MACDONALD-MURRAY, Elisabeth Anne, "Harry Potter and the Magical Childhood," Canadian Evangelical Review, 24, Autumn 2002, pp.12-14.

By Robert Brow  (

In the discussion that continues to rage about the Harry Potter books, Elisabeth MacDonald-Murray reminds us of a basic fact. "The characters and creatures that populate Rowland's stories have been largely drawn from the same mythological and archetypal store that has been used by countless other fantasy writers, including J.R.R.Tolkien, C.S.Lewis, and Madeleine L'Engle" (p.13).

It is also a fact that children delight in such stories. The question is whether the reading will entice children into the occult, and prepare them to adopt gnostic and new-age models of religion?

Perhaps we should begin with the way God has made us in his image. As distinct from the other animals, we are designed to be able to look at and evaluate alternative models. We can do this with scientific theories (flat-earth v. global, Newton v. Einstein), and alternative kinds of medicine (in India you choose between Ayurvedic, Yunani, Homeopathic, Acupuncture, Western, Holistic. etc.). And all over the world the human animal looks at, discusses, and chooses among the various religions and ideologies that we encounter in our culture.

There seems no evidence that looking at alternative options in any way hinders Christian faith. The Messiah arranged for his church to be born, survive, and triumph, in an incredible confusion of alternatives. A mature Christian is someone who has engaged with other alternative options and chosen to go with Trinitarian Theism.

What is needed is that children learn our Christian model of creative love in comparison with other religions and ideologies where the love of God is not in view. If they have a heart for love, they can be trusted to see the difference and choose the right direction. And it seems to me that reading a fantasy story followed by a Bible story is a good way to help them do that.

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