How Strange! Thousands of children lined up outside bookstores waiting for them to open so they can buy a book? In the children's world awash with television, internet and video games, how can a mere book create such a demand? It seems like magic.
It is! The hero of the book is Harry Potter, wizard in training. The book is the 4th in the Harry Potter series claimed by some Christian leaders to be innocent fictional fantasy. Others, such as ex-witch William Schnoebelen, see them as training manuals for a new generation of sorcerers.
Readers of the Harry Potter books are "...immersing themselves in the magic world-view that does not fit with the Bible," Schnoebelen points out. The plot is different than good Christian fiction where the good and Godly win out over evil. "The Harry Potter books, in common with most horror and fantasy material, present a godless universe, one in which the most powerful wizard wins," says Schnoebelen.
"Our youth are awash in a culture that promotes evil, occultism, lust and power for its own sake. The magic world-view is all around them. It is promoted in Pokemon, in television, movies and music. More critical, it is often promoted in classrooms."
Yes, many teachers are ignoring the dark side of the Potter books and using them in class simply because it promotes an interest in reading. But John Andrew Murray writes on a Focus On The Family web site for teachers: "It is the world of witchcraft found in Harry Potter that is the greatest threat of all. This world...is presenting occult practices in a way that is attractive and fun." This "desensitization to witchcraft" can only "lead to serious spiritual consequences in the future."
The author, J. K. Rowling, claims that the book series will end after the 7th book to be released in 2003. In the meantime, movie rights have been sold to Warner Brothers who hopes to make billions of dollars promoting the Harry Potter craze. Soon we will see cartoon spin-offs, theme-park rides and interactive games.
So Harry Potter, born wizard, raised by dull, useless, boring, relatives (who resemble fundamentalist Christians) attends an exciting school for wizards where he learns that power is the ultimate moral choice, irrespective of good or evil. In the process he experiences episodes of astral projection, levitation, blood sacrifices, animal sacrifices and a baby boiled in a cauldron.
He deals with werewolves and vampires, and learns to cast spells, lie, cheat on homework, and that death is just the "next great adventure."
For Bible believers who are admonished to avoid even the "appearance of evil" the Harry Potter craze is just another wave in the ocean of evil washing over our land. Soul winners must use it as another opportunity to stand against Satan's strategy and witness to Biblical truth.