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Thread: Wizarding Religions

  1. #1
    Fourth Year Ravenclaw
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    Wizarding Religions

    What is the religion in the Wizarding World? Do wizards follow Muggle religions like Christianity? Or do they simply not follow one? What about half-bloods? Do they abandon their religion upon entering the Wizarding World?

    Also, how much do British people know about American religion? For instance, Mormanism is (I think) a primarily American religion. Do Brits know anything about this religion?

    I'd love any thoughts you have on the subject!

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  2. #2
    I'd think that wizards don't have a "wizard religion", but the muggleborns and halfbloods might follow muggle religions that they had followed before learning they were a wizard.

    This is a hard subject because JK never says anything about it in the books, so you have a lot of wiggle room.

  3. #3
    Sixth Year Hufflepuff
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    I have a feeling that they follow muggle religions, lets look at the books.

    They celebrate Christmas. Why is that?
    The major religion around Scotland and stuff is Christianity.

    They also get Easter Holidays, if I'm not much mistaken.
    This is also a Christian holiday.

    However, I don't think someone with a Hindu name like "Parvati Patil" follows Christianity.
    So, some wizards follow Hinduism as well.

    If these two religions are followed, why not others?

    Basically, the point I'm trying to make here is that wizards follow more than one religion, and so there is no Wizard religion per se. Instead they follow muggle religions.

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  4. #4
    It is really up to the individual witch/wizard whether they follow their original muggle religion. Like it is in the real world. Some people are Christian, some Catholic, some Hindu and some don't have a religion at all.

    Some people believe that witches and wizards worship Merlin in the way Christians and Catholics worship God and Christ. Although, there is nothing to prove this. I suppose, if you want there to be a religion for witches and wizards that would be the way to go. Just remember there is no basis for this theory.

  5. #5
    JK never did touch much on religion in her books, did she? I suppose that muggleborns and halfbloods might have some idea of religion, but it has never been a central theme. Here's an essay that might have some useful information:

    Secrets of the Class List

    Other than that, my only advice would be a tread softly in this topic. I'm trying to incorperate some religious ideals with a story I'm working on, and I've got to tell you, it is not easy. If you are going to talk about religion, try to use as more of a motife and not as a central idea.

    As South Park's Stan Marsh once said, "We go to church to hear all that stuff, we go to movies to be entertained!"

    If you think you can make a great story come from this, I say go for it! But "tread softly" is my only word of advice.

  6. #6
    I would also recommend this essay on Lexicon:

    Merlin, God, and You-Know-Who - Religion in the Wizarding World

    And there was also a discussion here at the RD some time ago:

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  7. #7
    Fourth Year Gryffindor
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    Personally, I think that one sees religion in the Harry Potter series as one wishes to see it. There are some who see very clearly JKR's own Christian background coming through and then there are those who refuse to see any form of it at all, claiming that the wizarding world would be more in tune with paganism or Wicca.

    I have always felt that the author's own beliefs would be/were very hard to conceal completely, but she has made an effort to keep things very non-specific. No one is seen going to Midnight Mass at Christmas; the Patils are never described as going to a Hindu Temple, etc... I'm not sure if JKR is a church goer or which one she goes to if she does, and it doesn't matter, but I think she clearly has been influenced by Christianity, particularly in light of the final book. But again, she has done quite a good job keeping things non-specific, and thus making the story of good vs evil appeal to a much broader audience.

    However, I take exception with much of what is written in the previously linked article, Merlin, God, and You-Know-Who - Religion in the Wizarding World. First of all, the writer claims that God is never mentioned. This is false. I'll give the writer the benefit of the doubt and say that the essay was written earlier in the Series (and it might have been true at the time), but the later books definitely have people thanking God. Still, I was happy to see that someone left footnotes correcting the false assertion that no one sings Christmas carols, which by their very nature are religious. God Rest Ye Merry... O Come All Ye really doesn't get much more Christian than that. I also take exception with the claim that the Holy days of Christmas and Easter are simply reasons "to go on holiday". The writer claims that nothing is actually celebrated, yet Hogwarts goes pretty crazy with the Christmas trees, the aforementioned Christmas carols, and has a meal special enough for Trelawny to come down and risk muddling her inner eye. The claim that the fact that Malfoy, Crabbe and Goyle don't go home and celebrate Christmas would indicate a lack of religion in the wizarding world doesn't really convince me either. They were Death Eaters' children. I wouldn't expect those families to be actively Christian.

    Frankly, I did not like this essay or find it very helpful. There was too much inaccuracy and an apparent bias against religious people. She contradicted herself with the notion of religious names when she listed a number of the main characters, yet apparently not enough of them had Christian names. Factor in the very offensive second to last line, The many superstitions wizards hold may be an indication that witches and wizards are just as irrational and “religious-minded” as Muggles. , and I think this person comes across as one of those who refuses to see any hint of JKR's influence by Christianity. Of course, that could just be me, seeing as I'm one of those "irrational and religious-minded" Muggles.


    Another indication that there might be religiosity in the wizarding world is the minister who officiates at both Dumbledore's funeral and Bill and Fleur's wedding, and the bible verses on the tomb stones in Godric's Hollow, and the fact that Sirius is Harry's Godfather. I have seen many argue that the wizarding world is probably like the real world where many people put up Christmas trees and have godparents when they don't really practice a religion. That's all fine and good, but those traditions have a foundation and many people do practice them because of what they actually are. I don't think the wizarding world would be any different and I really don't think they would have adopted these traditions from Muggles simply because the Christmas trees are pretty.

    All this being said, I think you can write religion in if you wish. I would be very hesitant to write Harry and Hermione and Ron going to Church every Sunday in Hogwarts, as that would not be canon compliant (and might not make it through validation without an AU warning). However, if it is Seamus or the Patils at home with their families, I don't see why you couldn't. I also don't see why Harry couldn't have a sort of conversion after the events of DH. I think you might find limited readership in this instance, as again, JKR's books are still pretty vague, but if it is the story you want to write, my advice would be to write it.

    Now, about Mormonism, I am not British, so I don't know how widespread the knowledge or practice is in the UK.

  8. #8
    First of all, in my opinion the religion should be kept out of Harry Potter fandom. The only reason why is that that with religion you get more complexity and problems involved in the story. I read once one HP Fan Fiction with a lot of religious references (the main character was deeply religious), and I must say that talking about God and having characters of HP world in same story is strange, at least to me. Normally, some of you will say that the character do celebrate Christmas and Easter. The main reason why is that most of the children in Hogwarts are from muggleborn and half-blood families and they are familiar with muggles costumes.

    And for what is worth children do need their brakes at some points in a school terms. The most easy way for JK to do that is to put the brakes at the same time in the muggles world.

    I hope that you understand my POV.


  9. #9
    Second Year Ravenclaw
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    I think religion is one of those things in the potterverse that is not described in depth, but not discredited either. For example, just because we are never shown students visiting a chapel in Hogwarts on an occasional sunday doesn't mean it couldn't happen. Showing the trio going to church every week is clearly against canon, but I don't think having Harry, Ron, or Hermione praying once or twice would merit an AU warning.

    That aside, if someone decided to make it AU and create her own wizard version of the Church of England, or some Pureblood religious cult it would be a wonderful addition to the universe. A historical work could be an ideal vehicle for a wizard vision of religion, when the church's political authority was high (people being tried criminally for heresy, etc.)

    I 100% support people who want to add a religious aspect to their fanfiction. There is no reason to be afraid of offending people; if they don't like it, they don't have to read. Isn't one of the purposes of fanfic to expand the universe? Religion, if naturally woven into the fabric of the story and not forced, adds a degree of verisimilitude that is perhaps even lacking in the original work. For a story that takes place in, ostensibly, the real world, religion is hidden to an almost unreal degree. But luckily for us, we are not trying to sell our work to a wider audience and don't need to gloss over contentious subjects, like I sometimes feel Rowling might be doing.

    I think it's silly to think that wizards would have no religion. It may not be as important to them as to Muggles, because they can rely on their own powers to a large extent to change their world and situations, but there is still a degree of uncertainty to life that seems to demand some sort of mysticism, at least. Dumbledore strikes me as a religious person in this way.

    In the end, I think there is no advice in this area except: You can do whatever you want with religion, as long as it isn't gratuitous, and advances your theme, plot, or character development. I enjoy stories that take risks and give me a fresh perspective on the world that I have come to love.

    well, that's my opinion, and you don't have to agree if you don't want to

  10. #10
    Also, how much do British people know about American religion? For instance, Mormanism is (I think) a primarily American religion. Do Brits know anything about this religion?

    Speaking as a Mormon, I can assure you that the British know about it. I'm American, but I've heard some statistics that say there are Mormons in almost every country, so, yes, the British do know about this religion.

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