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Harry Potter and good and evil

A Christian Science perspective on daily life

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J.K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter books, touches a chord in the hearts and minds of young readers. Millions of children gobble up her works as soon as a new one (six so far) is published.

Reading is such a critical thought adventure for children, and parents have the crucial role of monitoring the content carefully.

Belief in magic is an old trait in myth and literature. Rowling's saga of three friends growing up together away from home at a boarding school for young wizards offers young people a world where mystery and magic, good and evil, take place. She successfully dramatizes for all age groups the high stakes in the battle of conscience between right and wrong.

What parent would not support Rowling's portrayal of the values of loyalty, honesty, and courage in the face of life's perils? Such behavior gains stature and power in the imagination of young readers.

At the same time, this interest in magic indicates something for parents to address with their children - the obtrusiveness of evil imaginings.

The British author puts the cup of the dark arts to the lips of her young readers, albeit with a strong moral sensibility. She makes it abundantly clear that being moral is mandatory or dark forces will bring you down, as happens to many characters in the Potter series.

The world's idea of stimulating the imagination can be far from what is appropriate and healthy for a child. All parents, as they keep an eye on what their children are reading (or viewing), can take to heart the warning of the Apostle Paul: "Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ" (Col. 2:8).

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