January 10, 2010

I'm reading Graham Ward's new book, The Politics of Discipleship. In it, he gives sampling of the various forms of the "return of religion" in Western culture. Among these descriptions, his reading of the Harry Potter series stands out:
the liberal secularists are portrayed throughout mainly as rather stupid, petty-minded, fearful, self-indulgent, and frequently cruel bourgeios Muggles. Although some Muggles do cross the line --for example Hermione Granger-- take up their wands and cauldrons, and step onto platform nine and three quarters at King's Cross station for a journey into the supernatural. There is no doubt in these books where reality lies --with the world of magic, even in this world is divided between the dark arts, which wish to persecute and victimize the Muggle world, and the magical practices of hope and goodness, which do not wish to redeem the Muggle world but certainly want to protect it in some sense. . . . Furthermore, secularism, figured as the fear of magic among Muggles such as he Dursleys, is viewed as a pathology --a pathology with which the minister of magic, Cornelius Fudge, colludes in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. In other words, [unlike C. S. Lewis' Chronicles of Narnia] there are not two worlds in the Harry Potter series, only two ways of seeing, experiencing, and living the one reality.

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