I have read this before but I had so many questions from our kids about this book that I re-read it over the past few days.
Pullman is a GREAT story teller. I have to confess that simply on an entertainment value this is a GOOD book; creative, imaginative and well developed. I have always found Pullman’s image of the Daemon, the creature which every human being has in this parallel ‘world’, fascinating. Is he using the daemon image to represent our ‘spirit’ and /or conscience?
Is this book an attack on the church or God? Probably, because most writers write from their own philosophical outlook and Pullman, as an atheist looks upon the church in a particular way. There are some fun things in this book such as Pope John Calvin from Geneva (where the center of church power is!!). There is no doubt Pullman is saying something about abusive authority (within the church over the centuries??) and how it effects people. But even if this book is an all out attack on the church, christianity and God, so what!!
It really is irrelevant as to what Pullman’s motive is. It simply changes nothing. God is God. Jesus is Jesus. He is the king and ruler over the whole universe and every knee shall bow down before him, regardless of what Pullman will ever say.
I find it amazing that Christians react as if the gospel will collapse if we do not stop this movie or that book. Should we stop reading any journalist that is an atheist? We cannot have free speech and then restrict that speech by imposing christian standards on a secular society.
Will the film and the book influence kids view of the church and of christians? Possibly. But we too can influence kids with how we react and act towards them. But could it be that kids may be influenced because they look at the church and they do see abusive authority or an abusive history, in fighting, gossiping, suing each other, dishonesty, untruthfulness, lack of prayer, lack of worship etc.
Maybe, if the church was truly living as christ asked us, any attack on the church or christians would be dismissed with “that’s not true – the church and believers I have meet are compassionate, loving, helpful, caring, honest, truthful, prayerful, worshipping people etc, etc.”
If Pullman has thrown out a challenge about what the church is, then surely we should respond by showing him and the world what the church SHOULD be like; and then doing it through our witness; teaching the bible, teaching Christ and living the faith each day.
Then, the next time a book or a film comes out which seems to attack the church people will say “nah, thats not true because I know some christians and thats nothing like them.”