Thursday, February 16, 2012

Finding G-d where others see Satan, I mean Harry Potter, I mean... What?


I don't want to trick you.  This post has to do with Harry Potter.  If you've reasoned and prayed out your thoughts on the topic, go no further.  Do what G-d tells you to do.  If you haven't, I'd like to present a third opinion into this very heated debate.

I want to start this with two articles, the longer of which I will post here, voicing a very popular view, and the shorter of which I will post here, voicing a decently reasoned, succinct (but usually drowned-out) rebuttal to the first.  I feel the need to clarify the second, because, all too often, the counter-argument is not reasoned out well at all.  Not once does the article pull the "It's just fiction" card.  Nothing is "just fiction."  Don't kid yourself.  Everything you put in you affects you.

This is my official stance, right up front for you:  Most sin is relative.  The Bible lays some out for you, but, unless you're reading a different version than me, nowhere does it say, "Thou shalt not read Harry Potter."  It does warn against anything that could lead you away from G-d and toward Satan.  SO, know yourself.  Do you think Harry Potter could tempt you toward practicing witchcraft?  If you answered yes, then stay away.  These books are not for you.  Are you in the middle of reading them and feeling yourself pulled into trying some of these things out?  Stop immediately.  Get rid of your Harry Potter books.  Heck, burn them if you have to.  Do whatever it takes to keep them out of your life.  Are you reading them and finding them bringing your closer to G-d?  Well, maybe it would be a sin for you to permanently stop reading them.


Hold up.


You heard (saw?) me.  If these books are drawing you toward G-d, I would fathom a guess that it would be sinful for you to give up Harry Potter.

This isn't just some happy scenario I'm making up to fodder my fandom of the books.  I have plenty of friends who could testify to their faith life being encouraged by the books.  Until yesterday, I never thought that it could be very drastic, but I can honestly now say that the books have had a drastic impact on my faith life.

Yesterday, I began to wonder if I had a dark and evil destiny looming up in front of me (a thought process with which I regularly struggle).  I began to wonder if I could possibly be demon-possessed or placed on this earth sheerly to slowly torture people and lead them away from Christ.  (Upon admitting this to a friend today, she doubled over in a fit of laughter, which I took as a good sign, but it didn't seem so funny until I had come to my conclusion.)

In book five, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Harry goes through a similar struggle after dreaming a dream in which he is a snake that attacks his friend's dad.  This dream turned out to be Harry actually witnessing the event, which led one of the adults to suggest that Harry could be being possessed by Lord Voldemort, the Satan analogue in the book.

Where some people would quote scripture to themselves, Harry's thoughts flowed to my brain as I struggled, once again, with the question of the ownership of my soul:

He felt dirty, contaminated, as though he were carrying some deadly germ, unworthy to sit on the Underground train back from the hospital with innocent, clean people whose minds and bodies were free of the taint of Voldemort: he had not merely seen the snake, he had been the snake, he knew it now:  
A truly terrible thought then occurred to him, a memory bobbing to the surface of his mind, one that made his insides writhe and squirm like serpents.  
"What's he after, apart from followers?"  
"Stuff he can only get by stealth: like a weapon. Something he didn't have last time. "
I'm the weapon, Harry thought, and it was as though poison were pumping through his veins, chilling him, bringing him out in a sweat as he swayed with the train through the dark tunnel. I'm the one Voldemort's trying to use, that's why they've got guards around me everywhere I go, it's not for my protection, it's for other people's, only it's not working, they can't have someone on me all the time at Hogwarts: I did attack Mr. Weasley last night, it was me. Voldemort made me do it and he could be inside me, listening to my thoughts right now...
I've always joked about and been amused by the fact that I have these books all but memorized.  I won't lie.  I have a greater percentage of them by memory than I do the Bible.  I'm bad at memorizing the Bible, partially because it stresses me out.  If I misquote a word from Harry Potter, it's not a big deal.  If I misquote a word from the Bible, it could change everything.  Also, there's not a bunch of verse numbers to memorize with each passage.  People demand those verse numbers, and they should.  They need to go check and see if you've changed a word and thus the entire meaning of the passage you're quoting, potentially changing that person's whole faith.  If I misquote Harry Potter, no one will care.

So yes, Harry Potter quotes flowed more easily this time, whereas the Bible verses didn't.  Most times, it's the other way around, but you see, G-d knows me.  G-d knows that yesterday, I wouldn't have listened to the Bible.  Yesterday, I didn't want to have anything to do with the Bible.  Yesterday, the Bible and I needed a break.

But I would listen to Harry Potter, so that's the medium through which G-d chose to talk to me.

I think most Harry Potter fans remember this chapter of the book series rather vividly.  Thrown in the middle of the most whiney, uneventful book of the seven, we have the chapter where we wonder if Harry truly is the hero.  That same chapter is also the one where we begin to understand Ginny (Harry's future wife... yes, it's a spoiler, but, goodness, if you haven't found that out by now, you must have really been working hard at avoiding all of this) for the strong woman she is, because, until this chapter, she was simply his best friend's kid sister.  Who can forget that it's in this chapter that she points out that she was the only one who'd been possessed by Voldemort that Harry actually knows?

It was to that scene that my mind jumped once it got done processing how unbearably dirty it felt:

"We wanted to talk to you, Harry," said Ginny, "but as you've been hiding ever since we got back-"
"I didn't want anyone to talk to me," said Harry, who was feeling more and more nettled.

"Well, that was a bit stupid of you," said Ginny angrily, "seeing as you don't know anyone but me who's been possessed by You-Know-Who, and I can tell you how it feels."
Harry remained quite still as the impact of these words hit him. Then he wheeled round. 
"I forgot," he said. 
"Lucky you," said Ginny coolly. 
"I'm sorry" Harry said, and he meant it. "So- so, do you think I'm being possessed, then?"  
"Well, can you remember everything you've been doing?" Ginny asked. "Are there big blank periods where you don't know what you've been up to?" 
Harry racked his brains. 
"No," he said. 
"Then You-Know-Who hasn't ever possessed you," said Ginny simply. "When he did it to me, I couldn't remember what I'd been doing for hours at a time. I'd find myself somewhere and not know how I got there." 
Harry hardly dared believe her, yet his heart was lightening almost in spite of himself.  
It was my memory of this passage and it's laughably simple answer that saved me.  I immediately began looking for my laughably simple answer.  There had to be one - either an "Of course!" or an "Of course not!"  And when I looked long enough, quieting my raging thoughts, I found it.

Why would I care if I truly was destined for evil?

I hardly dared to believe it, yet my heart was lightening almost in spite of myself. 

It was that simple, and one chapter of Harry Potter is what brought me to it.  Make sure you're not counting them out because society tells you to.


No comments:

Post a Comment