Monday, July 23, 2007

Nicholas Knisley Versus James Dobson on Harry Potter

The Christian Post is reporting that Dr. James Dobson (who does not appear to have read any of the books in question) is advising Christian families to avoid the Harry Potter series:

"‘In a story about Christians' views on the Harry Potter books and films, reporter Jacqueline Salmon wrote that ‘Christian parenting guru James Dobson has praised the Potter books,’’ the statement read. ‘This is the exact opposite of Dr. Dobson's opinion – in fact, he said a few years ago on his daily radio broadcast that ‘We have spoken out strongly against all of the Harry Potter products.’’
The reason the ministry leader is against the material is obvious given the presence of magical characters (witches, wizards, ghosts, goblins, werewolves, poltergeists and so on) in the Harry Potter stories.

‘[A]nd given the trend toward witchcraft and New Age ideology in the larger culture,’ FOTF added, ‘it's difficult to ignore the effects such stories (albeit imaginary) might have on young, impressionable minds.

Read it all here.

Father Nicholas Knisley (who has read all seven books in the series) strongly disagrees at the Epsicopal Cafe's Lead news blog:

Your humble news editor-of-the-day, having spent all night Friday in line with his family for the last book of the series, wonders if Dr. Dobson has actually read them...

Without giving too much away, the final book makes it clear to most that JK Rowling is writing within the model set by the Oxford "Inklings" of the last century. The works as a whole seem very much in the tradition of Pilgrim's Progress. The final work has images of christian morality, teaching and theology that rival the works of C.S. Lewis in the Narnia books in terms of their explicitness.

It seems to us here at the Cafe, that Rowling is writing in a style that follows much of the traditions of great Anglican writing by both clergy and lay people with particular examples being Gulliver's Travels by The Very Rev. Jonathan Smith, Alice in Wonderland by "Lewis Carroll" aka The Rev Deacon Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, and Prof. C.S. Lewis. and Prof. Charles Williams of the Inklings themselves. It is in keeping with the instructions of St. Gregory the Great to St. Augustine of Canterbury (the first archbishop) who was instructed to make use of the common culture he found in England to teach the Christian faith to the nation he was sent to evangelize.

Read it all here.

Even if Nicholas were not my priest and friend, I would be with him on this one. It is hard to see how some clearly Christian themed books like C.S. Lewis' Narnia series or J.R. Tolkein's Lord of the Ringseries would have passed muster with Dobson. I, for one, look forward to reading all three series with my son when he is old enough to enjoy these books.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Having been a victim of a newspaper misquote myself I am wary of taking quotes off of websites that are not the from the original website of the person you are quoting. In this case, Dr D's views of HP. I have just finished reading 2 articles (this is the third) which came up in my search "Harry Potter and James Dobson." I was looking for a previous article I had read months ago. The two articles had completely contradictory views of Dr. Dobson's reaction to Harry Potter. Hmmm....