Friday, July 20, 2007

Harry Potter doesn't know Jesus

Christianity cashes in

Coral Ridge Ministries is looking out for me. They want me to know the truth about Harry Potter. It seems that Harry Potter is a wizard! (Sorry: I should have put “Spoiler alert!” at the top of this post.) For a modest contribution (D. James Kennedy's outfit always needs money), Coral Ridge will send me a tell-all book by the distinguished scholar Richard Abanes.
Help for Potter-Puzzled Parents

“Let no one be found among you who, ... practices divination or sorcery , interprets omens, engages in witchcraft” (Deuteronomy 18:10 NIV)

In less than 48 hours, bookstores around the world will open to droves of wide-eyed children and parents desperate to feast their eyes on J.K. Rowling's final Harry Potter novel. While Rowling's book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, will undoubtedly fly off bookshelves, her Potter stories have stirred evangelical opposition because they glamorize the occult and introduce children to the world of sorcery.

But are Christian parents just overreactjng? What about popular fantasy novels such as The Chronicles of Narnia penned by C.S. Lewis, and The Lord of the Rings J.R.R. Tolkien? When does the world of imagination become dangerous to children?

Author Richard Abanes, an authority on cults and religions, answers these questions in his book Harry Potter, Narnia, and The Lord of the Rings: What You Need to Know About Fantasy Books and Movies. He uncovers what is inspiring and healthy, and what is potentially harmful and misleading in fantasy novels. He examines the occult's influence on children, and provides a clear-cut Christian perspective to help parents discern what lurks in the land of make-belief.

Request Harry Potter, Narnia, and The Lord of the Rings now and apply Abanes' insight to help you solve the Potter puzzle. When you do, you partner with Coral Ridge Ministries in helping to shed the light of God's Word in a darkening world.
Abanes must be a pretty smart cookie. How else could he be an authority on things as different as cults and religions? (I do believe that the main distinction is membership size.) This is a scholar of real breadth.

His list of publications is pretty impressive, too. If we check his listing at Amazon, we discover that he has been working on the Harry Potter controversy for some time. This is a man who knows how to cash in on popular marketing phenomena. His earlier treatise on Pottermania, Harry Potter and the Bible: The Menace Behind the Magick, would seem to have come down on the side that regards Harry Potter as perhaps a bad thing. Readers of Harry Potter and the Bible, however, seem to have concluded that it is Abanes' book that is the bad thing: of the readers who posted reviews on Amazon, twice as many gave twice as many readers gave it the lowest possible rating (1 star) as gave it the highest possible rating (5 stars). Also, if you peruse the reader reviews in “most helpful” order, the negative reviews are heavily front-loaded. I guess the negative reviews were deemed unhelpful.

Abanes presumably rehashes his anti-Potter material from his earlier book, mixing it with some new Narnia and Lord of the Rings material to fill out his exercise in recycling. Since both C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien were known to be devout Christians, I'm guessing that their fantasy novels fare better in the Abanes book than anything by J. K. Rowling.

The new book has just been listed on Amazon and has only a handful of reviews. It fares just a bit better than its predecessor. I do, however, particularly like the pithy comment by the person who uses the handle “Purple Wizard”: “Since Abanes found Harry Potter he has used Potter-bashing to make a fortune. I wish this guy would stop writing about Harry Potter since he hates him so much.”

Abanes does not limit himself to trying to ride the Harry Potter gravy train. He also took a stab at feeding off Dan Brown's leavings by exposing “the truth” behind The Da Vinci Code. Abanes is also pretty ticked at the Mormon church, which I suspect he lumps in with the cults, despite its millions of members.

How does one become a widely recognized expert on cults and religions? Richard Abanes is a former singer, dancer, and actor. One can hardly imagine a better preparation for taking on the threatening darkness of Harry Potter.



Anonymous said...

Dear . . . friend,

Your ignorance regarding the issues, my expertise, background, study, awards, and legitimate recognition as someone who knows a thing or two about various topics is staggering. Actually, a bit amusing, truth be told. You might want to take some time and actually read some of the things I have written, or learn a bit more about me, rather than simply parroting nasty accusations and assumptions. Of course, the facts will undoubtedly be less stimulating to you than the truth. Sad, but often the case.

1. I'm not cashing in on anything or riding any gravy train. I deal often with pop culture issues and religious issues. Hence, my dealing with things like Harry Potter, Brown's work, and Mormonism (all the topics you mention).
2. I haven't made a fortune from Harry potter, or anything for that matter. Sad, but true. Ah well.
3. Only 2, out of nearly 20 books I have authored, are on Harry Potter (this newest one being a revised/expanded edition of my second book Fantasy & Your Family).
4. I wonder why you failed to mention my other books -- e.g. my book that exposed the dangers of racism in America (American Militias), or my volume that provided a naturalistic explanation for the common Near Death Experience (Journey Into the Light), or my book that exposed and criticized dangerous end-time zealotry (End-Time Visions), which included well-known "Christian" prognosticators.
4. As for my show business career, that was an enjoyable profession I had in my younger days approximately 25 years ago. What were you doing 25 years ago?

Anyway, you might enjoy my newest volume, a novel of my own titled Homeland Insecurity, which deals with racism, hate, and bigotry -- some very big problems in this country -- and their link to terrorism in a fictionalized context.

Word of advice: Yo, be nice. Don't be hatin'. Life's too short. Oddly, in the Wiki article you reference, it says very plainly what my views are on Potter, and they're not that radical at all. Something else you forgot to mention. Sigh.


Richard Abanes

Zeno said...

Thanks for visiting, Richard. I'm glad you were amused. If your views on Potter are really that mild (one should trust Wikipedia articles only so far, you know), then why is Coral Ridge Ministries pushing your Harry Potter book? You're keeping strange company. Find more respectable associates. For example, is David Neiwert at Orcinus aware of your book on American militias?

Good luck with your writing career.

Anonymous said...

Z -

I keep company with all kinds of folks. In fact, oddly, I just emailed a white supremacist the other day and stopped by his page to see what he had to say. I have friends and associates who support my books who are Christian, Jewish, atheist/agnostic, etc. -- and just as many from the exact same sides who hate me. lol. Go figure. I actually think it's good that Coral Ridge thought enough of my book and what I had to say about the whole HP controversy to feature it. Good sign, IMHO.

Anyway, you asked: ". . .is David Neiwert at Orcinus aware of your book on American Militias?" I would say -- not sure. Maybe. That work of mine is from 1996, and sadly, has since gone out of print (hey, what do you expect, I'm not J.K. Rowling). Hopefully, David might become aware of my novel "Homeland Insecurity" on white supremacists and conservative extremists that just came out this month. I'll try to contact him about it.

And, BTW, I actually think you'd enjoy my novel. Perhaps you'll take a look at it in the store sometime. Feel free to post a review if you do. I am very much hoping it will open the eyes of many people to some serious threats in our country.


R. Abanes

Herr Ziffer said...

Why are you posting about Arbanes if you dislike him so much?

Zeno said...

Abanes seems like a perfectly nice person, Herr Ziffer, even if I did take a couple of pokes at him. [Please note the correct spelling of his name for next time.] I'm actually rounding up the usual suspects: the gang at Coral Ridge. They are nonstop purveyors of nonsense (on evolution, climate change, fantasy literature, paganism -- you name it), so sensible people would do well to shy away from them.

Porlock Junior said...

Besides, if Abanes is really fronting for the flaming Fundies, what a weak-kneed, wishy-washy position he has! The real guardians of morality are not having any of those fauns and witches that that phony C. S. Lewis propagandizes for.

Then again, Tolkien couldn't stand the fauns and witches and Father Christmas; but that was because he hated mixing mythologies. But I digress.

Anonymous said...

Critics critique. There are movie critics, play critics and book critics. The successful must rise above what critics say and not respond to them, whether the critique is largely negative or positive. To do otherwise, makes one, merely small potatoes. I am a grandmother interested in my grandchild's reading material, and was thinking of purchasing this book. However, watching the author defend his work, motives, life, friends, employment history, earnings, etc to a commonplace critique, is noisome, and I've abandoned the idea utterly.