Thursday, December 06, 2007

A Balance Perspective on the Golden Compass

Few have not heard the controvery that surrounds the movie The Golden Compass. Here is a well written piece found on Walt Mueller's the Center for Parent/Youth Understanding website. I suggest all parents would do well to check the CPYU site on occation or subscibe to Walt's e-newsletter. I've included the quote from cultural analyst John Seel below, but be sure to read the whole letter by Walt Mueller. I've empasised with green text some key points.

One senses a tipping point, assertive atheism has found its voice. Several years ago Dartmouth University professor Walter Sinnot-Armstrong wrote an article in their alumni magazine entitled, "Can You Believe It?" in which he called for atheists to breakout of their self-imposed silence and to take up the mantle of "evangelistic" atheism. He wrote, "Outside the classes, most atheists feel little to be gained by broadcasting their beliefs. Theists won't listen, and atheists don't need to listen. This defeatist attitude means that evangelicals get away with spouting harmful nonsense." Many have risen to his challenge. The bookstores and magazines are filled with anti-God and anti-religion diatribes.

It was only a matter of time before imaginative literature aimed at children took up this theme. The film, The Golden Compass, opened in December and is based on the first book in Philip Pullman's trilogy, His Dark Materials. In an interview in the Washington Post, Pullman candidly remarked, "I'm trying to undermine the basis of Christian belief.” Pullman has also been outspoken about his desire to undercut The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis.

The most powerful aspect of culture is the way it shapes our moral imagination. As Einstein observed, "Imagination is more important than knowledge." Books and films such as The Golden Compass are opportunities for important discussions with our children about truth and the nature of reality. We need not be defensive or udgmental. God's truth will prevail. All that is at risk is casual Christianity and unreflective belief. Assertive atheism can be a good thing, if it encourages us to become serious seekers of truth. Many will simply use such films to justify their rebellious attitudes toward authority. That shouldn’t surprise us. More important than blaming atheists for what they think and write is to acknowledge the failure of Christian believers to provide a thoughtful, winsome, and life-affirming alternative in our culture. This is the challenge of our time.

It is the proper role of the Follower of Christ to do good, not to fear and to protest. Let these words be your guide and your comfort.
Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. "Do not fear what they fear; do not be frightened." But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. It is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil. For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit.
--1 Peter 3:13-18 (NIV)

Rember also, that media will not bring about the end of Christ's mission and the Gospel will continue to be spread.

And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.
--Matthew 16:18 (NIV)