Monday, December 03, 2007

Why is the Golden Compass a big deal?

Have you heard the flap about the new film The Golden Compass? Catholics and Evangelicals are upset because the book is a not-very-subtle slap at Christianity. But now atheists are apparently upset that the film waters down the book's atheist critiques.

Frankly, I'm a little tired of it all. All the protests simply generate free publicity for the "shocking" and "irreverent" flavor of the year. Honestly, the controversey is really old news...the books have been out for years now, and their contents are not really all that secret. It's a well worn story that author Phillip Pullman's intent was to offer an anti-Narnia...a well crafted tale that undermines theistic belief.

Should parents be aware of these things before they take their children to see the film....of course. As a parent, I put every film through a vetting process (reading lots of reviews about content). It's like the wild west out there in media, and my job is to protect my children...from all angles. I wouldn't let my 7 year old see the Lord of the Rings either, though for vastly different reasons.

I have a humble suggestion for Christians who want to protest The Golden Compass. Rather than putting so much energy into protesting, just tell better stories. The compelling seduction in Pullman's books is that he's an engaging storyteller. However, he chose to tell a compelling story because CS Lewis had told some ripping good ones too. Where are the Tolkeins, Chestertons, Sayers and Miltons of our age? They're out there.

So tell better stories; make better art; play more compelling music...for we understand that beauty has a source; we know that all good stories have their groundings in the Great Story. Be not afraid...Philip Pullman hasn't written the final chapter, just an interlude.

Soli Deo Gloria