Philip Pullman Is A Liar [Akin]

jimmyakin.typepad.com/defensor_fidei/images/2007/11/29/philip_pullman_20050416.pngOr, if you want to quibble about the word “lie,” he is a dishonest man.
Here’s why:
Pullman is the author of the His Dark Materials trilogy, which is overtly anti-Christian and the first volume of which has been made into a movie titled The Golden Compass. Naturally, the Catholic League and its head Bill Donohue are warning parents against it, and Pullman is quoted as saying the following:
"To regard it as this Donohue man has said - that I’m a militant atheist,and my intention is to convert people - how the hell does he know that?"he said, in an interview with Newsweek magazine.
First, note that what we have here is a vehement non-denial denial. Pullman isn’t denying that he’s a militant atheist with the intention to convert people (at least in this quote; he may have made an actual denial elsewhere, in which case he’s a flat-out liar). He’s vehemently questioning how one would know that in order to convey the impression that he is not a militant atheist out to convert people and that he’s indignant at the statement that he is one.
Because it’s a non-denial denial, one can quibble over whether it constitutes a lie, just like one can quibble over whether various non-denial denials issued by the Nixon White House (or other White Houses) were technically lies, but the clear intent here is to deceive.
But let’s answer Pullman’s question: How “the hell” does Bill Donohue know that Pullman is a militant atheist out to convert people?
Because Pullman himself has said so!
In an interview published inthe Washington Post (Feb. 19, 2001), he stated:
“’I’m trying to undermine the basis ofChristian belief,’ says Pullman. ‘Mr. Lewis [C.S. Lewis, author of *The Chronicles of Narnia] would think Iwas doing the Devil’s work.’”
Similarly, in an interview published in the Sydney MorningHerald (Dec. 13, 2003), Pullman stated:
“I’ve been surprised by how littlecriticism I’ve got. Harry Potter’s been taking all the flak. I’m a great fan ofJ.K. Rowling, but the people—mainly from America’s Bible Belt—who complain thatHarry Potter promotes Satanism or witchcraft obviously haven’t got enough intheir lives. Meanwhile, I’ve been flying under the radar, saying things thatare far more subversive than anything poor old Harry has said. My books areabout killing God.”
And indeed they are. In the end, the heroes of the novelsactually kill God.
So Pullman is simply being dishonest when he vehemently questions how anyone could know that he is a militant atheist out to convert people. He himself has made it abundantly clear in press interviews.
This kind of transparent disingenuity really makes Pullman come across as a small and pathetic individual.
For all the protestations atheists typically make about embracing truth rather than a fairy tale, it seems Mr. Pullman leaves something to be desired in the truth department.
And why not?
If, on his view, we’re just walking bags of chemicals then why shouldn’t the bag of chemicals that is Philip Pullman not spout any string of syllables needed in order to maximize its bank account and the amount of power it has to command pleasurable sensory feedback?

More…

Akin blog citing Pullman << “To regard it as this Donohue man has said - that I’m a militant atheist, and my intention is to convert people - how the hell does he know that?” he said, in an interview with Newsweek magazine. >>

To defend Pullman a little…

Akin blog << How “the hell” does Bill Donohue know that Pullman is a militant atheist out to convert people? Because Pullman himself has said so! >>

Then the two quotes from newspapers:

Akin blog << In an interview published in the Washington Post (Feb. 19, 2001), he stated: “’I’m trying to undermine the basis of Christian belief,’ says Pullman. ‘Mr. Lewis [C.S. Lewis, author of The Chronicles of Narnia] would think I was doing the Devil’s work.’”

Maybe he means: I am indeed trying to undermine Christian belief in my novels, because I personally don’t accept the religion of Christianity. Just as Christians write Christian fiction, I write my own fiction. But it is up to you to decide whether my undermining makes sense. I’m not trying to convert anyone. You must think for yourself and decide whether atheism or Christianity or something else makes sense to you. Mr. Lewis would probably think I was doing the devil’s work, but that’s up to you to decide whether there is a devil at all. Give me your best case for the existence of God or the existence of the devil. I am willing to debate Jimmy Akin and Bill Donohue, any time, any where, at a place of their choosing. I’ll take them both on. :thumbsup:

Akin blog << Similarly, in an interview published in the Sydney Morning Herald (Dec. 13, 2003), Pullman stated: “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.”

Maybe he means: I am not trying to convert anyone. My books are about killing God because I think God should be killed. That’s very subversive thinking especially in fundamentalist America. But you must think and decide for yourself. I write novels that interest me. Christians write novels about God for children, my novels are about children thinking for themselves, because I don’t think they need God or religion or the Magisterium of the Roman Catholic Church to think for them. But I am not trying to convert anyone, you must think and convert yourself. Conversion and evangelism is a Christian thing. :confused:

From Philip Pullman Reaches the Garden

Pullman: "I knew that the story would fall into three parts. The first part would deal with Lyra, taking her to Svalbard and the gateway between the worlds. The second part would introduce Will and take him up to the point where that book ended. And the third book would deal with Will and Lyra together and their perilous journey toward the garden…

I knew it would end in a garden. And I knew I would use a variation on the temptation motif, when Lyra falls in love. It’s the story in the third chapter of the Book of Genesis, but here it’s seen from another angle, through other eyes, this moment of revelation and sudden understanding, sudden self-consciousness, knowledge. I knew it would happen like that from the very beginning, seven years ago…

I think it makes a big difference if you read those books [referring to C.S. Lewis Narnia] as a kid. I read them when I’d already grown up, and I thought they were loathsome, full of bullying and sneering, propaganda, basically, on behalf of a religion whose main creed seemed to be to despise and hate people unlike yourself. Whatever Christianity says, I don’t think it’s that."

(interview “Philip Pullman Reaches the Garden”, August 31, 2000)

From About the Writing at Philip-Pullman.com

Q: His Dark Materials seems to be against organised religion. Do you believe in God?

A: I don’t know whether there’s a God or not. Nobody does, no matter what they say. I think it’s perfectly possible to explain how the universe came about without bringing God into it, but I don’t know everything, and there may well be a God somewhere, hiding away. Actually, if he is keeping out of sight, it’s because he’s ashamed of his followers and all the cruelty and ignorance they’re responsible for promoting in his name. If I were him, I’d want nothing to do with them. ( from www.Philip-Pullman.com )

Looks like Pullman is a militant agnostic: “nobody [knows], no matter what they say.”

Phil P

BTW, there are three kinds of agnostics.

There’s the ordinary agnostic: I don’t know whether there’s a God, but I’d like to see any evidence you may have and we can discuss it.

There’s the ornery agnostic: I don’t know whether there’s a God, but I know that you don’t know either. That’s Philip Pullman. :rolleyes:

There’s the extra-ordinary agnostic: Paul Kurtz. Sorry got that from an old John Ankerberg debate. :smiley:

Phil P

BTW, “Phil P” does not mean I am Philip Pullman. I hope you have that figured out by now after 3.5 years and 2300 posts. :stuck_out_tongue:

Phil P

Phil, it sounds like you’re defending Pullman too much. He clearly said his books are about killing God and he doesn’t believe in God, even if he says he doesn’t know, he still doubts it and he definitely rejects Christianity and it shows in the books, which is what he is saying.

So, IMHO, Jimmy is right to call him on trying to deny what he himself has admitted.

And Christopher Hitchens is an extra-ordinary magisterium agnostic.:smiley:

<< He clearly said his books are about killing God and he doesn’t believe in God >>

Pullman: I don’t know if there is a God, but if he’s anything like I read in these Jack Chick comic books where trillions died in the “Inquisition”, I say let’s kill him off.

I’m hoping for a Donohue vs. Pullman debate on CNBC, probably not gonna happen. How about Pete Vere vs. Nicole Kidman on Larry King Live! That’ll surely happen! Sorry, it’s the debate junkie in me. :stuck_out_tongue:

Phil P

First let me say, I DO NOT believe that God is anything like the God in the Jack Chick comic books. But even if he were remember he is God. He set up the universe, he created life and HE made the rules. In other words, God invented right and wrong. If he wanted good morals to be flapping your arms like an idiot every time someone sneezed then that would be the moral thing to do.:stuck_out_tongue: I am being silly and serious at the same time.

So, even if God decided to be just like the Jack Chick God-WHICH I DON"T BELIEVE HE IS-then that would be the correct thing for him to be. Why? Because he is God and he gets to decide what is right and wrong.

] would think Iwas doing the Devil’s work.’”
Similarly, in an interview published in the Sydney MorningHerald (Dec. 13, 2003), Pullman stated:
“I’ve been surprised by how littlecriticism I’ve got. Harry Potter’s been taking all the flak. I’m a great fan ofJ.K. Rowling, but the people—mainly from America’s Bible Belt—who complain thatHarry Potter promotes Satanism or witchcraft obviously haven’t got enough intheir lives. Meanwhile, I’ve been flying under the radar, saying things thatare far more subversive than anything poor old Harry has said. My books areabout killing God.”
And indeed they are. In the end, the heroes of the novelsactually kill God.
So Pullman is simply being dishonest when he vehemently questions how anyone could know that he is a militant atheist out to convert people. He himself has made it abundantly clear in press interviews.
This kind of transparent disingenuity really makes Pullman come across as a small and pathetic individual.
For all the protestations atheists typically make about embracing truth rather than a fairy tale, it seems Mr. Pullman leaves something to be desired in the truth department.
And why not?
If, on his view, we’re just walking bags of chemicals then why shouldn’t the bag of chemicals that is Philip Pullman not spout any string of syllables needed in order to maximize its bank account and the amount of power it has to command pleasurable sensory feedback?

More…

I actually dont understand what he is meant to be a liar/ being dishonest about.

Nothing there suggests that he is a 'millitant athiest" or that he is trying to convert people.

The anylsis of these quotes are not done well at all and simply took the conclusion that the writer of the article wanted rather than the actual conclusion.

If Philip Pullman is a liar (or decietful) then the writer of this article has to do a far better job of proving that.

No, this is pernicious heresy. A “divine command theory of ethics” has done Christianity more harm than almost anything else. This is why people like Pullman see historic Christianity as evil (and blatantly misread Lewis, who himself said that the view you are defending amounts to demon-worship).

If, per impossibile, there were an omnipotent being who was unjust, and if, again per impossibile, that being had created all life, that being would still not be the Christian God but simply a very powerful demon, and the noblest thing we could do would be to defy the demon and be “damned” for it.

Fortunately, I don’t think there is any chance that we live in such a dark and evil universe. Atheism, unlikely as I find it, is a lot more likely than that.

Edwin

I basically agree with you, though I can see Akin’s point that Pullman does seem to be backing off from some of the things he’s said earlier. That doesn’t make him a liar–there is a difference between an agnostic/atheist who dislikes “organized religion” and a “militant atheist” who wants to convert people to atheism. It’s a pretty fine distinction from the point of view of Christian believers, but I can see why it would be important to Pullman (and why an apologist like Akin would not be impressed by the distinction).

Edwin

I think that you are misunderstanding me.

If, per impossible, there were an omnipotent being who was unjust, and if, again per impossible, that being had created all life, that being would still not be the Christian** God but simply a very powerful demon, and the noblest thing we could do would be to defy the demon and be “damned” for it**.

Because God, not us, is the basis of right and wrong, it is impossible for him to be evil. He can’t be. But because He defines the rules what ever he decided was right or wrong is what is right or wrong.

No, we would not have any right to Judge God. How could we dare. He is God. He gets to decide it all.

God is the creator. Demons don’t create. They are the opposite of God. Whatever is noble is what God decides is noble. To say that defying God for any reason would be noble is foolishness. He is the creator, he keeps your atoms from flying apart. He holds the protons in our nuclei together. The only reason that we exist is because God allows us to exist.

Fortunately, I don’t think there is any chance that we live in such a dark and evil universe. Atheism, unlikely as I find it, is a lot more likely than that.

Edwin

I hate it when I disagree with you but let me explain my reasoning and maybe you will understand.:o Most of the time I agree with you on issues. Even when I disagree with you I still always understand your reasoning.

God created the rules that we live by. We humans didn’t. What we view as good and evil is a direct result of God. Good and evil do not exist apart from God, he transcends them. He is the one that is morality. The only reason we have some concept of right and wrong is because he allows us to have that concept.

Most cultures have some form of the golden rule. This is because God allowed humans to instinctively know that treating others as you wish to be treated is the right thing to do. But it wouldn’t be good unless God decided that it was good to treat others as you wish to be treated.

God isn’t good because of our rules but because that is what he is. For people like Pullman to judge God is very silly. I honestly think that they have no concept of how immense the being that we call God must be.

The universe would not be dark and evil to us because it is God who ultimately defines what is evil not us. We would feel that everything was wonderful if that is what he wanted us to feel. The bible says that God put his rules on man’s heart(Romans can’t remember verse) God could decide any rules he wanted to. It was God that decided right and wrong. Not us.

I guess what I am trying to express is that goodness is not something that we humans came up with on our own. Goodness, nobility and truth are God. He chose to let us have the ability to understand what truth, nobility and goodness is based on what he is.

Did that make better sense?

I’ve started a thread in the “Philosophy” forum.

Edwin

OK, saw the movie. It played as a sneak preview in Tampa.

I can say I appreciate the special effects and acting, but I can’t say I “enjoyed” a movie where the enemy is “The Magisterium” (said at least 20 times in the movie so we understand who the “bad guys” are, and they spell the word in a sub-title at one point), and when they take us to The Magisterium’s headquarters, it looks pretty much like this:

So yep, Da Vinci Code all over again, except in a fantasy world. They set up for a sequel at the end just as the first Pullman novel does. And they refer to “The Authority” a couple of times, and we learn who that is in the third novel. I have the novels but haven’t read all of them. The first movie makes clear the “enemy” is the Catholic Church. No mistaking the picture, even if people don’t know what “Magisterium” means.

Phil P

BTW, in the Golden Compass movie I think it’s clear The Magisterium is the Catholic Church, especially with the picture that looks identical to St. Peter’s Square, and reference to “burning heretics” and “heresy” etc. But they remove the word “Church” from the movie.

However, in the first book Northern Lights, the Calvinists take over Christendom, and “Pope John Calvin” moves “the seat of the Papacy” to Geneva, while later the Papacy is done away with, and “The Magisterium” (“a tangle of courts, colleges, and councils”) replaces it, and “the Church’s power over every aspect of life, had been absolute.” So I guess the novels are as much anti-Calvinist as anti-Catholic.

Here is the relevant audio from Northern Lights (or Golden Compass published in the U.S.). I believe this is Philip Pullman himself, as he reads all the narrator commentary in the audio books.

Phil P

OH no! Do you know how far away I try to stay from that forum?:o

[quote="Catholic_Opinion, post:1, topic:93291"]
Pullman: ’I'm trying to undermine the basis of Christian belief,’ says Pullman. ‘Mr. Lewis would think I was doing the Devil's work.’

[/quote]

And he'd be right. That's just what ol' Nicky wants: 'useful idiots' like Pullman doing his dirty work, while not believing he exists.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.