It’s already got the fundamentalists up in arms. Apparently, one of them managed to read something outside the accepted cannon of Christ-like books and now they’re all bothered about the December 7th release (see trailer) of the first installment of Phillip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy – the Golden Compass (IMDB).
According to CNSNews.com, leading atheist writers and intellectuals are engaged in a “scientific” quest to ultimately destroy organized religion, particularly Christianity. Oxford professor Richard Dawkins, author Sam Harris and journalist Christopher Hitchens are some of the big names leading this “new atheism” initiative. Evidence of their agenda is seen in efforts such as the Out Campaign and the Blasphemy Challenge.
Pullman’s book trilogy is the story of “a battle against the church and a fight to overthrow God,” BBC News reported. The Guardian, a British newspaper, goes even further to describe the books as “metaphysical fantasies encompassing parallel worlds, the death of God and the fall of man ….”
Therefore, without yet seeing the film, at least one pro-family group — the American Family Association — is alerting Christians to the potential dangers of The Golden Compass. Because of Pullman’s clearly articulated anti-Christian motives, AFA is warning all viewers to run from the film.
The Golden Compass is set in an alternative world with a sinister Magisterium. It is about a girl named Lyra who sets out to rescue her friend Roger who has been kidnapped by an organization known as the Gobblers. Roger’s rescue turns into an epic quest to save two different worlds — one in which people’s souls manifest themselves as animals. These manifestations are known as “daemons,” and Pullman says they help a person grow toward wisdom.
In addition, the movie website allows visitors to answer a set of questions and create their own daemons that journey alongside them in life.
“One of the [book] series’ main themes — the rejection of organized religion and in particular the abuse of power within the Catholic Church — is to be watered down,” according to the Telegraph, a newspaper in the U.K. “But when the film is released in December the Magisterium will be shown as a critique of all dogmatic organizations, thereby avoiding a religious backlash.”
I’ve got to say I’m excited after seeing the trailer, because it looks beautiful, and it’s got damn good casting. Nicole Kidman is a perfect choice for Coulter (no not that one – don’t worry) Daniel Craig is an excellent choice, if a bit young, for Asriel, and Sam Elliot couldn’t be more fitting a choice for the Texan Lee Scorsby. Ian McKellen is even voicing Iorek.
It’s a funny double-standard the AFA and others objecting, after all, if the Chronicles of Narnia is acceptable as a children’s movie despite the Christian dogmatism inherent in the plot (and purposefully placed their by C.S. Lewis), surely atheists are allowed to have a film that discourages dogmatism (purposefully placed their by Pullman). Isn’t it only fair? We’ll have a poll after this comes out, which is better. I found Narnia to be insipid and bland. Hopefully they won’t be to scared of offending the religious to give these films an edge.
Either way, I can think of no better advertisement for a movie for kids than the AFA saying it’s bad for them.