The Golden Compass

I posted yesterday about Philip Pullman’s The Golden Compass, coming soon to a theater near you. As I said, apparently some folks feel that his books are decidedly anti-Christian. But then I talked to a friend of mine who has actually read the books. Her opinion (and she’s roughly as agnostic as I am, so have yourself a grain of salt) was that the books are actually rather less anti-Christian than anti-religious-excess-of-all-sorts. And to her it seemed to affirm the value of faith, not to undercut it.

This is interesting, because the Baptist Press article I linked to suggested that the author is all kinds of anti-Christian and has said that he hoped to undermine kids’ beliefs. At any rate, it quoted some fairly incendiary things that Pullman has said in the past. Before long I will own these magical books and will be reading them with my discerning and agnostic eye, and it causes me to wonder something.

Is the author’s intent the true determinant of how a book comes across? In the out-of-context quotations mentioned above, it seemed to be clear that he’s quite anti-Christian. But if a reader doesn’t get that anti-Christian message, is it really there, even if the author has spoken publicly about that message? Authors are people too, and I’m curious whether his anti-Christian views (assuming they truly exist) might have come about since the books were published, or if he has become more anti-Christian and projects those beliefs back onto the books.

Anyway, whatever. If we can go back to a previous post, what seemed like a totally whackjob Catholic Church action turned out to be a relatively non-interesting one. And I’m going to go out on a limb and ask why it is there’s usually a minimum of sanity involved when a religious argument comes up – either on the part of the religious or the non-religious folk. Sigh.

Well, more on this when I know something about the books I’ve been discussing.

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