What is your take on this? (i.e. Golden Compass)

Something I found on one of my friend’s ‘notes’. I dont know what to think about it.

your thoughts…

Hello, my name is David Thomas. I am a Catholic from St. Louis and support the Democratic Party. Now that I have established my background, I hope you can listen to what I have to say. We all have seen the groups for Boycotting the Gold Compass. Well I say that’s ignorant and closed minded. In the media it’s been called the Anti-Narnia, it is. The author Philip Pullman actually stated that the books are about “killing god.” Christian groups are going absolutely nuts about the movie. All I can say is, why?

Philip Pullman did exactly what C.S. Lewis did. He wrote a book based on his views of religion and that book was a great fantasy action novel. It was then turned into a movie. The only differences between C.S. Lewis and Pullman is that A) Pullman is alive and able to comment on his stories B) He is an Atheist.

Christianity is one religion, in my opinion the right religion. I belive that Christ died for me and everyone else that chooses to believe in him. BUT EVERYONE IS ENTITLED TO THEIR OWN OPINION. If a group of people decide to turn their opinion into a motion picture, far be it from us to stop them. They have just as much a right as us to tell the world what they believe and why.

I see no reason why we should persecute them for our shortcomings. Because that is what this is about. It’s not the movie, it’s the message. People are afraid that someone will “fall victim” to the belief and opinion that there is no gods or God. Well we are responisble for the outreach and mission that we have been told, no, demanded to do by Christ. If we can let one movie prevent us from preaching to someone or saving them. If we can’t do that, then we fail. And that is what we fear, losing souls and failing to do as Christ demanded.

Just because we are frightened to fail in our duty as Christians shouldn’t prevent us from seeing any angle we can. We owe it to ourselves to make sure that we examine every angle and thorougly examine all beliefs so that we can better adjust our thinking and opinions in respect so we can better get closer to the truth in our opinions. Also we should not prevent others from doing the same thing.

I cannot see one valid reason why a boycott is necissary. I think it hurts our cause more than it helps as it sends a dark shadow across all Christian groups when any sect stands outside of a movie or book signing to boycott an author or director. It sends out the image of an archaic demanding and insane religious group that aren’t an inviting group to even consider joining.

So before you or someone you know goes out and publicly boycotts or even privately discusses their disgust for the movie, please let them read this and try to understand what I’m trying to say. I may not be a brilliant storyteller or writer that can project his thoughts well, but I pray that you can understand what I am saying and take it to heart. Thank you for your time and thank you for reading this small speech I felt needed to be said.

Sounds like Cafeteria Catholicism! :tsktsk:

I think all Catholics of good conscience can agree that what we do not want for this movie is more publicity.

I assume that your question “What do you think of this?” you mean to imply that there may something wrong with it. Or rather, that you sense something is wrong with it, but can not put your finger on exactly what it is.

The thing about theater, is that we willingly enter into a state of mind that is susceptible to deception. We open one part of our minds and close another. The trick in matters like these is to take a step back and tell yourself “This is just theater” and look past the lights and the costumes and see the things the lights and the costumes are trying to keep you from noticing; an actress with a crooked nose, the paper background is about to fall over, the music is always off cue, etc

I hope that you do not misunderstand my meaning here. By “theater” I do not mean the movie, The Golden Compass I mean your friend’s note.

See the words in all caps? Emphatic aren’t they? It is what they are not that is the problem. They are not a logical argument but a simple pithy aphorism. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion? No one who opposes The Golden Compass believes in robbing persons of their opinions (if such a ludicrous action is in fact possible). Accusing Catholics who oppose the movie of the disentitlement of opinions is just part of the theater.

But only part.

In the following paragraph, we have the pretty little line: I see no reason why we should persecute them for our shortcomings.

More theater. Who exactly is being persecuted? How is boycotting a movie based on the books of a rich author persecution? If preventing Phillip Pullman from getting another million dollars is persecution, then let me be the first to quote Monty Python “Help! Help! I’m being oppressed!”

It sounds like kindness, but it is not. It is a sleep spell being cast to give weight to your eyelids. You can do nothing and still sleep restfully.

The reality is quite the opposite. Tell me, how many atheistic films have you seen come out of Islamic countries or even Hindu ones?

Have you not noticed where the world’s greatest concentrations of atheists are? Atheists are born of Christian civilizations. It is in Christian lands that they are allowed to live, to write, to “challenge preconceived notions” as they say.

So who exactly are they blaming for not being open to the words and ideas of the atheists? You will probably find no more accommodating society for atheists than Christian ones (I exclude Communist societies where atheism is spread by the sword). Accusing Christians of being thin-skinned in the face of atheism is an absolute aberration of the truth.

It is the atheists who are thin-skinned. Atheists are the ones who ignore the arguments of Thomas Aquinas, if you read the works of Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins, you will see they try, but they have no understanding of the most basic of thomistics.

Atheists are also too cowardly to go into the world as missionaries. They follow on the heels of Christians like cockroaches after slobs.

But I digress.

The ultimate point is that your friend’s note is a roundabout rationalization of his philosophy of inaction.

You may remember it from the confession “forgive me for what I have done and for what I have failed to do.”

The odd thing about reading your friend’s note is that he makes it sound like we are somehow obligated to line the coffers of an author even if we find his ideas disagreeable and that to do otherwise would show narrow-mindedness on our part…i’m sure Hollywood would love it if everyone took that view about every film they released!

When Narnia came out did not some people stay away because “oh it’s just some Christian film, think i’ll pass on that”. Were they accused of being close-minded? Or what about people who pass on films because they think there is too much violence, or too much sex, or too swearing? Would that more people would do this! But should they instead have paid to see the films out of some sort of duty to demonstrate open-mindedness?

No, of course not. We have every right to be selective. Especially so when it comes to parents selecting what material enters their children’s minds (just as they should be selective about what kinds of foods enter their children’s body) and perhaps more importantly how it enters their minds. It is one thing if they are exposed to, say, anti-Catholicism in a direct manner with both points and counterpoints. It is another thing if those ideas try to sneak into a child’s mind in a Trojan Horse sort of way, where they are dressed up as simply entertainment and therefore the child let’s it come in without being on guard to what he is really letting in and so it slowly seeps into the child’s mind without the child really being aware of it.

However, i would agree with your friend in one sense. In that, rightly or wrongly, using the word boycott often elicits a negative connotation in that it seems too authoritarian. Even if the purpose of the boycott is noble, a way of saying “we can band together and take a stand and try to stop this potential blight (as we see it) from spreading”, it still strikes many as being a heavy-handed approach. Instead, i think we would be better off abandoning the word boycott. To do essentially the same thing but to call it an advisory, just as a way to let people know what the product contains and what the maker of the product seems to hope the effect that his product will have on people, especially young people, and that his product may not be exactly what it is advertised to be.

To me this would be more effective. Just give people the facts in a low-key manner and let them decide. And most of all don’t shout BOYCOTT and drum up more curiosity seekers to the product than there might otherwise have been.

I’m a little confused-is your friend saying that Christians think Pullman shouldn’t have been allowed to write his books and/or they shouldn’t be allowed to be made into movies? That’s not true, I haven’t heard or read of any Christian individual or group saying that. Pullman has every right to write whatever he wants, and the movie companies have every right to turn them into movies. But I’m not obligated to see them. I “boycott” most movies (at least until they come out on pay per view or satellite). The last movie I saw in the theatre was “Dan in Real Life” (for my anniversary), the last one I saw b/f that (ironically) was The Chronicles of Narnia, and b/f that “The Passion of the Christ” (movies cost about a million dollars to see after paying for the trough of popcorn and gallon of soda, not to mention finding and paying for a babysitter, so dh and I only go about once every couple of years). So am I supposed to waste my once every 2 year movie experience on a film that I know goes against my most deeply held beliefs and is going to p*ss me off? And isn’t it my right of free speech to discuss these books/movie w/ anyone I want? Or does only Pullman have freedom of speech? I think your friend is doing the “roll over and play dead Christian” dance, lest we “offend” the nonbelievers. I think it’s bull.

In Christ,


The difference between the beautiful books that Lewis wrote and the blasphemous garbage that Pullman wrote is that Pullman is deliberately trying to undermine Christianity. He has been quoted that he HATED the Narnia books.

I hate that this movie is being touted as an adventure. I remember how the teaser trailer looked intriguing when I first saw it. Then I looked up information on it and IMDB’s boards. I was amazed. I couldn’t believe that it was anti religious. After all, the teaser trailer began with “from the people who brought you the Lord of the Rings”. The problem many Catholics see is that seeing the movie may lead a child to want the books and then the books may lead children to question the existence of God and therefore actually abandon their faith. Children are very impressionable. I can not believe the books are in the Children’s section of the local bookstore.

BTW, C.S. Lewis actually became an atheist for a short time. If it hadn’t been for his friend J.R.R. Tolkien (and others I think?) helping to lead him back, we may not have had the Narnia books.

Sincerely yours,
Martin Luther

Ironically, now that you have established your background, I am less likely to listen to what you have to say.

Thanks all for your comments. Just like StubbleSpark said:

I couldnt put my finger on exactly what it is. Due to everyone’s input, i was able to figure out what I was thinking.

When I first saw the note, I was surprised. My friend who posted it up is a devout Protestant (she found the note somewhere else, and posted it up too, saying she agrees with the note).

In our world today, there is too much ‘open mindness’ talk and political correctness. I find that in university, alot of people are very opinionated, especially on ‘open-mindness’. Unfortunately, they lose meaning about the entitlement for your own opinion and open mindness…and if you want to say your opinion = you are forcing your opinion on them. That’s why I like what Dennis states about openmindness in this article: boogiejack.com/goodies_008.html

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