The Rowdy One

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Why is The Golden Compass more dangerous than the Da Vinci Code?

A question was recently posed to me why Christians were so willing to engage culture with the motion picture release of the DaVinci Code – a film with a message Christians deny – but are now decrying The Golden Compass – a soon-to-be-released movie with a message Christians absolutely deny.

The Golden Compass, which releases December 7 in the U.S., is based on Northern Lights, the first of three books in a series from atheist Philip Pullman. Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy of children's books follows the adventures of a streetwise girl who travels through multiple worlds to defeat the oppressive forces of a senile God.

For me, there are three key differences that make Compass far more dangerous than the DaVinci Code.
  1. The agenda of the series' atheist author. Pullman boldly proclaims that he hates the Chronicles of Narnia, he hates God – who he kills in his third book – and he has written a series of compelling stories in the hopes of engaging others to embrace his atheist, humanistic beliefs.

  2. The Golden Compass expressly targets children. The most important distinction from Da Vinci, in my view, is that Pullman is targeting kids with his God-hating message with the express purpose of shaping how kids see the world. Clearly, C.S. Lewis's Narnia allegories were intended to – at least in part – positively shape a child's worldview from a Christian perspective. Pullman, who loathes Narnia and Lewis, has set out to do the exact opposite.

  3. The evil behind the message. Da Vinci author Dan Brown was clearly highly misguided, but he never claimed to be anti-Christian (in fact, Brown claimed the opposite; whether you believe him or not is besides the point). Phillip Pullman hates God. That is a level of evil, in my view, Brown did not approach.

You can try and put a happy, cartoonish, Carnegie-Medal-winning face on it, but let's be sure to identify this series for what it is. When a man who hates God sets out to tear Him down with tales that celebrate man's power over God ... that's pure evil. Does it create an evangelism opportunity? Yes. But so do most things in our culture. I think there are literally limitless ways to reach people for Christ without intentionally seeking out the evil in this film or book series.

It is true Christians are called to be "in the world, not of the world." We are called to live, serve and witness in the world – not escape from it. But we are also to avoid being contaminated by the world. The author's stated mission of the series this film is taken from is to contaminate people – and, more specifically, children.

In short, what makes this film and book series far more insidious than the DaVinci Code is: the agenda behind it ... who it targets ... and the evil of the message and the messenger.

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