Coptic Orthodox Diocese of the Southern United States
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Regarding Harry Potter, I was taught that we should not read it or watch the movies because the book is based on wizards and magic and the Bible tells us in the Book of Deuteronomy and in other places to abstain from anything related to sorcery and magic.

Recently, one servant stood against this in our servants? meeting.  She was saying we should let our children expand their minds through literature (with which I do not disagree), but then, she specifically mentioned Harry Potter (she also is a mother of one of the boys in the Sunday school class that I teach).  

Her defense for Harry Potter was is as follows:
1) You are able to find Christ and the story of salvation in the book. If we train our children right, they can see the salvation story and our redemption in any book, including Harry Potter.
2) While growing up, Pope Shenouda read many kinds of literature and secular books, and he would read many different kinds of genre, including 'some which we might see as surprising' (I am not sure what the servant meant by this). She mentioned that Pope Shenouda memorized poems that were secular etc.  She also mentioned Fr. Pishoy Kamel as being a literature major.
3) There is a book like the Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis, which has a fairytale perspective, but C.S. Lewis is a Christian writer who literally put the salvation story in a fairytale format with the lion representing Christ and dying and coming back to life. If we condemn Harry Potter, why not this book as well?

What is the Church?s view of this whole matter?

The general audience of the Harry Potter series can start as early as 6 years of age until about 12 years of age. There is an escalation of the dark side in this book. Children between these ages should be taught critical thinking skills, but it is na´ve to assume that they will reach the mature conclusion as a rational adult would. There is no clear pathway that suggests that the Lord Christ and the account of salvation are in any way illustrated in this book. Harry Potter, himself, is a wizard, and he is the hero in this book!

That premise in itself negates any Christian message. Trying to weave Christ into this mythological fantasy is dangerous and will only confuse the child more. In the context of education, children, youth, and college students will be introduced to various genres in literature. Some books and some genres have a negative impact on young people. As parents and servants, we must guide them and explain to them the harmful parts that contradict the Christian model.

Children are not, yet, morally, developmentally, or spiritually prepared to dissect these kinds of books rationally if they are not guided by the correct teachings of the Church, especially when these books are imposed upon them. Literature is very important and we should encourage our children to read well and read often, but we must also be vigilant to introduce them to spiritual material, observant if they become too engrossed in a genre of literature that is inappropriate, such as sorcery, violence, or sensual material, and must counteract that by being proactive, calm guides to help lead them to sound decision-making and understanding.
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