I guess this type of thing was going to get written by somebody sooner or later. Better Ken Jacobsen than me or someone I know.

As a religious response to secularity, then, the Harry Potter books occupy a position in between the poles of accommodation – conforming religious faith to a secular mould – and rejection – the “Occlumency” of religious conservatives who would close their minds to all worldly influences. Without the transcendent vision and values of religion, the secular condition, like Voldemort, can easily degenerate into nihilism and murderous expediency. Conversely, a religious vision which does not embrace that which is great and intrinsically valuable in secularity predictably degenerates as well. At best, the anti-modernism of radical sectarians is inauthentic and illusory; at worst, as we sadly witness in our world, religion becomes irrational and destructive. To frame the issue more positively, like Harry’s relation to the Dark Lord, religious faith cannot know itself qua faith without secularity, without the painful but necessary rupture between church and state. As Peter Berger argues, modernity’s subversion of certainty and religious consensus actually opens up grand new possibilities for faith: “It allows an individual in quest of religious truth to make something of a fresh start” (Glory 127). The Harry Potter books, I would argue, are themselves a kind of “fresh start,” a re-articulation of the quest for religious truth in contemporary terms. Like Jesus’s parable of “The Wheat and the Tares” (Matt. 13.24-30, 36-43), they compel us to accept a world in which the religious and the secular must necessarily grow up side by side, often indistinguishably, separable only by the angelic reapers at the end of the age.