That New Movie That the Christians Don’t Like November 12, 2007

That New Movie That the Christians Don’t Like

I wouldn’t normally post email forwards… but this one deserves another look. (Despite the bad grammar.)

It’s about that new movie that is generating controversy between atheists and Christians. You know, that one directed at children…

Fred Claus.

[tags]atheist, atheism, Golden Compass[/tags]

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  • It stars Vince Vaughn and it is directed toward children.

    The horror!

    Actually, what mature adult could appreciate his oeuvre?

  • stogoe

    Don’t bag on Vince Vaughn. His catalogue of work includes such classics as Dodgeball, Anchorman, Old School, and Zoolander. He may be a two-bit, one note actor, clinging to the coattails of the vastly more talented Luke and Owen Wilson, Ben Stiller, and Will Ferrell, but he’s an entertaining two-bit, one note actor.

  • If you read the rest of the article, it becomes clear the author doesn’t really know what he’s talking about in relation to the books. He readily admits that he’s not read them, and says he never will, and then continues to talk about it. It’s very frustrating to read that.

    On the other hand, he also makes some great points. Christians are very picky about who they are going to criticize. ‘Passion of the Christ’ was one of the most violent movies ever made, but that doesn’t matter to them. I’ll stop there because the examples are seemingly endless.

  • athenebelle

    Not all of us Christians cared for ‘Passion of the Christ.’ I’m one of them. I would be willing to see “The Golden Compass” only if my husband came with me (he’s the aetheist and might get the references better than I).

  • PrimeNumbers

    Yes, the main point that he makes, that there’s a hypocracy in which movies / books are attacked is a very good one. That’s he’s not read the book in question does somewhat dilute their criticism of it. It has been said that the Dark Materials books don’t so much criticize religious belief, but the oppressive nature of orginized religion.

    And then we have to suffer reading about the “Christian” holiday of Christmas, which willfully neglects it’s origin as a pagan winter solstice party. Christians know where Christmas comes from, they know they hijacked the pagan festival, but never do they seem to admit it.

  • Karen

    Rule No. 1: Don’t deign to mount massive critical attacks on anything that you haven’t read, listened to or viewed for yourself!

    WHY can’t these people get that? Every damned one of these popular culture war attacks starts with the critic boasting that they haven’t seen the source material and never will. Well, that makes your criticism uninformed, hysterical and totally lacking in credibility.

    The first book of the triology – which is what this movie is based on – is pretty much a fantasy adventure story with little/no reference to god or religion except obliquely. It’s only in the later books of the trilogy that the negative references to god become explicit. And given the controversy already starting against this movie, I rather doubt the later books will be adapted for the screen unless this one is a blockbuster.

  • Milena

    I hate that the movie adaptation of The Golden Compass was forced to water-down the book’s original message about the dangers of organized religion because of pressure from religious groups in the US. It’s cencorship in a country that proudly boasts its “freedom of speech”. I don’t think religion should have any say about art, but unfortunately capitalism and mass-consumerism have given the religious majority an important voice in practically every domain of the public sphere, and these religious groups clearly will not hesitate to abuse that influence.

  • Maria

    good satire. I am planning to see both movies. I’m reading the book the golden compass now and I like it. I don’t find it “promoting” anything really. It’s certainly not an atheistic book, and it’s obviously fiction and a good story. Even the magesterium, while modeled on certain aspects of the church, is obviously fictionalized. I bet most of these people going on against it haven’t even looked at it. What I’m curious about is this: “I heard that he has made remarks that he wants to kill God in the minds of children, and that’s what his legend is all about.” Did he ever actually even say that? Does anyone know? Also, there have been movies that didn’t give a very flattering portrayal of religion before… why all the fuss over this particular one?

  • Siamang

    Here’s the scoop from

    He didn’t say he’s trying to kill God in the minds of children.

    He did say that his books were literally about killing a god, although it’s shown to be a false god, and not the Creator of the universe.

  • cpro

    After seeing Be Cool, Vince Vaughn is dead to me.

  • Maria

    thank you so much Siamang! I can really use that article if anyone gives me any grief for going to see the movie or reading the books.

  • Siamang

    I especially like the article by Donna Freitas.

    These bits are good stuff:

    I’m a liberal and I’m a Christian. I also take God seriously. Very. And so does Philip Pullman.

    One of the things I love most about Pullman’s trilogy (aside from the fact that it is one of the greatest literary treasures of our time) is the thought Pullman gives to God. Pullman spends more time–far more, I suspect–contemplating the divine, the nature of God, and how we conceive of our relationship to God than most Christians do in an entire lifetime. He has gifted us with a provocative, stunning fantasy that revels in the deepest of cosmic questions, and they are questions near and dear to the heart of Christianity.

    And my contention, as a scholar, a Christian, and someone who has read the trilogy more times than I can count, is that the telos of Pullman’s “His Dark Materials” is to save God, not kill him.

    Take that, my fellow fearful Christians.

    The soundbyte that everyone loves pulling from Pullman (so to speak), that his books “are about killing God,” I would amend to say that his works actually are about challenging a certain corrupt, destructive image of a god-who-is-not-really-a-god at all–and I’d add that the “killing” he speaks of is not actually killing at all (but then, you need to read the books to find out why–do your homework, people).

    Woven throughout “His Dark Materials” is a stunning retelling of salvation. So, yes, that soundbyte about killing God is a tasty tidbit to cycle and recycle all around, but it only succeeds in scaring Christian parents across America into “saving” their children from one of the best reading experiences that lies before them in their young lives. I suspect that Philip Pullman might rather introduce them to a vision of the divine that will speak to their lives and a generation next who craves a God for our times.

    I know that’s what he did for me. But then, I read the books. Did you?

  • Karen has already said what I wanted to. Everybody go back and read her comment.

  • Claire

    Boy oh boy oh boy…… I don’t know what’s worse, that the author of the original article is so intensely pleased with himself about his refusal to read the books that he mentions it twice, or that he’s going to shop the internet for third-hand opinions on Pullman so that he can ‘refute’ him. Granted, the whole article was poorly written, but that part was beyond the pale.

    On the other hand, the articles by Nel and Frietas were a whole other kind of WTF moment. It seems to me they are really, really stretching to fit the books into the opposite mold. I don’t want to say too much, I hate spoilers, but I’ve read them twice and I don’t think their conclusions are well-founded. Although I don’t really know if you can call them spoilers when they are such very, um, interesting? interpretations of the events in the story.

    For anyone who wants to read them, you might want to do it sooner rather than later. Maybe it’s just me, but I find that once I have heard enough about a book or movie, the wonderful “oh, I see what the author is getting at” moments are replaced by the much less enjoyable “oh, I see what the critics are getting at” moments.

  • G

    I can never understand why christians are so proud of their ignorance. That said I usually don’t knock people for poor spelling or grammer. I am college educated and I still struggle with this. English is a harsh mistress.

  • JeffN

    I,m surprised no one has touched on a persons free well to see or not see the movie or read the books. Or society at least in America has both Christian and what is referred to in some circles any way as secular movie critics read and listen to what the critics of your choice have to say and make up your own minds to see the movie or not to see it. If the movie interests you go see it with out your children too determine weather or not you believe it is suitable for them and come to your own conclusion. It seems people are told via media and other sources what to where what movies to watch what to eat essentially what to think to the point that we Don’t want to think for ourselves any more. do a little research on the movie and come to your own conclusion. either see it or don’t.

  • Blair Sillanpaa

    Why is there only ever attacks on The Christian Faith?, isn’t this a little hypocritical. There are alot of Faiths in the World??? It always makes me wonder Why the fight?

  • Richard Wade

    Blair Sillanpaa,
    As the saying goes, all politics are local. The majority of atheists who comment on websites such as these live in Western countries where the predominant faith is Christianity. In other parts of the world, non-believers have to contend with the oppressive policies of other religions that predominate there, and sometimes they can be at serious risk for their lives.

    The “fight” isn’t really so much against religion, but against a few religious demagogues who constantly try to impose their limitations on people’s freedom to think, live and love the way they wish to.

    You should join the fight alongside us. Keep whatever religion you have, but your freedom is at stake as well as ours.

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