By Roy L. Dunigan
Not long ago, CNN aired a story about a church in North Carolina that was organizing an event where the congregation would build a bonfire and burn things they feel were associated with the Devil. Primarily, they targeted the Harry Potter series of books as specifically stated by the church’s pastor on television.
So what message are they sending? What could they possibly be accomplishing by burning Harry Potter books? Why is this even newsworthy? I believe the only thing they managed to accomplish was to bring more scorn upon the Christian church. All such actions do is send a message to the world that it is going to Hell because of all the people that read Harry Potter books. It says, “We think we’re better than you and you are all sinners and going to Hell to burn for all eternity!”
Frankly it comes across as arrogant. All that particular church has accomplished is to make the world view them as ignorant book burners. They also gave CNN a chance to make the Christian church as a whole look bad which they will gleefully do without hesitation.
I wish I could get the pastor of that church to tell me what he thinks his congregation is accomplishing by burning Harry Potter books. I would love to hear his rationalization about what kind of ‘victory’ they have by doing so. Since this is the “What would Jesus do” generation, I’d like him, or someone, to tell me when it was documented ANYWHERE in history, not just the Bible, that Jesus engaged in such acts. When did Jesus get into the face of a tax collector or prostitute and scream, “Yer all sinners and goin’ ta Hayull!” (You’ll have use your imagination and supply your own southern preacher accent to that statement)
I recently read that Daniel Radcliffe, the young actor who portrays Harry Potter in the films, is an atheist. He apparently is a fan of Richard Dawkins, who is the current Atheist guru leading the charge for their cause to sell-out crowds. So once again the church has a reason to hate Harry Potter because Daniel Radcliffe is an atheist and will lead all our children to Hell. But I have to ask the question, “Why is Radcliffe an atheist to begin with?”
Could it be because of the church constantly harping on the evils of the character he plays in the movies? Could it be that all he’s heard for most of his young life, from so-called loving Christians, that he is leading the current generation to Hell? Could it be that the constant condemnation that the Harry Potter series has received from church congregations all over the world has driven the young man to seek to prove to himself that there is no God and thus no consequences to his actions in life?
Is the church then responsible for his destruction in the end? What would Jesus do if He met Daniel Radcliffe? What would Jesus say if He met Daniel Radcliffe? What would Jesus say if He observed the church condemning sinners instead of reaching out to them like he did in the Bible? “Cast the first stone?”
The world is growing increasingly hostile toward the church and I say that it is no wonder. The church condemns everything and everyone around it for not falling into line with it’s beliefs. We look down our noses at “sinners” and convey the message that we are better because we are going to Heaven and the rest of the world will go to Hell! Some Christians declare it with such an obvious sense of self-righteous satisfaction that it is no wonder we are no longer wanted.
What would the world be like if the church actually reached out to the communities around it? At one point in history, the church was the very center of communities in America but no more. What happened? I dare say that somewhere along the line, church congregations cloistered themselves behind the closed doors of their church buildings and began condemning everything beyond those doors.
Not too many years ago there was a fight about having the Ten Commandments posted outside a courthouse. Suddenly the church made itself heard by crying out against having the monument bearing the Ten Commandments removed. The fact never dawned on anyone that the Ten Commandments were on display at that courthouse for several decades and STILL corruption prospered. Maybe the people of the church were expecting the Ten Commandments to do the job of community outreach for them.
Sadly, I feel its too little to late for the church to turn things around for the current generation. We have established our reputation and now have to deal with the consequences of it. Harry Potter books are being burned and CNN has it’s story and more damage is done to the cause of Christ. To change things, we must reach out to the communities around us rather than condemn them.
If you want a small taste of what the world thinks of the Church’s condemnation of everything, check this out and scroll down to the readers’ comments. Warning: Foul language!
Roy is 39 years old and originally from West Virginia. He is in the military having served in both the Air Force and now the Army. He was raised Baptist but is pretty much non-denominational now.