Sci-Fi Fodder

"Golden Compass" Deemed "Extremely Dark and Dangerous"?

I am fairly positive toward Christianity. Except for some jabs at Laura Mallory for trying to ban Harry Potter (and that Creation Museum post from a few days ago), I typically am on the same side with the Christian community. For example, the global warming folks say that the 'Rapture' crowd is actively trying to destroy the world to bring about the second coming. I say that's a bit crazy! Sure, they welcome the second coming, but purposefully destroying the world is not a part of the prerequisites (as far as I know, at least).

So, when I came across this article on One News Now, I was dismayed. The article (found here) has this line as part of the introduction:

"I plan to review the movie, but I haven't had the opportunity to see it yet. So, in the meantime, here is some information that will help you understand why the film has the potential to be extremely dark and dangerous."

"Dark and Dangerous"? My first thought was - it's just a kid's movie. How can it be dark and dangerous?

So, delving further, the article builds the case that "The Golden Compass" and its source books, Philip Pullman's series "His Dark Materials" may look like a "Narnia" clone, but in actuality, is a vehicle to turn children toward atheism and against Christianity.

I thought that this might be going overboard a bit at this point, as I still see "The Golden Compass" in the view of an epic adventure movie, rather than a subversive attempt by Satan to divert kids from the Church. But, from the comments posted to the article, I was evidently wrong. To wit:

  • "Warning children of the danger this movie presents to their children's belief in God should be one of your highest priorities!!!"
  • "This is just another scrimmage in the all out war against Christianity"
  • "This is just another trick of Satan - I have read the back of the book and we win"
  • "I will never go see this movie, and will warn others about it, as well"

This was a common theme - much in the way of fear, condemnation and warnings, but very few from people who have actually seen the movie or read the books!. It would seem to me that one would have to know something about the source material before issuing mass condemnations. The commenters were harsh, calling for God to put a stop to the movie, even though they really only had a short article as fuel for their actions.

To be fair, about 10% of the posts were from people who did have some knowledge of the source material. They all agreed (whatever their viewpoint) that Philip Pullman was an excellent author and the stories are well crafted. Some of these were positive, advocating discussion of the movie, and some negative, verifying the athiestic themes present in the books.

I personally think that it looks like a great movie. My interest is increased now that I know that the books were actually very well done (according to the commenters). I have never understood the position that we should stop people from seeing (or saying) something, just because it may offend some segment of the population. In fact, discussion of the thing that may be offensive is exacty what we need to keep society moving forward.

So, when you go see the movie, keep the religious connotations in mind. And, decide for yourself what to think about it!



Don't you remember how the alert went out to all atheist parents when the movie "Narnia" was released? Atheists received warnings far and wide that "Narnia" was a dark and dangerous vehicle with the potential to turn children against skepticism and toward Christianity. Non-believers were just petrified that their children would come across an idea that contradicted skepticism about all things supernatural. The children of atheists are never allowed to see movies about hobbits, elves, fairies, witches, ghosts, Santa Claus, angels, devils, reincarnation--the list goes on and on.

Not.

Wow, how insecure Christians are about their ability to pass on their beliefs to their children.

-- Posted by: cowalker at November 23, 2007 4:29 PM

I've read the series and can't really see a problem with it. Sure it may be slightly anti-Christian but only if your in that mindset when reading it.

I won't go into details, as it is only the ending to the final book which could be viewed as anti-Christian (though that really is a bit of a stretch), and that would spoil the ending to those who wish to read the book. But I can tell you that the series is less anti-Christian than Pokemon is about demons (like i said it's all about whether you look for a sign or not. I searched for ages and eventually found some in Pokemon, though they were 'slightly' out of context).

However it is true that the ending could be viewed as anti-Christina, but to be honest most stories written could be. The issue of whether you see it as Anti-Christian purely depends on your interpretation of the ending.

It's a wonderful book that has a well though out plot (even the fantasy elements in it are founded in scientific fact).

I urge anyone who is really so worried they should either first read the book first or alternatively if it is really such a big deal they could lock up their kids into a concrete bomb shelter to protect them from the world (though that's a bit extreme, and illegal in certain countries).

I liked the book and I urge people to read it. It was a wonderful story for anyone who has read HP. though that's more because of the violence than anything else. WARNING: The book does feature large scale fight scenes and an undisney style ending.

ps. Only American Christian's are very insecure, the rest of use are only slightly . (if you can't tell I'm being sarcastic)

c u

-- Posted by: Unknown at November 23, 2007 9:38 PM

Think of the person you have loved the very most in your life... maybe it's your mother or father, or a wife or a husband. Now, imagine that you were with that person one night when you came face to face with an armed robber and that this person who meant the very most to you stepped in front of a bullet meant for you and saved your life, losing theirs in the process.

Now, let's say that someone out there who hated this person wrote a "beautifully crafted piece of literary work" in which the entire fiber of the novel ultimately leads to discrediting and destroying the very person you loved so much. They wanted to kill all the good memories you had of them and turn everyone who once loved them away from them. Truly, honestly try to picture this. You would be absolutely horrified. One night as you lay in bed in the still of the night, close your eyes, really try to imagine this. Imagine the feelings you have for this person you love, imagine the sadness and emptiness you would to lose them and imagine the emotions you'd feel at someone wanting to destroy those feelings and spit on everything they stood for.

To say then that you would call this a literary masterpiece or that people are overreacting or "insecure" is complete nonsense. This person you love so much whether you outwardly acknowledge it or not, does exist - not in the human form that we all tend to look for, but in the spiritual form of God, whether you choose to admit it or not, and there is most indeed a spiritual battle going on whether you choose to see it or not.

I truly, whole heartedly pray that people open their eyes before they are too lost.

http://www.snopes.com/politics/religion/compass.asp

-- Posted by: Mary at November 23, 2007 10:55 PM

My Dad's a Pastor, and I am a strong Christian Myself. I read these books and really really enjoyed them. When i got to the end I was like, whoah great book, messed up author. In my family, my parents aren't allowing us to see the movie, because that would be supporting something that we did not beleive in, and goes against what we beleive in. A good article about this is on snopes.com

http://www.snopes.com/politics/religion/compass.asp

I knew nothing about the books when I opened it and really enjoyed them. But Philip Pullman really goes to extremes in his interviews about the movie.

-- Posted by: Jessica at November 24, 2007 12:46 PM

I don't think it's a matter of being insecure in my Christianity. If I as a Christian spend money on either the books or the movie, I'm de facto endorsing it as something that's 'good,' in the context of, ok for others, both Christian and non Christian alike, to see. Part of the whole Great Commission thing, but I digress.

I haven't seen the movie, I've only seen the trailer, and I can tell you that both myself and my children wanted to see the film, until a couple of weeks ago when they came home from their youth group meeting, and told us that the movie doesn't promote a positive Christian message. My words, not theirs. I won't critique the movie, however, I can critique the criticizers, that I have read for the most part, both here and elsewhere.

Most are right, and one should judge something only after having seen/read it. However, with this film it's a Catch 22, as you don't want to endorse something that has a negative impact on your walk or testimony. So, someone tell me how I can watch this movie free? Otherwise, we probably won't see it....

-- Posted by: Mike Shields at November 24, 2007 3:26 PM

religious connotations always cloud the judgement!

-- Posted by: Shaun More Roles at November 24, 2007 3:47 PM

I really enjoyed these books. That being said, I'm pretty much an atheist, and I found the anti-religious themes in them (especially the 3rd) to be heavy-handed. I don't have a problem with Pullman taking the books in this direction, but I did think he sort of hit you over the head with it , and it detracted from what is generally a very good series.

-- Posted by: D at November 29, 2007 11:53 AM

I have read the three books thoroughly, and they are truly amazing, but yes, they are also against God. I would not call them atheist books, since the term refers to the denial of the existence of God and the books confirm his existence, He appears in one of the parts. I would say the books present Him as a moron and his happy helper Methatron as a really-really bad guy.
To be honest I was sort of confused. I am not super Christian, but I do believe in God, and to be confronted to this very new (for me at least) idea was sort of challenging. However, in the books there is a lot of background information that makes one understand (if not accept) the point of view of the narrator. However, I do not think this is going to be possible in a movie, since they oftentimes tend to be simplistic, due mainly to time constraints.
Maybe the Golden Compass will not be too confusing, Godwise, but I must say that the last book, The Amber Spyglass, is going to be really complicated to be transferred to a movie and surely will rise big waves.

-- Posted by: urki at December 4, 2007 5:20 PM