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Well, here's some more randomness from my brain...
I've been thinking about a few things lately... Well, okay, a lot of things, but I'm only going to share a few of them.
This morning in my daily, random web-roving, I came upon the new trailer for the new Harry Potter Movie, HP & the Order of the Phoenix.
And I must admit, it was purdy kewl. Some years ago, when I first saw and heard of Harry Potter, I initially, immediately, shunned it. I believe we had a few of the books, as Dee would pick up lots of books at yard sales all the time, as we always try to have bunches of books, as, I believe Dee agrees with me, Books should be more available than movies. I'd much rather have my kids reading than watching TV or Video games.
Anyways, we purchased a copy of the first movie for the kids, discounted at the video store. I refused to watch it. I took the stand that it was trash. I'd "heard from someone" that it was nothing but satanic drivel meant to lure away kids. (Heck, I'd heard that about LOTS of things since my childhood.) And a couple years or so went by and we had bought the second movie for the kids.
During the whole time, I thought if the kids were really reading the books (which they weren't - they didn't read much if at all, unless it was for school), I might be worried, but they usually only watched the movies, as they watched everything else, mind-numbing entertainment and video games, with nary a thought.
At some point, I'd caught part of one of the movies on TV and it piqued my interest. One summer afternoon, during the dark days of my unemployed months, I sat down and watched all three movies up to that point (as we had just picked up the latest one). I was pleasantly surprised. All of the hardcore ranting against this franchise that I had heard, failed - as usual - to be true.
I then went to the bookshelves and sought out all of the Harry Potter books we had - and we had them all up to the current book at that time, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. And I read them all. (And I went and got the following books as they became available, and I read them, too.)
All of the rantings and ravings of "Satan's evil influence" and "dark, evil magic" that I had heard were now being flushed away with reality. I recall similar accusations against books by CS Lewis, Tolkien, and of course D&D (or role-playing games in general). The real problem is, in many of these "fantasy" works, the detractors always miss the main point: It's Fantasy. Fiction. Imaginary. Entertainment for the sake of entertaining its entertainees. Not a single drop of the fantastical elements are based in reality.
Magic, in all of these stories, is simply a thematic element, something to push it into the fantasy realm of the imagination, an escapist resort where the impossible, the improbable, and the unbelievable are commonplace. It is no different than military movies that show guns, historical epics that feature horses as a primary mode of transportation, or medical dramas that feature medicine and hospitals.
Something else that 'they' seemed to miss was that, just as in all of the other targeted fictional, fantasy stories, the line between Good and Evil is clearly drawn. Our heroes are fighting for Good against the Evil. The Evil is not praised and adored or glorified. All these detractors seemed to do is focus on certain elements and elevate the threat of Evil. They give Satan and Evil a whole lot of credit.
Now, forgive me, but at this point, I don't think I can say it any better than it is already stated in an article by Rod Robison, entitled "But I saw him levitate!" which is hosted on Gary F. Zeolla's excellent website Darkness to Light.
The article is referring to modern-day magicians and illusionists, the likes of David Blane, I imagine. However, he brings up some good points that apply to my topic here: We all give Satan way too much credit than he deserves, and attribute to him more power than he has.
II Thessalonians 2:9-10 states that when the Anti-Christ comes on the scene his abilities will be "in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders...." Note that Satan's own right hand man of the end-times will only be able to perform "counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders," not the real thing. Even at this pivotal point in history Satan's tactic is deception, not miracles.
Is all of this to suggest that Satan has no powers? The Bible is quite clear that he does possess powers, but that they are greatly limited by God. We are told in Ephesians chapter 6 to "put on the whole armor of God" so that we won't fall into Satan's schemes. But nowhere in the Bible are we told that he has the ability to give humans supernatural powers.
Okay, so if we get drawn into the idea that Satan can really give men evil powers, and such evil powers are then described and "glorified" in the likes of Harry Potter books and movies, then why is it that even the ultimate "Death Eater" is not even going to be truly powerful, but instead be a counterfeit, flim-flam man.
But then, why is it so many are so quick, in the christian-religious world, to blast fantasy stories? They are afraid, for themselves, and they say, afraid for the innocent children. But I say, don't give Satan more power over you! Read on:
One of Satan's greatest powers is the power to deceive--even Christians who should know better. By ascribing more power to Satan than God has given him we allow ourselves to be fooled into fearing him. If we believe that Satan can make people levitate and display all manner of supernatural manifestations then his power to intimidate us is greatly increased. We then unwittingly become more vulnerable to his schemes.
Jesus unmasked Satan when he said in John chapter 8, "He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies." Satan is a much better liar than he is a miracle worker. If we are to, "Test everything. Hold on to the good," as we are admonished in II Thessalonians 5:21, we'd be well served to understand the truth about the limits of Satan's power in this world and the limitless power of the God we serve.
You know, I don't mind people taking an active stand on something they believe. But I don't believe people should be taking stuff out of context to further an agenda, and proclaim the "evils of Satan" that are "being forced upon our children."
People take this stuff way too seriously. Satan is a liar and the father of lies, just like Jesus said. And he has people fooled into thinking that he is more powerful than he really is. He is a loser, folks. It’s been foretold that he is going to lose, and he isn't happy about it. There isn't a lot he can do directly, but he can lie, and through those lies he can make people believe those lies, which will lead them to inflate his power.
So, anyways, I think the point of my random rambling today is this: Fantasy books (or movies, etc) like Harry Potter aren't promoting the Devil's Agenda. They are merely fantasy fiction intended to entertain. Sure, there will always be some people out there who take things too far, and think that the magic is real. But these are the same type of people that will believe that there is a joint CIA-FBI-NBC-Alien taskforce out there monitoring brainwaves and stealing thoughts to create the latest combination microwave-pocketwatch-and-cell phone MP3 player to be used by Bigfoot to notify Amelia Earheart of Elvis's fresh batch of peanut-butter and banana sandwiches waiting in the fridge.