Would I recommend Christians to read or go to Harry Potter movies? No I would not. I believe that Satan used the Harry Potter books and movies to make witchcraft and sorcery a part of our everyday life and no big deal. I believe that the subtlety of these movies and books makes young people embrace the concepts of the occult today’s society. If you truly want to guard yourself or your children from the influence of occult principles and ideas going to see these movies is not for you. I’m sorry to say that the Potter books and movies were definitely filled with witches, potions, spells, ghosts, magic wands, sorcery, demons, flying broomsticks, and more. It was definitely heavily into the occult.
Lets see what the Bible has to say about this: God despises witchcraft and black magic. Many commands, beginning in the Old Testament, forbid any association with witchcraft or sorcery. Deuteronomy 18:10 says, “Let no one be found among you who sacrifices his son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft.” Exodus 22:18 says, “You shall not permit a sorceress to live.” When God removed Saul from his position as king of Israel, He compared Saul’s behavior to the evil of sorcery. Through the prophet Samuel, the Lord said, “Rebellion is as sinful as witchcraft, and stubbornness as bad as worshiping idols” (1 Samuel 15:23). Many other Old Testament passages condemn witchcraft in its many forms (Micah 3:7; 5:12; 2 Kings 21:6; Leviticus 19:26, 31; Deuteronomy 18:14).
In the New Testament, the word sorcery comes from the Greek word pharmakeia, from which we derive our English word pharmacy. Pharmakeia (or the masculine form pharmakos) is defined as “the use of medicine, drugs, or spells.” The words are translated either “sorcery” or “witchcraft” in our English Bibles, because witchcraft and drug use were closely intertwined. Magicians created mind-altering combinations of herbs and other concoctions to use with their incantations. Subjects under the influence of such drugs could be easily controlled by the sorcerer and would behave in ungodly ways. In this way, the magician could make money from the sin of someone else.
The dictionary defines “occult” as “that which is hidden, secret and mysterious, particularly that which pertains to the supernatural.” Examples of occult practices are astrology, witchcraft (Wicca), the black arts, fortune telling, magic (both black and white), Ouija boards, Tarot cards, spiritism, parapsychology, and Satanism. Human beings have always been interested in the occult, from ancient times until today. Occult practices and psychic phenomena have a hold on millions of people worldwide, and this is certainly not limited to the ignorant or uneducated or to those in third world countries. There are several factors that make the occult fascinating to everyone, even in our age of technological and scientific advances.
For one thing, occult practices appeal to our natural curiosity. Many people who get involved in the occult begin with “harmless” practices such as playing with a Ouija board at a party out of simple curiosity. Many who have begun this way have found themselves going deeper and deeper into the occult. Unfortunately, this type of involvement is very much akin to quicksand—easy to get into and very difficult to get out of. Another fascination of the occult is that it appears to offer quick and easy answers to life’s questions. The astrologer gladly charts your future, the Ouija board and Tarot cards give you direction, and the psychic gets you in touch with your Aunt Esther who tells you all is fine in the afterlife. Since occult phenomena are controlled by demons, they offer just enough information to keep their victims fascinated, while they exert more control over gullible hearts and minds.
The dangerous nature of these occult practices cannot be overstated. The Bible tells us that God detests the occult and warned the Israelites against being involved with it. The pagan nations that surrounded Israel were steeped in the occult—divination, sorcery, witchcraft, spiritism—and this is one reason God gave His people the authority to drive them out of the land (Deuteronomy 18:9-14). The New Testament tells us that the rise of interest in the occult is a sign of the end of the age: “The [Holy] Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons” (1 Timothy 4:1).
How are we to recognize the occult and those who promote it? The incident involving Paul and Barnabas in the early days of the church is a good place to start. They “traveled through the whole island until they came to Paphos. There they met a Jewish sorcerer and false prophet named Bar-Jesus, who was an attendant of the proconsul, Sergius Paulus. The proconsul, an intelligent man, sent for Barnabas and Saul because he wanted to hear the word of God. But Elymas the sorcerer (for that is what his name means) opposed them and tried to turn the proconsul from the faith. Then Saul, who was also called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked straight at Elymas and said, ‘You are a child of the devil and an enemy of everything that is right! You are full of all kinds of deceit and trickery. Will you never stop perverting the right ways of the Lord?’” (Acts 13:6-10).
From this account, we see several characteristics of those promoting the occult. They are false prophets (v. 6) who deny the basic doctrines of Christianity: the deity of Christ, the fall of man into sin, heaven, hell, salvation and the atoning work of Christ on the cross. Second, they seek to influence people, particularly those in positions of power (v. 6-7), to turn them from the faith. Third, they do everything in their power to keep the true gospel of Christ from being spread, opposing His ministers at every turn, and try to keep others from hearing it (v. 8), which is their ultimate goal. When the truth of the gospel of salvation through faith in Christ is curtailed, watered down, or flatly rejected, Satan and his demons rejoice.
There is no mistaking the fact that the occult in all its forms should be avoided. We are to “be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8). Part of being self-controlled and alert is being wise to Satan’s schemes, but not to delve into the details of every occult practice and phenomenon. Rather, we are to understand his ultimate goal—the destruction of our souls—and be on the offensive by having a clear understanding of the truth of Scripture and by putting on the “full armor of God” (Ephesians 6:10-18). Only then can we stand firm and extinguish the “flaming arrows” of the evil one which often come in the form of the occult.
I think it is good to let our imaginations run free, as long as it isn’t sinful. Also, I don’t want to be a kill-joy when it comes to simply reading fun kid stuff. After all, C. S. Lewis, the renowned Christian author, wrote “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.” It is a story of make-believe, a witch, good and bad, a talking lion, etc. So what is the difference between them? There is a big difference. C. S. Lewis wrote “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe” with the intention of teaching Christian concepts. The failures of the occult side were demonstrated against the power of grace, love, and truth of God, though done through metaphor. The Potter book and movies do no such thing, at least not the one that I read or the movies I have seen. It taught no Christian principles at all. If anything, it taught things in direct contradiction to scripture.
Perhaps all of this sounds a bit scary, but nothing to be concerned about. Potter fans say that this world is just make-believe and has no bearing on the real world. While a few Christians don’t even like to read or see classics such as Sleeping Beauty, Lord of the Rings, or Chronicles of Narnia due to the mere presence of evil, most Christians recognize the good vs. evil element as being clearly delineated. Evil is evil, and good is good, and good is promoted while evil is not.
But in the Potter series, the line is not so clear. The “good” guys practice “white magic”, while the bad guys practice the “Dark Arts”. Readers become fascinated with the magic used (explained in remarkable detail). Yet God is clear in Scripture that any practice of magic is an “abomination” to him. God doesn’t distinguish between “white” and “dark” magic since they both originate from the same source. What does the Bible have to say about “white magic”? White magic is described as “good” magic, as opposed to black magic which draws upon the powers of evil beings. Opinions vary as to the differences between black and white magic, ranging from the idea that they are two names for exactly the same thing, to the belief that they are completely different, especially in goals and intent. The Bible does not differentiate between “good” and “bad” magic. Magic is magic as far as the Bible is concerned. Scripture doesn’t distinguish whether the magic is supposed to be used for good or for bad; it’s all forbidden because it appeals to a source of power other than God.
Those who practice white magic, also often called Wicca, worship the creation rather than the Creator, and while they may not call on the devil or evil spirits, they often appeal to “mother earth,” angels, and/or the elements. The central Wiccan theme is, “if it does no harm, do your own will.” Many who dabble in white magic call themselves Wiccans, whether they actually are or not. Although Wicca is fairly open-ended and there are various “denominations” and theological positions within the belief, there are certain beliefs, practices, and traditions which connect adherents of white magic to Wicca.
Whether the intent is to venerate “mother” earth, the elements, or the angels and one intends to do only good, the reality is that ultimately there is no distinction between white and black magic because they both worship something other than God. It’s frightening to think that the adherents of white magic are unknowingly praying to and beseeching the same god that adherents of black magic are—Satan.
Throughout Scripture, in both the Old and New Testaments, all forms of witchcraft are in violation of God’s law and are condemned. (Deuteronomy 18:10-16; Leviticus 19:26, 31, 20:27; Acts 13:8-10). Pharaoh’s magicians tried to duplicate the miracles done by Moses and Aaron by using their “secret arts,” which refers to “the ceremonies or rituals sorcerers and magicians use to accomplish their ends: incantations, spells, magic words, wearing of charms, amulets” and so on (Exodus 7:11, 8:7). The apostle Paul condemned Elyas, the sorcerer, proclaiming him a “child of the devil” who was full of “all kinds of deceit and trickery” and was “perverting the right ways of the Lord” (Acts 13:10). Nowhere in the Bible is any sorcerer or magician portrayed in a positive light. All are condemned by God.
Scripture says that God hates all magic, whether it is the right-hand path, or the left-hand path. Why? Because it doesn’t come from God. Satan deceives people by making them think white magic is beneficial. He can do this because he pretends to be an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14), but his desire is to ensnare the souls of as many as he can. The Bible warns against him and his evil tricks. “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8).
"The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons" (1 Timothy 4:1). Real spiritual power only comes from God, from a right relationship with Him through faith in Jesus Christ, and from the Holy Spirit who lives in the hearts of believers.
In the book, several spells are cast and we see the use of an invisibility cloak, magic wands, and flying broomsticks. Witches are basically people who have magic skills. Ghosts are helpful. Mention is made of the need to study the stars and their names, which can affect magic, along with herbs and fungi which are used in potions. In all, there is plenty of magic, wizardry, and spells, as well as plain old suspense and drama. The book was written well enough to keep my interest. Too bad it was filled with so much dark occultism. Furthermore, lying and deception were not condemned. Instead, they were justifiably used to accomplish the necessary ends of the characters.
I offer two criticisms. First the subjective. I found that after I had finished reading the books or watching the movies, I was more open to accepting occult ideas. I was desensitized a bit to the occult, having spent a few days vicariously involved in it. The result was that these dark ideas were simply on my mind and I was more “aware” of and accepting of the ideas of sorcery, casting spells, using potions, etc. And in a very small way, I noticed my interest in reading the Bible had diminished. Now, this is just me and my experience, very subjective, and I do not claim that it is normative. It is just my observation of how I felt about it. Nevertheless, I can’t help wonder how it might effect the young, impressionable kids who are hooked on the books. As a Christian, I can’t see the influence being a positive one.
Second, biblically, we are to focus on Godly things, not the ungodly.
WHATEVER IS PURE
6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Meditate on These Things
8 Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. Philippians 4:6-8
I do not believe that the Harry Potter books or movies give glory to the Lord Jesus Christ. Also, the Bible condemns contacting the dead, séances, etc. Therefore, as a Christian I would not want my children reading the Potter books or seeing the movies, because I don’t want them to be influenced in any way towards the occult. As a Christian, I cannot recommend that Christians read the Harry Potter books or see the movies.