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Do you think that exposing children to fantasy movies and books conditions their mind into accepting that magic, spirits, and gods can exist in our world?

I noticed 10 years ago that there was a backlash against Halloween and magic by fundamentalists because they thought that it was competing with Christianity (the Occult). I don't see such resistance these days. I'm wondering if they realize that getting kids interested in Harry Potter, godlike creatures, and magic help condition their minds to believe that these things can really happen in our world, and thus gods, spirits, and heaven/hell are believable, too. Harry Potter is a stepping stone to God.

That's the deal right -- indoctrinating the kids minds as young as possible so that the beliefs can better withstand the onslought of Reason when they get older? Get that crazy idea in their minds so that it sticks.

GlyndonD 7 Apr 6

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Nah, I don't see many kids who believe that Harry Potter is real or that elves, dwarfs, and orcs walk the earth. If anything, I think exposure to fiction, fantasy, etc., primes the mind to be better able to recognize when other fictions are being passed off as fact.

And the Bible is passed off as...? And children question the Bible?

@GlyndonD I didn't say that it eliminated religion, only that it can help.

GlyndonD, the bible is fiction, more to the point, mythology, it is no more harmful than Bullfinchs mythology.

My children question the bible, including with their school teachers.

Okay, as long as giants and dragons are still real.


Actually, religion is a stepping stone to believing fantasy as being real.

"In two studies, 5- and 6-year-old children were questioned about the status of the protagonist embedded in three different types of stories. In realistic stories that only included ordinary events, all children, irrespective of family background and schooling, claimed that the protagonist was a real person. In religious stories that included ordinarily impossible events brought about by divine intervention, claims about the status of the protagonist varied sharply with exposure to religion.

Children who went to church or were enrolled in a parochial school, or both, judged the protagonist in religious stories to be a real person, whereas secular children with no such exposure to religion judged the protagonist in religious stories to be fictional. Children's upbringing was also related to their judgment about the protagonist in fantastical stories that included ordinarily impossible events whether brought about by magic (Study 1) or without reference to magic (Study 2).

Secular children were more likely than religious children to judge the protagonist in such fantastical stories to be fictional. The results suggest that exposure to religious ideas has a powerful impact on children's differentiation between reality and fiction, not just for religious stories but also for fantastical stories."


@MrLizard You're welcome. 🙂

I was brought up by Christian parents. Never did they relate god to Harry Potter. Read the 1st post on this same topic that he made today, dissing Harry Potter as well.

So, Harry Potter (no offense) can be used as a tool to brainwash a child into believing in gods?

@GlyndonD Well, evangelicals tend to think the Harry Potter books/movies are satanic.

"Most of the criticism of Harry Potter is from Fundamental Evangelical Christian groups, who believe the series' depiction of witchcraft is dangerous to children."


I am certain that religious indoctrination preceded Harry Potter.

@GlyndonD Only if their "responsible adults" tell them it's true. Knowing the difference between fantasy and reality is a basic requisite of being a responsible adult.

@GoldenDoll The problem is that the adults believe, too. My mother is a believer and she's also a responsible adult.


Seriously?????...fantasy as a way of indoctrination or conditioning?..I argue that it opens one mind to possiblities..a way to explore those possiblities for a child or young adult ..the indoctrination/ conditioning happens at home, by the parents and siblings..and society.

This is his second post today on bashing fantasy and Harry Potter.

@Sarahroo29 And this is your third comment coming to the rescue of Harry Potter.

@GlyndonD Harry doesn't need rescuing. Seems to me you need rescuing from some left over religious fears.

@GlyndonD you didn't address my argument..


No. Good parenting takes care of this and many other things.


My kids loved fantasy movies, they grow up fast. Let them have some imagination.

Why does imagination have to involve mysticism?

@GlyndonD - It's fiction - it's not true! Really important that kids get to understand what's true and what's not - then they can assess the buybull too!


Children have magical thinking, most grow out of it. Some cling onto it into adulthood, religion encourages this in many sects.

Allowing your child to have an imagination does not equal teaching your child the fantastic is reality.


I severely disagree to this statement. Exposing children to fantastic works of fiction only allows the, to easily recognize the religiols mumbo-jumbo as such too.

I think that can happen, but believe the flip side is more the case.


Books don't give ideas to Homo sapiens. Homo sapiens give ideas to books.

skado Level 8 Apr 6, 2018

The Bible is a book.

@GlyndonD Exactly.


Nope a good imagination is a good thing . Not only that the more gods I knew about the more I realised they were all made up


No. I was so indoctinated as a kid that I thought godlessness was a sign of a person with deep issues. I think my exposure to good fantasy helped me recognize how the Bible was bad fanatasy.


We all grew up on/with fantasy.
My kids did.
My grandkids do.
It's how society rolls.
It's ok.

Is growing up with the Bible OK, too?

@GlyndonD of course. Give them the Oddessey, the Eddas, and other books of mythology to read as well

@GlyndonD How would you know you're against a book, or consider it untrue, if you have not read it or explored it to some degree?

@gloriadeb I'm not sure the relevancy of your question.


I think it is up to the parents to make sure the kids understand movies are just entertainment. Sometimes they put in current phrasing or social ideals but that is more for understanding and relation than it is for anything else. Very little is true. Even documentaries hold room for error and should be taken with grains of salt and backed up with solid research on the side if really that interested in the subject matter.

That little snippette about Harry Potter being a stepping stone to god is a first for me. Either its called fiction and fun, or a path to the devil, not god. Interesting angle though.

Encourage and teach logic and research. Allow for a wide range of views in the topics and subjects they find interesting. then let them choose as long as the research is serious and in depth.

AmyLF Level 7 Apr 7, 2018

I am theorizing that the indoctrinators decided that Harry et al could actually be their friend and not their foe in indoctrinating kids. I could see logic in that thinking. But most people here seem to want to defend Harry and mysticism just as fervantly as believers defend their god and their religion. Interesting.

@GlyndonD If so that's a new development. I've been a Potter-head since my son was little. For some reason my boy didn't like anyone reading to him at all. He was around kindergarten age when he started becoming more interested in what such scribbles on a page meant. This ended up being the first book he ever let me read to him back around the time they were still working on the first movie. Harry will always have a place in my heart for that reason alone.


It hasn't worked on me. I've read thousands of books and have seen even more movies. They are all digested as stories no matter how good the story is.

All children? They digest the Bible as stories?

Not all. If someone has an open mind, they can see a good story for a good story and move on.

@GlyndonD - When you give a child a book like Harry Potter, of course you tell them it isn't real! And then you read it together or they read it on their own, and they learn about fantasy, imagination and appreciation of fiction. The reason kids believe the buybull is because adults tell them it's real!


Nah. Not anymore than violent video games make them killers. It's science fiction, fantastical, a new and different world. If anything, I think they may pick up on the lessons depicted in movies.

Just like they pick up things from the Bible?

@GlyndonD Was that intended as a snide remark? If so, the cynicism was unnecessary, but I will give the benefit of the doubt and answer your question.

Yes, like things the can be picked up in the bible. There are lessons in the bible. Some of them are actually valuable lessons and ones we see mirrored in other books or films or real life. Depending on how you view the bible, it can also be a fantastical tale...that doesn't mean kids are being indoctrinated to it or the other fiction books they are reading. It can be another world to explore, it is another opportunity to expand their imagination.

I have 14 year old twins. They both read extensively. My son likely reads over 1000 pages a week, easily. We have never restricted what they read. He loves fantasy and science fiction. He loves reading about mythical Gods and dragons and space. He has read children versions of the Christian bible starting at probably 8? And at least portions if the King James version. (We had a missionary family with kids living next door. They were always nice enough to share. ) We have always encouraged our kids to learn about different religions. He is fairly intelligent and has critical thinking skills. Despite all that he has learned and read, he is steadfast in his view of religion. He is an atheist.

His sister, whose best friend was one of the missionary children sort of bought into religion. We had a feeling that as she grew older and grew more aware of the things happening in our world that she would likely see things differently...and that's exactly what we have seen. I would not consider her a full on atheist, but certainly a skeptic and agnostic.

Indoctrination required repeated exposures, authoritarianism, and coercion. As a pejorative term, indoctrination implies forcibly or coercively causing people to act and think on the basis of a certain ideology.

So no, I don't think exposing children to fantasy movies and books conditions their minds into thinking magic, spirits and God's can exist in our world. They develop the ability to think critically and the capacity to seperate what is real and what isn't as long as those ideas are not continually pounded in their heads.

@AdorkableMe I am not censoring my kids. I just let them know my opinion of things, like magic and fantasy aren't real. I'm just maintaining that many parents are using non-biblical fantasy as a stepping stone to getting kids to believe junk. I think my ex-wife had that motive.


No - it does the opposite. It teaches them to think critically and to distinguish between reality and fantasy.

You're correct.

How does reading the Bible, then, teach a kid to think critically and to distinguish between reality and fantasy?

@GlyndonD You are assuming our children are stupid. They aren't.

@GlyndonD It doesn't! Because children are told the biybull is real by irresponsible indoctrinated adults. Do we get the difference now???

@marmot84 But those children end up.believing the Bible. What's that? Are you calling it stupidity? I'm calling it brainwashing, and it has a process. Maybe going along with Harry Potter-like nonsense makes us unwitting participants in that process.

@GlyndonD In my humble opinion, (which may differ from yours) most children can separate fantasy and reality rather easily. Teaching children through the reading of fantasy is not generally a problem nor part of the problem. Telling children that "the Bible" is actually true may be a problem but that is not what you stated.

Sorry, I respectfully disagree with you. You've argued via an inappropriate generalization.


I have read fantasy and science fiction since I was about ten. I feel that it made me more aware of what fantasy was and how it was conxtructed. By the time I was twenty-four I was an atheist and nothing in the following forty-four years has changed that. Of course my recent reaquaintance with my high classmates some described me as a geek before the term was popular, so it must have worked.

BillF Level 7 Apr 6, 2018

No, I don't. Most children, I find, are really quite bright, often more so than their parents, and more than capable of discerning between reality and made-up stuff. They may dream that Hogwarts really exists, but they know it doesn't really.

Jnei Level 8 Apr 6, 2018

But some kids never realize that the Bible is fiction.

@GlyndonD I think most kids instinctively do. It'd only once they've been conditioned not to question things that they start to really believe in it.


Harry Potter are children's fantasy books. My mom told me they were not real and they are only for pure entertainment. They are about good vs. evil. I don't relate god to any of it.


My son who is 29, is still involved with Marvel Comics...from Spidey to Thor to Black Panther to Captain America to whoever Stan Lee has cooked apparently he. Still likes super heroes.

What are you saying they are NOT real? :0


I read fantasy books, my kids were raised on all sorts of fantasy as well as "Life on Earth" and Cosmos from their earliest days. I think fantasty opens our minds to think laterally.


I don't think so, my 11 year old loves Harry Potter but her critical thinking is already evident, she'll get the difference. Must be genetic lol


Kids have always been exposed to fantasy and magic. Always.
The ONLY ones to blame for making them believe in gods are the adults in their lives.
Books and movies are not the culprits, their delusional parents, and other "authority"
figures are.

The Bible is a book. It is not a culprit?

@GlyndonD I refer back to my reply. Where would a kid get a bible from, if not an adult?

Glydon, books are inanimate objects they Connor be culprits.


I like fantasy and sci Fi, and I think they just help children develop their imaginations. And we NEED creative thinkers.

Why would I want to imagine that there are more forces than the 3fundamental forces of nature? Or that you can fly?

@GlyndonD, oh, so you never pretended to be Superman as a kid? Personally, I wanted to be Gandalf.

@TaraMarshall Yes, wanted to fly. Miss those dreams. But is the price to pay that later in life you cling to mysticism? What are the negatives of that?

@GlyndonD, but our presence here suggests we didn't cling to mysticism.

@TaraMarshall But how many kids have?

@GlyndonD, considering more Americans have no religious affiliation now, lots.

@TaraMarshall Sadly, I don't believe your statistic.

@GlyndonD, they aren't necessarily non-believers, but they have no religious affiliation and don't go to church on holidays. You're hearing the last screaming cultural gasps from the desperate religiots who want to continue their myths.

@TaraMarshall You mean, it's like they're a little bit pregnant?

@GlyndonD, many of them stop believing in or caring about god (s) as they get older.

@TaraMarshall True, but it's the ones that do not that cause problems. I'd like it to be less of those kinds of people.


If that is the case it has most certainly not worked on me, my husband or our children. I was swept away by movies and books about fantasy when I was a child, because my childhood was rough. My husband was the same way. We raised our children watching and reading fantasy, and they are both non-believers. It's fiction, and my children, just like their father and I were well aware that it was not real.

Maybe that's the antidote. But my main contention was those parents now using fantasy as a means to an end.

@GlyndonD I know tons of parents ( like me) who supply their kids with Pottery stuff (there were many, better written fantasies before Rowling hit the jackpot) and not one of them has an ounce of religion in their bones. Most are actually progressives.Think of the bazillions of D and D, etc. players. How many of the do you think watch the 700 Club?

@RonWilliam53 OK, I'm beginning to believe that fantasy does not pose a threat to one's reasoning skills if handled well. But, I still think there are people who are using fantasy to help their kids believe in ghosts, goblins, gods, and supernatural powers.


You'll find that the most religious countries are also the ones that ban the most books Explain to children "it's not real" is the best way to approach religion too!

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