The Golden Compass Points Kids the Wrong Way

November 30th, 2007 12:00 AM

Don't let The Golden Compass movie lure you into buying Philip Pullman's books for your children. If you do, you'll be handing them the literary equivalent of arsenic.

We haven't seen the movie, but we've read the books, cover to cover. The Golden Compass is the first of a trilogy called His Dark Materials, followed by The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass. Written from 1995-2000, Pullman's trilogy has been given new life by Hollywood's decision to make the first book into a movie.

By now everybody knows that Mr. Pullman is an atheist, that his declared intention is to undermine his readers' belief in Christianity, and that in the climax of the third book, the two protagonists “kill God.” The public has also been told that The Golden Compass screenwriters have toned down Pullman's anti-God message.

Conscientious parents want their children to be good readers, and they're happy whenever something comes along that their kids really enjoy reading. Bright young readers will probably enjoy Mr. Pullman's books. He's a skilled storyteller, and his books have received more awards than you can shake a stick at: the Whitehead Book of the Year, the American Library Assn. Best Book for Young Readers, and the Parents' Choice Gold Book Award, just to name a few. With all those awards, not to mention a sea of rave reviews, these books have got to be good for your children -- right?


But parents ought to read them. There's no better way for parents to discover exactly what kind of poison the elites in the media and Hollywood are trying to spoon-feed the children of the English-speaking world.

Unfortunately, this is part of being a responsible parent today. You have to be a kind of cultural food-taster for your children. Borrow Mr. Pullman's three books from your local library -- we don't advise you to buy them -- and see for yourself what's in them.

Pullman attacks Christianity by name, calling it “a mistake.” He pillories the Church as totally and irredeemably evil. He libels God as a liar, a cosmic con man, and a senile tyrant. He preaches that life created itself by the action of pure chance upon inanimate matter. As a substitute for faith, he offers sex. And as a substitute for everything, he offers death: good or evil, we all wind up just as dead.

Is this a message that you want to pass on to your children?

Pullman uses fantasy to carry the water for his teaching. Fantasy is the indispensable tool for creating a world in which atheism -- or, more accurately, Satanism -- actually works. In Mr. Pullman's imaginary world, a person's soul has an external existence as a cute, cuddly, loving and loveable animal; “science” always delivers on its promises, while God never does; man's “natural impulses” are good; and once we get out from under God, we humans will infallibly remake our world into an earthly paradise. If this is not fantasy, we don't know what is; but it will doubtless prove seductive to many young readers—especially those whose parents have not equipped them with a godly worldview.

What we have in Mr. Pullman's books is art prostituted to an evil purpose. Its lesson to parents is to be very skeptical about book reviews, awards, and the fact of the books being made available through the schools (Scholastic Books is promoting Pullman, big-time). Parents can no longer trust the schools, the publishing industry, or the news-entertainment complex to provide wholesome fare for children.

Before you let your children read a book or watch a movie, you'd better check it out yourself. You might be unpleasantly surprised by what you find.

Lee Duigon is a free-lance writer.