Friday, November 30, 2007

Friday Forum #4

Everyone's got their undies in a bunch about The Golden Compass- including, and especially, the Catholic Church. My kids go to Catholic school, as I've mentioned. They brought home a letter from the local Diocese encouraging parents to be very cautious about this book and upcoming movie. The local stance doesn't seem to call for an all-out boycott, rather it suggests that it may provide for some thoughtful dialogue between parents and children. Personally, any time they ban a book or come close to it, it makes me want to read it all the more.

I plan to buy the book this weekend and see what all the fuss is about. Is faith really so fragile? A work of fiction can put it in danger?

What do y'all think? Anyone read it?



Blogger Professor J said...

I'm with you. I intend to read the book and see for myself.

11/30/2007 8:23 PM  
Blogger girlfiend said...

The books are amazing. My students turned me on to them a couple of years ago and I plowed through the trilogy in a week.

I've been arguing about the books on a messageboard for about a week now. The debate is infuriating. My opinion is that the boycott is based upon two out of context quotes by the author. If you read the full interviews the quotes make perfect sense and aren't anti-Christian or Catholic at all.

The author is simply anti-religious intolerance. He's against religion when it persecutes non-believers. It seems that the very religious in this country are intolerant of anyone against intolerance.

11/30/2007 9:01 PM  
Blogger girlfiend said...

Oh, and I should add that I think it's great your local diocese is calling for caution instead of a boycott. I'm completely anti-censorship, but I'm all about dialogue between parents and children.

11/30/2007 9:02 PM  
Blogger green3 said...

I'm so ticked off about the restrictions entites are placing on kids these days. I mean, why is it wrong to watch and read fairy tales that are totally make believe? I grew up watching Looney Toones, which I've heard a lot of discussions about. But am I compulsively purchasing ACME products because of it? And my son is a HUGE Harry Potter fan, but he doesn't really believe in wizards. Can't we all just have a little enjoyment by being entertained by fiction?

11/30/2007 10:09 PM  
Blogger MsAbcMom said...

I want to see it. The only thing holding me back is that my daughter is a bit afraid of the previews. She asked if we could wait and watch it when it comes out on dvd so that she can pause it or snuggle up to me when it gets scary. Sounds good to me!!!

11/30/2007 10:34 PM  
Blogger Bellezza said...

Actually, it kind of scares me. When an author says he hates, loathes and despises Christianity in general, and the Narnia series with C.S. Lewis' thoughts in particular, I get a little nervous. I mean, who writes a book about a little girl killing God? Still, everyone's free to form their own opinion which is the beauty of America.

On another note, please consider joining my Japanese Literature Challenge. The details came be found at:

I'd love to talk more books with you!

12/01/2007 8:27 AM  
Blogger ms. whatsit said...

I read the entire series several years ago. I loved it. In many ways, it reminded me of Harry Potter, except that it's much smarter.

In a nutshell, it's about good v. evil in parallel universes with lots of magic. I guess it has the potential to collide with some people's religious beliefs, but I was not personally offended.

12/01/2007 9:21 AM  
Blogger girlfiend said...

Bellezza- Everyone is entitled to form their own opinion it just concerns me when people's opinions are based upon sound bites and misinformation.

The author has never said he hates, loathes and despises Christianity in general. And the book is not about a little girl killing God.

12/01/2007 11:13 AM  
Blogger Mrs. T said...

Just going to throw this out there- didn't John Lennon say they were bigger than God? And who was it that said "God is dead"?
Some people felt that the Harry Potter series was anti-Christian because they were wizards, and thus pagan. They are also fictional characters.
It disturbs me that in the year 2007, people are afraid of a book. A book. I am greatly insulted by the insinuation/assumption by the Catholic church in particular that would assume that I can't think for myself and that my religious beliefs are so shallow that they will be compromised by the reading of a work of fiction. They are giving Phillip Pullman a lot of power.
I think what we really need to fear is impending war and facism.

12/01/2007 12:01 PM  
Blogger Mrs. T said...

It was Nietzche who said "God is dead", which I know is different than actually killing God, but equally as inflamatory to some.
So, should we ban Nietzche? Should we remove every piece of literature that doesn't align exactly with our beliefs?

12/01/2007 12:08 PM  
Blogger ed techie said...

I agree that when the Catholic Church makes these types of statement, I get busy. I think this is the next book to read at night with my son...I want to understand more and be able to talk with differing views of life on our world and alternate fictional worlds with my sone.

12/03/2007 12:08 PM  
Blogger Jason Bengs said...

As often happens, when a boycott is issued it increases the desire for people to see it. This is the point that many people are missing. A parent should never allow their child to see something without first making sure it is appropriate. If you don't like the message that is being presented or don't think your child is mature enough to handle the content, like a child killing God, then don't let them watch it. When they are old enough, then they may watch. I often read books that are against my faith to find out what is being propagated. As should anyone. If you want some validation on some of the quotes go here:

12/03/2007 2:35 PM  
Blogger NYC Educator said...

Wow. I've never even heard of these books, and thanks for bringing them to my attention. I love Harry Potter, and I read Narnia with my daughter and like that too. This sounds like a good prospect.

12/03/2007 7:04 PM  
Blogger Adeline said...

When Nietzsche said God was dead he basically was referring to how as a civilization we began to prefer science to explain questions about why things are what they are rather than using the previous reference point of God and Bible.

As for the book, I agree it is wierd when the church starts to issue warnings about content and at a time in my life it would have only served to make me more curious. My bro read the book and he said it wasn't anti christian, it just had some latent undeveloped things that in later books called "His dark materials" became anti christian.

The fear about the wizardry (please don't mistake me for an advocate of this fear) was that it was so titillating and aimed at such a young audience (initially) that it incited a curiosity in magic. Magic, spells and a strong curiosity towards them isn't really the direction Christian parents usually want to send their kids (even if it is all fiction).

Kids are a wide open target. And most of the time parents just haven't got the time to preread every one of their kids stuff, so...

My understanding is that Golden Compass is pretty tame. Nothing to lose ones head about, especially the's the books that follow that get more aggressive about the anti Christian theme.

This also has info about it

12/04/2007 9:36 PM  
Blogger EHT said...

While I don't necessarily like the thought of a plot where God is killed by a child (doctrine states that couldn't happen anyway) I don't necessarily like the thought of book banning either. The majority of people who pan the book/movie haven't read it or seen it. I don't believe we have rampant wizard wanna-bes due to Harry Potter and I believe the outcry is much ado about nothing. If parents have grounded their children in the faith of their choosing the book/movie should inspire dialogue and not conversion.

12/07/2007 5:35 PM  
Blogger Bellezza said...

Beautifully stated, EHT!

12/08/2007 7:29 PM  
Blogger Lauren said...

I've read the book and seen the movie. I can see where he is going, and I don't think it's right, but nothing worth banning the book over. Your question, "Is faith really that fragile" hits the issue square on the noggin. I know what I believe and it's formed by years of study and experince. One book isn't going to crush it. And if parents are concerned about their kids - read it with them! It's a good chance to have open dialogue and talk about important things, like God and what we believe about Him.

Sorry for the long comment; I've had many discussions about this and it's get me a littel fired up, lol. ~ L

12/11/2007 11:32 AM  

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