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The Golden Compass

movie_goldencompass.jpgI have received several emails regarding the upcoming release of a movie called “The Golden Compass” and the controversy surrounding it. Being the way I am wired, I went digging for myself as well. Below are some things I found on the web regarding this film and what makes it so dangerous.

From Pluggedinonline.comQUOTE: “Clergymen who kidnap children. Witches who aren’t wicked. Even a pair of sexually ambiguous angels. If you thought Harry Potter was blasphemous, wait till you get a look at the His Dark Materials trilogy.” —Entertainment Weekly‘s preview commentary on New Line Cinema’s $150 million adaptation of The Golden Compass, the first story in Philip Pullman’s series of “theologically trippy novels,” which is due in theaters Dec. 7 [Entertainment Weekly, 8/24/07]

From Rotten Tomatoes: The Golden Compass, opening December 7, was adapted from the His Dark Materials series of books, a bestselling trilogy by author Philip Pullman that incorporates every ingredient necessary for a shot at box-office fantasy gold, including magic, monsters, and a battle between the forces of good and evil. Unfortunately for the filmmakers, Pullman’s books also include a fair amount of what has been perceived to be anti-Catholic rhetoric; in the first book, for instance, the church is in the business of kidnapping children and conducting some rather unpleasant experiments on them.

Read even more about the film at Snopes.com

Based on what I have read, many feel that Phillip Pullman’s screen adaptation of the film has been “dumbed down” a bit to draw children into reading the much darker books. While the visual presentation looks stunning, I think I’m gonna pass on the Golden Compass. Here’s the best source for things such as this when unsure –

From Ephesians 5:8-16

For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord. Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. For it is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. But everything exposed by the light becomes visible, for it is light that makes everything visible. This is why it is said: “Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.

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Comments · 7

  • Hope · October 31, 2007

    I’m absolutely with you on this. When darkness gets in, it breeds.

  • Koji Oe · November 1, 2007

    I love books like this. I may be an adult but the subject matter intrigues me since it was written for children. Definitely on my to read list.

    Don’t really see what’s wrong with it. You need a more open mind, etc.

  • Chris K. · November 1, 2007

    I read the books years ago, and really loved them. Over the years my nieces and nephews have also read them, and yes the books definitely have a anti-organized religion message to them, but after talking to them about the books they all realize that the books are fiction and the church portrayed in them isn’t the church in our world. Some of messages in the book are very good such as; if you see something evil, wicked, and cruel it is bad even if people in power tell you different; who your are doesn’t matter what you do defines you; sometimes it might be necessary to die to do what is right; kindness and compassion is more powerful than fear and ignorance; knowledge and skill earned by hard work and studying are more worthy than something given to you for free; and the church should lead people towards enlightenment, knowledge, wisdom and should teach people to be kind, caring, loving and opened minded.

    I was raised a Roman Catholic and loved the faith, but over the years I have been slowly turned off by Christianity, not by the Bible, but by followers of the faith. In my life I have lived in several foreign (non-Christian) countries and gotten to know the people, and most of them were kind, caring, and friendly, and now I have Christian’s and Muslim’s tell me that they are somehow lesser or not perfected people because they don’t believe in this God, or that God, whenever I hear this it makes me sick. The more that I hear this line of thought expressed the more I slide towards Philip Pullman’s thinking; That for the most part organized monotheistic religions tend to disparage, oppress, or try to force those who don’t believe to convert whether they want to or not.

  • Sir Irish McTangwich · November 1, 2007

    I must say that a person should not rush to a decision on the books until they read them. This is a common mistake that people make. The books do show a different kind of way to look at organized religion. But that does not make it dangerous. It shows people that a cruel authoritarian rule is not a good one, especially in a faith system.

    As the person Chris K. below me stated, it is fiction. As long as people are taught to be kind and follow a faith peacefully, the books can not be used dangerously. If they are taught otherwise, then a book like this would be necessary.

    As for the movie, which was the purpose of your article, as long as the church doesn’t start to kill kids, or something as bad, I don’t see how it is dangerous. This movie will not go beyond that point, the next two will if they are released; however, they are only blasphemous if the audience believes they are true. I think we have to give our audience a little more credit.

  • Jim B. · November 1, 2007

    “The general theme, the general gist of the whole book is that the famous story of the Temptation in the Garden of Eden and the Fall of Man so-called, when Eve gave way to the temptation to eat the fruit of knowledge and tempted Adam to eat it as well, that this traditionally [has] been presented as being a very bad thing and Eve was very wicked and we all got covered in sorrow and sin and misery from then on as a result of this .. well, I just reversed that. I thought wasn’t it a good thing that Eve did, isn’t curiosity a valuable quality? Shouldn’t she be praised for risking this? It wasn’t, after all, that she was after money or gold or anything, she was after knowledge. What could possibly be wrong with that?” – Phillip Pullman

    “…the Christian religion…is a very powerful and convincing mistake, that’s all.” – Mary Malone, one of Pullman’s main characters

    The notion that Pullman’s work is benign or neutral on the matter of religion is nonsense. Pullman is very open about his aims. I won’t say whether or not this is “dangerous”, but it is certainly not neutral.

    God Bless

  • Wheels · November 9, 2007

    I am now a college student and I read the Golden Commpas when I was in the fifth grade. I loved it, as I loved the Harry Potter books. I was always very strong in my faith as a child and still love God. I don’t think that this book is evil. For pete’s sake the book has been around since 1946 and now since it is being released in movie form there is a huge controversy surrounding it. Its been out there, maybe your kids have even read it, did they turn into demonic, god hating individuals? NO. So all I have to say is that the person chooses what kind of person they are going to be…. not a gun, a satanic bible, or a childrens book. America needs to stop using every little bitty thing as a crutch to our mistakes, and crimes. And that is my bottom line.

  • Tom · November 10, 2007

    Flashback: The DaVinci Code….did it harm the church in any way…nope. It wasn’t even a good action film….zzzzzzzzzz. Christian publishers ran to the press to provide us with all the paper armor we needed to battle this latest demonic attack on the church. The hysterical right screamed “forbidden fruit” and everyone ran to have a taste. Could there be a conspiracy between Hollywood and Christian book publishers? Hmmmmmmmm

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