Recently, I received a message from a Facebook friend that directed me to a website about the movie "The Golden Compass." I'd heard nothing previously about this movie, and I'm generally one to ignore such messages, but on this particular day curiosity won out and I clicked the link. Snopes.com opened and the question posed was whether or not the new movie "The Golden Compass" is "based on books with anti-God & anti-religious themes". (For those who may not be as nerdy as my husband and I, Snopes.com is a website devoted to researching urban legends.) This particular legend was deemed "true" and from what I gathered from the article, there is a debate among Christians about the danger of letting our children both see the movie and read the book. Sources said that the author (Philip Pullman) of the three volume series "His Dark Materials" of which "The Golden Compass" is first, is decidedly athiest, and that his books are meant to be actively opposed to C.S. Lewis' "The Chronicles of Narnia." Apparently, the movie is a tame version of the books, which causes alarm that children will see the movie, love it, read the books, and be indoctrinated with all sorts of anti-God ideas. By this time, my curiosity was aroused even further and since I very belatedly joined the search to discover for myself the quality of the Harry Potter books, I decided I would not fall behind on this one. Immediately I found the audio recording version of "The Golden Compass" in the Dallas Public Library's system and requested the next available copy.
I've been listening to it since Monday on my drive to and from work (an easy 45 minutes one way). I am about halfway through, and I won't deny that the story is intriguing. I feel constantly pulled in by the plot and all the unknown factors. It is a magical, fanciful story, and already I have come across several great themes. Themes like the desire & need to rescue those who have been lost or enslaved; prophecies of one to come who will save all life; the battle between good and evil; the knowledge that there exists another world, one that cannot be seen. And I'm sure there are many more. Although it isn't a Christian book, so far I can't say that it is anti-God any more than I can say Harry Potter is anti-God. As of yet, I cannot rate this book as either a "bad" or a "good" book; only that it should be read with the understanding that it is a fictional work of the imagination of an imperfect man. Just as anything must be held up against Truth, so must this book.
As I continue to listen to the story and finish it, I'll keep you posted on any further thoughts...
If you're interested in finding out more, here's the link to the Snopes.com article, as well as a few other news articles: