Friday, December 14, 2007

stop trying to punch God!

Okay, so for those of you who probably got really confused after reading the title of this blog post and subsequently noticing the promotional poster for New Line Cinema's recent release The Golden Compass here is a quick synopsis of 'the deal:'

Okay so basically this movie is based off of the first installment of a set of 3 books written by Phillip Pullman, a great writer, kind of a tool, and an atheist, for those of you who were unaware. Now, for those of you who are somewhat interested in seeing this movie (and the sequels that New Line will no doubt produce) and reading the His Dark Materials books, I will put out the warning now that this blog post will probably contain some sort of story spoilers. So, you know. Be on the lookout for that sort of thing.

Now to get more into the actual substance of this post. I will start by saying that Pullman's novel and the series that it goes with ranks among the top of my all-time favorite books- it's imaginative, well-written and exciting, and I personally think that Pullman does an excellent job of creating fantastical worlds so different from our own and simultaneously linking them all together in a way that allows almost any reader to relate (which is, if you read them, probably a big point). I read the first book when I was about 12 years old and fell in love, but was unable to read the rest for some reason (probably laziness) until this past year, my senior year of college.
So, here comes one of those spoilers for those of you who are beware'ing of them: an interesting and somewhat disturbing feature of the book for me? The fact that they kill God. Or at least the literal figure of God in the worlds of the book. I'll admit that having read the final two books (The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass) as a more mature adult I was able to take this scene for what it was worth- a bit of literary drama dreamt up by an atheist who, when all is said and done, really seems to want people to put a little more thought into their beliefs (since these beliefs can and have driven people to, in some cases, do terrible things). But what are people's reactions?
Well actually, in most cases- absolutely nothing. That's because, even though the books themselves are really great reads, people just don't bother to actually read anything anymore. As a result, although the books were originally published back in 1995 (which means that I read the first one two years after it was published- go me!) now that a film is being made a good 12 years later people have suddenly started getting their underwear in a twist about the basic premise of the film and the books on which it is based.
Catholics are mad because it makes the catholic church look bad. Christians are mad because... it makes the Catholic church look bad, and the whole "killing God" thing at the end really isn't helping matters. But what I find most problematic is that, instead of using this book to better understand the ways of thinking of others and as a tool to strengthen their faith, they immediately have jumped up in arms about it, most probably without even having read two paragraphs of the stories (I'm sure they let their preachers give them the basics of it). I mean.. it's just so.. ignorant.
And don't get me wrong at all- I am Christian myself and am not ashamed or afraid to say that I am a strong believer and have a close personal relationship with God, but that close personal relationship does not allow me to feel threatened by other opinions or shy away from knowledge in fear. It seems to me that if a person is strong and sure in their beliefs then it'd take a lot more than a book and an expensive ass movie to change their minds...
What do you think?


Catherine said...

Interesting review. I too am a Christian, have read the books, enjoyed them on many levels, and am not even remotely offended when people have different beliefs than I have. But...I was still bothered that he spoke/wrote with quite a narrow perspective, while extorting others to open their minds. Or so I thought anyway.

I've been surfing around to see what other bloggers are saying about the series. I've just posted my own review here if you're interested. I'd love feedback!

Brittany said...

Ah yeah, I definitely get you, toward the end of the series he gets a little more "I am right!" feeling and that is pretty annoying.

brotherkomrade said...

We should have peeled a cap for him eons ago..wait we can if we burned the Bible, because that's the only place that god exists.

- Cheers

brotherkomrade said...

...sorry, I meant to say where god exists...