God, the Devil, and Harry Potter: A Christian Minister's Defense of the Beloved Novels

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Macmillan, Dec 23, 2002 - Religion - 196 pages
6 Reviews
“The Potter stories, far from being ‘wicked’ or ‘Satanic,’ ... are in fact narratives of robust faith and morality ...

“What Ms. Rowling has furnished us, besides what the Brits call ‘a good read,’ and a whopping good one, ... is a modern interpretation of the gospel, the wonderful news that ‘God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself’ and making sure that the goodness of creation would never be obliterated by the forces of darkness and evil.”

Since their first publication, J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter novels have brought joy to children and adults alike. Many conservative Christians in the United States, however, have decried the books as wicked, as preaching witchcraft and the occult, and as glamorizing dishonesty. A minister in New Mexico held a “holy bonfire” on the Sunday after Christmas 2001, at which he publicly torched the Potter books, declaring them “an abomination to God and to me.”

John Killinger, a Congregationalist minister and an academic in the field of contemporary literature, beautifully demolishes the objections of right-wing Christians to this bestselling children’s series. He compellingly argues that, far from corrupting children’s morals, the Potter stories actually influence young readers to follow the teachings of Jesus. He cites passage after passage to illustrate how the world of Harry Potter would be inconceivable apart from the strictures of Judeo-Christian theology and the way human existence should be approached by every follower of Jesus. Additionally, he reflects on the possibility that Harry Potter, like Dostoevsky’s Prince Myshkin and others, is a witting or unwitting Christ figure who actually battles the forces of darkness for the souls of the faithful.

All through this extraordinarily well-written, compelling, and very entertaining little book, the author points out that stories like this are worth more than any sermon toward producing people who truly follow the lessons of Jesus.
  

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Review: God, the Devil, and Harry Potter: A Christian Minister's Defense of the Beloved Novels

User Review  - Douglas - Goodreads

Killinger is a Baptist Minister, professor and fiction writer. What comes through most clearly in this text is his love for the Harry Potter novels. It is good to see a church leader passionately ... Read full review

Review: God, the Devil, and Harry Potter: A Christian Minister's Defense of the Beloved Novels

User Review  - J. Alfred - Goodreads

Written shortly after the fourth book came out, this defense of the Harry Potter books somehow fails to deal with what I feel is the central problem of the paradox of the Chrisitan wizard (that is ... Read full review

Contents

INTRODUCTION
1
MYSTERIOUS BIRTHS AND MIRACULOUS CHILDHOODS
15
THE STRUGGLE BETWEEN GOOD AND EVIL
35
THE GAME OF LIFE
62
THE MAGICAL MYSTICAL WORLD
100
OF GHOSTS AND GOBLINS AND THE LIFE AFTER DEATH
126
AND NOW ABIDETH FAITH HOPE AND LOVE
158
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
187
Copyright

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About the author (2002)

John Killinger, who holds doctorates in both theology and literature, has taught courses in the theological aspects of contemporary literature at Vanderbilt University, the University of Chicago, City College of New York, and Stamford University. An ordained clergyman, he has been a minister in parishes in Virginia and California, and presently serves as the minister of the Little Stone Church, a resort parish on Mackinac Island, Michigan. Among his many publications are several books in the field of literary criticism, including Hemingway and the Dead Gods and The Failure of Theology in Modern Literature. He has also written two novels, Jessie and The Night Jessie Sang at the Opry, which feature Christ as a woman in modern times.

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