I really do keep up on what people search for on this blog, and sometimes it prompts me to write posts about it, if I haven’t addressed that particular topic in the archives.
So, one particular search term this week stood out to me: “should Christians read about vampires and magic”?
It depends on the Christian.
Let’s talk about magic, first.
The Bible says not to practice the occult or dabble in witchcraft, because such things are not of God. Reading a book or watching a television show or movie with magic in it isn’t actually practicing magic, since you’re not doing it. So, you can choose to take that scripture to include all literature and film, or just to deal with “real life.” If you decide the former, however, you had better be consistent—you shouldn’t throw out Rowling but still be fine with heroes using magic in Disney animated movies.
There are also many different kinds of magic in fiction: the innocent, wand-waving, candle-lighting variety that everyone knows is make believe, and the more sinister, satanic-influenced rituals, spells, and sacrifices. A Christian might be totally comfortable with the “fairy tale” kind of magic, but not with the “occult-like” magic, which includes séances, blood sacrifices, and “creepy stuff.” Because Ouija boards and séances are “real life” things that can encourage demonic communication, I’m much more uncomfortable with them in books or movies than I am with Hermione brewing up a Polyjuice Potion in Moaning Myrtle’s bathroom.
Whatever we choose (and it is a personal choice, between what we believe God wants us to do), we must remember that Bible also says is not to do anything that might cause another believer to stumble in their faith. We shouldn’t encourage others to embrace or try out fiction or film that violates their personal standards or beliefs. If you were raised in a strict household and believe it’s not good to read or watch anything with magic in it, then you must hold to the standard God calls you to, but not judge others if they don’t agree with you. It’s a much greater sin to pridefully condemn another believer for reading Harry Potter than it is for them to read it, if they feel comfortable in doing so.
Now, let’s talk about vampires.
The Bible doesn’t say anything about vampires, because they’re fictional creatures and don’t exist. So, whenever faced with a topic that scripture doesn’t address, we’re left to draw our own conclusion based on what we know of God. We know He wants our highest priority in life to be our relationship with Him. We know He wants us to value what is good, and condemn what is evil.
This means that our opinion of vampires needs to be based in whether or not they cause us to sin. If vampires cause you to have impure thoughts, give you an interest in “darker things” or the occult, or spark violence in you, you shouldn’t read or watch stuff revolving around them. It’s as simple as that—and again, it’s not one size fits all. Just as our relationship with God is unique to each one of us, so too is the standards He holds us to.
But wait a minute, you might ask, aren’t vampires symbolic of the antichrist? Shouldn’t that automatically mean Christians ought to avoid them?
Yes, vampires are damned creatures, condemned to eternal separation from God because their souls are lost to darkness. Some of them, like Stoker’s original Dracula, are evil, and some of them are pitiable and likable. Many are even in search of redemption, a cure that would let them be human once again. And until God entered our lives, we were like vampires: distant from Him, condemned to an eternal separation, and utterly without redemption. For some believers, the eternal search of most “tortured vampire heroes” reminds us of mankind’s deep and abiding need for Christ and our own inability to be “good enough” for God on our own.
There is no easy answer to questions like this, just a matter of personal conviction and choice.
This has been something nagging at me for years. I was raised in a “Sunday Christian household” as I have gotten older I have learnt that most Christian’s around me disapprove of twilight and Harry Potter etc. it has been a struggle as I want that relationship with Christ to be my focus however should I throw out all my Harry Potter books etc? Like is that holding me back from seeing the Holy Spirit at work in my life.
I don’t think the Holy Spirit is so small, it can be overshadowed by a fiction book series. If while reading them, you feel uneasy in your spirit, that’s something to listen to and act on, because it’s a direct conviction. If, however, your unease is coming from other people’s opinions, that’s not necessarily you being “convicted” of something that needs expunged from your life. Usually the Lord is more concerned with the state of our heart than external things, and over time, we learn what is and isn’t okay for us, personally, based on what He convicts us of.
I have been on both sides of this question. I have always loved fantasy and magic and well not vampires. I’ve never understood the attraction. As a Christian what bother’s me most is other Christians interpretations of people who do read Twilight, Harry Potter, ect. I think the popularity of the LOTR, Harry Potter films has made the books more palatable to those who hated the books ect. I don’t understand how you can just blanket condemn something you have not taken the time to understand.
Unfortunately, many Christians value “being right” over “loving one another.” I fall prey to it as well — my opinion overrules everyone else’s feelings. =/
An excellent treatise! We are `free´ to do anything but not all things are beneficial…
True. We’re free to eat all the chocolate we want, but getting fat, pimply, bloated, and slow might not be the best thing for us in the long run!
Fantastic points! I heartily agree that it depends on the Christian. I have never been a fan of vampires and dark magic, but I love fantasy and magical stories like Narnia and Once Upon A Time. I also feel strongly drawn to Harry Potter, although I have yet to venture beyond the first movie.
I love fantasy too, in all its forms… I think God often speaks the strongest through fantasy. (Of course, He also speaks through a lot of other things, too!)
Totally agree. It depends on the Christian. For years I opposed the whole Harry Potter thing and at times I am still wary of it, but now I’ve become obsessed with “Once Upon a Time.” Which is a very “magical” show. Narnia is a great alternative to it all.
Very true — it’s all about how you were brought up, and what you are spiritually “sensitive” to. The hardest thing is not being too critical of one thing and loving something exactly like it! I know people who won’t even read Narnia because of the magic — and I’m okay with that, because it’s consistent with their no-magic policy.
I really like your thoughts. I’ve never struggled with magic or vampires, but there are other things I struggle with, and I have to be careful what I watch or read.
We all have our weaker points. I can’t watch stuff with ghosts in it (that isn’t meant to be funny) because for some reason, that really opens me up to… stuff.
Excellent post, Charity. Thank you for taking the time to approach this controversial subject.
You’re welcome, glad you enjoyed it!
Excellent, Charity! I agree with you completely. It’s your choice, yet beware of not causing others to sin and/or not judging what they read/watch or don’t read/watch. Very nicely put. Just wanted to say how I appreciate and enjoy your writings on here. And not just the vampire/magic ones either! 🙂
It took me a long time to figure out a balance between loving something (and wanting everyone to watch it) and not tripping up other believers by inviting them to watch/read it with me. I still sometimes fail at that in spectacular fashion!
Well, thank you. I appreciate that very much. 🙂