Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The Golden Compass

A friend posted this link for me to Bryan McAnally in reference to all the hoopla over "The Golden Compass" movie...very interesting take.

The Most Dangerous Christmas Movie Ever

This just in my in-box (kinda), like 800 times:

    I don't just generally dismiss a movie or book just because someone 'says' it's meant to be something else...but this is worth knowing if you plan to see it (or plan to take your kids).

    "Hi! I just wanted to inform you what I just learned about a movie that is coming out November 9, 2007, during the Christmas season, which is entitled FRED CLAUS. It stars Vince Vaughn and it is directed toward children. What is disturbing to me is that this movie is based on the legend for children called SANTA CLAUS written by an unkown citizen of Holland, Germany, or possibly Madison Avenue in New York City.

    The creative mind behind Santa must be an atheist and his objective is to bash Christianity and promote atheism. I heard that he has made remarks that he wants to kill God in the minds of children, and that's what his legend is all about. He despises C.S. Lewis, Narnia, Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings Triology, TestaMints, Scripture Tea, etc. An article written about him said "this is the most dangerous author in the world" and that he would be the writer "the atheists would be praying for, if atheists prayed." He said he doesn't think it is possible that there is a God and he has great difficulty
    understanding the words "spiritual" and "spirituality." What I thought was important to communicate is what part of the agenda is for making this picture. This movie is a watered down version of the primary legend, which is the least offensive of three legends about Santa. The second legend is THE CHRISTMAS SLEIGH and the third is THE REINDEER WITH THE GLOWING NOSE. Each legend gets worse and worse regarding Santa's hatred of God. In the legends, a young man becomes enmeshed in an epic struggle against a nefarious Church known as the Magisterium as it tries to silence the benevolent people known as the Mattelites. Another character, a snowman with a corn-cob pipe and two eyes made out of coal describes Christianity as "a very powerful and convincing mistake." As I understand it, in the last legend, an assortment of caribou are depicted playing a variety of activities called frivolously, "Reindeer Games," and excluding the red-nosed deer, provocatively called RUDOLPH (which is definitely not Guliani). Since the movie would seem mild if you viewed it, that's been done on purpose.

    They are hoping that unsuspecting parents will take their children to See the movie, that they will enjoy the movie and then the children will want to embrace the legends for Christmas. That's the hook. The goal of Santa is to have children decide against God and the kingdom of heaven.

    If you decide that you do not want to support something like this, I suggest that you boycott the movie and the legends. I googled a synopsis of FRED CLAUS. As I skimmed it, I couldn't believe that in a children's legend part of the story is about categorizing children as "good" or "bad" and punishing them with lumps of coal.

Just in case someone does not see the gentle sarcasm of the parody and satire, let me take just a moment to be explicit.

I don't support the ideologies behind The Golden Compass, (or those of Fred Claus, for that matter).

I don't intend to watch The Golden Compass, or read any of the books from which it is derived. Nor do I intend to allow my children to do that as well.

I also think it is fine that many Christians feel compelled to get the message out that The Golden Compass is no friend to the gospel. I liken it to having a friend tell me, "you probably ought not drink that sulfuric acid. Even though it smells like liquid deviled eggs, and I know how much you like deviled eggs, sulfuric acid actually is poison and you won't feel so good if you take a swig."

That said, here's what I find interesting: we (Christians) are not very consistent. The messages of countless other movies are just as guilty of distracting, distorting, or denying the message of the gospel, yet only the ones that egregiously do so receive the dramatic intercession like the effort coordinated with The Golden Compass.

Virtually every other Christmas movie seems acceptable. Movies about Santa's miracles on 34th street, his three legal clauses, a grinch stealing the holiday, and other jocular premises leading viewers toward materialistic efforts of Christmas rather than the majestic emphasis of Christmas are given 'thumbs up family-friendly stamps of approval.'

We are inconsistent by what we support with our money and family time.

Related to this, we are inconsistent by how we confront problematic provocateurs. Last year The Da Vinci Code was a commended as a great opportunity to engage non-Christians by addressing the biblical response to the false allegations presented in the novel and film. Bookending that movie, both Facing the Giants and The Passion of the Christ were commended and recommended, as palate-cleansing, antithetical recruit-worthy films offering biblical messages. Illogically, though, movies like Dogma and The Last Temptation of Christ (just as anti-Christian as The Da Vinci Code) were labeled "dangerous," and a rally was sounded to boycott and protest.

My question is, "Who makes these decisions and who listens to their advice?

By the bottom line account, the most popular Christmas movies have had little or nothing to do about the Christ for which the holiday is offered. The biographical-ish movie offered last year could not even crack the top 10! (I confess...I haven't seen it. I heard it was poorly acted and weakly scripted. Based on that, I was certain I would like the book better.)

While, I will not see The Golden Compass in a movie theater and I won't read the source books, I will likely spend enough time familiarizing myself with Pullman and his writings through free online sources that I can speak intelligently to how the Bible competently and convincingly rebuts his assertions, offering a more preferable message than that which he attempts to convey through his tales of dark fantasy.

As an aside, I think it's funny that some are getting so worked up over this movie when those who were putting it together couldn't even get the title straight. The author, for all his dogmatic anti-Christian fervor, could not even to successfully get the movie's producers to name the movie correctly. Let's not be so swift to fret that this film will have the ability to lead the world to an atheistic abyss when the decision-makers don't seem to know the difference between a compass and a compass.

Too many of we Christians focus our energy on the secondary issue. Perhaps more of we should take our eyes off of movie screens instead fix our sight upon God and his good news. Jesus does not need us to defend him. He will do just fine against Dan Brown, Philip Pullman, or anyone else who seeks to disparage the gospel.

God does, however, expect us to be prepared and able to give an explanation for the hope that lives within us. Let me encourage you to try this: for every person to whom you forward the warning about The Golden Compass, share the gospel with another person. Don't just inoculate people from a poison, instill in them the truth of God's love.

And be reasonable. God's in control.

1 comment:

Sniz said...

Wow, great, thought-provoking post!!! You outdid yourself. My husband and I believe firmly in not just going along with the crowd and forwarding things that we don't have first-hand knowledge of for the very reasons you put so well here.