Sunday, December 2, 2007

The Golden Compass

I've tried to avoid the debate that has surrounded the release of the movie The Golden Compass. However, while avoiding homework and browsing Facebook, I came across a group called "Do NOT support 'The Golden Compass.'" It currently has 100,998 members.

OK. I read Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy (of which The Golden Compass is the first installment, followed by The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass) as a kid and loved it. I have the entire trilogy in audio format on my iPod. I've read other books by Philip Pullman and loved them as well. I'm definitely going to go see the movie.

Somehow, even though I was immersed in Pullman's writing as a child and love his work to this day, I remain a steadfast Christian. The fact that the children in the book supposedly kill God miraculously had no effect on my faith.

Then again, I don't think it's all that miraculous. How many Christians do you think have read or seen The Wizard of Oz? I couldn't count how many times I've seen that movie even if I tried. Why do I bring this up? Well, just think about it: at the end, the wizard, very clearly a God figure whom Dorothy, the Tin Man and the Cowardly Lion (oh, and Toto, too) have travelled far to see, is revealed as a hoax. The curtain is pulled back and the Wizard of Oz is just a pathetic little man hiding behind smoke and mirrors.

Does anyone see the similarity behind L. Frank Baum's fraudulent wizard-god and Philip Pullman's story? Neither exactly typifies the Christian narrative, but The Wizard of Oz is one of the best-loved stories of a generation (or two...or three?), and I have yet to see anyone revoke their faith because they saw the movie or read Baum's fantasy novel.

I think there's a deeper issue in here of a psychotic need felt by some Christians to shield themselves and their children from exposure to atheistic themes in film and literature. Harry Potter got a bad rap, too. Once my dad was criticized by another pastor for allowing his children to read these anti-Christian books—he claimed that a child who read Harry Potter would have everything he or she needed to become a witch or a warlock. My father replied, "You know, my kids have read those books many times, and they just can't get that broom off the ground."

People, this is ridiculous. No child is going to walk out of The Golden Compass and decide that he or she should go kill God, just as no one who saw The Wizard of Oz in 1939 decided that God must actually be an old man behind a curtain. Go see the movie. Take your kids. They'll enjoy it. Let them read the books. Heaven forbid you should, well, forbid your child to read. Don't be so uptight. Faith is all about trust, and there is no trust in the line of thinking that leads people to protest a kid's movie because it might threaten their faith or their children's.

3 comments:

Mike Boone said...

Does this mean that I should cancel our church's book-burning scheduled for the 16th?

Warren said...

As a Christian parent, I think that you cannot 'shield' your children from everything. The world is composed of many things. Eventually, they will have free reign to see and do anything that they want. (considering we live in the US) So, the key is to talk to them! This is a lot of what is missing today is the bond between parent and child, where the children actually learn from their parents values instead of societies values. How and when to expose children to certain ideas is the question.

I must confess that I do not know much about this movie or Philip Pullman. I have received e-mails from family telling me not to go because it is the devils' work, etc. I will probably eventually see the movie when it comes to DVD because I don't watch many movies in the theater. (time, money, etc.)

It is very interesting and sometimes confusing to see what American society deems as atheistic and what it grants as ok with Christian doctrine.

I mean.... the war? Probably the same Christians that will protest in account of this movie are ok with the current war.

Some things I just do not understand.

(Sorry for the rant)

Warren said...

Interesting article from Sojourners (Jim Wallis) on "The Golden Compass":

http://blog.beliefnet.com/godspolitics/2007/12/where-does-the-golden-compass.html

Sunday, December 2, 2007

The Golden Compass

I've tried to avoid the debate that has surrounded the release of the movie The Golden Compass. However, while avoiding homework and browsing Facebook, I came across a group called "Do NOT support 'The Golden Compass.'" It currently has 100,998 members.

OK. I read Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy (of which The Golden Compass is the first installment, followed by The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass) as a kid and loved it. I have the entire trilogy in audio format on my iPod. I've read other books by Philip Pullman and loved them as well. I'm definitely going to go see the movie.

Somehow, even though I was immersed in Pullman's writing as a child and love his work to this day, I remain a steadfast Christian. The fact that the children in the book supposedly kill God miraculously had no effect on my faith.

Then again, I don't think it's all that miraculous. How many Christians do you think have read or seen The Wizard of Oz? I couldn't count how many times I've seen that movie even if I tried. Why do I bring this up? Well, just think about it: at the end, the wizard, very clearly a God figure whom Dorothy, the Tin Man and the Cowardly Lion (oh, and Toto, too) have travelled far to see, is revealed as a hoax. The curtain is pulled back and the Wizard of Oz is just a pathetic little man hiding behind smoke and mirrors.

Does anyone see the similarity behind L. Frank Baum's fraudulent wizard-god and Philip Pullman's story? Neither exactly typifies the Christian narrative, but The Wizard of Oz is one of the best-loved stories of a generation (or two...or three?), and I have yet to see anyone revoke their faith because they saw the movie or read Baum's fantasy novel.

I think there's a deeper issue in here of a psychotic need felt by some Christians to shield themselves and their children from exposure to atheistic themes in film and literature. Harry Potter got a bad rap, too. Once my dad was criticized by another pastor for allowing his children to read these anti-Christian books—he claimed that a child who read Harry Potter would have everything he or she needed to become a witch or a warlock. My father replied, "You know, my kids have read those books many times, and they just can't get that broom off the ground."

People, this is ridiculous. No child is going to walk out of The Golden Compass and decide that he or she should go kill God, just as no one who saw The Wizard of Oz in 1939 decided that God must actually be an old man behind a curtain. Go see the movie. Take your kids. They'll enjoy it. Let them read the books. Heaven forbid you should, well, forbid your child to read. Don't be so uptight. Faith is all about trust, and there is no trust in the line of thinking that leads people to protest a kid's movie because it might threaten their faith or their children's.

3 comments:

Mike Boone said...

Does this mean that I should cancel our church's book-burning scheduled for the 16th?

Warren said...

As a Christian parent, I think that you cannot 'shield' your children from everything. The world is composed of many things. Eventually, they will have free reign to see and do anything that they want. (considering we live in the US) So, the key is to talk to them! This is a lot of what is missing today is the bond between parent and child, where the children actually learn from their parents values instead of societies values. How and when to expose children to certain ideas is the question.

I must confess that I do not know much about this movie or Philip Pullman. I have received e-mails from family telling me not to go because it is the devils' work, etc. I will probably eventually see the movie when it comes to DVD because I don't watch many movies in the theater. (time, money, etc.)

It is very interesting and sometimes confusing to see what American society deems as atheistic and what it grants as ok with Christian doctrine.

I mean.... the war? Probably the same Christians that will protest in account of this movie are ok with the current war.

Some things I just do not understand.

(Sorry for the rant)

Warren said...

Interesting article from Sojourners (Jim Wallis) on "The Golden Compass":

http://blog.beliefnet.com/godspolitics/2007/12/where-does-the-golden-compass.html

 

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