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This is the teaching site of the West Side church of Christ in Fort Worth, TX. Unless otherwise indicated, all materials were written and prepared by Stan Cox

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In The News: The Golden Compass

ImageThe film, The Golden Compass, is scheduled for a Christmas release, and New Line Cinema is hoping that it will be as big a blockbuster as Disney pictures The Chronicles of Narnia, released last year.

The films are both fantasies, both based upon books that were written to appeal to children. The difference is that one was written by C.S. Lewis, a member of the Anglican church and a well known Christian apologist. The other was written by atheist activist Philip Pullman, whose desire is to portray religion as evil and God as a fraud.

Interestingly, New Line Cinema downplayed the religious angle of the story. Notice the following quote, taken from an article by Jennifer Vineyard on

Ironically, this debate was exactly what New Line was trying to avoid by softening the religious references in “The Golden Compass.” (Whether religion would reappear in “The Subtle Knife” or “The Amber Spyglass,” producer Bob Shea told MTV News that plans weren’t firm yet: “One film at a time!”) So in “Compass,” the revisionist Church is simply referred to as the “Magisterium,” because the focus is the power of the agency, not the agency itself.

The problem is that the other two books in the series, which will be made into movies depending upon the success of The Golden Compass, are much more virulent in their attitude and treatment of religion and God.

Notice the two statements made by representatives of the film:

“We’ll have to deal [with God and the angels] when we get to the next bit,” said “Golden Compass” director Chris Weitz. “I don’t think anyone here sees it as a particularly [controversial] series of films that we’re making.”

Note: Those familiar with the series state that God is treated as a fraud, the angels are “sexually ambiguous” (I assume that means bisexual), and the church “kidnaps, tortures and assassinates to achieve its goals.”

(Whether religion would reappear in “The Subtle Knife” or “The Amber Spyglass,” producer Bob Shea told MTV News that plans weren’t firm yet: “One film at a time!”)

While some may think this much ado about nothing. In reality, the subtlety of the attack is what is so disturbing. A final quote, this one from Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League, clearly explains the danger:

“This is the least offensive of the three, and they’re watering down the most despicable elements, so why the protest? Not because it’s going to be so shocking. The protest is this: It’s being done at Christmastime, and when parents don’t find the film troubling, they’re going to buy the books for their kids as Christmas gifts. They’re doing it through the back door, in a stealth fashion, because each book becomes more provocative, more aggressive and more anti-Christian. I’ve never seen anything quite like this before, to use a movie like this.”

The author of the books pulls no punches. Notice this quote from him. “But organized religion is quite another thing. The trouble is that all too often in human history, churches and priesthoods have set themselves up to rule people’s lives in the name of some invisible god (and they’re all invisible, because they don’t exist) – and done terrible damage.” Keep this quote in mind when The Golden Compass opens amidst fanfare on December 7th.