The Magic of the Gospel

I posted something about Harry Potter on my Facebook page recently, and a Christian friend of mine made a comment about how she was against witchcraft, just as the Bible insists.

I’ll be clear: if something is invoking evil and Satan, I’m against that too.

But to me, the magic of Harry PotterMary PoppinsThe Wizard of Oz, etc., is not the same thing as what the Bible is describing as witchcraft.  Who knows.  Maybe I’m wrong.  It wouldn’t be the first time.

I said to my friend: “In Narnia, both the good side and bad side use magic.  Just like in Star Wars and many others.”

She asked if I was saying there is a “good” magic and a “bad” magic.

My response? “Of course there is a good magic– Christ’s miracles!  What else would you call them?”

Am I way off?  I think the amazing, supernatural, miraculous works of God could be described as “good magic.”

I don’t know how to explain it, so I’ll call upon J.R.R. Tolkien’s words in his essay “On Fairy Stories”:

The Gospels contain a fairystory, or a story of a larger kind which embraces all the essence of fairy-stories. They contain many marvels—peculiarly artistic, beautiful, and moving: “mythical” in their perfect, selfcontained significance; and among the marvels is the greatest and most complete conceivable eucatastrophe.

deeper magic masikarainIn Narnia, there is a Deep Magic from the dawn of time … and there is a Deeper Magic from before the dawn of time.

I like that.

Image credit: MasikaRain

7 thoughts on “The Magic of the Gospel

  1. This has always been a thorny issue… But I feel like we’re limiting God if we say He can’t use magic-based books, too. In Harry Potter, LOTR, Narnia, etc., we see good and bad clearly delineated, we see the power of family and friendships and sacrificial love, we see consequences for our actions (good and bad)… God can use any medium to speak to us, and I think He can use “fairy stories” just as easily as anything else.
    And as I recently read, “Reading Harry Potter doesn’t make you a witch anymore than watching ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ makes you a surgeon.”

  2. Pingback: Magic of the Gospel | Even a Traitor May Mend: a Narnia blog

  3. Harry Potter and Jesus are the same person. Nuff Said. JKJK. But seriously, the Harry Potter series is about different kinds of love and their affects, specifically sacrificial love. So if you’re not into sacrificial love, then don’t read them.

  4. This is a question I have often considered. The best answer I’ve come up with for myself is that it makes a big difference whether the “magical” power is inherent in the person (or being), or whether it’s a learned art. I think that when a learned art is portrayed as something desirable, it can be dangerous because people in our world (not just in fantasy worlds) can explore, find out how to do it, and become entrapped in it. Harry Potter straddles the real world and fantasy too easily. There are terms and practices in HP that also exist in our world, and they are occult practices. I have read that Rawlings did a lot of research on witchcraft and incorporated that into her books. For example, here’s a discussion I just found with a quick search:

    “Many argue that Harry Potter is just merely children’s fantasy, and therefore it’s harmless. The lie about this is that witchcraft is reality. J.K. Rawlings, the author of the Harry Potter series, has gone through an awful lot of research. She is very accurate, otherwise we would have witches all over the country and the world saying ‘This is not a true representation of our religion.’ This is a true representation of witchcraft, and the black arts and black magic, and yet we have people that say this is merely fantasy and harmless reading for our children. Actually what makes this more dangerous is that it is couched in fantasy language, and children’s literature, and made to be humorous, and beautifully written, and extremely provocative reading, and it just opens up children to want to have the next one. This is what is so harmful.

    “Joann Rawlings majored in mythology in Exeter University in England. She has borrowed not only from pagan religions, Celtic religions, the religions of the Druids, witchcraft, Satanism, a lot of the spells, the incantations, the philosophy behind the mythology and the religion, is being put into Harry Potter’s books. Yes, Harry Potter may be fictional, but there is a lot of religious teaching, in symbols that perhaps the reader doesn’t always pick out.”

    I heard Richard Abanes on the radio years ago, talking about this, and I have his first book. I think he’s one of the most articulate on this topic. Here’s a fairly recent interview:

    For me, there’s a big difference between a lion in Narnia doing supernatural things because he’s a god, and a witch learning black arts and doing supernatural things by spells and incantations. To be fair, there is at least one good wizard in Narnia (the one on the island of the Dufflepods), and is a bad one (Uncle Andrew in our world), but for the most part, “magic” is not practiced by ordinary people who set out to learn it, and in this fantasy world, you won’t learn about the magick in our world. Narnia books are more akin to fairy tales, in my opinion. Same thing in Tolkien’s books. Elves have more natural powers than men, but only the wizards (whom I understand Tolkien intended to be comparable to angels in our world) have inherent magical powers. People don’t go crossing that line. Those who mess with magic unauthorized (like Lucy in the wizard’s house, or people who possess the Ring) pay for it. Magical beings may be good or evil, but it’s all clearly delineated.

    I only read the first HP book when it first came out, but the general idea I’ve gotten is that even the “good” characters do wrong things, and they get away with it or are justified because they are on the “good” side. That is also a very mixed-up idea of morality: the end justifies the means. So that’s another problem.

    That’s just a simple overview of my current beliefs, but of course the discussion could get far more complicated!

    • Thanks for your thoughts! To an extent, I agree. But having read the entire Harry Potter series (where you admit you haven’t) allows me access to a story that you just don’t have. The Potter books are an incredible tale of good versus evil, similar to Star Wars. I think if people are anti-Star Wars, they might be anti-Potter. But if someone approves of Star Wars but not Potter, they’re being hypocritical. It’s basically the equivalent.

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