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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  • I think I can understand how you feel, and why he worries you so much. At the same time I would recommend that you hear some of the words (or read at least) from his own mouth in addition to all the sites that really are trying to keep people away from him. Here is a like for an interview of him:

    You can just copy and paste it in your address bar. He says in the interview that he does not hate C. S. Lewis:

    "But when he was talking about writing for children, and about literature in general, Lewis was very, very acute and said some very perceptive and wise things. As a critic… And as a psychologist – The Screwtape Letters, for example, is full of very shrewd stuff about what it’s like to be tempted. I rate him very highly..."

    He goes on to say that he doesn't like his fiction and Children's literature and explains why. He also explains that his books are against "Monotheism," not simply Christianity. He would include the Taliban, and for that matter the Soviet Union (because they worked off the "same kind of mindset." He is opposed to the oppression and witch burnings, etc that come from what he would call "that kind of virtue."

    Please don't get me wrong. I am a follower of Jesus, and am currently in College majoring in Biblical and Theological Studies, so I am not trying to argue from the other side. I simply think that we need to be careful about talking about jumping to conclusions.

    I personally enjoy the books. I find them very thought provoking in a spiritual way. I my opinion they are going to theater because they are highly successful, having achieved various awards, not because of some sort of agenda. If that is the case though, we are guilty of having an agenda with our 'church Narnia kits' two year ago too.

    As for concern for children, sure, I would agree that if they are too young parents might not want some of that information and story in their head before they are of an age to be able to work it out and discuss it with you.

    Hope this contributes.


    By Blogger elessar-elfstar, at 10:51 PM  

  • I agree, Ben. We need to look at all the information here. That includes not only what the author is saying right now -- in the midst of trying to get people to see his movie -- but the things he's said over the last few years in discussing his books.

    To that end, I think this article does a nice job of capturing both what the author is saying now -- and what he said long before the movie hype.

    I think it's safe to say he received some counsel along the way that his orignal perspectives "wouldn't play well" with middle America and has adjusted his speech accordingly.

    By Blogger The Rowdy One, at 10:16 AM  

  • The interview that Ben posted a link to was from 2002. I don't think that Pullman was trying to get anyone to see his movie then.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:56 PM  

  • Good words.

    By Anonymous Lawanda, at 8:03 AM  

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