1. notleia says:

    [insert cynical response]

  2. annehamilton says:

    I edit a daily devotional – and a significant part of my job is to remove urban myth and spurious feel-good stories from the mix. I don’t even trust Snopes.

    However, in defence of some Christian ministers, I should point out that it is vastly harder to research any topic on the internet than ever before. Google tailors searches according to a past history, so that’s going to skew any results that appear.

    To be genuinely discerning all too often requires us to read outside our comfort zone.

    It’s all to easy to fall into the trap of having ‘trusted sources’ and relying on them, simply due to time pressures. Ultimately it depends on who is the most ‘trusted source’. That’s what too often passes for ‘discernment’ – agreeing with the most ‘trusted source’.

    After all, it probably wouldn’t matter how much I pointed upwards and declared to the contrary, if Pastor Chicken Little, with his immensely formidable reputation, announced the sky is falling.

    • R. L. Copple says:

      I agree. Some folks don’t have the time to research, or researching would be hard, and thus rely upon trusted sources. However, two issues on the Harry Potter negate that in this case.


      1. While a parent might be excused for relying upon trusted sources, the trusted source should do some basic fact checking before declaring something is true. Ministers and journalist both fall into that camp, not to mention the first one who presented those “facts” as real, whether knowingly or unknowingly. If the fact check is inconclusive, then you don’t present them as fact, or at a minimum relate them as unverified and unsubstantiated reports.


      2. While some myths might not be easy to spot, a simple Internet search on the quotes would have pulled up the Onion article they were based on. Such a fact check would have taken under a minute for a definitive conclusion.


      The reason we don’t tend to do that is because when we hear it, if it jives with our preconceived beliefs on something, we accept it without question because it fits with what we expect the truth to be. We turn off our discernment when it fits with our conclusions.


      In the Harry Potter case there was no excuse for a religious leader to promote falsehood in the name of Christ. Just as there was no excuse for me to fail to read the Anti-Piracy Act myself before repeating false statements about what it would do on my blog.


      Too often, however, we fall into the trap of believing something simply because someone said it was true.


  3. In the Harry Potter case there was no excuse for a religious leader to promote falsehood in the name of Christ.


    After my wife and I married, I began introducing her to the Potterverse that I had only recently discovered. (First we had to enjoy reading The Lord of the Rings together.) Slowly we both became shocked by the flagrant lies and deception and myth-spreading to which we had both been exposed in evangelical culture. This was far more dishonoring to the Name of Christ and helpful to the father of lies (the Devil) than any actual occult content in Harry Potter books could have ever been.

    Some years ago, my wife attended a Christian speaker’s event at a library. This speaker, in response to a highly popular secular fantasy book series, promised to share with Christians why they should avoid those books and their recently released popular movie adaptations.

    In his program, the speaker showed clips from the movies. One film’s story was about a girl who is possessed by an evil spirit-creature. The speaker said this story had clearly meant to endorse possession. Why are we letting our kids watch this? he asked. Whoever wrote the book or made the movie intended that we should all want to be possessed like that, he said.

    There was only one problem. When my wife read that story for herself, and saw the movie version, she was stunned: The story gave the exact-opposite message. Not only did the villain of the story possess the girl, but this was shown to be evil. The hero had to fight the villain, destroy him, and free the girl from the possession. Later in the book, the girl’s parents even specifically say they had warned her about opening her vulnerable mind to evil influences!

    So why did the Christian speaker pass along a lie about this story? I see two possibilities:

    1. Many Christians simply don’t know how to read and understand stories.
    2. Some Christians do understand stories. But they feel a “small” sin — lying about a story whose author is secular and successful anyway — is justifiable to prevent a greater sin, such as impressionable children reading books that they oughtn’t read.

    Thus, Christians who make these claims are either ignorant or intentionally sinning. There is no middle ground.

    from Ten Wrong Ways to Discern A Story


  4. sparksofember says:

    Very true. People love to jump in the bandwagon for anything and everything. They take what they hear at face value and run with it, the more outrageous the better. Especially if it’s something they want to believe.

    I remember the Harry Potter hoopla. It was the main reason I dawdled before finally picking up the first book to find out what all the fuss was about. And what I discovered pretty much from the very first page was everyone berating the series had absolutely no idea what they were talking about. I was flabbergasted. And I learned from that day forward to always, always research the facts and never take one person/article/post’s word for it. And if someone can’t respectfully present both sides of an issue, I’ve very likely not going to listen to a word they say due to the bias. I like to be well-informed and make up my own mind, not be told what to think.


What do you think?