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Last Savior or Daily Prophet? – Church vs. Rowling

November 23, 2010

Before Christianity there had been prophets. Although a few like Zoroaster[1] and Akhenaton[2] had shown prophetic characteristics before Moses, Judaism was the first organized religion with a revealed book. Jews had a predilection for the prophets – messengers of the God. But they had not limited the number of prophets. According to them, prophets descend on earth from time to time, in order to preach the Word of God.

The innovation of Christianity was the concept of the Last Savior. The basic premise of Christianity is based on the concept of original sin. The theory is: since man has been corrupted due to the original sin, he has to atone for this ancestral crime. This someone else is none other than the Son of God, Jesus Christ.[3]

There was a problem with this fabulous theory of Sin, Sacrifice and Atonement. Even after Jesus atoned for the original sin with his self-sacrifice at the cross, sin still remained in the world. It could mean only two things: either the sin in the world was not a consequence of the original sin, as told by the Bible. In this case, the Bible would be proved wrong and the original sin theory would collapse and along with it the necessity of Jesus Christ and subsequently Christianity itself. The Church could not let this happen.

The other possibility was: though there was Original Sin, Jesus Christ was unable to atone for it. This would again prove the uselessness of both Jesus and Christianity. The Church could not let this happen either.

The Church theologians found a marvelous and equally fabulous solution for this problem. It was said that Jesus did not only atone for the sins of the past, but also of the future. All those born after the Atonement, would also be redeemed of their sins, but only if they believe in Christ. In other words, people could continue to commit sin and every kind of crime. They would be redeemed if they believe in Christ.

From this point on in history, the entire concept of sin and remorse was altered. Before the advent of Christianity, man was judged on the basis of his actions. Christianity started judging on the basis of belief. Hence, a man who did good deeds all his life and did not believe in Christ would still be evil and burn in hell forever. On the other hand, a person who committed all sorts of crimes in his life and believed in Christ would be in heaven. His sins would be forgiven, as his belief in Christ would wash away his crimes.[4]

Action was rendered secondary and inconsequential. Belief became primary. Since actions happen in the real world and belief is entirely a concern of the mind, Christianity became increasingly divorced from facts, reason and logic. This gave birth to the schism between science and religion in the western world.[5]

There was another clause in this theory of Atonement for posterity. According to the Jewish tradition, prophets would always come from time to time, in order to preach the Word of God. If a new prophet could come, he could also atone for his contemporaries. This would look vastly more feasible than the fabulous claim of Christianity that Jesus atoned for those who would be born after him.

Hence it was declared that Jesus was the last Prophet; anyone claiming to be a prophet after Christ would be an imposter. This was the seal of prophecy. Jesus was declared the Last Prophet, the Last Savior. No one after him could claim to save humanity. Jesus got eternal copyright on the right for Atonement.

In Harry Potter’s world we see that no savior comes from outside. Everyone has to make decisions for himself, without any help from outside; everyone has to find his own way.

It is natural that Rowling does not agree with the fabulous claims of Christianity. This brings us to the Daily Prophet and J K Rowling. The Daily Prophet is the name of the most famous newspaper of the wizarding world. It is just like an ordinary newspaper: serving sensational news to eager and gullible readers about everything. The only difference is that the pictures move, just like videos!

The question arises: why would Rowling use the word Prophet for something so trivial? The fact that she does, shows us that her view of prophets is not Biblical. She does not think of a prophet as someone who discuses the word of God and deeply religious matters. The prophet in her view can be concerned with trivial matters of daily routines. This is in keeping with the view of Michael Baigent, who opposes the orthodox interpretation of the Bible and its teachings.[6]

In the Judeo-Christian worldview, divinities are not involved in the daily trivialities of human beings. They are only interested in rewarding and punishing belief. On the other hand, paganism does not hold such a view. In many pagan religions there are many deities of nature. Some are concerned with higher spiritual concerns of human beings, while others take care of their daily problems. Roman paganism had many such local deities.[7]

The way The Daily Prophet concerns itself with the lives of ordinary wizards, brings it much nearer to the pagan understanding than the Christian one.

Even more important is the adjective used with the word, ‘prophet’. As opposed to the ‘Last Savior’ of Christianity, the Prophet in Rowling’s wizarding world is Daily Prophet! Let alone last, the prophet in the wizarding world of Harry Potter is so regular that his news is delivered every morning in the Great Hall of Hogwarts, at the breakfast table of every wizarding family. This is so radical a break from the Christian fundamentalist opinion of Prophetism that the reader cannot help but be amused at the mockery of the very concept.

The very name of the most famous newspaper in the wizarding world, The Daily Prophet of Harry Potter shows us that this world is aligned more according to the pagan ethics than the Christian worldview.

 


[1] Hoffman, Joseph. The Origins of Christianity. New York: Prometheus Books. 1985.

[2] Reeves, Nicholas. Akhneten: Egypt’s False Prophet. New York: Thames and Hudson. 2005.

[3] Goel, Sita Ram. Jesus Christ: An Artifice for Aggression. New Delhi: Voice of India. 2001.

[4] Goel, Sita Ram. History of Hindu Christian Encounters (AD 304 – 1996). New Delhi: Voice of India. 1996.

[5] Dawkins, Richard. The God Delusion. London: Black Swan. 2007.

[6] Baigent, Michael, Leigh, Richard and Lincoln, Henry. The Messianic Legacy. New York: Delta. 2003.

[7] Jones, Prudence and Pennick, Nigel. A History of Pagan Europe. New York: Routledge. 1997.

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Man is doomed because of the ancestral crime committed by the mythical Adam and Eve:

“By his sin Adam, as the first man, lost the original holiness and justice he had received from God, not only for himself but for all humans. Adam and Eve transmitted to their descendants human nature wounded by their own first sin and hence deprived of original holiness and justice; this deprivation is called “original sin”. As a result of original sin, human nature is weakened in its powers, subject to ignorance, suffering and the domination of death, and inclined to sin (this inclination is called ‘concupiscence’).”[i]

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