How the ‘Harry Potter’ books are replacing the Bible as millennials’ foundational text

Religion News Service | 4/25/2019 | Staff
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(RNS) — It’s a book nearly everybody knows, many of us nearly from birth. We reference it in our daily lives. We use its complicated moral systems to define our social and political stances and to understand ourselves better. Once we have read it, and learn the lessons considered therein, our political attitudes alter, making us more welcoming and more caring to outsiders.

Activists quote from the stories on placards to make their points at protests. Hundreds of thousands – if not millions – of people have written their own narratives in response to these foundational myths.

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I refer, of course, to the “Harry Potter” series.

It may seem flippant to talk about J.K. Rowling’s behemoth young adult fantasy series as a foundational myth that threatens, at least among millennials and Gen Z, to replace the Bible. But the numbers bear out its place as mythical bedrock. Sixty-one percent of Americans have seen at least one “Harry Potter” film. Given that just 45% of us (and a barely higher 50% of American Christians) can name all four Gospels, it’s no stretch to say that Gryffindor, Slytherin, Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff are better known in American society than Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.

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For politically progressive millennials in particular, “Harry Potter” is more than a book series. It’s an entire theology. While they rarely deal with questions of God explicitly, or propose a metaphysical theology per se, their explorations of good and evil are nothing if not cosmic.

And when it comes to millennial religious “nones,” its moral teachings are certainly no less known or espoused than the Good Book’s. Rowling’s narrative is the story of the redemption of perceived outsiders — the children of mixed Muggle-human families — from the vengeance of the wizarding elites, who slur the Muggle-born as “mudbloods.” House elves, a species consigned...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Religion News Service
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