On Friday, yet another blockbuster fantasy/quest movie will hit the big screen... and the early reviews for "The Golden Compass" are pretty positive. That is, except in evangelical circles, where I've received e-mails wondering about the content & nefarious intentions of the film & the book series ("His Dark Materials") it is based upon.
I wish I had more personal experience with these books - but I actually haven't read them. In general, my friends who like that kind of stuff say that the first book is really good and the 2nd & 3rd books become much darker and have a very specific agenda about God & church, esp. the Catholic Church. I can only point you towards some very well-written articles written by people I trust:
- Catholics Respond To Golden Compass (published today on Christianity Today Movies)
- Commentary: Fear Not the 'Compass' (published late last week & written by Jeffrey Overstreet, who is one of the best writers on Christianity & film)
- Sympathy For The Devil (published this week by Focus on the Family)
- The Chronicles of Atheism (published last week by Christianity Today)
- The Golden Compass entry on Snopes.com (published some weeks ago... this is the e-mail I've received and its confirmation by a decidedly non-Christian website)
- Please don't boycott this film. Listen carefully - I didn't say "Go see the film"; I said, "Don't boycott the film." There is a difference. You can choose not to see the film without making a big deal out of it. Participating in boycotts is similar to "feeding a troll" online - the only one who wins is the questionable thing that you draw attention to with your picket lines & protests.
- Please don't let your kids go see the film and/or read the books without you. Some of the most important conversations can take place when we see or read something difficult or questionable and ask our kids questions like "What did you think of that?", "Does that story remind you of any Bible story?" "Is there stuff in this movie that tries to contradict the Bible?" and so on. One of the greatest mistakes we make both as parents & as individuals is to intake culture (films, television, books, music, internet, etc.) with our minds turned off. The second greatest mistake is to teach our children to treat media the same way we do.
- Please make sure that the focus of your Advent season is Jesus Christ rather than a movie.