[Edition 49] OXFORD, Tuesday: A number of concerned British Harry Potter fans have spoken out against the Bible, claiming that the holy text of the Christian Church can cause serious damage to children, who might interpret the miracles as evidence of the supernatural.
Walking on water … Jesus criticised for misleading special effects
[Edition 49] OXFORD, Tuesday: A number of concerned British Harry Potter fans have spoken out against the Bible, claiming that the holy text of the Christian Church can cause serious damage to children. “Reading the Bible teaches children to believe in the supernatural,” said one English Literature academic from Oxford University, Lewis Williams. “The tales of Jesus turning water into wine are fairly harmless, but there is a serious risk of children drowning if they try to walk on water,” he said. “And the chance of serious bodily harm isn’t exactly minimised by that whole ‘resurrection-from-the-dead’ story either.”
Christians have responded that reading the Bible assists with literacy skills, but Williams rejects this idea too. “The Bible is only ever read in very small chunks, a few paragraphs at a time. It’s never read as a long sustained narrative like the Harry Potter series. Reading too much of the Bible promotes a very short attention span,” he says.
Critics such as Williams warn that without appropriate parental guidance, reading the Bible may make children unable to enjoy quality children’s literature. “Enjoying books such as Harry Potter or the Narnia series requires the ability to suspend disbelief,” he said. “When children are taught that the Bible is absolutely literally true, and that a story like Noah’s Ark actually happened, the imagination is completely stifled – it’s very detrimental.”
Williams has also pointed out that some of the scarier elements in fantasy novels will really frighten children if they think they are true. “Some children may think that murderous Dark Wizards such as Voldemort (the villain of the Potter series) are actually real if they’ve been corrupted by Christians who believe that devils and magic actually exists,” he said.