PavCo Multimedia Synergistics Weblog

November 16, 2007

Christians vs The Golden Compass

Filed under: Uncategorized — CPav @ 9:35 pm

A friend of mine got an e-mail from a relative this week, concerning the upcoming Nicole Kidman/Daniel Craig/Sam Eliot movie The Golden Compass, based on the Phillip Pullman novel of the same name (also called Northern Lights in some parts of the world). The novel is the first part of a fantasy trilogy, called His Dark Materials. The e-mail was a forward of an e-mail that’s going around in various forms. The forwarded part is as follows:

Hello everyone- I just wanted to share this information with you all because I feel like this is something very important that we need to spread the word about. I don’t usually do this sort of thing but I feel very strongly about this so I am asking that you pass this on to others that you know. This was shared on our spouse’s website and I felt that is was important to pass it on to you all.
There is a children’s movie being released in theaters in December called THE GOLDEN COMPASS starting Nichole Kidman. The movie is based on a series of children’s books with a very strong anti-religion theme. In the final book of the series, the boy and the girl who represent Adam and Eve, overcome and kill God. The movie and the previews are supposed to be “dumbed down” so that people will take their children to see it and then they will enjoy it so much that they will buy the books without knowing what they are really about, thereby supporting the author (who is an atheist) and his beliefs. Please help spread the word about this. I am a true believer in good conquering evil so I hope and pray that buy passing this on, we can begin make others aware of what this is about and stop this man from making money off of these views.
Here is a link to the site with the information about the movie, the plot and the author of the books. Just copy and paste it to see the information.

I hope that none of you take offense to me sending this to you. I just feel that it is important to spread the word so that others can know what they are being presented with. How interesting is it that those surrounding this film and the book are using deception to create interest in the move. Isn’t that one of the key ways that the devil works in our world?

Now, this is one of my huge pet peeves: People condemning a movie that they haven’t seen, based on information from people who also presumably haven’t seen it, or read the books that the movie is based on.

In this case, unlike many similar ones, most of the information is correct. Both my friend and I have read the novels, and while neither of us remember the “killing God” part (I’m not saying it’s not there, I just don’t remember it, or remember it in those terms), I did get the Adam and Even allusion, though he didn’t. But the conclusions the author (of the e-mail, not the novels) reaches are questionable, in my mind. My friend agrees, and had asked for advice on how to respond to his relative. In writing advice in IM, I came to the conclusion that what I said was relatively astute (as opposed to 90% of the drivel that originates herewith), so I decided to post it here. Feel free to copy it if you receive similar e-mails, and are so inclined. Or, preferably, link them back here, so they can experience the wonder that is PavCo Multimedia Synergistics.

1. You give the movie makers far too much sinister credit. They’ve removed a lot of the anti-religious content to make the movie acceptable to a larger audience, not to sneak the message in through the books. If your immediate response to this point is “But that’s what they want you to think,” you can stop reading now, because you’ve already made up your mind, and nothing I say will change it.

2. You give your children too little credit. They know the difference between a book and reality. Harry Potter didn’t turn them into witches and wizards. These books won’t turn them into atheists. And if they really are good Christians, it’s not because of Narnia. It’s because of their upbringing. Pat yourself on the back.

3. Conversely, if your childrens’ hold on Christianity is so tentative that these books will turn them in to atheists, then it’s not the books’ fault, it’s the fact that their faith isn’t well-rooted in the first place. Perhaps this link might help.

4. How have the people making the movie used deception? They’ve promoted what’s in the movie. The purpose of a movie is to make money. No one makes a multi-million dollar movie in order to sell more copies of 10-year old books. To think that they would shows a lack of knowledge about book publishing, movie making, and basic economics. According to the Numbers website, the budget for the movie was $180 million. Even assuming that every dollar made from the sale of a book went into the pockets of the people making the movie (and they’re entirely different entities in reality), that means that they’re banking (pun intended) on selling 90 million books (give or take), just to break even. To date, all three titles in the trilogy have sold approximately 15 million copies, total.

5. Not all Christians agree with the sentiment in this e-mail. Take a look at The Christian Post, which quotes both sides, and gives a fairly balanced accounting of the debate.

6. Don’t be afraid of ideas. If the movie causes your children to read the book, well, then, pick it up yourself. Discuss it with them. Talk about the author’s beliefs, and how they express themselves through the work. Talk about how his ideas differ from yours. Use them to look deeper into what you believe, and why. If you’re interested in checking out the source material, check out Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials on

(Note: Both of the book links above will pay a minuscule referral fee into the PavCo Multimedia coffers. As will anything purchased using the Amazon link on the blogroll/sidebar. So keep us in mind when you do your online book shopping.)



  1. hi my name is John Banta and i am a young worship leader who has recently been faced with the debate discussed in this blog. I agree with everything you say in the blog 100 percent and i wanted to say thank you for posting what you did. I think it is a very well structured argument and i will be refering people to this website when they bring up the topic in the future. thank you.

    Comment by John Banta — November 26, 2007 @ 9:32 pm | Reply

  2. Thanks, John. Good luck with your discussions.

    Comment by CPav — November 27, 2007 @ 11:46 am | Reply

  3. CPav – you were more delicate than I would have been. What does one do when faced with this? Is it insecurity or aggressiveness? As an agnostic, I quite like your #6 response. Yet, I fear, those that feel the need to spread this type of email around will rarely be able to “Talk about how his ideas differ from yours.” The mere fact that it bemoans an athiest gaining money from his work is another whole analysis that doesn’t speak well of the openmindedness of the author. What of Hindus, Buddists, etc?

    When faced with this type of mentality (such a tenous hold on personal beliefs that anything that is different must be attacked), I often think of an old college friend of mine. Even in college, he was a devout Christian. He prayed, he went to church (and played keyboards for the choir) and was one of the nicest guys I knew back then. He tried his best to follow the best teachings of his religion. He was kind, generous, devout and although incredibly geeky, pretty cool for his crowd. But he never judged or criticised others. He loved having a religious discussion but wasn’t trying to recruit or defend, just explain.

    There’s wisdom to be found in so many places, yes, even Christianity. 😉 Why not try to find the wisdom within something different and make it for your own rather than to attack it and condemn it.

    And as I step down from my well worn soapbox, let me just say – it’s a kids fantasy movie. A 5 year old won’t get the overtones and a 10 year old is smart enough to figure out it’s make believe. You want to get scared about kids and movies? Go see JesusCamp. Now that’s what I find scary because it’s not fantasy.

    Comment by Old Roomie — January 1, 2008 @ 11:43 pm | Reply

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