Sunday, November 04, 2007

The Golden Compass - Part 1, a rebuttal

Recently, I found on my desktop a referral to an email that is circulating, and has been 'verified' by Snopes, regarding the upcoming movie release of The Golden Compass, the book that it is based on, and the author, Philip Pullman.

Here is a link to the Snopes article on the email and Pullman

There are several 'warnings' about the danger of Pullman and His Dark Materials series and about Pullman. The email warns that Pullman is an atheist and that his mission is to promote atheism. The email reports that Peter Hitchins calls him the 'most dangerous author in Britain'. The email says that he doesn't like CS Lewis. Finally, the email warns that this is part of a conspiracy to entice children to read the whole trilogy and get the full course of 'atheistic' and 'anti-god' propaganda that Pullman has poured into His Dark Materials.

I feel very strongly about this, and will answer this email in the posts on my blog. A rebuttal, a review, and a rant. This is the rebuttal.

My first rebuttal: Pullman is an atheist.... First of all, so what? Lewis was an atheist, too. As Pullman writes stories, his own story is being written.

On the reference to Peter Hitchins.... I did some research about Hitchins. He seems like he might be the British equivalent to the American Religious Right. And I personally tend to disregard most of the platform that the Religious Right is posting. (Talk about propaganda.)

On the fact that he has hidden an atheistic agenda..... I didn't see that at all in the first book. I saw some very harsh, but I think fair criticism of organized religion (Christian and otherwise), and think we would do well as Christians to seriously consider them.

On the fact that he doesn't like CS Lewis's Narnia. So what? Is that our barometer of spirituality or literature? Even Tolkien had issues with the liberties that Lewis took with the mythical characters. And the article I read (for myself) said it was actually "Lord of the Rings" that Pullman didn't really care for. And even though I don't understand them, I actually have friends who feel the same way!

On the fact that this is all a conspiracy to get our children to read 'dangerous' literature.... Oh please. Enough with the conspiracies. Do we serve the Almighty God or not? Shouldn't our children be equipped enough to read difficult things, even things that are opposed to what we believe? How are we helping them be strong warriors by hiding them from the battle?

Further, this is CLEARLY a SCIENCE FICTION story. The America Heritage Dictionary defines:
science fiction n. A literary or cinematic genre in which fantasy, typically based on speculative scientific discoveries or developments, environmental changes, space travel, or life on other planets, forms part of the plot or background.
It is not meant to be symbolic the way that we have made Narnia and Lord of the Rings to be (btw, those authors weren't meaning to write in allegory either, we've done that to them).

For further rebuttal and information go to this article or this article. Both are written by much smarter people than me.

I am thankful for the Snopes warning that came to my desktop. "The Golden Compass" is one of the most intelligent and courageous stories that I have read in a long time.


AmyE said...

Thanks soo much for posting these comments. You put into words what I was thinking. As a Christian I want to be tolerant and not afraid to be challenged but to grow in faith.

Anonymous said...

Thank you - I have been looking for just this type of post. I'm glad someone more informed than myself is out there writing rebuttals.

Philidini said...

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for this article. I personally have been itching to rebut the radical talk of those "afraid" of this movie. With your permission, I'd like to email this article to others and use it as inspiration for an article I may write myself.