No, of course I don't believe that. I'm quoting stupid atheists, as I did in the blog post entitled We Possess the Works of Over Fifty Historians Who Were in Jerulsalem During Jesus' Supposed Lifetime, And None of Them Mention Him! And even if I ever did express such a harebrained notion, I would express it more elegantly, saying "nonfictional" rather than "true." ("Pilate saith unto him, What is truth?") This one about Harry Potter seems very popular, and it's staggeringly stupid, of course. (Was it actually started by someone like Dawkins or Hitchens? Harris seems a much more likely suspect.) When the Bible, or the Iliad,for example, was written, people regarded them as nonfiction. A lower percentage of their readers regards them as nonfictional today. Conversely, when the plays of Plautuswere first presented, over 2000 years ago, they were not thought of as depictions of actual people and events any more than Rowling's novels are today. And over the past 2000 years, people have not gradually come to think that they were depictions of actual people and events. Likewise, Dante's Divine Comedyand Shakespeare's Tempest,both clearly understood to be fiction right from the start, are not gradually being regarded as nonfiction.
If I were to argue in court that, indeed, there is a significant group of atheists running around loose who bear striking resemblances to religious fundamentalists, this garbage about Harry Potter just might be Exhibit A. (Hopefully 2000 years from now Rowling's mediocre children's novels will be long forgotten.) Just as a fundamentalist Christian will quote a verse or two from the KJVand stand there grinning smugly at you as if she just showed you something, so many a stupid atheist will say that 2000 years from now people will think Harry Potter is true, and stand there with the very same stupid smug grin on the front of his pointy head. When I first heard the term "fundamentalist atheist" a few years ago I found it to be ridiculous, and I wrote a blog post proudly claiming the intended insult as a label for my own, just like a punk rocker or a Gothic cathedral. Now I see that the term has its legitimate application. I still think that, by and large, the brightest folks tend to be atheists and the dimmest bulbs tend to believe in some deity or deities, but there are atheists who don't think about religion, but just parrot stupid memes about religion, just like the fundies. Let's make it perfectly clear now, I am not on their side. I am on the side of open minds, intellects which exert themselves and reach for more, people who are capable of being corrected. People who love to learn. It's never been atheists against believers with me. Scorsese and Cormac McCarthy and Kazantzakis and Kierkegaard are still my homies. Christianity is still stupid, but a person is often stupid in some areas and brilliant in others, and those four Christians are miles and miles brighter than these atheist yokels who just will not stop repeating their memes about Harry Potter becoming a religion over the next 2000 years and the Bible being written by illiterate [sic!] Bronze Age goat herders or by Constantine and the Pope at Nicea.