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Thread: Religion and the Wizarding World

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  1. #1
    Fifth Year Slytherin
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    Annalise28's Avatar
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    Religion and the Wizarding World

    I'm not sure if this has been discussed before, but I have been really curious lately as to whether wizards and witches believe in religion. Of course, Muggleborns may have a religion based on their parents' beliefs, however what about Pureblood families?

    It's natural for humans to question things, so why wouldn't Purebloods question the creation of the Earth and our universe. I don't think that they would agree with a Muggle religion like Christianity, but this is a matter of opinion.

    I would love to hear your thoughts.

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  2. #2
    Seventh Year Gryffindor
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    I read somewhere that JKR said that wizards do have religions, she just didn't want to delve into that. The Statute of Secrecy was created in the 1700s right? So that was a time in Europe where Christianity was still pretty big, and if they were not hidden, would they not follow the common belief system as well? That's my thought.
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  3. #3
    My current long-term fic, Ascendio, delves into this issue [/shameless self-promotion]

    Obviously, traditional Christian beliefs do not support witchcraft, but I think that wizards, just like Muggles, would have differing opinions. We know that they celebrate Christmas at Hogwarts, but the religious significance of the holiday is never really touched upon in canon, so it is probably just celebrated by cultural necessity. I know a lot of atheists who observe Christmas just because it's a good time of year to eat a meal with one's family.

    Perhaps the reason Purebloods didn't feel the need to "question the creation of the Earth and our universe" is because of magic. Early humans often felt powerless, observing the vast heavens and wondering how they fit into it all, and so they began worshiping greater beings whom they thought controlled the cosmos. Early wizards, on the other hand, have the power to create life out of nothing. A spell like "Avis" or "Serpensortia" can conjure life out of thin air. A powerful enough wizard might be able to conjure up an entire planet, so it doesn't seem too far-stretched to say that the lack of religion could be directly related to having magical ability in the first place.

    Once, I was talking to a deacon about why he objected to witchcraft, and he told me that the idea of having the power to manipulate nature completely opposes the Christian belief that God has the power over all things. I suppose he was right. This supports the idea that Pureblood wizards would see no need of religion at all - they have supernatural power themselves, so there is simply no need for them to worship a supernatural being.

    Maybe I'm just rambling. I'm sure some Purebloods have probably adopted religions, but as a culture, I don't think the Wizarding World has need of religion in the most basic sense.


  4. #4
    It could also differ from country to country whether wizards are more religious or not. But this topic has been talked about many times, and it always makes for a good debate because there are so many ways to look at it.

    Here are some past threads we have discussed this topic on.
    Wizards and Religion (specifically Anglicanism)
    Character's With Religion?

  5. #5
    Personally, I don't think most European wizards would be religious precisely because witchcraft was persecuted so strongly.

    Whether they would worship some other deity, or have some other kind of religion, I don't know.

    The wizarding Britain that we see in the books seems quite secular. I know that JKR has said that the wizarding world is as religious as the Muggle world, but Muggle Britain isn't particularly religious either.

    I like Virgil's point about early wizards not feeling the need for religion because they can create life for themselves. I do believe that one of Gamp's Laws that JK never talked about in canon but underlies the system of magic says that wizards can't actually create lasting life. ... or was it food and then we tried to apply it backwards into life? I can't remember. How this applies to things that are transfigured into animals, I'm not sure.

    Wizards also seems to have a better, though not complete grasp of what happens after death if the Veil in the Department of Mysteries is any indication.

  6. #6
    Fifth Year Hufflepuff
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    Originally posted by Aida:

    Wizards also seems to have a better, though not complete grasp of what happens after death if the Veil in the Department of Mysteries is any indication.
    To me, the Veil's location would suggest a very minimal knowledge of death and the afterlife rather than a working knowledge. I mean, the wizarding world at large really doesn't know very much about the objects contained in the Department of Mysteries. It's more of a wizard Area 51, where you put things that are too valuable to dispose of but you don't really understand. The Ministry knows maybe how to meddle with these things (Inferi, love potions, Time Turners, etc) and they acknowledge the benefits of meddling with them, but I don't think the presence of the Veil in the Ministry necessarily indicates a good understanding of death. They have the Veil illustration of death, which is just souls passing, but they also have a Death entity who swoops down and carries people away (as depicted by the Grim and other superstitions).

    I like Aida's point about wizards not practicing religion because of the persecution of witchcraft. That makes a lot of sense; I imagine a lot of people would continue to harbor a soft spot about that dark era in history. It might even be a "justification" used by pure-blood supremacists.

    However, I don't think you can definitely say one way or the other that the wizarding world is religious or secular. If it's like Muggle Britain, there's probably a mix of beliefs: you probably have your atheists, your agnostics, and people who practice religion. The lack of mention of religion in the books doesn't necessarily mean that few or no wizards practice it; in the modern day, where non-radical religious people from different religions can get along okay, it usually isn't mentioned that much even in most Muggle environments.

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