The Sea of Faith Network's Resources for Schools

16. Finding God in Harry Potter?

Should religious people celebrate the Harry Potter books or ban them?

INTRODUCTION

Begin by watching some clips that demonstrate that JK Rowling’s Harry Potter books appear to suggest the existence of good and evil, a Higher Power and truth beyond the rational world.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xQZFWA2KDbw: Sorting Hat scene

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uDyju7qp9zs: Harry’s name gets picked out from the Goblet of Fire

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OPBkcMNnwX4: Harry Potter vs Voldemort in the Graveyard

ACTIVITY

Issue a handout with the following table printed on – extending the table to near the bottom of the page.

Then provide pairs or small groups of students with the following statements, cut up, or ready to be cut up, into separate statements:

Harry is like a Messiah.

The books encourage wizardry.

The idea that ‘Love conquers all’ runs through the books.

There is a battle between good and evil.

The books encourage fantasy.

The books encourage interest in the occult (satanic worship?).

The idea of ‘the boy who lived’ is blasphemy.

Harry has exceptional powers.

There is a higher power at work in the stories.

JK Rowling’s books teach witchcraft.

Some Christians say that ‘JK Rowling is in league with Lucifer’.

Harry Potter stories are more like fairy stories than the occult.

The books use pagan imagery.

JK Rowling’s books are good moral stories.

God’s people are told to have nothing to do with wizards and demons.

Harry’s mother died to save him.

The books encourage a belief in the existence of a soul.

Encourage the students to discuss the statements and to place them onto one side or the other of the table. Can they add their own ideas?

Get some feedback and then present the students with these two quotations:

  • ‘Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil.’  Isaiah 5:20
  • ‘J.K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter series, is a witch and in league with Lucifer himself. She is a lunatic and freak straight out of the pits of Hell, and should be in prison for crimes against the innocent and child abuse!’ https://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20091129042408AAbIuNP

CONCLUSION

Encourage the students to sum up their reflections on these statements and on whether the Harry Potter books do more harm than good.

SECONDARY SESSIONS: LIST OF TOPICS
1.  Happiness Part 1: status anxiety
2.  Happiness Part 2: religion and happiness
3.  Happiness Part 3: what is happiness?
4.  Morality Part 1: what is morality?
5.  Morality Part 2: should we live by ‘moral laws’?
6.  Morality Part 3: where does our sense of morality come from?
7.  Are You Religious?
8.  What Is a Religion and what is a Cult?
9.  What does it Mean to be Religious Today?
10. Religion in Numbers Part 1: how many people on Earth?
11. Religion in Numbers Part 2: how many people are ‘religious’?
12. Religion in Numbers Part 3: how did believers got to where they are?
13. Are All Religions Equal?
14. Transactional Analysis: learning how to feel equal
15. Bloom’s Taxonomy
16. Harry Potter and God
17. Without Fear or Favour Part 1
18. Without Fear or Favour Part 2
19. It’s Not Fair
20. Mind, Memory and Justice
21. Karma, Memory, Freedom and Justice
22. The Religion of Ordinary Life Part 1: Religion Without God
23. The Religion of Ordinary Life Part 2: God and Morality
24. The Religion of Ordinary Life Part 3: Is Life Beautiful?
25. Can Atheists learn anything from Religion?
26. What do Buddhists Believe about God?
27. Is Seeing Believing?
28. Are We Being Hypnotised?
29. Sex and Relationships
30. Truth, Proof and Evidence
31. How should we deal with the range of different opinions in today’s world?
32. Is Religion a Force for Evil or Good?
33. Do Religious Experiences Prove God?
34. What Is Evil?
35. God and Evil
36. Can we verify Religious Experiences?
37. How Spiritual are You?
38. What is Philosphy?
39. The Power of Words
40. Art and Beauty

A printable (pdf) version of this session can be found here

© Sea of Faith 2018

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