Bobby, you are doing a great jobBobby said:I DO THIS JOB FOR FREE AND ALL I GET IS COMPLAINTS.
You dodged all of what I said in my post, Bobby. Here is what you said "I have noticed among some people, converts of course...." My point is that is an entirely untrue thing about the spiritual children of Elders. The majority of their spiritual children are cradles. This entire thing with people crying "Guru cultism" shows just how little they know about Eldership in the Orthodox Church. The Tradition has been alive on the Holy Mountain for over a thousand years, and it has been around even longer than that with the desert Fathers and Mothers. Thus I find it incredibly annoying when someone who isn't even Orthodox pontificates on Elders being guru cultists and a phenomon of converts.Well Nektarios, it seems you thought I was trying to insinuate, wrongly might I add, that all converts are stupid. Nowhere did I say this. Nor did I mention anywhere that the entirety of converts all do the same thing. You seem to be generalizing. Nevertheless, you can't deny the fact that there are people who seek constant attention and want someone to tell them how to live their lives. This is what attracts people to cults. I am very familiar with the role of the Spiritual Father in the Orthodox tradition. What I think is wrong when the Spiritual Father goes beyond Spiritual Father, and becomes a person's GURU of sorts.
That shows that you aren't an English major!Bobby said:Call me stupid, but why do people read so much into this Harry Potter stuff? It's just like the Matrix, people write tomes on possible interpretations.
If you enjoy reading Harry Potter, by all means go ahead, but I don't see any particular reason to write essays on why it is good/bad.
Nektarios,Thus I find it incredibly annoying when someone who isn't even Orthodox pontificates on Elders being guru cultists and a phenomon of converts.
I speculate that they changed the title on the American edition due to "philospher" giving the idea of some musty, arguementative scholars. *I* knew about the Philosopher's Stone and Alchemy from my European history and Science (history of chemistry) readings. I recall reading the (I think it was) Time Life book on the Elements and it had pictures from old alchemy books illustrating early chemists at work and told about how they discovered things while trying to make the Philosophers Stone. But I suspect that that sort of thing isn't taught much or at all. Thus the name change.katherine 2001 said:In England, the first book was called "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone." I wonder if the title had remained the same here in the States whether there would have been such a backlash against the books. You have to admit that changing "philosopher's stone" to "sorcerer's stone" might give Christians pause.
My comments aren't directed at Hypo-Ortho, but the entire thread which I find a bit mind-numbing (even the highlight bug debate, though it was mildly amusing)...Hypo-Ortho said:Personally, I am an adult Orthodox Christian without an Elder (Staretz, Geron) to guide me. Sometimes, however, I think this seeking after eldership can go too far and result in a cult around the Elder, even if the Elder does not encourage such, IMHO.
I do have my parish priest, who is also my normal father-confessor, however, and I do know a hieromonk and another parish priest fairly well, and if I have questions of a spiritual or moral nature, I raise them with them. But as far as the Harry Potter books, I don't see them as important or influential enough in my own life to even bother my confessor, the hieromonk or the other priest with such trivia.
Or even around the church fathers.srenalds said:Cults can form around anyone, even JK Rowling and Harry Potter. Nobody is above deception in this regard.
You are conflating two entirely different lines of argument. I spoke of Rowling and Ephraim as allies, not enemies. What others said about cults is not something I understand and have no real comment on; probably it is worth pursuing but I don't see what it has to do with Harry Potter. But that's just me.My thoughts are that it is strange we readily accept and recommend others to read Harry Potter, but we question the influences of an Orthodox Spiritual Father as cultic.
Because if he won't read it, he isn't qualified to offer an opinion about its contents. When priests and the like denounce Harry Potter and cannot get the facts about it straight, then they do not speak from the Spirit, for the Spirit does not speak lies. And if they refuse to be corrected, then again, they have proven themselves to be unfit.Why should any Elder actually read Harry Potter to have an opinion about it?
My point all along has been that most people under an Elder are cradles. Also that if you resort to using the word guru to describe Eldership you haven't the slightest clue what you are talking about. The extreme obedience which you fidn to be guru cultism is in fact very patristic and ancient in Orthodoxy.I too have noticed among some people, converts of course, that a "cult of elder" does in fact take place
Nothing of the kind has been demonstrated. I've read the books-- all of them. Nobody else here has even claimed to read the fifth book, though I'm sure some have.srenalds said:Regarding Harry Potter... I believe on this forum we have demonstrated the following:
1) There is nothing Christian or Orthodox about it, but some Christians will go to much trouble to try and justify this work of fiction. They will also stoop to justify their opinions by comparing SAT scores and talking about whether or not they are cradle-Os or converts.
Well, there's impact, and there's impact. People get wrapped up in it because (at least on one crucial level) it is well-written. It's hardly perfect, but it is a very enjoyable read.2) It has a very deep influence on those who read the books. I would almost say it has a greater impact on adults than children. I haven't met anyone yet who hasn't gotten totally wrapped up in them.
It is not near cult-like, and it is not religious in this sense. It is just the normal course of celebrity. It is perfectly ordinary to re-read books; almost any book I like I will re-read, just because that's the way I read. Plenty of people are that way, and plenty of other people never read anything more than once. If this difference means something, it doesn't mean anything about Rowling or the HP books.3) There is a near cult-like religious following of readers who will undoubtedly buy, read and keep reading all the books. Some have read the 900 page book multiple times since it was released. All in the name of entertainment... How can this be a "good thing?"
Or between JK Rowling and Dostoevsky, if it comes to that. Or Lewis, or Tolkien, or Charles Williams, or George Macdonald, or.........If you want to be entertained... we certainly can watch our life tick away, feeding our own fallen imagination while we escape into a realm of JK Rowlings fallen imagination... However, let's not argue about whether or not the books have merit beyond a purely worldly and pagan work of fiction. There really is little difference between JK Rowling, Steven King and/or Robert Jordan.
So tell me-- what are these "similar cicumstances"? What you are giving me at the moment is not your director's opinion of HP, but yours. In a sense, you are presuming yourself to give direction.srenalds said:If the Church is a hospital of souls, it's important to find a good doctor to be your spiritual father. Certainly, we are all fallen, but there are some who are purified or trying to be purified... Some may even be illumined... My spiritual father isn't a monk, he's a married priest who is the chaplain of a monastry. He lives very piously and tries to teach us moderation in all things. I have not asked him about Harry Potter, but I know in similar circumstances he hasn't given blessing to read such things. The monastry is also one of Elder Ephraim's.
You have repeatedly referred to "fallen imaginations". Are you thus saying that human imaginations are to be quashed or ignored?srenalds said:Our imaginations are fallen...
Or they can be good, depending on what is given.Feeding our imagination is not exactly the best way toward deification. Neither would be eating lots of food, sleeping too much, or doing a whole lot of things that some might consider "delights"... most of all me. Notice that these things aren't all-together bad, but they can be.
Iindeed, many can find things which are not present at all in books, if they look hard enough and do not consider there could be other things meant. :- I have seen an anti-Harry Potter website that purports to show all the "evil" bits and real deep meanings. It was rubbish in that they knew nothing of basic history, literature, or culture that Rowling was drawing from. An example: Nicholas Flaumel is citing has having celebrated his "Six hundred and sixty fifth birthday" the year before the first book takes place. Thus he is... <omnious chords> Six hundred and sixty-six at some point. Well, by golly, Nicholas Flaumel was a real person who lived in Paris and did alchemical studies. He was born in 1300 AD. The first book was published in 1997, thus being written and edited in 1996... do the math. Sometimes a number is just a number.We can blow much wind at this debate, but I believe those who say HP is evil do not need to dig too deeply in order to find what they are looking for.
Ummm, Gandalf was a wizard (not human though) and one of the Good Guys. Galadriel didn't maintain the safety of Lothlorien by looking good, she also had magic, albeit strengthened and focused through one of the Three Elven Rings another one on the side of Good. It is not the magic that marked who was Evil but the desire to have Power and to rule all. (Saruman, Sauron etc.) In essense Superbia or Pride... "I will rule, none will rule me." Sauron and Saruman were initially created as Good by Eru (The One, i.e. God.) See The Silmarillion and other Tolkien works. Their wills and choices were what were/helped them become Evil. Oddly enough just like in the Harry Potter books in which it is the Pride and the lust for power that leads characters (Voldamort, Lucius Malfoy etc.) to Evil.Let's compare just one thing... I don't have much time... This will be short.
JRR Tolkien & CS Lewis versus HP...
JRRT & CS both used magical elements in their books... BUT, it was the bad guys who were considered witches and wizards... There was no glorification of magic in itself. From my memory, those who were given powers (good and evil) were created that way, with the power...
I have serious problems with this whole passage. It seems to be saying that entertainment itself is basically bad.srenalds said:I disagree firmly with your opinion about "delights" and "entertainments" in the Garden of Eden. Adam and Eve were not "fallen" and did not have the same sort of need for modern entertainments that we currently call "delights".
If you will read Harry Potter, you will find it is the same way with him. One does not become a wizard/witch in his world by learning, but by birth. Some have the ability, and some do not. (And indeed, some have it though their parents do not, and occaisionally some do not have it though their parents do.)JRRT & CS both used magical elements in their books... BUT, it was the bad guys who were considered witches and wizards... There was no glorification of magic in itself. From my memory, those who were given powers (good and evil) were created that way, with the power...
No. You appear to speak out of ignorance.HP in it's own humanistic way takes a child and leads him through an education in the black arts...
OK, let's try it one more time.srenalds said:The problem with JK Rowling is not that the word "magic" is used, but that the entire basis of the story is that a boy is studying to be a warlock. I can't see how this is defensible in the name of entertainment. I'll repeat what I said before... There is no difference between JK Rowling, Steven King or Robert Jordan... Those who attempt to "conjure" a Christian message are being dishonest with themselves.
Thank you, Mor.Mor Ephrem said:This topic was locked. I don't know why exactly, and so I'm going to go out on a limb and unlock it.
The argument that one cannot intelligently and accurately say something about a book without having read it first seems true enough. I know I haven't read HP; I have enough to read without it, and such things just don't interest me, and quite frankly, I am not sure why so many chase after HP to the extent that it seems to be pop culture madness rather than great literature. But I don't pretend to be an authority on it.
On the other hand, I wonder how absolute this is. Can a person take issue with a book without having read it and not come across as talking outside of both sides of one's mouth? Depending on the reason, I think one could make that kind of case. Certainly, I think that, at the very least, some would say it is always better to err on the side of caution when discouraging the reading of HP.
So, I'm opening up the thread again so that interested people can discuss these things. But I want to see the discussion carried out in a civil manner. In some posts, snide comments seem to be made, and there are hints of sarcasm. Surely, one can make an intelligent argument either way without resorting to this sort of thing. If I begin to see that this is impossible, I will not hesitate to lock it again. Thanks.