Golden Compass Points The Wrong Way

It seems that almost every time a good book is made into a movie, the result is a disappointment. Stories are twisted, characters changed, important themes lost. So when an atheist author openly admits something like "My books are about killing God," it isn't inevitable that the film version will share that goal. But when the film is aimed directly at your children, do you really want to find out?

Such is the case with The Golden Compass, set for release on December 7. Based on a trilogy by British author Phillip Pullman, it appears at first glance to be a childhood fantasy featuring talking animals, good vs. evil, and a precocious young heroine. However it comes from the mind of a man who doesn't believe in God and clearly wishes no one else did, either.

Of course atheists are entitled to write books, produce movies, and spread their beliefs however they wish. The rest of us are in turn entitled to ignore them, which is probably the best response the The Golden Compass. The problem is that the nature of this film and the promotions surrounding it will lure children into the story. If this then leads them to read Pullman's books, bigger problems will follow.

... "The Golden Compass" (1995) is the first book in Pullman's trilogy. The second book is titled "The Subtle Knife" (1997) and it is followed by "The Amber Spyglass" (2000).

Collectively, the trilogy is known as "His Dark Materials," a phrase taken from John Milton's "Paradise Lost." This is appropriately titled in my opinion, since each book gets progressively darker -- both in the intensity with which Pullman attacks the Catholic Church and the Judeo-Christian concept of God, as well as the stridency with which he promotes atheism.

For example, one of the main supporting characters, Dr. Mary Malone, is a former Catholic nun who abandoned her vocation to pursue sex and science. The reader does not meet her until the second book, by which time the young reader is already engrossed in the story. By the third book, Dr. Malone is engaging in occult practices to lead the two main characters, a 12-year-old boy and girl, to sleep in the same bed and engage in -- at the very least -- heavy kissing. This is the act through which they renew the multiple universes created by Pullman.

Another example is Pullman's portrayal of the Judeo-Christian God. Pullman refers to him as "The Authority," although a number of passages make clear that this is the God of the Bible. The Authority is a liar and a mere angel, and as we discover in the third book, senile as well. He was locked in some sort of jewel and held prisoner by the patriarch Enoch, who is now called Metatron and who rules in the Authority's name. When the children find the jewel and accidentally release the Authority, he falls apart and dies. [source]

Aside from the obvious anti-Christian themes, The Golden Compass is specifically anti-Catholic. The evil priests, the "Magisterium," and the portrayal of the Vatican in the books are bigotry that would cause a public outcry if it were directed at any other group.

To cut to the chase, The Golden Compass is a trap. The release date just before Christmas is no accident; clearly Pullman hopes children who see the film will then ask for the books as Christmas gifts. I saw a trailer for it (just before Bella, strangely enough) and I can tell you the special effects were slick and well-done. Kids will want to see this movie. Parents like these who let kids "make their own decisions" could well make it a success at the box office. Christian parents who care about protecting their children's faith don't need to be part of it.

UPDATE: Philip Pullman Calls Critics "Nitwits"

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