CultureWatch

Bill Muehlenberg's commentary on issues of the day...

Recruiting Kids to Hate God?

Dec 16, 2007

Children’s author Philip Pullman has written a “Dark Trilogy,” the first volume of which, The Golden Compass, is now a major motion picture. Nothing wrong with that, except Mr Pullman is a man on a mission. You see, he is a God-hater, and he wants children to share in his misotheism.

The aim of the books, claims the author, is the “killing of God”. In a 2003 interview he said, “My books are about killing God.” In the final book a boy and girl kill God so they can do as they please.

These books are not just being sold to a few God-haters who can indoctrinate their children. The trilogy, “His Dark Materials” have sold 15 million copies so far, and have been translated into 40 languages. And with the film just recently appearing, starring major Hollywood heavyweight Nicole Kidman, more readers will be lured into this dark world.

Pullman wrote the three books in part as an antidote to the works of Christian author C.S. Lewis, specifically his children’s series, The Chronicles of Narnia. Indeed, he has said, “I loathe the ‘Narnia’ books. . . . 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 said the seven book series was “one of the most ugly and poisonous things” he had ever read. In an interview with Pullman on December 3, he admitted that he “was arguing with Narnia” in his works.

In his trilogy the really evil character happens to be the Christian church. It is all about authoritarianism, power and suppressing freedom. The good guys are those who oppose the church and want to set up an atheistic utopia called the “Republic of Heaven”.

The film version has played down the religious elements of the book, and how well it performs at the box office will determine whether the other two books are turned into films as well.

The books themselves have been out for some time now (1996, 1997 and 2000), but the December 7 release of the film has of course generated new interest in the author and the trilogy. Many articles have now appeared on the trilogy, and much controversy has ensued.

One New Testament professor from the US offers a fairly balanced look at the trilogy. Leslie Baynes notes that although the series is a work of fantasy, “there is no doubt that Mr. Pullman, a self-described atheist, targets Christianity – and particularly a rather thinly disguised Catholic Church” in these books.

She compares this series with the Harry Potter books and finds some clear differences. “First of all, ‘His Dark Materials,’ unlike the Harry Potter series, is real literature and, as such, deserves serious attention. Mr. Pullman, a graduate of Oxford University with a degree in English, knows his stuff.”

But more importantly, “again in contrast to J.K. Rowling’s books (which were criticized by some Christians for their use of magic and witchcraft), Mr. Pullman’s series is bluntly anti-Christian. In the third book, ‘The Amber Spyglass,’ a former nun tells the two child protagonists, Lyra and Will, that ‘the Christian religion is a very powerful and convincing mistake, that’s all.’ The church and its members do nothing but evil.”

Baynes continues: “The main problem with ‘His Dark Materials,’ however, is not the atheism per se but rather its mindless dogmatism. There is no such thing as an open-minded Christian in the series. Take this quote from ‘The Amber Spyglass’: ‘I met an angel. . . . She said that all the history of human life has been a struggle between wisdom and stupidity. She and the rebel angels, the followers of wisdom, have always tried to open minds; the Authority and his churches have always tried to keep them closed.’ To be fair, Mr. Pullman himself noted in a 2000 interview that this one-sided portrayal is ‘an artistic flaw,’ but there it is nonetheless.”

She concludes, “Mr. Pullman insists, as Dan Brown did regarding his novel ‘The Da Vinci Code,’ that he is only telling a story. Yet surely he, like his character Lyra, knows that a story is one of the most important things there is.”

In an open society, people are free to be evangelists for whatever cause they like, even Christian-bashing and atheism. But parents at least should be aware of what their kids might be getting into with both the film and the books.

opinionjournal.com/taste/?id=110010991

[746 words]

13 Responses to Recruiting Kids to Hate God?

  • No soap box needed. It is simple, no one has the right to judge you but GOD. If you believe you receive ever lasting life, otherwise you yourself stand alone. Everyone has the freedom of speech in GOD’s eyes. Repent and you will be set free. Being open minded as a christian is letting someone state their opinion and live their own life but just like any person, christian or otherwise, still stands before the Holy Ghost and the Father at the end of life. GOD bless and GOD speed.
    Marsha Sheppard

  • Bill! Where are all the creative Christian writers and movie producers who will make an impact on society? Why are our people so uncreative when we honour a Creator Lord? Unfortunately we operate religious institutions and are taught religion and not relationship with the Spirit of Christ. Hence ‘christian’ religion is open to criticism for its blatant hyprocisy.
    Ray Robinson, Wollongong

  • Thanks Ray

    Yes you are right about the dearth of creativity and genuine artistic abilities in much of the church. But there are notable exceptions, including Tolkien and Lewis. Indeed, that may be why misotheist Pullman hates Lewis so much: because he was a tremendously talented writer and first class mind, and loved God as well.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Do you think this man got his idea from those in Genesis 11?: “Come let us build ourselves a city with a tower that reaches into the heavens so that we may make a name for ourselves..”
    He wants a name and will probably get it. Thanks for warning us not to take the children. Actually it may serve a good purpose if it shakes Christians into seeing that children’s minds are important and should be getting fed. How many children’s talks are challenging? Timothy had known the Holy Scriptures from infancy. (2 Timothy 4:15) Children’s talks should be prepared so that the children will be challenged to study further. Please respect and encourage the Sunday School and CRE teachers. See them as at least as important as Ministers and Youth leaders. They are probably more important.
    Katherine Fishley, Melbourne

  • Thanks Bill, yes its absolutely sad and a disgrace that movies are being produced in a vain and bitter effort to try and discredit and then kill off the Lord’s mighty and precious name.
    This man Pullman will have alot to stand for and alot more to answer to when judgment day arrives. As for me I will pray that this film flops like the disaster it will certainly become.
    We must all protect children at all costs and love them, treasure them, cherish them, not crush them with the influence of this and perhaps more films to follow, remembering that there is a evil one who reigns here on earth (the devil) and is at work making a deliberate attempt to create destruction, murder and to obliterate the name of God at any cost and by any means possible.
    I stand for all Christians on this one, and stand with the greatest of firmness.
    Fivos Panayiotou

  • Sadly, while it seems to have bombed at the US box office ($US26M on opening, and little follow-on in the second week), it will probably cover it’s costs in markets outside the USA.
    http://news.google.com/news/url?sa=t&ct=us/1-0&fp=4766f4ccfb3126dc&ei=SGtmR8fcGZ6arAOH_4yGAg&url=http%3A//www.reuters.com/article/filmNews/idUSN1733756720071217&cid=1125051822

    Some reviewers have panned it but other big hits (eg. Titanic) also started off badly.

    However, others are already proclaiming last rites, as “The Lion The Witch and The Wardrobe” did $US65M on opening.

    So Golden Compass still has a long way to go to catch its “enemy” 🙂

    John Angelico

  • Katherine,
    If Pullam got his ideas from the Bible at all, Rev 19:19 might’ve been the spot to give him the inspiration he needed. Must have done a re-write on verses 20 and 21 though. That would’ve ruined the script.

    For any that are interested, STR have posted on this topic many times this month.
    http://str.typepad.com/weblog/2007/12/the-one-argumen.html
    http://str.typepad.com/weblog/2007/12/compass-movie-d.html
    http://str.typepad.com/weblog/2007/12/the-golden-comp.html

    Duane Proud, Sydney

  • I praise GOD that I am a believer, that I know in my heart JESUS is the SON OF GOD and that he has prepared a place for me when I breath my last breath. I feel sorry for all the naysayers and nonbelievers; it must be awful to believe that this life is the end, that you will be stuck in a hole somewhere and thats it. What if I am right about what I believe, as I know I am, and you are wrong?
    Joyce Perkins

  • Hopefully a wakeup call to pastors and various Labor/Green-supporting Evanjellyfish organizations: 10 Reasons Why Pastors Avoid the Culture War by Doug Giles.
    Jonathan Sarfati, Brisbane

  • I think the issue with the lack of creative people in faith is that they go through the atheistic college systems in the western world and they are robbed of their faith.

    I could be wrong but this seems to be the problem. Many who work within the creative industry are probably afraid to state who and what the are because of the vindictive, anti-Christian atmosphere in such industries.

    Victoria Jeffrey

  • Perhaps the biggist robber of creativity is indeed the ‘blind’ faith required by most religions. Most people can fathom the difference between visionary and the shunning of any outward walk of the mind for fear of the proverbial ‘rot in hell’ As a minister’s daughter I had memorized all 66 books of the bible at the age of 5. But a strong wind in the night always scared me as I thought the world might be coming to an end. Then came the guilt that I didn’t’welcome it’. Now that my mind is free of coercion, I can realize my true values, solid and well thought out, no devils involved.
    Linda Sabaj

  • Thanks Linda

    I of course know nothing of your earlier religious experiences. If they have been negative, I would simply urge you to consider Christ, not religion. Churches and religions can harm us at times, but Jesus Christ can set us free and restore us to life and wholeness. Please have a read of the Gospels with an open mind and see what you find.

    I agree that blind faith may well characterise religion, but Christianity is not religion. It is a living relationship with Jesus Christ. But Biblical Christianity is quite open to reason, discussion and a weighing of the evidence.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

Leave a Reply