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January 15, 2008

Comments

R.I.P.  JA.O

..."May this blog Rest in PEACE"...

Tim J.

"May this blog Rest in PEACE"

So... care to explain that?

David B.

..."May this blog Rest in PEACE"...

Wha...?

Dear Troll,

Whom are you quoting?

David B.

...that is, if you are a troll...maybe you're just joking.

bill912

Perhaps what he meant was: "This blog isn't the way *I* want it to be! Waaaaahhhhhh!"

deusdonat

Actually, I can say this blog is the bane and direct competitor to several other sites, which brand themselves as "THE Catholic blog". This one generally gets more trafic, and from what I have seen in my short stint here has not yet sunk so low as to become another pandering "abortion/homosexual marriage" blog. Meaning when those posts come up, since there is an obvious contradiction in church teaching and strong attitudes on them, they tend to get more trafic, much like shock-jocks on talk radio.

This blog is definitely better, since the pieces in question are news-worthy, popular culture or theological, but all have a Catholic perspective as the under-writing theme. And while Jimmy has at times expressed his opinions on matters of politics, he doesn't alienate or force anyone else to concur. IMHO, this is a very hospitable, well-rounded and orthodox Catholic blog. Kudos! I for one hope it isn't going away anytime soon.

another pandering "abortion/homosexual marriage" blog. Meaning when those posts come up, since there is an obvious contradiction in church teaching

I'm curious, and since you brought it up: which Church teaching contradicts another Church teaching regarding abortion/homosexual marriage?

the warrior

Our Holy Father had reason to oppose Harry Potter. And this is a prime example of why. Not to mention that Rowling endorses same-sex marriages.

Tom

Back to the thoughts on Harry...I guess I am glad to see continued spirited debate on this topic. While I've never been a fan of the books (too long for me to spend time on) I'd have to say that the movies are, at least for those already fairly well formed in their faith, entertaining and enjoyable fare. Could I choose something better? Sure, I am certain that I could, but just how many time CAN a person watch Bells of St. Mary's before looking for something more "fun".

As a family that has mostly removed regular television viewing from their habits (save for some of those cooking shows that are helping our 16yo daughter become a well versed cook...just look at my profile...lol)we enjoy some of the more controversial fare once in a while so that we can be more educated about the topics when we talk to others. Harry is mild compared to some of the terrible nonsense out there and it continues to allow for good talking points (though really, how many parents talk to their kids about movies any more...sad but true).

So...what's most frustrating is the one Catholic news service provides only half of the debate, what next, will they just report on half of the Popes next encyclical?

Sheesh...where has the quality in journalism gone?

SDG

Sigh.

Our Holy Father had reason to oppose Harry Potter.

Except he didn't.

Not to mention that Rowling endorses same-sex marriages.

Who knows, maybe she does, although I've not seen any evidence of this. What does it have to do with the subject at hand?

JoAnna
Not to mention that Rowling endorses same-sex marriages.

You know, warrior, it's interesting that you say so. The only character in the HP series that the author has identified as "gay," Albus Dumbledore, lived, from all accounts, EXACTLY as the Catholic Church says a person with same-sex attraction should -- celibate for his entire life! He also seemed quite remorseful for the one time in his life when he may have acted on his attraction (but again, this is never explicitly stated in the books), especially since it indirectly brought about the death of a family member.

Also, please do share which authors in the world are sinless. I'm very interested in knowing so that I may read their works.

It appears Catholic World News didn't get the full scoop either:
http://www.cwnews.com/news/viewstory.cfm?recnum=55967

deusdonat

Hello to "blank" : ) My post should have been "since THEY'RE in obvious contradiction to church teaching..." and not "there is an obvious contradiction". I posted then cut and pasted my previous post, so unfortunately the syntax was the victim. Mea Culpa. There is absolutely no contradiction in church teaching regarding abortion or homosexual marriage. I never meant to imply there was. To the contrary. This is why when those topics come up (ad nauseam) it basically allows people a forum to pontificate, condemn, rend their garments etc.

On these subjects, I think it makes a lot of people feel good to be able to say, "Sure I may have cheated on my spouse, stole money from my job, mentally and/or emotionally abused my children...but at least I don't engage in gay sex or have ever had an abortion!"

Yup...and water sure is wet, isn't it?

Brian

I've never been satisfied with the position that Harry Potter novels are immoral because they contain magic, which seems to be one of the main contentions of the debate herein. The one author compares the magic using society to Gnostic belief, as if, in the books, any old person could use magic if they just tried hard enough. But that is the complete opposite of magic in the books, where this is portrayed as an inborn ability (one might even say God-given), not a skill that can be learned, like the piano or fishing. Magic is a plot device (sometimes elegantly, sometimes awkwardly used), a lens through which the fantasy author can explore or highlight our own lives. And the statement that the books teach the ends justify the means is flat out laughable. Any time you have a character that behaves that way, they are CLEARLY a villain, from Voldemort to Barty Crouch to Umbridge. The good guys are the good guys because they learn that it is our choices that determine what we become.

Alright, I'm tired. This makes my head throb.

pax vobiscum

Henry Karlson

Thanks for this post. I wouldn't have noticed it in all the other work I am engaging at the moment. It's difficult to understand why so many people write against Harry Potter, although it does seem many of them write without actually having read the series (or what Lewis and Tolkien said on magic).

Martin Tohill

SDG has a wonderful post on magic, HP and Lewis/Tolkien on his site. Sorry, don't feel like digging the link up myself.

For the record I regard HP as a flash in the pan. My grandchildren will not read her books but they will still find Narnia and Middle-Earth.

JB

I personally have not read any HP, nor do I harbor anything against those who have. From discussions I have had with informed people I trust who have read the books, if there is something to be concerned about it is that the protagonists seem to not mind lying or breaking the rules with an "ends justifies the means" attitude in order to bring about the good, which certainly an unCatholic perspective.

That being said, not having read the books myself, I'm not sure how accurate that assessment nor is it reason enough to condemn the books.

Dan Hunter

No wonder Potter is not a hero.
Just look at the pencil neck portraying him on film.
The L'Osservatore Romano is one of the most inaccurate and misleading rags in the world of European media outlets.
It is barely outdone by the New York Times in its inaccuracies and sometimes heterodox statements.
Why not have children read any Tan Publishing books on the lives of the saints, to see a hero in the real world.
God bless you.

Leo

Why do some Christians expend so much energy nitpicking (IMHO) Harry Potter while completely disregarding the Dark Materials/Golden Compasss series?

BenYachov(Jim Scott 4th)

>Why do some Christians expend so much energy nitpicking (IMHO) Harry Potter while completely disregarding the Dark Materials/Golden Compasss series?

I reply: It's all part of Satan's plan maybe?

Mary

I have read all 7 books and the first 6 many times. They are very good books, that teach of love, friendship, loyalty, good, right choices etc...

Some say that Harry breaks the rules, yes he does. Though he does not break any important rules: just staying out of bed after lights out, or going to rescue a classmate when they should be in their dorms, or helping a friend take care of a dangerous animal, or telling the truth, etc... Any kid that goes to boarding school will at one time or another stay out after lights out and I cannot find anything wrong with the rest of the things he did.

Sometimes (like saving a classmate from danger even if it is breaking the rules to do so) the ends do justify the means.

The bad people in these books are really evil and the good people are normal, they make mistakes, they do some wrong things, but in the end they are good people who are trying to do the right thing.

Christine the Soccer Mom

Dan, why would you assume that if I read Harry Potter to my children (censoring when necessary) that they don't also read TAN books on the saints?

The main thrust of the argument (magic = bad) is one thing, but to also say that Tolkien and Lewis didn't do the same...what can you make of the article but to dismiss it, especially if you've read all three? Gandalf was most certainly an agent of good, and he was a wizard! There was plenty of magical happenings in Narnia, and not all magical creatures were bad.

The magic isn't the story in the HP books; it's merely a backdrop. And another commenter already mentioned that it's not a Gnostic P.O.V., either. You're either born with it or not. Pretty much that same "using what resources you've got naturally" idea.

I was quite against HP to begin with, and when I finally read the first book for myself, I was pleasantly surprised at how much fun it was. I was equally surprised at how it was nothing like what some people make it out to be (that is, evil and full of witchcraft). It's a story about loyalty and friendship, and the overall theme of the series is that of sacrificial love.

Of course, I'm sure we all can remember reading at one time or another of people trying to ban The Wizard of Oz from school libraries for the very same reason.

Skygor

Random Potter & Catholic Comment: Anyone else think of the (in world) implications of St. Mungo's Hospital?

Elijah

I've also not read any HP books, but a gay character that doesn't act on his gayness (or does act on it) doesn't strike me as the kind of thing I would really want to have as part of a children's book.

Matt

Re: " I've also not read any HP books, but a gay character that doesn't act on his gayness (or does act on it) doesn't strike me as the kind of thing I would really want to have as part of a children's book."

It's not part of the books, really. Rowling chose to describe Dumbledore as possibly homosexual in an interview or statement after the last book was published, but there's certainly nothing explicit to that end in the story itself -- and precious little to even suggest it, IMHO.

David B.

Sometimes (like saving a classmate from danger even if it is breaking the rules to do so) the ends do justify the means.

That is different from consequentialism. (Lame Example Time) In a case where obeying a small rule (like not staying inside after dark) would allow murder, extreme bodily, etc, to happen to a friend, then the point of the rule, which is the protection of innocents, would require disobeying the minor rule, as the protection of innocents would require going out after dark.

David B.

I'm not sure I was speaking English up above. I'm tired...

Mary

The one author compares the magic using society to Gnostic belief, as if, in the books, any old person could use magic if they just tried hard enough.

Actually, the Gnostic comparison I've heard is exactly the opposite: witches and wizards in the Potter universe are an elite who are in on the real secrets of the world, as Gnosticism taught.

Sayf

As a fan of the Potter series, I was glad to see a post that pointed readers to a real article, not something worthy of the Daily Prophet. I was also quite relieved to see so many level-headed responses to the post. I've frequented this blog for several months now and have not been disappointed yet.

pax Christi,

Subvet

On the issue of magic being used in the HP series, why do so many people get their panties in a twist? I've heard it might encourage children to practice it but COME ON! Spiderman does incredible acrobatics in his movies yet no one seems to worry about young boys trying to swing on ropes between high rise buildings.

Time for some to get a grip on reality.

Henry Karlson

The problem with the "they are the elite who knows the truth, therefore they are Gnostics" argument is:

All religions would be forms of Gnosticism then. Since all religions would claim to "know the truth" which other, non-members do not know.

Science would also be Gnosticism, because, of course, scientists study and learn details about the universe, about reality, which is difficult to know, and only they, they elite, sometimes can only comprehend.

See... this is why assuming "in the know"= "Gnosticism" is error. It is not just because they claimed to be in the know, but WHAT they claimed that know actually was that is the problem.

Mary

On the contrary, non-members of the Church (and many other religions) can know the truth (or what the religion teaches as truth). They just disbelieve it.

Gnosticism teaches an esoteric knowledge that non-members don't even have access to.

Similarly, in Harry Potter, Muggles are shut off from the truth. Wizards shamelessly erase their memory to prevent their knowing the truth.

Randolph Carter

My primary objections to the Harry Potter series would have less to do with the books' treatment of "magic", and more to do with their rather crude and continuously decaying methods of story-telling (or lack thereof), and their perverse and insidious morals. By "morals" here I am referring not to Harry's serial dishonesty and rule-breaking (much of which, given the context of the stories themselves, seems justifiable), nor to any perceived diabolism or occultism contained in the stories (which would seem to me to be non-existent, though I do respect it if others see it as otherwise), but rather to the black current of morbid death-worship that seems to underscore all the events of the novels, and about which I have sadly seen too little said.

The way that these tales exalt death from the level of the meanest horror to what would seem to be the highest good in the cosmos, is truly bizarre. "To the well organised mind," says Dumbledore, "death is but the next great adventure." Ah. There we have it. The cessation of life, where the heart stops beating, and the blood flows to a cold halt, where the flesh chills and stiffens and rots away, down to the bone, where the body is lain down in the Earth, like a morsel fed down into the gaping maw of Pluto himself, therein to be devoured -- ah, such wondrous adventure! This sort of sentiment would not weigh so heavily against the books, if it were not counter-balanced by some offered good, and were it not truly the main message, as it were, of the series. Voldemort's biggest mistake in life seems not to be that he is trying to use wicked ends to beat death, but rather that he is trying to beat death at all. I really must wonder why, if death is indeed "the next great adventure", that it can really be said that Voldemort is doing anything wrong. After all, what is he guilty of, but committing murder? And what is murder, but a form of killing? And what is killing, but sending people on to their deaths?

Voldemort, then, was guilty of no crime. He didn't do anything wrong! In killing all those people, he wasn't harming them; he was just sending them on an adventure! The next great adventure, in fact! An adventure for you, and an adventure for you! Adventures for everyone! Adventure-kedavra!

Truly such an absurd message, which I think must stem from a rather gnostic understanding of humanity (wherein man is not both body and spirit, as we Christians believe, but are rather spirit locked in a cage of flesh, ever yearning for freedom which can ultimately come only with the destruction of the body). The more I read of the books, the more and more Voldemort seemed to be the actual hero of the story, if only because he actually seemed to place some belief in the value of his own life (as opposed to Dumbledore, who preaches about the superiority of death over life, and then arranges his own murder).

All this could, of course, be forgiven, did the books themselves succeed at telling well-crafted stories. But that's another story entirely. . . .

Henry Karlson

Mary,

The Church used to close itself from outsiders, and say that until you were baptized, you were not allowed to learn its true doctrines -- or to recieve the sacraments (which is still the case). Even then it wasn't Gnosticism -- but you would classify it as such. That is the problem -- Gnostics often DID give out their secrets, but said you had to experience them to know them. But just because you do that doesn't make you a Gnostic. Just like breathing air doesn't make you a Gnostic despite the fact Gnostics did it too.

Gnosticism's problem was not claim to knowledge, or even saying that deeper insights are only given to those initiated into their tradition (which again, not all said or claimed - as is obviously the case with the texts many wrote) -- but what they claimed this truth was, and how erroneous and dangerous it actually is.

If you want to talk about Gnosticism -- study it -- and don't just assume "special knowledge" means "bad."

Tim J.

Randolph Carter,

"...the black current of morbid death-worship... seems to underscore all the events of the novels, and about which I have sadly seen too little said."

I have heard numerous people make that kind of charge against Christianity... you know, the morbid fixation on Jesus Passion and Death, blah, blah... that we talk about death as a release, as a passage to a better life (the next great adventure).

Have you read the last book in the Potter series?

Mary

What in the world does not allowing non-Catholic to receive the sacraments have to do with esoteric knowledge?

And the only times when instruction was metered out was during persecution, when openly teaching was dangerous to both teacher and student.

And since their "claim to knowledge" were part of "what they claimed the truth is", you have set up a false dilemma.

sky

Mr. Carter... What??? Have you read the same books I have? I'm dumbfounded by the arguments hereby presented. I don't see how somebody can read those books as promoting death as for death's sake. To me they seem to be saying that death is not the end nor it is the thing one should fear the most. Voldemort was wrong in this since he feared only death and was willing to do anything possible to prevent it. How is that being a hero? To me the message in the books is pretty Christian with themese of redemption, sacrificial death and "resurrection", self-giving etc... In any case it's interesting how anti-Potter people are so keen to see bad things in these novels to the detriment of the good things even to the point of not making sense or being connected to reality.

Vesa

The Church used to close itself from outsiders, and say that until you were baptized, you were not allowed to learn its true doctrines


That's strange --

If that were the case, then why did Justin Martyr went on to elaborate just what the Church actually taught, believed and practiced to even the emperor himself, emperor Antoninus Pius?

Your claim here hints either ignorance or, worse, an ulterior attempt to discredit the Church or Christianity itself.

sky
Similarly, in Harry Potter, Muggles are shut off from the truth. Wizards shamelessly erase their memory to prevent their knowing the truth.

That's an interpretation of the evidence in the books that I and many others don't share. It seems clear to me that the reason "muggles" are kept in the dark is for the protection of magic people since the muggles would obviously either not understand and persecute them or ask of them any kind of favors etc... Does that sound unrealistic or unreasonable? I think not, since we have plenty of real life example of just that happening (of course dealing with real world issues, not magic).
Sure there were wizards that viewed muggles as inferior and their own knowlegde of magic as evidence of their superiority, but it's made clear in the books that most wizards find that view despicable and akin to our real world racism.
For instance Mr. Weasley admires muggles deeply for the ingenuity they display in accomplishing the same tasks as wizards by using technological devices without magic, which seems impossible by wizard's standards.

Henry Karlson

Vesa

The response you have given is the one in ignorance. We still say a communion prayer where we say "I will not reveal your mysteries to your enemies" in my church. The Church did exclude the outsider from the inside and from the full teaching of the Catholic faith. At baptism one WOULD be enlightened -- one would be given a greater share of the knowledge. While years later, this was not the case, it most certainly was in the ancient church.

Mary:
The point is that the claim is "secret knowledge" is what makes Gnosticism. It isn't. Mystics in the Catholic Church are not Gnostics (in the sense being discussed). Gnosticism has teachings. It's not just any sense of "secret knowledge." Not all occultism, not all esoteric teaching is Gnosticism.

Vesa

Vesa

The response you have given is the one in ignorance. We still say a communion prayer where we say "I will not reveal your mysteries to your enemies" in my church.

I guess I am in ignorance -- at least, in regards to the latter information you divulged here.

I'm not aware of any such communion prayer.

Would you kindly provide it in its entirety?

Also, is your church Roman Catholic or catholic in another sense?


The Church did exclude the outsider from the inside and from the full teaching of the Catholic faith.

This I would agree with; however, the way you had phrased it previously had a different connotation to it.


At baptism one WOULD be enlightened -- one would be given a greater share of the knowledge.
While years later, this was not the case, it most certainly was in the ancient church.

Again, I still have issue with the way you are phrasing things here, which I believe may be the actual case.

Henry Karlson

Vesa

I am Byzantine Catholic. Our communion prayer goes like this:

O Lord, I believe and profess that You are truly Christ, the Son of the Living God, who came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the first. Accept me as a partaker of Your mystical supper, O Son of God; for I will not reveal Your mystery to Your enemies, nor will I give You a kiss as did Judas, but like the thief, I confess you:


Remember me, O Lord, when You shall come into Your kingdom!
Remember me, O Master, when You shall come into Your kingdom!
Remember me, O Holy One, when You shall come into Your kingdom!

May the partaking of Your holy mysteries, O Lord, be not for my judgment or condemnation, but for the healing of soul and body.

O Lord, I also believe and profess that this, which I am about to receive, is truly Your most precious Body, and your life-giving Blood, which, I pray, make me worthy to receive for the remission of all my sins and for life everlasting. Amen.

O God, be merciful to me a sinner!
O God, cleanse me of my sins and have mercy on me!
O Lord, forgive me, for I have sinned without number.

Esquire

Henry,

Just out of curiosity, who do you think are Christ's enemies in the context of that prayer, and what is the substance of the mystery that will not be revealed to them?

Vesa

Henry Karlson,

Thank-you for introducing Byzantine Catholicism to me.

Indeed, I am practically ignorant where Byzantine Catholicism is concerned and thank you for introducing me to elements of it; in particular, the beautiful communion prayer.

Yet, I am rather curious if whether the meaning you ascribed to the passage you quoted from it is its actual meaning.

I'm not saying you are wrong (how can I?), but I would like to know if, should it be a personal interpretation of the passage, there might be an error in how you have understood it.

Esquire

For what it is worth, here is the New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia definition of gnosticism.

Tim J.

Magic or Muggle has nothing to do with secret knowledge. A muggle can't *learn* to be magic. A person is one or the other, and that's it, just like some people have brown eyes and some blue.

In Rowling's books, there are good and evil individuals among magic and muggle folk alike, so there is no superior spiritual status to one or the other.

The only Gnosticism involved with the Potter books in the the minds of the Harry bashers...

This doesn't make the books good or bad literature, but I find it very telling that the Anti-Potterites have to resort to such foggy and convoluted conspiracy theories.

Gee, it's almost as if they have some kind of SECRET KNOWLEDGE of what Rowling actually meant.

Aristotle

An interesting argument, written by Randolph Carter, the creation of an atheist writer, who himself wandered in the Astral realms, performing many immoral acts and truly dark sorceries, for the sake of an esoteric knowledge stolen from him.

Hmmm... Inconsistency time.

Vesa

An interesting argument, written by Randolph Carter, the creation of an atheist writer, who himself wandered in the Astral realms, performing many immoral acts and truly dark sorceries, for the sake of an esoteric knowledge stolen from him.

Hmmm... Inconsistency time.

I'm not sure if it is justified to accuse "Randolph Carter" of actually being inconsistent.


After all, s/he did say:

"All this could, of course, be forgiven, did the books themselves succeed at telling well-crafted stories. But that's another story entirely. . . ."


Further, assuming the name of the fictional character "Randolph Carter" doesn't necessarily mean that the one assuming the name endorses every single thing about that character.

It would be the equivalent of saying that one who assumes the alias of "Socrates" endorses the notion of suicide.

Aristotle (or should I say... Harry Potter...)

"It would be the equivalent of saying that one who assumes the alias of 'Socrates' endorses the notion of suicide."

Or of Capital Punishment, as that would be the real issue. Or maybe, of sleeping with boys.

I just find it funny that a handful of the people I personally know who seem to really dislike Rowling for reasons of "lack of morals" or other such nonsense are Lovecraft fans. I also found the name Carter ironic, as it indeed has far more of a connotation of evil (and of inferior writing and story-telling) than, say, choosing the name "Harry Potter".

But, after all, Carter has elder gods to slay. He shouldn't bother with small fries like me.

Eileen R

I'm sure Randolph Carter has that nickname because he's a Lovecraft fan, as is (horribile dictu) Jimmy Akin!

Whatever else this blog is, it's not a Lovecraft-free zone. Just look through the archives.

Randolph wrote:
I really must wonder why, if death is indeed "the next great adventure", that it can really be said that Voldemort is doing anything wrong. After all, what is he guilty of, but committing murder? And what is murder, but a form of killing? And what is killing, but sending people on to their deaths?

Ok, let's switch it around.

If Christians are right and death really is the gate to heaven, can it really be said that murdering baptized infants is wrong?

That's actually an argument that has been made by anti-Christians. I remember Augustine somewhere tackling that. Philip Pullman made the obsessed with Death attack on C.S. Lewis, because C.S. Lewis portrayed the death of his characters as the beginning of eternal happiness.

Rowling has inconsistencies and problematic parts in her books, but let's not condemn her for something that's also the central tenet of our Catholic faith. That death leads to an Afterlife.

Mary:
Similarly, in Harry Potter, Muggles are shut off from the truth. Wizards shamelessly erase their memory to prevent their knowing the truth.

I do think this is a flaw. Arguments that the wizards need to protect themselves have never really convinced me. The characters in the book believe that, but I honestly don't get how it could work that way.

I think, though, that this is a worldbuilding flaw, not a moral flaw. Rowling is attempting to work out a world to tell her story in, and in many corners, the world doesn't make much sense. It makes just enough sense to be an illusion for the readers.

No fictional world is going to make complete sense. Even detailed places like Tolkien's Middle Earth break down when you try to understand aspects like technology. And the fan trying to figure out the world will posit solutions, but the solutions aren't part of the text.

Most worlds aren't the slighest developed as Middle Earth. Rowling's world is particularly thin, though it's given me lots of entertainment and heart-felt moments over the years.

In short, logical flaws in worldbuilding don't necessarily indicate moral vision. Particularly sine they're rather inevitable in fantastic literature.

Now, if I were constructing an alternate world within ours, (which I am actually for my off-and-on novel), I'd draw on the lore about forgetfulness when leaving one world for another, and suggest that the reason most people don't know about the other world is that even if they see it, they'll forget about it.

Randolph Carter

Mr. Jones:

Have you read the last book in the Potter series?

The series has declined too greatly in quality over the last few books for me to care enough to do so. I did, however skim over the text, stopping to read those scenes most pertinent to the plot.

sky:

Voldemort was wrong in this since he feared only death and was willing to do anything possible to prevent it.

Voldemort's error was not that he feared only death, but that he attempted to use wicked means to prolong his own life. Death is the wages of sin, and it makes little sense to try and extend the life of one's mortal flesh, at the expense of damning one's immortal soul.

The books, however, do not portray Voldemort's folly as being merely one of trying to use evil means (murder) to try and avoid an evil end (death). Rather, they portray as folly the merest act of trying to stave off death at all. Using the Philosopher's Stone or the Deathly Hallows to avoid dying, we are told, is foolish. Dumbledore cautions Harry not to pity the dead, but the living. Death is not shown as a curse in these books, an evil that man has brought upon himself, and from which he requires salvation. No, death is shown to be a good thing, a thing to be accepted and embraced, not conquered and destroyed. A real culture-of-death message.

How is that being a hero?

Voldemort at least is willing to try and avoid death, unlike Dumbledore who is so quick to get everyone to surrender to it. Voldemort, at least, fought against death, whereas Dumbledore would just have everyone die.

In any case it's interesting how anti-Potter people are so keen to see bad things in these novels to the detriment of the good things even to the point of not making sense or being connected to reality.

You know, for those first three books, I was actually one of the pro-Potter people. But then the series began moving away from the quaint tales of charming ephemera that had been the main attraction of the stories hitherto, and attempting to add an epic depth and scope to the plot. Attempting to derive serious tales from a world that is little more than a deprecated version of the world of "Zork" is generally a bad idea, especially when the author is not up to the challenge, as is the case with Harry Potter's authoress. Hence the quality of the books began to decline; the volumes grew overlong, and the books' two purposes (one of amusing the audience with magic curios, the other of telling an "epic" story) became tangled around one another, "As two spent Swimmers, that do cling together, \ And choke their Art", and cancelled each other out.

Up until then I was a fan of the books. But when the authoress began trying to tell a "serious" story, with so much moralising, and so ridiculous a moral (Death: Yay!), and with such crudity of craft, I simply could not tolerate it any further. Book 6 was the last straw for me. Thank you Harry Potter, I've had enough; here we part, fare well.

Margaret

so ridiculous a moral (Death: Yay!)

Randolph, it's a pity if that's truly the "moral of the story" you're coming away with. Book 7 pretty much whacks the reader over the head with "Greater love has no man that this: to lay down his life for his friends." Harry does exactly that.

And I have to argue against the Gnostic claim some are making. Magic, in this book, is not secret knowledge accessible only to the elite. It is, instead, a fairly rare, innate talent. For anyone in the book to succesfully employ it requires: the innate talent; the necessary tools (typically a wand + other accoutrements); and the necessary training.

Now substitute in soccer-playing if you like. You could dress me in shin guards and cleats, and teach me kicking techniques until we're both blue in the face, but as I am completely lacking in any athletic ability whatsoever, I still would never be able to play soccer in any meaningful sense of the word.

sku\y
sky:

Voldemort was wrong in this since he feared only death and was willing to do anything possible to prevent it.

Voldemort's error was not that he feared only death, but that he attempted to use wicked means to prolong his own life. Death is the wages of sin, and it makes little sense to try and extend the life of one's mortal flesh, at the expense of damning one's immortal soul.

Isn't that what I said in one line? Let's not nitpick here, I don't see any contradiction with what I said.

Well Mr. Carter, You're reading this into the books, I didn't read it at all that death was the answer to anything. Sure Dumbledore states many times that death isn't to be feared, that it's just the beginning of the adventure (which we don't per se disagree with as Christians), but I never remember reading anything aproaching a sick morbid desire for death as you describe it, I think you're reading your own ideas into it here.

Also it's true that the subject of death in the books isn't treated with theological precision when it comes to why we die, but that's hardly the purpose of those books and I've read a lot worse in books that most Catholics approve of.

Voldemort at least is willing to try and avoid death, unlike Dumbledore who is so quick to get everyone to surrender to it. Voldemort, at least, fought against death, whereas Dumbledore would just have everyone die.

If you agree with that and believe that then you must be a sorry individual... Death is nothing to fear as a Christian and though I don't will it I accept it with confidence since I trust in the Lord, thus I would never try to avoid death, that's what the Devil wants us to do, reject death and lose our souls trying to do so.

If you have to be negative about these novels then at least do it with a credible argument not with this far fetched morbidity!

Foxfier

The series has declined too greatly in quality over the last few books for me to care enough to do so.

Translation: No, but I think that by "skimming" I know more than those poor, ignorant fools who read the story all the way, enjoyed it, and thought on the matters put forth.

You're incorrect in your statement that Voldie was trying to use the Philosopher's stone to stave off death-- a good character did so, then chose to stop.

. Dumbledore cautions Harry not to pity the dead, but the living

Quote, please.


unlike Dumbledore who is so quick to get everyone to surrender to

Quote, please.

Also: prove Dumbledore is the ultimate hero, since he is shown in the last book as a deeply flawed person. (Hard to get more clearly flawed than "I was working with Nazi Hitler until he got my sister killed.")

Scott W.

Why do some Christians expend so much energy nitpicking (IMHO) Harry Potter while completely disregarding the Dark Materials/Golden Compasss series?

I don't know who some Christians are, but MANY Catholics have given the Pullman stuff the harsh treatment it deserves.

Regarding Harry Poter, my only interest is noting the mass coversion to New Criticism. That is, everytime I read a Christian fan of HP talk about it, there was almost always a "and Rowling is a Christian!" comment of some kind. Then her Dumbledore revelation came out and those same fans are going, "text only!"
Too funny.

Mary

Not all occultism, not all esoteric teaching is Gnosticism.

Irrelevant. The claim is that Gnosticism lays claim to secret knowledge available only to the elite, not that it exhausts all such claims.

Henry Karlson

Mary

Not at all irrelevant. It's called logic. If not all esoteric thought is Gnosticism, to say HP proclaims esoteric thought (it doesn't) does not mean it is Gnostic.

All oranges are fruit. Not all fruit are oranges.

labrialumn

No, in the books, death is not a thing to be sought. It is not a culture of death message. (though the books are imperfect on the culture of life). Death is not to be -feared-. It is not to be resisted out of -fear-. Only fearful wizards lacking courage make the holographic AIs of themselves called ghosts in the series (we are told that these constructs are not the dead person at all). The decent folk and the good folk in the series defend themselves and others. Death is not seen as The Good. But it is not to be feared, because of reasons which we are not told (but which are hinted at in numerous ways, from the Scripture quotes on the headstones to Dumbledore's talk about the importance of frequently visiting, and being able to call home, that place where the blood that was shed to save you, yet lives) where that hope lies. Hermione comes very close to spilling the beans in the churchyard where Harry's parents and Dumbledore's sister are buried. The very argument being made here against the books is made by Harry Potter, and Hermione tries to correct him - without coming out and barely speaking the Gospel.

Dust and ashes out of elfland, eh, Carter? (;-)?)

Brenda M

The message in Harry Potter is about friendship, family, love, tolerance to people from other races or economic status. Harry also protected his loved ones even risking his life.

it's not about looking for death or happily dying. Death is the only certain thing in life, it is better to enjoy life instead of living each day with an obsessive fear of death, like Voldemort.
Things worse than death exist in life, for example unhappiness.(Dementors are a good example)

Yay, Death! Adventure Kedavra! *lol* thanks Randolph Carter for the sarcastic hilarious comments they made my day!!!!!!! :-D


Sing to the Lord, for he has done glorious things, let this be known to all the world. Isaiah 12:5

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