Harry Potter and the Bible?
I will state up front right now, I love all the Harry Potter books. I read them as soon as they were released, almost within hours.
I think J.K. Rowling is a genius. I want to be her. At the same time, I have to weigh in on the debate of the good versus evil, Harry versus he-who-shall-not-be-named force that is the theme threading through all seven of the books and thousands of pages. Many people have accused Ms. Rowling of being anti-religion, or anti-Christ. In fact, the witchcraft theme of the series have led to its being banned by several organizations that see it as promoting the occult.
While the church is not mentioned at all (nor is any organized religion), I see themes of true good versus evil, that many would agree is akin to Jesus versus the Anti-Christ. So, can we read the Harry and Voldemort battle in this light? I tend to think that the answer is yes, rather than no! Of course, the books should be read in conjunction with formal religious education, rather than in place of it. I write this hub only to defend the Harry Potter series against criticism that its themes of wizardry and witchcraft somehow merit demotion from the bookshelves of Christian children. With proper discussions between parents, religious leaders and the children themselves, a rich, deep enjoyment of church lessons can result.
ALERT: If you haven't completed reading the entire series... don't read this Hub. It may spoil your enjoyment of the last book!
Harry Potter Books
Harry Potter Movies
Common Themes Between Harry Potter and Christianity
Harry: The Chosen One
Harry seems to have been chosen, somehow, to be able to withstand both severe physical and mental demands. As an infant he miraculously repelled a curse that killed both of his parents. At Hogwarts School, he arrives with a reputation that precedes him. This is the famous Harry Potter. Not all people are happy that he appears to be the one, however. From instructors, to class-mates, there are many that simply do not wish to believe that he may be the one that wil duel the evil Lord Voldemort. You can challenge your children to discuss the parallels between Harry's life and Jesus's life. I see a few.
Harry: The Tempted One
In the middle of the series, Lord Voldemort takes a human form and begins to threaten the Wizarding world (perhaps mankind as a whole). He taunts Harry a number of times, saying that Harry is not strong enough to withstand the pull to the dark side. Harry, time and time again, proves otherwise. But not without some significant struggle. There appears to be a connection between him and the Dark Lord. Just as there is a connection between the Devil (a fallen Angel), Jesus, and God. In the Harry Potter books, Harry puts his love for his friends above all else, and his dedication to preventing evil from overtaking all. Similarly, Jesus resists the Devil's temptation to literally grant him the world if he would fall down and worship him (the Devil), during Jesus's 40 days and 40 nights in the wilderness - Christian's observation of Lent.
I think this would be great fodder for discussion at home or in Sunday school. Children are very enthusiastic about these books, and if you can get them to talk about a topic in which they are interested, you may be much more successful in driving home lessons of the Bible!
Harry: Dies and Then is Reborn
This is probably the most striking parallel! Harry Potter fans were on the edges of their seats wondering what would happen in the final book. Only one could live - either Harry or Voldemort would die. In an amazing wand duel, it happens. Harry does die. Or does he? It's a strange, dream-like sequence, in which he sees a small crying creature in the corner of the room. The beast. Harry comes back to life, reborn. Voldemort is vanquished and the world is saved. Harry has literally sacrificed himself (his scar is now gone) to save the world. OK, class, now tell me about the Easter story!
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Trailer
bbrt on September 06, 2012:
Harry's scar isn't gone.
Sushmita from Kolkata, India on January 05, 2012:
Stephanie, any student of literature will not miss noticing the huge collection of Christian symbols that Rowling has put in her Potter series. I was astounded by the culmination of it all in the awesome conclusion, solving the nearly impossible riddle posed by her. Your hint to catechism of young Christian students with the series is a very interesting idea. I would love to try it.
ruffridyer from Dayton, ohio on May 10, 2011:
As a christian I notice a trend to see God in every book ever written every story ever told. Harry potter as a Christ figure, Gandolf in Lord of the rings as a Christ figure, Anikin? in starwars his mother claimed his was a Virgin Birth! What a load of Malarky that idea was. C.S.Lewis DID use Aslan the Lion as a symbol of Christ. As for the others I am not so sure.
However Harry Potter was a well written series with a lot of Christian values in it. I loved the books.
Jarrod1240 on July 22, 2010:
I believe you are right in the assertion that the Harry Potter series is written in a Christian tradition, and it is also important to keep in mind that JK Rowling is a Christian; however, I believe that the argument for good v. evil does not necessarily prove this. Only by digging deeply into each novel and keeping our eyes open for apparent symbolism will we begin to realize how Christian these novels really are. You provided a good analysis of Harry as the Chosen One. Moreover, the themes of the book are largely Christian: death is not to be feared, sacrificial love conquers all, relationships are required for life to be lived to the full, and so on. Thank you for this post!
Carmen Campo from Philippines on May 07, 2010:
I have not read the books yet but I have seen some of the HP films. Yes, I would agree on you on the parallelisms. I think that's the beauty of the Christian logic, nay God's truths. Because it is THE truth that holds this world together and so all other things created in this world can only aspire to that greatest of all truths. And so we find a bit of that truth in everyone and everything. God's truth is the original and all other concepts, ideas, realizations come from that one. Even evil is the distortion of that truth. And so Paul reminds us in the Bible to find common ground always with other people. I teach Sunday school kids and we cannot avoid that some kids would love to read HP novels. Instead of turning them off by saying outright that this book is bad, we find parallelisms in J.K.Rowling's books with the Bible truths. And they are enthralled. Their interest is now brought to higher plane, wider horizon. Instead of limiting their world, their world becomes bigger. And they place God in that world as the highest truth because it is all-encompassing. They realize yes HP is cool but there is someone way much cooler! The coolest! Who know's... God is sovereign - He might have allowed JKR to create HP to serve as a bridge to his wonderful truths. Great insightful article, stephhicks68! Thank you.
carterchas from Texas on December 05, 2009:
I am a big fan of the Harry Potter books. The article above has one mistake--The scar is not gone, but the connection in it to Voldemort is gone. Without exception, everyone I have ever met who suggests that the Harry Potter books promote occultism have not read the books.
Maybe they should read their Bibles closer. The Bible describes adultury, incestuous relationships, etc. I had some Jewish aunts who didn't want me to have a copy of The Torah (the five books of the Bible of Moses) because some of the stories were too dirty.
Maybe most of those who have tried to ban Harry Potter should remember the Bible phrase:
You Will Be Judged as You Have Judged.
SweetiePie from Southern California, USA on April 23, 2008:
I am not as much of a Harry Potter fan as some, but this was a good informative hub. I am familar enough with the books to know that they do not involve anti-Christian themes and I am sorry some organizations feel that way. It is good to see kids are reading books because it boosts the literacy rate. In fact, books stores are worried because for the first time in years people are coming in droves to buy these books and now they will need to find something similar to keep up sales. Harry Potter has been a very good thing for many people.
PenmanZee on March 09, 2008:
I heeded your admonition and didn't read further till a later date Steph. So far I've abstained from reading or watching the HP series but you've piqued my curiosity.
Roberta Kyle from Central New Jersey on March 08, 2008:
Holy Hogwarts, what a great hub! Harry as Christ figure--very interesting concept.
Zsuzsy Bee from Ontario/Canada on March 08, 2008:
I'm the Harry Potter series #1 fan. I read them all hot of the press and also own them on audio cd's. I also own the movies which I find okay but not the greatest. So I really think you've made quite a few parallel points here Steph.
Really great hub
topstuff on March 08, 2008:
I donot know about that debate but that's a lovely novel.
singpec476 from Not Too Far Away on March 08, 2008:
Really interesting steph this cause a huge debate, and there is no doubt the influence these books have on people, you make some really good points.