11.16.2007

Twin Day and the Golden Compass


After I got Ella and Rico dressed yesterday, I realized they were looking pretty twin-y, so I wore a blue shirt and khakies (how do you spell that?) too (not pictured.) It was fun times.

I read the book "The Golden Compass" and its sequels (the trilogy is known as "His Dark Materials") pretty much forever ago (propably back in 96-00 when they first came out) and remembered enjoying them, but not much more about it. I know Grant loved them too, he's the one who got me to read them. I was at the movie theater recently (which is a shock, because I never see movies) and saw a preview for "The Golden Compass." Needless to say, I was quite excited, especially when I realized that it came out the day after Grant was getting home from his mission.

Then my mom got an email forwarded to her about how the books were evil and parents should not let their children see the movie, or read the books. The author is this atheist who is trying to kill God and demonize our children. He even uses names and words associated with black magick (I wouldn't know, I'm not familiar with black magick.) "The movie has been sanitized of much of its virulent hatred toward Christians and the church which is VERY clear in the book series. The danger is that parents will see the movie as fairly harmless and will then get the kids the books, which are so spiritually poisonous and God-hating as to make Harry Potter look like a Sunday School series. "

I was shocked, because I don't remember anything of the sort, but then again, I didn't remember much of the plot either, so maybe I was just forgetting. Naturally, I disregarded the advice of the email, and decided to read them again, and here is my take on the atheism (having reread only the first book thus far):

The story is a fantasy set in a universe similar to ours, that is parallel or co-existing with our own. It makes mention of the Church (though it doesn't specify, it seems to be the Catholic Church) and how it is corrupted and does things that would be against right and good, and things like that. I suppose if it had attacked the Mormon church, I might be singing a different tune, but this wasn't even the Catholic Church as we know it, but an imagined entity quite different than the Catholic Church. God himself is barely mentioned, except taking His name in vain a couple of times, and all religion is this abstract discussion about Dust and elementary particles, and parallel universes. Besides, I tend to think that the Catholic Church is corrupted anyway, so we agree on that part.

In short, I did not feel a spirit of evil surrounding the book, my faith was not shaken, and I would even go so far as to say that some scenes from Harry Potter were definitely more evil. :) Because the book is a fantasy (there are talking bears, for crying out loud, and witches, and cities is the sky) I have a hard time taking it seriously enough for it to affect my religious feelings. I would not recommend it to a second grader but I would to a sixth grader, and would probably want to discuss it with my children, but I would want to do that with almost any book they read.

So, from my opinion, go see the movie, read the book, and enjoy. Just don't take if for truth. But that goes for most fiction books.

After writing the above, I checked out Snopes.com to see what they had to say, and while they agree that Philip Pullman is a hardcore atheist, they mention that the first book is also the least offensive, it gets worse as it goes along. I'll post an update after the next two books.