Harry Potter and Christianity

A very small (but very vocal!) minority of Christians view J.K Rowling’s series as a gateway to the occult for young people (“look how popular it is! Anything today’s kids like must be evil!”).

A much larger group of Christians view it as harmless fun (many have actually read the books, and I imagine the others simply rely on the fact that of all the millions of kids who’ve now read Harry Potter, the percentage who’ve actually started worshipping Satan as a result is zero).

But the rest of us Christians think Harry Potter is not just harmless fun. It’s extremely-beneficial-to-humanity fun.

We believe J. K. Rowling is a Godsend. Here are a couple of reasons why:

For one, the Harry Potter books are chock-full of good moral values:

  • Guess what, that terrible guy Snape wasn’t so evil after all – guess you can’t judge anyone, can you?
  • The recurring theme about “purebloods” – showing how evil prejudice and bigotry are
  • The recurring theme that our choices, not our circumstances or innate talents that determine who we are: “It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.” and “…the world isn’t split into good people and Death Eaters. We’ve all got both light and dark inside us. What matters is the part we choose to act on. That’s who we really are…”
  • Harry’s Mum, and that bloke Dumbledore, actually sacrificed their lives to save others (who do we know who’s done something like that?)

… just off the top of my head. Here’s some more MissInterpretation added last time I wrote on this topic:

  • Doing what’s right instead of what’s popular is its own reward (Longbottom trying to stop Harry, Hermione, and Ron)
  • Magic doesn’t fix real-world problems (peer pressure, homework, etc) even if you’re a wizard
  • Adults are there to help you in situations too big to handle (in the beginning, Harry & friends did not trust the teachers enough to bring their problems to them; by the end, Harry learns that he can benefit from the guidance and council of those older and wiser)

This is no big surprise really, as Rowling identifies herself as a church-going Christian.

But the excellent morals in Harry Potter, while leaving most of popular entertainment in the dust, aren’t even the best argument in favour of Harry Potter, even strictly from a Christian perspective. That honour belongs to their ability to encourage people to read.

How many children (and adults), worldwide, now read books regularly that never would have picked one up if not for Harry Potter? 50% more? 10 times as many?

Think how much more literate the world is, as a result of this one woman. Think how much a person’s life (and the lives of those around them, and often the lives of many others only vaguely connected to them) are improved by that person’s acquiring a lifelong love of learning and knowledge from an early age.

In a world where video games are entertaining enough to entice kids to play literally all day, where enough movies and TV shows are released to take up all our waking hours many times over, young people are actually reading books.

Christ taught that if you want to know whether something is good or not, you have to look at the actual results:

A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit… Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.

Matthew 7:20

That’s why Christians should be the last people on Earth to condemn these books.

Brandon Sanderson – First Australian Book Tour

Mark your calendars: Brandon Sanderson is coming to Australia for the first time in April 2012 to attend some conventions and do some book signings! No word yet on whether he’ll make it to Sydney.

Details so far (check his calendar for updates between now and then):

Doom-Con, Swancon 37, Perth, Australia

Date: 05.04.12 Time: 3:00 pm-7:00 pm
Place: Doom-Con, Swancon 37
Address: TBD, Perth, Australia
Type: Convention

schedule: April 5–9, 2012 (Easter weekend)

Notes: Brandon is International Guest of Honor.

Supanova Melbourne 2012, Australia

Date: 13.04.12 Time: 10:00 am-5:00 pm
Place: Supanova Melbourne 2012
Address: Melbourne Showgrounds
Epsom Road
Ascot Vale
Victoria 3032 Australia
Type: Convention

schedule: April 13–15, 2012

Supanova Gold Coast 2012, Australia

Date: 20.04.12 Time: 11:00 am-5:00 pm
Place: Supanova Gold Coast 2012
Address: Gold Coast Convention & Exhibition Centre
2684 Gold Coast Highway, Broadbeach
QLD 4218, Australia
Type: Convention

Booko

Wow, this is pretty cool:

Booko is an Australian site that, for a given book title, lists the price (including postage to Oz) for all online stores that ship to Australia.

Fastest way to find the cheapest total price for a book you want – and the cheapest is often cheap:

Example: Elantris by Brandon Sanderson, a favourite of mine, which I bought for about $22 at Borders in Parramatta:

Booko found a copy going for AUD $8.07, including postage, from Book Depository (US):

Check it out: booko.com.au

Another Booktopia free shipping code

[Update: code below now expired]

I got another free shipping code for Booktopia (see previous post) if anyone’s interested:

CHRISTMAS

It expires midnight on Sunday 28th November, 2010 (AEST).

Disclaimer: Just FYI, not a paid endorsement, etc

Another Booktopia free shipping code

(Note: coupon code below has expired)

I just did some Christmas shopping at Booktopia. Supported some authors I like and saved some money.

I got another one of those free shipping codes – you are welcome to use it, but it expires Monday:

Simply place an order before midnight on Monday 8th November, 2010 (AEST) with the promotion code below and you will receive free shipping on your order. The promotion code can be used as many times as you, or your family and friends, want on any orders between now and then.

Type the word SUPERB in the promotion code field when you checkout. (Codes are entered with your payment options at the end of the checkout process, make sure you click the word “Apply” next to the field to apply the discount).
Disclaimer: not a paid endorsement, just FYI, etc

Booktopia – free postage code

[Update: the free postage code below has expired.]

I’ve previously bought books from an Australian online retailer called Booktopia. Their prices and range are generally better than your traditional brick-and-mortar bookstores.

Amazon is still cheaper, usually – especially with the exchange rate so great for Aussies at the moment (about 1AUD = 1USD)  but when you factor in postage cost (and delivery time, of course) Booktopia will sometimes come out on top, especially for more than one book.

Booktopia postage is a flat fee of $6.50 for any number of books, to anywhere in Australia.

I recently looked at ordering about 5 books for myself and for Christmas presents, and despite Amazon being less than half the price on a few of them (that great exchange rate working nicely!) Booktopia still ended up cheaper thanks to the cheap postage. Did I mention the faster delivery?

I’m sharing this now because I just got a discount voucher from them in my email. “Share it around!” they said. Thus, here it is (use it quick, it expires Monday):

Free shipping, expires midnight on Monday 11th October, 2010 (AEST). Enter code at checkout: BOOKTOBERFEST

You can also win $1000 worth of books by ordering something during October.

Note: I’m not affiliated with Booktopia. I’m not being paid for this. Booktopia doesn’t know I’m writing it.

Basement Books

What happens when a bookstore orders too many copies of a particular book? I found out the full story only a few years ago.

It costs a lot of money to ship books around, and often publishers don’t charge the stores up front for the books, so the books will often be:

1. Remaindered, meaning marked with a pen on the bottom next to the spine and sent off to be sold cheaply elsewhere.

2. Have the cover stripped off and be destroyed (I’d always wondered why books often have an odd warning message about not being sold without the original cover in them – the publisher wants to be sure the books aren’t re-sold).

Well, I’ve found a place that sells remaindered books, and it’s fantastic. It’s called Basement Books, it’s near central station in Sydney, and I make every excuse to visit.

Yesterday I bought:

Remember, these books are brand new, and often good titles (even very popular titles) it’s just that somebody overestimated demand and ordered too many.

The shelves aren’t always alphabetised, and they don’t have everything, but you can get some great books for a heavy discount. Next time you’re in the neighbourhood, check it out.

Note: I’m not affiliated with Basement Books. I’m not being paid for this. They don’t know I’m writing it.

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