65 of 73 people found the following review helpful
on February 19, 2004
As a fellow pastor AND fan of the Harry Potter novels, I picked up this book with much interest. The introduction was intriguing enough, so I proceeded with the book. There is no doubt in my mind that evangelicals will dismiss this book as blasphemous. Harry Potter as Jesus? Dumbledore as God the Father? Fawkes as the Holy Spirit?? While I recognize the merit of Killinger's basic argument--that many of the themes in the Potter books are themes that have a Christian basis (if not an outright Christian character--I felt that his comparisons are exaggerated or altogether too weak to stand.
Of course, like others, I am totally embarrassed by the Christians who have dismissed the Potter books as "evil." I was hoping this book might be a reasonable, substantive argument against those accusations. Alas, it is not. In fact, it reads more like a synopsis of each of the Potter books in print with some theology thrown in to boot. Killinger's admiration for the Potter books stands out more strongly than any argument he makes for the books not being anti-Christian.
19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on January 3, 2006
(First of all, this is coming from a huge [Christian] fan of the HP books.) While some of his points do make since, most are not sufficiently explained, and are therefore unbelieveable. Killinger makes a lot of glaring mistakes; for example, he doesn't seem to understand the concept of a dementor other than the fact that it can (can being the main word) suck out one's soul. He also gives quite a few incorrect discriptions of exact events in the books. (An example: He said that Hagrid had turned Vernon Dursley to a pig in Sorcerer's Stone, but he actually gave DUDLEY Dursley a pig's TAIL.) The one crucial point that I think he has actually brought across is the role of good vs. evil in the series.
Overall, if you are a person who is looking to see if the series is appropriote for you or your children, buy this book. Otherwise, if you are a fan looking for a good defence of the books, don't waste your time.
22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on May 26, 2003
While reading this book I got the impression that Killinger wrote this book to refute Abanes's book on Harry Potter. He was irate over what Abanes wrote (which I completely understand) and so he posted his defense. However, he slips into many of the same mistakes as Abanes, although going the opposite direction.
1. He lambasts anti-Potterists as narrow-minded and numbskulls...it isn't going to win any friends.
2. His mainline Christian tendencies come out in force when he's quoting the Bible, referencing the JEDP hypothesis, an eschatological redaction of the Gospels, and Tillich's views on the mythological meaning of the resurrection. Along with referring to the Nativity as a "legend" he is hardly making any friends or credibility with the fundalementalists who have probably already have passed him off as a "so-called Christian" who is a part of Satan's deception.
3. If you did not understand the vocabulary of my last point, you will not understand the vocabulary of Killinger. I got a Religion degree from an Evangelical school, but even I had a hard time keeping up with his over-use of theologically-laden terms. Fortunately, he has enough sense to explain kerygma in an subordinate clause, but why even use it in a popular book anyway? Unless you have taken a few Theology or Bible classes, you're going to need a Theological Reference book by you at all times.
4. I consider myself well-read in the area of great Christian thinkers, but even I had to pause frequently before Killingers large block quotes to place the authors, ranging from Chesterson, Buechner, Nouwen, to Merton. Great people, but not read much outside the small Christian academic circle. A little help would be nice to understand who these people and why we should listen to them.
5. Killinger never actually refutes the main arguments of Abanes. I'm guessing that as a mainline Protestant they didn't make any sense to him, so he came up with his own arguments. So he never answers the question of what to do with the verses in Leviticus or Revelation that command captial punishment for witches. Along with his quotations of popular mediums and spiritists to prove that the world beyond is not so far away, fundalmentalists are sure to write him off as an occult sympathiser, or worse, a one-world-religionist.
6. While Abanes often makes the mistake of leaps of logic (like the idea that Harry can do divination because he can talk to snakes) Killinger also falls prey to this. He attempts to make connections where Rowling has explicitly said in interviews that no connection can be made (like a meaning to the word "Quidditch"). However other ideas, like making Harry into a Christ figure and Dumbledore into God, is tenuous and almost as funny as some of Abanes ideas.
The book does make some good points, but it hardly is going to convince an anti-Potterist to change their view. Instead this book would be wonderful for any well-educated evangelical or mainline Christian.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on April 18, 2007
While the title of this book looks promising,its content leaves much to be desired.At times, Rev. Killinger has a rollicking read, cleverly weaving Scripture and passages from the Harry Potter novels. MOST of the time, however, he is clunky,pedantic, and tries to string together unrelated ideas. Killinger opens the book bragging about how many churches he has led,and ends up being the mirror-image,mainline version of Richard Abanes,author of the "Harry Potter and the Bible" rant.
For example, when Killinger discusses Harry summoning his father's spirit as a Patronus,he drags in the New Age bestseller "Embraced by the Light", the Tibetan Book of the Dead,and Paul's letter to the Hebrews about the "cloud of witnesses." In another section,when trying to refute the Harry Potter series' connection to the occult,he does a laundry list of miracles in the Old and New Testaments,as well as various Christian saints,that goes on for several pages.He engages in constant name-dropping,referencing Henri Nouwen's "The Wounded Healer",Marcus Borg's "Meeting Jesus again for the first time",the Apocryphal Gospels,and equating the spiritual consciousness in the series with the famous tree-sitter Julia Butterfly-Hill,who in turn he equates with "the Buddhists of the 1970s who set themselves aflame for world peace."
Killinger nobly attempts to defend the Christian content of the Harry Potter series.While he tries admirably,he fails spectacularly.
on January 21, 2008
John Killinger's book is a fascinating read and one that I was eager to get started. I am a Christian who happens to be a Harry Potter fan and was eager to see if my thoughts on the series were in fact what others were thinking. I like the book for the most part, I truly do. I can see the analogies he makes very clearly and have often sited the same passages in my defense for the books. I do feel that he has left some details lacking and could have gone on to explain his hypotheses on certain areas a bit better. I found myself in certain sections agreeing wholeheartedly with his assertions (such as Harry Potter being the embodiment of hope for those he is trying to save much in the same way Jesus was viewed by his disciples) but on other areas I found myself scratching my head wondering where the heck he had gotten that information from. Some of it does appear to be pulled out of thin air or he stretches the reading so far that it fails to make any sense whatsoever. I would be interested to see another book such as this be released now that all the books in the series are released. I wonder what John Killinger would have to say about the "resurrection" of Harry at the end of book 7? What other symbolisms could be made from such simple things such as Dumbledore's core group of defenders being called the Order of the Phoenix (the phoenix in fact being a symbol for Jesus in history) or what he would have to say about the true master of death symbolism? It would be interesting to say the least. If you are not a huge fan of ancient mythologies or theologies you may find this book to be lagging in some areas. It may in fact bore a reader with only an interest in Harry Potter and not any of the hidden messages within the text. The only part that did annoy me a bit was what appeared to be simple errors when discussing the Harry Potter world, something that should have been more closely researched if he was releasing a book about that universe. In the first book Hagrid did not turn Vernon into a pig it was in fact Dudley. And in the third installment of the series a Patronous is not used to repel a boggart but instead it is used to repel dementors. These errors, although very trivial, do make me question his authenticity about his literature studies or his basic knowledge of the books he writes about. Does he truly care about the Christian world view on these books or is he in fact trying to profit off the Harry Potter series? It has to make you wonder just a bit!
All in all I will be rating this book a 4 for several reasons:
1. The book is put together in a sensible fashion that makes for a very well-organized read. It also makes this book great research material since all the areas are easily marked for quick reference.
2. I do believe that his heart is in the right place and his views are so interesting.
3. His research into ancient texts, not just the Holy Bible, is interesting and must have taken much time to locate. I am very interested, now, in picking up many of the books he sites within his page for further knowledge on my part.
4. Although there was some glaring mistakes when it came to the Harry Potter books, I do feel that most of the information was accurate and knowledgable...easily followed up by references to ancient texts.
5. It will, if nothing else, make it easier for Christian's, who happen to be fans of the series, to defend their reasoning. It will give them ammo to shoot back when they feel "under the gun" from book burners. And all in all it will make for a great debate.
on June 11, 2012
I ordered this book to learn more about the debate about the Harry Potter books and their questionable nature for Christians. I expected that a book by a Christian minister would be heavily based on Bible references to approve of the content in question. Instead, this book is full of references to ancient mythology which are not comforting for a Christian who is looking at how the book may influence young people. The worst aspect was that the author gave the impression he doesn't fully believe the Bible!
I was also amazed at the lengths this author went to in trying to link Harry Potter to Christ. It would have been comical if it weren't distressing considering the constant magic, lying and bad behavior of the title character. I really had to suspend my reasoning mind to read this. The author is an academic as well as a minister and it is definitely his academic training that he leans on in this particular book.
This book promised to demolish the objections of right wing Christians to Harry Potter. Oh boy, it failed terribly. When you try to explain away concerns about magic by referencing mythology and occult literature you are in a losing battle. It also promised to show that the books inspire young readers to follow the teachings of Jesus!! I wish it were so but I see no evidence of this contained in Killinger's book.
I will say I am glad I bought the book because now I know how fully mesmerized some people are with Harry Potter. Not only do some become obsessed with Harry but they go so far as to compare him to God.
24 of 36 people found the following review helpful
on November 24, 2004
The subtitle of the book is "A Christian Minister's Defense...." So how can a man with a doctorate in theology have such a poor understanding of Scripture?
If you're a conservative, Bible-believing Christian looking for a conservative biblical approach to the Harry Potter/Christianity issue, this book will surely disappoint you. The author takes a very dim view of Scripture.
I found John Granger's book to be much better written and far more informative.
on April 17, 2008
I find that this book has some good points, excellent things to point out and, with a bit more work, could have been an excellent defense of Harry Potter. However, I also find that there is much summary of the Harry Potter books, often without a clear reason for doing so. Moreover, the author is not always careful with details from the Harry Potter books. For instance, on p 33 of this book, the author says, "And, after a scuffle in which he [Hagrid] turns Vernon Dursley into a pig, Hagrid carries Harry off to London to get him [Harry] ready to go to Hogwarts." This is not how the events of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone unfold. It is Dudley, not Vernon whom Hagrid attempts to turn into a pig. Moreover, Hagrid's attempt was not fully successful. Rather, Dudley only grew a pig's tail out of it. The needless summary and the careless mistakes in referring to events of the Harry Potter books make the writing come across sloppy. Still, I do say that the book is not wholly without merit.
on November 27, 2009
Book arrived in a timely fashion and in perfect condition. I highly recommend this book--both for those who love Harry Potter and those who have reservations about the wizardry and magic in the stories. Killinger makes a clear, intelligent comparison of HP to the Christian faith. I came out understanding more about both after reading this book.
on February 17, 2013
At the time i got this book i was interested in the strict Christian view of Harry Potter that I love. I decided that i didn't agree with a lot of what they said but i could appreciate their point view and agreed with some of it, for children. Since I am an adult I will continue to enjoy the wonder of Harry Potter.