Philip Pullman wrote a book series, a trilogy, titled “His Dark Materials.” The first book is set to open as a major motion picture today, called the “Golden Compass.” I have read the book series. I actually liked the books. I was experiencing a post-Potter let down and these books were an interesting tale.
Pullman has been open about his atheism. Acutally in the third book there is open warfare between the Authority’s forces and the forces of anti-Authority (I would be hard pressed to call either side good or bad). You have probably received e-mail after e-mail about the dangers of these books. How anti-Christian they are. Supposedly, Pullman has gone on record to report he wants to be the antithesis of C.S. Lewis.
But, here is the thing. There are Christian themes is this book series. Things such as love, sacrifice, service, commitment, that beauty of the world, life is good. The deity that Pullman knocks off is so far removed from the God of History, or as revealed in Scripture. Pullman’s God in the “Amber Spyglass” is a weak figure, that is literally to weak to do anything, and is in danger of being blown away by the wind.
Pullman has only revealed a relevant image of how I think a lot of people view God, as weak and powerless. Yet, these same two words sum up the beauty of Jesus on his way to Gethsemane, and then to Calvary. It is weakness and powerlessness that reveals his true identity, and strength. For even Paul will attest, that it is in weakness that he is strong (1 Cor. 12:9). Scripture reveals a God that is powerful and loving, and active and present in the world. His message in Jesus is that he is near and that the final act of the great drama is coming to a close. And certainly, a lesser god is a shaky foundation, and leads you further away from the true God. But, if in killing off a faulty image of the world’s view of god leads people to a truer picture of God than this can be a good thing.
I hope people realize that even if Philip Pullman attempts to do away with Christianity or promote atheism, others have gone before him and others will come after him. But, God is consistent. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. May we join in praying for those who are opposed to Jesus and love them with the same love and dignity that Jesus displays to us everyday.