Secularism

Golden Compass film:
what you need to know

Last updated: 4 December 2007

What is all the fuss about?

Christians have voiced serious concerns about the film 'The Golden Compass', to be released in the UK on 5 December.

It is the first instalment of the film adaptation of Philip Pullman's trilogy of books, 'His Dark Materials'. Pullman is a crusading atheist who sees his stories as the antithesis of the Narnia novels by CS Lewis. He says his books are about undermining Christianity and "killing God".

Though the film's makers have toned down the 'religious' themes of the original novel, Director Chris Weitz has indicated that he will develop them more fully in the sequels.

The author's own words

Mr Pullman is avowedly opposed to Christianity, and has said of his novels: "I'm trying to undermine the basis of Christian belief".1

He told an Australian newspaper, "I've been surprised by how little criticism I've got. Harry Potter's been taking all the flak. I'm a great fan of J. K. Rowling, but the people mainly from America's Bible Belt who complain that Harry Potter promotes Satanism or witchcraft obviously haven't got enough in their lives. Meanwhile, I've been flying under the radar, saying things that are far more subversive than anything poor old Harry has said. My books are about killing God."2

Elsewhere he has said: "...if there is a God and he is as the Christians describe him, then he deserves to be put down and rebelled against.

"As you look back over the history of the Christian church, it's a record of terrible infamy and cruelty and persecution and tyranny.

"How they have the [swear word] nerve to go on Thought for the Day and tell us all to be good when, given the slightest chance, they'd be hanging the rest of us and flogging the homosexuals and persecuting the witches."3

What Pullman's critics say

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