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Vol.  10  No. 1 January 2008  Page 17
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The Golden Compass...Wolf in Sheep's Clothing

Robert Johnson

By Robert Johnson

    Many of you may be aware of the movie released Friday, December 7, 2007, “The Golden Compass.” It’s based on the first book of a trilogy of children’s books written by Philip Pullman, titled His Dark Materials. Books from this trilogy have sold over 15 million copies worldwide. While scenes from the movies in television commercials have shown what looks to be a visually stunning sci-fi adventure, the basis of the books is more sinister. This first movie has been toned down to make it more palatable to the audience, and even Pullman himself, recently on a “Today” show interview, remained vague about the movie and books, claiming he hates that certain people have tried to imply bias in the literature, and that he prefers to view it as being open to a variety of interpretations.

    Actually, we don’t have to wonder what the books are about at all. Pullman himself has been quite open as to his agenda in writing about them in past interviews. It’s only with the advent of the movies, and the desire to make money from them, that the producers have tried to get Pullman, the actors, and everyone else involved in it to hide what its theme is about. Pullman himself stated in a 2001 interview that he was “trying to undermine the basis of Christian belief.” In 2003, he noted, “My books are about killing God.” The last book of the trilogy, The Amber Spyglass, concludes with the two child heroes participating in the dissolution of the “Authority,” a senile, pretender God who has passed himself off as the Creator of the universe.

    Pullman professes to be both an agnostic and an atheist, and has stated, “I don’t profess any religion; I don’t think it’s possible that there is a God. I have the greatest difficulty in understanding what is meant by the words ‘spiritual’ or ‘spirituality.’” These books seem to be aimed at countering the strong Christian theme of the children’s books written by C.S. Lewis, The Chronicles of Narnia. Pullman has stated he believes these books to be one of the ugliest and most poisonous things he’s ever read, due to its strong Christian influence. He has stated he hates the Narnia books with a deep and bitter passion, and “I wanted to reach everyone and the best way I could do that was to write for children.” He truly deserves the title conservative British columnist Peter Hitchens coined of him, “the most dangerous author in Britain.”

    While this first movie may not reveal the anti-religious theme that is in the books, the movie’s producer has said it would be impossible to divorce them from the sequels, as it would “destroy the spirit of these books.” Viewing this movie will no doubt create an interest in the books, where Pullman’s atheistic philosophy would be presented to unsuspecting young people. Parents should be aware of the greater dangers that lurk behind this movie.

    This issue simply reminds us how powerful an adversary Satan is, and how he takes advantage of every opportunity to destroy us. He truly is a roaring lion, seeking to devour us (1 Peter 5:8). We must beware of what we allow in our thoughts, because of how those thoughts become part of our conscience and lifestyle. As Paul said, we must be engaged in “destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5). Taking thoughts captive to the obedience of Christ means we must choose not to allow our minds to be sabotaged by those with sinful agendas, eroding our faith and destroying our souls. Fill your minds and hearts with that which is true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, of good repute, being that which is excellent and worthy of praise (Philippians 4:8). Scripture must be the controlling directive for our lives, and everything else judged by its perfect and noble standard (Hebrews 4:12-13). There is no greater theme than the love of God for us in Jesus Christ, the salvation He offers through the cross and the hope it provides of eternal life. These are real, while the angst of the likes of Philip Pullman will come and go. As Scripture exhorts, “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked” (Galatians 6:7). “Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory” (Colossians 3:2-4).

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