PLEASE, PLEASE tell everyone you know and love NOT TO SEE THIS MOVIE! Imagine how our children’s little minds would absorb these awful lies! Let’s get the word out and fight back!!! Boycott The Golden Compass!!
If you’re like me, you probably have received an email forward that ended like this from a concerned Christian friend. I’ve gotten several of them and while I’m thankful for their concern about culture in general and this film in particular, I have never agreed with the approach advocated in the email – particularly the hysteria it seems to promote.
This morning, I opened my inbox and there is another email about The Golden Compass from someone who works in our campus library. I just about hit the delete button without even reading it, expecting it to be the same forwarded email warning. But the title was different, so I clicked on it just to see what it said.
Instead of the normal “all-our-children-will-be-atheists” fare and the link to the Snopes page, it was a link to a blog, which the emailer said he found helpful. Being the curious person that I am, I clinked on the link and found the most reasoned, well thought-out, detailed explanation for my position on this (and other) films.
The article, written by a Christian professor and writer, is lengthy because it deals with most of the issues surrounding the film, how Christians respond to it and many underlying issues of Christianity and our fear of imagination and mystery. You really should go and read the whole thing, but here are some of the highlights for me:
But mercy, no. Let’s not be afraid. Discerning, yes. But not afraid. … God is not threatened by Phillip Pullman.
New Line is a film studio, not a conspiracy of blashphemers. New Line is a business… the same business that brought us The Lord of the Rings films. They’re here to make money, and so, to follow up their extraordinary success with Tolkien’s stories, they went to the obvious follow-up.
[Comparing His Dark Materials, the trilogy of which The Golden Compass is the first, to the Harry Potter series] Pullman, though, is a different storyteller. He says, “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.”
One of the reasons that Pullman’s books are dangerous is that they stand so far above most contemporary fantasy in the quality and majesty of their writing and imagination.
The reason we’re having this controvery and conversation is, in part, due to this truth: Christians have become so suspicious of fairy tales, fantasy, and imagination that we have created an environment in which it is very unlikely that we will see another imagination like Tolkien and Lewis emerge.
We have focused our attentions on cultivating “Christian art” that evangelizes, rather than cultivating “imaginative writing.” In evangelical zeal, we’ve created a sub-genre, a whole industry, in which storytelling preaches to the choir with obvious lessons and somewhat shoddy craftsmanship.
He concludes with basically the same advice as I gave: be educated about the series, equip yourself with Biblical methods on how to deal with this and other issues of anti-Christian materail in the media, respond as Jesus would – with grace and love, and pray for the situation, for those that may be decieved, for how you can help serve the Kingdom through this and for Phillip Pullman. Remember, he’s not the enemy.