Like most of the people who are talking about it, I have neither read The Golden Compass nor seen the movie based on it. Consequently, this post is not about either the trilogy of books, nor the first movie adaptation. This post is inspired by a mass email that was forwarded to me by one of my friends who is a minister and who quoted the Catholic League's criticism of the books and the film because of their not very veiled references to the power of the Roman Church and because successful films will likely advertise the atheistic viewpoint of the books' author Philip Pullman.
Here's my problem. Christians are always asking each other to protest stuff like this movie. But where is the ongoing concern and protesting spirit about the other issues?I would like for Christian groups to send mass emails protesting the Iraq war, the exploitation and abuse of women and children, the apathy of many in the world to hunger and the AIDS pandemic, and the myriad other issues that endanger our children and world far more than movie(s) about witches or even atheists.
It says something not too flattering about the body of Christ that we are preoccupied with our image. In this instance, the Catholic Church is concerned about how it is being portrayed and other Christians are asked to jump on board. We care so much about our image, but our image would be greatly helped if we cared more about the Gospel - about people and their material condition as well as their souls. If nobody sees this movie, will we as the church really advance the knowledge of God in the world? I don't think so.
Speaking of negative publicity, that's what Creflo Dollar and Eddie Long ought to be thinking about as they refuse to disclose the financial details of their so-called ministries. Joyce Meyer got it right when she decided that answering Sen. Grassley's questions bespoke transparency, a concept that projects a much better image than hiding behind high-priced lawyers. Dollar and Long look like the accused who legally may invoke the 5th Amendment right not to self-incriminate but by doing so actually looks guilty because he/she remains silent. The question of whether they can legally avoid answering the already-publicized questions is beside the point. There is a bigger moral and ethical and evangelistic question that needs to be considered.
I cannot speak to the designs and purposes of Philip Pullman. But I can safely say that the antics of preachers like Dollar and Long, the perception of Christian cover-ups, and Christian apathy towards the hurting of this world have done more to promote atheism and blasphemy than any book or trilogy Pullman will ever write.