gRegorLove little g big R

The Golden Compass

Lately I have been reading commentaries about The Golden Compass. Most of them have been negative; if you were not aware, there is quite a controversy over the book(s) and the film in some Christian circles. I have found most of them to be lacking in one way or another, so decided that I would write about the topic myself.

Disclaimer: I have not seen this film or read the books yet. I will be citing and linking to various sources, though.

Summary

The Golden Compass is a film based on the fantasy novel Northern Lights by Philip Pullman. This is the first book in a trilogy titled His Dark Materials. The trilogy's setting spans multiple universes and each human has a dæmon, which is a manifestation of their soul. These dæmons exist externally in some universes, in the form of an animal. They are closely bonded; if a dæmon is killed, the human often dies, and they usually must stay within a short distance of each other.

A religious organization called the Magisterium exercises control over practically the entire world. There is a fundamental particle called “Dust” that is attracted to people, though it seems to be less attracted to children. The Magisterium believes Dust to be evidence of Original Sin and scientists perform terrible experiments on children in attempt to inoculate them against its effects. Children are kidnapped in order to be experimented on, and this sets up the story of the protagonist's (Lyra Belacqua) journey to save her friend (and other children). There is a “God” figure known as The Authority; he is actually the first angel to come into existence and has used his position to trick other angels into believing he is the creator of the multiverse. Ultimately the protagonists find themselves opposed to the abuse of power by The Authority.

The controversy

The primary controversy is that Philip Pullman is an atheist/agnostic (depending which commentary you read), his novels are allegedly anti-religious in nature, and they allegedly have an agenda to teach atheism to kids. A secondary controversy – which is often cited to bolster the first – is that Pullman is quite opposed to C.S. Lewis and that his books are specifically a response/refutation to Lewis' Chronicles of Narnia novels.

I found out about the controversy back in October when the Catholic League started a campaign to boycott the film, claiming it was “pernicious, selling atheism to kids.” <sidenote> Generally, I am not a fan of boycotts and specifically, I am not a fan of most Christian boycott efforts. This topic could compose another post all by itself, but for now let me just leave it at a loose paraphrase of Bob Briner in his book Roaring Lambs: too often we Christians get up in arms over something and complain amongst ourselves, preaching to the choir. We make ourselves feel good but really are doing nothing to change the situation; we're doing nothing productive. Great, they know what you are opposed to, do they know what you stand for? Do we have anything to offer in the realm of the arts, or just our opposition to the “bad things?” </sidenote>

Back on topic. I kind of rolled my eyes when I watched their video about the boycott; Bill Donahue was rather loud and obnoxious. I can understand being passionate about the concerns raised, but the delivery really was a turn off. Then my jaw dropped as he explained they had made a 23-page booklet about the author and the film, and were selling it for $5. I can think of few ways they could make themselves less relevant, other than selling them for a higher price, of course. Yes, clearly there are costs involved, but if this is really such a matter of concern, why not make the information freely available? Surely your members who are supportive of your cause will be willing to help finance such efforts. 23 pages is not difficult to put into a PDF and make available for free download. Thankfully, as I re-visit their site at this time, I see they now have a PDF version available, though I wonder if that's only because they sold out of the print versions.

One of the first things I found lacking, in general, was that the commentaries seemed to rely heavily on the rhetoric about Pullman's faith, or lack of faith. He wasn't just an “atheist”, he was a “militant atheist.” Similarly, short quotes were given with little or no context, relying mostly on their emotional impact. “My books are about killing God.” We're left to assume the question was, “What are your books about?”

For those counting, Pullman technically meets the definition of an agnostic, not an atheist. I point this out not because the distinction matters much to me, but because “atheist” is often used in a derogatory manner (see rhetoric above). From his web site, emphasis mine:

His Dark Materials seems to be against organised religion. Do you believe in God?

I don't know whether there's a God or not. Nobody does, no matter what they say. I think it's perfectly possible to explain how the universe came about without bringing God into it, but I don't know everything, and there may well be a God somewhere, hiding away.

Actually, if he is keeping out of sight, it's because he's ashamed of his followers and all the cruelty and ignorance they're responsible for promoting in his name. If I were him, I'd want nothing to do with them.

I really like what Mike Furches said regarding this quote:

Christians, those who are concerned with how we practice the teachings of Jesus can and should, find points of agreement here. Pullman is actually stating he doesn't know about God; (note the reasoning for Agnostic as opposed to Atheist for at least me.) He is also saying though, that religion hasn't done a very good job at reaching, touching and helping the world. Pullman seems to have serious issue with religion. I would state there was another individual that Christians should know who had trouble with religion, in fact a great deal of trouble, to the point he was one of the greatest reformers and rebels who ever lived. His name was Jesus Christ. I fully believe, that pointing out those facts, pointing to specific issues and instances where Jesus had issues with religion, we can find common points of ground to begin a serious discussion.

There are certainly religious themes and parallels in the novels. Director Weitz pointed out, “in the books the Magisterium is a version of the Catholic Church gone wildly astray from its roots.” I have to say - with my basic knowledge of the trilogy's plot - it seems much more a story about opposing a totalitarian organization or ideology than about being anti-religious. Yes, in this story the organization happens to be a religious one, but does that make the point less valid? Does it automatically equate to an attack on your religion? As alluded to above, there have certainly been things done in the name of religion, and by religions organizations, that are clearly ignorant and downright wrong. Hello, Fred Phelps.

One sentence comes up often in this controversy, and that's Pullman saying, “My books are about killing God.” This line comes from The Sydney Morning Herald in 2003. For better context, here is the full quote:

“I've been surprised by how little criticism I've got. Harry Potter's been taking all the flak. I'm a great fan of J.K. Rowling, but the people - mainly from America's Bible Belt - who complain that Harry Potter promotes Satanism or witchcraft obviously haven't got enough in their lives. Meanwhile, I've been flying under the radar, saying things that are far more subversive than anything poor old Harry has said. My books are about killing God.”

Killing what God, though? The God that he admits he doesn't know whether or not exists? When you don't know the existence of something, why would you write a 1200-page trilogy solely about killing that something? I think the quote is rather tongue-in-cheek, actually. J.K. Rowling received criticisms for the setting in which she delivered her tales, disregarding the messages in them (which yes, have a lot of good moral and spiritual lessons to be drawn) - so why shouldn't Pullman receive similar criticisms?

(Spoiler warning!)

Yes, as part of the setting of this trilogy, there is a “God” figure called the Authority, who the children accidentally - and not maliciously - kill. In his old age, the Authority is imprisoned in a glass box because he is too weakened to survive outside. The children do not know this and they free him from the box, at which point he disintegrates and dies. As mentioned in the summary above, this figure is not the actual creator of the universe, he is one of the first angels. This angel is deceptive and uses his position to trick the other angels, and humanity, into believing he created everything and is the Authority. This could rightly be called a “false god”. There is no reference to an actual creator in the trilogy, or explanation of where the universe came from.

Yes, the trilogy does include the “killing of God”, then. Technically, it is not wrong to say the books are about “killing God”, but I believe it's very misleading to imply that is solely what the books are about, or that the author is militantly and single-mindedly seeking to “kill God” in the minds of his readers. There is much more depth here than can be put across in the simple sentence, “My books are about killing God.”

My conclusion

Philip Pullman is more complex than how the pundits summarize him. He has repeatedly stated that in the “large picture” of the universe he does not know if God exists or not. Articles and interviews indicate he has a strong distaste for “organized religion”, particularly when it becomes totalitarian. He is also consistent in this distaste not just across different organized religions, but with any ideologies that become totalitarian. He described this when saying:

“...there is a depressing human tendency to say 'We have the truth and we're going to kill you because you don't believe in it.'”

I have found nothing substantial to support the notion that Pullman is on a mission to “kill God.” He has made some inflammatory remarks, which I do not necessarily agree with or really aim to defend here, but these seem to be outweighed by his reasonable words. In the same article where he said his books are about “kililing God”, after explaining his agnosticism he said:

“That's not to say I disparage the religious impulse. I think the impulse is a critical part of the wonder and awe that human beings feel. What I am against is organised religion of the sort which persecutes people who don't believe. I'm against religious intolerance.”

The stories do not appear to me to be anti-religious or about teaching atheism. Rather they seem to be anti-totalitarian and teach some good lessons about questioning authority, particularly if the authority is doing heinous things. I plan to see the film and read the books at some point so I can say more authoritatively for myself, and I would recommend you do the same. Don't just rely on pundits and reviews, and that certainly includes me. I can understand the concerns, especially for Christian parents of young children; I'm not suggesting going into this blindly or without discernment. I just hope to encourage some deeper consideration on the topic than I have seen (for the most part).

This is quite long enough and now the whole “anti-Narnia” aspect of the controversy seems minor compared to what I have already said. Perhaps I'll leave that topic to the reader as an assignment. There are plenty of links below to start you off.

Lots more to read

Many of these are linked in this post, but here's a complete list, pro, con, and neutral:

Philip Pullman's official site

The Chronicles of Atheism by Peter T. Chattaway, Christianity Today

An Almost Christian Fantasy by Daniel P. Maloney, First Things

The Anti-Narnia, Basia Me

The Golden Compass, One Christian's Anti-Protest, The Virtual Daily Pew

Responding to the “Golden Compass”, Only Wonder Understands

Heat and Dust, Interview with Third Way Christian magazine

A labour of loathing by Peter Hitchens, The Spectator

The shed where God dies by Steve Meacham, The Sydney Morning Herald

Church of Scotland Rejects Call to Boycott 'Golden Compass', The Christian Post

Does 'Golden Compass' point kids toward atheism? by Jonathan Falwell, WorldNetDaily

Sympathy for the Devil, Plugged In Online

Wikipedia: HIs Dark Materials trilogy

Wikipedia: Northern Lights novel

Wikipedia: The Golden Compass film

Wikipedia: daemon

Wikipedia: The Authority

Catholic League boycott

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Responses

IndyChristian

IndyChristian

gRegor... thanks for writing the thoughtful, well-linked article above. And I generally am not into 'boycotts' either. Generally. [We're doing way too little of our own mission to get too upset about what other people/groups are doing. Is that the ONLY reason to get stirred to action?]

But as for me personally, I'm well overloaded with potential movies &amp; sports events to go to, and books, articles, etc. to read. Time is a precious commodity. So our badboy Pacers, Golden Compass, and the major of the political rhetoric these days all pretty much miss the radar screen.

That an atheist/agnostic would build an alternative view (to C.S. Lewis classic works)... is... well, at the very least... to me... a *yawn*. No need to promote a counter-attack... I'm willing to just let it die at the cash register if it will.


Suzi

Suzi

To put it simply, in not going to the movie I am not voting with my wallet to promote Mr. Pullman's anti-God theme. What we buy or do not buy has greater influence at times than the words we speak on a subject. God also calls us to be good stewards of our time, our talent and our money - all which are gifts from God. We are called to love the Lord with all our souls, our hearts, our minds and our strength. How can I justify using those things on something which is so against what we are called to do?

Of course it is every person's decision what they will allow into their eyegate &amp; eargates. I would rather err on the side of caution in glorifying God.

Pullman was quoted as saying,“If there is a God &amp; He is as the Christians describe Him to be, He deserves to be put down &amp; rebelled against.” So when they called him a militant atheist, I don't see how you can justify that he just doesn't believe in anything. His goal and purpose is to use these materials albeit fictional, to kill the concept of the Christian God in the minds of people. And, he is not just talking about any God. He is specifically making reference to the God that Christians proclaim. The nun in his book specifically calls Christianity a mistake. The ignorant view of what God is actually like in his writing is indicative of the original sin, where satan in the garden presented doubt to Adam &amp; Eve that God wasn't really going to do anything, painting a picture of a powerless God who was really only out to control us and with ill intent.

There's no doubt in my mind what Pullman's agenda is, and no way that as a lover of Christ that I can support anything Pullman is presenting, an author who makes grave insults against the One I love the most.

What I AM doing, is praying for Pullman. Christ has been quoted as saying that there is no way to the Father but through Himself, Jesus the Son. In this light, Pullman is lost and needs our prayers. I would never want anyone to condemn themselves to hell through the denial of Christ, and so I will pray for Pullman, who has made an open show of his emnity towards Christ - who Pullman clearly does not know. I feel sad for him and I am praying that his heart will open to accept the truth of Christ, the One who loves him in spite of insults in ignorance. Jesus didn't just die for some people on the cross. He willingly gave up His life for the sins of ALL people in the hopes that they would receive Him and in turn salvation and an eternity dwelling with Him, and that includes Pullman. I only hope that he will open his heart before it is too late.

I recently read that The Golden Compass opening was a smaller blip on the map, making less than 1/2 of the take from The Lion, the Witch &amp; the Wardrobe - proceeds which enabled the future productions of Narnia Chronicles. So, I return to my first thought, that Christians do have a significant vote with their wallets in how we shape some of the media to come.


Thanks for the comment, IndyChristian. I can totally understand and respect that; certainly not everyone needs to go out and read the books / watch the movie in order to be “engaging” in our role as Christians, and time is precious. Mostly I wanted to bring some balance that I thought was lacking.

I know I didn't get into the Narnia stuff, but I really don't think he set out to make a counter/alternative view to Narnia, from anything I have read. Narnia comes up often because - well - Pullman has written a children's fantasy that is quite popular and Tolkien and C.S. Lewis are some of the most notable in that genre (and also from the UK where Pullman is from). He doesn't really like the association, particularly to Lewis, because he doesn't like the Narnia series, and it's not just because Lewis is a Christian. In fact, he seems to quite respect Lewis' non-fiction work.


Yes, Pullman is quoted as saying that. The more complete quote is in the “Sympathy for the Devil” review linked above, which I read. He says:

“But if there is a God, and he is as the Christians describe him, then he deserves to be put down and rebelled against. As you look back over the history of the Christian church, it's a record of terrible infamy and cruelty and persecution and tyranny. How they have the bloody nerve to go on Thought for the Day and tell us all to be good when, given the slightest chance, they'd be hanging the rest of us and flogging the homosexuals and persecuting the witches.”

While yes, this is a sweeping generalization on his part, it's a comment referring to the horrible things that have been done in the name of religion and organized religion. Horrible things have been done in the name or religion, and unfortunately continue to be done. I believe it's unfair to take this one quote and paint him as a “militant atheist”, because it takes a handful of his words at face value and presumes bad faith (as in, no benefit of the doubt, not the spiritual meaning of “faith”).

Fred Phelps is a great example of this, which is why I linked him. If God were like Phelps describes him, “God hates fags”, “Fags die, God laughs”, etc. Well yeah, I would agree that such a god should be rebelled against. I know God is not like that, but that doesn't mean there are no legitimate criticisms of organized religion or things done in the name of religion.

Personally, I'm not so willing to jump to conclusions about what Pullman's goals and motives are, particularly since I haven't read the books. I'd recommend reading the Third Way interview above. It's a Christian magazine and a lot of the faith issues are addressed well, I think.


carl

carl

Gregor, in this movie there are polar bears that drink whiskey and base there life on owning armor. they base their life on their armor because.... THEY BEAT THE CRAP OUT OF EACH OTHER! i'll be honest, I don't know who is a Christian anymore... because I can not believe that a Christian would appose.... POLAR BEARS BEATING THE CRAP OUT OF EACH OTHER. seriously. If Christians boycott this movie then I really don't think I can associate myself with Christians anymore. They've done enough to screw things up, but if they appose POLAR BEARS BEATING THE CRAP OUT OF EACH OTHER, then count me out.

Carl Kevinson


Vanessa

Vanessa

Gregor, you are my hero.


Shawn

Shawn

Why aren't people putting this much energy into movements to... let's say end poverty? It's estimated 2-3.5 million people experience homelessness in the course of a year (according to 1996 numbers)... why isn't there a 23-page booklet about that? I'd pay $5 for that. Why aren't people getting this worked up over domestic violence or child abuse? Where are the emails informing us about Darfur, complete with a snopes.com link at the bottom so that we can confirm that, yes, 450,000 people really have died. Any activist or lobby groups want to sign up to provide medicine to people with AIDS Africa? Or maybe something old fashioned like funding research to cure disease.
People need to find a real cause or shut up.


Allison

Allison

Thank you. You summed up just about everything I'd have to say on the subject (barring one, but I won't go into that because of the following) without my unfortunate tendency to rant like a freaking buffoon (albeit with good intentions).

And amen to Shawn.

Jesus is about love, not condemnation. Instead of boycotts and hatred, shouldn't we be building others up? Shouldn't we be showing Pullman that real Christianity, and God Himself, isn't what he's seen it to be? By loving him? Not by talking about what a horrible person he is, and refusing to support his artistic expression.

But anyway. Yeah. Thanks. :)


Tim

Tim

Here's another good take on the movies/books:
http://www.christianitytoda...

I do not think it is a stretch to say that Philip Pullman has written anti-religious works, based on some of his quotes. Whether or not he is aiming at true Christianity, he is definitely taking aim at a view that a lot of people share about the church. We need to be prepared to give an answer about where he missed the mark.

I do agree that a boycott is not productive. I haven't read the books or seen the movie; I don't plan to, but more out of a lack of interest in the close-to-overdone fantasy genre movies.


Collin

Collin

Thanks Gregor!

I try and stay as unbiased on things as possible, especially when i am completely uneducated.

Now I am not so uneducated, on the whole deal.

I think its worth noting that, I didn't pay much attention to all the hubbub, and just hearing tidbits about the hubbub, and seeing the trailer I immediately drew comparisons between it and The Chronicles of Narnia books, as Opposing voices. I think its rather natural.

Thanks again.


april

april

good thoughts. It's amazing how one sided so much of the information I've seen has been. The Christian community tends to complain about the media only telling one side of the story... it's ironic that they do the exact same thing, but it's okay.


Jon the Canadian

Jon the Canadian

The series does cumulate with the characters and their daemons (pronounced demons) kill the pathetic God character. But just because a series cumulates to something, that doesn't mean it is significant in the book. For example, no one remembers that Frodo destroyed the ring. &lt; / sarcasm &gt;

All I'm saying is that while many stupid people are in the church, it is not wrong for members of the church to practice discernment, to understand the times, or to attempt, and to help others attempt to think on things that are good, right, and holy.

Sure, hysteria makes people look silly, but I just appreciate that there are finally legitimate concerns and it's not another stupid false email forward.

Here's a few, more quotes from the author of the Golden Compass:

“I don't expect Christians to see God as a metaphor, but that's what he is. Perhaps it might be clearer to call him a character in fiction, and a very interesting one too: one of the greatest and most complex villains of all - savage, petty, boastful and jealous, and yet capable of moments of tenderness and extremes of arbitrary affection - for David, for example. But he's not real, any more than Hamlet or Mr Pickwick are real.”

“As for Narnia - I've expressed my detestation for that series on several occasions and at length”

“I was brought up in the Church of England, and whereas I'm an atheist, I'm certainly a Church of England atheist...”

“The plainest and simplest description of the world, for me, and the truest, is that there is no God, but that human beings are capable of great goodness and great wickedness, and we don't need priests or Popes or imams or rabbis to tell us which is which.”

“I'm not deluded: Christians are. There is no God.”

http://filmchatblog.blogspo...


Come on, Jon, what did I say that even resembles your sarcastic opening comment?

I don't believe I said anything that contradicts your second statement, either. In fact I encouraged discernment.

I don't have a problem if people weigh everything and decide to not see the movie or read the books. I cannot say, from much of what I have read, that a lot of people are using much discernment or even researching the matter beyond the email's claims, though. I think it's a far more in-depth matter than most commentaries I've seen addressing it. The one Christianity Today article is an exception, and thanks for that link, I will read that shortly.

There are legitimate concerns, but I believe they are exaggerated or construed in as negative a light as possible, and in a manner that discourages discernment or critical thought. Yes, the kids kill “The Authority”, but never mind the fact that it wasn't malicious, it was an accident, and that “The Authority” is a fraud - a false god more akin to the Christian's worldview of Lucifer than God Almighty. Yes, there are humanistic and materialistic elements implicit, but all we hear is “the militant atheist kills God. The end.” (my executive summary)

I really don't care what Pullman thinks of Narnia, and am still rather confused why the pronunciation of “daemon” matters so much (it gets brought up repeatedly).


Jon the Canadian

Jon the Canadian

Hey Gregor,

The sarcastic comment was, of course, in response to:


Yes, the trilogy does include the “killing of God”, then. Technically, it is not wrong to say the books are about “killing God”, but I believe it's very misleading to imply that is solely what the books are about, or that the author is militantly and single-mindedly seeking to “kill God” in the minds of his readers.


“Technically” is a term to dismiss a fact as irrelevant, and it was used here to dismiss the author's own statement about his own books. (Hey, I was a linguistics major, give me a break.)

In general, I think we try too hard to distance ourselves from the “Crazy Christians,” and we overcompensate. I'm actually in favor of Christians boycotting porn, drugs, and several other things. Heck, if someone really feels that there's a book published with the intent to promote lies about God, I'd prefer they say something to start the discussion.

Contrary to discouraging discernment or critical thought, this blog and many conversations I've had with high schoolers prove quite the opposite - lots of critical thinking and discussion going on about it.

I haven't read the books either, but my wife read the series, and found the conclusion very disturbing, and was shocked that this was in children's literature. She recommends all but the last book as great children's literature.

I feel strongly about this because I so strongly value story as a truth-communication device. Whether or not a story is true, it still always seeks to communicate truth.

In fact, stories (fact or fiction) are better communicators of truth than mere truth-statements.

Superhero stories inspire not because they're true, but because they communicate truth about faith, love, sacrifice, etc.

Likewise, stories can be harmful, if they promote lies as truths. I'm sure celebrities who have been lied about in tabloids have felt this.

Is a book libel against God? How would we find out? If it is, what is our proper response?

I felt like your post presumed it isn't anti-God, because we can force a Christian-compatible re-interpretation on it, despite what the author has written.

It's difficult territory once we start re-defining a story so we can agree with it. To hear a story written about the man Jesus who claimed to be on par with God, we can then say that this is a closer match to the Christian view of Satan or at least those at the tower of Babel, and we can then consent to his death. Just for clarification, this is in response to

“there is a “God” figure... deceptive and uses his position to trick the other angels, and humanity, into believing he created everything and is the Authority. This could rightly be called a “false god”.”

And of course the it contributes to any honest intellectual evaluation of the book if we understand that in this book God is bad and demons are good.


The fact is that the figure perceived as a deity in this story, is a fraud. He is not a deity, and is not responsible for creating the universe. There is no re-definition there.

If Christians want to latch onto that aspect of the story - as an affront to their faith and God - and ignore values that might be drawn from the story as a whole (as you mentioned: faith, love, sacrifice, etc.) then that is their prerogative. From my understanding of the story, I find it hard to believe that none of these values are to be found.

I disagree with your interpretation of that “technically.” I used it in part to reiterate what a sweeping generalization the phrase “kill God” is, particularly in the context of this story - the fact that it's not a deity, that it's an accident and not a malicious act, and how about the fact that it really doesn't resemble the Christian God? I believe the phrase is used for it's emotional weight, by both Pullman and the critics. I don't dismiss it, rather I try to give it more context. Moreso than I have seen many critics do; they seem content to leave it at “OMG! kids kill God!”

I don't presume one way or the other whether the books are “anti-God.” I don't think that drawing different things from a story than others do is “re-defining” a story, necessarily. Furthermore, I think even a book that is written to be explicitly “anti-God” is capable of having truths and values that can be pulled from it (contrary to the author's intent).

I'm glad this blog and conversations have encouraged discernment and critical thought. That was largely my intent! :) I find those elements lacking in the “forward on this 3 paragraph email that generalizes why this book will send your kids to hell if they read it” practice, which is mostly what I have seen in the blogosphere.


mousewords

mousewords

I haven't seen the movie or read the books myself, either; so I appreciate your insightful commentary on the “real” story behind the blurbs.

The one thing this teaches me is that I have a great responsibility to represent my Lord and Savior in the truest way possible. Others will form their opinions of Him by seeing my actions and life.

My heart aches for anyone who has been hurt by a misrepresentation of true Christianity. Time to roll up our sleeves and fix what we can about that. :-):-)


Patrick Reid

Patrick Reid

a) Great article I have a deep distrust for anti entertainment pundits especially after the conclusion of The Harry Potter series.

b) I'm am in fact proud of you for finally watching AD. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I hyped it up.

c) Yeah! Why buy the cow?


mK :-)

mK :-)

I have no opinion on the movie, but one thing I find of interest is that there are often “disagreements” between Protestant denominations (and certainly between Catholics and Protestants) on how to live day to day, that easily overshadow this topic in terms of fervor, entrenchment, and unfortunate results. OK, big words, but just trying to say that it's not surprising to get boycots and counter-boycots, considering how poorly we respect each other on a daily basis.

I welcome the discussion, though, and enjoy both gRegor's and Jon's comments for their thoughtful nature. And though I've questioned my faith and even called myself an agnostic at times, I do very much agree that we often try too hard to distance ourselves from the “crazy Christians.” Crazy is an epithet often attached to a group solely based on their deviation from the center or their unwillingness to sacrifice their beliefs to the altar of conformity.


Melanie

Melanie

gRegor, I have not seen the movie. I have watched Mr. Pullman in interview on The Charlie Rose Show, which interviews writers frequently. I did this to try and grasp fairly what Mr. Pullman's own intentions were after having read the article covering Mr. Pullman, New Line Cinema, and the release of the film in The Atlantic. My interest is out of my concern for what the power of literature and film can do to our thinking. These books have been marketed to children out of the express purpose to undermine any trust or faith in God. Mr. Pullman was quite clear about that in the interview. The illustrations and metaphors he uses in the books and the series are recognizable techniques most writers use to get their point across about whatever it is they wish to espouse or with chich to change the attitudes of culture. Mr. Pullman is from Oxford, the same Oxford that C. S. Lewis was from. An examination of the life of Lewis will show you how much he was hated by the academia of that time and still is, not for having his faith in God so much, but that he used his prodigious academic gifts to witness for his faith. In other words, by his own admission, Mr. Pullman's agenda is to use his academic gifts to directly oppose faith in God as something outdated and an affront to the reasonableness and rational intelligence of humankind. He espouses the view that “truth is a function of the calendar and that the latest word is the truest one.” which is really a philosophy that Lewis himself categorized as “chronological snobbery”. At any rate, Mr. Pullman is one of the many self-aware shapers of culture who knows what he is doing with your mind and mine, is happy to discuss his technique on national television with other of the intelligensia, and is quite happy to be doing it by his own admission. Everyone can pay for the books and movie at their own faith's risk. For if such ideas do not affect your thinking today when all goes well, they most certainly will be planted in the mind for future use when the day goes bad for us. And that is most certainly something to think about, isn't it? (Philipians 4:8) :-)


Patricia Clark Mitchell

Patricia Clark Mitchell

Gregor! Long time no see.

Just randomly began checking blogs again and saw this one.

I don't want to leave a super long comment, but I HAD to leave something on this one. I am a little shocked that you are so critical of other people's opinions of a book/movie that you yourself haven't seen.

Let me say, I've seen the movie and they cut out alot of blasphemous stuff from the book (like not saying that dust was sin). If you don't know that the meaning of the movie is blasphemous, you won't be offended. However, it IS important to BOYCOTT, because we live in a capitalist society. If we boycott the harmless movie, then sequel, which HAS to be blasphemous in order for the plot to move forward.

And I actually AM providing a replacement for blasphemous entertainment.
http://www.illuminati.tv


Patricia Clark Mitchell

Patricia Clark Mitchell

I'm obviously not a writer, so let me clarify that last paragraph:

Let me say, I've seen the movie and they cut out alot of blasphemous stuff from the book (like not saying that dust was sin). If you don't know that the meaning behind the movie is blasphemous, you won't be offended by it. However, it IS important to BOYCOTT the film, because we live in a capitalist society. If we boycott the first harmless movie, then the sequel, which HAS to be blasphemous in order for the plot to move forward, will not be considered “financially viable” and get canned.

Sorry if you were confused!


Melanie

Melanie

One of the difficulties of our postmodern age is recognizing what worship is, why we do it, and what it is we are worshiping and how it affects every choice we make, every decision we act on. All of us worship something. The Bible admonishes us not to worship anyone or anything but God. The reason for this is much more to our benefit than to the erroneous argument that it is for His aggrandizement. To worship something is to be in awe of it, to embrace its wonder like a little child, to be willing to make sacrifices for it and prioritize it above anyone or anything else even ourselves. To do this for anyone or anything else is defined as idolatry, as dead end a path as one can choose. There are all number of hurtful outcomes on the road to idolatry and each entrance gate is terribly wonderful and seemingly harmless: We've all been there at one time or another and the end result is not wonder and peace, but guilt and a spoiled view of life. The sun is not so bright as it was. As one famous Christian apologist has put it (and I will paraphrase from memory a bit): There are some books I will not read, no matter how wonderfully their are written because of worship, no movies I will see no matter how fantastically they are done with special effects, because of worship....“ He says this with a tone I hear from God, this loving Father who says, ”Don't go there“, ”Don't look at that" Not because he's depriving me but because he wants to protect me from seeing or doing something that will harm me in a way I don't yet see ahead to. And worship of God in that sense is something to guard and protect for the small cost of a movie ticket.



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