Nov 30, 2007

Don't support the show "Golden Compass"

It's a fantasy universe where witches are good, the church is bad, and at the end of it all, God dies.

It's the world of author Philip Pullman's "His Dark Materials" trilogy, and on Dec. 7 a movie based on the first book in that series, "The Golden Compass," hits theaters. For weeks now, the movie has been the focus of e-mails from concerned Christians, curious if what they heard about it is true. In this instance -- the rumors mostly are fact.

Pullman himself is not sure whether he's an atheist or an agnostic, but his own words leave little doubt that he has a strong distaste for Christianity -- at least Christianity as he sees it.

The entire series has been dubbed the "anti-Narnia," ... He said in a 2001 interview, "I'm trying to undermine the basis of Christian belief," and two years later told another newspaper, "My books are about killing God."

Launched in 1995, the book series has been wildly popular across the Atlantic and won several awards in the United Kingdom...

The movie itself focuses on a 12-year-old girl named Lyra and her daemon (pronounced "demon") -- her soul in the form of a talking animal. Everyone in her world, in fact, has a daemon, which could range from a monkey to a lion. Early in the movie her friend Roger is kidnapped, and she sets out to find him.

The movie -- rated PG-13 -- reportedly avoids using the word "church" and instead calls it the "Magisterium," a Roman Catholic term. Additionally, in the second and third books "God" is regularly called the "Authority." The book and movie gets it name from a golden device that can, according to the books, determine truth itself.

In fact, the most anti-religious elements are found not in the first book but in the latter two ... his goal is to make sure controversial scenes and dialogue -- critical to the plot -- are included in any future movies.

If that's the case, then the next two movies could be even more controversial. For instance:

-- In the second book in the trilogy, "The Subtle Knife," one of the main characters, Will, is told he possesses "the one weapon in all the universes" -- a magical knife -- that can "defeat the tyrant." That tyrant, he is told, is "The Authority. God."

-- In "The Amber Spyglass," the third and final book of the series, Will is told -- by two fallen, homosexual angels, no less -- that "The Authority" has many names, "God, the Creator, the Lord, Yahweh, El, Adonai, the King, the Father, the Almighty." These were names God "gave himself" even though "he was never the creator." Instead, Will is told, the Authority simply was the first angel formed out of "Dust" and thereafter God proceeded to tell "those who came after him that he had created them."

-- In another scene in The Amber Spyglass, one of the homosexual angels tells Will that churches "tell their believers that they'll live in Heaven, but that's a lie." Instead, believers go to a "prison camp."

-- In one of the final chapters of The Amber Spyglass, an ex-nun named Mary tells Will and Lyra, "The Christian religion is a very powerful and convincing mistake, that's all." Mary also tells them that after she learned there was no God, she soon discovered that "physics was more interesting anyway."

"[I]f there is a God and he is as the Christians describe him, then he deserves to be put down and rebelled against," Pullman told the Telegraph newspaper in 2002.

The trilogy ends with Lyra, Will and their companions killing "God" and then resolving how their own relationship (they're in love) will continue.

"Not only has the story got a deeply anti-Christian component to it, but [Pullman is] aiming that story at children who may not have the discernment to notice or understand the message he's delivering..."

by: Michael Foust, assistant editor of Baptist Press.

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