Tuesday, July 17, 2007

God, Harry Potter and the Detestable Nations...

What do you think about Harry Potter? Leave a comment below, if you like.

Harry Potter is so cute and clever and popular, exercising magic powers and wizardry and casting spells and all. What a phenom.

What a Cinderella story for his author, from poor single mother to multi-millionaire. What author wouldn't love to accomplish that?

Well, I'm afraid I can think of One, who wrote:

Deuteronomy 18:9-14 When you enter the land the LORD your God is giving you, do not learn to imitate the detestable ways of the nations there.

Let no one be found among you who sacrifices his son or daughter in the fire,

who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead.

Anyone who does these things is detestable to the LORD,

and because of these detestable practices the LORD your God will drive out those nations before you. You must be blameless before the LORD your God. The nations you will dispossess listen to those who practice sorcery or divination.

But as for you, the LORD your God has not permitted you to do so.

Another version calls these practices abominations.

Well, God, why not just say what you mean? LOL

That makes me think a lot of good-hearted people and sweet little children who enjoy these books and films are depriving themselves of more fun than these, and of even bigger blessings!

On the other hand, there's this precious promise:

John 14:15-23 If you love me, you will obey what I command. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever— the Spirit of truth.

The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be[c] in you. ... Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me.

He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him."
Then Judas (not Judas Iscariot) said, "But, Lord, why do you intend to show yourself to us and not to the world?"

Jesus replied, "If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. He who does not love me will not obey my teaching.

These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me."

Wow. Boy, I know it's hard for me to obey God at times. I know my flaws and weaknesses and some of you know them, too.

But it's easy for me to choose to obey in this. If God hates something so much, I'm not about to turn to it even as merely (?) entertainment.

Or use it to teach my precious children to read! Read about things God hates as if they were fun and clever and maybe even desirable? The end does not justify the means.

His little children in bookstores dressed as the very things he detests? It must break His heart.

What about those who see symbolism of the Gospel in these books? I'm sorry, friends, I just think it's like offering strange fire on the altar.

Or digging through--detestable things--for the Pearl of Great Price.

One columnist suggests the books cause another problem, with its "bait-and switch" storytelling: Click to read Harry Potter and Anti-Christian Bigotry.

Another columinst shows that Harry does not know that an inscription was a Bible verse. The story ends with his parents taking back to the school of detestable things.

Young readers can conclude Harry does not seem to need to know God, the Bible, or Jesus Christ, since he chooses to use other powers not from God.

Meanwhile, even puny obedience leads to the fun of seeing God's hand in one's life.

Like that sculpture of Jonah in that church I visited for the first time last Easter. I had just that week said I needed a break and was running from writing like Jonah from ran Ninevah.

And there in the front of that church stood a six-foot-tall wood carving--of Jonah!

( Scroll down two articles for photos.)

And that wasn't even obedience!

But God is so good, He tracked me down and got my attention and blessed me anyway.

That is so much more entertaining to me than a little boy learning to practice the "detestable ways of the nations" ever could be--in the long run, anyway!

I'm sorry, I know not everyone will agree with me. My friends are certainly free to do as they feel led.

I serve a jealous God.

I also remember this, though, and am encouraged by the heart of our loving Father who just wants to bless us with only the best:

Deuteronomy 5:29 Oh, that their hearts would be inclined to fear me and keep all my commands always, so that it might go well with them and their children forever!

"These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me."

"As for you, the LORD your God has not permitted you to do so."

Somebody please tell Harry. He seems to worship a different God.


Articles to read:
What is the occult?
The occult, what does the Bible say about it?
Relevant scriptures…
1 Thessalonians 5:21-22 Test everything. Hold on to the good. Avoid every kind of evil.James 1:27 keep oneself from being polluted by the world

3 John 1:11 do not imitate what is evil
Romans 12:9 abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good.
Deuteronomy 18:9-14 (do not learn to imitate detestable ways, including spiritists, sorcerers and witchcraft)
Ephesians 5:11-12 Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness /live as children of light
1 Timothy 4:1 (don't follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons)
1 Corinthians 10:212 Corinthians 6:14-17 what fellowship can light have with darkness?Philippians 4:8 (think about pure, lovely, noble things)
1 Corinthians 11:1 follow the example of Christ
1 Corinthians 10:31 whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God
James 4:7-8 submit yourselves to God / resist the devil / purify your hearts

Ezekiel 44:23 …teach my people… to distinguish between the unclean and the clean.
Proverbs 22:6 train a child in the way he should go
Matthew 18:6 if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin…
Hosea 4:6 My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.
John 3:19-20 people love darkness instead of light
Romans 13:12 put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.
Ephesians 6:11-18 take your stand against the devil's schemes.
1 John 5:19 keep yourselves from idols
2 Chronicles 7:14 If MY PEOPLE...will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways...I will forgive their sin and heal their land.

Anybody think our land needs a good healing???



Virginia Smith said...

Your points are all valid, every one of them. I would submit, though, that the HP books don't encourage people to practice witchcraft any more than Cinderella (with the fairy godmother) or the Wizard of Oz (with Glinda the Good Witch) or any number of other stories geared toward even younger children that people for generations have accepted without question. And that have not pushed people toward witchcraft.

We've all heard the HP books compared to Lord of the Rings, which has been generally accepted as containing a hefty amount of Christian symbolism - as the 7th HP book undeniably does. The stories are Good versus Evil. No person who reads those books identifies with the evil people. No one. They identify with the good people, and cheer for good to triumph over evil.

On the other hand, I think anything that is so prevalent and dangerous in our culture today as witchcraft should be approached with a huge amount of caution. In other words - parents, talk to your kids. Make sure they understand the difference between fantasy and truth. But you will also want to stop them from watching many cartoons, or reading fairy tales, or watching movies and TV shows like Bewitched and I Dream of Jeannie and Buffy and Sabrina. Personally, I think those are FAR more dangerous, because they don't create an obvious fantasy world - they put magic within the reach of everyday people.

Margo Carmichael said...

Hi, Virginia,

Thank you for your thoughts.

Well, you know, I didn't even mention practicing witchcraft.

I do think that little children who dress as witches and wizards in honor of HP are being encouraged on one level or another to do so. And I have read websites that report that children have indeed gone into witchcraft after reading HP. I mean, flying on brooms? (I did watch the first movie on tv.)

My concern goes deeper than that--Our relationship with the One who loves us so much. And He is jealous of us and our love for Him.

If He hates something, what business have I in ignoring His feelings and turning to a "detestable thing" for entertainment?

I just don't feel that honors Him or pleases the One who created me and went to a *hell* of a lot of trouble for me. Literally, LOL

Good points you make, though. Where do we draw the line?

One father made the point by asking his kids if they would like one little teaspoon of dog doo in the cookie dough. LOL

When does it become going overboard to avoid all things not of God?

And when is it rationalizing to say it's okay?

The Holy Spirit will have to guide each one of us there.

Thanks again for your thoughts. I look forward to posting your blog.

Margo Carmichael said...

(Should have said I didn't mention the books encouraging witchcraft...)

Cyndy Salzmann said...

You go girl! FINALLY someone who has enough of a backbone to stand up to the "it's all good fun" of Harry Potter!

The spells the author uses in the Potter books are taken directly from the Book of Shadows. In other words, these are real spells used to call up demons. I definitely would not want my children to be involved in this kind of "fun."

It's much easier to go along with the hoards and not stand up in the face of evil but as you so clearly pointed out in Scripture -- God says - Just say NO."

Margo Carmichael said...

Amen, Cyndy. And God doesn't want to spoil our fun. He wants to keep us out of trouble. Being amused by the occult is definitely not listed among our spiritual warfare weapons of Ephesians 6. Maybe a lot of these good people have just missed that chapter.

Margo Carmichael said...

I just found this article re the influence of HP encouraging people to practice witchcraft. The headmaster of a school of witchcraft opening south of Chicago implies that HP is an infliuence:

"According to the American Religious Identification Survey, there were approximately 134,000 Americans claiming Wicca as their religion in 2001 -- up from 8,000 people in 1990. ...

" 'Part of this growth could be attributed to the ... portrayals of witchcraft in Hollywood movies that have been "less than negative.' "

Witch School Opens Doors in Midwestern Town