Don’t be confused; God is not dead, nor can he be

If the way to capture the attention of a man is with food and the way to capture a woman’s attention is with jewelry, then the way to a child’s heart is through cute and cuddly animals. From stuffed puppies to animated mice, children love animals. This is a fact that Philip Pullman knows all too well, and utilizes this ploy in the production of his soon-to-be-released movie, “The Golden Compass.”

Disguised as another family-friendly holiday movie experience, Pullman desires his trilogy of novels to be the next big screen hit in the pattern of “Lord of the Rings” and the “Chronicles of Narnia.”

But parents need to be warned that not all is well in this featured flick of zoological animals brought to bear on the big screen. Mom and Dad need to beware lest the cute and cuddly animals transform into a rabid beast seeking to infect children with the disease of cynicism and meaninglessness as they are being prepared to face the world.

The story focuses on a 12-year-old girl named Lyra who sets out to find her kidnapped friend. Her only companion on the rescue mission is a daemon (pronounced “demon”) named Pantalaimon, which represents Lyra’s soul. Within this fictionalized cinematic world every person is portrayed as having to deal with their own daemon.

This movie has a message within its message, and it is that message which should concern parents. In various published interviews, Pullman has admitted to “flying under the radar” to get his message out to the world. In his own words, “I wanted to reach everyone, and the best way I could do that was to write for children and hope that they’d tell their parents.”

So what exactly is the message that Pullman wants to communicate to your child? Again, in his own words, “If there is a God, and he is as the Christians describe him, then he deserves to be put down and rebelled against.” He goes so far as to say “my books are about killing God.” The death of God is the very concept that motivates Pullman in the publication of this story.

In the second book of the trilogy, one of the main characters is told that he has a magical knife that “is able to defeat the tyrant,” who is revealed to be “the Authority. God.” Christianity is said to be the greatest lie propagated among humanity, and Heaven is discovered to be nothing more than a “prison camp.”

The third book sees the goal of the author come to fruition as God is portrayed as being murdered. Young children read with wide eyes and impressionable imaginations as two characters that represent Adam and Eve take of the fruit that they have been instructed to avoid, but in a twist of the biblical reality they destroy God instead of God judging them.

Granted, this portion of the story is not contained within the movie due to hit the theaters on Dec. 7. However, if the first release receives a great deal of support, we can be assured that the next two will not be far behind, in which one of them shall surely reveal the diabolical act of the murder of God, to the Christians’ horror, the atheists’ delight, and the child’s demise. I would caution all parents to avoid supporting Pullman’s work, either on screen or in written form.

Many people know the startling reality of opening the paper to the obituary section to find familiar names of friends and acquaintances of years gone by. I am reminded of an instance where one of my church members was reading the morning paper, and to his surprise, the obituary of another church member and dear friend of his appeared in the paper. After closer examination it became obvious that this was a case of mistaken identity, his friend had not passed away, but it was someone else with the same name. The reality of death is a topic of confusion for every person at some point within their life.
Much like Pullman, philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche burst onto his scene in the late 19th century with the cry “God is dead.”

This statement reveals the confusion that both Pullman and Nietzsche suffer from. There is to this day a grave in Germany occupied by the remains of a 55-year-old German who succumbed to mental illness and pneumonia, though his remains are probably nothing more than some dust and a few bones that have yet to decompose. The remains belong to this same Nietzsche who announced the death of God. It seems he was confused. It is humanity that faces death, not God.

One day, Philip Pullman’s books will suffer decay, his films will be locked up in a dusty vault, and his body will decompose just like Neitzcshe’s. That is the same fate that awaits us all. However, this Christmas season, we celebrate the only One whose grave retains no remains.

Pullman, Nietzsche, and others can cry out for the death of God from now until eternity. However, this only reveals their confusion about the nature of both God and death. For in Christ, God has defeated death for all who come to him in faith. “The Golden Compass” is simply the figment of an author’s overactive imagination that admittedly seeks to destroy God by using a nation’s children as pawns within his own ill-advised endeavor.

Do not let cinematography or written literature confuse you. God is not dead nor will he ever be, though one day “The Golden Compass” shall pass into oblivion. There is a set of sandal-marked footprints leading away from a manger, into a grave, and back out again that proves it. g

?John Mann is pastor of LaJunta Baptist Church in Springtown.

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