There has been much hullabaloo about the new movie coming out called The Golden Compass. The emails are circulating and snopes.com confirms that the author is openly atheistic and has an atheist agenda for his movie and the novels he has written. He wants his books to be for atheism what Narnia was for Christianity.
The concern, of course, is that our children will all go running off to see the movie and somehow get duped or damaged in their faith, especially if they leave the movie and go buy the books, which are apparently more boldly atheist and anti-God in content.
My opinion is “thanks for the head’s up,” (seriously) but please let’s not make it into another big stink like we did with Harry Potter. Yep, on one hand, I don’t want to take my 8 year old son and my 4 year old daughter to see the film (which looked pretty cool in the trailers) if it’s going to have this “kill God” agenda going on. Frankly, they wouldn’t like that part of it anyway, if they liked the rest of the story. (They kinda like Jesus!) But at the same time, if my kids were a bit older, and maybe if they weren’t, I’d like them to see it to raise the questions that such a film and book series raise. Kids, let’s have a discussion about this. What does that mean in the film? Why would someone create such a thing? What does God think about this? How should we respond to this, and to people who like the movie and the books? How should be treat people who don’t like God? Meanwhile, a larger question for us: What are we afraid of in this movie? Is our own faith shaky in places? Doubts anyone? Are we allowed to teach our children that doubts are often a normal part of the faith? Is our Christian faith so wobbly and the faith we are imparting to our kids so fragile that it can’t handle such a challenge? If so, we have more evaluating to do than we thought.
This is one more example, I think, of how to be “in the world but not of the world.” Are we willing to engage with what the world is talking about and thinking about, and bring the light and the presence of Christ into the discussion? Or are we going to withdraw, boycott, and write a bunch of books about the dangers of exposing our children to such things? Oi vey… I think the world has had enough of that kind of Churchianity. All that does (in my more or less humble opinion at this point) is reinforce the view that we Christians are judgemental, uptight, condescending, irrelevant, and afraid of culture… and teaches our children to stay back from culture and dealing with the hard questions. If we continually overprotect our children from the cultural and theological “infections” of the world, they will not develop a strong and healthy spiritual “immune system,” and they may not be able to survive a real onslaught of crisis of faith (thanks Eli, for that analogy once upon a time…) They will only know how to grow up and stay in a nice Christian bubble (remember the “Boy in the Plastic Bubble”?) of Christian and Church subculture, living a life of trying to keep from “being infected” by the world instead of impacting that world with the love, forgiveness, and power of Christ. (Incidentally, I used to live like that, and it sucks!)
Maybe this is way more than needs to be said about The Golden Compass, but I’m saying some things some things I’ve been wanting to say for awhile, and the Golden Compass emails have triggered it. Anyone else have any thoughts?
See this link for some more on this topic; I like what he has to say:
Soli Deo Gloria!