Is Harry Potter Harmless?

Jonathan Shelley
Mar 28, 2015

The question, “Is Harry Potter good for Christians?” has been asked by many and is a quite exhausted topic. Unfortunately, in any heated debate you have extremists on both sides pointing to the worst side effects, whether that be concern against an exaggerated adherence to the Bible or witchcraft and satanic worship. While these extremes pose many issues themselves, I hope to focus on the material itself and how it lines up with God’s word. I have never read the series but I have watched all of the movies. Additionally, I have friends and family who own the books and movies and enjoy them quite often. I have no interest in condemning people or entertainment in general but rather want to ensure as the Gatekeeper of my home and spiritual leader that I am applying God’s word to my life.


The Supporters

Let me first address the supporters of the Potter series by stating that I am not against imagination, fiction, or fun stories. I have seen thousands of movies and read a few novels in which I gained a great deal of entertainment. The Harry Potter series undoubtedly has incredible imagery from its many castle scenes, outdoor escapes, and vividly intriguing creatures. Additionally, there are many creative games (Quidditch), activities, events, and adventures throughout. Some of the overall themes of the series display several moral issues such as “good versus evil”, bullying, parental abuse, loyalty, and even friendship. These characteristics I believe are what many Potter enthusiasts cling to as a source of support in the Potter series. I completely agree that this series engages readers and fans with unparalleled entertainment and even appears to display a sense of morality but in my quest, I tried my best to diminish my reason and logic and look at God’s word with an honest heart.


The Word

Before I address the critics let’s take a long look at God’s word to see what God’s opinion of the series would be. I want to mention that in my study, there is no one scripture that I would base my conclusions on but rather a collection of scripture to form a strong sense of what is God’s will for our lives.

In the Bible the first mention of anything “bad” was a reference to the serpent (satan) which reads in Genesis 3:1,

Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made.

I believe that we as Christians underestimate the subtlety of the serpent. I would argue that many of satan’s devices are cunningly devised to slowly pull Christians away from God or may serve as simple distractions. This verse in no way warns of a particular subject but rather gives warning to the method in which satan operates.

In the Old Testament there are several scriptures in which God clearly condemns the practice of witchcraft, sorcery, divination, and many other related practices. Yet, for many Christians this by itself is not a convincing argument to those who do not partake in such practices but enjoy the Potter series, believing it to be pure fantasy. To give reference to the seriousness of God’s warning Leviticus 20:27 states,

A man also or woman that hath a familiar spirit, or that is a wizard, shall surely be put to death: they shall stone them with stones: their blood shall be upon them.

This verse along with other Old Testament scripture lead to a clear message that any power that does not come from God is an abomination and not to be tolerated. I think the most important and understated point from this scripture is that there is no such thing as a “good” witch or wizard from the perspective of God. The Bible is clear that all sorcery is evil and Christians should completely abstain from any and all practices. However, throughout the entire Potter series, the author tries to emphasize a distinction between “good” and evil witchcraft. In some cases Harry himself is conflicted with the use of dark magic, seeing it as a necessary evil to defeat certain villains. This clearly contradicts scripture and confuses many Christians with the idea that certain wrongs can be justified given a necessary circumstance.

These issues alone should be enough for any Christian to avoid such entertainment, yet many are unconvinced. How can strong believers in Christ find no problems with the Harry Potter series and seemingly remain unaffected by such entertainment? Let’s look at 1 Timothy 4:1-2,

Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;

2 Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;

First, the verse makes it clear that the Holy Spirit is unchanging and provides a clear message of truth but that many believers will be seduced by unrighteous spirits. As we see in verse two, these believers will have a conscience which has been seared. I am NOT saying that all Harry Potter fans are possessed by demons. But that it is possible for Christians to be persuaded by demonic spirits to tolerate evils which they are completely unaware.

Christians still wrestling with this issue should consider the various other sections of scripture in which provide direct and subtle correlations to the Harry Potter debate. Below I have listed several verses which helped me with discernment on this issue.  


Seek God, godliness, and the word

But refuse profane and old wives' fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness. (1 Timothy 4:7)


For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. (Matthew 6:21)


No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. (Matthew 6:24)


Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith: so do. (1 Timothy 1:4)


Deception and Corrupt Communication

For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; 4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. 5 But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry. (2 Timothy 4:3-5)


For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, specially they of the circumcision: (Titus 1:10)


Not giving heed to Jewish fables, and commandments of men, that turn from the truth. (Titus 1:14)


For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty. (2 Peter 1:16)


Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. (Ephesians 4:29)


Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. 7 Be not ye therefore partakers with them. 8 For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light: 9 (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;) 10 Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord. 11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. (Ephesians 5:6-11)


Rebellion, Sin, and Demonic Influence

For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the Lord, he hath also rejected thee from being king. (1 Samuel 15:23)


Now I Paul myself beseech you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ, who in presence am base among you, but being absent am bold toward you: 2 But I beseech you, that I may not be bold when I am present with that confidence, wherewith I think to be bold against some, which think of us as if we walked according to the flesh. 3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: 4 (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) 5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; 6 And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled. (2 Corinthians 10:1-6)


Neither give place to the devil. (Ephesians 4:27)


If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him. (Genesis 4:7)


And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. (Romans 12:2)


Many of them also which used curious arts brought their books together, and burned them before all men: and they counted the price of them, and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver. (Acts 19:19)


And not rather, (as we be slanderously reported, and as some affirm that we say,) Let us do evil, that good may come? whose damnation is just. (Romans 3:8)


Many of the verses used have a more defined context about Judaism, money, free-will, servitude, and other issues but I felt like each one spoke to this issue in some way.


My foremost fear is not that Bible-believing Christians are going to fall into witchcraft, which in some cases have, but that we are opening a door to evil. Many Potter enthusiasts who are also Christians will claim that this series has in no way altered their Christianity or beliefs in Christ. While I am not against entertainment and fiction, I believe it could be argued there is a spirit of distraction and idolatry on the Potter series. Most enthusiasts love to re-read the series and watch the movies repeatedly. Many enthusiasts seem to have an unbridled passion, which could be a seducing spirit. Some Christians hold to an annual re-reading of the series to regain the reminiscent feelings of excitement and joy brought from their first experience. Yet, I feel that some Christians lack this sense of enthusiasm when it comes to continued study of God’s word. I worry that for some this series can replace the heart’s desire for God’s word and rather fill it with imagination and ungodliness. While on this journey I discovered for myself that the Potter series is an undeniably intoxicating fiction but seems to have a hidden agenda.


The Critics

While I agree with the critical assessment of the Potter series, I think some have taken a quite extreme approach which truly repels the Christians who have a strong emotional favor towards Harry and his companions. I think it is best to always approach any subject with love, patience, and respect and to manifest the spirit of 1 Peter 3:15,

But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:

I believe that many Christians have no intention of disobeying God or abandoning God’s word but rather may be unaware of satan’s cunningly devised works. There are many Christians who will not agree that reading a book about witches and wizards has anything to do with practicing witchcraft but critics must remember to share in love and patience.



Some Christians may even go so far as to lift up the Potter series and try to find Biblical themes in such works. I feel this approach is a very dangerous game and I would strongly argue against such practices. The Bible is clear that good cannot come from evil (Romans 3:8) and the Holy Spirit speaks expressly (1 Timothy 4:1). I strongly recommend against any justification from such books, like the one listed below by Granger. Rowling struggles with the thought of God and in no way intended any underlying Christian themes. Additionally, I find it completely unscriptural to believe the author had an unknowing inspiration to construct underlying Christian themes, this is against God’s word and would be inspiration of another spirit. The Potter series had no intentions of furthering God’s kingdom or providing Biblical references. God does not and would never use witchcraft to demonstrate any of his attributes. This story cannot be given any serious belief to its underlying Christianity due to the contradictions it poses with God’s nature and word.



Scary Consequences

I fear that many sections of the books and movies portray some quite evil themes. Please watch the following clip from the Goblet of Fire. (WARNING very evil scene)

In this clip we see: Murder by magical spells, Demonic birth (Voldemort) through the means of ritualistic witchcraft using corpses, blood sacrifices, self-mutilation, and spells. Additionally, Voldemort calls forth shadows from the sky (Dementors) by touching his wand to a serpent tattoo and casting spells.

I would hope even the most ardent Christian justifiers of the Potter series would see the strong evils in this single clip. While the entire series does not focus on such practices a good portion of all the films include such evil and witchcraft.

I believe these scenes and sections are the main culprit for growing demonic interest by several children and adults. Please see the following quotes:

"In an effort to capitalize on the widespread popularity of Harry Potter, witches quickly started releasing books packaged to imitate the courses offered at Potter's famous Hogwarts School.”

-Richard Abanes, Religions of the Stars: What Hollywood Beleives and How It Affects You, Baker Books, 2009, ISBN: 9781441204455 

"The Pagan Federation, which represents druids and witches, says it has been 'swamped' with calls following teenage programmes featuring good witches. Speaking to BBC News Online the Pagan Federation's Steve Paine, the high priest of a coven, said the hit US drama Buffy and the highly successful Harry Potter books were popular amongst practicing witches. 'They are taken as fantasy entertainment. But they do encourage people to think about different forms of spirituality', he said... Most of the enquiries are from 14 to 18 year-olds,"

-BBC News, "Buffy Draws Children to Witchcraft," Aug 4, 2000, retrieved Oct 24, 2013, [] 


Unfortunately, many children have become interested in the occult and witchcraft because of the Potter series. I don’t believe I have ever seen or heard of a testimony of a child coming to Christ from the Potter series. That does seem legalistic, but I want to emphasize the effect that Harry Potter has on some people’s religious views. This series in no way is lending itself to the conversion to Christ or Christianity. Here is another quite disturbing quote:

"The vice president of Minneapolis-based New Age and metaphysical publisher Llewellyn noted in an interview with Publishers Weekly that the surge of interest in Wicca is part of the Harry Potter phenomenon and has created a larger number of readers and practitioners. 'The younger audience keeps eating that kind of stuff up,' he said. I agree with him that although the Harry Potter series is not about Wicca per se, it has helped open doors to Wiccan books and trends. In conversations with teenagers, I have found that although some of them read the Harry Potter books as preteens and then migrated to serious books based on Wicca as they grew older, many simply read Harry Potter when they read The Lord of the Rings or The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.
I was surprised to learn that publishers of Wicca books have fielded few complaints about their books or spell kits from alarmed parents or concerned Christians... As we will see, although Harry Potter has little to do with Wicca, its popularity has obviously encouraged publishers to release more books based explicitly on neo-Paganism."

-Catherine Sanders, Wicca's Charm: Understanding the Spiritual Hunger Behind the Rise of Modern Witchcraft and Pagan Spirituality, Random House LLC, 2009, p. 34, ISBN: 9780307551092 



There is a strong attraction to be part of the Harry Potter mania which captivates fans with passion, success, and excitement. I cannot argue that this series has an incredible amount of adventure and fantasy, which is extremely appealing. Yet, I am troubled by the material and the subject matter of witches and wizards. I am reminded of 1 Thessalonians 5:22,

Abstain from all appearance of evil.

I do not wish to condemn anyone who owns, reads, or watches this series but rather to help them hear God’s voice through his word. In no way, do I believe that all who read or watch this series will become a practicing witch or wizard. But rather, I fear that this series opens a door to the serpent and allows him to slowly pull Christians away from God’s word. While I am not against fiction, I want to be careful to not open any doors to me or my family. This article is a very critical analysis of the Potter series, yet I hope this article can be an encouragement to some. I have always enjoyed several fantasy series with incredible fervor but realized this was taking the place of my passion and enthusiasm for God’s word. I have since regained a fiery hunger for God’s word to better understand the incredible history he gave us, full of Godly men with unparalleled boldness and adventure. I pray this article would help shed light on a quite controversial topic and help give Christians clarity of God’s word and its priority in our lives.