The Golden Compass opens this Friday in theaters everywhere. It's the first installment of a trilogy written by Philip Pullman called His Dark Materials. What can we expect from this new fantasy series? Its epic story and special effects look a lot like the Lord of the Rings and Narnia series, but the underlying message of The Golden Compass is quite the opposite.
Al Mohler give an excellent analysis of the series. Here are some of his main observations:
*It attacks Christianity. Mohler writes, "Philip Pullman has an agenda -- an agenda about as subtle as an army tank. His agenda is nothing less than to expose what he believes is the tyranny of the Christian faith and the Christian church. His hatred of the biblical storyline is clear. He is an atheist whose most important literary project is intended to offer a moral narrative that will reverse the biblical account of the fall and provide a liberating mythology for a new secular age." This attack against Christianity is toned down somewhat in the first movie, but is still quite prevalent
*It misrepresents the church. I will quickly admit that the church has often shown its blemishes over the past two thousand years. But the church is not a tyrannical Magisterium that is out to destroy human freedom as Pullmen would have us believe. The church is the Bride of Christ, the pillar and support of the truth, and a fellowship of sinners saved by grace.
*It distorts sex. Mohler explains, "Pullman believes that the Christian church is horribly repressive about sex and that this is rooted in the idea of the Fall." The Bible, on the other hand, paints the portrait of sex as a beautiful thing created by God and perfectly holy within the context of marriage (Hebrews 13:4). Some scenes, particularly in the books, are quite explicit.
*It eliminates Jesus. Mohler says, "The entire premise of the trilogy is that Lyra is the child foretold by prophecy who will reverse the curse of the Fall and free humanity from the lie of original sin. Whereas in Christian theology it is Jesus Christ who reverses the curse through His work of atonement on the Cross, Pullman presents his own theology of sorts in which the Fall is reversed through the defiance of these children." Sadly, the gospel apart from Jesus is not good news at all.
So, should we watch The Golden Compass? I won't attempt to answer that question for each individual. I would certainly urge caution, especially with children. But all of us can use this film as a springboard to discuss spiritual matters with friends, contrasting personal opinion with a biblical view of sin, the church, and Jesus Christ. I am confident that truth will prevail over error in this exchange of ideas.