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Tuesday, December 04, 2007

The Golden Compass

The Golden Compass is Book One of a fantasy trilogy written by English author Philip Pullman in the late 1990s called His Dark Materials. Philip Pullman is an unapologetic militant atheist. For example, in a 2001 interview with the Washington Post, Pullman said: “I’m trying to undermine the basis of Christian belief.” (Pullman) has said they are in response to C.S. Lewis' The Chronicles of Narnia, the popular children's fantasy series written by C.S. Lewis to teach Christian ideals to kids. "The Lion, The Witch, And The Wardrobe" was made into a blockbusting fantasy movie recently.

"'I loathe the 'Narnia' books,' Pullman has said in previous press interviews. 'I hate them with a deep and bitter passion, with their view of childhood as a golden age from which sexuality and adulthood are a falling away.' He has called the series "one of the most ugly and poisonous things" he's ever read."

In Book Two of His Dark Materials trilogy, The Subtle Knife, the Queen of the Witches says:
"I don’t know who will join with us, but I know whom we must fight. It is the Magisterium, the Church. For all its history … it’s tried to suppress and control every natural impulse. And when it can’t control them, it cuts them out … That is what the Church does, and every church is the same: control, destroy, obliterate every good feeling. So if war comes, and the Church is on one side of it, we must be on the other."


It is reported that Christian and Catholic organizations are calling for Christians to boycott this film. In Googling this, I didn't find any reputable Christian organization doing more than alerting their followers to the heretical theme of this movie and it's creator. I, personally, will not give my money to see this film or read these books. But I'm not afraid of this film either. I'm not ignoring the issue or hiding my head in the sand. For those who want to find reasons to hate Christians, this film and these books will give them all the ammunition, excuses, reasons they want. It panders to their already hostile misconsceptions. They don't know the real Christ, they don't know the real church, they don't know real Christians (human beings still struggling with their evil human natures and yet saved by grace and the Holy Spirit living in them trying to teach them and grow them to be more like Christ on a day to day basis).


Paul Edwards is the host of The Paul Edwards Program, a columnist and pastor. His program is heard daily on WLQV in Detroit and on godandculture.com. Who's Afraid of The Golden Compass? Paul Edwards “The Paul Edwards Program” These exerpts were taken from Crosswalk.com. http://www.crosswalk.com/movies/11560628/page2/

"Pullman is not completely wrong when he characterizes the Church as an organization obsessed with holding power by suppressing and controlling. (italics mine)

"But such a Church is not the true Church as defined by Scripture. Contrary to Pullman’s depiction of the Church, Jesus never sought positions of power. On the contrary, he retreated to a mountain alone when the crowds came to make him king, and refused Satan’s offer to be granted all the kingdoms of the world. Jesus mandated that His followers deny themselves, lead by serving, humble themselves like children and achieve true greatness at the end of a path of suffering and humility.

"Pullman’s depiction of the Church is a false one, but it does not follow that the Church Pullman depicts does not exist.

"Throughout history people who have identified with the Christian faith have done horrible things in Jesus’ name. In New Testament times, when the Church was in its infancy, the true Apostles combated those who claimed to be apostles, but were not, and tested them and found them to be false (Revelation 2:2). In the church at Corinth, the Apostle Paul identified men who were disguising themselves as apostles of Christ, calling them “false apostles” and “deceitful workmen,” pointing out that “even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light” (2 Corinthians 11:13-15). Such false apostles are still within the Church today. The Apostle John warned that “many antichrists have come,” and that not all who profess the faith are truly “of us” (1 John 2:18, 19).

"Pullman chooses to identify as true what in reality is a false religion in the garb of Christianity—while ignoring the work of the true Church in the world. Redefining good as evil is a plot element Pullman uses throughout the trilogy, and not just in relation to the Church. The books are a prime example of what Isaiah warned against when he said, “Woe to them who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness” (Isaiah 5:20). "


By calling on Christians to boycott the movie are we trying to "control"? Are we doing exactly what Pullman accuses the church of doing? Should we see the movie and read the books? Paul Edwards says, "It seems to me the proper response from those who are convinced of the truth ought to be to engage error, not run from it. "

and

"We should be willing to read the books and see the movie with our children (of the appropriate age and level of maturity), engaging the difficult issues raised by Pullman, and allowing the True Compass, the Word of God, to guide us into all truth—to bring to light the hidden things of darkness. If true followers of Jesus Christ boycott The Golden Compass we run the risk of validating Pullman’s thesis that Christians suppress and control, rather than engage in open and honest debate in a vibrant, passionate and intelligent defense of the faith."


Although I see Edward's point of view, on the other hand (OTOH), can I give my money to see a movie and buy books which would enrich someone like Pullman. Our money, our time, our presence at a movie that debases our Savior and the people He died for?

What would Jesus do? I don't think He would hide His head or hang His head but, neither would He stand in line at the movie theatre, pay His money and sit and watch it either. I just don't see Jesus sitting in that theatre. (Of course, that could be said about 95% of all movies couldn't it?)

I think we can read up enough about it to know what it's about and make our own decisions as to how evil it is. And then ignore it. Let it die a quiet death. I don't have children, so it's not an issue in our house but for those who have children, it would make more sense to me to Google this with them and show them the articles about the movie and the claims of it's creator, Pullman. Then tell them this is why you don't want them to support the movie with your money. Show them how it goes against everything you believe as a Christian. If your children live at home and use your money, then you can control the purse strings so your money doesn't go into Pullman's pockets. But, please don't just say, "Because I said so..." Go with them to the computer, Google it and go to some reputable Christian websites and show them Pullman's quotes, the movie's quotes, theme, etc. So they can see that you have reasonable opinions for why you are putting your foot down.

But if someone does go to see this movie or reads these books, it doesn't mean they are going to hell. They may have Edwards' ideas of getting to know who your enemy is. So try not to judge others. But, we can all agree that Edwards and his fellow atheists need our prayer. The best thing we can pray for is that they will come to know the true Christ and accept His free offer of salvation. Jesus can save anyone, even the most rabid atheist! Remember the Apostle Paul was so angry with Christians that he persecuted them even unto death. It took the Damascus Road experience to change him and then he became a believer and apostle of the Christ he had so hated.

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