The Golden Compass Points the Wrong Way

200px-the_golden_compass.jpgNicole Kidman’s The Golden Compass hits the theaters tomorrow.

For the record, I’m not hopping on an evangelical anti-everything bandwagon. I avoid that stuff. Why are we so shocked when the world acts like the world? Why should we expect the world to value what followers of Jesus value?

“And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light.” 2 Corinthians 11:14, NKJV.

Still, I offer my analysis of the book, not having seen the movie. In the spirit of full disclosure, I have read only book two of Philip Pullman’s trilogy. The three books together are called His Dark Materials. The books are: The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife, The Amber Spyglass.

spiritualwarfare1.jpegI read The Subtle Knife. It is the only book I could find in our whole county. I have a hold placed on the first and third, but they haven’t been returned yet to our library. The only way I would change my position is if book 1 or 2 dramatically changed the worldview created in the books. Otherwise, the books peddle a blatant anti-Christian message. In these ways:

[SPOILER WARNING… I WILL GIVE AWAY SOME PLOT DEVELOPMENTS…]

First, the church is depicted as intensely evil, domineering and ruthless–reminiscent of the communist KGB or Nazi Gestapo. The Church people are the bad guys. They place spies in every organization; anybody who speaks against the church is “disappeared.”

golden1.jpg“Tell us about the child, witch,” said Mrs. Coulter [played by Nicole Kidman].
“No!”
“You will suffer.”
“I have suffered enough.”
“Oh, there is more suffering to come. We have a thousand years of experience in this Church of ours. We can draw out your suffering endlessly. Tell us about the child,” Mrs. Coulter said, and reached down to break one of the witch’s fingers. It snapped easily.
The witch cried out… (p. 38).

Second, witches are depicted as good and loyal. A main character, a good witch who helps save the day, goes by the name of Serafina Pekkala, which if my Hebrew and Latin aren’t completely rusted out, roughly translates to Angel of Sin (seraphim/Hebrew plus peccare-to sin/Latin).

“What of the other witch clans?” said Serafina Pekkala. What news do you have of them?”
“Most have gone back to their homelands. All the witches are waiting, Serafina Pekkala, with fear in their hearts, for what will happen next.”
“And what do you hear of the Church?”
“They are in complete confusion…” (p. 42)

Third, angels [fallen ones, though we aren’t told that] ally with witches for a Great War. The reason for this great war is that the first time the angels tried to overthrow the Authority (God), THE WRONG SIDE WON (see another quote below).

“And he invited us [witches] to join him, sisters. To join his army against the Authority [God, the Creator]. I wish with all my heart I could pledge us there and then. He showed me that to rebel was right and just, when you considered what the agents of the Authority did in his name…. And I thought of the Bolvangar children, and the other terrible mutilations I have seen in our own southlands; and he told me of many more hideous cruelties dealt out in the Authority’s name–of how they capture witches, in some worlds, and burn them alive, sisters. Yes, witches like ourselves…
“He opened my eyes. He showed me things I had never seen, cruelties and horrors all committed in the name of the Authority, all designed to destroy the joys and truthfulness of life.” (pp. 271, 272).

Fourth, an atheistic worldview is promoted. The history of civilization is described as a constant battle between SCIENCE/LOGIC vs. FAITH/DOGMA.

“There are two great powers,” the man said, “and they’ve been fighting since time began. Every advance in human life, every scrap of knowledge and wisdom and decency we hvae has been torn by one side from the teeth of the other. Every little increase in human freedom has been fought over ferociously between those who want us to know more and be wiser and stronger, and those who want us to obey and be humble and submit.” (p. 320).

Fifth, the book contains gruesome violence making it unfit for kids. From the beginning we are treated to torture in which the church leaders begin breaking the fingers of a witch, whom is ultimately killed (by a witch trying to help her). The reader hears the bones crack and the witch scream in pain. Just because a story has kids in it doesn’t mean it’s a story for kids. I would not let my kids read these books or see the movie. If they were older and I could process with them the cosmic conflict between good and evil, maybe. They could see the dark side unmasked; Pullman’s trilogy is showing us the true nature of the forces aligned against Jesus and his message. We have to know our enemy, but this is too much for kids.

Sixth, God is named the Authority. He must be overthrown and killed. This, by all accounts, is accomplished in book 3. The Authority is killed and the world is set free.

angelpointing.jpeg“There is a war coming, boy. The greatest war there ever was. something like it happened before, and this time the right side must win. We’ve had nothing but lies and propaganda and cruelty and deceit for all the thousands of years of human history. It’s time we started again, but properly this time….” (p. 319)

Seventh, everybody has a demon/daemon. The daemon is good. It is an aspect of each person’s life and personality. Dependent yet independent. There to help you. It takes the form of a bird or snake or other animal. It can morph shapes during childhood but locks in a shape when a person grows up. When a character dies, his or her daemon dies.

“Where do you come from?”
“From my world. It’s joined on. Where’s your daemon?”
His eyes widened. Then he saw something extraordinary happen to the cat: it leaped into her arms, and when it got there, it changed shape…
“I haven’t got a demon,” he said. “I don’t know what you mean.” Then, “Oh! Is that your demon?” (pp. 20, 21)

Eighth, living beings, including angels, are depicted as mechanical beings. In keeping with the atheist line of a mechanical universe.

Nor did she [a witch] knowhow far their [angels] awareness spread out beyond her like filamentary tentacles to the remotest corners of universes she had never dreamed of; nor that she saw them as human-formed only because her eyes expected to. If she were to perceive their true form, they would seem more like architecture than organism, like huge structures composed of intelligence and feeling. (p. 140).

Growing up a fan of science fiction, I read many years ago Isaac Asimov’s attempt to define life. What made an entity alive? His answer: ORGANIZATION. A certain organization of molecules and atoms that created an illusion of what we call consciousness. Pullman seems to have read the same theories. What is life? What are we? ORGANIZED MATTER AND ENERGY. Pervaded by and composed of subatomic particles and dark matter (known as “Dust” in Pullman’s books) capable of organization and consciousness.

What are we? Creatures in the image of God? No. Outcroppings of the laws of physics. In one scene, the subatomic particles commandeer a computer to speak to a scientist and give her marching orders. The Dust speaks in capital letters.

Angels are creatures of Shadow matter? Of Dust? STRUCTURES. COMPLEXIFICATIONS. YES.
Did you intervene in human evolution? YES.
Why? VENGEANCE.
Vengeance for–oh! Rebel angels! After the war in heaven–Satan and the Garden of Eden–but it isn’t true is it? Is that what you . . . . YOU MUST PLAY THE SERPENT. (pp. 249, 250).

Nice stuff for kids, huh. Just in time for Christmas. Oh, I mean “the holidays.”

Supporters of Pullman and his trilogy argue that his detractors are missing the point. They argue that Pullman is not attaching God or Theism or Christianity per se. Instead, he attacks the perversion of religion. He attaches corrupt Christianity. In fact, everything he says about the church, its violence, its anti-scientific stance, its controlling nature, is true. His charges are historically verifiable… and we Christians should agree with Pullman.

angelpainting.jpegI reply:

First, if Pullman intended to be that nuanced, he would had given the church SOME redeeming qualities. So far, none. If this nuance exists, it is a nuance no reader will get.

Second, we grant the sad history of abuses done in the name of the One who came to wipe away all abuse. We repent. Yet, have not Christians repudiated these things? Have we not repented and changed our ways? Have we not launched hospitals and universities for the expansion of knowledge and the broadening of science? We are far from perfect, collectively speaking. We are also light years from the church Pullman depicts. To him, we are still the church of the Inquisition. No doubt, his readers/watchers will think the same.

Third, the entire worldview is mechanistic, atheistic, materialistic, and anti-Christian. Many advocates say that Pullman accepts a supernatural worldview–after all, the world he creates is replete with angels and demons and witches and spells. I answer that Pullman explains away all supernatural or transcendent elements by making them expressions of the laws of physics and quantum mechanics. In the end, the message remains materialistic atheism.

Fourth, I seriously doubt that movie-goers will be treated to a nuanced critique of the foibles of Christianity. This will be yet another salvo in a very long war aimed at undermining our Judeo-Christian heritage and worldview. It is part and parcel of an invisible war in which the right side has already won. We simply await the full revelation of that victory.

Other than all that, it was a pretty good read. Bad lies cloaked in engaging words. Sounds like a tempter I once read of…

All quotes come from Philip Pullman. The Subtle Knife. 1997. Knopf.

fourhorsemen.jpeg

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35 thoughts on “The Golden Compass Points the Wrong Way

  1. Thanks, Bill. People who know you know that you aren’t an “Evangelical anti-everything.” That makes your review that much more powerful.

  2. Oh how I wish we didn’t have to waste our time reading this stuff, just to be informed! I certainly don’t have to go sit in a mud hole to “learn” about what a pig is thinking! (I know that’s not a politically correct sentiment!)

    Thanks so much for taking YOUR time and letting us know what these books are all about. Ditto to Adaline above – you are a trusted reviewer.

  3. It’s a sad time in history when there are so many traps set for children at every turn in TV, movies, news, school, internet, video games, music, and entertainment of every sort. Everything is an indoctrination these days — even cartoons. What ever happened to bugs bunny? Whatever happened to innocent fun?

  4. Donny,
    I think seeing this movie or reading its books is a matter of liberty and conscience for adults. It’s a matter of wise parenting and instruction for moms and dads. Pullman uses a heartwarming story of love and adventure to weave his values into an attractive package. Too bad his values so contradict biblical ones.

    Yesterday someone argued, “Yeah, but if you see this movie you’re supporting the author and his nefarious purposes” (that was the gist of his meanings–he didn’t say nefarious).

    That is a really big hammer to swing. “Yeah, but if you see A League of Their Own, you’re supporting Madonna. And Rosie! And everything they stand for!”

    Or, “Yeah, but if you see the Dallas Mavericks play you’re supporting the left-wing politics of Mark Cuban.”

    Or, “Yeah, but if you eat meat sacrificed to idols, you’re supporting demons and false gods.” Paul said, “Not necessarily.”

    Bottom line for Christians who might see this movie: understand the issues, do not cause another to stumble (kids, etc), know why you’re going, and follow your conscience, enjoy your liberty, accept one another without judging.

    Bill

  5. So, Dr. G, it’s our liberty to go sit in the mud hole? That’s providing we follow the instructions you gave in the last paragraph?

  6. i vote for mud hole liberty……..especially if you want to understand those trapped in it…….. you should be safe from it’s bacteria, no? stay self aware, have it be one of those things where you will gain the advantage of seeing something from another(s) perspective. i’m not saying go there, but you have the truth already, not all the knowledge though…….people respond to honest experienced empathy.

    you think the golden compass will be a challenge? i just viewed, online, a documentary “zeitgeist”….which i believe is being opened in london today….this will make the organized churchs’ flap over the davinci code seem quite tame.

    i’d love to hear your critique of zeitgeist pastor bill.

  7. Bill,

    I love the response you posted to my comment. Teachings like that are the reason I enjoy hearing your sermons so much. Common Sense Christianity. That’s so rare.

  8. My Dear Jean, of course it’s your liberty to “sit in the mud hole” as you say. Otherwise, wouldn’t we have to be in heaven? Even the Apostle Paul and the OT prophets showed familiarity with the pagan media of their times: literature. They didn’t isolate themselves from it. They entered in, knew it, and saw it from a divine perspective.

    ““Conscience,” I say, not your own, but that of the other. For why is my liberty judged by another man’s conscience?” 1 Corinthians 10:29, NKJV.

    The caution is to never jump into a pit you’re not sure you can resist.

    “Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All things indeed are pure, but it is evil for the man who eats with offense. It is good neither to eat meat nor drink wine nor do anything by which your brother stumbles or is offended or is made weak. Do you have faith? Have it to yourself before God. Happy is he who does not condemn himself in what he approves. But he who doubts is condemned if he eats, because he does not eat from faith; for whatever is not from faith is sin.” Romans 14:20-23, NKJV.

  9. Goodhand…

    Ironic. I was discussing Zeitgeist in connection with the Golden Compass just yesterday. I will eventually respond to Zeitgeist. For now I will say that it is loaded with factual errors, blatant misstatements, and outright fabrication. Loaded. You can’t go ten minutes into it before the erroneous statements begin.

    Look up the Egyptian God Horus and see if he was born of the “Virgin Isis.” He wasn’t because she wasn’t. That is one of hundreds of misrepresentations and outright lies. If you are sincerely interested do a search for Zeitgeist debunked, and you’ll find plenty to look at.

    The arguments in Zeitgeist are old. I was studying them in high school days. Even liberal scholarship knows there is no fact-base for those arguments. They have all been debunked by serious scholarship, should anyone wish to look.

    What gives Zeitgeist the Movie its air of credibility? The medium. That’s all. (I will only comment on the first part which pretends to debunk Christianity).

    Bill

  10. Goodhand,

    Is this the zeitgeist you are referring to? (Zeitgeist part one, which tries to debunk Christianity)

    If so, I’ll tell you a tiny bit about that film. I’m pretty ill today so I don’t feel like typing a long response, but here are a few things.

    That movie is based entirely on the “research” of one woman, who I’ve personally spoken with. She completely makes up most of the “facts” in it. The scholarship is SO poor that it’s laughable.

    One of the “God’s” she mentions, Mithra, was said to be born of a virgin, blah blah blah. I have no idea where she received her information from, because followers of Mithra believed he was born out of a rock, fully formed.

    Error after error fills that film. But because they present themselves so confidently, many will be temporarily confused. A further look, however, shows that very few “facts” are presented.

    Pick up a copy of Lee Strobel’s “The Case for the Real Jesus” (his latest book). He speaks of some of these things, although he doesn’t directly discuss Zeitgeist.

  11. bill and donny….thanks………i certainly wasn’t advocating what was said in that movie, just that it would be a ‘big deal’ after it comes out……or, am i hearing that it’s been out for some time?

    though i should write a longer response to this next point but, if you wonder why there is such a backlash against the church or ‘christianity’ (quotes intended for sure), history has shown that the ‘bad’ weighed against the ‘good’ (hospitals and universities) appears to trump. appears.

    the main sticking point as i see it and with so many of my non-christian or ambivalent friends and co workers is that it appears that christians have not repudiated, repented, nor changed their ways on really key issues. you only have to look at the current situation, how it was the evangelical churches that were the main backers of president bush, how such a pro war stance, legalizing torture, disregard for the environment (relative to other admins), and so much death and destruction is occuring with his blessing, how we are creating such a climate of division and non inclusiveness in the world (i’m not saying this is truth, but it is how it is perceived), but this does not stand alone, this is a known or assumed naturally tied with progression with how the church has supported other wars and destructive policies, vietnam, cuba, nicaragua, and many many anti communist dictators…….whether or not these people i know are looking at the theology behind all this or not, the fact is that from what i can tell, the church, the evangelical church, still holds onto the theological seeds that give support to this militaristic and patriarchal philosophy (a just war in the name of righteousness, or look at jericho, how that is justified). when such non christian elements are calling for peace and justice and equality and there is such violence and hatred (look at iraq, look at what i’ve heard from a christian calling islam, a religion straight from hell……does this make for peace, understanding? does this view not lend creedence and approval for violence against people of that faith or culture or society?) from the christian side, as it has throughout history, then what can we expect…….i’m not calling all christianity as guilty of this, but it can be seen by those who look, now or in the past

  12. Hey Donny: Get well! Sorry to hear you’re under the weather!

    Thanks, Dr. G for your wisdom and grace. You are SO appreciated!!

    I don’t WANT to sit in the mud hole. I want to do all things in my life from faith.

    And yes, Rick, I think false religions are straight from hell, no apologies. In no way does that include the people “trapped” in those nor violence toward them from me.

  13. Goodhand,

    Since you’ve brought up the Republican party I can’t help but put in my two cents. I, too, cannot understand why Christians overwhelmingly vote Republican. Before continuing I should state that I am a registered Republican myself, and have been since I received my right to vote at age 18. That being said, the reason I did so was because I grew up the son of a Pastor and all of those around me were Republican. So that’s how I registered, and I’ve never changed.

    But this last election I didn’t vote Republican. I voted for “Dubya” the first time, and voted against him the second time. Notice I said I voted “against” him. My vote wasn’t meant for the other guy. I was just so disgusted by King George that “anything but” was better in my opinion.

    In discussions with Christians, my non-scientific research indicates that the number one reason Christians vote Republican is the topic of abortion. How does that make me feel? To be honest, I feel very much annoyed by that. A Republican was in office when abortion was legalized. Republicans have held office for decades since it was legalized. It still remains legal.

    It seems to me that Christians “sell out” other issues based on one that will not change under either Republican nor Democratic “rule”. Abortion is a hot button, and that button is pushed during every election. After the votes have been cast, the issue seems to leave the minds of politicians until the next election, where it is once more revived to stir up votes.

    Personally, I have more respect for the dark telling me that it is dark than for a side that claims it is “light” when it is actually… not. If I were to look at social issues, I’d say Jesus would be more on the Democratic side than the Republican side. The same goes for the environment.

    But that “a” word… well, that seems to lead the Christian part of the country around by the nose. And it’s complete dung. Nothing is going to be done by our leaders about that issue. In the meantime, we re-elect an administration that is overwhelmingly self-centered and focused on lining the pockets of the rich. I nearly vomited when VP Cheney’s former company was handed the contract for rebuilding Iraq. I honestly have a problem believing this administration isn’t secretly happy about the price of gas, given the President’s background in the oil business. I have a hard time swallowing the explanations we’ve been given about our reasons for going to war.

    To me, the entire administration stinks.

    How will I vote next election? I don’t know yet. But I can assure you that if it was possible for GWB to run for re-election yet again I’d once more vote “anything but”.

  14. Even Hillary, Donny?

    This discussion is getting into “politics” which cannot be won. Yikes! I suppose it’s OK to blast away on Maxgrace.com, but is it truly productive? Maybe for you guys, but what about the rest of us who, per chance, just might not agree with your assessment? Does that make us “radical” Christians? Just one side thought – abortion is devastating to not only the fetus, but to everyone else involved. Not a bad issue to tackle. Know anyone devastated by it?

    I think you’d do better to join a political campaign and take your American rights and put them into action for what you believe.

  15. jean, it’s when people are pushed to think in extreme anti terms towards others is when the board is set for violence or tacit approval for such against them. it was not hard for those in the south to approve of racist acts in the past, or killing the commies or gooks…….same for ay-rabs……..i have heard it so much, from staunch ‘christians’, even to the point of believing they are righteous in wanting to ‘nuke em all’. there are those who promote this alienation towards others instead of love. and i think the way of christ is to love them even when they give us crap and death back…..or am i reading christ wrong? how would the world see us as different? i see christ as teaching us to go above our human nature to hate and defend with violence, to be better than being selfish, something more for the world to see than our being tribal.

    other countries hear that george bush was selected from the force of the evangelicals in the u.s. and then his actions in the world smear the name of love……call this a political slant but i’m talking about the christians in the world and how they are viewed, the proactive support from those who call themselves christian, force it into political terms…..credibility was at stake…..i fear it’s not at stake anymore.

  16. and another point is that with the golden compass…………if the church reacts in a reactionary way and does not self reflect, then a great opportunity will have been lost.

  17. An opportunity to do what? Not stand up to defend our belief God shouldn’t be killed? Does acting “peacefully” mean we say nothing? It seems today any response from the true Christian is taken as “reactionary.”

  18. Jean, you wrote:

    “Just one side thought – abortion is devastating to not only the fetus, but to everyone else involved. Not a bad issue to tackle. Know anyone devastated by it?”

    There is no question abortion is devastating. I’ve never said otherwise.

    But what I AM saying is that Republicans DO NOTHING ABOUT IT, yet use it for political gain. They’ll say “I’m against abortion” and many Christians will look no deeper into the rest of their beliefs. After the candidate is elected, the legality of abortion WILL NOT CHANGE.

    I feel deceived.

    With a “pro-choice” Democrat, at least we know what we’re getting. With a “pro-life” Republican, often times we have no idea.

    I’m almost old enough to run for President. I can say I’m against abortion all day long (which I am and always have been) but what do you know about the rest of my politics? Am I a good candidate simply because I say that line, even though I’ll never act to change that issue? Of course not! Yet that’s what happens over and over again with Republicans. In my opinion.

  19. Well, Donny, thanks for your viewpoint. Since our Supreme Court legislated abortion into law, the only way it can become “unlaw” is from them again. Thus, the importance of trying to get conservative judges on it. However, no president, regardless of his abortion beliefs, can change that law until the Court says it’s now illegal. Fortunately, the Republicans, some of them, have had the courage to at least state they are against abortion. Is this no less “politically expedient” to say than saying you’re for pro-choice to get the anti-abortion vote?

    Of course, abortion is not the only issue regarding a vote for the politician. It is very important to some people, though, and I respect that right for them. It would be much wiser to vote for someone who actually has more than one issue that’s important to you, but if one is all it takes for some, so be it. I don’t think they should be looked down upon because of that. I find it laughable that a woman would vote for a woman president solely because the candidate is a woman. However, that’s our process of election however silly I might find that reason. The bottomline is the candidates want the VOTE and they’ll do almost anything to get it. Our job as voters is to try and vote intelligently. Whether the candidates can actually fulfill their campaign promises is totally another thing!

  20. To be honest, I don’t think conservative Supreme Court Justices will change anything on the legality of the abortion issue, either.

    I’d like to believe that by the time a person is capable enough to become a Supreme Court Justice, they’ve learned to limit their personal views when making decisions for the entire country. Their job is to interpret the law, no forward their own agendas.

    Before a nominee can even become a Justice, their nomination has to be confirmed by the Senate. Therefore, even if a conservative President nominates a candidate, and that candidate makes it through the confirmation process, there is still no guarantee that candidate will do a thing about the abortion issue, even if said candidate is conservative.

    I will never decide where my vote is cast for the office of President based upon a candidate’s opinions on abortion. Why not? Because I am a realist and am very much aware that they candidate’s opinions on that issue will not affect the country.

    It doesn’t matter if they have the courage to voice their concerns. It doesn’t matter if the other side voices their “pro-choice” concerns. That issue will most likely NOT be a factor in their Presidency.

    George Bush is pro-life. But that hasn’t stopped us from being involved in an unnecessary war that has needlessly ended the lives of thousands upon thousands of US Soldiers, Iraqis, and civilians. In this case, how have GWBs opinions on abortion affected our country? They haven’t.

    If we were to have candidates write out their opinions on all the issues we find important, and then label their writings with letters (A, B, C, D, etc) rather than names, I think we’d be very surprised who we elected to office. We’d likely be very surprised who we choose when we elect candidates based only on the issues, and not on the party they come from.

  21. Interesting thought, Donny. The candidates would have to be down-right honest about their views/opinions without thought over whom they might influence to vote for them by what they have to say. The same old, “I’ll say what I think they want to hear.” Goodness, that sounds like Scripture!! The “tickling ears” verse!

    I read where the party/ties involved in Roe vs. Wade are the ONLY ones who can bring about an overturn of that particular verdict by the Court. If that’s true, then absolutely no president has any power whatsoever to do anything about abortion as it stands now. And, I would hope EVERY Justice would uphold the Constitution and the law of the land – that’s a no brainer to me. To make abortion a law is where the problem is, in the first place, decided by the Court for the entirety of the country.

    Your opinion over the “needless,” “unnecessary” war is not the only opinion out there. One could wonder if any war is needed or necessary for that matter. However, it does stand as a fact that our entire Congress did vote to go to “war” at the time, with the info that was given whether you think it was lies or not. This issue is probably far more important than abortion as to which candidate one votes for as president.

    Here we go, politics again!

    Hope you’re feeling better!

  22. The Republican party may not be perfect (far from it), but it beats the Pro-Abortion, Pro-Homosexuality, Pro-Dhimmitude, Anti-Christian Demo(n)cratic party any day. I’m sure there are some Godly Democrats in local and state governments, but as for nationally, their ranks could meet in a minivan. The one thing the Left does well is that it does not attack itself, while the Right cannot wait to eat its own. GWB may not be perfect, but he is a fellow Christian and has stood up for life and the family.

  23. jean, my non violent stand is not pacifism, it does not mean you don’t stand up for what you believe, quite the contrary…..but it does mean you won’t do harm to others, you will try and follow christs call in how we treat others, even enemies……..
    does anyone else in here find it odd that it’s a common theme that pro life folk are often pro war, (or just war)? and pro capital punishment?

  24. Ladies and Gentlemen,

    Ahemmmm….

    Politics is excruciatingly important. However, this blog is not about politics; nor is this particular post. It’s about a book trilogy.

    Even at their best, the world’s institutions are tainted by sin. Even at their best. There will always be something to criticize.

    Why can’t we all just get along?

    WE’RE FALLEN CREATURES, that’s why. And without the redeeming power of Jesus Christ there is no hope. That’s the focus of our ministry right? I’d rather preach Jesus than politics. Not a cop out… just a value. I encourage you to be politically active and vocal… but kindly do that on the appropriate blogs.

    Lots of love

    Bill

  25. the book trilogy is touching on the theology/philosophy that seems to be against what we believe…..how followers of christ are perceived in this world, whether as evidenced by a film or of action in the real world, are sadly greatly influenced by political decisions, political decisions that can be informed by theology and given support by a strain of theologically persuaded folk. i say that where a blog topic touches on apologetics, then that aspect of politics should not be proscribed…..yes?

  26. Oh ye wise blogmaster owneth this blog space and canst do whatsoevereth he doth wisheth to doeth…we doth bow downeth in respecta and honoreth thou most powerfuleth wishes(eth).

    Thanks for the heads up on “Compass.” MSN.com also thinks the movie shouldn’t be viewed by children.

    Merry Christmas!! A little early, but I’m on a warp-speed path to it!

  27. I forgot to add: Without a change of heart brought on by the redeeming grace of God and acceptance by the human, no amount of political activity, power, or persuasion can make an eternal difference. So – AMEN to what was said above by Dr. G!! I love “not a cop-out…just a value.” AMEN again!

  28. Donny,

    A lot of what you said makes sense but I wouldn’t use that argument about a conservative being president when abortion was legalized. Not all those justices were nominated by that president. That’s part of the mechanism of our system (and, I think, what makes it so good). The politics of the sitting president don’t always have anything to do with Supreme Court decisions.
    As far as Christians being single-issue (read “abortion”) voters, I don’t know about others, but I vote that way because a politician’s view on abortion is usually an indicator of a whole world view. It also shows from whom they are currying favor. Both sides do it: one to get the pro-abortion vote, the other the anti-abortion vote. It does show that most of our leaders are pragmatic; they do what will get them and keep them in office. This usually means they will confront only the most urgent issues and not confront anything with a well-developed, long range philosophy.

  29. Steve,
    I agree with you as well. She went too far. But that’s because she’s working from a different set of presuppositions. By different, I mean different from historic evangelicalism and historic orthodoxy.

    We have always believed that a) truth matters and b) truth can be discovered with certainty.

    Once you abandon those premises (e.g., Francis Schaeffer’s “Flight from Reason”), you are left with radical subjectivism.

    The main question, it seems to me, is BY WHAT AUTHORITY DO WE BELIEVE WHAT WE BELIEVE?

    The Golden Compass teaches us to question and ultimately overthrow authority. I’m all for questioning those in positions of authority (intelligent, rational, respectful questioning). I’m also for all of us making up our own minds. But Pullman pushes too far.

    Traditional Christians have located that (epistemological) authority in the Word of God.

    Postmodernists locate it in themselves. Every person does what is right in his or her own eyes.

    The blogger you link to unfairly mis-states “conservative Christianity’s” position, as does McLaren.

    There are ways to critique Christiandom without throwing out the baby with the bathwater.

    Just some thoughts.
    Bill

  30. Thanks, Dr. G. Well stated. I shudder when I read someone wishes to place the authority into whatever they FEEL is the right place – or to make it conform to their own belief system. That truly eliminates any need for God any place in the human life. Very sad indeed.

  31. “as does McLaren.”

    …actually, one of the things McLaren critiques evangelical Christianity for is the very way in which you just defined it…

    “Traditional Christians have located that (epistemological) authority in the Word of God.”

    I think McLaren would say that your statement is not true of traditional Christians, unless by that you meant a minority of Christians since the Reformation (and even less prior).

    But he is by no means an advocate of what you are defining as ‘postmodernism;’ ‘believe what feels good to believe.”

    He is simply willing to listen to other voices (Orthodox, Liberation, etc.) in his pursuit of the only voice that matters…

    As for the whole ‘Compass’ issue, I haven’t read or seen, but it does seem like a wonderful opportunity to engage, so long as we don’t engage others with the mentality of ‘standing up for God.’ I think He can defend Himself…

    Just take the whole ‘killing God’ thing for example…

    As a Christian I would love to explain to people that I am not offended at all by Pullman’s depiction of the death of an old, bearded, white, male, anthropomorphic deity. I don’t believe in that God either…

  32. Steve,
    I agree with you that that false caricature of god needs to be killed off. It’s just that having read only book 2, I can’t see how anybody would naturally derive that message from the book. That’s my basic point. And had I not known that Pullman is a committed atheist and member of atheist organizations, and that he advocates against CS Lewis, I would be more tolerant of the possibility that his intent is that nuanced.
    It isn’t. He intends to kill of DEITY, of whatever sort.
    Yes, we should and can engage the conversation. I applaud that. That’s why I disagree with those who call for a boycott. I’m trying to take him at face value. I think there’s more to this book & movie than “question authority” and “think for yourself.” It’s propogating an anti-christian, anti-biblical worldview, and that’s where I get off the bus.

    Thanks for commenting.
    Bill

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