding the Harry Potter books as alchemical writing in the tradition of the English ‘Greats’ will explain otherwise bizarre events, plot turns, and names in the novels….
“The alchemist, like all traditional or non-modern people, understood man to be essentially spirit (as man is created by the Spirit), then soul, then physical body…. His personhood or humanity he knew to be a joining of soul and body without seam—and his tragedy was that he was fallen, i.e., that he had lost his spiritual capacity or intellectus, by means of which Adam walked and talked with God in the garden. Alchemy was the means, in conjunction with the mysteries of the Church, by which he could regain this lost capacity. The substance changing from lead to gold was his soul, and the riches he would glean were spiritual riches—holiness and immortality.
“It is essentially a super-conscious or spiritual work that happens through correspondence with archetypes that are ‘above, not below,’ individual consciousness.
“So what was alchemy? It was a traditional or sacred science, supporting the work of the revealed tradition and its means of grace, for the purification and perfection of the alchemist’s soul in correspondence with the metallurgical perfection of a base metal into gold….
“Rowling clearly understands both ‘alchemy in literature’ and the ‘alchemy of literature.’ Her books satisfy the need in us, born in a profane culture without heroes or avenues oftranscendent experience….
“We get this experience in our identification with Harry, and we are better, more human even, for having been at least for a while in the alembic vessel, changing from spiritual lead to gold, dying and rising from the dead. In brief, Rowling’s novels are so popular because her works transform the human person via imaginative identification, catharsis, and resurrection.”[Emphasis added]
“Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil…” Isaiah 5:20
“The Potter books are the most edifying works of fiction written in many years….”
“My thesis is existentially this: As images of God designed for life in Christ, all humans naturally resonate with stories that reflect the greatest story ever told — the story of God who became man. The Harry Potter novels… touch our hearts because they contain themes, imagery, and engaging stories that echo the Great Story we are wired to receive and respond to. …they address the need… we have for spiritual nourishment in the form of edifying, imaginative experience of life in Christ.”
“Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ.”
Chapter 1 – Magic, fantasy and the Christian worldview
“The ‘sorcery’ in Harry Potter supports biblical teaching, not practice of the occult.” Page 1
Granger: “I am convinced that the fundamental reason for the astonishing popularity of the Harry Potter novels is their ability to meet a spiritual longing for some experience of the truths of life, love and death taught by Christianity but denied by a secular culture. Human beings are designed for Christ, whether they know it or not. That the Harry Potter stories ‘sing along’ with the Great Story of Christ is a significant key to understanding their compelling richness.” Page 2
\Our fallen human nature drives us toward self-gratification, not toward Jesus Christ and the cross. Because the “flesh” (human nature) prompts us to follow our inclinations rather than God’s spirit, He warns us that —
“…the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. … Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like… [T]hose who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.” Galatians 5:17
Granger: “Some Christians object to Harry Potter because Christian Scripture in many places explicitly forbids occult practice. Though reading about occult practice is not forbidden, these Christians prudently prefer to protect their children because of the books’ sympathetic portrayal of occult practice. These Christians believe that such approving and causal exposure to the occult opens the door to occult practice.” Page 2
Any participation in — or love for — pagan practices is forbidden. That includes virtual or imaginary experiences as well as real-life participation. To follow Jesus Christ, we must love what He loves and hate what He hates. The Bible tells us to “Abhor what is evil” and “cling to what is good.” (Romans 12:9) But hundreds of letters we have received from “Christian” Potter fans show that they nowlove what God calls eviland abhor His Word which shows us His way. (See Twelve reasons not to see Harry Potter movies)
“He who walks righteously and speaks uprightly….who stops his ears from hearing of bloodshed, and shuts his eyes from seeing evil: he will dwell on high; his place of defense will be the fortress of rocks….” Isaiah 33:15
Granger: “Other Christians… point out the books are ‘only stories’ and that many stories… have portrayed witches and wizards in a positive light…. Given this impasse… note three observations: Page 3
1. “Occult practices are universally denounced by major world-religions. Every major religion—Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity and Islam (not to mention animism)—prohibited invocational sorcery and individual (or unguided) exploration of the spirit world.”
All those religions, except Biblical Christianity, have historically embraced invocational sorcery and explorations of the demonic spirit world. Hinduism and Buddhism involve all kinds of occult rituals and practices. Kabala is a form of Jewish mysticism steeped in occult symbols and rituals, while Sufism and Folk Islam are examples of Islamic mysticism and animism.
Granger: 2. “Scripture itself contains material about occult practices.” Page 3
Yes, but it always points out that occult practices are evil and forbidden to God’s people.
Granger: “The Bible nowhere forbids reading material with occult elements in it. ”
While few could read or write in Old Testament days, God’s people were forbidden any contact with the occult beliefs or objects of surrounding cultures. Centuries later, converted Christians in the early church willingly disposed of their reading materials on occultism:
“Many also of those who had believed kept coming, confessing and disclosing their practices. And many of those who practiced magic brought their books togetherand began burning them in the sight of everyone; and they counted up the price of them and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver. So the word of the Lord was growing mightily and prevailing.” Acts 19:17-20
Granger: “I know devout Christians who hate Harry as well as many who love him; both groups read their Bible daily and enjoy fantasy stories with occult elements and magic in them—stories as diverse as Shakespeare’s The Tempest, L. Frank Baum‘s Oz stories, Lewis’ Narnia and…. and Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy.” Page 4
So do I, but that doesn’t justify stories that approve of magic. Baum was a Theosophist. In fact, the official website for The Theosophical Society of America boasts of its most famous member.
Granger: 3. “Whether or not to read Harry Potter from the logical, human view, then, is a question of whether reading Harry fosters a curiosity in the occult or in a rewarding spiritual life. Scripture forbids occult practice and tells us to ‘train a child in the way he should go.’ … Does Harry foster an interest in the real world occult or doesn’t he?” Page 4
“…the magic in Harry Potter is no more likely to encourage real-life witchcraft than time travel in science fiction novels encourages readers to seek passage to previous centuries….. I say this without hesitation because the magic in Harry Potter is not ‘sorcery’ or invocational magic. …the magic practiced in the Potter books, by hero and villain alike, is incantational magic, a magic that shows—in story form—our human thirst for a reality beyond the physical world around us.” Page 4
“Invocational means literally ‘to call in.’ Magic of this sort is usually referred to as sorcery. Scripture warns that ‘calling in’ demonic principalities and power for personal power and advantage is dangerously stupid…. But there is no invocational sorcery in the Harry Potter books. Even the most evil wizards do their nasty magic with spell.” Page 5
Yet Mr. Granger describes invocational magic on page 141: “The Patronus Charm required the wizard to say the words ‘Expecto Patronum’ and to concentrate as hard as possible on a happy memory… At first, Harry is only able to conjure a thin, wispy Patronus… After he gives himself a stern talking-to… he conjures a magnificent Patronus and… dispels the dementor impersonators….”
Ponder these definitions from a reputable Internet dictionary:
Conjure: 1. To summon (a devil or spirit) by magical or supernatural power.
2. To influence or effect by or as if by magic: tried to conjure away the doubts that beset her.
3. To practice black magic http://dictionary.reference.com/
Incantation: Ritual recitation of verbal charms or spells to produce a magic effect.
A formula used in ritual recitation; a verbal charm or spell. http://dictionary.reference.com/
Invocational: The act or an instance of invoking, especially an appeal to a higher power for assistance.
A prayer or other formula used in invoking, as at the opening of a religious service.
The act of conjuring up a spirit by incantation. An incantation used in conjuring. http://dictionary.reference.com/
In other words, you can’t separate Harry’s invocational magic from his incantational magic. Incantations are used to invoke supernatural forces that make something happen according to the will of the sorcerer. They go together! John Granger is wrong when he states that
“The magic in Harry Potter is exclusively incantational magic in conformity with… scriptures’ admonitions.” Page 6
|From Peter: In the gospel according to Granger sorcery is invocational magic, to call in. He says there is a difference between invocational and incantational magic. On page 6 Granger states that there is no invocational magic in Harry Potter. I have three problems with this statement:1) Looking up the word sorcery in Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words, in volume 4, pages 51 and 52 it talks about sorcery.
Vine’s defines sorcery (pharmakia) as MAGIC, the use of medicine, drugs, spells or poisoning. In sorcery, the use of drugs… was generally accompanied by incantations and appeals to occult powers with the provision of various charms and amulets. The word pharmagia is the plural for the word pharmakia and means sorceries or magical arts.2) Sorcerer is defined as magos, a magician, a wizard, a professor of the arts of witchcraft, originally applied to Persian priests.
3) Pharmakos, an adjective, devoted to magical arts, especially one who uses potions, spells, enchantments, drugs.
These definitions fly in the face of Grangers invocational / incantational theory. Magic is Magic.
Example: Page 17-19 in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. A dementor is bearing down on Harry with the intent to kill. Harry is carrying his wand. Wands are magical tools. Every wand is charged with one or more of the four elements. Every time you use a wand in any kind of exercise of your will the wand executesthe will of the magician via air, fire, earth or water. Harry called for light and he got light (fire) from his wand.
According to Rowling, on page 19, Harry bellows, GET IT. And with a rushing, roaring sound, the silver stag he had conjured came galloping back past him.Harry conjured a stag from his wand (earth). Rowling uses the word conjure. Using Granger’s vocabulary – because Harry called in the stag to save him and NOT an evil being — then there is nothing wrong with this conjuration. But God never differentiates between calling in [invoking] something good verses something evil. God just says don’t do it. According to Granger anybody can conjure anything as long as they believe that what they are conjuring is not evil. The WILL of the magician is at work here, not the power of the Holy Spirit.
There IS conjuration in the Harry Potter books. AND whenever an incantation is used in ritual magic the purpose of the incantation is to invoke something from the other side. Every time Harry does something with his wand the movement of the wand is the invocation and the words are the incantation. They are part of the same thing. Harry cannot have one without the other at this level of his training.
Granger says, “to risk overstating my case, the magic in HP and other good fantasy fiction harmonizes with the miracles of the saints.” My question for Granger is this, “Which of the saints relied only on himself and his own will to execute his own miracles?”
Occultists operate by their own WILL. God is not a consideration to an accomplished occultist. God is not a consideration to Harry Potter either.
Harry’s action, magic, lifestyle and thinking are always consistent with his belief system: witchcraft. He always exercises his own will — not God’s — when wielding His wand, casting his spells and doing his magic.
Granger’s justification:“We live in a time in which naturalism… is the state religions and belief and supernatural or contra-natural powers is considered delusion. The incantational magic in Harry Potter… undermines faith in this godless worldview. And by undermining the materialistic view of our times… the books lay the foundation not for occult practices but for a traditional understandingof the spiritual life.” Page 8
Not true — unless “traditional” refers to something other than Biblical understanding. Many new spiritual forms and religious blends are becoming increasingly popular. Postmodern mysticism is in. Modern secularism is fading. What is fast replacing secularism are the self-made spiritual blends which embrace materialism as well as dialectic thinking — and which increasingly justify occult practices. Even former atheist Gorbachev now promotes a global spirituality. But Biblical Christianity doesn’t fit.
Granger: “Have you heard stories of children being sucked into witches’ covens because they want to be like Harry Potter? Your child is far more likely to become a Hare Krishna or member of a Christian cult than a witch or wizard.” Pages 8-9
Yes, I have read many such examples. Some of the children who visit our website fall into that category. Even Ms Rowling admits that children are drawn toward witchcraft because of her books. In an interview with Newsweek writer 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)
More sophisticated youth know they can study or embrace witchcraft without joining Hogwarts, an actual coven or an occult order. Instead they simply form their own neopagan groups on high school campuses across the country. Postmodern values have freed new converts to visit occult websites, read what they want, then pick and choose whatever pleases them.
|From Peter: In 1999 we did a search for the word witchcraft and got 135,000 hits. In December, 2001, we did a Google search on the word witchcraft and 706,000hits were returned. I just did a Google search for the word witchcraft and in August of 2004, there are now 1,200,000 hits.All kids who have the minutest interest in this topic have to do is a simple Google search on the word witchcraft and they will find the REAL THING very quickly.
In 12/01 a Google search on the word pagan returned 1, 850,000 hits. Today a Google search on the word pagan returned 3,020,000 hits. Granger does not realize how quickly these sites are popping up on the web. We have seen the numbers double about every 2 years. SOMEONE MUST BE LOOKING AT THESE SITES and that someone might be kids who just want to be like Harry.
Many prefer to “do their own thing” instead of conforming to traditional or established covens. Here are a few examples: (See also Harry Potter Lures Kids to Witchcraft)
“I have been encouraged by my pastor at my CHRISTIAN church to read the Harry Potter books, because even though they have references to magic and sorcery, they can teach us more about the values of Friendship and Bravery then he can…. I am no longer Christian. Somewhere along the way my beliefs changed. I practice Wicca….” a student
“I am a [Harry Potter] fan for several reasons. Initially it’s the universe. The books with the largest pull have this highly detailed, well-thought out universe that almost seems real and, importantly, that you would want to be a part of. You are not just drawn into the story but into that world. Then through talking about them with fans you fall further and further in love with the characters, you analyze them and worry about them until they feel real to you. Then you have, in a way, become a part of that shared universe, and it is a wonderful place to be.” A young “solitary” witch
“I am a strong Christian and love the Lord with all my heart. The problem is I really enjoy reading the books and nothing about them conflicts with my spirit…. ” A youth pastor
“You love evil more than good….” Psalm 52:3
“Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good.” Romans 12:9
Chapter 2 – God’s Army versus the servants of Satan?
“The Harry Potter novels revolve around the central conflict of good and evil.” Page 11
Granger: “Having argued that the magic in Harry Potter is at the very least consistent with a Christian worldview, let’s turn to the other parts of the setting that receive much less media attention than the magic to understand what part of the Great Story each reflects and, in this, to see if they pass a litmus test for conformity to Christian tradition.” Page 11
|Response from Peter: According to Jesus in Mark 7:5-9 we are NOT to conform to tradition, Christian or otherwise: The Pharisees and the scribes asked Him, “Why do Your disciples not walk according to the tradition of the elders, but eat their bread with impure hands?”“And He said to them, ‘Rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written: THIS PEOPLE HONORS ME WITH THEIR LIPS, BUT THEIR HEART IS FAR AWAY FROM ME.
BUT IN VAIN DO THEY WORSHIP ME, TEACHING AS DOCTRINES THE PRECEPTS OF MEN.’ Neglecting the commandment of God, you hold to the tradition of men.”
He was pointing out that they were setting aside the commandment of God in order to keep their traditions.
Granger: “The battle between Gryffindor and Slytherin is a battle between good and evil.” Page 15
“The central conflict… is the antagonism between the descendants of Godric Griffindor and Salazar Slytherin, a conflict that is consistent with the Christian view of the world as a battleground in thecosmic war between good and evil.” Page 18
So are most myths rooted in occult traditions around the world. In animist cultures (as in Alchemy and other philosophical occult orders of Medieval times) a “good” sorcerer would often fight against what he saw as evil by using his own “good” magic. In other words, sorcerers or magicians would pit what they saw as a “good” demonic force against an “evil” force.
It all depends on the standard you use to distinguish what is good or evil. Granger has chosen a feeling-based, cultural and relative standard for defining good and evil. In contrast, God calls us to evaluate good and evil from His perspective — according to the standard He has revealed in the Bible.
Granger: “The Gryffindors (Harry, Ron, Hermione) choose to do the right thing…. The Slytherins do the wrong thing without reservation or restraint.” Page 16
What counts is what God considers right and wrong, not what Mr. Granger or popular culture calls right and wrong. And God’s standard is consistently clarified throughout the Bible:
“There shall not be found among you anyone who… practices witchcraft, or a soothsayer, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, or one who conjures spells, or amedium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead. For all who do these things are an abomination to the Lord…” Deuteronomy 18:9-12
“Therefore do not listen to your prophets, your diviners, your dreamers, your soothsayers, or your sorcerers….”
“Elymas the sorcerer… withstood them, seeking to turn the proconsul away from the faith. Then Saul, who also is called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked intently at him and said, ‘O full of all deceit and all fraud, you son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, will you not cease perverting the straight ways of the Lord? And now, indeed, the hand of the Lord is upon you, and you shall be blind, not seeing the sun for a time.’ And immediately a dark mist fell on him, and he went around seeking someone to lead him by the hand. Then the proconsul believed, when he saw what had been done, being astonished at the teaching of the Lord.” Acts 13:8
“And they did not repent of their murders or their sorceries or their sexual immorality or their thefts.” Revelation 9:21
“…murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire….” Revelation 21:8
Chapter 3 – The Hero’s Christ like Journey
“Harry’s adventures take him through life, death, and resurrection” Page 19
Granger: “…these books are built on a structure… that powerfully drives home a Christian truth the world disregards or denies…. As the apostle Paul writes… ‘To be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.'” Page 23
Paul was referring to the Spirit of God, not the occult forces or pagan spirituality that have captivated people around the world since the fall.
Granger: “God is love (1 John 4:8). In each Harry Potter novel… it is this love, within Harry by the sacrificial love of his mom and in the symbols of Christ around him, that every year raises him up from underground in victory over death.” Page 23
We are raised up by God as we recognize our need for redemption and put our faith — not in symbols, man-made icons, or a mother’s sacrificial love — but in Jesus Christ and His victory over sin through the cross in which we participate by faith. (See Romans 6:6-14)
“The story cycles are built on the stages of transformation” Page 25
Granger: “Maybe you think that all this fuss about the hero’s journey is wrong-headed.” Page 25
Yes, it causes me to wonder how much Granger was influenced by Joseph Campbell’s popular images of “The Hero’s Journey.”
Granger: “But there’s another way to look at the Harry Potter stories that is at least as likely as the annual journey: alchemy. Alchemy… is so misunderstood that saying the Harry Potter books are built on alchemical structures and imagery is not much different from saying the books aren’t worth reading.” Page 25
For our purposes, alchemy can simply be defended as the transformation of something common into something special. If historians of religion and sacred art are to be believed (most notably, Titus Burckhardt and Mircea Eliade), alchemy was a spiritual path within the great revealed traditions to return fallen man to his Edenic perfection.” Page 26
Granger: “Alchemical symbols are a large part of classic English literature. And if we don’t understand the idea of alchemy, we can easily miss out on the depth, breadth and height of plays by Shakespeare, pottery by Donne and Eliot, and the novels of Lewis and Tolkien. … Rowling uses alchemy in Harry Potter as a metaphor for change.” Page 25
“The magic of alchemy and stage dramas is that through these external transformations, the alchemist’s metals, the audience, and the actors onstage are all purified and transformed from leaden to golden hearts.” Pages 26-7
Whether they know the God who revealed Himself to us in His Word or not? This makes no sense from a Biblical perspective! It sounds as if Mr. Granger is using an occult standard — mixed with Gnosticism — to analyze the occult and to argue that it is Christian.
Granger: “Where is the alchemy in Harry Potter? It’s everywhere from book titles to character transformation.” 28 [Three examples follow:]
1. “The book titles… Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone [originally Philosopher’s Stone — creating the philosopher’s stone was the goal of alchemy]
|Response from Peter: The title, The Philosopher’s Stone, was already taken by a well-known and respected occultist, Israel Regardie, who wrote The Philosopher’s Stone some time early in the 20th century. If you do an author search in www.amazon.com and click through to the 3rd page of the 314 returns you will find the book, which is out of print. Israel Regardie — who was also tied to theosophy and Madam Blavatsky — was Alistair Crowley’s scribe. Most occultists in England and many elsewhere in Europe either owned his book, The Philosopher’s Stone, or were aware of it. Regardie continued Crowley’s work after Crowley’s death and started an occult publishing company (Phoenix Publications in Sedona, Arizona) near the end of his life.Could Rowling have been appealing to the youth of the occult world who would have known of the original work? Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone is the first book in the HP series. Rowling had an instant audience for the books with the worldwide occult community.|
Granger: 2. “The alchemical characters. …
- Hermione Granger’s name has an obvious alchemical reference in it…. Hermione is the feminine form of Hermes, who besides being the Greek messenger god (Mercury), was also the name of the great alchemist Hermes Trismegistos… [laid the foundation for Hermetic Magic and the occult Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn]
- Harry’s father is named James, the name of the patron saint of alchemists, and
- his mother is named Lily, a symbol for the second, purifying stage of the alchemical work.
|Response from Peter: Further down on page 28 Granger mentions Nicolas Flamel. His comment that Flamel was an actual famous alchemist who lived in the 14th century in Paris is correct. However, he failed to mention that what made Flamel famous was that he discovered the occult work of Abraham the Jew. Abraham the Jew wrote a great work of alchemy called, Book of the Sacred Magic of Abra Merlin the Mage. If you do an amazon.com search for Nicolas Flamel you will find the book. This reference to Nicolas Flamel leaves the reader to wonder why Rowling, if she was not a knowledgeable occultist, would throw something like that into the story. As an individual Nicolas Flamel is very obscure.|
Granger: 3. “Harry’s transformation from lead to gold. The alchemical work is all about changing the soul from lead to gold.” 28
4. “The design…. The alchemical work purifies a base metal by dissolving and recongealing the metal using two principal reagents… These reagent reflect the masculine and feminine polaritiesof existence.” Page 30 [Yin/yang?]
Ron and Hermione are “living symbols of alchemical sulfur (Ron) and mercury (Hermione).” Page 30
“What has often been described as Harry’s annual hero journey is actually the cycle of the alchemical transformation.”
- “dissolution, usually called nigredo, or black stage.” [Sirius Black] Page 30
- “purification, usually called the albedo, or white work. [Albus Dumbledore] Page 31
- “recongealing or perfection, usually called the rubedo or red stage.” [Rubeous Hagrid] Page 31
|Response from Peter: Granger emphasizes that Ron represents sulfur and Hermione represents mercury. In alchemy there are seven foundational pillars upon which the practice is based. Four elements (fire, air, water and earth) and three essences (salt, sulfur and mercury) make up those pillars. Granger ignores five of the seven pillars and he focuses on the pillars of the essences of sulfur and mercury because that is convenient to his argument. All seven pillars work together in alchemy. You cannot create the same effect using only two of those pillars.|
Granger: “Great writers in the English tradition use alchemical imagery because it helps them connect with that place in our heart designed to respond to the Great Story and promise of our life in Christ…. Far from preparing a generation of candidates for New Age apostasy, these [Harry Potter] books have baptized the imagination of hundreds of millions and nourished the faith of readers who believe.” Page 35
If the Harry Potter books “Harry Potter books, indeed, are built on alchemical structures and imagery,” we need to ask: What is Alchemy? An occult reference book titled “A Dictionary of Mind and Spirit” (compiled by Donald Watson, 1991) helps answer that question:
“Whatever the alchemists’ own beliefs in the possibilities of turning lead into gold, they had no qualms about financing their investigations by duping wealthy patrons. The other modern view, particularly since Jung’s research into the subject, is that the alchemical writings are symbolic representations of the individual’s mental and spiritual work, striving to unify body, MIND and SPIRIT and thus achieve a human divinity, the perfected human being.
“According to this view, the transmutation of base metal into gold symbolized the transformation of natural, material man into spiritual man. The catalyst in this process was known as the PHILOSOPHER’S STONE…. According to alchemists, the production of the Philosopher’s Stone involved blending and treating three basic substances, salt,sulphur and mercury, which in the esoteric view corresponded to the body, soul or mind, and spirit. When brought together in the cauldron and blended in the element of fire (representing love) the threefold process began. The first stage of Blackness represented purgation, the second, Whiteness, represented illumination, and the third,Redness, the colour of alchemical gold, represented the marriage of Luna and Sol, the union of the human and the divine, the finite and the infinite.
“Each individual, belonging to both the material and the divine world, contained a spark of the universal spirit imprisoned in matter, as well as having a soul and a body. The Great Work can thus be understood as a symbolic representation of how human beings might achieve insight into their own divine perfection by freeing the spirit from the bonds of matter. The Church was notoriously antagonistic to such GNOSTIC beliefs, so it was only natural that a doctrine of this kind should be couched in esoteric terms.The ROSICRUCIANS continued the tradition into relatively modem times. According to the symbolism gold represented the state of perfection which could be achieved in the material world; it therefore also represented the perfected body and the perfected soul, towards which we should all be striving.”
|From Peter: My biggest criticism of Granger’s work is his misuse and misunderstanding of magic. Harry is as familiar with “as above, so below” as he is with his next breath, and he operates from that mind set — NOT from the mindset of a reliance on a God or the power of His Spirit. Harry’s responses to every situation in each of the books are consistent with his belief system and that belief system is not a Judeo-Christian belief system.|
Chapter 5 – One person two natures
“Doppelgangers point to the struggle of dual natures — and their resolution in the God-Man“ Page 37
Granger: “A doppelganger is a creature’ complementary figure of shadow which reveals aspects of its character otherwise invisible.” Page 38
“Many of Rowling’s characters… are animagi. These are masters of the magical subject of transfiguration who can change at will into an animal shape.” Page 38
“This shape-changing stunt … The shape each animagus takes is a pointer to its character…. The animal figure is a shadow, or doppelganger, that allows us to see more clearly the outline of the true person.” Page 38
Not unlike shape-shifting — especially by witchdoctors or shamans — in pagan cultures.
Granger: “Voldemort is not the Dark Lord’s given name. His real name is Tom Riddle, which because Thomas comes form the Aramaic word for ‘twin’ is a pointer to how important the doppelganger structure is….” Page 43
“Alchemy helps unwrap the riddle. As you’ll recall, the principal activity of alchemy is the chemical marriage of the imbalanced ‘arguing couple’: masculine sulfur and feminine quicksilver.These two qualities have to be reconciled and resolved (die and be reborn) before then can be rejoined in a perfected golden unity. Opposites have to be reconciled and resolved for there to be a new life.
“Alchemists frequently cited Christ’s words: ‘…except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth froth much fruit.’ (John 12:24) Alchemists took this verse and the hope of eternal life in Christ’s death and resurrection as a scriptural confirmation that their doctrines were correct.” Page 44
“You find a balance of hot and cold water by pairing the opposites.” Page 47
“Dumbledore points to Christ.” Page 47 (see his quote below)
It sounds as if Granger is referring to Hegel’s dialectic process — the yin-yang of the West — the heart of Communist brainwashing. Hegel was a student of alchemy, kabala, Rosicrucianism and hermetic magic. See Hegel
Granger also sounds fascinated with the worlds of Carl Jung (known to his disciples in Zurich as the “Hexenmeister” or sorcerer).
Chapter 7 – The triumph of love over death
“The mystery of death meets the ultimate answer“ Page 59
Granger: “Dumbledore explains to Harry that ‘to the well organized mind, death is but the next great adventure.'” Page 60
Harry admits to Dumbledore that he thought he saw his dead father save him from the dementor’s kiss. Dumbledore’s response is that the dead we love never ‘truly leave us’ and that James Potter ‘is alive in you, Harry, and shows himself most plainly when you have need of him.” [See Harry Potter and the Postmodern Church]
“…the love of the departed lives on in us as a protecting grace.” Page 62
They do? Pagan ancestral worship clings to that belief, but it clashes with God’s Word. “For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain,” wrote Paul. “…I am hard-pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better. Nevertheless to remain in the flesh is more needful for you.” Philippians 1:21
Granger: “Only cowardly wizards like Nick, afraid of death, ‘choose to remain behind’ as an ‘imprint of themselves.’ This shatters Harry— until he is reminded by Luna [moon, a common symbol in witchcraft] that they have evidence of an afterlife. In the Department of Mysteries… are the Death Chambers… Luna reminds Harry that, yes, death if final, but the fact that they hear voices on the other side of the veil means there is good reason to hope for an afterlife.” Page 64
What kind of comfort is that for the reader? If a Christian, he receives a far clearer and more certain message from the Bible. Those who need Harry Potter to affirm life after death in order to believe God’s truth are probably not true Christians. As for unbelievers, this “encouraging” wizardly message would only bring deception and false hope.
Granger: “Dumbledore calls the ‘ancient magic’ he used consequent to Lily’s sacrifice ‘the bond of blood.’ He places Harry with Lily’s sister because her home is a place where Harry’s mother’s blood dwells. As Dumbledore put it, ‘Her blood became your refuge.'” Page 66
Their confidence was not in the blood of Christ, but in the blood of a witch who demonstrated maternal love. Granger goes on to describe what he sees as the meaning of salvation.
Chapter 8 – The question of identity
“Harry defines himself through choices, change, and destiny“ Page 71
Granger: “Let’s look at the choices Harry makes — choices that will define who he is. … He chooses (with one exception that has heavy consequences) loyalty to the good. Page 71
He does? While he usually shows loyalty to his friends (a good trait in all cultures — Christian or pagan), he also lies, steals, breaks rules, “snarls,” and becomes increasingly rude and angry as the years go by. What’s worse — he models all the levels of magical training for an adept in an actual occult order — such as the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn.
Granger: “We participate imaginatively with the characters when they make good choices — and this reading experience positively influences the decision making in our own lives. Sort of like vitamins for the soul.” Page 74
“Young wizards and witches at Hogwarts are taught from the first year on the basics… up to the advanced magic of ‘turning [your] friend into a badger.'” Page 75
“By the end of Goblet of Fire, Harry has transformed into a real he-man of sacrificial virtue and is nearly a superhero….
“By the end of [Order of the Phoenix], Harry has learned to look to his heart for his bearings and to the world for very little.” Page 78
At the end of Phoenix, he is an angry, bitter, and grieving wizard desperately searching for ways to communicate with Sirius Black who died because of Harry’s mistakes. But his conversations with Luna (moon), eases his mind. She, like Harry, is set apart because of her sensitivity to occult messages and mystical experiences.
Chapter 9 – Evidence of things unseen
“The symbols in Potterdom are powerful pointers to Christian reality“ Page 83
Granger: “Once we understand symbols we can better understand what it means to be human. As creatures made in ‘the image of God,’ we are three-dimensional symbols, in time and space, of the Trinity.” Page 83-84
The next statement is amazing! Reality would be incomprehensible except in the light of God’s Word — not the light of subjective symbols that can be interpreted according to cultural values and changing beliefs.
Granger: “The world we live in is incomprehensible except in light of symbols. As Martin Lings, tutorial student and friend of C. S. Lewis, wrote:
“‘There is no traditional doctrine which does not teach that the world is the world of symbols, inasmuch as it contains nothing which is not a symbol. A man should therefore understand at least what that means, not only because he has to live in the here below but also and above all because without such understanding he would fail to understand himself, he being the supreme and central symbol in the terrestrial state.'” Page 84
Mr. Granger validated his point about symbols with a quote from Symbol and Archetype: A Study of the Meaning of Existence (1991) — a book which offers a metaphysical alternative to the Biblical view of reality and existence. The author, Martin Lings, a British authority on spirituality, Islamic symbols and mysticism, graduated from Oxford in 1932 and became the Keeper of Oriental Manuscripts at the British Museum. His other books include The Book of Certainty: The Sufi Doctrine of Faith, Wisdom and Gnosis(1952), Ancient Beliefs and Modern Superstitions (1964), A Muslim [Sufi] Saint of the Twentieth Century (1961), The Secret of Shakespeare, and The Eleventh Hour: The Spiritual Crisis of the Modern World in Light of Tradition and Prophecy(1989).
A review of the last book reveals that it mentions the millennium and end-time prophecies, but not from a Christian perspective. It includes a Scripture to validate its metaphysical message, but the Scripture is taken out of its Biblical context:
“The Eleventh Hourhas its roots in the parable of the labourers in the vineyard. The following questions run through the book: why did the latecomers receive the same wage as those who had laboured throughout the heat of the day? Why were they the first to be paid? And why, did Christ say ‘And the last shall be first?’
“These questions are answered in the light of the concept of the Millennium, which is clearly the equivalent of the new Golden Age of the next cycle of time, and which isfound in all three monotheistic religions, bringing them into line, in this respect, with Hinduism, Greco-Roman Antiquity and Buddhism. This new and expanded edition now includes the fascinating ‘St Malachy’s Prophecy of the Popes’, a remarkable twelfth-century prophecy which Lings analyses in depth, according to which the end of time is predicted and also an appendix concerning the apparitions of the Virgin Mary at Garabandal and other places.“
Remember, adding a few Bible verses doesn’t make a human observation true or good. Satan’s deceptions are often cloaked in Scriptures taken out of context. From the beginning, he has been a master at deceiving people with tempting blends of truth and lies.
Granger: “This is the power of myth: that we can experience invisible spiritual realties and truths greater than visible, material things in story form. Tolkien described Christianity as the ‘True Myth,’ the ultimate intrusion of God into the world through his incarnation…. Tolkien’s explanation of this idea was instrumental in C. S. Lewis’s conversion to Christianity; it is this understanding to the purpose and power of story that gives his fiction its depth, breadth, and height.” Page 86
“Knowing that symbols are points of passage between this world and the greater world ‘above’ and ‘within’ us explains a lot about Harry Potter and Potter-mania. Magic, for example is not demonic or contrary to Scripture when used (as it is in Harry Potter) as a symbol of the miraculously power of God that mean as images of God are designed to have.”
God never designed man to manipulate supernatural power with his own will and imagination — which is what Harry and the other wizards demonstrate. They practice the timeless formula for magic taught by Starhawk, the Wiccan founder of the Covenant of the Goddess. In The Spiral Dance (p. 62), she explains that the purpose of magical training is –
“To work magic is to weave the unseen forces into form, to soar beyond sight, to explore the uncharted dream realm of the hidden reality… to leap beyond imagination into that space between the worlds where fantasy becomes real; to be at once animal and god…
“Spells [and magic]… require the combined faculties of relaxation, visualization, concentration, and [mental] projection…. To cast a spell is to project energy through a symbol.”
Mental projection means using your will to project the visible or invisible images created in the mind as needed to accomplish the magical feat. It works in these times, because America has changed. As the masses shifted their love from our sovereign Lord to countless other gods, forces and enticements, more and more people were able to communicate with the demonic realm through pagan rituals (spirit quests, sweat lodge ceremonies…), which yielded few results some years ago. It seems that God is withdrawing His protection over his land — just as He did in Old Testament days when Israel sought and followed “other gods.” SeeDeut 8:10-20
Granger: “Books that are rich in symbolism necessarily support a Christian worldview. … Symbolic literature requires — and celebrates — this otherworldly perspective that magically undermines the worldly, atheistic, and materialistic perspective of our times.” Page 87
“Tertullian said that ‘all souls are Christian souls‘ and Augustine echoed him in writing that ‘our hearts are restless ’til they rest in Thee.'” Page 87
Who is our authority in matters of faith — God’s Word or human quotes? If Tertullian did make that universalist statement, he was wrong. In contrast, Augustine was speaking as a Christian would be speaking to his church family.
The fact that Granger would quote the statement attributed to Tertullian causes me to wonder if Granger believes in universalism. Does he believe in a broad, universal “Christian” umbrella of spiritual safety that includes people from all the “major” religions he mentioned earlier (Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, and Islam with its mystical branch Sufism)? It almost sounds that way.
Granger: “Unlike most contemporary novels, which portray realistic morals or earthbound allegories, Harry Potter is very much a myth pointing to the True Myth…. I already explained how Harry’s two friends are ciphers for the ‘quarreling couple’ of alchemy.” Page 88
“The trio’s love for one another and our identification with them makes their hard times with each other the most painful parts of the stories…. We become aligned in this identification—spirit to mind to body—and fell strangely upright and all right for the change. Good literature trains us in the ‘stock responses’ and lets us see and pattern ourselves after the right alignment of the soul’s powers. When our desires are in line with our will, and both will and desires are obedient to directions from the heart or spirit, we are in operation the way we were designed to be.” 88
In light of Granger’s quote leading up to this point, ‘all souls are Christian souls,’ do you wonder whether that “spirit” is the Holy Spirit or a human or universal “spirit” in all people? Since he didn’t capitalize “spirit” — and since elsewhere in his book he refers to man’s “spirit” — I tend to believe he is referring to the human spirit, not God’s Spirit — unless he sees the two as one.
Granger: “Harry also decides to go to Hogsmeade on Ron’s advice and against Hermione’s pleas—and narrowly misses being expelled.” Page 89 (always chooses good?)
“Mythical Beasts in Harry Potter – Page 91 (All these real or mythical beasts are popular pagan symbols — often featured in the complex symbolism of Alchemy, Rosicrucianism, Freemasonry and the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn.)
“The Unicorn: ‘the symbol of Christ.’ … Scholars of symbolism as diverse as Carl Jung and Narnia expert Paul Ford confirm the interpretation of the pure white animal whose single horn symbolizes the ‘invincible strength of Christ.'” Page 93
“The Phoenix: … Fawkes, Dumbledore’s pet. … How is the phoenix a symbol of Christ? In the Middle Ages, the phoenix, because of its ability to ‘rise from death,’ was known as the ‘resurrection bird.’ Like the griffin, it was used in heraldic devices and shields to represent the bearer’s hope of eternal life in Christ.” Page 94
From an occult website: “The Phoenix completes this process of soul development. The Phoenix bird builds its nest which at the same time is its funeral pyre, and then setting it alight cremates itself. But it arises anew from the ashes transformed. Here we have captured the alchemists experience of spiritualization. He has integrated his being so much, that he is no longer dependent upon his physical body as a foundation for his being. He now stands upon the sureness of the spiritual – he has in this sense attained the Philosopher’s Stone, the Spiritual core of his being. Thus we can sketch shortly the process of Soul alchemy, the integration, purification and transmutation of the soul, as pictured in this series of bird symbols.”http://www.crystalinks.com/birdsalchemy.html
“The Stag: … Just as the phoenix is the ‘resurrection bird’ because it can rise from its own funeral pyre, so the noble stag ‘came to be thought of as a symbol of regeneration because of the way its antlers are renewed. The stag’s antlers break off and grow back, tying the animal symbolically to the tree of life and the Resurrection… a symbol for Christ.” Page 95
In Celtic mythology and witchcraft, the stag is the horned god, the consort of the sensual goddess.
|From Peter: The graph on page 99 of his book says the stag is the tree of life > Christ. This is bizarre Bible bungee. What the stag has to do with the tree is life is absolutely NOTHING. Take a look at this site: http://www.crystalinks.com/kabala.html Here is a picture of the Kabbalistic tree (Qabbalistic) of life. A stag has nothing more to do with this tree of life than it does with the tree of life in the garden. This is a true Kabbalistic website.|
Scroll down to see the word alchemy in blue (it’s a link). When you click on the link you come to this site: http://www.crystalinks.com/alchemy.html where you can read the history of alchemy and how alchemy has been a part of all the world’s major religions back through the centuries.
“The Centaur: The head and chest of a man are man’s will, thought and spirit; the horsy bottom is his desires and passions.” Page 96
“The Philosopher’s Stone: (not exactly a beast) The end result of the alchemical Great Word was the stone that produced the Elixir of Life (often called the red lion). This magical object… gave its owner immortality and infinite wealth. Historians of science, region and literature…. do agree that the philosopher’s stone is a symbol of Christ…. The end product or aim of alchemy is life in Christ; English authors and poets of many centuries have used this symbol of Christ… to dramatize the search for an answer to death and human poverty of spirit.” Page 97-98
The occultists that practiced alchemy were not seeking for the Christ of the Bible. They had invented their own counterfeit alternative to the Biblical story.
“The Red Lion: … the Elixir of Life coming from the philosopher’s stone, a symbol of the blood of Christ received in Communion.” Page 99
“The Harry Potter stories, in their formulaic journeys that end every year with love’s triumph over death in the presence of a Christ symbol, find their power and popularity in the resonance they create in our hearts. We connect with them because they point toward the True Myth that saves us.” Page 100
Or is it because Rowling tickles our ears with the kinds of enticing stories and power-filled myths that gratify natural desires and stir the imagination with images of supernatural power?
Granger: “Much of Harry Potter…. foster a Christian perspective by ‘baptizing the imagination.’ The gospel has rarely, if ever, been smuggled into the heart and minds of readers so successfully and profoundly.” Page 100
“But they hearkened not, nor inclined their ear, but walked in the counsels and in the imagination of their evil heart, and went backward, and not forward.” Jeremiah 7:24
Chapter 11 – The purification of the soul
“Christian keys to Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” Page 117
Granger: “Perhaps the scariest scene … is the detention in the Forbidden Forest where Harry and Draco see the Dark Lord drinking unicorn blood.” Page 118
“As we saw earlier, the centaur is a symbol of a perfect man and an imaginative icon of Christ riding into Jerusalem. … That the blood of the unicorn will curse those who drink it unworthily, and that it has life-giving power, echoes Paul’s discourse on the unworthy reception of Communion, which is the blood of Christ.” (1 Cor 11:23-29) Page 118
Remember, Satan counterfeits all that God offers His own people. The blood has also played an important part in occult rituals performed by the various occult orders that grew during the Middle Ages, blending selected Biblical phrases with Egyptian mythology, alchemical symbolism, the Kabala and Hermetic magic. The blood rituals in these groups were a mockery of Christ and His holy Word, as it is in the Harry Potter series.
Granger: “The authentic and accomplished alchemist is able to produce the Stone because of his spiritual achievement. It is a by-product to that perfection, as are the immortality and the riches of transcending the world…. We know Dumbledore and the Flamel are of this perfected type because they destroy the Stone at the book’s end.” Page 123
Three problems: (1)The two wizards follow a path God forbids in His Word! (2) The word “perfection” here doesn’t correspond to Biblical sanctification. (3) Granger gives credit to human achievement in contrast to Christians who know that achievement is by God’s grace, not our own wisdom or strength.
Granger: “So what is Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone about? Written in the symbolism of alchemy and traditional Christian doctrine, it is an ode to the purification and perfection of the soul in Christ and His saving, sacrificial love. The perfected soul at death will experience the glory and love of God as joy.” Page 126
Where is the cross, repentance, confession? This is a counterfeit gospel, twisted to justify and accommodate popular occultism and “white magic.”
Chapter 12 – Dangerous books and edifying Books
“Christian keys to Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets“ Page 127
Granger: “When Harry and Ron discover the diary in Moaning Myrtle’s toilet, Ron warns Harry about the dangerous magic contained in books to keep him from looking at it. Harry, after Ron’s hysterical warnings and barely concealed prediction of a fate worse than death, decides he’ll have to read it to find out. I don’t doubt that this is a bit of advice for the sensible, sober reader: in the matter of a controversial or supposedly dangerous book, you should read it and decide for yourself what it is about.“ Page 128
Should you? What about the occult books in Acts 19:17-20? What if you were told this “dangerous book” was full of spells or pornography? Would it still be wise to read it and decide for yourself? See Harry Potter and the Power of Suggestion
Granger: “The effect of the book on Ginny is that she turns into a rooster-murdering, basilisk-releasing servant of Riddle. She thinks she is losing her mind—and she is right. Her mind is now Voldemort’s.” Page 129
Yes. She became possessed by his spirit. Yet, Granger doesn’t see the danger of introducing occultism to children. Instead he equates the magic in these books with “a counter-spell” that would protect young readers from “the enchantment of modernity” or materialism. [Page 130] But much of the occult world has been steeped in materialism! After all, possessions are some of the coveted rewards for successful magic or alchemy. That’s one reason why the early alchemists sought to create gold!
Granger: “…this kind of book [by the arrogant Gilderoy] is as corrosive to right spiritual formation as the moral relativism and other poisons hiding in textbook. Godless fiction is slow poison to the soul.” Page 132
Do you wonder what Granger means by “right spiritual formation?”
Chapter 13 – Despair and delivery
“Christian keys to Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban” Page 137
Granger: “Prisoner of Azkaban is really a book about escapes and revealed secrets…. Sirius Black escapes from Azkaban….”137
“Harry… escapes from Privet Drive and the badgering of Aunt Marge…. revealing himself to be an angry young man with a host of unresolved issues about his parents and his own identity. He escapes from these passions via dissolution of his confusion…. in the alchemical crucible of the Shrieking Shack.” Page 139
“Lupin tries to teach Harry… how to conjure a Patronus using the Patronus Charm…. [concentrate on a happy memory, then project with the will using the words ‘Expecto Patronum!’ ” Page 141
Remember Starhawk’s formula for spells and magic: “relaxation, visualization, concentration, and [mental] projection….” Here the key is exercising the will and counting on results. In other words, expecting the power tapped by the magic to deliver results. In Hermetic magic the process is summarized thus: As above, so below.
Granger: “As Harry said, ‘I’m not doing this [preventing his father’s friends from killing Pettigrew] for you. I’m doing it because I don’t reckon my dad would’ve wanted them to become killers. This humility, compassion and mercy is evidence that he has indeed achieved a degree of spiritual perfection; his will and his father’s will are one and the same, just as we see in John 17:21 and Matthew 6:10; 26:39.” Page 144
In other words, Harry has gone through the alchemical process (dissolution, purification and perfection) and ends up perfect. Of course, he is anything but perfect when we start the next book, and this formula for occult transformation has nothing to do with Biblical salvation. It’s absurd to equate an alchemical process in a pagan setting with God’s sanctifying work in a person joined to Him through the cross.
Granger: “Harry is not equal to this magic until his ego concerns have been purified and dissolved.” [More Jungian and alchemical psychology]
Jung received his information from at least three different spirit guides. These revolutionary teachings would captivate the world. See Carl Jung, Alchemy and Neo-Gnosticism. Notice the references to those spirit guides, to Gnosticism, and to the occult practices of channeling and automatic writing.
Chapter 14 – Girded with Virtue
“Christian keys to Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire“ Page 149
Granger: “The social drama of good versus evil. Page 150
“The Tournament tasks are keyed to the four elements of alchemy: air, earth, fire, and water.” Page 150
“The Harry Potter books seem to be telling us that it is not study, your special external preparations, or even your piety that save you in the end. Rather, it is your internal quality—the courage, love and virtue within—that determines your receptivity to the graces that will save you in spiritual warfare.” Page 154
What about confidence in God’s promises, the cleansing Blood of Jesus, His righteousness in us, and the shield of faith of God’s armor? Or the meekness and humility taught in the beatitudes?
Granger: “In Arthurian legend, the magical object that selected those champions worthy to behold it was the Holy Grail. … It has power because it is the Communion cup of Christ’s Last Supper; others say it caught the blood of Christ as He was crucified. … Readers of the Arthurian tales know that it could be found only by the most pure of heart.” Page 156
The apparent surface similarities between Christian truth and occult myths cannot not make the myths true or holy.
“…what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God.” 2 Corinthians 6:14-16
Satan is a deceiver who twists God’s truth and mimics His promises in order to tempt and divert Christians from the true truth.
Granger: “The strangest characteristic of the fire in this Goblet is that it is a nonconsuming fire…. Though it may seem a stretch to modern Americans, most Christians can’t help but note its parallels with the nonconsuming fire of the burning bush on Mount Sinai, the purifying flames of what Catholic believers call purgatory, and the glory of the love of God….All these are signatures or correspondences with God’s Word….” Page 157
“‘Hear this now, O foolish people, without understanding,
Who have eyes and see not, and who have ears and hear not:
Do you not fear Me?’ says the Lord.
‘Will you not tremble at My presence,
Who have placed the sand as the bound of the sea….
But this people has a defiant and rebellious heart….
They do not say in their heart, ‘Let us now fear the Lord our God….
‘An astonishing and horrible thing has been committed in the land:
The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests rule by their own power;
And My people love to have it so.“ Jeremiah 5:22-30
Chapter 15 – Dark night of the soul
“Order of the Phoenix“ Page 159
Granger: “Lyndy Abraham’s Dictionary of Alchemical Imagery describes the nigredo as: ‘The initial black stage of the opus alchymicum in which the body of the impure metal, the matter for the Stone, or the old outmoded state of being is killed, putrefied, and dissolved into the original substance of creation, the prima material, in order that it may be renovated and reborn in a new form.’
“Citing the alchemists’ dependence on Christ’s teaching, ‘Verily, verily, I say unto you, except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit’ (John 12:24, KJV) — Abraham concludes:
“The beginning of spiritual realization is always accompanied by some kind of sacrifice or death, a dying to the old state of things, in order to make way for the new insight and creation. Burckhardt [his metaphysical philosophy was introduced earlier] observed that the turning away of the outer world to the inner to face the shadow of the psyche is frequently experienced as anox profunda, before the dawning of the new light of illumination).” Page 161-162
“If the language of alchemy and Christianity makes your eyes go glossy, look at it as a psychology course. Understand the ‘old man’ as ‘dad,’ the way we use the phrase in common speech. Phoenix is, in large part, about Harry’s coming to term with his being the heir of his biological father, James.” Pages 164-165
“Our discomfort with the Phoenix segment of the Harry Potter saga might be summarized as our resistance to the demands of Christian life.” Page 167
“Reading about the Bond of Blood that protects Harry, we must examine our understanding of the bond of blood we have in Christ by his sacrifice and the Eucharist he left us to preserve us in that bond.”Page 167
“Order of the Phoenix contains the most explicitly Christian references of the series so far. Harry gets a glimpse beyond the Veil, a reference both to the Veil of the Temple and the Shack in Lewis’ Last Battle —to an afterlife where the righteous will meet again. She [Luna] points again to the Mysterious power behind the door which is both ‘more wonderful and more terrible than death, than Human intelligence, than forces of nature.’ Page 168
Granger’s arguments make the occult seem one and the same with Christianity — thus prompting the kind of dialectic thinking that has blurred the line between truth and deception throughout history. The dialectic process leapt into greater prominence — first under Communist leaders such as Lenin and Stalin, then in Western education and culture — through the more sophisticated methodology of Georg Hegel, who studied Alchemy, Rosicrucianism, Hermetic Magic, Kabala and Freemasonry.
Granger: “The word ‘order’ is a religious term, after all, referring to a group with a specific vocation (until modern times almost always primarily contemplative) within the Church. That this order is the ‘of the Phoenix’ a traditional symbol both of the ends of alchemy and of Christ Himself highlights this otherworldly meaning.” Page 169
Note from Berit: Although I have debated John Granger on radio and exchanged email with him, I don’t know him personally. This analysis is not a personal criticism of his beliefs and values. Instead it is an open response to his public teaching on the topics of Harry Potter, alchemy, sorcery, magic and Jungian psychology — and how all these supposedly enhance a Christian’s understanding of God. Since Mr. Granger’s book is already in the public domain, it calls for a public and Biblical response.
Harry Potter and the Postmodern Church
By Berit Kjos – June, 2004
“…new behaviors are learned through storytelling and a sense of togetherness prevails that makes recovery and the sense of community and belonging stronger and more functional.”Storytelling as a Pedagogical Tool
“Reality has become fluid, and no medium has done more to make it so than film, with its wide accessibility, its sense-and-psyche-altering format and its effortless gift for persuasion….”
Harry Potter’s wizardly world is becoming strangely familiar to today’s youth. No longer do mystical incantations, transforming potions, dark omens or “the noble art of divination” (as Harry’s divination teacher called it) shock or alarm those who call themselves Christians. Popular magic — real or imagined — has become a normal part of our postmodern culture.
So have rebellion, rudeness, and the kind of feel-good revenge that Harry Potter demonstrates in the latest Warner-Brothers movie: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. It seems perfectly okay for the famed wizard to tell Aunt Marge to “shut up” and, wielding his mystical power, cast a spell that turns her into a ballooning blimp that floats away into the sky. After all, she said cruel things about his parents. She deserved it! Didn’t she? In this context, viewers are led to agree. For J. K. Rowling knows well how to evoke sympathy for her key character.
Harry’s magical revenge may seem funny as well as justified in this fictional setting. But even wizards have rules, and Harry had once again broken “the Decree for the Restriction of Underage Wizardry.” Such use of magical powers was forbidden by law. The fact that the angry young wizard escapes the consequences only makes his rebellion and revenge more enticing. Instead of punishment, he won a quick journey on a magical bus back to the safety of the enchanting world of the occult.
“Whether impulsive or planned, each magical spell is an expression and extension of Harry’s will,” said Peter, a former occultist. “That’s a foundational occult reality, and it clashes head on with Biblical truth.” God calls His children to trust and submit to Him and His will, not their own. “Not My will, but Thine, be done,” prayed Jesus. “I can of Myself do nothing,” He told His disciples earlier.”… I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me.” (Luke 22:42, John 5:30)
The contrary messages aren’t lost to the millions of children around the world who read Joanne Rowling’s books. Her images, suggestions, beliefs and value system have established a growing consensus that equates paganism with entertainment and occultism with dark but delicious thrills. What’s more, they have spawned a huge new brood of occult books for children as well as adults. Tearing down the old boundaries, they multiply the world’s cravings for the mystical thrills and occult chills that animate life at Hogwarts.
Few realize that what appears to be fantasy is actually an allegory — a dramatic description of the year-by-year “training of an initiate in an occult order.” [See Harry Potter Overview]
This third Harry Potter movie touts time travel and shape shifting, two pagan illusions that are best understood by the multitudes who have read the book. A deadly werewolf (Harry’s helpful teacher transforms when the moon is full) and a saving stag (the latter word is significant to European witchcraft and its enticing myths of a horned god, the consort of the ancient goddess) become part of the viewer’s imagination and memory bank. Since Lupin, the werewolf, is also the best “Defense-against-Dark-Arts”-teacher Harry has known, the audience tends to be sympathetic toward his paranormal plight.
Most of the young viewers are already familiar with these and other words that describe the traditions of powerful witches, shamans, and medicine men around the world. Those belief systems have been reinforced through social studies and multicultural lessons as well as through children’s books and popular movies. Many of these themes are repeated again and again — speeding their adoption into the public consciousness. In the process, the wall between America’s “Christianized culture” and the world of the occult is crumbling.
Harry’s wizardry corresponds to contemporary occult practices
An excerpt from Peter’s longer chart: Harry Potter Overview
|References from book 3||The corresponding occult practice|
|Page 83. Harry has a confrontation with several dementors.Page 236-237. Lupin teaches him a spell to put a barrier between him and the dementors.||In the occult, psychic vampires are similar to dementors. They feed on the emotional energy of people, especially on fear.|
|Page 247. The Dementor’s kiss. Lupin explains that when dementors wish to destroy someone utterly, they suck the soul out of the person through their mouth. “You can exist without your soul, you know, as long as your brain and heart are still working.”|
|Page 250, 251. Hermione is reading a Rune translation.||Today’s neopagans view the old Nordic Runes as a useful tool for magic and divination.|
|Pages 426, 427. Harry has a conversation with Dumbledore regarding saving Pettigrew’s life. Dumbledore tells Harry that when one wizard “saves another wizard’s life, it creates a bond between them. This is magic at its deepest and most impenetrable.”||This bond and debt is called an ON in the occult world.|
|Pages 28-30. Harry attacks his aunt Marge for her disparaging comments about him and his family by placing a swelling spell on her.||This is a psychic attack. Harry’s lightening bolt scar on his forehead is a symbol of his psychic strength. The lightening bolt is similar in nature to the occult “Sword of the Cherubim.”|
|Page 133. Harry’s class practices on a bogart to remove whatever fear they have. A bogart is an entity that morphs into whatever anyone is afraid of. It is a shape shifter and will change itself into “whatever it thinks will frighten us most.”||Bogarts, called something else in the occult world, are real. They are used in occult training as practice for conquering fear and for perfecting their craft.|
Earthy spirituality and the Circle of Life
One particular scene stands out in this third Harry Potter movie. Since it’s based on the third book, let’s review the scene as the author described it. While the movie version is shorter and less detailed, both evoke nightmarish images of the soul-sucking dementors:
“By the feeble light of his formless Patronus, he [Harry] saw a dementor halt, very close to him. It couldn’t walk through the cloud of silver mist Harry had conjured. A dead, slimy hand slid out from under the cloak. It made a gesture as though to sweep the Patronus aside…..
“A pair of strong, clammy hands suddenly attached themselves around Harry’s neck. They were forcing his face upward…. He could feel its putrid breath…. His mother was screaming in his ears….. He could feel them watching him, hear their rattling breath like an evil wind around him. … Then it raised both its rotting hands–and lowered its hood. Where there should have been eyes, there was only thin, gray scabbed skin, stretched blankly over empty sockets. But there was a mouth…. a gaping, shapeless hole, sucking the air….
“And then, through the fog that was drowning him, he thought he saw a silvery light growing brighter and brighter…. He felt himself fall forward onto the grass….. The blinking light was illuminating the grass around him…. The screaming had stopped, the cold was ebbing away…. Something was driving the dementors back…
“With every ounce of strength he could muster, Harry raised his head a few inches and saw an animal amid the light, galloping away across the lake…. It was bright as a unicorn…. …. Fighting to stay conscious, Harry watched it canter to a halt as it reached the opposite shore. For a moment, Harry saw, by its brightness, somebody welcoming it back…. raising his hand to pat it…. someone who looked strangely familiar…. but it couldn’t be…”[2, pages 384-385]
Later, a conversation with Hermione clarified some of the puzzling images:
“Harry, there’s something I don’t understand… Why didn’t the dementors get Sirius? I remember them coming, and then I think I passed out…
“Harry sat down too. He explained what he’d seen; how, as the nearest dementor had lowered its mouth to Harry’s, a large silver something had come galloping across the lake and forced the dementors to retreat…. ‘There’s only one thing it could have been, to make the dementors go,’ said Harry. ‘A real Patronus. A powerful one.’
“But who conjured it?”
Harry didn’t say anything. He was thinking back to the person he’d seen on the other bank of the lake. He knew who he thought it had been…. but how could it have been?…
“…it must have been a really powerful wizard, to drive all those dementors away…. Who did you think it was?”
“‘I think–‘ Harry swallowed, knowing how strange this was going to sound. ‘I think it was my dad.'”
“‘Harry, your dad’s — well– dead,’ she said quietly.”[2, pages 406-407]
To save the lives of Sirius Black (the falsely accused prisoner of Azkaban) and a mythical creature nurtured by the friendly giant Hagrid, Harry and Hermione return to the same scene by magically turning back the time. During this second round, Harry identifies the Patronus — the mysterious savior who chased away the soul-sucking dementors. The action is slightly different:
“And there were the dementors. They were emerging out of the darkness from every direction, gliding around the edges of the lake….. On the opposite bank the glimmers of silver were suddenly extinguished….
“‘Com on!’ he [Harry] muttered, staring about. ‘Where are you? Dad, come on.’
“But no one came….. And then it hit him — he understood. He hadn’t seen his father — he had seen himself–
“Harry flung himself out from behind the bush and pulled out his wand.
“‘EXPECT Patronum!’ he yelled. And out of the end of his wand burst, not the shapeless cloud of mist, but a blinding, dazzling, silver animal…. It was galloping silently away from him, across the black surface of the lake. He saw it lower its head and charge at the swarming dementors….
“The Patronus turned. …. It wasn’t a horse. It wasn’t a unicorn either. It was a stag. It was shining brightly as the moon above…. it was coming back to him. … Slowly it bowed its antlered head and Harry realized…
“‘Prongs,’ he whispered. But as his trembling fingertips stretched toward the creature, it vanished.” (pages 410-412)
The next part shows Harry’s brief discussion with Lupin, his “Defense Against the Black Arts” teacher who also happened to be an unwilling werewolf:
“Lupin said, ‘From what the headmaster told me this morning, you saved a lot of lives last night, Harry…. Tell me about your Patronus.’
“Harry told Lupin what had happened. When he’d finished, Lupin was smiling again. ‘Yes, your father was always a stag when he transformed,’ he said. ‘You guessed right…. That’s why we called him Prongs.’ (page 424)
The last set of quotes from Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban shows a sobering glimpse into the new blended spirituality that is becoming an acceptable global religion. The discussion is between Harry and Dumbledore, Hogwarts’ revered Headmaster.
“‘I knew your father very well, both at Hogwarts and later, Harry,’ he [Dumbledore] said gently….
“‘I thought it was my dad who’d conjured my Patronus. I mean, when I saw myself across the lake…. I thought I was seeing him.’
“‘An easy mistake to make,’ said Dumbledore softly….
“‘It was stupid, thinking it was him,’ he muttered. ‘I mean, I knew he was dead.’
“‘You think the dead we loved ever truly leave us? You think that we don’t recall them more clearly than ever in times of great trouble? Your father is alive in you, Harry, and shows himself most plainly when you have need of him. How else could you produce that particular Patronus? Prongs rode again last night….’
“‘Last night Sirius told me all about how they became Animagi,’ said Dumbledore, smiling…. You know Harry, in a way, you did see your father last night… You found him inside yourself.‘”[2, page 428]
Compare the above message with the following scene from the Disney movie, The Lion King. At this point in the story, the evil Scar and his hyenas reign in Pride Lands. The land lies dry and barren. One day, the monkey sorcerer Rafiki looks into his magic gourd and sees Simba’s living image. He sets out to find the reluctant heir to the throne, then demonstrates a worldwide pagan tradition: reliance on help from ever-present, ever-living ancestral spirits.
“I know your father,” says Rafiki.
“My father is dead,” answers Simba.
“Nope! He’s alive. I’ll show him to you.” The shamanic baboon leads Simba to a pool of clear water. “Look down there.”
First Simba sees his own reflection, then the face of his father.
“You see, he lives in you!” says Rafiki.
Simba hears a familiar voice call his name. He looks up. His father’s ghostlike image appears among the stars.
“Look inside yourself…” says the apparition. “You must take your place in the circle of life. Remember who you are…” The vision fades.
Simba believes. He sees that the dead are not separated from the living, nor earth from the realm of spirits. Everything is connected. Empowered by a new sense of identity, he races back to Pride Lands to challenge his uncle, win the throne, and restore the land. Soon, Pride Nation celebrates the birth of the next lion prince, Simba, the son of King Mufasa and his cubhood friend Nala. Again, Rafiki lifts a royal infant for all to worship. The circle of life continues.
Perhaps you doubt that anyone would take these suggestions of magical feats and mystical unity seriously. Why would people trade God’s strength and the Biblical hope of life after death for the timeless deceptions that led to the worship of magical forces and ancestral spirits around the world?
Keep in mind, today’s postmodern thinking has little love for the old facts and certainties that have grounded genuine Christianity in God’s revealed truth for the last two thousand years. The old truths don’t fit the new dialectic or collective ways of thinking. Nor do they seem as exciting to our thrill-seeing generation as the “fresh, new truths” offered as replacements. That’s why the old emphasis on an individual’s relationship with Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord is being replaced with a more global emphasis on one’s relationship to the collective, a greater whole which reaches far beyond the boundaries of old Biblical “box.” That’s one reason why many postmodern churches hide the old emphasis on absolute truth and a sovereign King and Judge behind a more contemporary preference for ever-changing truths that match the new permissive, all-loving God of the subjective imagination.
In other words, there are no constants, no absolutes. The group consensus based on feelings and imagination determines what is true. This postmodern consensus will either discard God’s Word or adapt it to fit. As a result, Bible-based discernment fades. For when people discard absolute truth, they lose their mental anchor and flow with the currents of the changing culture. Having no certain truth with which to filter the flood of conflicting suggestions, they lose the capacity to resist popular deceptions. Any new information that captures the public imagination becomes acceptable, normal and real — no matter how fictional or fantastic its source. And if our children are not prepared to take a stand, they may yield their hearts to this process with little resistance.
While many pastors and church leaders have written books that describe this spiritual transformation, the message of Pastor Brian McLaren carries more weight since he is an acknowledged leader in this movement. Some of his articles are posted at www.pastors.com, a website founded by Pastor Rick Warren, author of The Purpose Driven Life. McLaren’s book, A New Kind of Christian, is written as a semi-fictional dialogue, so that readers can experience the thrill of questioning old truths and discovering new truth through the dialectic process. Notice how the introduction touts the postmodern worldview while raising doubts about Biblical faith:
“I realize, as I read and reread the Bible, that many passages don’t fit any of the theological systems I have inherited or adapted. Sure, they can be squeezed in, but after a while my theology looks like a high school class trip’s luggage–shoestrings hanging out here, zippers splitting apart there….
“I read what other people who are having similar experiences are saying, including people writing outside of the religious context — like this from Peter Senge: ‘In any case, our Industrial Age management…. our Industrial Age way of living will not continue…. It’s not sustainable in ecological terms, and it’s not sustainable in human terms. It will change. The only question is how….’
“Doesn’t the religious community see that the world is changing? Doesn’t it have anything fresh and incisive to say? Isn’t it even asking new questions? Has it nothing to offer other than the stock formulas that it has been offering? Is there no Saint Francis or Soren Kierkegaard or C.S. Lewis in the house with some fresh ideas and energy?’…
“I meet people along the way who model for me, each in a different way, what a new kind of Christian might look like. They differ in many ways, but they generally agree that the old show is over, the modern jig is up, and it’s time for something radically new…. You begin to wonder if maybe you’re at the front edge of something — if your tentative and anxious steps ‘off the map’ are actually the beginning of a new adventure into terra nova, new ground, fresh territory.”[3, page xiv-xv]
“…if we have a new world, we will need a new church. We won’t need a new religion per se, but a new framework for our theology. Not a new Spirit, but a new spirituality. Not a new Christ, but a new Christian.“[3, page xvi] Emphasis added
Something new and fresh! That’s an ongoing quest of the Church Growth Movement. Leaders like Rick Warren may not go as far afield as Brian McLaren, but they know well that the diverse seekers want something more contemporary than the old gospel that has opened eyes and changed hearts for the two millennia. As Pastor Warren wrote on page 325 in The Purpose-Driven Life, “I have deliberately used paraphrases in order to help you see God’s truth in new, fresh ways.” [emphasis in the original] Are our leaders forgetting that the freshness comes when the Holy Spirit breathes God’s life-changing message through those treasured old words? [See Psalm 119:11]
A little later, Brian McLaren describes — through the mouth of his leading character “Neo” — what many postmodern leaders see as changing mental “Models” or worldview. Ponder his quotes from The Discarded Image, apparently the last book written by C. S. Lewis. But first he gives an interesting description of the dialectic process. The proper Hegelian (and Soviet) dialogue doesn’t allow a participant to argue a point from his own point of view. Instead of taking a stand on God’s unchanging Word, you are trained to let go of your own convictions in order to empathically (or emotionally) enter into the convictions of the other members and, in the process, question and criticize your own beliefs in light of the new suggestions:
“Most modern people love to relativize the viewpoints of the others against the unquestioned superiority of their own modern viewpoint. But in a way, you cross the threshold into postmodernity the moment you turn your critical scrutiny from others to yourself, when you relativize your own modern viewpoint. When you do this, everything changes. It is like a conversion. You can’t go back. You begin to see that what seemed like pure, objective certainty really depends heavily on a subjective preference for your personal viewpoint. In this next quote, Lewis makes exactly these very postmodern moves and emphasized how one’s subjective posture affects what one sees and ‘knows objectively.’… Listen to Lewis in his own words:’
“There is no question here of the old Model’s being shattered by the inrush of new phenomena…. When changes in the human mind produce a sufficient disrelish of the old Model and a sufficient hankering for some new one, phenomena to support that new one will obediently turn up….”[3, page 36] [4, 221]
“We must recognize that what has been called ‘a taste in universes’ is not only pardonable but inevitable. We can no longer dismiss the change of Models as a simple progress from error to truth. No Model is a catalogue of ultimate realties, and none is a mere fantasy. Each is a serious attempt to get in all the phenomena known at a given period, and each succeeds in getting in a great many. But also, no less surely, each reflects the prevalent psychology of an age almost as much as it reflects the state of that age’s knowledge….”
‘Lewis concludes his book with a fascinating prediction…
“It is not impossible that our own Model will die a violent death, ruthlessly smashed by an unprovoked assault of new facts — unprovoked as the nova of 1572. But I think it is more likely to change when, and because, far-reaching changes in the mental temper of our descendents demand that it should. The new Model will not be set up without evidence, but the evidence will turn up when the inner need for it becomes sufficiently great. It will be true evidence.’ [3-page 37] [4, 222-223] Emphasis added
“What Lewis imagined to be ‘not impossible’ some generations away–the death of the modern model or worldview–turns out to be happening just a single generation after he wrote…’[3-page 37]
McLaren didn’t complete the above sentence but his point was made. Two paradigm shifts have occurred in the last thirty years, and the years ahead promise to be more wrenching than any previous time. The world’s hostility will surely be aimed at those who continue to walk in “the old paths, where the good way is….” Jeremiah 6:16.
Our website often receives angry email from youth- and children’s pastors who echo Pastor McLaren’s doubts and desires. They have embraced the world’s intolerance toward those who take a stand on Biblical truth or use its teachings as a filter to discern God’s view of good and evil. How then can they prepare our children to follow God?
Never have our children been surrounded by so many spiritual counterfeits, seductive suggestions and occult images. And seldom has the Christian community been less prepared to resist such spiritual temptations. It’s up to us as parents and grandparents to teach them to stand strong against these deceptions, put on the whole Armor of God, and walk by the light God gave us in His Word. We can’t trust Christian schools or youth pastors to fulfill our God-given assignment. But when we do trust God, prepare our own hearts, teach His Word and train our children to follow His narrow way, we will know a fellowship in our families that far exceeds the fleeting, deceptive fun that the world offers.
“As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving.
“Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ. For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power.” Colossians 2:6
Please read Twelve reasons not to see Harry Potter movies
Harry Potter & The Half-Blood Prince
by Berit Kjos, July 2005
“Malfoy’s hex missed Harry by inches, shattering the lamp on the wall beside him; Harry threw himself sideways, thought Levicorpus! and flicked his wand, but Malfoy blocked the jinx…. “Sectumsembra! bellowed Harry from the floor, waving his wand wildly. Blood spurted from Malfoy’s face and chest as though he had been slashed with an invisible sword.”
“The story of Harry Potter is an allegory: It is written and packaged to look like fantasy when, in truth, it is a carefully written true description of the training and work of an initiate in an occult order…. The story line aligns with real occult books written by Gavin and Yvonne Frost, who, themselves, run the foremost school of witchcraft in the British Isles.“ Peter, a former member of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. 1
‘I’m a fanatic. I love reading them. They get you hooked.” Ashley, age 14.
As Potter-passion soars to new heights, it’s time to take another look at the young wizard’s influence on Christian beliefs. After all, the sixth book in Ms. Rowling’s spine-tingling adventures into the world of the occult has broken all records. Almost 7 million copies were sold in the United States in its first 24 hours – averaging better than 250,000 sales per hour! What is happening? Why is Harry’s virtual world so enticing? Could this new mythology become the great equalizer of religions — fusing Buddhist, Muslim, Hindu and Christian communities with 21st century paganism?
An anonymous visitor to our website illustrates its enchanting power to deceive “Christian” youth:
“Harry Potter is merely a work created for readers to enjoy. It teaches children to read and to imagine. Our society has really overreacted to this, especially the church. I myself am a faithful follower who does enjoy reading…. Harry Potter encourages magic and I hope you all have the good sense to celebrate what gods gives [sic] us through wonderful stories like Harry Potter…. Are these evil? Are we not to celebrate halloween? When do you draw the line?”
Actually, our wise and caring God has already drawn some very specific lines for us. To guard us from dangers we can’t even grasp, He has given us clear boundaries that we would be wise to heed. For example, He tells us that anyone practicing witchcraft, sorcery, spell-casting, necromancy or divination (all occult skills that Harry learns and practices at Hogwarts Schools of Witchcraft and Wizardry) is an “abomination.” [Deut 18:10-12] What does that tell us about God’s attitude toward spiritual models such as Harry and Dumbledore? How does it relate to His warning in Romans 12:9: “Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good.”
If those questions offend you, you may want to stop reading right here. I’m not trying to “impose my beliefs” on you or force you to hear what you don’t want to know. But if you want to understand the power of a tantalizing story and how to guard your children’s minds from the almost overwhelming pressure to conform and compromise, please join me in examining some timeless strategies of the mastermind behind all the corruption in the world.
Using the imagination to create virtual experience
The human imagination is key to transformation. Impressionable and gullible, it asks few questions and rarely resists deception. Through it, occult images and suggestions take on life-like dimensions that can distort and change our values as effectively than can facts or actual reality. It’s no coincidence that educational change agents want to train children to use and follow this popular alternative to rational thinking. Conditioned to respond to exciting suggestions with their imagination rather than intellect, children can easily be led and manipulated. [See “Brainwashing in America“]
Dr. Donald A. Cowan, president emeritus of the University of Dallas, summarized the strategy well. “What will take the place of logic, fact and analysis in the coming age?” he asked. Then he gave the following reply to his own rhetorical question:
“The central way of thought for this new era will be imagination…. Imagination will be the active, creative agent of culture, transforming brute materials to a higher, more knowable state.”
Our wise Maker is well aware of our imagination’s thoughtlessness. He told us that “…the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth.” [Genesis 8:21] And in Matthew 5:28, He equates the moral impact of imagining something with the actual deed. (“…whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”)
The fact that enthusiastic Potter fans “merely” imagine the spell-casting, hexing, and deadly cursing doesn’t nullify the impact of the mental images. So, for the peace and safety of our hearts, we are told not to entertain these things in our minds! That may sound intolerant to those who have reinvented a more positive or permissive god for our times. But our unbelief doesn’t change the heart or will of our sovereign God. It only shuts Him out, leaving us to rely on our own futile resources. [Proverbs 1:27-33]
God has good reasons for warning us to shun virtual as well as actual occultism. Our minds may be able to separate the two, but our emotions blur those divisions. Think about it. Potter fans are saddened by the deaths of fictional heroes as well as real-life heroes. In their minds, they cheer each winning spell cast by Harry — just as they cheer a homerun by a favorite athlete. In the imagination, fantasy and reality flow together.
So do the light and dark forces of the occult. Harry’s adventures lead you to imagine that the young wizard’s magic is good and Voldemort’s magic is evil, but in reality, the seductive power behind both remains the same. Both rely on (1) a focused, intentional command of the human will and (2) some kind of occult formula designed to invoke a supernatural force. While the “dark side” seems more deadly, the “light side” is far more deceptive. People let down their guard, because it feels good, not evil. It seems exciting, not frightening.
Look with me at the following scenes from the latest book. They illustrate the kinds of encounters that readers enter into vicariously with Harry and his friends and enemies. What kinds of belief and values do they plant into “open” minds? What worldview do they seal in the reader’s memory?
In the first encounter, you meet Professor Snape, Harry’s hostile old “Potions” instructor, who has now been promoted to teaching “Defense Against the Dark Arts.”
“You will now divide,” Snape went on, “into pairs. One partner will attempt to jinx the other without speaking. The other will attempt to repel the jinx in equal silence. Carry on.”
…A reasonable amount of cheating ensued; many people were merely whispering the incantation instead of saying it aloud….
“Pathetic, Weasley [Harry’s friend, Ron],” said Snape, after a while. “Here — let me show you —“
He turned his wand on Harry so fast that Harry reacted instinctively; all thought of nonverbal spells forgotten, he yelled, “Protego!” His Shield Charm was so strong Snape was knocked off-balance and hit a desk. The whole class had looked around and now watched as Snape righted himself, scowling.
“Do you remember me telling you we are practicing nonverbal spells, Potter?”
“Yes,” said Harry stiffly.
“There’s no need to call me ‘sir,’ Professor.”
The words had escaped him before he knew what he was saying. Several people gasped, including Hermione. Behind Snape, however, Ron, Dean, and Seamus grinned appreciatively.
“Detention, Saturday night, my office,” said Snape. “I do not take cheek from anyone, Potter. . . not even ‘the Chosen One.”
“That was brilliant, Harry!” chortled Ron, once they were safely on their way to break a short while later.
“You really shouldn’t have said it,” said Hermione, frowning at Ron. [179-180]
The key character in the next scene is Ginny Weasley, Ron’s younger sister and Harry’s secret love. Some will remember that in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, she was possessed and controlled by the evil Voldemort after finding his old diary implanted with a portion of his soul. What kinds of values might it transmit to the reader?
“How come you ended up in there, Ginny?”
“He saw me hex Zacharias Smith,” said Ginny. “You remember that idiot from Hufflepuff who was in the D.A.? He kept on and on asking about what happened at the Ministry and in the end he annoyed me so much I hexed him — when Slughorn came in. I thought I was going to get detention, but he just thought it was a really good hex and invited me to lunch! Mad, eh?” 
Stirring emotions and creating memories
Our minds are far more receptive to contrary values than we like to think. And the more these occult images and suggestion arouse our emotions — whether love, laughter, fear, hate or rage — the more effectively they plant new values in our minds and seal those values in our memory. As a result, youth around the world have learned to love evil and despise truth — just as God warns us: “You love evil more than good….” Psalm 52:3
The anticipated release of Book 6 illustrated this principle well. The date, July 16, 2005, stirred excitement and fierce loyalty around the world! At 12.01 AM, huge crowds of children from America to Australia were lined up at their nearest bookstore to receive their coveted copy of Harry’s latest adventures. Dressed in black capes, glasses and pointed hats — and with scars on their foreheads and wands in hand — they celebrated the Potter domain of tantalizing power and mystical thrills.
‘I’m a fanatic,” announced 14-year-old Ashley, who apparently has read each of the first five books about five times each. “I love reading them. They get you hooked.” Her sister Lauren, 10, confirmed Ashley’s zeal. “She takes them everywhere,” she said.”
Of course, Harry Potter is not the first character — real or fictional — who learned how to excite the masses through evocative imagery and clever words. China’s revered leader Mao Zedong knew well the power of “emotion work.” That’s why he so effectively won the hearts of the people. He knew how to stir “bitterness” against landowners, hatred toward Christians, love for communism, and a sacrificial spirit that would give its all to his totalitarian reign. By identifying and isolating the key “enemy” as the most threatening evil, the new evils no longer seem so bad.
Some of Mao’s strategies, now seen in churches as well as other organizations, were described by Elizabeth J. Perry in a report given at Harvard University in the spring of 2000. Referring to the manipulative effects of myth-making fantasy (here expressed through community theater rather than books, but with similar effect), she said,
“The growth of the revolutionary movement was marked by increasing attention to the importance of ’emotion-raising’ in the process of mass mobilization.
“Theater was a critical means of eliciting an emotional reaction that was used intentionally to solidify popular commitment. … Staged public performances have constituted the very heart and soul of the Chinese Communist revolution…. This is not to imply, however, that the emotions expressed in such contexts are somehow phony or inauthentic. A distinctive facet of human feelings is of course their ambivalence and malleability; the genius of the CCP approach lay in its capacity to appreciate and capitalize on this fundamental reality.”
When Ms. Rowling wrote the first book, she could neither foresee nor plan the influence she would one day wield. The story, she said, came to her mind long ago as she was riding the train.’ But many others are intentionally riding on her coattails. Her U.S. publisher, Scholastic, has prepared public school curricula based on its pagan world view. Churches have designed Harry Potter Sunday school lessons and small group dialogues — a growth-producing “carrot’ for engaging children and youth in fun “learning” activities. Much of the learning takes place in small groups through the dialectic process as students share and blend their feelings about Harry with each other. Led by a teacher/facilitator, they are trained to think dialectically — for the sake of unity and tolerance, they practice reconciling relevant opposites.
But how do you reconcile opinions dealing with Christianity versus paganism, unity versus separation, good versus evil, etc.? What attitudes would the children learn from each other concerning good and evil in the Harry Potter books?
It would be natural for them to reconcile the conflicts between pagan myths and Biblical truth by redefining traditional words, find more tolerant interpretations of the Bible, rationalize away Biblical boundaries, and cheer the group consensus. They might even celebrate their new-found “freedom” to “think outside the box” of the increasingly offensive Bible. But none of those “solutions” can counter the truth of Scriptures such as these:
“Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil;
Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness….
Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes,
and prudent in their own sight!” Isaiah 5:20-21
Consider the next example. Harry and his classmates are listening to the effusive Professor Slughorn, the potions teacher who replaced Professor Snape. He shows them a bottle of golden liquid, which Harry soon “won” by somewhat dubious means. What similar confidence-building, highly addictive “potion” is available to thrill-seeking youth today? (This year, Meth has captivated about 1.5 million users, but next year it could be something else.)
“Well, that one, ladies and gentlemen — is a most curious little potion called Felix Felicis. I take it,” he turned, smiling, to look at Hermione, who had let out an audible gasp, “that you know what Felix Felicis does, Miss Granger?”
“It’s liquid luck,” said Hermione excitedly. “It makes you lucky!”
“Quite right….Yes, it’s a funny little potion, Felix Felicis,” said Slughorn. “Desperately tricky to make and disastrous to get wrong. However, if brewed correctly, as this has been, you will find that all your endeavors tend to succeed… at least until the effects wear off.” 187-188
[Later in the year] “So, Harry — you going to use the Felix Felicis or what?” Ron demanded.
“Yeah, I s’pose I’d better,” said Harry. “I don’t reckon I’ll need all of it…. Two or three hours should do it.”
“It’s a great feeling when you take it,” said Ron reminiscently. “Like you can’t do anything wrong.”
“What are you talking about?” said Hermione, laughing. “You’ve never taken any!”
“Yeah, but I thought I had, didn’t I?” said Ron, as though explaining the obvious. “Same difference really….”476
“Well, here goes,” said Harry, and he raised the little bottle and took a carefully measured gulp.
“What does it feel like?” whispered Hermione.
Harry did not answer for a moment. Then, slowly but surely, an exhilarating sense of infinite opportunity stole through him; he felt as though he could have done anything, anything at all…. He got to his feet, smiling, brimming with confidence.
“Excellent,” he said…. I’m going to Hagrid’s, I’ve got a good feeling about going to Hagrid’s.”
“You’ve got a good feeling about burying a giant spider?” asked Ron, looking stunned.
“Yeah,” said Harry, pulling his Invisibility Cloak out of his bag. “I feel like it’s the place to be tonight, you know what I mean?”
“No,” said Ron and Hermione together, both looking positively alarmed now. …
“Trust me,” [Harry] said. “I know what I’m doing… or at least” — he strolled confidently to the door — “Felix does.”477-478
“Sensory immersion helps learners grasp reality through illusion,” wrote Harvard Professor Chris Dede, a global leader in the development of education technology programs.
Of course, the “reality” these “learners” grasp through “sensory immersion” is not true reality, but a pleasing illusion — a pseudo-reality designed to please our human nature and change the way we think. These illusions seduce adults and children alike. Knowing the difference between truth and fiction doesn’t really matter. We may be perfectly aware that a carrot or piece of chicken will serve our body better than a piece of candy, yet our feelings drive us to choose the latter. [See The Power of Suggestion“]
Through television, movies, music and ads, most Americans are immersed in a sensory environment that bombard their minds and emotions. Without any effort of our own, we are trained to be receptive and “open-minded.” Yet, we are poorly prepared to resist these cultural pressures. Today’s postmodern ideas — which mock facts, truth and certainty — have stripped away the mental tools needed to make wise choices. And with each repetition, the deceptions become more believable.
“…till at last the child’s mind is these suggestions, and the sum of the suggestions is the child’s mind,” wrote Aldous Huxley over seventy years ago in Brave New World. “And not the child’s mind only. The adult’s mind too — all his life long. The mind that judges and desires and decides — made up of these suggestions.”
When children are so enchanted by Harry Potter’s world that they read each book again and again, discuss it among their friends, dialogue in classroom groups and write “fan fiction” based on the myth, they “make it their own.” Their minds and emotions are so “at home” in the story, that their old familiar home might even seem strange and foreign in comparison.
A former student at Clinton’s Governor’s School in Arkansas, who had happily read and played in an unreal learning environment isolated from his family, summarized it well: “The students. . . say, ‘This is the perfect place. I never want to go home.’ I caught myself saying that several times.”
This Governor’s school for future leaders had embraced several key brainwashing techniques that help us understand today’s strategies for change:
- Isolate students from family and friends (who cling to the old values)
- Discredit or undermine former authorities (parents, pastors, etc.)
- Reinforce new beliefs and values (those that fit the vision for pluralism and unity)
- Emphasize feeling-based learning
- Immerse learners in a desirable fantasy world
“It would be impossible for me to describe to you just how exciting and unusual this educational adventure is,” said former president Bill Clinton back in his days as governor of Arkansas. That was before one former student became so depressed that he committed suicide.
Immersing children and youth in a wildly exciting pagan belief system will change their minds, memories, beliefs and values. “Christian” fans who find the story irresistible will facecognitive dissonance, a form of mental and emotional confusion. To social and educational change agents, this intentional dissonance is an essential step in the process of “unfreezing” minds and “opening” them up to a new way of thinking. It occurs when the child tries to reconcile the shocking new suggestions with the beliefs they learned from their parents.
The next scene involves three characters so obviously evil that Harry and other “good” occultists seem almost saintly by comparison. The three villains serve Voldemort, the ultimate evil in the story. Narcissa is the mother of Harry’s taunting classmate Draco Malfoy. Her sister Bellatrix, a member of Voldemort’s cruel army of Death Eaters, killed Harry’s “godfather” Sirius Black and tortured to death the parents of Harry’s friend Neville using an excruciating spell.
“Certainly, Narcissa, I shall make the Unbreakable Vow,” he [Snape] said quietly. “Perhaps your sister will consent to be our Bonder.”
Bellatrix’s mouth fell open. Snape lowered himself so that he was kneeling opposite Narcissa. Beneath Bellatrix’s astonished gaze, they grasped right hands.
“You will need your wand, Bellatrix,” said Snape coldly.
She drew it… and placed the tip of her wand on their linked hands.
Narcissa spoke. “Will you, Severus, watch over my son, Draco, as he attempts to fulfill the Dark Lord’s wishes?”
“I will,” said Snape.
A thin tongue of brilliant flame issued from the wand and wound its way around their hands like a red-hot wire.
“And will you, to the best of your ability, protect him from harm?”
“I will,” said Snape.
A second tongue of flame shot from the wand…
“And, should it prove necessary… if it seems Draco will fail…“ whispered Narcissa… “will you carry out the deed that the Dark Lord has ordered Draco to perform?”
“I will,” said Snape. 36-37
This vow, made early in the book, was fulfilled at the end. The hateful Professor Snape — who turns out to be the mysterious Half-blood Prince — did what Harry’s hostile classmate Draco Malfoy failed to do: kill Albus Dumbledore as the revered schoolmaster lay injured near the top of a staircase. But this fictional tragedy will probably strengthen Harry’s influence in the real world. For — just as terrorism justifies increased government surveillance — this evil deed helps justify Harry’s use of dark magic to finish his unbiblical mission.
Isolation and uncertainty
Though millions of children around the world are now absorbing the message in Book 6, most of them make this dark and disturbing journey into the occult realm alone. Unless the book is read aloud in a group setting, each reader encounters Harry, Dumbledore, Snape, and the Death Eaters through their own minds and imagination. Even if parents discuss the action afterwards, each individual reader must face the ominous atmosphere, the lighthearted spells, the cutting remarks, and the murderous cruelty alone. No one else shares their personal reactions as they turn each page.
Once planted in the mind, those memories will continue to color a child’s view of God. They will probably stir cravings for more occult thrills. Each new book and reading will reinforce the person’s growing familiarity with forbidden realms. Few realize that the actual world of the occult is far darker and more frightening than they can conceive. And few know God and His Word well enough to discern the spiritual distortions. Vital Scriptures needed for spiritual warfare seem alien to those who have embraced the postmodern mindset.
I have received many letters from children, youth, parents, pastors and teachers who all claim to be Christians yet love Harry Potter. Their emotional arguments show that their understanding of God’s Word has been compromised beyond recognition. In many cases, their expressed faith fits right into the spiritual transformation I described in The Rising World Religion.
They had learned to love the occult and to justify their rejection of Scriptures such as Jeremiah 10:2: “Thus says the Lord: ‘Do not learn the way of the Gentiles.'” That last word refers to the pagan nations that surrounded His people. They were not to learn the occult beliefs and practices of the heathens who worshipped other gods and lived in bondage to demonic forces. Yet, Israel ignored that warning and was destroyed.
God alone can lead us safely through the tempting lures and illusions that bombard our children in this thrill-seeking culture. And He proves His faithfulness again and again to those who trust Him.
I was speaking at a Sunday School Convention about 15 years ago on the topic, “The Unholy Power of Charms and Symbols.” Parents and teachers were still crowding into the small auditorium, when I began showing transparencies of simple symbols such as the yin-yang, the peace symbol, and the ankh. We discussed their meanings — and why their popularity has skyrocketed today.
I showed my compound symbols, but had not had time to prepare a transparency with the multifaceted Theosophical symbol. So I began to draw its many parts on a clear transparency: first, a large circle, then two overlapping triangles forming a hexagram, then a small pentagram and swastika…. Suddenly, something large and dark hit me hard in the chest. For a moment I lost both my balance and my breath. Then, in a flash, I knew what was happening. I had made myself vulnerable by unwittingly performing what might have been a ritual with mediaeval alchemy and other religious traditions.
Still in front of the crowd and the microphone, I cried out, “Forgive me, Lord! Cover me with your blood. In the name of Jesus Christ, I declare Your victory over the evil one. In You, we are ‘more than conquerors!’ Thank you, Jesus, my Lord and my King!”
As fast as it came, the entity disappeared. I apologized to the startled audience, asking their forgiveness for foolishly, though unintentionally, opening the door to this evil. Then we all thanked God for His lesson and protection.
Among the people gathered around me afterwards was a woman who said, “I think I know what happened to you. While you were drawing that symbol, the man sitting next to me was moving his hands in strange ways and murmuring something as if he was casting a spell. He may have come to bring occult interference.”
Only our sovereign, omniscient God knows exactly what happened that day. I may not fully understand the details of the ongoing and intensifying spiritual war operating in the unseen, but He impressed on my mind three important lessons:
1. The reality and power of the evil one operating in the physical as well as the spiritual world we inhabit.
2. The victory we have in Christ who makes us “more than conquerors” when we know, love and follow Him.
3. The importance of living each moment in this warring world ready, with “the sword of the Spirit… the Word of God” at hand to wield against any assault on mind or body.
“Therefore keep watch… be ready,” Jesus warned His disciples. “Be on guard! Be on the alert!”
Today, more than ever, we must be alert and ready. We need to be “hidden in Him,” wearing His armor — the protective covering of our Lord Himself. We can’t afford to be presumptuous; we must not forget that whenever we choose our own way rather than His, we “take off” the “breastplate of righteousness” and stand defenseless in the raging battle. But walking with Him, in His ways, we are safe.
“Be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.
“Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand….” Ephesians 6:10-13
For an in-depth study on the Armor of God, see A Wardrobe from the King
See also this chart: Opposing World Views
1. J. K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Arthur A. Levine Books, Scholastic Inc., 2005), page 522.
5. Spoken at a 1988 forum address at the Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture. This address formed the nucleus for his book Unbinding Prometheus: Education for the Coming Age.
6. Elizabeth J. Perry, “Once Again –With Feeling: The Chinese Revolution Revisited.” Report given at Harvard University CBRSS Events, Spring 2000. (Apparently the article is no longer available online.)
7. God tells us that “the whole world is under the sway of the evil one” (1 john 5:19). We don’t know all the ways he “sways” the people of the world, but his goal has always been to “free” minds from true devotion to Jesus Christ and manipulate our thoughts and feelings so that we serve him rather than God.
8. Chris Dede, “The Transformation of Distance Education to Distributed Learning.” While this and other papers by Professor Chris Dede focuses on education technology, it emphasizes the value of sensory immersion into synthetic environments as a tool to mold minds by instilling a programmed perception of “reality.” http://www.gsu.edu/~wwwitr/docs/distlearn/index.html
9. Aldous Huxley, Brave New World (New York: HarperCollins, 1932), page xvi, 28
12. Mark 13:9, 22-23, 33, 37; Matthew 24:42, 44; 25:13.
Marketing the Occult
By Berit Kjos, November 2005
“Weak-kneed muggles may recoil from ‘Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.’ Dubbed ‘Scary Potter’ in the British press, the latest screen adaptation of J.K. Rowling’s increasingly dark books is the first in the franchise to be slapped with a PG-13 rating.”
“Spiritual transformation… is mediated through a person’s religious imagination.” Lancaster Theological Seminary
“The world of imagination and fantasy can help pass on to the child cultural and social messages [and] function as a way to experience vicariously things an individual could not do first-hand.” International Journal of Adolescent Medicine & Health
As the movie begins, Harry Potter is dreaming. A large serpent slithers out of the darkness, and Harry hears the cold, hissing voice of the murderous Voldemort. This evil wizard — whose body had been decimated during a futile attempt to kill Harry thirteen years earlier — is instructing his groveling servant Wormtail. Their deadly plot would require Harry’s life. “I will not disappoint you, my Lord,” Wormtail promises.
This nightmare introduces a major theme of the story: Voldemort is planning his return to a physical body through a blood sacrifice involving the 14-year-old student wizard.
Compared to Voldemort’s wicked plans and heartless brutality, Harry’s magical training seems downright good. So when the dark scene above is replaced with Ron Weasley’s fun-loving home (where Harry and Hermione are finishing up their summer break), all seems well. Who cares if these friendly folks are all witches and wizards? Here paganism seems normal! Never mind that the supernatural forces they manipulate correspond to those of Satan rather than God. In this enticing setting, the occult realm feels good to the unthinking audience. .
Those affirming feelings are important. They help the audience identify with the “good” wizards and — through the imagination — participate in the action. When Harry triumphs, the viewers share the exultation. When danger threatens, they feel Harry’s anxiety. This emotional bond silences the moral reasoning that should warn Christians that this plot is displeasing to our Lord.
Led by Mr. Weasley, the group hurries to a hilltop “portkey” which magically transports them to the celebrated Quidditch World Cup festivities. But the popular event is interrupted by an invasion of Voldemort’s Death Eaters. As this ruthless horde spreads fire and destruction, the spectators flee for their lives.
The students return to Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry. They are greeted by a new, less gentlemanly version of Professor Dumbledore, who introduces the Triwizard Tournament. Like the real-world Olympics, this international contest is supposed to build peace and co-operation between diverse pagan groups.
Its three contestants are magically chosen by the Goblet of Fire. Surrounded by what looks like a ritual “sacred circle,” this “sacred” goblet spews out three names that are read by Dumbledore and cheered by the crowd. But the goblet has a surprise in store. A fourth name appears: Harry Potter. Some complain that the famed wizard is too young to qualify, but the goblet’s choice prevails.
Mad-eye Moody, the new Defense of the Dark Arts, helps Harry prepare the spells and curses needed for victory in the upcoming tournament. But this undercover agent for Voldemort is no true friend. Though he teaches Harry defensive strategies, his classroom instructions expose his values and puts these shocking suggestions into young minds:
“Reducio,” said Moody softly. “You don’t need thumbscrews or knives to torture someone if you can perform the Cruciatus Curse…. Anyone know any other [spells]?
Hermione’s hand shook slightly as, for the third time, she raised it into the air.
“Yes?” said Moody, looking at her.
“Avada Kedavra,” Hermione whispered. …
“Ah,” said Moody, another slight smile twisting his lopsided mouth. “Yes, the last and the worst. Avada Kedavra… the Killing Curse.”
I’m not saying that the movie would drive its audience to actually torture or kill anyone. The effects of these suggestions are far more subtle. They fit into the dialectic process — conceived by occultist Georg Hegel and embraced by Marx and Lenin and other revolutionaries. This process calls for social change through continual exposure to opposing beliefs and values (thesis versus antithesis). The tension or conflict created by those contradictions prompts traditional thinkers to compromise and conform to an evolving consensus (synthesis). Christians are not immune to this mind-changing process.
The goal of this revolutionary process is to change the way most people think and relate. The contrary suggestions will gradually “free” minds from the old absolute truths and values of the Bible. After a while, people will no longer react negatively to the evils that God abhors. Their consciences is desensitized. Everything becomes tolerable except Biblical truth, which exposes sin and draws a politically incorrect dividing line between what God calls good and evil.
Human nature naturally delights in occult or violent entertainment! In ancient Rome, the thrill-seeking masses flocked into the huge Coliseum to be energized by gory gladiators and Christian martyrs torn by hungry lions. Centuries later, during the anti-Protestant Inquisition, the crowds gathered to watch the bloody spectacles of hanging, burning, beheading and quartering. Only a few decades ago, the evil Darth Vader became the most popular Star Wars character. Today the public’s growing thirst for blood and gore is partly quenched through vicious games and movies. Do you wonder what will satisfy that craving ten years from now?
Knowing our weaknesses better than we know ourselves, God rebuked his rebellious people long ago with these words:
“You love evil more than good….” Psalm 52:3
“All those who hate me love death.” Proverb 8:36
“Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil….” Isaiah 5:20-21
The final showdown with Voldemort demonstrates most of the forbidden “abominations” listed in Deuteronomy 18:9-12: witchcraft, sorcery, spellcasting, spiritism, and necromancy (communicating with the dead). “All who do these things,” warned Moses, “are an abomination to the Lord…”
That list of timeless occult practices is a warning, not only to those who actually participate in occultism, but also to those who merely imagine these things. Jesus explained this principle in the context of immorality: “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Matthew 5:27-28
The transformational power of the imagination is documented in a study by International Journal of Adolescent Medicine & Health:
“The world of imagination and fantasy can help pass on to the child cultural and social messages [and] function as a way to experience vicariously things an individual could not do first-hand.” International Journal of Adolescent Medicine & Health
In light of these warnings, ponder this last scene:
“…suddenly, the sparks emanating from the cauldron were extinguished… Through the mist in front of him, he [Harry] saw, with an icy surge of terror, the dark outline of a man, tall and skeletally thin, rising slowly from inside the cauldron…. Whiter than a skull, with wide, livid scarlet eyes and a nose that was flat as a snake’s with slits for nostrils…. Lord Voldemort had risen again.” (643)
“He knew he was facing the thing against which Moody had always warned… the unblockable Avada Kedavra curse — and Voldemort was right — his mother was not here to die for him this time.” (660)
“Voldemort’s dead victims whispered as they circled the dueler…. And now another head was emerging from the tip of Voldemort’s wand…. Harry, his arms shaking madly now, looked back into the ghostly face of his father. ‘Your mother’s coming…’ he said quietly. ‘She wants to see you…. When the connection is broken, we will linger for only moments…. you must get to thePortkey, it will return you to Hogwarts.’…
“Harry…” whispered the [dead] figure of Cedric, ‘take my body back, will you?’…
“‘Accio!’ Harry yelled, pointing his wand at the Triwizard Cup. It flew into the air and soared toward him. Harry caught it by the handle. He heard Voldemort’s scream of fury at the same moment that he felt the jerk behind his navel that meant the Portkey had worked — it was speeding him away in a whirl of wind and color, and Cedric with him…. They were going back.” (667-669)
The movie mentions Harry’s choice “between what is right and what is easy.” Harry had supposedly chosen what was “right.” At least, that’s how today’s pluralistic, amoral world would see it. But would Harry’s choices be “right” for Christians? Of course not!
Today’s emphasis on group conformity and consensus builds an ever-changing moral and spiritual understanding. An important part in that process of change is cognitive dissonance — mental or emotional confusion. It occurs when people think or act in ways that may feel right but clashes with their Bible-based conscience. The natural or most comfortable way to resolve this confusion ordissonance is simply to adapt their moral understanding to the new situation.
For children tutored in paganism by popular authors, movie producers, and computer programmers, there may be no turning back. The images they imprint on their minds cannot be erased by the human will. Aldous Huxley summarized it well in The Doors of Perception: “The man who comes back through the Door in the Wall will never be quite the same as the man who went out.”
We would be foolish to ignore the restless cravings stirred by imagined experiences in forbidden realms. A little dabbling in the occult usually fuels urges to explore other practices. It doesn’t matter whether seekers pursue Eastern pantheism, Western witchcraft, or create their own personal blend. In our times, these all fit together. Whether packaged for our youth as D&D, yoga or Hogwarts School for Witchcraft or Wizardry, they desensitize their captive fans to the dangers of occult forces. And all too often they become irresistible to the enthusiastic victim.
On the other hand, each time we say “no” to the ever present temptation to accept the world’s counterfeit gods, idols, thoughts and ways, we honor God and strengthen our will to resist. When we set our minds to know, love, and follow Him, He gives us the power and perseverance to triumph over the world’s counterfeit promises, tempting deceptions, and painful persecution.
“For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds, casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ….” 2 Corinthians 10:4-5
1. Rebecca Louie, “Goblet’ brims with fear,” New York Daily News, 11-13-05 at http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/story/364708p-310544c.html
The Deadly Magic of Potter Movies
The Order of the Phoenix is not “just fantasy!”
“…it can’t be much darker – or more dramatic – than the challenge the young wizard faces with the re-emergence of Lord Voldemort…. Claiming to have seen the mysterious Voldemort, Harry is met with disbelief and derision … and the suspicion that he’s a liar rapidly spreads through the school. More than ever before, the thing that makes Harry special also makes him an outcast.” Movie review
“Harry longed to bite the man… but he must master the impulse. He had more important work to do. But the man was stirring…. He had no choice…. He reared high from the floor and struck once, twice, three times, plunging his fangs deeply into the man’s flesh…. The man was yelling in pain… then he fell silent…. Blood was splattering onto the floor…. [Harry’s] forehead hurt terribly.” Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Parents who watch the Harry Potter movies may not always be aware of the dark occult world that empowers this series. Unlike the book, this dark movie doesn’t explain the nightmarish scene above. Nor does it describe the murderous spells and curses that kill Sirius Black, Harry’s beloved friend and “godfather.” To better understand those forces you may want to read our review of the book behind the fifth movie, The Order of the Phoenix.
You may not know that Sirius, like Harry, was an animagus (shape-shifter) who could turn himself into a large, black dog. This shape-shifting process is sometimes called transmutation. Its roots may not trouble those who delight in Harry’s magical world, but Christians should remember that shape-shifting has been part of sorcery and shamanism through the centuries.
In this segment of the seven-part series, Voldemort, the evil wizard with the cravings of a vampire, repeatedly makes his deadly assaults through the jaws of a serpent. And since Harry was psychically linked to this devilish wizard, he participates in the attack as if he were actually inside the snake — as if Voldemort’s spirit had possessed Harry’s mind.
Yet, this event is not an example of shape-shifting. Both Harry and Voldemort have the magical ability to “talk” with snakes (parseltongue), but this is different. Harry is now an unwilling participant in Voldemort’s mind. He feels his enemy’s hatred, shares his thirst for blood, and participates in his murderous action. As Harry explains in the book,
“I thought I was a snake, I felt like one – my scar really hurt… It was like something rose up inside me….” (Page 481)
Not a nice story for children, is it? The rest of this sinister plot isn’t much better. Harry is depressed and angry. His best friends don’t understand him. Professor Dumbledore, Harry’s father-like former protector avoids him. Though most Hogwarts students once admired him, they now distrust him. And the end of the movie leaves little hope in a better future. In fact, a coveted but hidden prophecy — one that fueled some of the cruel curses near the movie’s end — warns that either Voldemort or Harry must die. One must kill the other.
Throughout the book, rage, revenge, lies, sarcasm and sorcery bombard the imagination of the reader. The movie dramatizes the same somber mood. Harry fears he is becoming increasingly like Voldemort, while the merciless wizard is rebuilding his army of scheming death eaters, many of whom are the fathers of Harry’s most hostile classmates. Scene after scene immerses viewers into unforgettable evil — often wielded by supposedly “good” wizards.
Today’s love for such depravity shows that God’s warnings are as relevant as ever. Here He describes ancient Israel, which had turned from God’s loving protection to the deceptive guidance of diviners and sorcerers:
“…they obeyed not, nor inclined their ear, but walked every one in the imagination of their evil heart.” Jeremiah 11:8.
From enticing fantasy to demonic reality
In some ways Rowling’s wizards resemble the real wizards behind medieval alchemy. The facts and philosophy behind alchemy are rarely mentioned these days, which might explain why Biblically illiterate “Christians” are so easily persuaded to equate it with Christianity. Author John Granger first introduced this deception in his 2004 book, Looking for God in Harry Potter, published by the “Christian” Tyndale House. He argues that alchemy (plus mysticism), rather than the cross of Christ, is the pathway to redemption — and that Potter will show us the way:
“Understanding the Harry Potter books as alchemical writing in the tradition of the English ‘Greats’ will explain otherwise bizarre events, plot turns, and names in the novels…. The alchemist, like all traditional or non-modern people, understood man to be essentially spirit (as man is created by the Spirit), then soul, then physical body…. [H]is tragedy was that he was fallen, i.e., that he had lost his spiritual capacity or intellectus, by means of which Adam walked and talked with God in the garden. Alchemy was the means, in conjunction with the mysteries of the Church, by which he could regain this lost capacity….
“It is essentially a super-conscious or spiritual work that happens through correspondence with archetypes that are above, not below, individual consciousness…. Rowling clearly understands both ‘alchemy in literature’ and the ‘alchemy of literature.’ Her books satisfy the need in us, born in a profane culture without heroes or avenues of transcendent experience….We get this experience in our identification with Harry…. Rowling’s novels are so popular because her works transform the human person via imaginative identification, catharsis, and resurrection.” [Emphasis added]
Yes, Rowling obviously understands both alchemy and sorcery. And her occult wizard-world may well “transform” members of emerging and market-driven churches through “imaginative identification.” But Granger’s misplaced reference to “resurrection” has nothing to do with Jesus Christ who gave His life to free us from bondage to the forces of evil.
In contrast, his usage of words such as “correspondence,” “above” and “below” fit right into medieval alchemy and Rowling’s magic. The phrase, “as above so below” dates back to ancient “mystery religions” and to the mythical Greek god Hermes. The occult philosophy linked to his name also gave birth to Hermetic magic, the mystical Kabbalah, Rosicrucianism, Theosophy and other occult organizations that flourished during the 19th and 20th centuries.
A former member of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn who became a Christian and renounced these works of darkness, explained it to us in these words:
“I was taught in ritual magick how to go to different planes of existence outside the physical body. I could create a realm there in which I could practice ritual magick and perfect my magical skills…. Through my will and imagination, I made things happen on the physical plane. As above, so below! This ritual magick is a manifestation of the power of your will.”
His words remind me of the Wiccan author Starhawk’s formula for magic and spells. Author of The Spiral Dance and founder of the “Covenant of the Goddess” she taught her followers exactly what Harry and his young wizard friends were learning at Hogwarts. Rowling seems to know those occult principles well:
“To work magic is to weave the unseen forces into form, to soar beyond sight, to explore the uncharted dream realm of the hidden reality… to leap beyond imagination into that space between the worlds where fantasy becomes real; to be at once animal and god….
“Spells [and magic]… require the combined faculties of relaxation, visualization, concentration, and [mental] projection.”
From pagan bondage to Christian freedom
To equate the wizard world with Christianity, Rowling and “Christian” Potter fans must divide the wizard population into two categories: good and evil, or light and dark. The “good” wizards can then be likened to “Christians” who fight the forces of Satan.
But this wishful logic is flawed. Unlike the “good” and “evil” wizards, Christians and occultists turn to opposite sources of strength. And while Christians trust God’s grace for victory, occultists trust their own magical skills and concentration for victory. There are no enlightening parallels between God’s people and occult adepts!
Before the spread of Christianity, cultures around the world relied on the dark forces of the occult. Contrary to the modern illusions of noble, earth-loving primitives, tribal people of the past lived with constant, justifiable fears. They sought peace and healing, revenge and rewards through divination, sorcery and magic. Their shamans or medicine men could be kind or cruel, but their only source of supernatural relief was a dark pool of capricious demonic forces.
In those days, ordinary people feared angry spirits as much as they feared their jealous neighbors. So to save a sick child from a supposed angry spirit, a mother might offer a sacrifice to a “benevolent” spirit. To kill a rival, an offended warrior might rely on a powerful deity. Both might hire the services of the tribal shaman — one who had “sold his soul” to gain his power.
That pagan world illustrates Harry’s wizard world. Rowling’s spiritual forces may seem less personal and more predictable, but neither world offers anything comparable to our Biblical God. There is no “good side” apart from knowing Christ.
The timeless results of popularizing spiritual alternatives are all around us. Our children and grandchildren are learning to —
1. Love tempting alternatives rather than God. (Revelation 2:4-5)
2. Enjoy evil more than good. (Psalm 52:3 & Isaiah 5:20-21)
3. Trust fantasy more than Truth. (Jeremiah 7:24, 23:16)
4. Reject God’s unchanging Truth and adapt home-taught values to changing culture. (2 Timothy 4:1-5)
5. Redefine Biblical words to support today’s thrills. (Isaiah 5:20-21)
6. Ignore contrary suggestions and follow the crowd. (2 Timothy 3:1-14)
The solution, of course, is to turn back to God, to heed His warnings, and to follow His way:
“There shall not be found among you anyone who… practices witchcraft, or a soothsayer, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, or one who conjures spells, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead. For all who do these things are an abomination to the Lord, and because of these abominations the Lord your God drives them out…” Deuteronomy 18:10-12
“Walk as children of light (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), finding out what is acceptable to the Lord.” Ephesians 5:8-10
1. “Magical, but dark” at http://www.mercurynews.com/harrypotterheadlines/ci_6338686
Harry’s Last Battles & Rowling’s Beliefs
By Berit Kjos – July 24, 2007
“Days before the release of the seventh and final novel in the series, youth leaders are being told they could use the popularity of the Potter books and films as a ‘launch pad’ for exploring Christian themes.” 
“The story of Harry Potter is, and always was, a Christian allegory – a fictionalized modern day adaptation of the life of Christ, intended to introduce his character to a new generation….
“…knowing more about her [Rowling’s] religious beliefs is not just crucial, not just enormously significant, but will blow the whole thing open, so that even a 10 year old will be able to figure it out.” Abigail BeauSeigneur
“Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; who put darkness for light, and light for darkness…” Isaiah 5:20
“The story of Harry Potter is an allegory,” observed Peter Lanz, a former temple-master in an occult order. “It is written and packaged to look like fantasy when, in truth, it is a carefully written true description of the training and work of an initiate in an occult order.” Peter continues,
“…everything Harry does is an extension of his belief system. His foundation is in magic through will. The concept that magick is an extension of will is a foundational occult truth and is diametrically opposed to the Christian concept of will where every born again believer’s individual will is brought into submission under Christ.”
In spite of this unbridgeable chasm between occultism and Christianity, Joanne Rowling insists that she is a believer. She has kept the details of her faith a secret, explaining that such information would disclose the mysterious ending of her popular story. So when asked if she was a Christian, she gave this answer:
“Yes, I am, which seems to offend the religious right far worse than if I said I thought there was no God. Every time I’ve been asked if I believe in God, I’ve said yes, because I do, but no one ever really has gone any more deeply into it than that, and I have to say that does suit me, because if I talk too freely about that, I think the intelligent reader, whether 10 or 60, will be able to guess what’s coming in the books.”
Now that the final book is out, there’s no need to guess. We know the end of the story — one that apparently corresponds to the author’s beliefs. So what does it tell us?
Rowling created a hero with many noble characteristics, and in this last book, Harry willingly gives his life. Responding to a message he magically received from Hogwarts’ former Headmaster Dumbledorethrough Professor Snape’s memories, the young wizard walks unarmed up to the evil wizard Voldemort, who points his wand at him and projects a killing curse. Harry falls down, apparently dead.
He awakens in a large hall. Noticing his own nakedness, he wishes to be clothed — and some fitting clothes magically appear. Then Dumbledore (who died in the previous book) arrives and praises Harry for his courageous sacrifice. Here are some glimpses into their long, mysterious conversation:
“‘But you’re dead,’ said Harry.
“‘Oh yes,’ said Dumbldore matter-of-factly.
“‘Then … I’m dead too?’
“‘… on the whole, dear boy, I think not….’
“’…But I should have died — I didn’t defend myself! I meant to let him kill me!’
“’And that,’ said Dumbledore, ‘will, I think, have made all the difference.’ Happiness seemed to radiate from Dumbledore….
“So the part of his soul that was in me. … has it gone?’
“’Oh yes!’ said Dumbledore. “Yes, he destroyed it. Your soul is whole, and completely your own, Harry.’…
“’But if Voldemort used the Killing Curse… and nobody died for me this time — how can I be alive?’
“’I think you know,’ said Dumbledore….
“’He took my blood,’ said Harry.
“’Precisely!’ said Dumbledore. ‘He took your blood and rebuilt his living body with it! Your blood in his veins, Harry…. He tethered you to life while he lives!’
“’I live… while he lives? But I thought… I thought it was the other way round! I thought we both had to die?’…
“You were the seventh Horcrux…. What you must understand, Harry, is that you and Lord Voldemort have journeyed together into realms of magic hitherto un-known and untested.'” (707-709)
A Horcrux? What is it? Why is it important?
Fearing death, Voldemort had hidden pieces of his soul in seven Horcruxes (containers). By now, Harry and his friends had found and destroyed five of these magical receptacles. Two were left when Harry’s near-death experience began.
One was Harry himself. So if Harry had simply killed his arch-enemy, a piece of Voldemort’s murderous soul would still be hidden inside Harry. For some time, this soul-link between the supposedly “good” wizard and the evil wizard had given Harry a painful access to Voldemort’s thoughts and emotions. Only by giving his life could Harry be freed from this bondage.
Now, the only remaining Horcrux is Nagini, Voldemort’s huge pet snake. Knowing the challenges ahead, Harry continues his conversation with Dumbledore:
“‘I’ve got to go back, haven’t I?’
“’That is up to you.’ ….
“’Tell me one last thing,’ said Harry. ‘Is this real? Or has this been happening inside my head?’…
“’Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?’” (721-722)
Harry chooses to return to his lifeless body at Voldemort’s feet. After some torturous tests to verify the absence of life, Voldemort declares that Harry is dead. He will soon realize his error, for Harry has still another battle to fight and win.
But Harry’s final victory is less significant than the above near-death encounter. By presenting a counterfeit version of Biblical salvation, Rowling gives her readers an image of a counterfeit Christianity that embraces the occult. Most people accept it as true, for such dialectical lies (union of opposites) — taught through occult systems such as the Kabbalah, Gnosticism, Rosicrucianism, and Unity — have now become an accepted way of thinking around the world. Indeed, what God calls evil, now seems deceptively good!
Only by standing firm on God’s Truth can we resist such tantalizing deceptions. Yet churches around the world are choosing to ignore politically incorrect Scriptures such as these:
“There shall not be found among you anyone who… practices witchcraft, or a soothsayer, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, or one who conjures spells, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead [necromancy]. For all who do these things are an abomination to the Lord, and because of these abominations the Lord your God drives them out…”Deuteronomy 18:10-12
“And you shall be holy to Me, for I the Lord am holy, and have separated you from the peoples, that you should be Mine.” Leviticus 20:26
Merging opposites: good and evil, light and dark…..
As in Old Testament days, today’s world sees God’s guidelines concerning occult influences as a hindrance to their quest for mystical thrills. In contrast, blending good and evil makes sense to postmodern churches. And as Harry and his friend Hermione point out, such compromise serves the pluralistic vision for “common good.”
John Granger, author of Looking for God in Harry Potter, may be the most effective promoter of this dialectical heresy. He puts the entire series into an occult context.
Notice the references to the union of opposites — and to the occult use of Scriptures — in Granger’s quotes:
“…the principal activity of alchemy is the chemical marriage of the imbalanced ‘arguing couple’: masculine sulfur and feminine quicksilver. These two qualities have to be reconciledand resolved (die and be reborn) before then can be rejoined in a perfected golden unity. Opposites have to be reconciled and resolved for there to be a new life.
“Alchemists frequently cited Christ’s words: ‘…except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.’ (John 12:24) Alchemists took this verse and the hope of eternal life in Christ’s death and resurrection as a scriptural confirmation that their doctrines were correct.”[3, page 44]
Those who immerse their minds in Rowling’s occult message enter into a virtual experience — not of Christian redemption — but of this magical merger of good and evil. God warns us to shun any such “common ground” between His Truth and the world’s illusions. For,
“…what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: ‘I will dwell in them and walk among them. I will be their God, and they shall be My people.’ ‘Therefore ‘Come out from among them and be separate,’ says the Lord.” 2 Corinthians 6:14-17
“Walk as children of light for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth, finding out what is acceptable to the Lord.” Ephesians 5:8-10
Rowling’s twisted gospel clouds minds and corrupts the truth. It pleases man, not God. Yet, even global leaders like Rick Warren support this pagan movement. His “Ministry Toolbox” newsletter (June 21) included this promotion by James Emery White:
“Though the seventh and final installment is yet to be released (July 21, to be exact), when it does, it will be well-worth reading. Though some would disagree, I am one to put Rowling’s work in the camp of fantasy literature, along with Lewis and Tolkien, with her use of magic more mechanical than occultic. I found her earlier six volumes instant classics of the genre, and the final book will undoubtedly cement this series as among the best written.”
But our friend Peter Lanz (who left the world of the occult decades ago), warns us that
“It is not only foolish but it is also dangerous to dismiss the indoctrination of the adventures of Harry Potter with the excuse, ‘It’s ONLY fiction,’ ‘it’s JUST a book,’ something without a real agenda. The agenda of J. K. Rowling is very real — she is writing to instill in children a familiarity with occult ‘truth.'”
The nature of Rowling’s beliefs and savior
With this final book came the clues to Rowling’s “Christian” beliefs. Ponder these comparisons:
1. No need for the cross. The true Christ was holy and sinless; Harry Potter was neither. From an occult perspective, he was a relatively “good” wizard, but his life and associations model the dark evil forces arrayed against God from the beginning of time. His powerful magic is an extension of his own will — exercised not by faith in God, but by willful projection of an occult power usually channeled through a magical object. Representing the “beautiful side of evil,” as Johanna Michelson called it long ago, his supposed likeness to Jesus is a mockery of our Lord. Remember how God views occult practitioners:
“…he practiced soothsaying, used witchcraft and sorcery, and consulted mediums and spiritists. He did much evil in the sight of the Lord, to provoke Him to anger.” 2 Chronicles 33:6
2. Victory through human effort. The saving work of the true Christ was finished on the cross. In contrast, Harry killed Voldemort after his near-death experience. As a wizard, his “work” relied on a forbidden magical formula used by sorcerers or occultists through the ages: mental concentration, purposeful visualization, and willful projection of an occult force — usually channeled through amagical object.
“…what communion has light with darkness? … ‘Come out from among them and be separate.” 2 Corinthians 6:14-17
3. Fellowship with the dead. Unlike Jesus who knelt in prayer to His Father before facing the cross, Harry met with the wizards he loved before his false death. His murdered father, mother, and special friends walked and talked with him before his surrender to Voldemort. Afterwards, he met with the dead (yet alive) Dumbledore. These encounters illustrate necromancy — the forbidden act of communicating with the dead. Can authors who commend what God abhors be followers of Christ?
4. Loving the forces of evil rather than God. Ultimately, any comparison between the world of witchcraft and the Kingdom of God is meaningless. Harry’s actions are accomplished in an occult context that is abhorrent to our holy God. The domain of darkness will always clash with God’s way, truth and life!
Since few mythical saviors have more power to draw crowds than Harry Potter, it’s not surprising that Rowling’s message is praised as a “launch pad” for “exploring Christian themes.” All the more, we need to “be on guard” — always ready to test what we hear by the light of God’s Word.
“Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ.” Colossians 2:8
God’s way to victory
Unlike Harry’s fans who relish occult empowerment and magical skills, the friends of Jesus can delight in the peace and promises of God:
“And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.
“But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ… and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” Ephesians 2:1-9
For “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”Galatians 2:20
2. Abigail BeauSeigneur at www.mugglenet.com/editorials/editorials/edit-beauseigneura01.shtml
5. Accio Quote! at www.accio-quote.org/articles/2000/1000-vancouversun-wyman.htm
Movie Review: Part 1 of
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
By Berit Kjos – November 24, 2010
“When we first started ‘Harry Potter’ and cast 10-year-old Daniel Radcliffe in the title role, parents drove their 10-year-olds to see the movies. Today, those same kids are now driving themselves to the midnight shows.” Dan Fellman, Warner Brothers“In a chilling performance by Ralph Fiennes, the [Voldemort] character plays out like a dimensional compliment to Adolf Hitler. He is as hungry for power as they come. … his deliberate hatred of the muggle race [humans] mirrors the Nazi internment of the Jews.”
“Death Eaters constitute a group of wizards and witches, led by the dark wizard Lord Voldemort… who seek to purify the Wizarding community by eliminating the Muggle-borns. They…recognize one another by the Dark Mark on their left forearm, a sign created by Voldemort to summon them instantly to him.”
“The whole world is under the sway of the evil one.” 1 John 5:19
Dark, dismal, demonic, deadly…. There’s no sign of joy in this disturbing movie! Yet it captivates children, stirs love for evil, and arouses addictive cravings for more stimuli and ever darker thrills. Why are the forces of evil so enticing?
“These are dark times…” declared Rufus Scrimgeour, the Minister of Magic (rumored to be a vampire), as the movie begins. “Our world has never faced a greater threat.”
He’s right in more ways than one. That solemn warning could be applied to at least three different spiritual battlefields:
1. Lord Voldemort’s murderous domain.
2. Harry Potter’s lighter, more deceptive face of the occult.
3. Today’s embattled world, where love for occult entertainment is fast becoming more acceptable than God’s Truth.
1. The deadly domain of the occult
Voldemort and his horde of Death Eaters have taken control of the Ministry of Magic. Their resisters are killed. Fear and chaos shadow the land. Rufus Scrimgeour, who refused to help them find Harry Potter, has been cruelly tortured and killed.
Even Voldemort is in trouble. In his fanatical quest for power and immortality, he has created six Horcruxes that contain imbedded parts of his own soul. Harry and others have already found and destroyed some of them, and now they are searching for the rest. Voldemort’s goal is to kill Harry before he destroys more of his soul. His life depends on it! To plot Harry’s capture and murder, he summons his Death Eaters to a meeting at Lucius Malfoy’s manor. Voldemort must do the killing himself, but he can’t use his own magic wand since it shares the same phoenix feather “core” as Harry’s.
“What about you, Lucius, he asks coldly. “I require your wand.” Seething with silent rage, Lucius reluctantly hands his precious wand to his despised master.
Meanwhile, the bound and tortured body of a woman hangs upside down from the ceiling. Voldemort identifies her as Professor Charity Burbage. She is guilty of teaching Hogwarts students that Pure-bloods (witches or wizards) are free to “mate with muggles.” That violates Voldemort’s standard for racial purity, so he kills her. He then invites his monstrous serpent Nagini to eat his bloody “dinner.”Such horror may actually sound funny to some. It’s not. The unthinkable images, the addictive thrills and the twisted values in this story will not be easily erased from young minds. As Joanne Rowling and the movie makers intended, this horrendous tale will captivate people of all ages and cause them to crave more such thrills.
Lieutenant Colonel David Grossman, who has long researched the effects of visual images and suggestions on children, shared this illustration:
“After the Jonesboro shootings, one of the high-school teachers told me how her students reacted….’They laughed,’ she told me with dismay. A similar reaction happens all the time inmovie theaters when there is bloody violence. The young people laugh and cheer and keep right on eating popcorn….
“We have raised a generation of barbarians who have learned to associate violence with pleasure, like the Romans cheering and snacking as the Christians were slaughtered in the Coliseum.”
2. The deceptive side of evil
As the skies turn black, Harry Potter and his loyal friends hurry to pack their belongings and flee their foes. By now, the hateful Professor Snape has alerted Voldemort to their plans, and the masked Death Eaters soon intercept their journey through the skies. Magical spells and deafening explosions shatter the stillness of the night, but Harry and most of his supporters survive. They straggle into their temporary “safe” house to rest and heal their battle wounds.
It’s tempting to cheer for the weaker side in this struggle. But life is not as it seems in this world of guided images and tempting illusions. The war between Hogwarts’ supposedly “good” sorcerers and the despicably evil ones may look like a battle between good and evil, but it’s not! Both sides trust the dark forces of magic — wielded through magical wands, spells and swords.
So do some of their fans. But those who “love evil more than good,” [Psalm 52:3] will experience the devastating consequences of the values they have chosen to embrace. As God warns us:
“Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; who put darkness for light, and light for darkness…. Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight!” Isaiah 5:20-21
God’s warnings become meaningless irritations to those who identify with Harry and his two best friends, Ron and Hermione. In their imaginary world, the key to victory lies in superhuman feats, not Biblical faith. At the moment, their focus is on Horcruxes — those physical objects empowered through fragments of Voldemort’s corrupted soul.
Hermione had studied the book, Secrets of the Darkest Art. “It’s a horrible book,” she explained, “really awful, full of evil magic…. And the more I’ve read about them [Horcruxes], the more horrible they seem, and the less I can believe that he actually made six. It warns in this book how unstable you make the rest of your soul by ripping it.”
A Wikia article reveals more secrets:
“The process makes the part of the soul remaining in the witch or wizard unstable. If the maker’s physical body is later destroyed, he or she will live on in non-corporeal form…. Destruction of a Horcrux is difficult, but not impossible, and requires that the object be damaged beyond most magical repair….”
“The fragments of a person’s soul within a Horcrux… have certain magical abilities, including the ability to influence those in their vicinity. When Harry, Ron, and Hermione were carrying Salazar Slytherin’s Locket around their necks in 1997, they each became moodier and more prone to fighting, especially Ron.”
Using their wands and spells, the trio did capture that locket. Now they just have to destroy it! They tried their most powerful spells, but nothing worked. The best they could do was to guard it by wearing it. In turn, they all suffered those annoying mood swings. Ron’s dark mood and jealousy finally drove them apart, and he left.
One day, while wearing the locket, Harry noticed a glimmer of light in the distance. It grew into the shape of a deer that led him to a frozen pond and then revealed a sword hidden under the ice. Excited, Harry broke the ice, undressed and swam to the bottom of the icy water. When he reached for the sword, he was blocked by a force from the soul-fragment in the locket. Unable to swim up for air, he nearly drowned.
Ron’s timely return saved Harry’s life. Ron retrieved the sword and used it to slash and destroy the locket. But their sweet success was short lived, for evil forces continued to pursue the trio until the end.
The last scene could hardly be more depressing. Lord Voldemort comes to Deathly Hallows to dig up Dumbledore’s grave. Like Harry, he suspected that the legendary “Elder Wand” would be buried with its master. The movie ends as Voldemort lifts the coveted wand into the air as a sign of victory.
3. Actual occult forces in the real world
Spiritual warfare has raged since the beginning of time, though many refuse to believe it. It’s simply not politically correct to suggest that actual witchcraft, magic and sorcery could have darkened tribes and civilizations throughout history. As Al Gore suggested in his 1992 book, Earth in the Balance, historical paganism should be honored, not criticized:
“The richness and diversity of our religious tradition throughout history is a spiritual resource long ignored by people of faith, who are often afraid to open their minds to teachings first offered outside their own system of belief.”
“[Ceremonial sites] seem to confirm the notion that a goddess religion was ubiquitous throughout much of the world until the antecedents of today’s religions — most of which still have a distinctly masculine orientation — swept out of India and the Near East, almost obliterating belief in the goddess. The last vestige of organized goddess worship was eliminated by Christianity….[I]t seems obvious that a better understanding of a religious heritage preceding our own by so many thousands of years could offer us new insights…”
But Mr. Gore was distorting the truth. Witchcraft, goddess worship and other practices linked to ancient paganism were cruel and bloody, not kind and benevolent. The main goddesses in the Middle East three to four thousand years ago included Asherah, Astarte, Ishtar and others. Their ritual worship involved spiritism, sorcery, witchcraft and human sacrifices — as did Voldemort’s occult rituals.
Around 1450 BC), when Moses was preparing the Israelites to enter the promised land he spoke this warning:
“There shall not be found among you anyone who practices witchcraft… interprets omens, or a sorcerer… conjures spells, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead. For all who do these things are an abomination to the Lord…” Deuteronomy 18:10-12.
Raised and trained at the Egyptian court, Moses would surely have learned to write. In recent times, archeologists have uncovered all kinds of magical tools, pagan idols, and mythical scripts that reach back to ancient Egypt, Canaan, the Hittites and other parts of the world.
Dr. Paolo Matthiae, Director of the Italian Archeological Mission in Syria discovered “more than 15,000 cuneiform tablets and fragments” and unveiled a Semitic empire that dominated the Middle East more than four thousand years ago. Its hub was Ebla, where educated scribes filled ancient libraries with written records of history, people, places and commerce.
Western nations have been relatively free from occult entrapment since the Protestant Reformation. But now that God’s Truth and guidelines are increasingly banned and silenced — by law as well as through political correctness — that freedom is fading fast.
No public rules or boundaries are preventing occult enticements from spreading around the world. Never before have people been so ready and willing to receive the world’s most corrupting images and suggestions as they are today!
How does that impact our children? The Journal of the American Medical Association offers some clues:
“It compared two nations or regions that were demographically and ethnically identical; only one variable is different: the presence of television. ‘In every nation, region, or city with television, there is an immediate explosion of violence on the playground, and within 15 years there is a doubling of the murder rate. Why 15 years? That is how long it takes for the brutalization of a three-to five-year-old to reach the ‘prime crime age.’”
What can parents do to monitor and restrict violent and occult media messages? Here are a few suggestions:
Pray — fervently, frequently and confidently — based on God’s Word!
Teach your children to “put on” and wear the Armor of God. The greatest weapon against the world’s deceptions is His Truth. The Armor (Ephesians 6:10-18) provides an outline of the vital truth that can expose and resist any of Satan’s lies.
Be watchful. Explain the danger of occult entertainment to your children. Share the statistics and the horrendous consequences of the conditioning process. Show them items in the newspaper that provide current and relevant examples and warnings.
Understand the Nature and Tactics of Satan. Children need to be alert to both his timeless and his current strategies. We are all engaged in a spiritual war—and we cannot close our eyes to the realities of the foes that assault us.
- Keep thanking God who gives us the victory. Know His Names and count on His promises. “Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it.” 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24
1. Lauren A. E. Schuker, “‘Potter’ Charms Aging Audience,” WSJ, 11-22-10. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703567304575628783648960748.html?KEYWORDS=Harry+potter+deathly
2. “These are dark times,” http://www.gcsunade.com/2010/11/18/movie-review-‘these-are-dark-times-’/
3. Harry Potter Wiki, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_Eater
4. Allison Wingate, “Dark times ahead for Harry Potter,” 11-20-10, www.reviewtimes.com/Issues/2010/Nov/20/ar_news_112010_story3.asp?d=112010_story3,2010,Nov,20&c=n
5. Read this testimony: “Leading Me Back Through the Darkness” at http://www.crossroad.to/Victory/testimonies/jonathan.htm
6 .Dave Grossman, “Trained to Kill” at http://www.killology.com/print/print_trainedtokill.htm
7. Horcrux, http://harrypotter.wikia.com/wiki/Horcrux
8. Al Gore, Earth in the Balance; Ecology and the Human Spirit (Houghton Mifflin, 1992), p.260