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What's a Christian to Do with Harry Potter? [Paperback]

Connie Neal
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
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Book Description

May 15 2001

Answers to the Burning Questions Christian Parents, Educators, and Others Are Asking about Harry Potter.

In the world of publishing, few successes have equaled that of J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series—magical stories centered on one boy’s adventures at Hogwarts, a school for witchcraft and wizardry. Yet this popular series presents a perplexing—even divisive—challenge to the Christian community. Although the books present a clear picture of the epic battle between good and evil, they appear to support the use of magic and have had a controversial impact on our culture. As a result, many of us are wondering, “How should I respond to this Harry Potter thing?”

Find out what the Harry Potter books really say about witchcraft and wizardry.

Hear what Christians on both sides of the debate are saying about Harry Potter—and decide what you believe.

Learn how you can use the series to protect your child from real occult influences.

In What’s a Christian to Do with Harry Potter?, you’ ll explore the valid concerns some Christians have about the series, sort out the fact and fiction at the center of the debate, discover biblical answers that may surprise you, and learn how you can tap into this powerful cultural phenomenon to help advance the kingdom of God.

This book has not been prepared, approved, or licensed by any person or entity that created, published, or produced the Harry Potter books or related properties.

Product Details

Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

In January, this column panned a Harry-bashing evangelical book called Harry Potter and the Bible, from Christian Publications. Now, PW is happy to point to a much more thoughtful Christian take on the young wizard phenom: Connie Neal's What's a Christian to Do with Harry Potter? In the storm of controversy, Neal navigates a via media by offering support to Christians who have decided to boycott the series, but also giving suggestions to parents who wish to read and discuss the books with their children. Spiritual discernment, Neal says, is the key for any Christian and an important quality to help children develop.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.


"...get ahold of Connie Neal's book. ... Christian discourse would dramatically improve if we followed her example". -- Michael G. Maudlin, Christianity Today International, Executive Editor of Christian Parenting Today magazine

"Harry is now part of the culture. Learn from it; and allow Connie Neal to help you and your children." -- Stephen Arterburn, founder and chairman of Women of Faith and New Life Clinics

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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"You will most likely agree more with one side than the other, but you'll probably also find some points on the opposite side that make you pause to think." Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Helpful, no matter what June 17 2003
Neal has written this book because she herself seemed to be unwittingly dragged into the debate. She and her family enjoy the books, tempered with a good bit of parental guidance. Nonetheless, she was surprised at the angst that her position seemed to stir up among fellow Christians. This book presents both sides of for/against Harry Potter issue fairly, and in some ways uncompromisingly agrees with both. In the first 60 pages she plainly outlines the popularity of the books, what both sides of the controversy are saying, what the books are about, and whether or not they are simply fantasy literature.
Neal is most helpful in relating the way that our first impressions of something, as illustrated by the Boring figure, a type of Rorschach ink blot, effects the way we view it. People who have been warned that the books are full of witchcraft and strange demonic impish creatures (Dobby) will undoubtedly find just that when they read it. On the other hand, people who have the viewpoint that Harry Potter is children's fantasy literature will find no witchcraft and think Dobby is nothing more than a very funny elf-creature of Rowling's imagination. Neal, quoting Lewis, says that to superimpose any outside meaning upon the intrinsic meaning given in the story is to distort the author's meaning. One can only call Dobby demonic if one looks up the word elf in an occultist dictionary and see that elves are spirit-creatures who are unclean, then connect these unclean spirits to demons, then connect these demons back to Dobby, which is rather unfair to the mischievous Yoda-looking house servant. This also makes even Santa Clause and Keebler crackers dangerous.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A balanced perspective on Hogwarts Dec 12 2002
Connie Neal, thankfully, puts to rest a lot of the claptrap that has surrounded the supposed "evil" that the Harry Potter series represents. Compared to Richard Abanes' "Harry Potter: The Menace behind the Magick" (which, with all due respect to Mr. Abanes, is too one-sided), Mrs. Neal goes out of her way to show that the debate can be viewed from both sides of the fence and that both sides have valid points; and that is up to parents to decide whether the books are appropriate for their children. But she does make clear that one should read the books FIRST before deciding.
After explaining the apparent secrets behind the phenomenal success of the novels, "What's a Christian to Do with Harry Potter" comes out decidedly pro-Harry, thankfully. It makes the point that J.K. Rowling is simply following in the best traditions of fantasy writers that preceded her, including C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and Roald Dahl; indeed, it is mentioned that Rowling took Lewis' "Narnia" series as part inspiration for her books. Neal also points out that many evangelicals have been inconsistent in their application or desire for censorship or at least keeping certain books away from the hands of children; they'll favor "Narnia" but deride Harry Potter -- even though both series delve heavily into witchcraft, divination and unimaginable atrocities. Her analysis of Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" is particularly instructive: Scrooge is astrally projected from his body during his meeting with the three spirits; by the standards of the critics therefore, if Harry Potter is to be banned, so should the Scrooge story. Neal explains why this is simply outrageous.
Neal shows how the Harry Potter series can be used as an evangelizing tool, and even applies the "WWJD?
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Several months ago I picked up this book out of sheer curiosity, assuming that it was just another Harry-basher. To my pleasant surprise, however, I found that it was in fact a refreshingly unbiased and intelligent discussion of the story of Harry Potter. Connie Neal explains not only why the books are popular, but also the values readers can learn from them and even their correlations with biblical principles.
I think this is an excellent book on the topic of Harry Potter for two reasons. One, the author presents J.K. Rowling's series as literature rather than as a mere cultural phenomenon. I am a Christian who has grown up on classic fantasy by the Brothers Grimm, Hans Christian Andersen, C.S. Lewis, L. Frank Baum and other notable writers, and I have always thought that the Harry Potter books belong in this category. To me, they are simply good morality tales embellished with magical feasts for the imagination. As Connie Neal points out, classic fantasy uses magic as a literary device to make stories more exciting; writers of the genre usually make it clear that this magic is set within the context of an imaginary world and does not bear any direct correlation with the real-world practices of witchcraft and the occult. I believe Harry Potter should be examined within the context of the fantasy genre, and Connie does an admirable job of giving J.K. Rowling's stories fair treatment in this way.
The second reason I highly recommend this book is that Connie makes an earnest effort to bridge the gap between the two extremes of the Harry Potter debate by getting at the true heart of the argument: simply put, we must agree to disagree. And we must *graciously* agree. Most authors who write on controversial topics aim to persuade the reader to agree with their viewpoint.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book!
This book has been able to explain my opinion of Harry Potter books better than I could myself. I don't know a single child who has become interested in the occult from Harry... Read more
Published on June 20 2004 by Kelli
4.0 out of 5 stars good stuff
reason, common sense, and understanding, all in a paperback!
Published on May 26 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book!
This book has been able to explain my opinion of Harry Potter books better than I could myself. I don't know a single child who has become interested in the occult from Harry... Read more
Published on Sept. 21 2003
1.0 out of 5 stars Just another attempt to justify the trendy, yet bad
Sorry, but Connie Neal is merely making excuses for parents too gutless to tell their kids "NO" when it comes to dabbling with the occultic nonsense that is Harry... Read more
Published on Sept. 4 2003 by Kevin L. Kitchens
5.0 out of 5 stars What's a Christian do with Harry Potter?
I heartily agreed with author Connie Neal on the christian's view on Harry Potter Books. I am impressed how well she analyze them throughly. Read more
Published on June 25 2003 by Bill Crume
4.0 out of 5 stars A good attitude, a spiritual perspective
This is a wonderful book. If Connie Neal had come out against Harry Potter I probably still would have been with her from the start - it is encouraging to read something which is... Read more
Published on June 24 2003 by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Sanity and Common Sense....FINALLY
Connie Neal has written a magnificent treatment of the Potter books. She entreats the reader to think for himself, rather than swallowing a pro- or anti- Potter argument whole... Read more
Published on March 19 2003 by "hollygirl717"
1.0 out of 5 stars Pretentious and puffed up
Those who enjoy a good logical to-and-fro debate should avoid "What's a Christian to Do with Harry Potter?" like the plague. Read more
Published on Dec 14 2002 by E. A Solinas
1.0 out of 5 stars Parading Pro-Potter ...
In her introduction, Neal promises to "...provide trustworthy information". She does not. She misquotes Romans 14:5 as "Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. Read more
Published on Oct. 17 2002 by Luke Hoffmann
5.0 out of 5 stars You get to make up your own mind!?!
Can you believe it. Finally a Christian perspective on Harry Potter that gives the reader factual information on why they should or should not read the books with their children. Read more
Published on Aug. 29 2002 by Jennifer Dean
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