OXFORD, Tuesday: A number of concerned British Harry Potter fans have spoken out against the Bible, claiming that the holy text of the Christian Church can cause serious damage to children. â€œReading the Bible teaches children to believe in the supernatural,â€ said one English Literature academic from Oxford University, Lewis Williams. â€œThe tales of Jesus turning water into wine are fairly harmless, but there is a serious risk of children drowning if they try to walk on water,â€ he said. â€œAnd the chance of serious bodily harm isnâ€™t exactly minimised by that whole â€˜resurrection-from-the-deadâ€™ story either.â€
Christians have responded that reading the Bible assists with literacy skills, but Williams rejects this idea too. â€œThe Bible is only ever read in very small chunks, a few paragraphs at a time. Itâ€™s never read as a long sustained narrative like the Harry Potter series. Reading too much of the Bible promotes a very short attention span,” he says.
Critics such as Williams warn that without appropriate parental guidance, reading the Bible may make children unable to enjoy quality childrenâ€™s literature. â€œEnjoying books such as Harry Potter or the Narnia series requires the ability to suspend disbelief,â€ he said. â€œWhen children are taught that the Bible is absolutely literally true, and that a story like Noahâ€™s Ark actually happened, the imagination is completely stifled â€“ itâ€™s very detrimental.â€
Williams has also pointed out that some of the scarier elements in fantasy novels will really frighten children if they think they are true. â€œSome children may think that murderous Dark Wizards such as Voldemort (the villain of the Potter series) are actually real if theyâ€™ve been corrupted by Christians who believe that devils and magic actually exists,â€ he said.