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The Pope Vs. Harry Potter

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gnargtharst
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:)

And the award for criticizing a book without having read it goes to... the Pope. Honestly... Blurs the lines between good and evil??? Uh huh, sure. Um, you don't get much more black and white than the evil murderer looking to take over the world against the boy-hero trying to save his friends. What did he do, look at the cover, see Harry was a wizard, and dismiss it out of hand? Saying Harry Potter is about wizards is kind of like saying Atlas Shrugged is about railroad executives. It sort of is, but that's missing the point, big time. I know I'm preaching to the choir here (pardon the choice of words :D) but stuff like this is just so ridiculous. It's kind of funny though. The Pope might get a considerable backlash from the younger generation over this. It would serve him right, too.

edited to fix smileys

Edited by non-contradictor
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The lesson here is that it's fine if a few prophets can perform magic like turning water into wine or parting the oceans, as long as it's done under the supervision of a Christian god. How dare Harry perform miracles without consent!

We cannot allow a free market in magic. Licensing laws need to be passed to protect the public...

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Rowling's sixth Potter book, "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince," is due out Saturday.

And there's nothing the Pope or the almighty can do about it.

At 1:00am (in a little more than 24 hours), I'm going to the store, and there's going to be a VERY LONG line of people waiting to get their hands on the new Harry Potter book. I'm going to buy the book and that night, the book will be sold out. And this will happen in at least a dozen cities in Croatia, not to mention hundreds and thousands more in other countries.

And as a consequence, millions of kids will be reading a good book for a change.

As for the Pope, he can go and read the Bible for about the thousandth time. He'll never know what a great book he's missing.

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"erodes Christianity in the soul" Yea right! Knowing now what I know about the Catholic parsonage I wouldn’t trust a young boy like Harry Potter to be alone with the Pope

It's at times like this that you wish the Pope's parents had used a condom. B)

Voldemort would be safe for Harry and his pals compared to the company of an average catholic priest. :D

I love opportunities for cheap shots at the Catholic Church BTW. B)

I'm off just after midnight for my copy. :pirate: This isn't as good as the yarr emoticon.

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Another person calling for a boycott of Potter books is Richard Stallman (of GNU fame), famous for wanting all software to be free. He thinks the publisher should not have the right to stop its books from being distributed before midnight today. According to him, assuming that they have such a right infringes upon the right of people to read stuff.

Written by ???? Blankout.

(Note: This comment led to a discussion that was moved to a separate topic.)

Edited by softwareNerd
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When I read this the following came to my mind:

Press Release

Church Officials Besieged in Vatican After Potter Remarks

[Rome] An angry crowd of Harry Potter devotees wearing robes and carrying a variety of sticklike objects has gathered outside the Vatican in an apparently spontaneous demonstration against the Pope's earlier remarks regarding the popular book series. Efforts by the Vatican Guard to disperse the crowd have thus far been unsuccessful.

When asked for the Vatican's response to the demonstration, Cardinal _____ remarked: "This is precisely the sort of wanton behavior that so concerned the Pope when he felt impelled to speak out against the message contained in the books. People have been mailing us potted plants labled 'Devil's Snare' and no one can go outside without being overwhelmed by cries of 'Stupefy!', 'Immobillus!' and occasionally 'Avada Kedavra!'. This is a peaceful organization, but if this doesn't stop immediately the Council of Cardinals is seriously considering calling for a Crusade against these hooligans."

When asked for comment, members of the demonstration attempted to sell the reporter an Owl.

:pirate:

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I have it.

Really, nobody is having problems buying the book at all. I saw tons of kids there, and it's 1:00am here! They even had someone (a kid as well) disguised as Harry Potter. Not likely to see many such events in Croatia. I was glad I decided to buy the book in the store, rather than from Amazon. It's good to see so many people like the book I like.

Edited to say that the masked Harry was also a kid. :pirate:

Edited by source
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Darn. I was disappointed. I saw the topic header and thought that although Harry has youth and speed on his side the pope has size and that big hook thingy he carries around with him to reach out and whack him. But then I realized it wasn't what I thought they meant by the Pope vs. Harry Potter.

Boy, that would have been a neat Texas style steel cage death match. :lol:

Edited by scottkursk
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I got mine about 1 am and had to go to bed at 7am as I was too tired to read it all in a oner. I got up at 12pm and finished in in another 30 minutes.

It still hasn't sunk in yet. I'm not sure if I liked it more or less than the others but the plot twist is excellent and there usually is one in each book worthy of LA Confidential or The Usual Suspects.

Spoiler alert!

For those who have finished it, who do you think R.A.B. is?

I have a good idea and send me a private message if you think you know.

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The Pope is concerned that Harry Potter "erodes Christianity in the soul".

Christianity works to erode the soul, not occupy it. So anything that erodes Christianity is a blessing.

With that said, I can't find anything in the Harry Potter series that can seriously compete with Christianity. Everyone knows--now--that wizards don't really exist. So the Bible's command to kill wizards is pretty pointless in our modern world--thus the wizard Harry represents no threat to the Church. If Harry was a real threat to the Church, there would be much, much stronger language coming out of the Vatican.

What Harry Potter represents is temporary, false idol worship, which the Church has been dealing with since its inception. Harry Potter is not a long term threat to the Bible, because it is only fiction, and the hero is not clearly and fundamentally at odds with the morality of the Bible. He's a wizard, but he's not an egoist. And he's certainly not anti-supernaturalism or anti-faith.

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Mr Swig comments:

"Harry Potter is not a long term threat to the Bible, because it is only fiction...",

Huh? Whereas the Bible is not? I dont' understand the comment anyway. How about: Atlas Shrugged is not a threat to the Bible, because it is only fiction..."

Swig continues: "...and the hero is not clearly and fundamentally at odds with the morality of the Bible."

Although I realize Harry Potter is not a metaphor for egoist philosophy, I'd say the underlying theme of the Harry Potter books is fundamentally at odds with Christianity. I'm not the only Objectivist who thinks so:

http://www.aynrand.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=6156

http://www.aynrand.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=7536

http://www.aynrand.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=7758

http://www.aynrand.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=7589

Etc.

"...He's a wizard, but he's not an egoist. And he's certainly not anti-supernaturalism or anti-faith."

I disagree. It may sound ironic on the surface -- how can a supernatural character not implicitly advocate supernaturalism? Simple: fantasy characters are not to be evaluated literally. Let the religionists do that and fear that Harry Potter novels erode their own brand of otherworldly supernaturalism. Harry's brand of fantasy, by contrast, is benevolent and this-worldly.

The Pope is right. Harry Potter does erode Christianity in the soul. Thank God. :D

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I was curious to learn why some Catholic thinkers dislike the Potter books. The link in the first post of this thread was about a German author; the pope apparently sympathizes with her anti-Potter view. Her site is mostly in German, but I found the site of Michael O'Brien, who appears to be the most vocal American anti-Potter Catholic scholar. This is a link, if anyone else wishes to waste 20 minutes of their lives!

In summary, he says this: The Potter books show good wizards and bad wizards. Showing good wizards inappropriate. (He says it is like a book that depicts good fornicators and bad fornicators.) Wizardy is bad; period. He says C.S.Lewis is good because those books show that bad things happen when the human and occult world meet. These worlds ought to be kept apart. Our children should not think that some wizardry can be good.

In all fairness, it appears that many Catholic scholars sneer at the anti-Potter folk in their midst. Frankly, if I were a serious Catholic scholar, I would sneer too!

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I found the site of Michael O'Brien, who appears to be the most vocal American anti-Potter Catholic scholar. This is a link, if anyone else wishes to waste 20 minutes of their lives!

In some elements of his personality Harry is a classic hero, a courageous underdog whose innate qualities are gradually developed and who resists evil through much adversity. The problem lies not in these traditional heroic elements but in the modern elements of the anti-hero (the character who overcomes evil through evil means) which the author has integrated into Harry’s personality. Harry is both hero and anti-hero. He is the reverse image of Frodo, who is a genuine hero. This is not to say that Frodo is a cardboard cut-out “good-guy.” He has flaws and temptations, and he sometimes stumbles. But he never calls good evil, nor evil good
This is the sort of thing I'd expect to read in Objectivist writings. However, it's immediately followed by:

His failures are due to human weakness; they do not derive from malice and pride. By contrast, Rowling portrays Harry’s victory over evil as the fruit of acquiring esoteric knowledge and power. This is Gnosticism. Tolkien portrays Frodo’s victory over evil as the rejection of unlawful knowledge and power, and the fruit of his humility, obedience, and perseverance in a state of radical suffering. This is Christianity. Harry’s world is about pride, Frodo’s about sacrificial love.

bizarre.

In all fairness, it appears that many Catholic scholars sneer at the anti-Potter folk in their midst. Frankly, if I were a serious Catholic scholar, I would sneer too!

I'm not sure why; that article reads like a pretty fair application of Christian doctrines. The comparasion with the Garden of Eden is obvious - humanity seeking power which is reserved for God alone, and will eventually destroy it. The following passage, aimed at comparing HP with LoTR, is especially telling:

Yes, there is “magic” in both Rowling’s Potter-world and Tolkien’s Middle-earth, but here the similarity ends. Unlike Harry’s powers, Gandalf's powers are bestowed on him as a gift from Iluvatar, “the Father of All,” Tolkien’s mythological representation of God. This is a crucial point, the crucial distinction between Middle-earth and Potter-world. Tolkien’s sub-creation is fundamentally hierarchical, representing a moral order that ascends from the incarnate all the way up to the throne of God Himself. Tolkien has employed the sub-creator’s liberty to envision a world that might have been. Yet he takes pains to state, in his essay “On Fairy Stories,” that no matter how fabulous the sub-created world may be, no matter how wildly it departs from the details of material existence, it must remain faithful to the moral order of the real universe.

I think this is correct. In fact I would agree with almost every aspect of his LotR vs HP analysis, and would only disagree with his evaluation of it.

Edited by Hal
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Although I realize Harry Potter is not a metaphor for egoist philosophy, I'd say the underlying theme of the Harry Potter books is fundamentally at odds with Christianity. I'm not the only Objectivist who thinks so:

Nothing you linked to supports your assertion that Harry Potter is fundamentally at odds with Christianity.

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In all fairness, it appears that many Catholic scholars sneer at the anti-Potter folk in their midst. Frankly, if I were a serious Catholic scholar, I would sneer too!

Okay, let me play "pro-Potter Catholic" for this post, and say this:

<Wear Religious Hat>

Potter is neither a (muggle) human, nor a God (remember, he can be killed). Rowling's wizards and witches are like a special species, which like real species have a specific God-given nature. They cannot do anything they wish; they can do certain things and cannot do other things. Even the things they are capable of do not come effortlessly -- they have to go through seven years of school. It is wrong to view them as humans practicing occult arts. They are not. They are wizards doing what their God-given wizard nature requires of them. We see them with all their failings (Neville, Malfoy); we see them betraying friends (Black) and choosing either Godliness or evil.

What makes Rowling's tales so compelling is that the lessons and motivations are so real while the action is so interestingly outlandish. Imagine if Rowling were to use some other creature's biology for the wizards: say horses. Suppose Harry and Ron and all behaved exactly as the characters do, and the only thing different was that they were all horses. Would that change anything? It would not change the essential lessons of the books -- which ask our young children to choose good or evil and to struggle against satan in all his forms. It would however, reduce the empathy our children would feel for the characters, and lessen the impact of the teachings.

Our children are not fools. They know that wizards are make-believe. They know that miracles are the domain of God and His angels. They know that the book is a parable. Don't give them a boring treatise to read, give them a Potter book. If you aren't sure, tell them it's 'just pretend' -- but, they know that already!

</Remove Religious Hat>

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