way, Im curiouswhat do you think of the Potter and Tolkien fantasy
n our fundamental psychology, fantasy
experiences constantly run through our minds, so its only natural that writers
would consciously create fantasy stories for entertainment. For Christians, though,
it is important to recognize the ways in which fantasy entertainment can surreptitiously
undermine the Christian faith.
The Harry Potter Books
It may seem on the surface
that the Harry Potter books offer only harmless entertainment.
But magic and sorcery have no place in Christianity. Far from being based in the true Mystery
of Christ’s Body and Blood, occult mysteries are based on the premise that what you
know will give you power to control affairs of the world; the occult
rejects all faith in Jesus the Christ (Christ means “the Anointed,” that is, the Messiah) who will
lead us to God the Father if we live our lives so as to reject sin and to
bear fruit according to His commandments of love.
In fact, the emphasis on self-serving power contradicts basic Christian values of humility
and self-surrender to God. So how can anyoneespecially children
learn to value sacrifice and prayer when their heads are filled with fantasies
of using magic to get what they want?
Such books really have no legitimate
place in a Catholic familyexcept, perhaps, to illustrate the extent
to which our culture in general thrives on anti-Christian
The Tolkien Books
J. R. R. Tolkiens The Hobbit, and
the Lord of the Rings trilogy, are, well, a different story, literally. Tolkien
was Roman Catholic, and he attempted in his fantasy writings to convey a
sense of underlying Christian values.
But, ultimately, he really
wasnt successful, because, if he were, then readers of his
books would be flocking to the Church saying, Well, weve seen
the faint imitation, now we want the real thing.
And why arent Tolkiens
readers flocking to the Church? Well, they never get past the allure of the
fantasy structure itself. Most readers get stuck in the seduction of the
Elves natural purity and magic, or they become fascinated
with the grandeur and power of the sorcerers. Nowhere in the books is there any
mention of God or religion or prayer. Magic rules everything.
In the Lord of the Rings trilogy,
the noble journey of Frodo to Mount Doom, which is supported all along the way by the
Elves magic and the sorcerers protection, is brought to completion not
by love but by a final act of blundering, vengeful hatred. Frodos journey is more
of a denouement in the context of a larger secular battle than a gripping
metaphor for Christs journey to the Cross.
The Moral Failure
So, in the end, all fantasy
literature must encounter its own moral failure. Its just not possible
to use glamour and power to convey the deep meaning of
self-surrender to God. Furthermore, to be perfectly blunt, a
devout religious life grounded in quiet faith and
the patient endurance of adversity is, by entertainment
standards, simply boring.
Putting Away Childish Things
Nevertheless, fantasy literature
does have some value. All children need toys and playful fantasy in order
to develop a sense of social functioning; but eventually, as Saint Paul said,
there comes a time to put away childish things and take up the
Many of those
who had become believers came forward and openly acknowledged their former
practices. Moreover, a large number of those who had practiced magic collected
their books and burned them in public. They calculated their value and found
it to be fifty thousand silver pieces. Thus did the word of the Lord continue
to spread with influence and power.
Catechism of the Catholic Church says:
forms of divination are to be rejected: recourse to Satan or demons, conjuring
up the dead or other practices falsely supposed to unveil the
future. Consulting horoscopes, astrology, palm reading, interpretation of
omens and lots, the phenomena of clairvoyance, and recourse to mediums all
conceal a desire for power over time, history, and, in the last analysis,
other human beings, as well as a wish to conciliate hidden powers. They
contradict the honor, respect, and loving fear that we owe to God alone.