To me, there are a lot of movies and books out there that have a mixture of good and bad in them, and I would say the Harry Potter series are one of those. Ultimately, though, I don't think it is right for us, as Christians, to make blanket statements about which books and movies we all shouldn't be reading and watching, particularly ones that do have a mixture of good and bad in them.
For example, I don't see the witches/wizards argument as the greatest reason for not reading the Harry Potter series, as there are plenty of celebrations that have their roots in pagan elements that many Christians are perfectly comfortable with celebrating. And again, the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit have wizards in them - yet they were written by a Catholic! And nobody really complains about The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, though the witch is a large component of that story.
A lot of it is about the MESSAGES that a film or book sends - you could watch the cleanest G rated film and yet be polluted and tempted to sin, or watch a more violent and horrific M rated film and yet be more motivated than ever to serve the Lord in your life. This has happened to me several times before, where I have been horrified at the messages children's films send and yet watched an adult film that truly did motivate me to serve the Lord more than I had before watching it.
So ultimately, I think it comes down to a few questions we each need to ask ourselves personally BEFORE reading or watching a book or movie:
1. Is this book/movie the kind of thing I would want to be reading/watching if the Lord was to come back right now? (After all, He sees everything we do!)
2. Does the good in this book/movie override the negative aspects of it to the point where what I will get out of it will be more beneficial than otherwise?
3. Will this book/movie help or hinder me in my walk with Christ?
To me, I am not above reading the Harry Potter series (though they are not my kind of books!!!) and I can see how it has many great messages for teens that are sadly lacking in many contemporary books for that age group. For example, we learn about loyalty, love and a host of other values that are definitely what the Bible teaches. However, alongside that we do have examples of actions which the Bible does prohibit that are not exactly condemned in the books - Harry quite often lies or acts deceptively and usually gets away with it (or it is even endorsed!). In my opinion, I can quite easily see how for some teens with a more rebellious streak it may hinder them, and tempt them to sin, rather than helping them. Overall, I much prefer the first three books to the later ones, but that's mainly due to personal preference, I think! :)
Personally, I think that everyone is different, and what will hinder and cause someone to sin will not be the case with everyone. I mean, someone who really struggles with lust would probably really struggle with watching Jane Austen films which only intensify romantic views and opinions (I know a lot of period film bloggers would recoil in shock at that statement, but it is true!) Where it is not obvious in the Bible, I think we as Christians have freedom to make wise decisions, guided by scripture, and that often our consciences will help us to make decisions that please Christ. Rather than becoming "nit-picky" and judgemental about the choices other Christians make, we need to be examining our own hearts and motives. For me, Harry Potter may not be a great influence,and I personally may not feel comfortable reading the books or watching the movies, but Charles Dickens . . . well! :)
So the advice I will give you is this: prayerfully seek the Lord in this as in all things! Ask Him for wisdom; that He would guide your steps and help you to make wise choices as you seek to serve Him in your life. Ask Him to help you to respect the decisions that other individual Christians make, especially if it differs from your own conscience in this area – do not force someone to change their mind, as often in these “grey” areas we have a lot of freedom. Rather, if you sincerely believe that someone is viewing/reading material that you feel is really harming their spiritual walk, pray for them and approach them gently about it. Study the Lord’s word (the Bible) and look to the advice of more mature Christians who know you well, and know your areas of temptation so that they can give you guidance as to what they think will be more harmful than helpful for you (parents are great for this)! And remember to respect and honour your parent’s decision in this as in all areas.
Thank you for taking the time to read my ramblings on this topic! And please, if you have a different opinion on this subject, please write a comment below, as I am not entirely convinced that my views on this subject are right. I would love to hear your thoughts on this! I hope this helped any of you who may be equally confused as I am on the subject.
God bless you as you serve Him!
From your sister in Christ,
From your sister in Christ,