The Golden Compass:
A Warning for Parents

If you take small children to the movies, you should know about this!

THE GOLDEN COMPASS, a new movie targeted at children, will be released December 7, 2007. This movie is based on the first book of a trilogy by atheist Philip Pullman. In the final book, a boy and girl kill God so they can do as they please. Pullman left little doubt about his intentions when he said in a 2003 interview that "My books are about killing God."

The movie is a watered down version of the first book and is designed to be very attractive in the hope that unsuspecting parents will take their children to see the movie and that the children will want the books for Christmas.

The movie has a well known cast, including Nicole Kidman, Kevin Bacon, and Sam Elliott. It will probably be advertised extensively, so it is crucial that we get the word out to warn parents to avoid this movie.

You can research this for yourself. Start with this article on, then go to Google.

How Rod sees it:

Personally, I frown on criticizing works before I have checked them out for myself. But in this case, the author himself has left little doubt regarding the essential thrust of his writings. With people buying Christmas gifts now and going to the movies over Christmas, this warning needs to be disseminated asap.

I assume some people will suggest that we allow children to see the movie and then discuss why the themes of the film and the books are wrong, along with the personal and social outcomes of accepting those fallacious lines of thinking. But I would suggest that children are not little adults with the capability (or interest) of making wise decisions in such matters. Children lack the experience and a sufficient knowledge base to make wise and mature decisions. Children are much more impressionable than adults and some or many of them are likely to be intrigued and accept the atheistic propaganda either as true or as arguments that have merit.

There is a reason why all societies have laws such as those prohibiting children from obtaining a drivers license or voting, and why children are not held accountable (at least to the same degree as adults are) for certain crimes.

Children, almost by definition, need to be protected and guided into appreciating the right ways until they are mature enough to choose the right and understand the consequences of choosing the wrong . . . not thrown to the world to experience whatever they might encounter with a view toward allowing them to make up their own minds. So we protect our children from drugs and pornography, and require them to behave, and go to school.

This world is not the child-friendly world of the early 20th century. We need to keep this in mind not only regarding Halloween and their Christmas toys, but also regarding things that might intrigue their minds to favor evil and prejudice them against the right, the good, and that which is true.

- Rod

Response #1

“Train a child in the way he should go, and even when he is old he will not
turn away from it."
--Proverbs 22.6

This is not only an instruction for us as Biblical parents, but I believe it is also a warning. Your child will be trained. It is what children do: learn. Their brains are wired to absorb everything they see, hear, and touch. What you put into your child is exactly what they will put back out when they get older. Your child will be trained. The question then is will they be trained by you?

I believe that it is important to allow children to experience many varied events and help shape the impact that these events have on their perception of life, but I agree with you that exposing children to something contrary to what you want them to learn, and then trying to convince them that what they read or saw is not true is confusing for a child, and may be self defeating. There are some things which are best avoided; still we as parents must be ready to supply answers to children when they are exposed to that with which we disagree.

As an aside I'm interested in learning how the kids' "kill God" as it would seem to be quite difficult to do so.

- Jonathan Hemphill

Rod's comment:

I have not reviewed either the film or the book, as I mentioned, but I suspect "killing God" will follow the same theme as that introduced by the 19th century philosopher Friedrich Nietzche and 20th century existentialist philosophers such as Jean-Paul Sartre, and popularized in the mid-20th century as the "God Is Dead" movement. Alister McGrath ("The Twilight of Atheism") observes that by that terminology such writers did not mean that God was actually dead (they were atheists or agnostics and didn't really believe in God), so much as they believed that the whole concept of God was no longer relevant in society and that people could now be free from all that "superstition" and religious hang-ups, and that atheism would now be free to bring about a utopia in which the world would no longer experience the evils (ostensibly) brought about by the Church, such as wars, corruption, greed, etc., etc. What I have read about this trilogy's "killing God" leads me (at this point) to assume that the term means little more than Atheism claiming that inasmuch as "no-one" really lives by religious (especially Christian) teachings, that the superstition about God is dead and Atheism has won the victory. If the book represents children as "killing God," this perhaps suggests that they have embraced Atheism and do not regard God as relevant or perhaps even existent. If he exists at all, he is dead so far as they are concerned.

And of course there have been wars in the name of religion and corrupt clergy, etc. But atheists conveniently overlook the gross excesses of Pol Pot, Stalin, Hitler and his Nazi henchmen, along with all the rest of the world's crimes and troubles brought about by people who disbelieved in God or who actively forced atheism upon people in their control, as well as all the greatly humanitarian organizations, institutions and on-going relief efforts of religious groups and persons (contrasting to the near absence of such by atheistic groups). As a matter of fact, while Nietzche foresaw the "God Is Dead" phenomenon, he also feared for its consequences because a culture whose values are based on nothing greater than the government's decrees is destined to corruption and anarchy. This is what we are seeing taking form in the current leftist degeneration of our society and the ineffective and counter-productive attempt to establish values by "political correctness."

Atheists, such as this writer (Philip Pullman) fail to see, let alone acknowledge, that Western society and the United States in particular gave rise to and lead the world in democratic freedoms, science and technology, economic production and an elevated standard of living for every American --all of which can be traced back to principles resulting from Christian teachings, in spite of the corruption and inconsistencies of some supposed Christian leaders in following these teachings and the "growing pains" of Christianity in taking root in the cultures which it was influencing.

But with the observable deterioration of our culture's values and traditions over the last half century at the hands of secularist and atheistic successes in manipulating our society's basic institutions and restricting the teaching, practice and public expression of the Christian faith, the future of our society, and hence the future of our nation, is somewhat in doubt. It is a fault of a socially lethargic Christianity that their successes were unnecessary and went unchallenged. Now the atheistic kitten has grown up and people of religious faith are holding a tiger by the tail. If this trend continues, the United States will have run its 200-300 year life span just like the other great civilizations, and will decline by virtue of the weight of its burden of corruption, decadence and Godlessness. By the way, the potential demise of the United States as a major player on the world stage fits neatly into the prophetic picture of world history, but that's another story.

Rodney Stark, a professor at Baylor University, demonstrates the dramatic and unique rise to power and affluence of Western Civilization on the foundation of Christian teachings, and the utter inadequacy of all other explanations offered to date, in his book, "The Victory of Reason: How Christianity Led to Freedom, Capitalism and Western Success." Moreover, it was not from the principles of The Enlightenment but because of Christian principles --especially regarding the Biblical insistence that the universe is a rational creation and not subject to the whims of fate or the gods, and that the universe was not a great mysterium, but could be rationally understood and was predictable-- that true science was finally able to emerge, evidenced further by the fact that none of this happened anywhere in the non-Christian world.

So I guess the whole issue here is that maybe "killing God" might have a point --not for children, but for adults who are looking for Life and fear for the kind of world we are bequeathing our children and grandchildren. If "God Is Dead" and "killing God" refers to a culture's paying lip service to God while allowing him to become irrelevant in our society, such works as this might (hopefully) be a wake-up call.

- Rod

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