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Ortiz: Religious Irony: Magic vs. Miracles

Journalism classes cover topics like movies, television and books and how censorship makes its way into mass media today. Naturally, we also talk about the anti-Harry Potterconversation that’s been lingering for years. Some religious groups and some parents dislike the series because they believe that they are satanic in nature and might have negative effects if their children read/view them.

Some have gone so far as to write books detailing the forms of occultism found in the series, like Richard Abanes who wrote Harry Potter and the Bible. In an interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network, he explains that “Children like to copy what they see” and then says that because of the magic in the film, kids would be drawn to learn more about it and therefore become Wiccans. I don’t know about you guys, but I’ve seen every Harry Potter film and read all the books, and even as a child, I have never wanted to become a witch. Although Abanes isn’t for banning the book, he says that “there are concerns and dangers with fantasy literature” but then goes on to say it is necessary for children also.


The problem I have specifically with religious groups is that it does not make sense to criticize a book’s potential effects on children because of the magic in the story, when religion idolizes a man who seemingly has magical powers as well (Jesus).

I understand that Jesus’ powers came from God, as he is God’s son, but I don’t understand how this makes it okay for Jesus to have these abilities but not the characters in this book/movie. It is not as if dark magic is glorified in the films, in fact, Harry Potter works against dark magic, but God doesn’t care which kind of magic it is:

“There shall not be found among you anyone who …practices witchcraft, or a soothsayer, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, or one who conjures spells, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead. For all who do these things are an abomination to the LORD, and because of these abominations the LORD your God drives them out from before you. You shall be blameless before the LORD your God. For these nations which you will dispossess listened to soothsayers and diviners; but as for you, the LORD your God has not appointed such for you.” Deut. 18:10-14.

God says that all magic is an “abomination” but does he not in fact have powers like his son? Jesus had abilities like making the blind see and healing a man of leprosy; so how are these different than a spell?

I believe it is the simple fact that God and Jesus are held to a higher, divine status that they are able to perform these acts and Harry Potter is seen as wrong and satanic in nature.

Some people are opposed to the series of books/movies because they believe that Wiccans are using Harry Potter as a means to lure children to join their lifestyle, but really Harry Potter shows the same “abilities” the bible does, it’s just called “magic” instead of “miracles”.

Magic is defined as “the power of apparently influencing the course of events by using mysterious or supernatural forces”. Miracles are defined as “a surprising and welcome event that is not explicable by natural or scientific laws and is therefore considered to be the work of a divine agency”. I’m not exactly sure how these are different seeing as to how magic cannot be explained by scientific laws either. In response to the question “What is the difference between miracles and magic?” on, it is stated that “It is proper to say that Jesus worked miracles but it would be wrong to attribute His works to magic.” The article goes on to say that “magic and miracles differ in their source; magic has either a human or demonic source, but miracles are a supernatural work of God.” However, Jesus is a man– so would his work not be considered magic since it was done by a human?

The religious reasons behind Harry Potter being a bad book for children don’t really make sense when you look at the factual similarities between magic and miracles.

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