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Boston Globe Examines Relationship Between Harry Potter and Religion

HP References
Posted by: Edward
August 19, 2009, 11:31 AM

The Boston Globe has published a lengthy article regarding the growing acceptance of the Harry Potter books among the religious communities and scholars.  Citing the advancing moderate views by a number of religious scholars and theologians, the article relates their argument that the Harry Potter books "contain positive ethical messages and a narrative arc that is worthy of serious scholarly examination and even theological reflection."  These messages, the article continues, speak to two issues closely examined by people of faith - morality and mortality - as well as issues of tolerance, acceptance, the fight between good an evil, among others.

Russell W. Dalton, an assistant professor of Christian education at Brite Divinity School in Texas, relates his thoughts on the growing religious acceptance of the books by saying:

"When stories become as popular as the Harry Potter stories, they no longer simply reflect the religious views of the author, but become artifacts of the culture, and they say something about the culture that has embraced them.  And that is certainly the case with Harry Potter."
The piece continues, noting particular elements of social commentary found in the Harry Potter books, specifically tolerance, shown by 'Harry's refusal to take part in the anti-Muggle bias demonstrated by some pure-blood witches and wizards.'  Lana A. Whited, an English Professor at Ferrum College in Virginia, is quoted as saying, "One of the overall themes of the Harry Potter series has to do with race and race-based persecution."  Mr. Dalton echos this sentiment by saying "To Dumbledore and Harry and his friends... it didn't matter whether you were Muggle-born, or whether you were a giant, whereas clearly the Death Eaters, the evil ones, were intolerant of people who were unlike them."

This lengthy piece goes on to cover a number of other subjects, ideas, and arguments regarding the relationship between Potter and religious thought.  The article concludes on the topic of life and death, good and evil; subjects found throughout the Harry Potter series.  Lois Shepherd, a bioethicist at the University of Virginia, is quoted as saying:
"Death, in the philosophy of the series, is not to be feared.  It is in fact those who fear death the most - Voldemort being the supreme example - who engage in unspeakable acts of evil."
The full Boston Globe article can be read via this link.

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77 Comments

Hpphotoshop_thumb
4138 Points

First and when I saw this I first thought of Laura Mallory ((If thats her name)) Makes me retch!

Posted by Calum Wilson (RuneDream54) on August 19, 2009, 11:39 AM report to moderator
Raven_avatar_thumb
80418 Points

Very interesting…

Posted by Won_Two on August 19, 2009, 11:40 AM report to moderator
Before_qudditch_thumb
240 Points

ohh :)

Posted by TasyaWeasley on August 19, 2009, 11:44 AM report to moderator
Cool_michael_thumb
49 Points

Finally a little good news. When I first saw the title I thought it was going to be another negative. I understand that people want to relate HP with everything, I just wish more were positive like this one. Very Cool

Posted by protoj76 on August 19, 2009, 11:47 AM report to moderator
3_thumb
63 Points

I’m glad some people aren’t blinded by their religion, and can see beyond the surface of wizardry.

Posted by Michelle on August 19, 2009, 11:51 AM report to moderator
Noavatar-thumb

Haha. I like the picture above the article in the link. Especially with Hedwig flying over them. xD

Posted by Triantha on August 19, 2009, 11:51 AM report to moderator
Noavatar-thumb

Btw, my father was the one who introduced the series to me when I was little, and he’s a Lutheran Pastor. XP I’ve never seen a Christian have a problem with the Harry Potter series, but somehow the ones who do get on T.V.

Posted by Triantha on August 19, 2009, 11:52 AM report to moderator
Ronhermione_thumb
4452 Points

interesting.. :)

The-moose_thumb
8876 Points

It is so refreshing to read this article. It is by and about people that actually seem to have read HP and not by people that plainly have not read the books but proceed to accuse JKR of promoting all kinds of evil. As the people in this article recognize, HP promotes tolerance and acceptance. It is not about how to become an evil person but, as the article explains, HP shows that evil loses out, love is a greater power, death can not be cheated by committing atrocities … It is an awesome article and it’s great to read some intelligent interviews.

Posted by Moose_Starr on August 19, 2009, 11:56 AM report to moderator
Me_thumb
428 Points

Funny how they say now that HP series has some religious themes. When in fact they say that JKR is anti-Christ when the first book was out.

I wish people will stop judging on first impressions. I know they last, but most often than not, impressions are wrong. You really have to know something/somebody to really know if it is any good.

Posted by alegria35 on August 19, 2009, 12:00 PM report to moderator
Ronhermione_thumb
4452 Points

i don’t like it when everything in Harry Potter is said to be religious! have a bit of fun people!

Noavatar-thumb
2661 Points

I like that they’re going for a more positive, uplifting criticism.

Posted by Wingardium Leviosa ❄WBM❄ on August 19, 2009, 12:13 PM report to moderator
1
281 Points

I wonder what JK thinks about the article. It’s nice to see it not branded as evil and actually used to discuss and explore such issues as life and death and tolerance.

Posted by Phylis {ROAR} on August 19, 2009, 12:14 PM report to moderator
Capture10_thumb
16258 Points

thats good. i HATE it when religious people always say negative stuff about HP. my friends girlfriend hates it and said if she finds out he likes it shell dump him. he likes it but he keeps it a secret from her.

Posted by Gryffindor1991 {ROAR!!!} on August 19, 2009, 12:27 PM report to moderator
4ztcymp_thumb
53 Points

that’s a bit of good news!! I’m religious myself and never thought HP was anything bad… it always made me so angry when Laura Mallory & Co would make a big deal of everything… sheesh

So this is great! :-)

Posted by Maggie on August 19, 2009, 12:48 PM report to moderator
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