Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Why Christians Should Avoid Problematic Fiction Like Harry Potter, Twilight, and Avatar

For a long time, I have wondered how to advise my fellow Christians on problematic works of fiction like Harry Potter, the Twilight Saga, and Avatar. Should you never deal with them? Should you read/watch them only under certain circumstances? Or when you are a certain age? Or know a certain amount of theology?

For none of these stories are all bad, if only because the story is often handled with skill on some level, which is a commendable trait whether the material presented is good or bad.

However, each of these stories also has major theological problems and/or heresies they propagate. Problems that become exponentially more powerful to influence as the craft improves, making their errors all the more easily absorb and the stories themselves more dangerous to the Christian mind.

Yet I have hesitated to warn Christians completely away from these. While there are definite areas of evil, I also know maturity levels and personal limitations vary from person to person. My boundaries in gray areas will differ from yours.

But today I say that the stories I listed above and those like them should not be indulged in by Christians for pleasure. (Emphasis on pleasure—there are rare occasions when we must go into areas we would not otherwise tread.)

Why should we avoid them? Because much of the theology not only contradicts Scripture, but promote lifestyles, actions, and attitudes that are abhorrent to God. In other words, what these stories promote should make you sick.

The problem is that we often fail to feel sick at these types of works. Again, why? Three possible reasons exist:

1. We failed to be appalled by them because we are not theologically grounded enough or spiritually mature enough.

2. The story taps into a personal limitations, and like a drunk enticed by the smell of alcohol, we are lured into an area that is unhealthy for us.

3. We have become desensitized so far that, even if we “know better,” we either refuse to acknowledge the content is appalling or fail to name the evil as evil.

In any one of these three, the result should be the same: avoidance. Because in each, blind spots result, placing us in the peril of blindly falling into error.

So does wrong theology and the promotion of evil fail to make you feel sick? Then you probably lack the maturity, theology, sensitivity or proper boundaries to handle such fiction—Stay away! And if you do have the maturity, theology, sensitivity, and boundaries to tackle these works, why indulging in something that will only sicken you?


Anonymous said...

I cannot disagree with you more. First of all, how you can group a B movie, which is not based on any work of literature, a set of second rate teen romance fiction in with the Harry Potter series. This is a commentary on your profound lack of taste and intelligence. The Harry Potter books are supremely written and well beloved by children an adults the world over. In fact, it could be argued that they are the greatest work of children's fiction in recent history. These books embody many wonderful lessons about friendship, family, love, life, death, good, evil, and our place in the universe. You need to get over yourself and get a life. You come across as a nazi book burning freak. Good luck with that.

Chawna Schroeder said...

I have no qualms about the quality of the writing in Harry Potter. They are excellently written stories with some good aspects. However, there is quite a bit of theology in them that directly contradicts Scripture, which is made extremely attractive by the quality of the writing. This kind of positive portrayal of anti-biblical concepts is what should provoke the negative reaction I referred to in my post. The failure of Harry Potter to trigger this reaction is one of the reasons I felt compelled to write this.

I'm sorry my post hit such a deep nerve for you.