Get LISNews via email! Enter Your Email Address:
If we ban Harry Potter, is Macbeth next? is a story on, you guessed it, the ol\' banning of Harry trick.
Reg has written a nice response to the story.
I think the people who ban Harry Potter are twits.
But if one is going to argue against them, one must understand the point of their assertions.
Fundamentalist Christians are opposed to the Harry Potter books not because they contain witchcraft - as in Macbeth - but because they cast witchcraft and wizardry in SUCH A POSITIVE LIGHT! If Rowling\'s writings suggested that magic in all of its forms was inherently bad or dangerous, the Christian critics would have no problem with her. But she makes wizardry look like so much fun!!! It\'s that slippery slope they fear.
If one wanted to demonstrate to the Christian critics where they are wrong, they could point to several things. First, Rowling does a pretty good job of showing the evil side of magic, and of characters who do and are evil because of their use of magic. In addition, while Harry and his pals use a ton of magic to both get into and out of trouble - and I will admit, she paints a pretty fun and fantastic world to live in - what gets Harry through the day are the same values that have been appreciated in children\'s adventure literature forever - his pluck, his courage, his silliness, his sense of wonder, his growing sense of duty, his curiosity, etc., etc., etc.
Another major point to bring up is that Rowling doesn\'t posit the realm and study of magic as being anti-God. Frankly, this is where Christians are on the shakiest ground. In the Bible, sorcery was used by those who were explicitly non-Yahwehists. So the struggle between the Yahweh believers and the sorcerers was really a battle between two belief systems. There is absolutely NOTHING in Rowling\'s texts to lead one to believe that, for example, Professor McGonagle, couldn\'t be a highly accomplished witch and a devout Christian. There just isn\'t!
The magic users in the Harry Potter books use magic in EXACTLY the way we Muggles use technology - the books are VERY clear on that point! If one follows the fundamentalist Christian argument, it\'s as if to say that just because one is a nuclear scientist one can\'t worship Christ! One is a matter of technology, the other a matter of belief. The Harry Potter books differ in this matter very little from the Tom Swift series, except the cool technology and spacecraft and ray guns and invisibility formulae are replaced by spells and potions. There\'s a reason the genres of science fiction and fantasy are grouped together. Most readers understand their sibling relationship!
These are the arguments I use when discussing all the flap over Harry Potter. Of course, I\'m sure I don\'t convince many Christians to give up their Rowlingian Crusade, but at least they have to address the flaws in their own arguments.
- Reginald Thomas Aubry
Reginald Thomas Aubry
Cambridge, MA, USA
aubry @ mediaone . net