The Moral of “The Golden Compass” by Michael D.| December 4, 20075:45 pm| 86 CommentsThis post is in: Religion, General StupidityFacebookTweetEmail“Children should be atheists and religion is evil.” What’s the problem again?
Sounds about right.
I assumed it was “Go West Young Man”
You forgot the ‘armored talking polar bears kick butt’ part. Which is, of course, true.
I think that’s one of the exhibits at the creation museum. Right next to the man playing checkers with a T. Rex.
Whee. I predict more noise and hoopla from the Moral Majority who will screech and howl like any Comstock. When pressed, they will have to admit they have neither read the books nor watched the movie, but their ministers told them that “it was Evil!”
In other words, Last Temptation of Christ redux…..(damn fine book, by the way–I love Katzanzakis.)
Bill Donohue. Just cannot stop demogoguing to stay out of the limelight. I imagine his “warnings” about the movie are being mailed out, attached to fund-raising asks.
Heh, if donahue is agin’ it then I am fer it. Of course I also believe children should learn for themselves and make their own choices rather than be pushed in one direction or the other. Who knows maybe many of them wouldn’t grow up to be completely fucked up or ‘tarded because of bullshit dogma forced down their throats. This is, of course, why I love the movie Dogma.
I disagree. Children should be faithful automotons, loving God and all authority, and the republican party.
That way it will make for a nice clean break when they turn 16 or 17, smoke a joint*, realize everything they’ve been told is complete crap, and completely abandon the dark side.
*Note that some will do this while reading Atlas Shrugged. They’ll be nutjob libertarians for a few years, but eventually they’ll figure out that Ayn Rand was just full of crap as the rest of them. Their conversion will take longer, but it will happen eventually. The rest will be regular posters at Hit & Run.
why oh why does the MSM present Donohue as just some other Catholic lobby group?
he’s a nut. It’s like giving a public soapbox to that raving lunatic on the street corner who belongs in the asylum.
well, the downside of this movie coming out now is that we’ll have to listen to even more whining from certain people about the War on Christmas.
Thank you. The Authority was a shriveled old man who had been imprisoned by the Magisterium and forced to harden people’s souls (literally) once they reached adulthood. And so the kids shivved him. Wasn’t much of a god at all.
Just another of the goals in the communist plan to destroy America. It’s frightening how many of them have been achieved already.
Hey, not better time to attack Christmas than right now. Target rich environment and all that.
Yup. I’m just getting warmed up.
A literal reading? From literalist Christians? Inconthievable!
I sometimes wonder how these guys ever accelerate from a stop sign.
It was all over once they let them put fluoride in the drinking water. Now our precious bodily fluids have been sapped. We’re DOOOOOOOOMED!
Not to go O/T but this is just too damn much. Of course on the upside the entire wingosphere would be rounded up for it in a day.
You too? Hell I have given serious consideration to putting up an S&M christmas tree complete with chain garlands and blacklights.
First, a disclaimer. I am not against this series. I am all for artistic freedom. I have read the series and it wasn’t for me, but far from me to call for boycotts or any such stuff.
With that said, I was always bemused that Harry Potter was being denounced by evangelicals, while this series was winning children’s literature awards left and right. This series’ hatred of religion is about as unsubtle as it gets. In interviews, Pullman talks about his problems with the heavy handedness of Narnia. Having read them both, I would say that Pullman is much more heavy handed than Lewis.
The books do not simply claim religion is evil. As written in this series, God exists but is evil and manipulative. It is one thing to claim that religion is an invention of man and used to subjugate poor, less educated people. That theme has appeared in literature for years. But in this series, a supernatural entity that everyone calls God does exist, it is just that he is not benevolent, and religion is a tool that he uses to maintain dominance over the universe. Pullman definitely has balls for writing this idea in a children’s story, that is for sure.
That’s nothing compared to how effective you faux-christians have been at destroying christianity. If Jesus came back today, I doubt he would recognize the ministries of 99% of the churches claiming to worship in ‘his’ name.
Again with the laughing and not stopping.
Pullman’s book is explicitly anti-Christian. Meh. So what? The Church has endured far greater threats in the past, and will, I hope, continue to do so in the future. The real war on Christmas isn’t being fought by some guy who genuinely cares about right and wrong and good and evil — whatever name he gives their instantiations in his books — but by nihilists who teach that truth itself doesn’t matter, because there is no truth that matters.
Dennis - SGMM
The Republicans are doing a great job of destroying America without any help at all from the Commies. As for “It’s frightening…” you guys are congenitally frightened.
Can I swing by your house for Christmas? You bring the eggnog, and I’ll bring the rum. Then we can throw bottles of eggnog at people after we’ve had too much rum.
what are you talking about? Read your Bible, heathen. Jesus was all about hating on teh ghey, tax cuts, the right to keep and bear arms, endless war, and spending the faithful’s tithes on swanky homes and cars.
Sure and there’ll be extra ho-ho-ho’ing around when the ladies show up.
c. s. lewis’s books didn’t turn me and every other kid i knew into christians, did they? who fucking cares if a popular children’s series doesn’t toe the christian line?
Oh and anecdotally, about egg-nog, I saw this concoction for sale in the store that was egg-nog with brandy, rum and whiskey in it. The bottles weren’t even chilled, guess it was loaded with so much alcohol they didn’t worry about the 1 part eggnog going bad.
The funny thing about this one is that, like, 20 years after the fact, those wingnutty Christians (Catholics in particular) ended up sheepishly saying, “Yeah, uh…now that we’ve actually seen this movie, we realize that it’s a pretty pro-Christ film. So…um…sorry about all that whining we did. Or, and for those theaters getting firebombed in Paris.”
With this Golden Compass business, yeah, I fail to see any problem here. Though if the wingnuts are going to make a big stink about it, I may as well buy a bunch of tickets.
So is the god of the Old Testament. Yahweh created Satan to do evil on Earth. That’s evil.
Man, I’ll say. Killing the firstborn of Egypt because you’re mad at Pharoah, forcing a man to kill his own son (but stopping him at the last minute), levelling whole cities because they displeased you, then saying “F**k it” and wiping out the whole world except for a boat of refugees. . . sounds like the fantasies of a sociopath to me.
Bill Donohue = Roman Catholic Al Sharpton ( albeit without the bad perm ).
Here’s a link to a video Bill did about the movie.
OOoohhhh! Selling atheism to kids! NNoooo! Unlike proper god fearing folks who would never try to sell kids a bill of goods. That just couldn’t be.
yep, that’s gnosticism for you.
The problem was mainly that it had less subtlety than a Roadrunner cartoon, and came off like a whining teenager in the “If there’s a God how come it hurts when I ski face-first into a tree” vein.
There’s also the whole “cold dark matter in our universe is actually angels, and they talk to physicists” thing, but that doesn’t show up until the second book.
If the films even remotely resemble the books, I’ll see the first and skip the last two. If, on the other hand, they butcher and gut the last two, I might watch those too.
yes, the idea of punishing the child for the father’s crimes is especially goofy since it was pharoah’s daughter who saved baby moses in the first place.
T. Scheisskopf said: Bill Donohue. Just cannot stop demogoguing to stay out of the limelight. I imagine his “warnings” about the movie are being mailed out, attached to fund-raising asks.
Actually I went to his website to find his detailed critique of the movie. For only $5 you can buy a 25 page booklet that goes into details.
If he was more concerned about the movie than raising funds his critique would be online.
The moral is: You can’t buy the type of buzz that comes from annoying the Talevan.
I may be repeating someone’s comment but it appears there be spoilers in this thread, so I skipped down.
So, this War on Christmas I keep hearing about…
Where does one enlist?
well you have to do something to prove you can be in the war. Like do a nativity scene painting mary for what she was, an unwed welfare queen just makin babies and squating in a shed.
It’s really incredible how crazy you moonbats really are.
Why oh why does the MSM present Donohue as just some other Catholic lobby group?
Because he’ll show up for any media spot on 15 minutes’ notice, and he can be counted on to spout “colorful” quotes calling down fire & brimstone upon his many enemies without getting incoherent. He fills the MSM’s on-the-one-hand, on-the-other-hand bullsht ratio and he doesn’t come off as threatening to the anchorpods. Basically, Donohue realized many years ago that the Vatican was not going to let any individual Catholic develop a Falwell / Robertson / Schuller / Deepak Chopra franchise, but as long as he was content to work as a one-man operation he could make an excellent living (I’ve heard $300,000 a year plus expenses) and get all the media attention a fairly dedicated camera hog could want.
Some of us need to know that god still loves us. The movie looks really good…
With those words this movie just made it to the top of my ‘must see’ list.
Sounds about right for what the Wingnuts worship.
Bravo to the author, going to get a copy now.
Wow–sums up my friend’s childhood in a nutshell!
I just finished reading the series. It’s really good. It is openly anti-Christian, at least as an organized religion, but I think that’s great. Teenagers (I don’t think it’s age-appropriate for kids under 12 or so) can read it, grapple with the issues, and come to their own conclusions. If the Christians have a good argument, then it can withstand the test. As someone upthread pointed out, reading the Chronicles of Narnia doesn’t make kids Christian–I read the series many times and remained a firm atheist–so Pullman’s books shouldn’t make kids anti-Christian unless his argument makes sense to them. Christians just have to come up with a better case for their belief in the marketplace of ideas. I know, it sucks not to have the Inquisition to fall back on…
now you understand why Bush is such a religious man.
people with too much time on their hands.
This has been another edition of SATSQ.
I really like the books; I think they’re some of the best children’s literature I’ve read. One of the subversive themes is the idea of a Republic of Heaven (i.e., not a Kingdom), which might make readers think about how historical views of governance could have influenced our thinking about human relationships with God.
Seriously, it’s easier for some of us here to talk of how dreadfully unsubtle that Pullman is. Why he’s just diluting Milton!
Get over yourselves, it’s a children’s book. You want to argue literature, then tell us about Pynchon or James @#$!! Joyce.
Some of like a little Steampunk in our stories, thank you. Also god-killing, especially Bill Donahue’s God.
Oh Noes, Wingnuts, will he strike us down for saying that?
He’s as subtle as JK Rowling.
This being Hollywood, chances are they’ll butcher and gut all three.
I enjoyed the series, but I agree the 2nd and 3rd books became increasingly tedious – just like the Narnia series, in fact.
Not saying here that the movie is evil or should be banned but why do they have to release an atheist movie at Christmas? It seems like an unnecessary slap in the face, IMHO.
Pullman’s a much better writer than Rowling, whose writing is a bit clumsy at times. One thing that makes his work appealing to adults, I think, is that the vocabulary he uses is pretty much that of an adult.
I had a bit of an epiphany tonight (though it’s pretty obvious), watching Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer: If there’s a war on Christmas, it’s being fought by fifth columnists who are indoctrinating kids into thinking it’s all about Santa Claus and presents. Of course, it’s hard to imagine any mainstream rightwingers coming out against Santa and Rudolf. Think of the children.
here we go again with the ‘Christians own December’ meme.
You know, there are some of us out here who really don’t feel like hiding in the closet the last month of the year.
Scarshapedstar’s quote is most relevant — the “God” killed in Pullman’s books bears no relevance to the more profound and convincing versions of Christianity.
The trouble is that Pullman himself thinks that it IS the only form of Christianity possible, rather than being a morally distorted and depraved version of that religion which is admittedly hideously common. Thus Pullman’s not just wrong, but downright ridiculous misinterpretations of Lewis’ Narnia books in his writings on that subject — and thus his unawareness that Lewis devastatingly skewers exactly the same distorted version of Christianity that Pullman attacks (under the name “Puritania”) in the first chapter of his first book after his conversion to Christianity (“The Pilgrim’s Regress”, 1929).
Lewis was wholly consistent on this point throughout his life, which is one reason I’ve always found him so morally persuasive. See, for instance, Screwtape the demon’s gleeful comments on coldly intolerant “Christian” religious bigots at the end of “Screwtape Proposes A Toast” (1960): “All things considered, it will be a sad day for us if what most human beings mean by ‘religion’ vanishes from the earth. It can send us the most delicious vices. The fine flower of unholiness grows most luxuriantly in the proximity of the holy. Nowhere do we tempt with such success as on the ver steps of the altar.” Or the scene at the end of the last Narnia book in which Aslan informs a Calormene (one of the Narnians’ traditional enemies) that ANYONE who behaves kindly and unselfishly, even in the name of Satan, is really worshipping God, and anyone who acts cruelly in the name of God is really worshipping Satan. You can’t get more ecumenical than that.
Had Lewis lived long enough to read Pullman’s books, his own reaction would have been simply to ask: “How was the Dust created, and where did it acquire its own moral tendencies, and what are the detailed characteristics of those tendencies, and why should we follow them even when we don’t feel like doing so at the moment?”
Well said, Pete.
You blame him for thinking hideous Christianty is the only kind of Christianity, but then you admit that this kind of Christianity is hideously common.
Silly rabbit, Christmas is a pagan holiday.
why do they have to release an atheist movie at Christmas? It seems like an unnecessary slap in the face, IMHO.
“Sweeney Todd, the Demon Barber of Fleet Street” is being released on Christmas Day. Those seeking a brief respite from their Nukalur Famblies will no doubt find it the feel-good picture of the holiday season!
John S., if Jesus came back today and spoke of what he said in the bible, the right wing moonies would burn him at the stake as a phony. No joke, I really think they would do it in a heartbeat.
If I was Jesus, and god said ‘Ok kid, time to go collect the 144,000 male virgins for heaven and destroy everyone else.’, I would tell god that I am not going down there because the religious fuckers would kill me first.
The Romans and Jews in the bible are lovey dovey compared to the moonie wingnuts of the right today. These assholes want everyone who disagrees with them either dead or evicted from OUR country.
Some of you need to go look up atheist in the dictionary, because the word doesn’t mean what you think it does.
Is His Dark Materials an anti-established religion story? Absolutely. But its beyond me how you can say it is atheistic when:
1) God (refered to as the Creator) is definitely stated to exist, although he’s not been heard from directly for eons.
2) Angels, souls and an afterlife are also all definitely stated to exist.
Bob In Pacifica
Just in time for the war on Christmas. I’m pinned down here with a squad of atheists being bombarded by a battalion of carolers. I never signed up for this brutal trench warfare.
I still like pie!
Bruce Moomaw — yes. What you said. Thanks.
The Atlantic had a long article about how all of the overt and explicit anti-Christian material from the book has been removed from the movie.
I’ve been teaching my children that long before Philip Pullman came along.
Why do they have to release it so close to Easter? St Swithins Day? All Saints Day? Could it be because it’s a kid’s movie, and kids are on vacation at that time of the year? Woe, the War on Christmas is being lost!
Good point. A lot of people still don’t get the distinctions, and think that anybody who isn’t religious is an atheist.
Atheists believe that there is no God. So obviously, this is not a movie with an atheist philosophy. Dystheist or misotheist, possibly. Antireligion, definitely. But it is most certainly not an atheist movie.
Grumpy Code Monkey
Bless my eyes, fresh supplies!
Johnny’s not a baritone, but dammit, I don’t care; I will be seeing this movie.
Grand Moff Texan
What’s the problem again?
That not enough people have read “Paradise Lost,” so they’re getting confooosed.
Yes, whoever thought that the liberals would time a movie release date to correspond with a major holiday? I smell a conspiracy.
I know I was personally offended that they released Passion of the Christ in February. Totally got in the way of my chocolate, cards and roses holiday.
Though I did sing Eye of The Tiger very loudly during the scourging scene. That helped.
Trust me, Peter. Anything that isn’t a ringing endorsement of Dominionism is a slap in the face to you lot. You’ll be fine.
I prefer to think of it as a kick in the junk.
Actually it is a fairly straightforward Gnostic movie. Gnosticism is an ancient religion though not much practiced today where it is more regarded as a philosophy.
The only difference with Gnosticism is Gnostics aim to transcend their imperfect creation by the Demiurge (corrupt God) as he decays into irrelevance, not actually try to catch him and put him out of his misery.
The slap in the face was when christians co-opted OUR pagan holiday as well as the symbols of it and claimed that their “savior” was born the same day.
I totally agree.
For a shocking dose of premonition, check out Dostoyevsky’s The Grand Inquisitor.
And for years after that, rather than crosses, people would be wearing burnt matches on their lapels.
Point of order, and spoilery type stuff…..
the ‘god’ killed, the authority, is Metatron (the voice of god), who basically realized that god wasn’t talking, and decided that usurping his authority was the only way to keep things going.
THe idea being that in the world of the golden compass Lucifer did not rebel, god just wandered off (prolly to our world), instead the angles just decided that they knew what was best…
now. all i know is that it’s got the grittiest man on earth and his talking polar bear freind, hot flying witches of *doom*, and Nicole Kidman in Slinky dresses and an evil monkey.
seriously, if that isn’t a cauldron full of awesum bubbling over a fire of Win I Don’t Know What IS.
It was the last book that soured me on the series. All this run-up to war across universes and it ends like a watered down version of Romeo And Juliet.
Still say the best use of Metatron was in Good Omens.
My feelings exactly. Pullman is great at creating characters, atmosphere and mystery, but when it comes to themes? He pretty much wields his instrument like a sledgehammer. I really enjoyed the first His Dark Materials book, but thought the last two were fairly blah. His Sally Lockhart Trilogy suffers from similar problems. I really enjoyed the first book, and then halfway through the second was like, “Hey, what was that horrible snapping sound? Oh, yeah. That was what was left of my suspension of disbelief finally giving way.”
On a purely technical level I think he’s certainly a better writer than Rowling, but she’s a much better storyteller. The further I got into His Dark Materials, the more I felt that Pullman had become too focused on Making a Statement, at the expense of telling a compelling story.
It has polar bears in it, just like the seasonal Coca-cola ads. Ergo, it’s a Christmas movie.
sheesh, the things you have to explain to some people!
I agree; Rowling hits a sweet spot.
When else would you release a movie about an adventure to the Arctic Circle?
I can’t chose between that and Metatron in Dogma.
Actually it is a fairly straightforward Gnostic movie. Gnosticism is an ancient religion though not much practiced today where it is more regarded as a philosophy.
The only difference with Gnosticism is Gnostics aim to transcend their imperfect creation by the Demiurge (corrupt God) as he decays into irrelevance, not actually try to catch him and put him out of his misery
O/T: Has anyone read a novel called “Flicker” Not to show too many plot points, but it’s basically about how a secret Gnostic cult has controlled the film industry, integrating secret images to make us all disgusted with the natural world, so said world can be brought down and the true “God” empowered. Interesting novel.
I haven’t read what he wrote about C.S. Lewis so I’m kind of talking out my ass here, but even if this is correct, I don’t think it matters all that much. Pullman’s version of God has little in common with the more “logical” versions of the Christian god, but you say right there that it’s admittedly hideously common. If Pullman was personally unaware of that other God, then that was dumb of him, but addressing the popular and common versions of Christianity is at least as important as the more philosophical version that’s harmless and almost no one actually believes.