Harry Potter a Highway to Heathenism.

Paganism is no longer a road less traveled. Why should it be? The exit ramp leading to witchcraft in the past 20 years has undergone massive reconstruction. The traffic has demanded a widening to accommodate the flow of people who are interested in the art of magic. There are many demonic attractions which lore the young and old alike, not the least of these being Harry Potter.

As of April 2001, over 90 million Harry Potter books have been sold. More than 50% of children in the United States have read at least one book in this series. These books are on the reading list in almost every school in America.

It is no wonder that the Gallup poll shows that the belief in witches has increased from 14% to 26% in the last 10 years.

The USA Today made this claim about Harry Potter in an article entitled Modern witches charmed by Harry Potter.

"He (Harry Potter) has modern-day witches enchanted too. ''For once, the witches aren't ugly old hags,'' said Michael Darnell, 39, a computer programmer from Winnipeg, Canada, who has been a practicing witch for 25 years. (USA Today May 30, 2000)

Witchcraft on the information highway shows limitless access for those who have had their interest peaked by Harry Potter. You can demonstrate this very easily by using an Internet search engine. Here are some results you might find if you search the internet for sites housing these words: Witchcraft 341,000 sites, Necromancy 13,400 sites, Divination 193,000 sites, Black Magic 58,000 sites, Magic Spells 45,000 sites, Love Spells 11,900 sites.

We must admit that America has come a long way in her appetite for witchcraft since Samantha started wiggling her nose over 20 years ago. Should Christians take Harry Potter and other venues for the occult seriously? Consider these findings in an article entitled, More young Britons believe in aliens than God -

LONDON, Dec 18, 1999. (Reuters) Ė"More young Britons believe in the existence of aliens and ghosts than believe in God, a survey revealed on Saturday. A poll of 1,000 young people aged 15-24 showed that 70 percent had "some belief" in ghosts and 61 percent in aliens. Only 39 percent had any belief in Christianity."

This study may reveal something Christians may want to consider before dashing out to grab the latest Harry Potter novel, or video. The belief in God is suppressed when children seek occult information about the supernatural. Something we must realize is that anytime we violate Godís Word, there will be adverse results. Isaiah gave a strong warning about seeking advice from those who practice wizardry. "And when they shall say unto you, Seek unto them that have familiar spirits, and unto wizards that peep, and that mutter: should not a people seek unto their God? For the living to the dead?" Isa. 8:19

One of the main ingredients for heathen practice is communication with the dead. In I Samuel

28: 7- 25, we read about a desperate man named Saul who sought out divine guidance from an occult source. There has been much debate over this story regarding who it was Saul talked with. Was it Samuel, or was it a demonic spirit? In either case, the result was the same. God judged him for seeking out demonic practices: as well as harboring a heathen culture after God commanded it to be destroyed.

Communication with the dead is called Necromancy. This is a forbidden practice mentioned in Deut. 18:11. Yet America is bombarded with this practice. Could Harry Potter encourage children to seek out this forbidden practice? Three of his professors at Hogwart School for Witchcraft and Wizardry are dead - The Bloody Baron, Nearly Headless Nick and The Fat Friar.

It is not a huge leap of faith for children to move from Harry Potterís fictional portrayal of communication with the dead to John Edwardís television program, "Crossing over with John Edwards". This program claims that John Edwards has a wonderful gift of reaching the dead. The producers can be very convincing to desperate people who want to talk to a dead friend or relative. Without being redundant, this is a practice condemned in Godís Word. To answer questions such as, can people talk to the dead, and do the dead have a desire to talk to the living, there is a story in the Bible about a rich man who died. He wanted to warn his brothers about the torment of the afterlife without God. "And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead." (See Luke 16:19-29).

Using fantasy to introduce Harry Potterís youthful fans to real heathenism is explained by Elizabeth Kronzek a co-author of the book, "The Sorcerer's Companion: A Guide to the Magical World of Harry Potter", in a USA Today article, "The lore of 'Harry Potter'; A treasure-trove of myths and legends is delighting kids and scholars alike", by Claudia Puig.

"Rowling's richly detailed, meticulously researched tales draw upon hundreds of years of history. "I don't know how much research she did, but there's no question that she did quite a lot," Elizabeth Kronzek says. "I think she's (J.K. Rowling) been interested in this stuff all her life and is probably somebody who was reading folklore and mythology from a young age.

"As I was reading the books, I thought certain names were so funny: grindylows (water demons), hinkypunks (one-legged spirits) and red caps (evil goblins). I was sure she'd made them up. But I discovered that, no, these are actually from European folklore. Some of them are from very, very obscure folklore." USA Today Nov. 16, 2001.

On the Harry Potter website children are encouraged to meet wizarding friends, learn spells, and finally consider becoming a wizard. Their homework assignment is to write an essay entitled, "Why were Witch Burnings Totally Pointless". The research supporting that position will open your childrenís eyes to how vicious and vile the Christian faith can be. The occultist must be aware that by misrepresenting the Christian faith to your children will lead directly to the on ramp of the Heathen Highway. There are many avenues such as spells, divination, charms, and magic that intersect Harry Potter to the Heathen Highway.

The word fantasy is not mentioned in the Bible. The word imagination is used to describe what we call fantasy today. Letís consider five things bad fantasy can produce:

1. God judges not only the actions of man but also the thoughts of man.

Gen. 6:5, "And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually." All evil acts are first rehearsed in the mind of the perpetrator. God not only judged the pre-flood people because of their actions, but also by their thoughts.

2. Imagination can lead you away from God.

The prophet Jeremiah acknowledged that it was the imagination of the children of Israel that led them away from God. "But they hearkened not, nor inclined their ear, but walked in the counsels and in the imagination of their evil heart, and went backward, and not forward." Jeremiah 7:24.

3. Satan can use the imagination to lead people into demonism.

"This evil people, which refuse to hear my words, which walk in the imagination of their heart, and walk after other gods, to serve them, and to worship them, shall even be as this girdle, which is good for nothing." Jeremiah 13:10.

4. Continuing in a bad thought life after knowing Godís Word will lead to an evil heart.

Rom 1:21, "Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened."

5. God gives us the warning concerning fantasy.

"Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ." II. Cor. 10:5.

In conclusion, would those same supporters of Harry Potter who think Christians are over reacting to witchcraft being taught as literature, have the same view if the "Left Behind" series were taught to their children? If we give the "Left Behind" series to friends and family in hopes of converting them to Christianity, why is it an extremist view to believe that some who promote Harry Potter may be hoping for the conversion of your children to Wicca? The Heathen Highway is not always well marked, making it hazardous driving during lifeís storms. There are no speed limits, potholes are numerous, and curves are sharp, contributing to many fatalities. As Christian parents, we may consider the exit ramp which leads to the Expressway called Holiness, not just another rest area on Heathen Highway.