Thursday, November 22, 2007

The Golden Compass: Is This How Atheists Feel About Narnia?

By Josh Harris @

A few weeks ago a friend emailed me a warning about the new movie The Golden Compass starring Nicole Kidman. The film is based on the first book in a series of children's books by British agnostic Philip Pullman. My friend said that the books are Pullman's attempt to influence others, particularly children, with his own God-hating perspective. (I didn't think you were allowed to make movies these days unless that was your objective, but evidently this guy is particularly committed to the goal.)

Of course all this sounds like the making of a beautiful urban legend--the kind that Christians love to get totally freaked out about. The next thing you know Madalyn Murray O'Hair is starring in the movie and unless you forward this email to ten friends immediately, you will die in a week! It turns out, however, that the story about The Golden Compass is quite true. The website gives a summary about the movie and author. You can also read a review by Adam Holz from Plugged-In Online (HT: Shepherd's Scrapbook). Pullman is quoted as saying, "My books are about killing God."

The Holz review is interesting because it talks about Pullman's hatred for C.S. Lewis's Chronicles of Narnia series. That struck me as funny because one of the first thoughts I had when I heard about this movie and the author's views was, "So is this how our secular neighbors feel about Narnia? Do they feel like some sneaky Christian movie producer is trying to cram their pro-God belief down the throats of their kids?" No wonder secular people are so ticked-off by evangelicals, it really is annoying to feel like someone is messing with your kids. (Is this the new stage of the culture war? Forget politics, let's make movies for children!)

Obviously, it's important to be informed about the views and intentions of an author like Pullman. As parents we should be careful and cautious about the influence of a film or book that is based on a godless view of the world. But I only hope that Christian parents won't make "sneaky atheists" their only category of concern when it comes to media. A lot of supposedly faith-friendly, family-friendly media content these days can lead to a spiritual numbness that is just as concerning as an outright attack on faith. In some ways, I'm more concerned about the potential for our kids to be seduced into compromise by the sweet, steady allure of worldliness than I am that they'll be kidnapped by an atheist in a polar bear suit. Of course, I don't want either to happen.

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