18 April 2006

The Biggest Problem With Conservative Xity...

Note from the LuapHacim, 11/14/2012: The views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect my current beliefs and convictions. Even if they do, I would almost certainly express them in different words today. Time changes people, and I am not exempt. Nonetheless, because of its historical value, I will not modify or remove this post. It tells you (and me) something important about where I've been. Read on at your own peril.

... is people who say things like this:

S- I love your analogy of gandalf being similar to an angel... I haven't thought of that!

P- I also agree that the magic between LOTR and HP are extremely non-comparable-- (if you can call it magic in the two former)

I know that when I read LOTR and Narnia... many times throughout.. I was overwhelmed with the amazing goodness and holiness of God..... I must admit I have not read Harry Potter, but I think it is safe to say those revelations probably wouldn't be there.

Yes, it's an actual quote from a forum where I was trying to have a rational discussion with these people about the relative merits of The Lord of the Rings, The Chronicles of Narnia, and Harry Potter. The problem is obvious: the poster refuses to even attempt to overcome her prejudicial assumptions, and in doing so, she creates an enormous strawman, which she then readily vanquishes.

Some other choice excerpts from the conversation:

E: It would be cool if he had a lightning bolt for a birth mark. Then you could call him Harry; Harry Porter. Then you could send him to hogwarts and promote witchcraft.....

Me: Hehe. Harry Porter. (Although really, I think he'd be in a better position to promote witchcraft if his name were Gandalf and he lived in Middle Earth)

A: At least Gandalf is obviously a ficticious character, in a ficticious land with ficticious beings ::shrugs::, meh

Me: I may be going out on a limb here, but I'm betting that a school called Hogwarts, and a sport called Quidditch, and people with names like Severus Snape and Sirius Black and Dudley Dursley, are probably intended to be part of a fictional world.

A: Hmmm... well, I guess I figure.. when in doubt look to the authors, and see what their lives are like and what they hoped to accomplish in their writing

Me: I see what you mean, and I think you have a good point. But since I have no way of really KNOWING what people's hearts are like, it seems like a better method might be to examine the text itself and weigh what it says in light of scriptural principles.

J: Fun liturature + Wichcraft = a bunch of morally confused christian kids.

S: ...not to mention the confusion of the kids who were not so blessed as to have christian upbringings.

Me: Harry Potter does differ in some substantial ways from the Narnia and LOTR books... but it does many of the same things. Dumbledore, the headmaster of Hogwarts, is very close to Gandalf in a number of ways. He is old, wise, and powerful. He pays a dreadful cost to fight against evil. He sacrifices himself for his friends.

Harry is quite similar to Frodo: he is thrust into a fight against evil in a way that he has little control over.
The ultimate message of HP is the same as that of LOTR and Narnia: Good must struggle against evil, and it takes sacrifice in order for good to win... but that's what good does, because that is the nature of good.

S: Although Harry might have some similarities with Frodo, the huge difference between them is their use of magic. Frodo obtains a magical object which, while promising excitement and irresponsibility, brings with it the bondage and hiding that inevitably accompany sin. Instead of owning and commanding it, it eventually owns and commands him, to the point where he cannot in his own power release his grasp on it.

Harry, on the other hand, uses a magic that is more along the lines of a nursery-rhyme fairy godmother or genie in a lamp; the worst mistakes that he can make will be due only to inexperience or lack of prudence in the practice of the craft, like when his friend, in anger, attempts to cast a spell on a bully only to have his wand backfire and give him a bad case of the slugs, or when they try to morph another friend into one of their teachers (I think), and accidentally turn her into an enormous cat.

I was on the verge of posting a huge rebuttal... but then I thought, "hm, how could this possibly be productive when the only logic these people respect is, 'well, James Dobson says these here books are naughty and witchy, so that's good enough for me.'?"
So frustrating. No wonder people think all Christians are ignorant and close-minded...


LQ said...

Greetings and salutations,

A few fairly random thoughts in response:

1. I'm inclined to think of the Biblical statement that one should concern oneself with the log in one's own eye before dealing with the speck in one's brother's eye...

2. It seems to me that stories of good versus evil have the same basic impetus, regardless of whether or not one might find them shelved in the religious fiction section of the bookstore.

3. The idea that, when in doubt, one should judge books by their authors kind of frightens me. Can't works of art have value above and beyond the cultural and historical (and religious) context of their authors?

4. You're fighting the good fight, the fight against ignorance, but I fear it's an uphill battle, to say the least, especially in cyberspace, where a large number of people seem to be interested only in having their own opinions reflected back at them (and I'm often guilty of that myself).

L (grad school friend of Izzy)

Izzy said...

It's funny because it makes me highly depressed.