John on November 6, 2007 at 2:09 am
Phillip Pullman is the author of the His Dark Materials trilogy, a children’s fantasy series that has sold more copies in England than Harry Potter. Pullman is also an outspoken atheist who has announced his intention to be a kind of anti-Lewis.
This December, the first of the three books has been made into a big budget spectacle starring some high profile stars (Nicole Kidman for one). And what do you know, on the cusp of the film opening in theaters Pullman isn’t really hocking atheism anymore! It’s almost as if he’s had a conversion experience:
In his appearance on the “Today” show Thursday, Pullman implicitly denied that his work is selling “atheism for kids” when “Today” host Al Roker brought up the accusations made by the Catholic League.
“Well, you know, I always mistrust people who tell us how we should understand something. They know better than we do what the book means or what this means and how we should read it and whether we should read it or not,” said Pullman.
I’m trying to undermine the basis of Christian beliefInstead of guessing what the book is about, how about we just take Pullman’s word for it. As it happens, he was very clear about it in an interview with the Washington Post in 2001. Here’s what he said:
“I’m trying to undermine the basis of Christian belief,” says Pullman. “Mr. Lewis would think I was doing the Devil’s work.”
That should be clear enough but in case it’s not, here’s how the Post article summed up the trilogy:
The epic story, which was inspired by Milton’s “Paradise Lost,” subverts fundamental Western religious principles and is populated by compassionate witches, malevolent theologians and a feeble, disingenuous God.
Still not convinced? Here’s how the late (and missed) Cathy Seipp described the end of the trilogy for NRO:
The big reveal in the Pullman series is a former nun’s loss of faith: A character named Mary Malone tells Lyra and her friend Will that flirting with a man in a cafÃ© reminded her how much she enjoyed kissing a boy when she was 12 (about Lyra and Will’s age, as it happens). This makes Mary understand that the Christian religion is nothing more than “a very powerful and convincing mistake.”
More proof? Andrew Stuttaford, in his review of the trilogy for National Review, notes how the level of Pullman’s hatred for the church often turns his prose preachy:
So, for example, in The Subtle Knife a speech attacking the sinister Church of Lyra’s world becomes an attack on all churches everywhere: “Every church is the same: control, destroy, obliterate every good feeling.” There is plenty more of the same, crude, nagging, and bombastic, its form objectionable, whatever one might think of the content. In writing his tales of Narnia, C. S. Lewis may also have been a man on a mission, but at least he had enough respect for his readers to prefer allegory and parable to assertion and propaganda.
In short, this absolutely is atheism for kids and Pullman absolutely is lying his ever-lovin’ ass off about it. Say what you will about him, Phillip, but Lewis would never have lied about who he was or where he was coming from to flog a movie.Pullman it seems to me is the worst kind of sell-out and coward. Anyone who lies about his life’s work in order to deceive unsuspecting parents into paying for the privilege of having their cherished beliefs ridiculed is simply not an admirable fellow in my book. I have the same distaste for him as I would the junior high counselor who passes condom to 13 year olds and promises not to tell mom and dad. And in fact, that’s very much what Pullman is doing since the trilogy ends with the 13 year old (or thereabout) male and female leads having sex with one another. Has the film been endorsed by Planned Parenthood yet? It should be.
Pullman has also become the go-to guy for CS Lewis bashing in recent years. The media have given him ample opportunity to describe Lewis as a racist and sexist, though obviously Lewis isn’t around to defend himself or his work. Say what you like about him, Phillip, but Lewis would never have lied about who he was or where he was coming from to flog a movie. I guess it’s really true that atheists have a different understanding of truth.
I’m not recommending that anyone protest or send angry letters about the film. A reaction like that only plays into Pullman’s hands. However I would suggest, if you’re a Christian and have kids that are looking to see a movie this Christmas season, skip Phillip Pullman’s Golden Compass and just choose another film. So long as we’re Christians we’ll get this kind of treatment from people like Phillip Pullman. But, so much as possible, let’s not reward them financially for insulting us.
Category: Movies |