The Golden Compass…fear not

Goldencompassposter2Big.Jpg (Jpeg Image, 540X800 Pixels) - Scaled (79%)Jeffrey Overstreet, film critic for Christianity Today, weighs in with some advice in this article about the concern Christians have for the new Philip Pullman movie, The Golden Compass; a film based on Pullman’s Atheist persuasion. Many are concerned for the younger audiences that might un-discerningly take in Pullman’s representation of the “church” without considering his biases or what he is in fact reacting to. The article elaborates on the “version” of Christianity in the following way:

“Pullman has painted a picture of the church—represented by “The Magisterium” in his stories—that basically reflects only those ways in which the church has abused power. And he has used that selective reflection as an excuse to write off Christianity as a whole. That’s sort of like condemning the entire produce section in a grocery store because a few of the apples were bad. (And “Magisterium” is not something Pullman just made up. It’s a very real word referring to the church, particularly the Roman Catholic Church. So he’s not trying to cloak his intentions here.)

“It’s interesting to note that Pullman’s dismissal of Christianity skips over one little detail: Jesus. Pullman’s story never makes any attempt to explore or refute the claims and ministry and person of Christ. He has, in effect, set up a “straw God” rather than a “straw man,” and his fans are congratulating him for knocking down Pullman’s flawed perception of God rather than the God of Christianity. He’s not really undermining Christian belief as he thinks he is; he is undermining the abuse of authority, something altogether contrary to the gospel.”

What is interesting is that this book and story seems like an intriguing read. It is a trilogy and this installment serves to set up the second and third books that are the most controversial, according to Overstreet.

I think it is important for Christians to see a movie like this, even to read the books, and consider the reactions in the story. It is not too difficult to see past some of his presumptions; however, perhaps this movie could serve to help us consider what types of attitudes and abuses we need to avoid as Christians and the Church.

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2 thoughts on “The Golden Compass…fear not”

  1. Hey John,

    I’m being interview on CBC’s radio morning show next week. They want to get a christian perspective on this movie and some of the reactions (boycotts, email campaign…)christians seem to be having towards this series. I’ve read the first book and am halfway through the second. I more or less agree with Christianity Today’s take.

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