Harry Potter and the Witch of Endor
By Farell Till
(The Skeptical Review)
The popularity of the movie Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone is bringing warnings from the guardians of public morality to boycott the movie because its plot depicts witchcraft. A long letter in a Central Illinois newspaper from a local "youth pastor" warned that children who see this movie may be deceived into thinking that witchcraft is "playful and innocent" and something "harmless" in which "children can participate." The pastor warned that "our children are at risk" because "we have no knowledge of... the dangers of witchcraft." His letter warned that the Harry Potter books also "will expose millions of children and their unsuspecting parents to an evil as old as time itself."
This letter, of course, contained no warnings for parents to protect their children from the Bible so that they will not become exposed to the witchcraft and evil depicted in it. Much in the same way that a recent president of the United States consulted astrologers, biblical kings, in particular, resorted to the "witchcraft" of consulting "seers" before important events like impending battles. One of the most notable examples of this was told in 1 Samuel 28. The prophet Samuel was dead at this time, but king Saul wanted some assurance from Samuel that the Israelites would be victorious the next day in battle against the Philistines, so Saul went to the Witch of Endor and had her conjure up the spirit of Samuel, who informed Saul that he would lose the battle and that he and his sons would be killed by the Philistines.
Which would be worse for children to read, a Harry Potter book, which they would realize is just make-believe fantasy, or the Bible, which is riddled with stories not just of witchcraft but barbarous acts allegedly sanctioned or commanded by God, which the religious influence of the society they live in would make the children believe had really happened because the Bible says that they did. If, for example, the children believe that a sorcerer really did conjure up the spirit of a dead man, they would be far more likely to grow up thinking that they too could consult mediums and talk with the spirits of the dead. Yet for some reason, we just don't hear preachers warning parents to keep their children away from the Bible.
The Bible is so incredibly boring that there isn't much danger that very many children will bother to read it, but if they did, they would learn that after the Israelite massacre of the Midianites, Moses, the man whom their god had presumably chosen to lead the exodus from Egypt, met his army returning with captives and ordered his officers to "kill every male among the little ones" and to kill all of the nonvirgin women but to "keep alive for [themselves]" all of the girls "who have not known man by lying with him" (Num. 31:17-18). Now that's a morally uplifting story, isn't it? No doubt, it would be far less corrupting for children to read this than to read about children in a fantasy tale defying gravity by riding on broom handles.
Children with the patience to read the Bible would also learn that the god of this book commanded his "chosen" people to invade the land of Canaan and kill all of its inhabitants, including even children and babies, and "leave nothing alive to breathe" (Deut. 29:16), and they would later read that the Israelites under the leadership of Joshua carried out this command and left nothing alive to breathe (Josh. 10:40 11:11,15). They would learn of this god's command to "utterly destroy" the Amalekites for something their ancestors had done 400 years earlier and to "kill both man and woman, child and infant, ox and sheep, camel and donkey" (1 Sam. 15:2-3). Reading such as this would be far less dangerous to them morally than if they read a book about the activities of children at a make-believe school of wizardry.
Reading the Bible would also protect the children against pornography, because they would learn about the harlot Oholibah, who longed for lovers whose sexual members were like those of donkeys and whose emissions [ejaculations] were like horses (Ezek. 23:20). Reading such wholesome stories as these would protect children from all the dangers they would encounter if they spent their time reading books of fantasy and watching movies based on those books.
Shame on those parents who don't protect their children from such evils by encouraging them to read the Bible. Instead of reading their children bedtime fairy tales, which could have corrupting elements of magic in them, parents should send their little ones off to dreamland with visions of biblical orgies or massacres dancing in their heads.
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