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What's a Christian to Do with Harry Potter? Paperback – May 15 2001
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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
Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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?Read more ›
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.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
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 morePublished on June 20 2004 by Kelli
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 morePublished on Sept. 21 2003
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 morePublished on Sept. 4 2003 by Kevin L. Kitchens
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 morePublished on June 25 2003 by Bill Crume
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 morePublished on June 24 2003 by Amazon Customer
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 morePublished on March 19 2003
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 morePublished on Dec 14 2002 by E. A Solinas
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 morePublished on Oct. 17 2002 by Luke Hoffmann