A new film from New Line Cinema, 'The Golden Compass,' was released in early December 2007. It is based on a book of the same name (also titled 'Northern Lights' in the UK) written by prominent British atheist, Philip Pullman.
The film has been variously billed as:
- "This Year's [Christ]mas Blockbuster",
- a "classic ... outshines even the likes of Potter and Narnia."
Philip Pullman has gone on record as saying:
- â€śIâ€™m trying to undermine the basis of Christian beliefâ€ť;
- â€śI am all for the death of Godâ€ť;
- â€śMy books are about killing God.â€ť
He has poured this hatred for God into 'The Golden Compass' - and, to an even greater degree, into the remaining two books belonging to the same series (the title of the series is, 'His Dark Materials').
It has been claimed that the anti-God sentiment that runs through Pullman's books has been dumbed down for film to minimise offence.
However, we should not be complacent; the film is bait for the books! Testimony to this is the fact that Philip Pullman's book sales have rocketed since the release of this film.
Thank you, Rev. Brown Before hearing this sermon I was going to watch this movie when
it came out on DVD. Now I'm not so sure it's worth the time and
effort for any true believer to "drink" such a "deadly thing" as
this movie, even though it won't "harm" them (Mark 16:18).
For some time now our culture and movies have been calling evil
good and good evil (as evidenced by movies like "Schrek", but in
a much more light-hearted way than Pullman's movie/books do).
I LIKE special effects and the overall creativity of movies like
"The Golden Compass", but if the plotline ends up giving me too
much heartburn I'll just have to get my creativity-fix elsewhere.
Roy Costa (12/9/2007)
from New Jersey
Two other thoughts Thanks again for the opportunity to interact on this issue. Two other quick thoughts come to mind since you kindly posted a link and some points for me to consider. First is, while I respect Mr. Spurgeon's position, it is just that -- his position -- and it does not necessarily follow that it is a command that must apply to all believers. Second, could you please explain how Paul knew the philosophies and gods of his time from just reading the Old Testament text? Paul was just the man to reach the world in the infancy of the church because he was so well versed in world-views. It's too easy to boil the Bible down to "do this / don't do that." The gospel, while simple, can also be "complex enough" to do battle with world-views.
Roy Costa (12/9/2007)
from New Jersey
Thanks for the exchange of ideas Thanks Wayne for your perspective. I noticed I had a typo below: I meant "we should NOT be afraid to hear the ideas..." but I gather you got my meaning. The church of course is not the place to allow such freedom of expression, i.e., I wouldn't invite Mr. Pullman to speak from the pulpit (although I'd invite him to a debate since the gospel has nothing to be afraid of). In fact, I emailed Mr. Pullman in the past hoping to engage him. And I think children should only watch such a movie with a discussion about the world-view inherent in the film. I would limit what my family watches (we all set our limits) but particularly for films that lead to a good discussion about atheism and various world-views, I think such a film can be a teaching device (it's up to each family but I don't believe you can Biblically press my conscience not to use such a device). I can watch the world-view film and not be of the world (you can't avoid being exposed to world-views because the biggest source of worldliness is our own hearts). But I respect your own conviction not to watch the film. I believe God means for us to armed for the battle - it's just sometimes easier to say no. The confessional church has historically gotten stronger by listening to heretics and then responding to them. Lord bless.
Timely warning! 'By watching the film for example, we can interact with our neighbours and their children better, and challenge some of the assumptions of the film'..ummm.
I wonder if far too many christians spend far too much time in the theatre or the modern replacement-the cinema, or alas the theatre now in the home- the TV?
Consider the link below re: a former saint's opinion:
http://teampyro.bl ogspot.com/2006/10/spurgeons-be st-known-ecclesiastical.html
Like e.g. the Torronto blessing and all other false doctrine-the new kidologist on the block will deceive many, but I do not have to literally attend that supposed local 'church' or satanic ministry to obtain an understanding for myself! Neither do I ever need to attend a theatre to see a worldly film that seeks to undermine the Truth!
Rather I am glad to heed the warnings of
sound Pastor's like Rev Brown who have done the prayerful and excellent research to warn the flock, then if necessary do my own research without having to go to the local theatre to make that opinion!
By knowing our Bibles we "Get up to speed on the ideas of atheism and be ready to give an answer for the hope that lies in you." A sound Pastor will keep his flock insructed in the bible and up to date with every deception! Good work Rev Brown!
Roy Costa (12/8/2007)
from New Jersey
What are we afraid of? I respect your position of choosing not to watch the film. I may also choose not to watch the film, but more for the reason of saving $9 or so at the theatre. I strikes me that, as Lewis said, "what is the atheist so afraid of?", i.e., why is Mr. Pullman so intent on killing a God who, in his mind, is dead? And since I know God is not dead, but sits in majesty keeping on eye on me and Mr. Pullman, why would I be afraid to watch the movie (assuming I had the time and the $9)? We should not be afraid of the exchange of ideas. By watching the film for example, we can interact with our neighbours and their children better, and challenge some of the assumptions of the film (which I understand, by the way, waters down some of the atheism in the book). I would not want to watch a film that is morally compromising for example, but we should be afraid to hear the ideas of a man such as Mr. Pullman since we are confident of the Biblically based ideas that we cherish. I believe the church has lost ground because it is far easier to say "Don't watch this film" than to say "Get up to speed on the ideas of atheism and be ready to give an answer for the hope that lies in you." The apostle Paul was well versed in worldly philosophy as he argued for the gospel on Mars hill. Lord bless.
Raymond Stewart (12/7/2007)
from Newtownabbey, County Antrim
Great Sermon! excellent dealing with this new heresy
and a very timely alarm. The Lord bless your ministry SOLI DEO GLORIA
Peter Eichinger (12/7/2007)
from Adelaide, SA, Australia
Great Sermon! Wonderful sermon as usual. The title is intriguing! When has gold ever "moved" to give anyone any bearings to help them move! I think it really is symptomatic of "man" that the mention of gold is enough to make people seek it. But then again people would rather move to their own course than have it guided by Almighty God! Jesus will remain my compass!
Scott McMahan (12/3/2007)
A bankruptcy of creativity Philip Pullman comes across more as angry that he is a marginal author handily outsold by CS Lewis and JK Rowling, than he does at being mad at God. The books might be a teaching moment for older teens who can be shown how Pullman took Nietzsche's ideas and the narrative framework offered by the Christian Bible and poets like Milton to create something that really isn't new. From this talk (I haven't read and didn't even know about the existence of Pullman's books) it sounds like Pullman suffers from Nietzsche's main flaw -- while they reject God and Christianity, they never offer anything new or original to replace them. I wonder how much of the strident atheism is just a cover for bankrupt creativity? Pullman seems to be feted by the intelligentsia, giving him the attention he seeks if not book sales (being outsold by a man who's been dead 50 years has to be humbling). Making a movie out of this derivative, uninspired concept smells of desperation now that the worlds of Rowling, Tolkien, and Lewis have been strip-mined. Where else do you get a ready-made fantasy epic to put on the theater screen?
Ian Brown succeeded Dr Ian Paisley as minister of Martyrs Memorial in August 2013. Prior to this he pastored the Free Presbyterian congregation in Northern Irelandâ€™s Maiden City, Londonderry, from 1987 to 2013. He is the author of several books, notably: â€śBelfast Boat â€“ Titanic,...