A Golden Compass

November 2, 2007 at 10:37 am (babbling, books, Entertainment, Family, movies, Parents, religion) (, , , , , , , )

I was going to come up with a witty title for this particular blog although everything I could think of was just down right mean:

Christian Shee-ple, Insane Boycotts, Emails that make your Stomach Turn for example. None of them however could fully and accurately portray how important and heated this issue makes me.

I am not a parent yet, and I understand parents WANT to protect their children. I believe it’s something inside each of us, and I’m not trying to diminish that at all.

So what happened?? My parents sent me an email explaining why I should not go see a movie. I trust my parents, I love them dearly but this made my eyebrows raise. The email went as follows:

__________________________________________________________________

Click on the link below for Snopes and read the article regarding the movie….scary. http://www.snopes.com/politics/religion/compass.asp

This is important since the marketing for this movie has already started. It looks a lot like “Narnia” but is so far from it. BEWARE!

There will be a new Children’s movie out in December called THE GOLDEN COMPASS. It is written by Phillip Pullman, a proud atheist who belongs to secular humanist societies. He hates C. S. Lewis’s Chronicle’s of Narnia and has written a trilogy to show the other side. The movie has been dumbed down to fool kids and their parents in the hope that they will buy his trilogy where in the end the children kill God and everyone can do as they please. Nicole Kidman stars in the movie so it will probably be advertised a lot. This is just a friendly warning that you sure won’t hear on the regular TV.

ALSO, for additional info, follow the links:

Pullman, a prominent British atheist, has acknowledged that this is in fact his goal. He has claimed that “it is my goal to go after Christianity, I want God to be dead in my works. I want to undermine Christianity.”
______________________________________________________________________

I have several key issues with this email. I am a Christian, but I do not support these kind of boycotts or email spams.

So I wonder, since when does a person’s beliefs determine whether their work of fiction is valid, good or bad?! I love Asimov’s writing, and he was an atheist. It doesn’t mean he was a bad writer, he was actually a great writer. More so, just because a book is written by a Christian author doesn’t mean it’s good. In fact most of the time if it’s written by a Christian author I assume the book is bad because the Christian subculture has accepted mediocrity for too long, in ALL of their artistic endeavors: music, books, movies etc. I don’t understand why are some people saying this is a bad series of books, or even a movie based on the author’s beliefs? I shouldn’t have to go thru the list of American classic novels or award winning works, and their authors and list off all their religions. They would be too many to count and it should not be an issue.

Edgar Allen Poe – Atheist
Mark Twain – thought to be Presbyterian although wrote the anti-religious book “The Mysterious Stranger”
Ray Bradbury – Atheist
E.M. Forester – Railed passionately against the church
Aldous Huxley – Humanist
J.D. Salinger – Known as Hindu although dabbled in Buddism, Scientology, Christian Science and Homeopathy
George Orwell – Agnostic and especially disliked churches
Leo Tolstoy – Rejected the church and is known as being a Rationalist

Should we also then seclude authors who are alcoholics? Hemingway and Faulkner for example. Or authors who committed suicide?? Or any other thing we want to classify and judge as a sin for that matter?

Furthermore, spam emails are not authority. Shouldn’t we want to be educated? Read or see the information for ourselves and then make the decision?? Education is power, not blind following – or becoming sheeple. (Sheep + People = Sheeple) We must think and decide for ourselves, that is the power of free will. Shouldn’t Christians have learned from the emails to boycott Disney?!?!? Seriously, it didn’t work then why do you think it will work now?

Shouldn’t parents use this movie as a means to talk about religion, atheism, and diversity of the world with their children?? So that instead of teenagers and adults that have been overly sheltered going into the world and having overload, they know already what they believe and why. Wouldn’t that be better? The world is too small these days and diverse to live inside a bubble. If there is a God, he then created all this diversity for a reason and it should not be excluded just because it’s different.

Then there’s the fact I work in TV and have dabbled in film. I know with great certain that rarely does the writer’s true intentions become the final product of a film. There are too many people to go through. For instance networks, executives, directors, screenplay writers, editors, producers all put their spin on the story. Does this mean any movie that someone works on that believes something other than what we believe we should not go to??

All this to say, please don’t think all Christians eat these kind of emails up. There are many of us that don’t. And please decide for yourself!!!

poster_golden_compass_2.jpg

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10 Comments

  1. Rick said,

    i agree with you that we need to judge on the face value of the product whether it be a movie, book, etc. and the products viability or worth should not be judged by it’s author’s/creators religious background or whether or not he has a personal relationship with Jesus.

    However….

    we should be wise as wolves and recognize that every dollar spent on this film will do two things. one, validate this writers feeling that his book, which (whether or not the producers included that element or not) is successful and having an impact. and even more damaging will expose to a whole generation of children and unknowing parents, a series of very damaging books that may have a strong influence on impressionable minds. what bothers me most about this writer is that he specifically wrote the series to draw people in and gradually expose them to an ever increasing militant view which denies the existence of god. what could be more sneaky and evil than that?

    better that kids be exposed to some horror film that pulls no punches and doesn’t try to hide behind obviously c.s. lewisian (is that a word?) imagery to draw impressionable kids in and then purposfully attempts to steer them away from a god who loves them.

    are you sure that’s where you need to spend your money? is the two hours of entertainment worth it?

    you be the judge. as a christian parent who knows his god and knows that god is not afraid of simple atheists who have obviously not thought enough about the existence of god. i will have, and my children who are as well informed as i, will have no problem seeing and hopefully enjoying this film. but most parents are not as well informed or their children. i can see this film’s influence in getting kids to read the books and thus giving a whole generation of children even more un-balanced exposure to a series of atheistic “half-truths” to help them deny the existence of god, and a need for repentence in their lives.

    sad. this guys got a “hell” of a wake up call when he dies.

  2. piratessa said,

    personally, I have always seen protests of this nature as a sign that the protester isn’t very secure in his/her faith…

  3. Larissa said,

    I liked this post. I liked the Golden Compass (and the rest of His Dark Materials trilogy). I love God, and it bothers me when Christians spend their time protesting things like this rather than issues that Jesus actually cared a great deal about, such as greed with money and injustice toward the poor. Let’s spend our passions on more important things, shall we? By the way, we played a spontaneous poker game with a friend tonight, and I won with a straight flush. I was pretty proud 🙂

  4. Chris said,

    At my work a lot of people ask me about these emails about the His Dark Materials books and so forth, the people I work with know that I read a lot of books of all types, religious, mythological, sociological, fiction, science fiction and fantasy.

    And when it comes to these email campaigns I find that most of the time stuff gets twisted or the sender uses one small part of a book to comment on and bases his or her opinions on something they heard or something someone told them the books said.

    I’m a Christian, and I’ve studied the Bible, but I’ve also read the Koran, Torah, and hundreds of other books on different religious faiths and beliefs. I would never dream of making comments and judgement without reading something myself. That’s also one of the messages of the books, one must find out things for themselves not just make judgements based on something someone tells you, discover the truth yourself. There’s a good saying “believe none of what you hear, and half of what you see”.

    I brought in the His Dark Materials books to work and showed a couple of people the actual written passages that one of those emails were commenting on, and after reading them for themselves most people had a different opinion after actually reading them.

    While I admit that the books have a very strong anti organized religious basis, one must remember that those books are a work of fiction, set in a fictional world. If the same church in those books existed in our world I’d be one of the first people to try and overthrow it because it’s controlling and evil nature.

    Like I said before the books have a strongly anti-organized religious basis, but the books also espouse great moral themes; doing the right thing even if you have to die; compassion and caring vs fear and ignorance; believe in what you see rather than what people tell you; it is more rewarding to have earned something through hard work and study than receiving it for free; and that the power of love is the greatest most powerful and unbreakable force in the world

    I think that the problem that a lot of people have with these books is how Pullman retells John Milton’s “the fall of man” from his epic poem Paradise Lost (1674), Pullman’s message is that we fell from grace, but the first grace was something we were given for free not earned, and Pullman argues that once we fell that we can obtain a greater more rewarding grace through hard work, learning, compassion, and love.

  5. Dilbert said,

    Very interesting perspective and well articulated. I think something to add is that most reviews and analysis of the books shows that the books are not anti-Christian, or anti-religion, or anti-Catholic. The books are anti-church getting to much power. Much like the church of times long gone where it used its power to kill, persecute, oppress and conquer.

    It is interesting that because Phillip Pullman is outspoke mostly about the Catholic church that it is currently primarily leaders of that church that have spoken out against these books and this movie. However, if they don’t see a connection between the “Church” in Pullman’s books/movie and their organization why would they be concerned?

    I see these types of things not only as a display of weak faith (piratessa said) but also as a defensive response based on someone getting to close to the truth! You don’t see these boycotts when other movies have represented the “Church” as evil because it is fantasy and the author has not been outspoken. Just look at any movie set in mid evil times about the Three Musketeers, the Man in the Iron Mask, etc. all of which depict the Church as overly powerful and evil.

    Before people jump on the bandwagon of this I would hope they will research this and make up their own minds.

  6. thinkingwoman said,

    Well said! You already know my feelings on it from my own post and it is very good to know that there are others out there who think before following blindly…

    I also found that your statement that children need to be educated and informed rather than insulated (paraphrasing of course) resonated very strongly! Children who are protected from everything become adults who are unprepared to deal with anything.

    Personally I prefer to discuss things like this with my children – present the issue, answer their questions, and discuss with them why the given argument is mistaken or faulty. IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO REFUTE A VIEWPOINT IF YOU DENY ITS EXISTENCE! If you don’t address it at all – lock the kids away, don’t dare let them know there is anything out there that questions their faith – then you cannot teach them ways to defend against that. I want my children to be able to take themselves through this process when I am long gone – I want to give them, now, the tools they will need to be strong within themselves later in life.

    Faith that survives challenges is far stronger than faith that is never challenged at all.

    (I love your sheepeople term, too, BTW.)

  7. realworldmartha said,

    I am a Christian and got the same email. I didn’t forward it on. I think in anything we have an obligation to check out anything (esp emails as they are full of so much garbage). I checked out his site and read a little about him as I was not familiar with his beliefs. I still don’t have enough info to know if I will take my children and believe children are impressionable. I don’t want to give them things that aren’t good for them but it will be for each person to decide. I think most of these emails just really give more attention to the movie anyways. I am with you and hope people take all the info that they are given, with everything, and test it and not just follow blindly.
    Debbie aka The Real World Martha

  8. The Whimsical Schwartz said,

    Well done. I appreciate this post and all the comments but my thoughts most closely mirror Larissa’s. It makes me sick to think about all the time and energy spent railing against things or people rather than fight for the oppressed and forgotten. I also find it ironic that emails like the above only motivate me to locate the books and read them for myself rather than forwarding a reactive and fear-full email. Movies and books like these serve as excellent springboards for conversations with non-christians but if we’re afraid and ignorant we miss the opportunity to connect with the world in truly relevant ways.

  9. John Fox said,

    PLease give the reference to your quote about destroying Christianity. It may be a theme, but to be crediable you should reference any quotes. To do less is to be a christian gossip.

  10. keyframegirl said,

    John Fox, Thank you for your comment. One of my aggravations with the original email I got was that the quotes from Pullman didn’t cite a source.

    I believe the quotation your comment is referencing was from the email. I copied between the horizontal lines in my post the original text from the email I received. I do not know the author of said email, or why it’s missing links and sources. And again, my main frustrations with the email is that Christians believe too many things, including why they shouldn’t see a movie, without sources, research or finding out for themselves.

    Everyone else, thank you for reading and sharing your thoughts on this delicate subject matter.

    John 13:35 “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

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