I was enjoying reading some reviews on the final installment of the Harry Potter series of movies when I came across a "rebuttal" to an article on the final Harry Potter movies that was written in World Magazine Review by Rebecca Cusey on July 30, 2011.
This "rebuttal" or, as I now refer to it, an attack by a Arrogant Religious Addict ("Dr." Paul Jehle) who was (even further) out of his mind after smokin his Jesus Fatty is below. I'll be back under the text in quotations below.
by Dr. Paul Jehle
Rebecca Cusey, in her “It all ends here” review of the eighth and last Harry Potter movie states that in spite of controversy within the Christian community the story of Harry Potter is “that of a boy growing to manhood and accepting the responsibility to resist evil, even at great cost.” She states that “wands and spells” simply replace “guns and light sabers”, but “the values of freedom and justice remain the same.” It is amazing to me how quickly the Christian community can embrace the false notion that the end justifies the means and thus embrace Witchcraft as a legitimate method for resisting evil and standing for freedom and justice (see 2nd Timothy 2:5). My how far we have fallen as believers!
Throughout the Bible and history, evil gains momentum when Christianity is weak. Never has Christianity been so weak in America as it is today. The success of the Harry Potter books and movies is not a proof of its positive impact of modeling good character as Cusey implies, but instead it indicates a weakness in the depth of the Christianity lived out by the average believer in America. The numbers are staggering (400 million copies in 60 languages) and a revenue of two billion in movie sales, but this in no way is a proper grid for analyzing its value. Financial success is no automatic indicator of value.
The Pagan worldview of Harry Potter is a portrayal of good spirits vs. bad spirits, or in essence, evil vs. evil. It is the classic worldview of the occult in general and Witchcraft in particular. It is also the same worldview as Star Wars only now on steroids. It is not Biblical good vs. evil, righteousness vs. unrighteousness, holy vs. unholy, or justice vs. injustice. In a Pagan paradigm, “god” is both good and evil, a part of nature, and is to be harnessed by learning to manipulate magical “laws”. The Bible specifically states that believers are to use weapons that “are not carnal” but of a different nature and method as the evil we resist (see 2nd Corinthians 10:3-5). God is not in a battle with evil as if on the same plane with it, for He has already conquered it. When we battle evil, we can only do so through Him in order to gain the victory (2nd Corinthians 4:1-7)
The Scripture is clear, we must do God’s work, and especially spiritual warfare, God’s way. This is not the message of Harry Potter. It is o.k. for Harry to break the rules, lie, cheat and steal, for the end justifies the means. The only issue is for him to use the same magic in a more manipulative way in order to stand for “justice”, a justice that is tainted by his own lack of character and true self-sacrifice. Sacrifice is not merely doing what is dangerous, but death to self – the cross – which is nowhere to be found in Harry Potter. Though Harry, in this final movie, resists the evil dictator Voldemort, he himself is a dictator; a hero (evil mixed with good) for the sake of conquering another evil (a bit more purely tyrannical). It is the sort of worldview embraced by mainstream America and the world – and unfortunately by more and more in the church.
Cusey ends her article by saying that “though magic spells and fantastic creatures may have been the trappings that initially drew fans into the series, what ultimately makes it an enduring favorite is that it glorifies heroes who know right from wrong. If Harry Potter’s stratospheric sales are any indication, the kids are going to be just fine.” I couldn’t disagree more. As a Bible loving Pastor and preacher of righteousness, I discern that the kids are not doing just fine. We are losing a generation to the mixture of a Christianity stripped of its power and truth in order to placate a lukewarm church whose new god is experience. This time it is not just carnal, lustful and pleasure-filled experience; for we’ve now graduated to occult experience fueled by the Devil but without much of a disguise. Harry Potter has evidently deceived people like Cusey as well as a Christian publication like World Magazine. It is time to shine the light in the darkness and return to true Christianity that exalts Christ and not evil!
OK, I'm Back.
If you read that load of horse exhaust above or in the link above you may see why I had to say something. And, yes, I Take heart! Christianity is losing more people than ever!
It's a fact that they decry in martyr rhetoric, like Jehle does, but it actually means something very good (people are recovering from Christianity and finding peace, wholeness and spiritual* fulfillment without it.)
Harry Potter is just one more excuse for people like him to justify and flaunt their addiction. It sets them up to get a "hit" sort of like a crack addict or sex addict needs a hit to feel right. In their case, the addiction is to their idols of doctrine, bible, fame, abuse, control and religion. For many of them, as the news shows us on nearly a daily basis, their addiction frequently worsens to eventually take the form of twisted sexual, money, or drug-fueled unbridled living. It is, to use the term, religious addiction.
If you keep that fact firmly in mind, all of the rhetoric that you read in his "rebuttal" in the link above becomes meaningless.
More to the point, while Mr. Jehle does the preacher's pee pee dance while conflating his Christians with good and Harry Potter and the rest of us with evil, he forgot that we actually know that Christians also have their own form of entertainment that actually does cause harm.
He failed to remember that while he was pontificating about how good he is and then vilifying fantasy for the sake of fantasy entertainment, that his own group sells something entirely sinister but theirs is fantasy sold as reality, as fact.
It does actual harm to those who see it. If you or others were exposed to Christian "entertainment' as a child or as an adult with stories and Christian Trauma and Fear Conversion movies like "Left Behind," "Distant Thunder," "Number of the Beast," and the like, where the threat of actual or imagined loss of your life or the lives of you family is portrayed --not in fantasy, like Harry Potter-- but as fact, then you or the others who were subjected to it frequently develop forms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and it takes a long time to heal from its effects. Christians and former Christians who were and are subjected to mortal and catastrophic threats such as these develop sleeping disorders, anxiety, stress and fear disorders. Many suffers report having trouble forming healthy social relationships, tend to isolate and have problems with learning to trust. Depression is very common diagnosis, as well. PTSD is the nasty outcome of Christian entertainment and the re-traumatizing followup that is given in churches on Sundays and at other times.
(Where is the supporting information on those claims? To start, maybe Google Dr. Marlene Winell and PTSD to look into the actual characteristics, the complaints and diagnoses, the treatment and the stunning, but not surprising statistics of how rampant that really is. It's a good place to start your research. She has an excellent Youtube video where she describes a variant of PTSD that she calls "Religious Trauma Syndrome." I'm in.)
Christian sympathizers might make replies to this post with laced with end-justifies-the-means thinking around their Christian Fear and Trauma movies and the justification for creating them and making people watch them. Our toothy friend Jehle says everybody else does end-justifies-the-means but that's not what it's called when his Christians do it...
Harry Potter is a wonderful story of a reluctant hero who is more like any of us than he is different. He has to face some of the same challenges that kids who are thrown out --or escape from-- their religious-addicted families and churches do. Harry Potter is sold, stated and treated as fantasy for the sake of fantasy and for the enjoyment of entertainment. People get that.
Unlike Mr. Jehle's misguided and arrogant assertion, people are neither stupid, nor are we corrupted or evil. We are not deluded by some imaginary force, like the one that deludes him. We enjoy Harry Potter and then we go on with our lives of love, work, play, spiritual fulfillment and the rest of life. He goes on telling us how bad it all is. Poor fellow.
We don't need or require him and his minions lying to and degrading us.
*Don't freak. By "Spiritual" I take Harvard Psychiatrist George Vaillant's brilliant and studied definition, "Defining spirituality as a combination of love, hope, joy, forgiveness, compassion, faith, awe, and gratitude that binds people together (“Spirituality is more about us than me”). He argues that it has a biological basis, not a religious one.
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