As Harry Potter movie hits the $1 billion mark, the debate rages: "What has Harry Potter in common with Jesus Christ?"
On August 1, 2011 At 6:50 am
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With the final in the Harry Potter film series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part Two, having passed the $1 billion mark in ticket sales, it has set the record of posting the most successful opening weekend for any movie in history. What has remained a subject of debate among Harry Potter fans and foes alike are the much vaunted claims of similarities between the story of Jesus and that of Harry Potter. Some of the similarities that have been claimed between Harry Potter and Jesus Christ include the circumstances of Harry Potter's birth in which an Owl foretells his coming. His dual ancestry which makes him both a Muggle and Wizard. Harry spends three days in coma and descends into the Chamber of Secrets which ties obviously to Jesus' three days in the grave and his mythical descent into Hell. Potter opposes Voldemort, who is considered to be a model of Satan in the Christian story of the Jesus' life. Harry Potter is willing to endure pain of the Cruciatus curse like Christ and appeals to a father figure in Dumbledore even as Jesus speaks of his "Father in Heaven."
The Harry Potter series had previously been severely criticized by Christians as leading children to the occult. A group of Christians had sponsored a chain letter in a massive email campaign which called upon Christians to boycott the Harry Potter series. The email railed:
This is the most evil thing I have laid my eyes on in 10 years… and no one seems to understand its threat…Her creation openly blasphemes Jesus and God and promotes sorcery, seeking revenge upon anyone who upsets them by giving you examples(even the sources with authors and titles!) of spells, rituals, and demonic powers. It is the doorway for children to enter the Dark Side of evil. (…) My hope is that you will see fit to become involved in getting the word out about this garbage. Please FWD to every pastor, teacher, and parent you know. This author has now published FOUR BOOKS in less than 2 years of this “encyclopedia of Satanism” and is surely going to write more…
But with the release of the final part of the series and with the similarities between Harry Potter and Jesus becoming even more evident, the attitude of many Christians to the Harry Potter series, first ambivalent becomes more favorable. Reports say that Christians participated in the success of the last part of the movie, with many Christian writers even championing the fictional personality of Potter as an allegory of Jesus.
But one atheist writer, Derek Murphy, in his book titled Jesus Potter Harry Christ, has used the the Harry Potter series to raise questions, once again, about the historicity of the person of Jesus. Murphy comments:
Jesus and Harry Potter are both…fictional…characters which incorporate classical (pagan) spirituality and religious ideology…I start by using the similarities between Jesus and Harry to raise the question, ‘how can Jesus be historical if Harry is fictional?
An article by Chuck Colson in the Christian Post admits the reason for the unlikely convergence between the life-story of a fictional wizard and that of the Christian Son of God claiming to be a real historical personality: a universal fascination in human culture with the savior-god myth. The Christian apologist in Chuck Colson, however, rejects Derek Murphy's reasoning which queries: how can Jesus be historical if Harry is fictional?
The story of Christ[according to Tolkien] is simply a true myth: a myth working on us in the same way as the others, but with this tremendous difference that it really happened…The Pagan stories are God expressing Himself through the minds of poets, using such images as He found there, while Christianity is God expressing Himself through what we call ‘real things'…
Chuck Colson agrees with Tolkien and accuses Derek Murphy of "bad reasoning," arguing that it is wrong to say that Christianity is false "simply because cultures around the world tell stories which remind us of Christianity." Colson concludes in the same vein of argument as Tolkien that:
the historical fact of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus rouses our deepest longings in the same way as the tales of Isis, Horus — and even Harry Potter do. But unlike these stories, Christianity is true — the reality to which all of the best stories of history point.
Chuck Colson's conclusion exemplifies the deliberate truncation of logic and good reasoning based on Christian chauvinism which takes for granted that there is any good reason to believe that all the world's ignorant "pagans" are wrong and only Christianity is right. Only Chuck Colson and fellow Christians whose pre-assumptions of truth drive them down a cul-de-sac of blind logic take solace in this kind of baseless argument. For others whose minds can ask questions freely without the enforcement of dogma, Derek Murphy raises a genuine argument which Christian apologists have no answeres to besides merely repeating their dogmatic convictioins in the hope that re-asserting the dogma will confirm it as truth.