I recently received a forwarded E-mail about the upcoming movie “The Golden Compass” Here is the first part of the E-mail:
PARENTS AND GRANDPARENTS PLEASE BE WARNED!
Subject: A movie NOT for Kids/teens or Family
I just got an e-mail warning about an upcoming movie for children in December. It is called The "Golden Compass" and it stars Nicole Kidman. I don't know if you have heard anything about it or not, but they are going to advertise it as a normal children's movie but in the end it is trying to teach children that there is no God. It is based off of a trilogy of children's books and the author is an atheist ( Phillip Pullman )
They evidently do some strange things in the movie and at the very end a girl and boy are supposed to be depicting Adam and Eve and then they kill God. They are trying to be very mild about it through the movie until the end so a lot of parents won't even know that it is coming so I wanted to pass the information on to you before you decide to take your children to see this movie. Also, it will be promoting his books so you may want to become familiar with the authors name and the books that he writes! If you want to read more info about it the website is: http://www.snopes.com/politics/religion/compass.asp
Since I recently listened to the audio book versions of the trilogy (because I listen to lots of books at work) I found the current excitement over the movie interesting. It is set in an alternative world one of the billions of possible worlds that quantum theory proposes (Mulltiverse). Writers should rejoice that science produced the idea of parallel universes because it has been used in so many books and is a great technique to create a fictional world. In the Golden Compass the world is an alternative to our world in that Calvin became the pope and science is known as experimental theology.
9. How does the Catholic Church figure into the story?
The Church in Lyra’s world exerts a major influence on the lives of all the characters. It has a college of cardinals, a college of bishops, priests, nuns, and a magisterium. It even boasts converts from Protestantism. In Lyra’s world, Protestant reformers remained within the Church, elected John Calvin as Pope, moved the Church’s headquarters to
, and then did away with the papacy altogether. Geneva
We are uncertain of the time period as it is a different universe and a different
One of the things I thought Christians would be most upset by was that the people all had their own Daemon's which are a part of the person yet take the form of an animal which can talk to the person and be seen by everyone.
Every character in Lyra’s parallel world possesses something called a daemon (pronounced “demon”). The name daemon is borrowed from the ancient Greeks. The philosopher Socrates described his daemon as a quiet voice inside his head that helped him discern right from wrong. Socrates, therefore, equated his daemon with his conscience.
For young children the daemon can change animal or bird forms and at some point in adolescence the daemon takes on a permanent form. It is a great concept, sort of like talking to yourself only with the comfort of a cuddly animal. The daemon can also go a little distance from the person which makes it good for spying on things but they cannot go very far or there is terrible mental anguish involved in separation. Except the witches up north their daemon's can travel long distances separated.
In this world there is a mystery involved with dust from space and it's contact with consciousness. There are two forces the Magisterium which seems reminiscent of the power of the Roman Catholic church in the Middle Ages yet clearly is not the Catholic church yet has control over the science (experimental theology) and Lyra's Guardian who turns out to be her father (it turns out Lyra's mother is the beautiful agent of the Magisterium). We really don't know if he is the hero or the villain. In the later books he brings together forces from angels and witches to armored bears into a universal war between other angels and other witches etc. Heaven it seems has been taken over by Megatron a powerful angel who has captured the ancient of days and it has become The Authority. I thought Adventists if they could get to this point as I know many are afraid of reading fiction would see a reflection of the Great Controversy idea and Biblical references aside from the common good versus evil concept which predominates in most literature. It is the human agents of Megatron who have established the authoritarian Church in Lyra's world. Sort of similar to the idea of 2 Thessalonians
(2 Th 2:4 NIV) He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God's temple, proclaiming himself to be God.
(Rev 13:4 NIV) Men worshiped the dragon because he had given authority to the beast, and they also worshiped the beast and asked, "Who is like the beast? Who can make war against him?"
In other words we see a religious institution which does not care about truth but seeks to control. I read, or listened to if you want to be technical, the books before I heard that
These witches and shamans are important supporting characters. Without their assistance, Lyra and her father, Lord Asriel, would not be able to organize the war against the Authority.
Most people have learned that they don't really get a philosophy or a religion from a fantasy book. I think Scientology will be the last religion created by a fantasy author. The rest of us look for meaning where we can find it whether in fiction, fantasy or nonfiction. A good story is entertainment for the mind, it may explore new ideas or ways of looking at things but it certainly does not mean that one discards their religion over a story that is obviously a fantasy adventure. We do of course look for commonality between the story elements and what we see around us. That is the beauty of literature and its importance. But how we use that information is the critical part of the process.
You may have noticed in the E-mail letter this section which are used to trigger a contempt response by Christians to the book:
They evidently do some strange things in the movie and at the very end a girl and boy are supposed to be depicting Adam and Eve and then they kill God
It is very doubtful that this is part of the movie. It is also not part of the book trilogy.
From the Guardian http://observer.guardian.co.uk/uk_news/story/0,,2190765,00.html
Northern Lights, the book which first introduced readers to Pullman’s 12-year-old heroine, Lyra, is as dear to its many fans as JRR Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings and JK Rowling’s Harry Potter saga, so tampering with the philosophical content is not likely to be welcomed when the film is released before Christmas.
‘It was clear right from the start that the makers of this film intended to take out the anti-religious elements of
Kidman has said the critical stance of the film ‘has been watered down a little ... I was raised Catholic, the Catholic Church is part of my essence,’ she told film journalists in
At a preview of footage staged at the Cannes Film Festival in the spring, director Chris Weitz, best known for directing About A Boy, said the film would be a fair retelling of Pullman’s tale.
‘In the books the Magisterium is a version of the Catholic church gone wildly astray from its roots. If that’s what you want in the film, you’ll be disappointed,’ he admitted, but added: ‘We have expanded the range of meanings of what the Magisterium represents. Philip Pullman is against any kind of organised dogma whether it is church hierarchy or, say, a Soviet hierarchy.’