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The question of why is there religion in Harry Potter made me wonder as to whether wizards, any of them, do practice religion. Whether there be magic-person only religions or shared muggle faiths, I do not recall any wizards (born in the wizard world anyway) saying that they did practice a religion.

Many of them do celebrate Christmas, but as was commented on the above linked question, there are many non-christian muggles that also observe Christmas. So I am not sure that can be an accurate identifier. Answering this question may link into identifying what holidays the wizards celebrate.

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    I've been also curious, since I've read Harry saying "Thanks God" somewhere in Deathly Hallows. That looked like just a common phrase without actual meaning. Also, in Potter universe, wizards do not understand muggles very much. Also - "Indeed, Wendelin the Weird enjoyed being burned so much that she allowed herself to be caught no less than forty-seven times in various disguises." How could they take seriously such people and such religion? As there are no other hints of religion, I'd say, all the wizards should be some kind of atheists. – mikalai May 11 '15 at 11:12
  • "Have I mentioned I'm a Christian today?" Sure, there are people who make a point of mentioning their religion as often as possible to anyone who might not be aware of it, but they tend to be a rather dull characters in stories about things other than religion; I'm not surprised they don't feature prominently in this series. – user867 Mar 9 '16 at 6:31
  • Many practice religion, but none have gotten good enough with it to really count. :-) – RDFozz May 10 '18 at 20:16
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There are, to the best of my memory, no instances of wizard-raised wizards mentioning religion at all in the books. As you stated, many of them do celebrate Christmas, and one might think that if there was some form of Jewish, Pagan, Muslim, or other Muggle faith with a winter holiday prevalent in the wizarding world, Harry would have heard about it. On the other hand, the only other people Harry interacts with a lot are Hermione - Muggle-raised - and Ron - raised by a nontraditional and Muggle-loving family. There are many fanfics and essays which explain Harry's ignorance, and therefore our ignorance, of wizarding religious traditions as being a side effect of him belonging to the most Muggle-associated house and having only Muggle-associated friends.

That being said, in Harry Potter and the Deathy Hallows, Harry finds two tombstones with Bible (New Testament) quotes on them. His parents' reads "The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death" (1 Corinthians 15:26) while Kendra and Ariana Dumbledore's reads "Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also" (Matthew 6:21). Both Lily Potter and Kendra Dumbledore were Muggle-born, however, while it is possible the verses were placed on their gravestones for the mothers alone, their funerals were held by wizards, in the wizarding world, and I believe that if the Bible was not part of the culture of the wizarding world at large, the phrases may have stirred up trouble for the Dumbledores, and lessened the heroism of the Potters (if prejudice exists in the wizarding world - religious prejudice, that is).

Rowling's only direct quote on the religion of wizards was to say once, in 2007, that "Hogwarts is a multifaith school," never specifying what those faiths may or may not be. The presence of the New Testament quotes on wizarding tombstones in a church graveyard in a famous wizarding village, however, signifies to me that Christianity at least is a religion practiced by at least some wizards. Probably not all of them, but, then again, all Muggles don't practice Christianity either. People bring religions with them, and Muggle-born wizards have been around since before Hogwarts was founded. If there aren't any wizards who practice the faiths we are familiar with, well...I'd certainly be surprised.

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    This reminds me of an article on Pottermore regarding Professor McGonagall. It said that her Muggle father was a conservative Scottish Presbyterian minister who was terribly surprised to find that his new wife was a witch. The article talks of the difficulty that both of her parents had with raising a family from such diverse backgrounds. So from Rowling, at least McGonagall was raised in a Christian family. I'm sure others likely were, as well. – Gabe Willard May 16 '12 at 23:14
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    That sounds like quite a useful article! Hopefully we'll get more information on the topic as Pottermore actually moves forward...maybe. – crystallized May 16 '12 at 23:29
  • But there's actual ghosts of real dead people in the books and films (that are just normal dead people, not angels or demons), so doesn't that kind of throw a monkey wrench into the Harry Potter universe when it comes to religion? – Paul Omans Dec 13 '16 at 19:58
  • @PaulOmans Ghosts in the Potterverse are basically imprints, echoes or residue of the original. The soul as a whole still passes on. – JAB Jun 6 '18 at 17:26
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According to a recent tweet from JKR, the Ravenclaw wizard Anthony Goldstein is Jewish.

@benjaminroffman - My wife said there are no Jews at Hogwarts. I’m a Jew so I assume she said it to be the only magical 1 in the family. Thoughts?

@jk_rowling - Anthony Goldstein, Ravenclaw, Jewish wizard.

Additionally, she stated that pretty much every other religion is also present at Hogwarts aside from (ironically) Wiccanism.

@jk_rowling - To everyone asking whether their religion/belief/non-belief system is represented at Hogwarts: the only people I never imagined there are Wiccans


As a point of interest, in the same tweet series she also confirmed that Hogwarts is a safe space for gay students:

‏@laracroftway - It's safe to assume that Hogwarts had a variety of people and I like to think it's a safe place for LGBT students

@jk_rowling - But of course

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At least historically, Christianity was shared by Muggles and Wizards

We don't know his blood status, but the Fat Friar is an example of a fully-qualified wizard who practiced religion and even joined the church. Admittedly, that was several centuries ago and may not represent current practice.

Hufflepuff house is haunted by the Fat Friar, who was executed because senior churchmen grew suspicious of his ability to cure the pox merely by poking peasants with a stick, and his ill-advised habit of pulling rabbits out of the communion cup. Though a genial character in general, the Fat Friar still resents the fact that he was never made a cardinal.

-From the Pottermore article by JKR on Hogwarts Ghosts

More recent but less definitive examples from a generation or two ago are the inscriptions on the tombstones in Godric's Hollow from Deathly Hallows:

"The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death" on Lily's tomb and "Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also" on the Dumbledores' tomb.

These show that these families had a familiarity with the Bible and liked those verses at least. It implies (but does not prove) a greater familiarity with Christianity in general because a Bible verse was chosen to memorialize their lives.

Current examples only include the celebration of Christmas but as OP states, Christmas is celebrated by more than just Christians.

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    The example of the Fat Friar is a nice one, +1 for that. However, I'm not sure what the tombstone example implies about their connections to Christianity, could you edit to be clearer? Lastly, I think your answer would be better if you removed the Christmas part altogether, it seems a bit redundant. – TheLethalCarrot May 10 '18 at 14:29
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    @TheLethalCarrot Thanks, hopefully it is clearer now. I included the Christmas example for completeness but I suppose it could be removed. I showed historical and recent examples and wanted to include a statement about current practice. – Bishop May 10 '18 at 14:38
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I wonder why noone mentioned that Sirius was Harry's Godfather. The procedure of becoming a godfather is very religious by itself. Both Sirius and James were purebloods, so it would be weird for them to choose this ritual if they were not accustomed to its meaning. It is possible of course that Lily being from a muggle family would insist on the act, but we do not see anyone in wizarding world to be surprised by the concept of godfather at all. More than that - being a godfather seems to be quite official in the wizarding world as Sirius is sure that his letter about allowing Harry to visit Hogsmeade will be legit to settle the matter.

  • They may not have made Sirius a godfather in a religious sense. It may have been more of a legal or symbolic act. – Alex Oct 24 '18 at 17:10
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    @Alex It is possible, I agree. But why Godfather then? Technically he was Harry's guardian, as it seems. They would find some other name for it if it was a legal act. And if it was symbolic - they should understand what symbolism is there to keep the tradition. Mind, I do not claim Sirius and James were religious, just that they were used to the religious idea of Godparents. – Shana Tar Oct 24 '18 at 17:21
  • But being used to the idea doesn't necessarily mean that any wizard was actually religious. They may have just incorporated what seemed like a nice ceremony into their world. – Alex Oct 24 '18 at 17:27
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    @Alex Yes, they may, same way as they adopted Christmas and Easter to their culture. But I think it is still a legit point to consider :) – Shana Tar Oct 24 '18 at 17:47
  • Fair enough.... – Alex Oct 24 '18 at 17:47
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Probably very late to the party, but it might be a useful addition to this topic that (monotheistic) religion and Wizardry do not contradict. Actually, being part of the Wizarding world makes religion more plausible, and not less so.

There are many people who think they don't need the concept of an intelligent creator, as they believe that the world is the result of a completely natural and random process. However, due to how spells work in the Harry Potter universe (requiring specific motions and chants), they don't seem to be the result of a purely natural and random process. Some omnipotent being must have designed the laws of the Universe and put magic into it.

Regarding Christianity, the prevalent religion in Britain (both in real life and in the Harry Potter universe), one might be tempted to say that the miracles of Jesus were just the works of a wizard, but there are things which no wizard could do: true resurrection and conjuring food.

Also, there are kinds of magic in the Harry Potter universe which seem to support the existence of souls.

Basically, there are two main factors which would make religion not implausible in the Wizarding world:

  • due to how spells work, there are more arguments (not fewer) for Intelligent Design in the Wizarding world than in the Muggle world
  • there are feats in monotheistic religions which no wizard could do, like creating the physical laws of the Universe, resurrection, and an afterlife.

I specifically mentioned Christianity and monotheism both because it's the most prevalent in the geographical setting of the books and because the deities of ancient polytheistic mythologies do not look like being much more powerful than the wizards in Harry Potter: they are part of the world, not the creators of it.

  • Wizards can multiply food. Fair point on the resurrection, though. – user867 Aug 18 '15 at 1:49
  • @user867 Um. Is it? Consider those witches who were burned alive in front of a crowd and somehow magically resurrected... – DavidS Aug 18 '15 at 9:25
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    @DavidS : they were never dead in the first place, and they were also not burned to ash. – vsz Aug 18 '15 at 15:28
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    @vsz I think you missed the point of my comment. The abilities of wizards render essentially every Muggle story of "miracles" completely unreliable, so your point about the resurrection only works if you are already assuming that it's true. – DavidS Aug 19 '15 at 8:40
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    ...which some might argue is also true of Muggles! – Adamant Mar 10 '16 at 17:00
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I always think about religion in the wizarding world when the hospital is mentioned. It isn't something like London Memorial Hospital, it's Saint Mungo's. So there had to be a wizard who not only got canonised but also was proud of it. And he got canonised while still alive because he founded the hospital himself.

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    Can you elaborate on how you relate religion to being hospitalised? – Mat Cauthon Aug 10 at 5:27
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    He is not relating religion to being hospitalized, He is pointing out that Saint Mungo's Hospital was founded by someone who has been Canonized. (Designated a Saint by the Catholic Church.) So there must be Religion in the Wizarding world too since Muggles don't got to Wizard Hospitals.. – NJohnny Aug 10 at 5:47
  • In the non-Wizarding World they only "Saint" dead people. That's one important difference right there. – Meat Trademark Aug 10 at 5:49
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I really don't see how being able to do magic would constitute a conclusive argument against the existence of a higher power (although a lot of folks in the real world do), so yes, I'm certain that different wizards harbor different religious faiths, but it wasn't important to the tale so Jo Rowling left it out.

Bringing in any overt religious expressions, except in an off-hand way with no import to the story, would have distracted from the points that the author wanted to make.

There comes a point where putting too many toppings on a pizza adds only to the cost and not the experience. Same principle here.

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    Fair points. But I've yet to eat a pizza with too many toppings. – Xantec Jan 7 '17 at 15:20

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