30 September 2011

Banned Book Week: Harry Potter series

Harry Potter (and the Entire Freaking Series*) by J.K. Rowling.**

I'm not going to talk about magic so much in this post. I feel like I covered that last year with my Strega Nona post. Instead I think I'll talk about faith versus belief and how beliefs can and should be challenged in order to build a stronger faith and why I think the witchcraft hubbub is actually weakening Christianity.

I was raised in a Judeo-Christian faith which promotes reflection on both my own traditions and the traditions of other religions. As a result, my beliefs have constantly been challenged, and even changed, usually for the better. Although I have gone through cycles of agnosticism, those cycles have actually brought me closer to God in the long run, and they allowed me to be more honest with myself and my God, who I am sure appreciates that I love "him"*** because I want to and not because I have been told to.

If you notice, most of the revered characters of the Bible have had tests of faith. Jesus himself was tested. And yet, many Christian leaders seem to think that the moral fiber of their flock is not strong enough to withstand the fictional world of Harry Potter; that somehow reading about witchcraft will turn all the good Christians into devil worshiping orgiastic nymphos. My response is, if you're that worried about testing your beliefs, then you must believe that your faith is not strong enough to survive other ideas which... doesn't seem like much faith to me. And if you are a religious leader and believe your parish/congregation/et al isn't strong enough to withstand those tests, then you have not done your job to prepare them.

After all, one of the definitions of faith is, "strong or unshakeable belief in something, esp without proof or evidence." While some of your beliefs might be tested by reading the Harry Potter series or exposing yourself to Wicca and/or its practitioners or even just reading about fictional wizards and magic, your faith ought to remain intact if you have prepared yourself and truly believe in God. If you avoid the testing of your faith, you are avoiding a rite of passage as important as Baptism or Communion or whatever other ritual your sect goes through. Testing your faith will bring you closer to God, not further away, and you ought to be pissed that people are keeping you from that rite in the same way that you ought to be pissed that the church ever prevented the people from reading the Bible for themselves. 

LibsNote: Banned Graphic provided in part by Barefoot Liam Stock, with permission.
*Image ganked from Blueberry Brands.
**No ISBN, since I cannot for the life of me remember all of the ISBNs for each and every single HP novel I read.
***I believe God is both genderless and genderful, encompassing everything that is and was, but male pronouns are traditional and so they're just easier.
Because Harry Potter and his friends are THE DEVIL.

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