Eastern Religion, Eastern Mysticism Term Paper

Pages: 8 (2447 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 1+  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Mythology - Religion

SAMPLE EXCERPT:

[. . .] And the magic and wizardry in the stories is something of a story in itself.

The popularity of the movies, in particular, can be attributed to the American pop culture's love of magic, and mystery, and characters that can fly and have powerful magic potions and spells in their bags of tricks. But with that love of magic by the movie-going pop culture in America, there has come some criticism.

Jacobs point out that there are people in his midst, Christians, ("some of whom are dubious...") who believe that the movie "makes magic so funny and charming" that it is disturbing. The movies and books "don't exactly support the Christian view of things," he writes. "Such novels could at best encourage children to take a smilingly tolerant New Age view of witchcraft, at worst encourage the practice of witchcraft itself."

People in today's society, Jacobs writes, "tend to hold two views about witches: first, that real witches don't exist, and second, that they aren't as bad as the evil masterminds of the Salem witch trials made them out to be."

Why are people who are part of the American pop culture so fascinated with witches, by the way? In an article published by the Continuum Publishing Group Ltd. (Goldenberg, 2004), the writer, an instructor in the Department of Religion at Central Michigan University in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan, says she "can testify to the ability of witchy words to work magic." Ms. Goldenberg was part of a "besieged" department where she and her colleagues "lived in fear of the university's statistician who was continually counting our students with the objective of firing one of us" should the number of students enrolled in the department take another "dip."

We were a group of seven - three of whom were on temporary contracts because enrollment was down...[and] having recently read both Z. Budapest and Starhawk, I though I'd introduce a course inspired by their work. I called it 'Witchcraft, Magic and Occult Phenomena'. Almost immediately, 200 students signed up. Our enrollment problem was solved and all our jobs were safe."

So as to the question of whether magic - and the occult, witchcraft and other mysteries - fascinates the American pop culture, Ms. Goldenberg's shrewd strategy answers the question perfectly.]

Another article examining the issue of witches and magic in Harry Potter appeared recently in Renascence: Essays on Values in Literature (McVeigh, 2002). Writer McVeigh talks about the "controversy" swirling in "some quarters," and notes that Harry Potter author Rowling "has said she believes in God, not Wicca, and that she attends church more than occasionally." Still, McVeigh continues, "many Christians distrust the book."

Moreover, as this protest by some in the Christian community continues - against the overwhelming majority of young people who are card-carrying members of the American Pop Culture - McVeigh says that "...a Christian cannot oppose all children's fiction that includes witches and magic..." Why? Because, McVeigh contends, "[J.R.R.] Tolkien's (The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings) and C.S. Lewis's (Chronicles of Narnia) prominent employment of both (witches and magic)." Gandof, "love it or hate it, is a white wizard, and the only way to enter Naria is through magic."

Further, "Rowling has declared that her books are not about 'magick' in the sense of Wiccan practice, but about imagination." It is not at all clear to McVeigh that "the Potter series is Christian, though in spirit it may be. But clearly Rowling writes in a specifically Christian literary tradition."

Meantime, while the books are certainly entertaining, even mesmerizing, to readers young and old, the movies are mind-bending and so innovative as to be addictive to some viewers. As one more example of how riveting the Potter series is to moviegoers, Current Science ran an article (Davy, 2000) titled, "Could Scientists re-create the magic in J.K. Rowling's popular Harry Potter books?"

Could, for example, scientists make a broomstick actually fly? "There are several ways," according to physics professor Lawrence Krauss, from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. One way, would be to "make the broomstick lighter than the surrounding air." How could that be done? "First," Davy writes, "the broomstick would have to be made 100 times larger than a normal broomstick," and would have to be hollow, much like a balloon. Then most of the air inside would need to be removed - that would create a vacuum - and, "abracadabra...a vehicle would float," just like Harry's broomstick. Meantime, could a scientist make Harry invisible? "Physics is a two-way street," Krauss says, "if a scientist could make Harry invisible, Harry would lose his ability to see. Why? Because in invisible object does not absorb or reflect light."

References

Arnold, Thomas K. "Azkaban audiences do a vanishing act." USA Today 15 June

Bowles, Scott. "Cruise shows clout again with 'Collateral'." USA Today

Davy, Emma. "Harry Potter's Magic: Physics or Fiddlesticks?" Current Science 86

2000): 8-10.

Enright, Seamus. "Scorsese and Eastern Mysticism." Film Netribution Network

2001). Obtained online:

http://www.netribution.co.uk.

Eternal Ministries, Inc. "Eastern Mysticism." Obtained online:

Goldenberg, Naomi R. "Witches and Words." The Continuum Publishing Group Ltd. http://www.eternalministries.org/archives/eastern_mystic1.html.

Jacobs, Alan. "Harry Potter's Magic." First Things: A Monthly Journal of Religion & Public Life. 99 (200) [HIDDEN]

Lacayo, Richard. "All Things Must Pass." Time 158 (2001): 86-88.

Lossky, Vladimir. "Theology and Mysticism in the Tradition of the Eastern Church."

Orthodox Christian Information Center. Obtained online:

http://www.orthodoxinfo.com/general/lossky_intro.aspx.

McVeigh, Dan. "Is Harry Potter Christian?" Renascence: Essays on Values in Literature

Rowling, J.K. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. New York: Arthur A. Levine, 1997.

The Hindu Universe. "Upanishads." Obtained online:

http://www.hindunet.org/upanishads/. [END OF PREVIEW]

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