The best selling novels of atheist author Philip Pullman which were written specifically to indoctrinate children with anti-Christian values, have sparked the creation of a controversial new fantasy film to be released this December 7 by New Line Cinema — a Time-Warner Company.
Starring Nicole Kidman, The Golden Compass, is based on Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy, which includes Northern Lights (re-titled The Golden Spyglass in the United States), The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass. Pullman wrote these books with the intention of indoctrinating children with atheistic values. While the full interpretation and presentation of the movie has not yet been seen, the books' underlying message promotes antagonism towards Christianity.
According to UK's Daily Mail, Pullman has repeatedly stated his belief that God is dead, and the author incorporates this theme into the second book when God dies. In 2000 Pullman also stated before an Oxford literary conference, "We're used to the Kingdom of Heaven; but you can tell from the general thrust of the book that I'm of the devil's party, like Milton. And I think it's time we thought about a republic of Heaven instead of the Kingdom of Heaven. The King is dead. That's to say I believe the King is dead."
He continued, "I'm an atheist. But we need Heaven nonetheless, we need all the things that Heaven meant, we need joy, we need a sense of meaning and purpose in our lives, we need a connection with the universe, we need all the things the Kingdom of Heaven used to promise us but failed to deliver."
Pullman and fellow children's author Michael Rosen produced a course on atheism for schools called "Why Atheism?" that is designed for children 11-years and older. Pullman told the Independent, "What I fear and deplore in the faith school camp is their desire to close argument down and put some things beyond question or debate. It's vital to get clear in young minds what is a faith position and what is not-so that, for instance, they won't be taken in by religious people claiming that science is a faith position no different in kind from Christianity."
The trilogy consistently gives a negative portrayal of the Catholic Church. Priests — one of whom is an assassin — are evil and violent while one positive character is an ex-nun who has lost her faith. There is even a pair of "sexually ambiguous" angels. The main problem, however, as one Amazon reviewer noted, is that "The evil in this story is God." The reviewer stated, "I realized part way through the second book, that the characters Lyra had been fighting against, and I had been rooting against were God, His Angels, and His followers."
According to the Brisbane Times, the Kidman denied that the film is anti-Catholic, stating that her Catholic faith affected her consideration for the film script. She claimed, "I was raised Catholic, the Catholic Church is part of my essence."
She continued, "I wouldn't be able to do this film if I thought it were at all anti-Catholic." According to Entertainment Weekly, the religious elements have been removed from the movie, as Kidman claimed, "It has been watered down a little." Nevertheless, the movie trailer introduces a world that is "dominated by the Magisterium, which seeks to control all humanity, and whose greatest threat, is the curiosity of a child."
In context of the anti-religious books, the movie is making an obvious negative parallel with the Catholic Church. The dark and evil organization called "the Magisterium" in the film has the same name as the body that makes up the Catholic Church's teaching authority — the bishops in union with the Pope. The Magesterium in the film kidnaps children in order to take out their souls, CathNews reports.
Towards the end of the trailer, the voice-over states, "The magisterium seeks to control every world, every universe. Nothing will stop them from trying to take over."