‘A Golden Compass’ points to religious discussion

<  ‘A Golden Compass’ points to religious discussion

Some Catholics up in arms about the movie and books while others praise the ‘good vs. evil’ message:

William A. Donohue, president of the conservative Catholic League, has condemned “The Golden Compass” (the second and third films are planned) mainly on the concern that the movie will “seduce” people, especially children, into buying the allegedly “anti-Christian” books. But Harry Forbes of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Office for Film and Broadcasting wrote a positive review of the movie.

Donohue slammed the favorable article of Forbes, who wrote: “Whatever author Pullman’s putative motives in writing the story, writer-director Chris Weitz’s film, taken purely on its own cinematic terms, can be viewed as an exciting adventure story with, at its core, a traditional struggle between good and evil, and a generalized rejection of authoritarianism.”

[warning from protected static: here there be spoilers! (Sorry, cavalaxis)]

Literal reading

On the third book’s depiction to kill God, Donna Freitas, a visiting assistant professor of religion at Boston University and coauthor of “Killing the Imposter God: Philip Pullman’s Spiritual Imagination in His Dark Materials,” wrote in the Boston Globe: “The two child protagonists help to defeat the rule of the Authority and the Authority dies. When critics say that Pullman’s series advocates killing God, this is what they mean. But that is the most literal possible reading, and misses the books’ point. The ‘God’ who dies in ‘The Amber Spyglass’ is not a true God at all.”

Freitas continues: “Pullman’s Authority is an impostor, more like (John) Milton’s Lucifer (in his poem, ‘Paradise Lost’) than like a traditional conception of God.”

In a series of recent press cons held in London, this reporter asked the director and stars about the controversy.

Nicole Kidman, a Catholic who has been quoted as saying that she would not have committed to the movie, had she felt that it was against her religion, said: “I deal with it in relation to the movie. When you see it, I don’t think it warrants the alarmist response.”

I wonder if Donohue is really upset by the anti-authoritarian message of the movie. Somewhere along the way conservative has grown to mean pro-authoritarian.

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3 Responses to “‘A Golden Compass’ points to religious discussion”


Aw man! Spoiled by the Haunted Vampire. I’m reading the first book right now in anticipation of the film. It’s really quite a page turner.



Oh shit! I’m really sorry about that. I was so focused on the religious aspect I wasn’t even thinking about the spoilers.

I really am sorry.

protected static

I edited in a warning, Carnacki… It didn’t occur to me, either – but then I don’t think I’ve read a single article covering the religious aspects of the trilogy that didn’t give away the central theme – which probably does count as a major spoiler…

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