Philip Pullman’s book the Golden Compass, part of the “His Dark Materials” trilogy, is being adapted to the big screen and will be out in a few weeks. If you haven’t heard, the whole series is dedicated to, as he has said, “killing God”. The Catholic League has called for a boycott thereby ensuring that it will be a successful movie.
The director Chris Weitz (of American Pie fame) has moved away from depicting a radical Romanist church as the chief enemy of the books to suit the palate of American viewers. While this watering down of Pullman’s anti-Christian leanings may seem like a victory on the surface I’m not so sure it is. It is only a sign of the weakness of the church that a “lapsed Catholic” like Weitz doesn’t see us as a suitable antagonist to atheism. Pullman at least knows who the enemy is, but is willing to accept these changes for the sake of mammon.
I’m still within the first hundred pages, but from what I’ve heard the church and god depicted in his books are nothing like the church or God of Christianity. There is no Son of God and to depict the church as power obsessive is really just to attack the church for being something it shouldn’t be. Perhaps it is a veiled attack on Islam.
The main thing to understand here is that atheists, by their own admission, know nothing of the true God. Very often when they attack the church they’re attacking a falsehood or something that should be attacked. Speaking about God Pullman reveals himself to be as bland an atheist as you would find working the counter at your local Hot Topic. He said: “there may well be a God somewhere, hiding away. Actually, if he is keeping out of sight, it’s because he’s ashamed of his followers and all the cruelty and ignorance they’re responsible for promoting in his name. If I were him, I’d want nothing to do with them.”But this is one of the reasons why Christianity is the most radical mindblowing religion ever. Only Jesus would give His good name to miserable, unlovely, people replete with sin. This sort of attack on the church only shows the attacker to be a prideful, self-centered, unmerciful skunk too holy to be associated with the sinners that go to church. Just once I’d love to hear a movie star or musician say that they attend church because it’s so full of hypocrites and judgmental people.
Another area where Pullman falls for the very thing he critiques is his view of the author. Pullman says, “I am a strong believer in the tyranny, the dictatorship, the absolute authority of the writer.” I have heard that whenever Tolkien was asked about why Gandalf did this or said that he would respond saying, I don’t know, let me reread and find out. Then he would return and say, Okay, I think this is what Gandalf was thinking when he said that. Whether or not this is true (if it is and if you could point me to where I got this I’d be grateful) it exemplifies our submissive Creator. There is only one God who is submissive to His creation and it is YHWH. For someone who is against authoritarianism he sure has a funny way of showing it.