All of you have probably received the e-mail by now. A lot of Christians have, including many of us here at BreakPoint. One of my colleagues received it from five different people no less!
I am referring to the e-mail that is circulating about the upcoming fantasy film The Golden Compass, based on the book by Philip Pullman. It says that Pullman's fantasy trilogy is openly anti-Christian.
Unlike many other e-mails that get circulated, The Golden Compass e-mail is not a hoax, though, in fairness, there are some incorrect details. (For example, contrary to what the e-mail cites, Jesus is mentioned in the books, and the girl and the boy at the center of the story do not kill God, though they are present when a being calling himself God is killed. God is actually presented as completely unreal in The Golden Compass; there are only angelic beings who try to set themselves up as God and are defeated.)
But the part about Pullman hating the idea of God is completely accurate. He uses his stories to twist and distort familiar biblical accounts of creation, fall, and redemption, making heroes of those who rebel against religion, and having one of his "good" characters even say, "The Christian religion is a very powerful and convincing mistake." It's sort of a Da Vinci Code theme for kids.
But I suggest that we should do more than just read the e-mail and press "Forward." If we really want to be able to speak out against Pullman's ideas, we must know what we are talking about. That's why I mentioned the story details that might seem a bit trifling. Because when Christians start warning the culture about something dangerous, we often get a backlash. And it is worse if we are not prepared. If we just go out there and tell people, "This movie is about kids who kill God!" we just get a reputation as ill-informed scolds. Already that is starting to happen.
There are several ways you can prepare yourself to talk about Pullman's books and upcoming movies. You can pick the books up at the library and skim them. You can read a book called Dark Matter by Tony Watkins; although Watkins finds more to like in Pullman's books than we do at BreakPoint, he still does a good job of explaining the problems. You can visit our website—BreakPoint.org—where we have a number of articles, blog posts, and commentaries pointing out Pullman's spiritual and literary flaws.
I know of one school in Virginia, Immanuel Christian, that is considering having the older students discuss and evaluate the worldview of the books in their weekly book discussion group. This is a terrific idea. When the movie comes out and their friends head off to the theater with no clue about what kind of indoctrination they are going to undergo, kids who have discussed Pullman's worldview with Christian parents and educators will know what's going on. Then they can choose the good and reject the bad.
Of course, all of this takes time for parents and teachers who already have enough to do. There is no easy way around that. But it is worth the investment in the lives of our children. As parents, teachers, and leaders, we can and should do no less.
From BreakPoint®, November 26, 2007, Copyright 2007, Prison Fellowship Ministries. Reprinted with the permission of Prison Fellowship Ministries. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or distributed without the express written permission of Prison Fellowship Ministries. "BreakPoint®" and "Prison Fellowship Ministries®" are registered trademarks of Prison Fellowship