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Hi there, I'm Belle and I'm 16. Before reading I just want to let you know that I do not mean to offend any other's religion or cause any debates.

Today I began researching denominations (Catholicism, Mormonism, and Baptist). I looked over several articles from different viewpoints for a few hours. As I read through each I was struck by a feeling of wondering how I would know which denomination was right or if there is even such a thing as a right form of Christianity. I hope this doesn't sound stupid but I'm extremely afraid I will make a wrong choice and choose the wrong denomination. Many articles condemned one religion that all its followers were going to hell, worship wrong, etc. It scares me to read about such things since before I had felt that all denominations were ok and that as long as you believed in Jesus you were fine. Now these articles are starting to make me feel so different. I've been praying for guidance but I still feel consumed by so many overwhelmingly thoughts about religion.

Has anyone else had similar feelings? If so, how did you deal with them?

I know this is pretty different from the above but I have a question about Harry Potter as well...

Is Harry Potter bad in your opinion? I read it before I really started believing in Christianity and had never felt a pull to actually practice witchcraft. I felt they were merely fantasy books and never regarded them as reality. I'm worried that if I make the decision to continue to read these books that I'm going to go to hell for it.

Thank you for reading through the above, I truly appreciate any help at all. :)
 

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I really don't think God cares about denominations. I think denominations are something man created, not God. So I think it's a matter of what you feel comfortable with. Personally, I'm not any denomination. I attend a non-denominational/inter-denominational church where all denominations are welcome.

Reading a book will not send you to hell. I've never read Harry Potter but have seen a couple of the movies. They are just books/movies. They aren't evil in of themselves. God knows your heart and knows what your true motives are for reading these books. I've heard you can apply Christian principles to Harry Potter's character and the situations he deals with. Harry has special gifts he was born with that he alone must decide if he is willing to use to carry out his destiny but there is a price to pay for these gifts. I think following God can be applied the same way. We are all given gifts that we have a choice of developing and using for God's glory and fulfilling our destiny. But there's always a price to pay in this world when you chose to serve God...rejection from others, and the daily and sometimes painful task of learning to lay down our own selfish wants and desires for His are just a couple that come to mind. So when you do read those books you might take it one step further and try to find examples in your own Christian walk that parallels that of Harry. It might be eye-opening for you and time where you will grow spiritually.
 

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Is Harry Potter bad in your opinion? I read it before I really started believing in Christianity and had never felt a pull to actually practice witchcraft.
I have decided that Harry Potter is not something I want to watch or get into. it has outright magic and mysticism that I have learned is condemned in the Bible. I'm not saying that other people should not watch it. Each person must make their own choice.

Deutoronomy 18:10,11 There should not be found in you anyone who makes his son or daughter pass through the fire, anyone who employs divination, a practicer of magic or anyone who looks for omens or a sorcerer, or one who binds others with a spell or anyone who consults a spirit medium or a professional forteller of events or anyonewho inquires of the dead.

We should first look into the scriptures to get a better viewpoint of how witchcraft is viewed and not use our own reasoning to justify something we feel may be inappropiate. Then make the choice rather or not to involve ourselves those things or throw it out.
 

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Denominations = doesn't matter IMO. You should go where you feel spiritually fed.

Harry Potter = really cool books and movies. :banana
 

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I attend a non-denominational Christian church as well since there are certain things about each denomination I don't feel comfortable with. I think that's the best thing to do when you don't know which Christian denomination is best for you.
As for Harry Potter, I don't see anything wrong with it so long as you know you're not interested in witchcraft. I wouldn't let a kid read it since he may be influenced into thinking witchcraft is cool. Many Christians have told me I can't listen to rock music, but I do because I know I'm a good person and it won't change me. That's my 2 cents.
 

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As the previous posters said, denomination does not matter, as it's all about having a relationship with our Lord. Some people think you should go to church in a suit, while others think it's ok to go casual. Personally, I don't have a denomination. It really doesn't matter, as long as your heart is in the right place. As far as denominations claiming their way is the only way, this is just ludicrous. As long as you believe in the foundation of the Lord Jesus Christ, that He came as savior of the world, you are saved. Doctrine is debateable among the denominations but as long as you have that strong foundation you shouldn't worry. I would suggest praying about it.

As far as Harry Potter goes, I love the books. I was also going through a period where I was questioning whether it was okay or not to read them. One part of me tells me it's ok because it doesn't make we want to do anything like witchcraft and that it's simply entertainment but another part of me tells me that The Bible is strongly against any kind of witchcraft and therefore I shouldn't read the books. At this point I'm still stuck in the middle.
 

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Speaking on Harry Potter: If you feel it is pulling you in a direction you are uncomfortable with, stop reading it or seeing the movies. Harry Potter is what I call a grey area. This means to me that I have read books 1-4, but somehow felt myself rather believing what was happening in the books than real life. I felt that I would like all my problems magically solved. The problem was not one of witchcraft. The problem was one of fantasy vs. reality and balance. I was very unhappy and had been reading through the books very fast and seemed to be living for the next book to come out when number five was about to come out. I became uncomfortable at the party near the city I live that was given at the city library for the unveiling of the next book. Basically, it was for fun, and they had real diviners. I was uncomfortable with the real diviners. I realized I didn't believe in divination as a good thing and felt strange. All this made me realize I'd like to lay off reading the books for a while. This made me feel better.

I do not feel the books corrupt people. I do feel that anything that puts you off balance or makes you feel uncomfortable is wrong for you. And you should avoid it. I speak to no one else but myself in why I avoided the books for a few years.

My mother likes the books because they are quite good literature for children.

My family likes the books because they are fun and imaginative.

There are many angles to look at Harry Potter.

I may, at some point, read books five and six. It is just all a matter of balance for me.

I think that in your choice of denominations, you should pray a lot until you are happy with where you are going. Which church makes you feel best when you attend it? I have my own opinions on religion, but I feel that if you pray with an open heart and try attending some churches, you may find a good place to go. Keep asking questions, praying, and actively seeking. Don't stop.
 

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I would pray about what to do with regards to choosing a church. He'll have the right one for you.

As for Harry Potter, my initial reaction is that I have a hard time making friends as it is without the idea of using witchcraft, etc. That's not cool. But then again, I used to watch Bewitched so I can't make judgments!
 

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I agree with a lot of other people about denomination. Just pary that God will send you to where you want to be and eventually you will be there. I've gone to a baptist church for most of my life and then this past year I went to a none denomination church and I felt like God had really called me there. I strated learning more and I felt comfortable. I'm not saying the baptist church is bad. I still go when I'm home and I love it, but I just learned that nothing is truely set in stone. God could call you anywhere, so just pray about it and you'll end up where He wants you to be. You won't go to Hell for picking the wrong one. There is no wrong one, God knows your heart and that's all that matters.

As for Harry Potter, I've never read any of the books, I have watch the movies and I see them as anything else that's fictional. I think it's all in how it makes you feel, as someone else said. If you don't feel as if God is telling you it's wrong or you don't feel like it's hurting you in your walk with Christ in any way then continue to read them. If you feel as though you should stop, then stop. Personaly I love fantasy stories and things of that nature so even though I have not read any of the books I think I can understand with where you're coming from a little. Personaly I just feel as long as it's not pushing me from God or messing with my walk it's okay. But with everything else, just pray on it.
 

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I hope I don't get in trouble for this or offend anyone.

I think your fears are very valid and I don't think you're foolish at all for having this concern, Belle. You've asked a valid and important question, so I'm going to give you my honest opinion... but it is just my opinon and I know there may be others that disagree.

I've been a Christian for about 47 years now and done a lot of thinking about it, besides what I've heard from various sources, and a lot of study on my own also. But I think the thing that should matter first is your understanding of what the Bible says since it's God's Word (it was written by men but every word was God inspired). This is where I'm going to run into trouble, if that should happen.

Most denominations vary in what I consider the tiny things (immersion vs sprinkling for baptism, baptism of a child or the person choosing Salvation and Baptism when they are of an age of accountability, to dance or not to dance, pre-tribulation vs post-tribulation, a large modern band or just a piano or organ, what posture to assume when praying, etc.) but the really important part is who is God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit (of God)?

I'm not saying other things I haven't mentioned aren't important, but this is where you need to start.

Most denominations that consider themselves Christian believe in Them being separate but also 3 in 1 (or what's been classified as the Holy Trinity - although the term is not found in the Bible and is just a way for man to understand the relationship they have - ie: I am a woman, I was a wife and I am a mother - they're all still 'me' but each one is different and separate in it's own way).

Genesis is the place to start to discover that for yourself... but you also have to go by what Jesus says in the New Testiment... and what He said is that when you see Me, you see the Father (paraphrased) but He also prayed to His (our) Father in Heaven. A lot about Christianity you have to take on faith... but always remember, God is not a God of confusion.

And unfortunately, some denominations have perverted the Word of God... some do twist it around so it suits their needs rather than them changing to suit God's purpose and intent. God's Word is Truth... and what it says is what He meant and is for our benefit... so we can have a personal relationship with Him.

About Harry Potter... I agree with Anxiety28 about that. Fantacy is fine, but we have to know what's safe and what's not... and we have to draw lines when things are forbidden in scripture. Satan is very good at lying and twisting the Truth... and his soul purpose is to separate us from God. I'm not perfect, but I do try to avoid things I know I'm not supposed to become comfortable with, things that could harm me, my children or those that I might influence - but also I have to be sensitive to what's forbidden.

Just so you'll know where I'm coming from... there was a time when I wasn't behaving in a Christian manner... before I really knew what God's Word said, and I was involved in a lot of things that revolved around witch craft and thought nothing of it because I saw it in my own family and didn't know any better.

Now I do. I believe if there's doubt... avoid it... what's it going to hurt not to be involved with something? There are many other books out there that don't involved witch craft in their story lines. But to be involved in something that you're not sure of can hurt you.

Personally, I really like Frank Peretti's books... especially "This Present Darkness" and "Piercing the Darkness". They're fiction, but about demons vs angels (nothing horrible or really scary) but show's how I think angels really do watch over us and the power of prayer, but also how people are influenced that don't know the Lord and aren't saved.
 

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Peekaboo,

I can see where you are coming from, and I totally respect your opinion. I'd like to share my point of view in the interest of mutual understanding, if that's okay. I really don't think that witchcraft, either in the modern sense or as it exists in Harry Potter, is harmful. In fact, J.K. Rowling, the author of the book series, is a Christian.

As TruSeeker points out, the book series can be seen as a Christian allegory. This is not uncommon. C.S. Lewis employed fantasy, including magic, in his famous series "The Chronicals of Narnia", which is universally praised as a portraying the Christian message in a new light. A little-known fact is that Lewis was, in his day, also criticized for the very things that Rowling is now being criticized: namely, advocating witchcraft and some vague form of Satanism. IMHO this couldn't be further from the truth.

Original prohibitions against witchcraft in the Bible were not prohibitions against what we today consider to be witchcraft. The original terms were different in ancient Hebrew, with different connotations.

It was not until the middle ages, when the ancient prohibitions against witchcraft became resurrected out of a growing mysogyny and spiraling power-struggles, and then applied against common folk superstitions, that "witchcraft" gained its new meaning. In the process, many innocent people were hurt or condemned, as we all know. The whole modern concept of what a witch is, either in popular fantasy or as a neopagan revivalist religion, has little to do with what the bible describes as witchcraft. It is unfortunate that most translations use the same words, because the connotative differences between the Hebrew words and our modern English words blurs the line too much.

This selection is from http://www.religioustolerance.org/witchcr5.htm which deals with Wicca, but also applies here to what I am discussing:
Biblical teachings about Witchcraft

... The word in the Hebrew Scriptures that is commonly translated as Witch or Witchcraft really refers to the practice of reciting curses which are intended to hurt or kill other people. The Greek word in the Christian Scriptures that is translated Witch is unrelated to Wicca. It would be better translated as "one who concocts potions to kill people," or simply "poisoner."

Biblical teachings about divination

There are many verses in the Bible that prohibit certain methods for foretelling the future by the ancient Israelites. These include Exodus 22:18, Leviticus 19:26-26; 19:31; 20:6; Deuteronomy 18:10-11; Isaiah 8:19 and Malachai 3:5. Of these, Deuteronomy 18 is perhaps the most important. They forbade the Israelites from engaging in eight specific practices. Various translations of the Bible use various ambiguous terms or phrases here: augur, black magic, calls up the dead, charmer, consults with spirits, divination, enchanter, fortune teller, interpret omens, look for omens, magician, medium, necromancer, observer of times, sorcerer, soothsayer, spiritist, weaves or casts spells, witchcraft, and wizard. The terms magician, sorcerer, spiritist, and witch have many different meanings.

Clearly, translators have had a great deal of difficulty selecting unique English words or short phrases to match the Hebrew text. Returning to the original words:

1. yid'oni Making contact with spirits who are not of God. Some Christians may suggest that this clause might forbid the New Age practice of channeling. However, New Agers themselves are generally convinced that the spirits with which they deal are from God.
2. sho'el 'ov Making contact with the dead. This would probably prohibit a medium from contacting the dead, as in Spiritualism.
3. qosem q'samim Foretelling the future by using lots. This would condemn casting runes, using the I Ching or a similar system.
4. m'onen Predicting the future by interpreting signs in nature. (e.g. predicting the harshness of a winter by looking at moss on trees, or fur thickness on animals in the wild, or whether the groundhog sees his shadow).
5. m'nachesh Enchanting (perhaps related to nachash, a snake; i.e. snake charming).
6. chover, chavar Casting evil spells by magical knot tying.
7. m'khaseph evil sorcery; using spoken spells to harm other people.
8. doresh 'el hametim Literally "One who asks the dead", probably via another method than sho'el 'ov.

...

However, there are a number of instances in the Bible where respected leaders were involved in divining the future, apparently without any condemnations by God. Some are:
-In Genesis 44:5, Joseph's household manager refers to a silver drinking cup "...in which my lord drinketh and whereby indeed he devineth". Later, Joseph accuses his brothers of stealing the cup, saying "that such a man as I can certainly divine [the identity of the thieves]". These passages show that Joseph engaged in scrying to foretell the future.
-The Urim and Thummim were two objects mentioned in Numbers 27:21 and 1 Samuel 28:6 of the Hebrew Scriptures. They were apparently devices (perhaps in the form of flat stones) that the high priest consulted to determine the will of God. They might have worked something like a pair of dice.
-The prophet Daniel was employed for many years in Babylon as the chief occultist to the king. He was supervisor "of the magicians, astrologers, Chaldeans and soothsayers". See Daniel 5:11.
Anyone who has read the books knows that none of the practices described here are condoned in the Harry Potter series. Divination is discussed, but in different methods (astrology and reading tea leaves; there is also a slanting reference to runes). It is generally spoofed throughout the book as a useless art. "Dark magic" or casting spells to harm someone, is very much discussed and very much condemned; the books do not advocate the use of these spells at all. So, there really is nothing in the Harry Potter books that contradicts biblical teachings, even if we were to take them absolutely literally.

Also, I believe, as do many others, that the Harry Potter books are in fact Christian allegories. For example:
http://www.christianpost.com/article/ed ... tter/1.htm
http://www.ev90481.dial.pipex.com/harry ... ranger.htm

That doesn't mean they are completely innocent. As Western Wall pointed out, you could find yourself a little TOO interested in Harry Potter and begin to live in a fantasy world. This is a danger, and one that can only be looked at on a personal level. If you feel like Harry Potter books aren't for you, I respect that, but I just don't agree that they Satanic are harmful. Just my two cents. I hope that my response was as respectful of your viewpoint, as yours was to the rest of us. :)
 

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Belle, those are some really good questions. As a Christian, I ask a lot of questions about the various denominations, faiths in this world, as well as the Bible and other religious texts.

To answer your first question, I'd say there's no right or wrong religion. I think the ultimate decision rests with each individual and his/her faith. I like how you put effort into researching religion, rather than choosing blindly or being coerced into a particular faith. Keep in mind that choosing a denomination, for example, does not mean that you will forever find yourself in a specific religious category. I was born into the Epicopalian denomination, but as an adult moved into a non-denominational community church and then later into the Baptist denomination. Despite all these moves, my faith remains a constant. As a note, the Baptist denomination is so varied that it pretty much requires a person either to attend, or question the creed of, a local church.

I'm not going to place any value judgment on a particular denomination, but I will say that the role of Jesus and how He came to be on earth, etc.,
is widely varied among some of the denominations. You'll have to ask yourself whether you'd feel more comfortable in your spirituality in accepting a strict conservative interpretation of doctrine, a liberal interpretation, or somethng in between.

As for Harry Potter, I look at that as I would any science fiction. It's strictly entertainment, and as such, is not harmful to me. Also, I listen to Ozzy and Black Sabbath "devil worship" music and have taken that as harmless entertainment in the same vein as Halloween.
 

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I didn't read through any of this. All God or a higher power wants is for you to do your best and be a decent human being. Failing, messing up is fine. It's natural. As long as you have love in your heart, it's all that matters. Be decent to others. Call me a hippie.
 

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Well, Christianity isn't the only religion. There are thousands of other religions - such as the Greek mythology, Buddhism (Which is actually more of a philosophy, but there are religious sects), or Confucianism. I, myself, follow a philosophical sect of Buddhism.

Now, about the Harry Potter thing...

They're not evil. In fact, witchcraft isn't evil. Believe me; I know several witches and wiccans who are the farthest thing from evil. Hell, Satanism isn't evil either. Alot of them are either purely philosophical, view Satan as another diety, or worship him for philosophical reasons best left unmentioned, as I am very tired right now.

But, do whatever best suits you. If you wish to become a Satanist, Buddhist, Christian, witch, wiccan, Confucianist, etc. - go for it. Don't let anyone hold you back from what you want to do.
 

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I'm not a Christian so I can't answer the first question, but I wanted to respond the the Biblical references with respect to the Harry Potter debate.

The references to witchcraft and sorcery, the way I see it, are in reference to alternate belief systems and actions that were part of the practices of people of other religions of the time.

These actions (sorcery, divination, magic, etc.) were part of the belief systems of those who weren't Jewish monotheists. They worshipped many gods and not the god of the Jewish people (the future Christian god.) The Bible, of course, does not approve of this.

In relation to Harry Potter, he doesn't worship any other deities. Religion is hardly mentioned at all, with the exception that they celebrate Christmas, but only the "non-religious" aspects, like presents and decorations and holiday breaks. The magic in the book is treated as really nothing more than a cool "superpower" that Harry and the other witches and wizards have. His magic is "non-religious" magic, while the Bible addresses "religious" magic.

So, in short, Harry is more like Superman than the Devil. So, I guess if you can't reconcile Superman with your religious beliefs, then maybe Harry Potter should go as well.

I agree with TruSeeker, Harry is a good example of positive values. We should all be more like Harry.

Have a nice day,
Kelly :)
 

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Caedmon said:
Original prohibitions against witchcraft in the Bible were not prohibitions against what we today consider to be witchcraft. The original terms were different in ancient Hebrew, with different connotations.

It was not until the middle ages, when the ancient prohibitions against witchcraft became resurrected out of a growing mysogyny and spiraling power-struggles, and then applied against common folk superstitions, that "witchcraft" gained its new meaning. In the process, many innocent people were hurt or condemned, as we all know. The whole modern concept of what a witch is, either in popular fantasy or as a neopagan revivalist religion, has little to do with what the bible describes as witchcraft. It is unfortunate that most translations use the same words, because the connotative differences between the Hebrew words and our modern English words blurs the line too much.
. :)
Wow, this is really well said. I think that every one has some valid points here. And, I don't think there are any one "right" answers in regards to Harry Potter. However, I don't think that witch craft equates to something evil. As Caedmon said, during times such as the Inquisition, witchcraft was seen as something completely different from what it actually was. Witches as well as shamans (known as witchdoctors who are a part of native religions) were persecuted because of fear and a complete misunderstanding of their religious beliefs. Witches were seen as (mainly) women running around with pointed hats, brewing potions that would kill or maime people. Books were written in order to try and persuade people that witches were bad, and these books succeeded. Joan of Arc was condemned for witchcraft even though she was a Christian. Unfortunately, it was usually poor women who were targetted...those, who couldn't defend themselves.

I know this is a controversial topic, but in many ways, witch hunts were done out of fear and ignorance. It's a part of history, but it has no reflection upon modern day wicca and those who practice modern day witchcraft which is against dark magic. Of course it has no reflection upon modern day Christians either since this is not something which hardly any condone. However, it's important not to judge based upon misinformation...just something to think about.
 

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Re: Is there a right Christianity? Harry Potter question as

defiesgravity said:
Is Harry Potter bad in your opinion?
I don't know much about Harry Potter. However, I met a man once who'd been heavily involved in Spiritism. He and his friends could, reportedly, make tables walk, release ectoplasm from their mouths and make objects rise up into the air.

He said at first it was fun, but as time went on and he got more involved in it some frightening things began to happen; and He came to believe that their "abilities" were from evil spirits.

He said evil spirits are rebellious to God and everything God stands for. He said that when he broke away from Spiritism and began to expose the danger of it, the evil spirits he'd been working with began to oppress him.

His name was Benjamin Alexander. He was from England. I met him during one of his lectures in 1966 or 1967 -somewhere around there.

Of course, I don't know if everything he said is true, I just mention it as matter of interest.
 

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I think the christian reaction to Harry Potter makes christians look bad cause they are so judgemental about it having not even read the books. It's like they know how popular HP is so lets get out there to make a statement.
I always say that the books reflects the good and evil of the world like God vs Satan which can be seen with Voldemort vs Dumbledore cause if you read the books you'd have to be daft not to see that.
I read the books and also have the audio books as well and I have the movies. I enjoy it immensely but that it's. I've no interest in witchcraft these books don't make me interested in it or believe it. It's fantasy totally in my opinion. It is possible that little kids might find it more difficult to separate it and it could lead them to witchcraft as opposed to God so I guess that would be the parents decision if they feel their child can realize it's fantasy or fictional.
I find it so funny that J.K. Rowling gets such a hard time from chrisitans but as one stated here C.S. Lewis is fine cause he's a CHRISTIAN writer. I personally have never read Narnia or watch the movie but it looks similiar to HP in some ways.
 
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