Author of Golden Compass says: "My books are about killing God". (sick)

You would be wrong. My daughter is a year old. When she is old enough to read, I hope she will read widely and fearlessly. The Pullman books are not the first books I would put in her path, but I would do nothing to stop her from reading them.

t is a natural instinct to protect young children.

In other words, you can’t engage in serious argument so you resort to ad hominem.

Pullman specifically targets young children as he knows that they are more vulnerable than mature adults that are well formed in your faith.

You have no evidence for this. Lewis was much more explicit about his desire to sneak Christian ideas past “watchful dragons” (in fairness, the dragons were not anti-Christian ideas but the negative associations of conventional Christian education) and “smuggle theology” into the minds of children. However, Lewis and Pullman both insisted that their primary reasons for writing children’s literature were artistic, and I see no reason to disbelieve them.

Would you knowingly allow preteens to associate with drug pushers

False analogy. Books are not drugs. The fact that you think they are shows how radically you despise the great gift of intellect God has given you (and your children). Ideas cannot be compared to food or poison. It’s a different kind of process. My childhood was shadowed by this false, paranoid analogy, and if one thing could have turned me away from God it probably would have been that. I am not the only person to react angrily to this kind of upbringing. Some people do in fact lose their faith because they have no idea how to handle non-Christian ideas.

the creator’s stated intent to “turn our children into good little atheists”.

Actually, he has disclaimed such an intent.

Like any writer, he writes books that reflect his ideas.

why shouldn’t you let your children participate in black masses? :shrug:

Because first of all, participation in a sacred ceremony is not the same thing as reading a book, and in the second place, Pullman’s books are not thoroughly evil–there’s a lot of goodness there along with the error.

A Black Mass is an extreme case because (assuming that thee is such a thing) it is deliberately invoking evil.
My wife and I did take our daughter (and some of my Religions of the World students) to a Buddhist monastery a few weeks ago to witness a ceremony, and I have every intention of continuing to expose her to various religious (and non-religious) perspectives as she grows up.

To quote John Milton, “I cannot praise a fugitive and cloistered virtue.”

I prefer to protect the young.

Well, as someone who was very well “protected” growing up, I would be violating the Golden Rule if I tried to protect my daughter from ideas.

The human mind is active, not passive with regard to ideas.

It’s silly to look at something as important as the faith formation of our children as a contest. Let the best story win?

If you didn’t see it as a contest, you wouldn’t feel threatened. Obviously you think it’s a contest, and a contest you’re not sure the Gospel can win.

If you don’t think Christianity is the best story, why are you a Christian?

Our children are treasures of incalculable value

No, they aren’t. They aren’t things. They aren’t possessions. They aren’t commodities, however precious. They are human beings made in God’s image just as you are.

We should do all we can to protect them from evil when we can. When they mature, hopefully they will have the strength, faith and will to protect their children.

Highly unlikely if they have been protected from anything that might test them.

In your entire post you have not responded to my primary argument. Don’t you have lots of opportunities to teach the faith to your children–a lot more than Philip Pullman will ever have? I was a homeschooler and I am seriously considering homeschooling my daughter. I want her to be surrounded by things that are good and holy. I don’t want her growing up on a diet of pop culture and implicit secularism. (Yes, I know I’m using the same analogy I criticized–it’s a useful metaphor as long as you don’t take it literally.) I’m all in favor of parents thinking carefully about the forces that influence their children, and not simply handing them over to the State and Britney Spears (or whoever the pop idol will be in 15 years) to form as they please. So we have more common ground than you might think, and I’d like to hear your explanation of why, with all the opportunities you have of influencing your children, you think you have to be afraid of one story. It’s a good story, but not that good. And everything good in it comes from the very God Pullman rejects. So what’s to fear?

Edwin

… My daughter is a year old… The Pullman books are not the first books I would put in her path…

You yourself admit that it isn’t the first book you would put in her path. You will notice I was referring to young children, preteens who are vulnerable to this sort of thing. Perhaps we don’t disagree that much.

In other words, you can’t engage in serious argument so you resort to ad hominem.

I don’t see any ad hominem. :shrug:

You have no evidence for this…However, Lewis and Pullman both insisted that their primary reasons for writing children’s literature were artistic

Here is where you are mistaken and this is the primary focus of my disagreement. Pullman did clearly and openly state his intentions. His quotes are out there for all to see. He intended to make good little atheists and destroy the christian faith of young children.

… Books are not drugs. The fact that you think they are shows how radically you despise the great gift of intellect God has given you …Ideas cannot be compared to food or poison. …

Now who is getting personal with attacks? I radically despise the gift of intellect? Maybe I am blessed with more compassion for our young than I should be? And I DO think some ideas can be compared to poison. This is not a Utopia where everyone is gifted with reason, judgement and a great upbringing and teachers along the way. The fact is that not all people grow up properly catechised and are open to assaults from Satan. If you don’t believe Satan works through people in the form of devious works meant to lead young people astray, or don’t believe there is a devil, then we will have to agree to disagree.

Pullman’s books are not thoroughly evil–there’s a lot of goodness there along with the error.

Based on his own words, we will have to disagree. I just don’t understand why you can’t acknowledge that the man clearly said he want to kill God and turn children into good little atheists.

…My wife and I did take our daughter … to a Buddhist monastery a few weeks ago to witness a ceremony, and I have every intention of continuing to expose her to …

I applaud you for this, and I intend to do the same with my children, to a degree. I want them to be educated about different philosophies and such. A Buddhist monastery is quite different than a series of books tailored to children which, on it’s face projects a jolly romp through a magical adventure but (admited by the author) secretly intends to harm the christian faith.

…If you didn’t see it as a contest, you wouldn’t feel threatened. Obviously you think it’s a contest, and a contest you’re not sure the Gospel can win. If you don’t think Christianity is the best story, why are you a Christian?

You are confusing the issue again and I don’t appreciate your personal attack. Show some class. I do not feel threatened and I am pretty comfortable with my faith. However, I am not entirely confident in the ability of 5 - 10 year olds to reason this sort of thing out. Those that accept Santa, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy, may (if not guided properly) accept that the Magisterium is evil as is God and that he must be killed.

In your entire post you have not responded to my primary argument. Don’t you have lots of opportunities to teach the faith to your children … I was a homeschooler and I am seriously considering homeschooling my daughter. I want her to be surrounded by things that are good and holy. I don’t want her growing up on a diet of pop culture and implicit secularism. (Yes, I know I’m using the same analogy I criticized–it’s a useful metaphor as long as you don’t take it literally.) I’m all in favor of parents thinking carefully about the forces that influence their children, and not simply handing them over to the State and Britney Spears … So we have more common ground than you might think, and I’d like to hear your explanation of why, with all the opportunities you have of influencing your children, you think you have to be afraid of one story. … So what’s to fear?

So it seems we don’t really differ that much do we? You want to protect your children from public schools and the Brittany Spears cultural phenomenon - yet you want to criticize me for wanting to protect children from a man who has admitted that he wants to destroy the faith of impressionable children? Color me confused.

And you keep making this about me and my children. I am speaking on a general level. Do you think all parents out there are as great as you are? There are plenty of young, impressionable children out there that do not have the benefit of a strong role model in the faith. Should we just consider them lost chaff on the threshing floor? Or should we try to protect the young and impressionable?

Again, read about the man and his motivations.

Speculating about someone’s personal life is a pretty flagrant example of an ad hominem, particularly since you suggested that my post showed a lack of a “natural” parental instinct to protect children.

Here is where you are mistaken and this is the primary focus of my disagreement. Pullman did clearly and openly state his intentions. His quotes are out there for all to see. He intended to make good little atheists and destroy the christian faith of young children.

Give me a quote where he said this. He said that the books were about killing God, which they are. His Christian critics have unscrupulously added the words “in the minds of the readers,” which he did not say.

Pullman’s intention was to tell a story that embodied his convictions about the way the world his, which appear to be borderline atheist/agnostic (i.e., he stops short of saying that the existence of God is impossible), but more importantly are hostile to any kind of “organized” monotheistic religion, which he sees as intrinsically life-denying, authoritarian, and cruel. At the same time, he has expressed a great deal of appreciation for the teachings of Jesus, and his concept of the “Republic of Heaven” (according to his own comments) means essentially that we need to find a way to get the good aspects of religion without the bad, authoritarian bits. Naturally, I think this is a false quest. But I appreciate his moral sensibility. Try reading this speech: “Miss Goddard’s Grave.” Reading this gave me a much more favorable attitude to Pullman than I had previously had.

So does he want children to become atheists? Maybe. I’m sure he wants them to question authority (including religious authority) and affirm life in this world.

We don’t disagree that Pullman is hostile to Christianity. My point is that the best way to deal with hostile ideas (with regards to one’s children) is not to try to protect children from such ideas but to surround them with a rich intellectual environment which will give them the ability to discern good from evil.

I DO think some ideas can be compared to poison.

I perhaps didn’t express myself clearly. My point was that the body doesn’t have free will–it does have antibodies and such, but it doesn’t work on an intelligent, conscious level in its response to food. The mind, on the other hand, is not simply the sum of the thoughts put into it. (I think the basic fallacy behind many objections to “dangerous ideas” is Locke’s “tabula rasa.”) It is an active power. People think through ideas and respond to them in unpredictable ways. G. K. Chesterton claimed that he was brought to the faith in part through reading anti-Christian propaganda. I nearly lost my faith as a teenager through reading bad apologetics.

This is not a Utopia where everyone is gifted with reason, judgement and a great upbringing and teachers along the way.

Everyone is gifted with reason, though some have it more than others. I guess I misunderstood your position. I thought you were talking about what policy parents should take with regard to their own children–the only children whose access to Pullman they can control. If you aren’t talking about that, I’m not sure what you are talking about. Children who are not intelligent and curious will probably not read the books at all. Children who are intelligent and curious and come from Christian backgrounds will probably recognize the silliness of Pullman’s caricatures, or may possibly be led to ask their parents what lies behind those caricatures, which is probably a good thing. Better that they be told about the Inquisition, the burning of Servetus, etc., now than when they go off to college and wonder why their parents always kept this stuff from them.

If you don’t believe Satan works through people in the form of devious works meant to lead young people astray, or don’t believe there is a devil, then we will have to agree to disagree.

Oh, I believe there is a devil. I appear to have a rather higher opinion of his intelligence than you do. I think the only way to fight the devil is through faith, hope, and charity. Trying to outsmart him is really dumb. For all you know, an anti-Pullman campaign might be just what the devil wants, because it will confirm the stereotype that Christians are fearful bigots who can’t stand a challenge. But if Christians make it very clear that they welcome beauty, truth, and goodness wherever they are found, then the devil will have little to go on.

Based on his own words, we will have to disagree.

Have you actually read any of his writings (I don’t just mean the books–I’m also talking about interviews, speeches, etc.), or just out-of-context quotations?

I just don’t understand why you can’t acknowledge that the man clearly said he want to kill God and turn children into good little atheists.

Because he didn’t. He said that the books were about killing God. That’s a statement about what happens in the third book. Obviously he doesn’t want to kill God literally–he thinks God most likely doesn’t exist.

However, I am not entirely confident in the ability of 5 - 10 year olds to reason this sort of thing out. Those that accept Santa, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy, may (if not guided properly) accept that the Magisterium is evil as is God and that he must be killed.

Well, first of all, why not guide them properly instead of simply shutting off access? In the second place, parents who teach children that Santa, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy are real have only themselves to blame if their children can’t distinguish between fantasy and reality. In the third place, I can’t believe that one series of books would lead a Christian child to think God should be killed. And finally, I’d expect that children of that age would not plow through all three Pullman books unless they were fairly intelligent and accustomed to reading. I think your hypothetical child is too intelligent and too stupid at the same time. I even question the ages you’ve chosen–I think most kids reading Pullman are either going to be past the 5-10 range or at least toward the upper end of it. The 7-year-old I heard in the children’s room of the library the other day puzzling her way slowly through a picture book is not going to be reading Pullman. The one child (daughter of a colleague–and for what it’s worth I raised some questions in this colleague’s mind by referring to the books as “anti-Christian”) whom I know to be reading the books currently is 11, I believe. Her younger sister does not seem to be interested.

I would not sit down and read Pullman to a 5-year-old, that’s for sure. I would only encourage a child of any age to read Pullman if I thought the child was relatively mature intellectually and spiritually. My point is that we should not be trying to keep the books away from children–we should be trying to get good books into their hands.

So it seems we don’t really differ that much do we? You want to protect your children from public schools and the Brittany Spears cultural phenomenon - yet you want to criticize me for wanting to protect children from a man who has admitted that he wants to destroy the faith of impressionable children? Color me confused.

“Protect” can mean a lot of things. I don’t want children to be in an unhealthy environment. But I don’t think we need to fear ideas or books or other specific things the child might encounter. There’s a difference between wanting to provide an overall healthy environment and wanting to keep the child from contact with anything that might potentially be unhealthy. There’s also a difference between moral degradation and intellectual challenge. Pullman’s moral world is dubious on several counts (one good reason to keep him away from young children who can’t think through things carefully yet), but by and large the values he’s affirming are good ones–courage, intellectual curiosity, compassion.

Should we just consider them lost chaff on the threshing floor? Or should we try to protect the young and impressionable?

How do you propose doing that?

I guess I don’t know what we are arguing about.

I don’t think we should be out there promoting the books or movies, but I don’t see a reason to try to shut them down either. Both pragmatically and on principle, I think that’s the wrong approach. I would not deliberately introduce a young child to the books, but right now the only child over whom I have any authority is one year old, so it’s not an issue! If I heard from a child that he or she was reading the books, I would not say, “Oh, that’s terrible! Put them down.” I would ask what the child thought about the books, and try to talk through any issues that the books had raised. If my daughter Catherine (as I hope) develops a love of reading and devours Narnia and the Hobbit and the Curdie books and Winnie the Pooh and Nesbit and L’Engle and Lloyd Alexander and and, yes, Rowling–at that point I might say, “hey, there are these other interesting fantasy books you might like, but you should know something about the author’s perspective before you read them.”

Edwin

Any comment for this?

Makes sense.:smiley:

Waaaay off. Read my post again. I said I might guess that you don’t have children, at least young children. No where did I say anything about you having a lack of a protective instinct. That’s the problem with the internet sometime I suppose. But you drew conclusions based on something I never assigned to you or your parenting skills.

Here… this seems pretty clear to me. And this is the basis for my concern. I am surprised that some christians don’t have an issue with this :

In support of this contention, he cites an interview in which Pullman is quoted as saying: "I’m trying to undermine the basis of Christian belief."

Here is my disagreement, and the reason I mentioned the false assumption of a Utopian society that lets all of us, young and old, come to the natural and true conclusion through intellectual pursuit that our God is a loving God and Jesus Christ came to earth, taught us, was persecuted and died for our sins so that we may gain eternal life. You and I both know that there is a large preponderance of christians who have never been to a great site like Catholic Answers to indulge in intellectual pursuit and debate. Many who maybe go to church two or three times a year. Many who don’t even have a bible in their home. Now your argument, and it has some merit, that children who do not have intellectual curiosity will not be exposed is something I have an issue with. My contention is that people in the group I described just now have no idea of the harm that can come from the movies, set aside the books. To those who do not read sites like this or pay close attention to cultural issues, this movie appears to be a harmless fantasy. The producer has already promised that the next two movies will not water down the “religious elements” as much as the first. Once they have drawn unsuspecting children (and adults) in, they will inject more of the poison in the second two movies. It should be of note that the first book is tame in comparison to the second two.

Haha… really dumb? a fearful Christian bigot? I am also, no doubt, a mouth-breathing knuckle dragger who is mercifully free of the ravages of intelligence. Please put your pride in check. You have a higher opinion of the devil’s intelligence than I do? I also did not once advocate a boycott. I think it is essential to inform parents, but I think boycotts have proven to be counterproductive. They draw even more attention to an issue. No, I agree with you on this Edwin, even if you think I am a luddite

This can’t be right, our Bishops endorsed it!

What a joke.

The message I want to give my children, (by vowing not to take them to see this movie) is not in so much, as being fearful of a movie that demeans our faith. (it doesn’t challenge it, sorry, it just blatantly demeans and insults it) Rather, I want my kids to understand (and this is the reason I give them actually) that our money is not going to support someone’s livelihood who blatantly demeans our faith. I WILL NOT BE PART OF PROVIDING A RICH LIFESTYLE TO SOMEONE WHO DEGRADES GOD. I felt the same way about DaVinci code. I have not read that book, nor seen the movie, neither has my husband.

Our kids need to learn that as consumers, we need to make wise decisions as to where and how we spend our money. I simply will not provide the means for this author to live the high life, based on insulting the Catholic faith. I know others will support it, but not me. That’s how I view it.

I’m very particular on what I spend my money on, and if it is detracting from the faith, why should I waste one dollar on something like that?

PS: This movie is just another boring ‘take a pot shot at the Catholic Church’ run of the mill movie…just with more flash and pizzaz. I’m so bored with it. Someone should just tell the author…take a number, and get in line. Get over your hatred of the RCC.:rolleyes: It saddens me that such brilliant minds are being used so destructively. But, I actually choose to pray for this author…we all should.

Then I’m not sure what we are arguing about. (I have nothing against a “boycott” in the sense of just not going to see the movie–I’m torn between wanting to see what they have done with it and enjoy what promises to be an imaginative movie, and not wanting to “vote” in favor of Pullman–since I haven’t seen many movies in the theater recently, the latter is going to win, I think. But we agree that kicking up a public fuss, as if Hollywood were violating our rights by making the movie, is the wrong way to go.) You didn’t like it when I spoke as if you were talking about what you would do with regard to your own children (if you have any, which is none of my business).

My views about outthinking the devil, and indeed my response to this entire issue, is/are shaped by personal experience, and I should probably back off. My remarks have been more pointed than they should have been, and I apologize. I have very strong feelings about Christians trying to shelter their children (as opposed to giving them a healthy environment, which as I said I consider to be something quite different).

Edwin

I answered this in my previous post. He said he wanted to undermine the Christian faith among other things. And this is targeted at children. I have a link for the source in my previous post, and if you don’t trust Wiki (which most would do well not to), there is a link to an interview in the Washington Post. So that issue seems settled - we know the motivations of the man.

I agree with you here. And I mentioned this before. If the child is mature intellectually and spiritually. The movies don’t discriminate. They will be gobbled up by those who are stunted in their intellectual and spiritual development with potentially bad consequences for their souls.

I think we agree for the most part. But I am concerned that there are a vast number of parents that might be oblivious to possible dangers and I do think that the movies (especially the second two if made) can be more dangerous vehicles than the books for those youngsters that are not mature in their faith and intellect.

Good day Edwin, and I apologize if I was abrasive. Papa bear instinct in me and all :wink:

I basically agree. I would agree far more with regard to the DaVinci Code, since the artistic value of the latter was much lower. I read the Code in a couple of hours (obviously skimming) in an airport. I read two of the Pullman books without buying them (I don’t buy contemporary fiction that often, because I see no point buying a book unless I’m going to read it more than once), but I did buy the middle one.

Edwin

That’s another point missed. Why fund this anti-Catholic atheist with your money? So he can spread his message of “God doesn’t exist!”

I wouldn’t buy cookies from him at a bakesale; he is using the money for evil.

Might as well donate your money to Planned Parenthood while you are at it.

You got it.:thumbsup:

Well to be a little more fair about this, the two critics in the employ of the USCCB endorsed it. As they did “Brokeback Mountain”. Several of the bishops have expressed displeasure with this review and some have even called for the two critics to step down or be fired. Not sure what will come of it, but I hope something does. I think our bishops need to make strong stands and defend the faith. A boycott may be the wrong way to go, but a letter from the USCCB saying that the works behind the movies are in direct conflict with the teachings of the Church, etc. :shrug:

I know, but sadly, the buck stops with them. It is hard to defend against the movie to my friends as a Catholic when they point out it has the endorsement of the USCCB.

If they don’t want heat, get their name off of it, fire the two men,a dn condemn. This really is that hard to do; it just takes a little courage, sadly.

These books are, in fact, being removed from our Catholic school libraries, as of this moment, on orders from our Bishop.

I’m not quite sure what to think of that, because I know that there are kids who have read the books, who didn’t “catch on” to the anti-religious message in them. I think they will be surprised to find out that the books were supposed to be making them atheists - they just thought they were being entertained.

When I was a kid, I read all manner of bad literature - mostly science fiction - but I was blissfully unaware of the fact that the authors were trying to make me into a good little scientific materialist, so I didn’t become one.

I always thought that the references to religion in the books were meant to show that the author actually believed in God - I wasn’t sophisticated enough at the time to understand that the references were actually attacks on religion. So I started thinking about religion, and ended up taking my faith quite seriously, in the end - which probably wouldn’t have happened if the authors had simply avoided the subject altogether. I’d have probably ended up like most of my friends who didn’t read those sort of books - nominally Christian, without feeling any need to define what I actually believed in, one way or the other. And probably not a church-goer. :shrug:

I agree with much of what you have written.

My problem is with those parents who say, “It is only fiction.” The belief is that no harm can come from such a book and they don’t prepare or discuss the novel with their child.

I think that it especially irritates me because I do love to read. Fiction is very powerful and some of the images that remain most prominent in my mind are from good fiction novels.

Wouldn’t it be wonderfully ironic if children brought up on the Pullman novels looked into what the Catholic Church actually teaches and there was a rush to convert?:smiley:

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