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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

Epjpegutil31_thumb
4208 Points

It is really good to see that the moderates in Christianity are speaking up about the themes in Harry Potter from a positive viewpoint. Too often, the loonies like Mallory get all the press.

Posted by Fresca ROAR on August 19, 2009, 03:23 PM report to moderator
090816_mikagryffindor_thumb
345 Points

Those religious people who wanted to ban the books really anger me. And only NOW are some of them coming ’round? Ridiculous, narrow-minded, self-righteous…

Posted by Mika Maxwell on August 19, 2009, 04:25 PM report to moderator
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1661 Points

Please they’re just telling us what we’ve known all along. It’s nice to know the religious nut jobs have finally caught up.

Posted by cghambright on August 19, 2009, 05:00 PM report to moderator
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3031 Points

Damn Straight… i never got why some religious people made a big deal about it

Posted by Horcruxalej on August 19, 2009, 05:34 PM report to moderator
Mac3_thumb
1925 Points

Suriously why does everything have in some way a religious connection????!!! I hate people when people cant read something because in some small way it somehow offends (i guess) a religion? why can’t we all be opened minded and not read between the lines?!! but i think this article is a positive thought

Posted by Parkinsonpansy on August 19, 2009, 05:52 PM report to moderator
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1317 Points

Nice to see a main stream paper printing a positive article about the books. Have never felt they posed a problem for any organized religion with one exception. Have encouraged all of my grandchildren to read the books and never felt that there was a problem with language or content.

Posted by hewy on August 19, 2009, 06:01 PM report to moderator
Triogrounds2cut_thumb
857 Points

That’s nice that it’s the good things about Harry Potter as opposed to the “demonizing factors of the occult of Potter” or something like that. Cool.

Posted by kayzz on August 19, 2009, 07:53 PM report to moderator
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2525 Points

Hp dosnt even mition realigus and is not such a big deal

Posted by The Nerd on August 19, 2009, 07:55 PM report to moderator
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606 Points

I think this is the difference between someone who has actually read the books and someone who preaches about them without ever having actually read them. If you read them, you see the issues of right & wrong, good & evil, prejudice & tolerance. I am sure Laura Mallory has never read them through.

Posted by Dawna on August 19, 2009, 08:01 PM report to moderator
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1397 Points

Fantastic article , I already forwarded it to my uncle who refuses to let his kids read the books because they are “anti-christian”. I thoroughly agree with Dawna most anti Potter people have never read the books,in fact I have met many an anti potter person, through my summer job being one of a couple counselors of a Harry Potter camp class and I don’t think any of them I’ve asked had ever read the books. Its all down to fear of the unknown, not unlike Voldemort’s fear of death.

Posted by Blatcher(ROAR) on August 19, 2009, 08:21 PM report to moderator
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24135 Points

wow, glad that this is not another negative article regarding this subject

Posted by hermyone*ROAR* on August 19, 2009, 08:40 PM report to moderator
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642 Points

…i dont understand…

Posted by TheTom K* *SQUEE* on August 19, 2009, 09:56 PM report to moderator
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166 Points

cool

Posted by Albus Marcos Dumbledore on August 19, 2009, 10:14 PM report to moderator
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660 Points

My church has never shunned Harry Potter. In fact, a few years ago, there was even a study group discussing HP from a theological point of view.

Posted by Noble Birth Descending on August 19, 2009, 11:24 PM report to moderator
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524 Points

Good Job Edward nice article brings to mind what is going on in the world today the fight for rights to be free and the Evil who wants to enslave the world in darkness and repression. to bad for them they go through life with blinderes on and learn to hate everyone who is not like them.

Posted by HGROSS44 on August 19, 2009, 11:36 PM report to moderator
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