In the last few weeks I have been blessed by many emails warning me about the ”Harry Potter” books. Children reading these books by J. K. Rowling, stood a good chance of being turned to satanism, I am told. I really appreciate the concern of the many dear souls who forwarded me those warnings.
However, age has its uses, one of which is the fact that you have much more of life to look back on.
Hence I recall the concern last year was about ”Pokemon”. The previous year, it was ”Digimon” I think. Many years before that it was the ”Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles”. Many, many, many more years before that, it was the Beatles. Kids who listen to the music of the Beatles would be corrupted beyond redemption. Now, Lennon-McCartney compositions entertain us as elevator muzak. And those kids who listened to the Beatles have grown up, and are now forwarding warnings about ”Harry Potter”.
Are the ”Harry Potter” books really that dangerous? I am working through ”The Philosopher’s Stone” and will let you know in due time. In the meantime, here are a few preliminary thoughts.
1. Check your sources.
Not all you read on the net is true. The internet is an ideal place to breed and spread ”urban legends”, evangelical ones included. In fact, there are sites out there who produce spoofs on evangelical issues on a regular basis. Like Luke, we need to check our sources (Luke 1: 3). Not every story you read/download about the dangers of ”Harry Potter” or the next bogeyman is necessarily true.
2. Teach your children spiritual and ethical discernment.
In the information age, it is virtually impossible to insulate your children, particularly your teenage ones, from stuff out in the world. This is particularly true of popular stuff like “Harry Potter”. You must know what your children are watching/reading. Only then can you work through the material with them, helping them to understand the spiritual and moral implications of what they are reading/seeing.
This doesn’t mean ”anything” goes. But there are lots of grey area stuff out there. Life in a fallen world is mostly grey!
You won’t always be around to point out the good and bad stuff to your kids. You must teach them to “recognize the difference between right and wrong…” (Hebrews 5: 14). Of course this is very time consuming. It is also responsible parenting.
3. Sensitize your children to the more subtle and pervasive forms of evil.
I have two sons, 9 and 14. I am not sure about their chances of falling under the influence of satanism.
However, there is every chance that they will be gripped by the rampant consumerism of the day. There is every chance that they will grow up acquiring tons of stuff, while completely ignoring the thousands who starve to death daily. Now that is really scary.
Evil is more pervasive and less obvious than we think. Why do we constantly ring the alarm bells for the more spectacular forms of evil while we ignore the more obvious injustices and spiritual dangers that assail us daily? Whatever happened to “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world…” (Romans 12: 2)?
We should take evil seriously.
We should take pains to protect our children.
But let us not major on the minors, or the more bizarre.
Lennon-McCartney as elevator muzak? Ooooh… that’s scary.