Dumbledorism? Taking Fiction at Faith Value

My mate Simeon flicked me this article this afternoon: Struggling in life? Get guidance from Albus Dumbledore. Yes, that’s right, once again we find fiction is inspiring a new faith, only this time the emerging canon is the Harry Potter series.

The above article introduces us to Slack, a self declared Harry Potter rabbi. According to Deborah Netburn, “Slack is working on his own book and inviting Potter fans to assist in its writing. It is called What Would Dumbledore Do? and he envisions it as a self-help guide to living in the world according to the tenets of Albus Dumbledore. He has asked fans to share what they’ve learnt from Dumbledore on an open blog at WhatWouldDumbledoreDo.org.”

Makes me wonder what other fictional works have religious potential.

3 thoughts on “Dumbledorism? Taking Fiction at Faith Value

  1. You know, there are certain elements in this whole thing that I love. For example, I think that getting Harry Potter readers to think about civil rights matters by drawing the parallels to the plight of Rowlings’s house elves and werewolves is a pretty cool idea. In general, I think that allowing books to generate a sense of empathy or other values in the reader and then encouraging them to carry it into the real world and apply it to their lives is a great idea. It’s one of the great things about reading.
    But it seems to me like it’s a huge step to go from there to making a complete religion out of it. Too big for my tastes, personally.


  2. I find it all quite fascinating, this crossover from fantasy to faith. Other examples that come to mind include the Church of All Worlds (a Pagan tradition grounded in Robert A. Heinlein’s “Stranger in a Strange Land”), the Church of Scientology (founded by science fiction writer L Ron Hubbard), the Discordians (who take inspiration from the Illuminatus Trilogy), Trekism, Jedism and of course Pagan dabblings into the Cthulhu Mythos. James A. Herrick has explored some of this in “Scientific Mythologies: How Science and Science Fiction Forge New Religious Beliefs.”
    Myths are stories that shape us. Developments like this suggest that the relationship between movies and myth is becoming increasingly reciprocal. Not only are movies drawing on myths, but myths are now drawing on movies. Movies are becoming mythological sources for our collective unconscious, cult movies are germinating their own cults.
    Where does this leave me as a Christian? Well, with a hat tip to C S Lewis and J R R Tolkein I see Jesus as a historical figure packed full of mythological potency. And I see Harry Potter as a hero who echoes the Jesus story. The child of prophecy, destined to defeat the Dark Lord, who defeats him through dying and defeating death. The challenge I would lay before Harry Potter fans is to look beyond the books to the messiah who inspired the author.


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