I thought the movie was great, even better the second time. I was so impressed, I decided to read the book. I ended up buying all three books, The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife, and The Amber Spyglass, which are part of the His Dark Materials trilogy. The checkout mistress of Barnes and Noble looked at me a little warily.
"Did you see the movie?" she asked.
"Yes, I did. I am going to see it again today."
"You haven't read the books yet?" she asked, punching in my B&N discount.
"The movie is a diluted version of the book. I wouldn't recommend the books," she said as she rang up my purchase.
I thought it was an odd conversation to have with a bookseller. Sometimes I have had little chitchats with the cashiers regarding my purchases, but I have never had a cashier suggest I not buy a book. But we are in the Bible Belt and even Barnes and Noble employees know what books are good for you and which are not.
After my purchase, I saw the movie with the youth group. They thought it was pretty cool as far as I can tell. I have heard the books are more explicit about the evils of the church.
I hope so. Maybe it is time to kill that grumpy old man in the sky and let his henchmen rot.
Speaking of grumpy old men, here is a review of the Golden Compass from the pope of the Southern Baptist Convention, Albert Mohler. Mohler writes:
Philip Pullman has an agenda, but so do we. Our agenda is the Gospel of Christ -- a message infinitely more powerful than that of The Golden Compass. Pullman's worldview of unrestricted human autonomy would be nightmarish if ever achieved. His story promises liberation but would enslave human beings to themselves and destroy all transcendent value.
The biblical story of the Fall is true, after all, and our only rescue is through the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The curse of sin was not reversed by adolescents playing at sex in a garden, but by the Son of God shedding His blood on a cross.
Ed McNulty of Presbyterians Today offered this review. Here is a portion:
Given the controversy over whether Philip Pullman’s novels — and this film — promote atheism, how should Christian viewers approach The Golden Compass? First, read the original novels, especially if you enjoy fantasy literature. You will discover that Pullman opposes what any thoughtful Christians would also oppose: abuse of power by the church, and a view of God as a tyrannical ruler.
Is Pullman taking down a tyrannical god that no thoughtful Christian would believe in anyway, or is he criticizing original sin, which is for some Christians a central doctrine of Christianity?
I hope that he is attacking the barbaric notion of original sin, substitutionary atonement, church authority, special revelation, and all the rest of those outdated fundamentals. It is about time to revisit those things and if it takes children's fantasy books to do it, then all the better.
Hat tip to Viola.