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Pastor, Writer, Contemplative

#GODonFILM: HARRY POTTER / DH2 is unmistakably religious, spiritual, and dare I even say “Christian”

This Sunday we’ll be covering the last movie of our GODonFILM series – and boy what a way to go out. Harry Potter: The Deathly Hallows 2 is a deeply satisfying conclusion to the decade-long affair, and it consummated a lot of the mystery and the waitings of the series. I, for one, walked out deeply impressed by the undeniable religious parallels in the conclusion, whether intentional or not. And truth be told, I saw it coming. That’s why I planned on preaching a sermon on this movie months back.

Now I am expecting some flak. Certain Christian communities have vehemently opposed the movie for promoting witchcraft in children; I’m not so convinced. While I agree it has taken a darker twist of late, I still find that this series speaks powerfully about good and evil, childhood and innocence, tremendous yet unbridled potential, and the portent (or tremendous hope) of this thing called destiny. These are religiously-infused ideas. Below are those who are of the same opine as me… and of course, read at your caution, for there are spoilers ahead…

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Is Harry Potter the Son of God?

When asked if she is a Christian, Rowling answers:

“Yes, I am, which seems to offend the religious right far worse than if I said I thought there was no God. Every time I’ve been asked if I believe in God, I’ve said yes, because I do, but no one ever really has gone any more deeply into it than that, and I have to say that does suit me, because if I talk too freely about that I think the intelligent reader, whether 10 or 60, will be able to guess what’s coming in the books.”

Perhaps what she won’t tell is her denomination, but as it is known that she is a member of the Church of Scotland congregation… that information hardly seems illuminating to the Potter story. What else might she be refusing to divulge? When a person states that they are a Christian, they may mean one of several things – “I believe in God,” “I’m not an atheist or Jewish or Muslim or Hindu,” “I go to church sometimes,” “I go to church every week,” or “I believe that Jesus Christ was the incarnate God who died to redeem the world of their sins, and I have a personal relationship with him as my Lord and Savior.”

Do any of these statements have the potential to reveal the ultimate plot of the series? One of them must, as Rowling has said it is so. The only one of the above statements that approaches that potential is the last, which I will henceforth refer to as “Christ follower.” If Rowling is a Christ follower, what might that mean for Harry Potter? I believe that it means Harry is the Christ – of the wizarding world, that is – of J.K. Rowling’s created universe.

Can this be? Can a writer so censured by elements of the religious right, the writer of a book that portrays “good” witches and wizards; the writer of scenes so horrific as the senseless murder of a young boy; a villain who drinks unicorn blood and uses the bones of his father – whom he murdered – and the blood of his enemy to regain a physical body; a writer who uses symbolism from the tarot; a writer blamed for encouraging interest in witchcraft among teens; can this writer be a Christ follower, and actually be writing about Christ? I say yes.

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Harry Potter is a ‘Christ-like’ figure

(Theologian Stephen) Holmes said: “What happens gives the strong impression that Harry dies, discovers an afterlife in a place called King’s Cross, a striking reference from a Christian perspective, and comes back to life. The effect of his death has been to render impotent the power of evil. That is a Christian narrative which is almost impossible not to recognize.

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So would you agree?
Does this movie undeniably contain religious / Christian themes?
Did it speak to you?
And what about?
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5 Comments»

  bethb wrote @

Definitely a Christian allegory. http://www.mugglenet.com/editorials/editorials/edit-beauseigneura01.shtml

As for those who think it is not, my guess is that they are from the wing of the kingdom that prefers left brain to right. They probably also condemn C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien, if they are consistent.

  Wayne Park wrote @

agreed; I’m finding there is also a certain approach to hermeneutic in there as well; i.e., certain verses used acontextually in a blanket application of everything in culture

  Wayne Park wrote @

Harry Potter and the kingdom of God: a link to the mp3 file of today’s talk –
[audio src="http://files.houstonharvest.org/sermons/20110717.mp3" /]

[…] #GODonFILM: HARRY POTTER / DH2 is unmistakably religious, spiritual, and dare I even say “Chri… (waynepark.wordpress.com) […]

  Wayne Park wrote @

Great read here on how the film “de-theologized” the books – apparently Rowling’s (final) book is not just subversively Christian, but overwhelmingly so – in atonement, power over death, eschatology, to name a few:
http://www.swordandploughshare.com/main-blog/2011/7/16/de-theologizing-harry-or-the-death-of-the-death-of-death.html


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