Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Aladdin vs Harry Potter

I'm a Christian, and if you've got a problem with that you may want to stick around because I'm going to complain about some Christians.

Think back to when the Harry Potter stories came out. He was a witch and he went to a school for witchcraft.

You may know that Christians take a dim view on witchcraft. And for good reason. How can you go about building a technological society when you're fussing with toads and newts? Witchcraft is not real and it does not work. Take your most fervent wiccan and she'll take her kids to soccer practice in a car, not a broom. It is the denial of reality that's at the root of Christianity's conflict with the elder religions termed pagan. There is no spirit in the tree that keeps it evergreen and no reason to bring it into your house so that this spirit might protect you.

Christians also take a dim view of the Devil. You may have heard that he was once an angel and he led a revolt of other angels, and these other angels are now what we call demons. Christians take a VERY dim view of consorting with demons.

Though Christians take a dim view of witchcraft, we have no problem with technology. Isaac Newton figured out the law of gravity and tied calculus to it, and gave us a better explanation for planetary motion than angels pushing them about. Christianity and Science will butt heads from time to time, but never about whether something works or not. Do all those funky things with relativity or quantum mechanics bother Christians? No.

With this in mind let's consider Harry Potter. He goes to school and he learns the rules of how magic works. He's a magic technologist. Brooms fly in Harry Potter's world because there's some force he can control that overcomes gravity. Not much different from science fiction, except it's a "science" that doesn't exist. There's not a lot for a Christian to object to in that sort of magic-technology.

Contrast that with the Aladdin story. I didn't hear any Christians whining when Disney made the Aladdin movies. Or decades ago before Larry Hagman became J. R. Ewing and he Dreamed of Jeannie.

What is a genie anyway? If he's a djinn, he's a demon. And if she's a djinni, she's a lady demon. So, Aladdin and Larry Hagman are consorting with demons. They get magic things done by making a deal with the demon and demonic forces are employed by the demon as he wants.

As you may recall I am a Whig, and the greatest Whig was Daniel Webster who had his own dealings with the devil. Mr. Webster argued in court for the soul of the unfortunate Jabez Stone who'd sold his soul to the devil.

The only difference between Jabez Stone and Aladdin or Larry Hagman are the terms of the deal they make with the demonic.

Happily, these are all fictions and we can sleep easy knowing that the devil's not going to come down to Georgia lookin' for some soul to steal. Nor is there any imp in the bottle.

But there are Christians who gets their knickers in a knot. If they're all mad about Harry Potter, point them to the much bigger problem they should have with Aladdin and Barbara Eden.


  1. And don't forget Bewitched.

  2. I really don't think it's Christianity's alleged problems with Harry Potter that cause problems. Rather...this is an issue that one would be better off asking Galileo about.

    Although modern day Christians have no problem with technology, to preserve its monopoly both on "acceptable knowledge" and trade the Catholic church hasn't exactly been the driving force of technological progress in years gone by.


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