All the wands, and owls, and broomsticks are nothing more than a plot device. A vehicle the story rides to move forward. Potion lessons were never about whatever mystical substance Harry was trying to brew, it was just a natural way to get him and Snape in the same room together. Now, naturally there are two sides to this coin, and on the other side you’ll find works like The City of Bones. Anyone who’s picked up Cassandra Clare’s bestselling novel/movie, The City of Bones, knows the series has a rather unhealthy obsession with magic, demons, and fallen angels in general.

What makes it worse for Christian readers is that these things aren’t just meant to drive the story, they are the story. Harry Potter is a coming of age tale with a little magic thrown in to bring out the wonder, The City of Bones tries to be something much more sinister. God teaches all of us to live our lives with discernment (Psalms 119:125Proverbs 3:21, and this is especially true when dealing with pop-culture. Try to apply this if you have uncertainty with a particular book or movie.

Where do I stand spiritually?

In 2005, I picked up a book called Percy Jackson and the Olympians and was instantly hooked. The story revolved around a young boy who discovered that the Greek gods were real and causing mischief in the modern world. Early on the book made it clear that the figures of Athena and Zeus weren’t really gods in the spiritual sense, and for me, that was enough. Not all Christians felt the same way I did, however, and at one point I even got into an argument with a friend who insisted I shouldn’t be reading books with false gods in them. At the time, I thought they were just being overdramatic, but over the years my feelings have changed.

In 1 Corinthians, Paul instructs his fellow Christians not to become a stumbling block to one another (1 Corinthians 6:121 Corinthians 8:13. He explains that we all have our own strengths and weaknesses, and what doesn’t bother one Christian may cause his brother to stumble. The fantasy genre could easily become one of these stumbling blocks. Some Christians have a high tolerance for fantasy; to them it will always be make-believe, while others simply aren’t comfortable with a subject they feel infringes on their relationship with Christ. If you enjoy a little magic in your books and movies, don’t look down on those who chose to abstain, and if you chose to abstain, don’t criticize those who decide to participate. 

Whatever your feelings may be, don’t make yourself a stumbling block between others and Christ.

*This Article First Published 5/21/2013