Harry Potter and the Religious Paranoia

The reference is mainly to “herd mentality”.

Doing things poorly because everyone else does or would rarely be noticed among hundreds or thousands of employees.

Lacking independent thought or creative problem solving abilities (follow the herd even if its off a cliff)

He was not alone.

There are actually a number of different groups who are being dicussed, here. They may be united in their ultimate goal, but many come from different perspectives.

Some view any portrayal of “power” that is not directly attributed to God as having come from the devil.

Some feel that all witchcraft and sorcery is Satanic. (This group may include the people in the preceding group or it may be people who have simply never paid any attention to the differences between modern Wicca (with its rather silly borrowing of the word “witch”) and Satanic witches of the early Renaissance.

Others are bothered by the secular humanism of the books that simply omits God from the story, completely. (These people would include the current pope in his earlier statement noted above.) They feel that children should never be exposed to literature that lacks the moral compass of spiritual belief.

So, it is possible to find different people who oppose the books for different reasons.

Huh? :confused: Enya isn’t pagan, she’s Catholic!

Oh… yeah. I forgot about that. Never mind…

Ex-Catholic Johanna (who despairs of ever understanding the Protestant mindset)

[QUOTE=tomndebbSome feel that all witchcraft and sorcery is Satanic. (This group may include the people in the preceding group or it may be people who have simply never paid any attention to the differences between modern Wicca (with its rather silly borrowing of the word “witch”) and Satanic witches of the early Renaissance.[/QUOTE]

The most important difference being that the latter never existed. http://www.religioustolerance.org/satanis5.htm

From the link:

Sometimes :rolleyes: just doesn’t seem to cover it . . .

I think she thinks magic is real. Magic in the tradtional sense, not some new-agey, “it’s beyond the laws of cause and effect” sense.

I could be wrong though. But, that’s impression I got. Mostly because we were on the subject of fantasy vs reality. I was tryning to make the point that HP was clearly fantasy. She pointed out that it wasn’t as clearly so as I thought.

I believe you are thinking of the Ignorant mindset. Many Protestants know what a Catholic is.

That’s what makes it even funnier… He is (or claims to be) Catholic. But Enya’s Satanic because she’s new-age, and everyone knows that everything new-age is Satanic.

Many of the hardcores I talk to on other mbs are of the opinion that, as Tom~ said, all withcraft/sorcery is evil. Jo might want us to think that Harry and his lot are doing good things, but they’re using evil means, and that eliminates anything good in what they to. It’s as bad to oppose evil with evil means as it is to commit evil in the first place.

Many of them do oppose stuff like Oz and definitely Star Wars, and some take it to Tolkien as well (the ones who don’t are the most interesting to me, honestly). Most of the folks I talk to are ok with Lewis, however, as all the magic in Narnia comes very clearly either from God or from Satan.

What about illusionists? Are they allowed? I mean, is there a distinction between the fiction of sleight of hand and the fiction of Harry Potter?

I meant the Protestants who say Catholics aren’t Christian. Still can’t figure that one out. I know mainstream Protestants like Episcopalians accept Catholics as being Christian, regardless of whether they want to let them in their country club… :slight_smile:

It isn’t silly at all, tom~ that I call myself a Witch. Fie on ye. There is no other word in English that conveys the meaning of Witch. Wicca is one sort of Witchcraft, and there are several other sorts of Witchcraft besides Wicca. For example, stregheria. The only term that covers them all is Witchcraft. I have just submitted an article to Reclaiming Quarterly to be published in its fall issue, on the philology of the word Witch and why it’s the best word to call us.

And what meaning would that be? The meaning of a practioner of necromancy and sorcery for the purpose of harming people which was the original meaning of witch and the only meaning of witch until the very late 19th century?

I would think that pagan or adherent-of-wisdom or just about any invented word would have been a better choice than picking a word that meant evil-doer, pretending that it meant wise person (which it never had) and then being upset when people used it in its original meaning. If Gardner just had to throw witch into his coinage, he should have used the compound white-witch, which at least had the benefit of actually meaning a well-intentioned person.

I do not go around saying bad things about witches, but in a discussion about why people might react poorly to the use of the word witch when describing protagonists in a novel, noting that Gardner made a silly choice is appropriate.

I was under the impression (sorry, I really can’t peg from where I got that impression) that the vogue term for those practicing Wicca is Wiccans. It seems to me to be more direct and more informative a term than witch.

Well … my story is anecdotal, but might be of interest.

FYI, I live in a very conservative strict religious area, and many people around here are quite vehement about the evils of Harry. (I am actually quite conservative myself in many ways, and quite religious. I also devour each HP novel the day it comes out. :cool: )

I have one card trick. Only one, but it’s soooooo gooooooooood. I was performing it repeatedly for a growing crowd at a family gathering, and my cousin Lois said, “Oh, I just don’t know how you DO it! I feel so dumb that I can’t figure it out!” As I was drawing breath to say, “Erm … that’s rather the point,” another cousin said solemnly, “Well, Lois, deception is sin. Really, we shouldn’t even be watching this, let alone trying to figure it out.” :smack: And then they both walked away, one in self-righteousness and one in confusion.

So, for some, no. Illusion is not okay.

Heaven forbid anyone should ever have a little fun.

This is what I was thinking. Anyone have the OED handy? Was the word “witch” ever used before the late 19th century to mean a benevolent magic user? I can’t think of ever seeing such a use.

My post is based on the OED. The earliest citation of the word that became “witch” is from 890 and it meant an evil doer. In the middle of the 17th century, the term “white witch” is attested, with the meaning of someone doing good, but I can find no citation other than “white witch” for a witch identified as “good” prior to Baum. (I am pretty sure that MacDonald made all his good and neutral agents fairies instead of witches and I do not recall any good witches in the English translations of Anderson.) I generally assume that there had been some movement toward “good” witches prior to Baum simply because he does not strike me as an author who would use a word in a striking new way, preferring to coin new terms for new ideas.

I don’t think that witches are silly. I also don’t think that the label is silly. Why marginalize that which you do not share? I don’t get it.

Life works in strange ways, because I just read this section on Witches in this book I am reading: Drawing Down the Moon: Witches, Druids, Goddess Worshippers and Other Pagans in America Today by Margot Adler.

Sorry, I suck at links, so I will just quote this one paragraph.

*We saw that the word witch comes from the Old English wicce, wicca and these words derive from a root wic or weik, which has to do with religion and magic. We saw that many practitioners of Wicca will tell you that Wicca means wise, and that, in any case, the Wicca are seekers of wisdom. Others will tell you that Wicca comes from a root meaning to bend or turn, and that a Witch is a bender and changer of reality. **

She also mentions the “doer of evil” definition. Her analysis of the definition of witch covers some 3 pages. I like her first statement best: " The word witch is defined so differently by different people that a common definition seems impossible.

I am another person who cannot understand the fear of imagination or the fear of someone looking at the world differently than another person does. Those who find evil in Oz, Narnia and Hogwarts seem to not understand how the brain works in metaphor and symbolism. At the risk of seeming banal: there is alot of Truth in fiction. I pity the kids who are denied exposure to Christian (and non) and world archetypes d/t fear and paranoia on the part of their parents.

*if this is a major mistake d/t copyrighting etc, I apologize. How long can a quote be?

Weren’t actors given this rap at one point too?

Wasn’t there quite a flap years ago about the Brothers Grimm and such stories as Hansel and Gretl?

Some people should get out more.

Neither do I.

I don’t think the label is silly, per se. I think that it was unfortunate that Gardner chose to use words with a history of meaning sorcery, necromancy, and evil-doing when he expounded on the the neo-pagan beliefs he wrote about and I think that his choice was silly, inventing an etymology for them when we already have a factual etymology that contradicts his invented one. He could have chosen (or coined) any number of terms for the adherents of his new system. Instead, he used a vague similarity between an Indo-European root and a word with a rather different meaning and tried to pretend that one led to the other.

His unfortunate choice has led to an explicit association in the minds of many people between neo-pagans and practitioners of evil magic. Given that he could have avoided that problem (since he was the one coining the terms), I find Gardner to have been silly in this one action.