The True Christian Myth Behind Harry Potter
Underlying Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, and Star Wars is the one, true, historical myth of Christianity.Holy Superheroes: Exploring Faith and Spirituality in Comic Books.
These are titles of just a few of the hundreds of books, all published in the last five years, which testify to an increasing desire to find the truth—specifically the Christian truth—that wittingly or unwittingly underlies some contemporary stories and myths.
Christian allegories, or the allegorizing of theological and moral themes, is by no means new to anyone who knows Dante or John Bunyan. But there are also the myths of the world, whether ancient or modern, which seem to reflect the Christian story—gods that take the form of humans, virgin births, floods, sacrificial deaths and rebirths. The idea of universal elements in mythologies has been explored by Carl Jung and popularized by Joseph Campbell and his disciples. Their theories, particularly as they point to a collective subconscious, are full of insight, but to a Christian perspective, they require an adjustment or a reorientation, to be fulfilled:Christ
is the way, the truth, and the life, the Logos, the one in whom all things, and all true myths, hold together.
It has been said that the overwhelming popularity of J. R. R. Tolkien’sLord of the Rings trilogy
, C. S. Lewis’Narnia
stories, and theHarry Potter
phenomenon has to do with the fact that, intentionally or not, they resonate deeply with the one true story, the story of the Son of God who was made man for us and for our salvation, lifted up on the cross of his own accord, and raised from the dead. Lewis himself often makes the point that stories and myths, both in the Bible as well as outside it, bear truth insofar as they resonate with this true story. An advocate of this theory is John Granger, an Orthodox Christian who was so struck by the Christian message woven deeply into the Harry Potter novels that he wrote vivid and literate books on the subject.