Harry Potter and Left Behind are more alike than you might think.

Discussion in 'Books / Publications Forum' started by mioque, Jan 2, 2006.

  1. mioque

    mioque
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    No Wizard Left Behind

    They are the titans of their literary universes.
    Of the six best-selling books of the past decade, five have been Harry Potters. "Left Behind," the apocalyptic Christian series by Tim LaHaye* and Jerry B. Jenkins, has sold more than 60 million copies; currently there are four LaHaye-Jenkins books in the Christian-books Top 10.

    Suffice it to say, some secular critics dismiss the Left Behind books as of the wackos, by the wackos, for the wackos. Based on the New Testament's Revelation, the series begins with the world's believers disappearing, "raptured" up to heaven. Those "left behind" must struggle through a seven-year ordeal in which the Antichrist comes, much of the population is murdered, and Jesus returns.

    Some Christians view Harry Potter as anti-Christian because it glorifies witchcraft. "Where will the fascination and emulation end?" asks Richard Abanes in Fantasy and Your Family. "With experimenting with 'fun' practices like the divination or spellcasting at Hogwarts? With taking college classes on occultism? As Harry Potter fans mature, will they desire to delve deeper into occultism?" J.K. Rowling, he argues, promotes moral relativism because "Harry, Hermione, Ron, Hagrid and other 'good' characters habitually lie, steal, cheat, ignore laws, break rules and disrespect authority." Oh, and Hagrid is an alcoholic.

    The series seem to live in parallel universes, as different as books could be. But as we absorb their latest milestones (the upcoming release of the third Potter movie, the recent release of the climactic Left Behind volume), I have bad news for both camps: The two have a lot in common.

    Most obviously, in both cases, we see not a fight between individual good guys and bad guys, but a Manichean struggle between good and evil. That's the case in Left Behind from early in the first book. Harry Potter starts out as a more limited skirmish between Harry and the evil sorcerer Voldemort. But by the fifth book, the number of combatants has increased, with the entire wizard cadre the Order of the Phoenix battling a vast conspiracy of Voldemort-worshipers and death-eaters.

    <...>

    Finally, they both have a theology. It's not, as one might expect, that Left Behind is Christian and Harry Potter pagan, but rather that Left Behind is Protestant and Harry Potter is Catholic. One of the chief theological arguments between Catholics and Protestants has been over whether salvation is earned through faith or by good works. In Left Behind, the only thing that matters is faith in Jesus. Steele explains that church leaders had led so many people astray because they merely "expected them to lead a good life, to do the best they could, to think of others, to be kind, to live in peace. It sounded so good, and yet it was so wrong. How far from the mark!"

    While everything is pre-ordained in Left Behind, in Harry Potter, by contrast, Dumbledore explicitly tells Harry that even though he carries some of the essence of Voldemort in him, he has the power to do good because he has the power of choice.

    In that sense, despite their similarities, at their hearts the two series are different in a fundamental but not obvious way. Left Behind is fatalistic; Harry Potter sees outcome determined by individual actions. Both provide a roadmap for how to live a good life, but in one case the key is morality, and in the other it is faith.

    Steven Waldman is editor in chief of Beliefnet, the leading multifaith spirituality and religion Web site.
    http://www.slate.com/id/2100637/
     
  2. standingfirminChrist

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    The Harry Potter books speak of magic and spells and for that reason, I will not read them.

    The Left Behind series, although they are fiction, I have read and was impressed with the writing style of the authors.

    From the moment I picked up the first book, Left Behind, I was drawn into the story itself to the point that I could not put the book down. I finished the book and anxiously awaited the next in the series.

    There were a lot of things in the series that I disagreed with happening, but all in all they were very interesting.
     
  3. mioque

    mioque
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    :eek: :confused: :eek:
    You were impressed by the writing style of the authors.... of... Left Behind...

    I need to lie down. [​IMG]
     
  4. standingfirminChrist

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    Yes, the style. If you reread the post, I never said it was scriptural. The style shows imagination. I have written a book myself, a children's book. There are many authors whose works I read and thought were good in my younger years and to date.

    In Left Behind series, you are drawn into a soap opera type of world, wondering what is going to happen next. I wish someone were able to write a series of books in that style that truly lined up with the Bible. It would be awesome.
     
  5. Magnetic Poles

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    What amazes me is the fact that many Christians rail against Harry Potter because of the magic, yet go gaga over Narnia, which also includes magic. Very illogical.
     
  6. Johnv

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    I happen to agree, the writing style of Left Behind is somewhat amateurish. The Left Behind series will likely not be remembered as great literature of the 20th century.
     
  7. ccrobinson

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    Jerry Jenkins was a non-fiction writer trying to write fiction and he just wasn't very good at it. It would have been interesting to see what the series could have been if an experienced fiction writer had actually written the series. My guess is that the asking price for a true fiction writer was too high, so they went with Jenkins.
     
  8. CarolinaBaptist

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    Harry Potter is pure fiction and fantasy, as is the Left Behind Series. I see no harm in Harry Potter unless one takes it seriously and delves into witchcraft. Left Behind, in my opinion, is more dangerous to the church because it is based on a flawed system of prophetic interpretation and many Christians are taking it for Bible truth.
     
  9. standingfirminChrist

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    Left Behind more dangerous to the church than Harry Potter? I hope you are not serious.

    Both are fiction. But I would not tell someone it is ok to read one about magic and spells.
     
  10. CarolinaBaptist

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    I fail to see how reading a FICTIONAL novel about magic and spells is not o.k. But Left Behind is fiction posing as the truth, which I see as dangerous to "baby" Christians because they get hooked on the books and embrace a belief system surrounding our Lord's return that is false.
     
  11. mioque

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    CarolinaBaptist is making sense here.
    The authors of Left Behind work from the assumption that the main events in their fiction are going to happen for real. No such assumption underlies the works of Mrs. Rowling.
     
  12. mioque

    mioque
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    standingfirminChrist
    If you had said it was an example of perfectly exegeted scripture, I would not have been shocked. I would have disagreed, but I'm open to the possibility that LB's Rapture scenario will turn out to be the proper interpretation of the last book of the Bible.

    The style on the other hand reeks of cheese, cardboard and rushed writing.
    We've actually held an essay contest in my church on ways to improve on LB.
    We even had 2 categories.
    - general improvements
    -more interesting protagonists
    The winners got a certificate and the seat of honour at the annual churchbarbeque. [​IMG]
     
  13. Johnv

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    On the surface, I'd be inclined to agree with you. But based on results, CarolinaBaptist's comment has merit. There is no shortage of Christians who have taken Left Behind as doctrine. I know of no Christian who has taken Harry Potter for anything other than sheer fiction.
     
  14. ccrobinson

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    One example of the false doctrine of Left Behind is the idea that those who have heard the Gospel, but have rejected it before the Rapture will be able to accept Christ after the Rapture. But, 2 Thessalonians 2:11 contradicts that notion.

    I know of a Christian (so-called, but that's another story) who bought into this false idea. Instead of talking to her Catholic friends about receiving Christ today for salvation, she has told them that if one day millions of people disappear, they should go to her house and find her Left Behind books and read them.

    That's the danger in the false doctrine of Left Behind.
     
  15. Erin

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    I personally can't stand the Left Behind series. I thought it was poorly written...and just not biblical in a sense. What comes to mind is when the pastor says the 4th horsemen is the antichrist (in the second movie I think), things like that. That seem trivial but aren't.

    As for Harry Potter....I used to read/watch them. They have some good points. But being as I used to be a witch, I really try and stay away from that stuff and have my daughter do the same. There certainly are other GOOD books out there that don't involve witchcraft and magic that she can read when she's old enough.
     
  16. superdave

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    Substitute the word "Magic" in Harry Potter for "Wiccan religious practices" and you have my objection to the one and not the other. Fantasy is one thing, but Rowling intentionally modeled the magic of her books after real Wiccan practices, and than took it into a fanasty world. Fairy tale magic is a little different IMO.

    I really didn't care for either when you talk about style or literary quality. both were somewhat cheesy and somewhat suited for Daytime Television if you ask me, and certainly not appropriate for the kids they are targeted for.

    If you read anything that Lewis or Tolkien wrote about their view of "Magic" you would understand their own hatred for the connotations of the term, but had not better word to describe what they were describing.
     
  17. Phillip

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    Substitute the word "Magic" in Harry Potter for "Wiccan religious practices" and you have my objection to the one and not the other. </font>[/QUOTE]Wow, you taught me a lot. I didn't know Wiccans flew on broomsticks or in flying cars. I didn't know they kept pet Phoenixes that would burn themselves up once a quarter. I didn't know they played (how was it spelled?)Quiddich?

    I didn't know they cast a spell like "Occulus Repairus."

    You see difference between THIS fantasy and C. S.'s fantasy? amazing......
     
  18. superdave

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    Instead of taking it out of context to attempt to make your point, why don't you read what I wrote

    She started at a different foundation than Lewis, and it is not sinister or overt on her part. She makes no excuses for it. Plus, the movies pretty much obliterated any difference between the two since although well done, both the first Narnia film and LOTR portray a much more "Harry Potter" like magic than the books do.

    To be honest, I agree that they are more alike than many would like to admit. I guess its really more of a literary criticism thing than actually looking at the plots and characters generically. Especially in the movies.

    I have no problem with Christians reading either one, as entertainment or whatever. Its all fantasy in my book. My view of the differences between them is narrowly drawn, but I think it is also significant. Especially for children. I am not one of those however who think that those exposed to Harry Potter will grow up to become witches and warlocks. The connection is not there. Its more foundational in nature. You have to teach your children how to properly interpret and process fiction and fantasy, that is much more effective than trying to keep them distant from it.
     
  19. Phillip

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    So, Erin, that means you flew on broom-sticks, flew in old cars, grew mandrakes and had to cover your ears when you pulled them out of the soil, had a pet Pheonix who would burn up every three or four months, use flu powder to move from one place to another, play Quittage (sp?), talk to snakes and make glass disappear, had owls that would carry your mail back and forth, and repair glasses with your "repairous Occulus" magic spell. Oh, and got burned by a baby dragon. Amazing what people have done in their past that we don't know about---such a small world........
     
  20. Phillip

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    "When I was young I read Dr. Suss--Do you have any idea how much magic there was in the Cat in the hat and amazingly, I didn't grow up practicing it.
     

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