jtrhart

Interesting View On The Golden Compass

In christianity, news insight on December 7, 2007 at 4:38 pm

Christ and Pop Culture provides their take on this movie/book series. Here is Al Mohler’s. The movie is generating a lot of buzz this week and I’ve found these two posts to be the most thought-provoking so far.

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  1. I have read two of the three books in Philip Pullman’s trilogy and I agree with Mohler when he says, “I can assure Christians that we face a real challenge — one that will require careful thinking and intellectual engagement.”

    These books are written by a master storyteller and we must educate ourselves and be careful to not speak without proper information. I posit that we should not make any sweeping generalizations in our discussions with our coworkers and neighbors about these books and their message. Mohler knows the books well but many of us would like to attack them with only his short article or “briefing” as our source of information.

    In an MTV movies blog Chris Weitz, the director of “The Golden Compass” answers questions directed to him by readers. One of his key comments concerns his awareness of the books’ deeper issues and those issues’ limited marketability. He says, ” I realized that the overt stating of some of the themes in “The Golden Compass” would never — this is important to make clear — never EVER get across the goal line. There isn’t a wide enough audience for that — yet.” He knows that he will have a larger audience if he makes his film as universal as possible and that universality includes a non-controversial worldview. Even an objective worldview where traditions are challenged might be too controversial so his focus seems to want to develop an audience with the first of the three films and encourage his audience to read the books.

    One final paragraph that Mr. Weitz writes about religion and Pullman’s intent is well-argued:
    “First off, I would like to state what I think about Philip Pullman’s books and their view of religion. A lot of people — mostly those who haven’t read the books but are only repeating what they have read in some biased chain e-mails — are saying that Philip is “against religion” or “against Christianity.” These people don’t really want to engage with the very subtle philosophical and theological ideas in “His Dark Materials.” There are many grand ideas and themes in “His Dark Materials,” and Pullman asks us to question a lot of cherished and ingrained beliefs; but if I had to boil it down, I would say that Pullman is against the abuse of religion for political power. He is against forcing people to believe what you believe, and against accepting something you are told without thinking about it. Which makes it ironic that none of the people who have attacked the film from a religious angle have seen the film! ”

    Well, at least some of the more articulate commentaries have been written by those who have read the books and even seen the movie like Albert Mohler. So, what is my advice? Let’s be careful not to generalize.Let’s pray for those we come into contact with and encourage them to think carefully before they allow their children to read the books. “Few, if any, are argued into the Kingdom of God” (Ravi Zacharias). Let us love and encourage those around us. It is much harder to submit to the Lord and to live sacrificially than it is to point fingers. Jesus paid the price for our sins and He overcame the curse! Let us be quick to share what we know to be true instead of to dismiss these books without engaging in conversation.

  2. Dan, thanks for your note about being more careful in our discussions. It is easy to jump on the band-wagon when things like this movie are released. But, I think making the church aware of these types of things is a good thing for those in the church who do not have a lot of time to carefully study every new book/movie that is released.

    Every Friday night, a few movies are released that are certainly inappropriate for Christians to be attending and most Christians have the spiritual discernment to avoid these films. But on the surface, movies like the Golden Compass might seem like a harmless film to take the family to see. And maybe this first movie is, but when, in Pullman’s last book, the two main characters kill God (somehow) I cannot believe that there is not something in the first movie that will steer its audience towards this ending in subsequent movie releases. So, I am thankful for men like Al Mohler who do “keep watch over our souls” and seek to keep us from things not edifying to the church.

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