“The Harry Potter universe has a lot of things that look a lot like religion,” Zoltan, an assistant Humanist chaplain at Harvard, told the Huffington Post.

The stories meet that mark in several regards, she explained. In addition to having a central text for followers to reference, the series ”has rituals. It has sayings. You can say ‘mischief managed!’ Or, ‘Raise a glass to the Boy who Lived!’ You have certain arguments; there are these [conventions] where they do all sorts of rituals.”

The themes of the book series and the podcast—love, loneliness, generosity, and regret—center on charting an ethical path: “The same things are in these books as are in the traditional sacred texts,” Zoltan said.

Christian scholars have drawn parallels between Harry Potter and traditional Christian imagery and tradition before. When the series was first published, it provoked backlash from some Christian groups for promoting witchcraft and the occult. Some Muslim groups issued online religious decrees against the series.

“Rowling’s 4100-page epic was the best and most powerful contemporary retelling of the gospel narrative I’d encountered,” said Greg Garrett, author of “One Fine Potion: The Literary Magic of Harry Potter,” a book that delves into the connections between Christianity and the Potter saga.

But listeners of the Potter-cast are happy to discover their own truths in the beloved books.

“Not everyone can find themselves in the Bible or the Torah or the Quran,” listener Jenn Stark told the Boston Globe. In this sense, Stark explained, Harry Potter is a modern-day version of spirituality that’s “unorthodox and radical and something there’s been a real need for.”

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