Friday, June 10, 2011

The Gospel According to Harry Potter
(and a mini-review based on memory of
The Gospel According To The Simpsons)

I read The Gospel According To The Simpsons way back in 2005. It was at least a year before I started blogging. It was a great book and left an impression on me that has lasted all these years. The Gospel According To The Simpsons wasn’t a book about Christianity, it was a book about the way religion was (is) being portrayed on one of the most popular and long-lasting shows on television. It included essays discussing different aspects of not just Christianity and the Christian characters, but also Judaism and Hinduism, with even a tentative look at Islam and an examination of why that religion hasn’t ever made a larger appearance on the show. It was a book of interesting theological and religious discussion. At the time, I watched The Simpsons a lot. I had also just read The Simpsons and Philosophy so this seemed like a natural book to pick up. I enjoyed it immensely and recommended it to not just Simpsons fans, but also people who are interested in theology and religion in pop culture.

Then came . I should have looked more closely at what the book contained (like having a different author, though from the same publisher). I just assumed (my fault) that the book was going to be an analytical look at a widely popular book series and religion. It’s not. It’s all religion, all the time. I admit, I appreciate and encourage what the author is doing. The Gospel According to Harry PotterConnie Neal wrote The Gospel According to Harry Potter as a response to the Christian and right-wing fundamentalists that are constantly trying to ban Harry Potter because they think it’s connect to the Occult, Black Magic, etc. I’m sure I don’t need to rehash these arguments. Instead of looking at the books looking for the bad, she looks for the good (Christian) aspects of them, often likening Harry to Jesus.Harry Potter

While I appreciate her intent, as well as her clear writing style, I could only handle so much. It’s well written and if I was more like Neal, I might enjoy this book. She’s doing a good thing and I hesitate to say anything bad about it. It’s just not what I expected and ended up not being my cup of tea. In fact, it’s coffee. The Gospel According to Harry Potter has become one of the rare books I couldn’t finish. Again, not because it was bad, but because of the subject matter. I really think there are people out there who would really like this book, I’m just not one of them.

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