Category Archives: religion

Golden Compass series

Ok, so first of all, I feel the need to put a warning that this will contain spoilers for the whole series of books. Also, it has the great potential to degenerate into a rant.
So there’s a controversy about the Golden Compass book and movie. The story is written by an atheist and does not paint Christianity and the Church (particularly the Catholic Church) in a favorable light. And the email that’s going around talks about how two characters kill God and how that is a horrible thing. Well, if the character called God in the book was actually like the God described in the Bible, I could understand being upset. But as it stands, they aren’t at all the same thing. The God character in the series sounds more like satan than anything else. And the God in the book is very sad, and the moment of his death (which was not at all malicious or intentional on the part of the kids in the book) is actually a relief. And the presentation of the Church in the books resembles that of the Catholic Church around the time of the Reformation (which is generally agreed to be a dark time in the history of the Church), with its Inquisition style committees and preoccupation with sin and works and labeling most any new scientific advance heresy, and really should not be allowed to continue.
What I find most striking is that the critics focus on the words as they stand and not what they mean in the context of the story. I think if they looked beyond the words on the page, those critics would find that Pullman’s story really does represent what the story of Christ and Christianity is truly about – the need for us to love and live the life we have in love for others. I think this really is what God wants from us – for us to love and live our lives as if that love actually mattered to ourselves and those around us. This is what Lyra and Will discover in the end, and while it’s painful for both of them, they know it’s the best way to live. There are many times that Christians and the Church lose sight of that, or stumble in the implementation, but, much like the angel who comes through in the end, we cannot give up trying, no matter the ways in which we fail. Stopping without even trying is the ultimate failure, and I think that’s an important point that Pullman makes in his books. He also emphasizes the importance of love and actually living, and I don’t know how we can honestly argue against that.
Sure, if a person doesn’t want their child being exposed to that when they are young, keep that from them. But I can’t stand it when I am then judged because I don’t abide by the rules that someone else has laid out. The gospels have Jesus saying “If you love me you’ll keep my commandments.” The commandments that are recorded in those same gospels are loving God with all that I am, loving my neighbors as myself, and, as I am going, to preach the good news that God really does love humanity. There are other social rules that he doesn’t nullify, but the actual commandments from Jesus are few in number. They cover a lot, but they focus more on the attitude of people than they do on the actions of people. That to me seems like the best course to take. And I think I have a broader perspective on what it means to love and live after reading the His Dark Materials series.