More Muse

There were two very interesting discussions at the Muse today. Adrian was highlighted in his devout support for the movie The Golden Compass. (Listen here.) I personally disagree with him, and think The Compass is an unhelpful movie to see, as it promotes an atheistic and anti-Christian worldview, and is particularly disturbing in it's restructuring of the demonic, ala Buffy. Pullman understandably doesn't seem to take it seriously, and I fear this could lead to children likewise not taking the demonic seriously, but thinking of it as something cute and intimate.

However, I think Adrian raises some very good points, particularly that Pullman's writings don't portray real Christianity as evil, but rather Pullman's own image of religion. As I contemplate it, the religion I hear described in Pullman seems to be less like Christianity and more a technologically-advanced version of the 1st-century Jewish religious hierarchy, existing for its own sake and to force people into a rigid, controlled life. Except even in 1st-century Judaism, there was more of a desire to follow the ways of God, however misguided the religious leaders were in their attempts.

The second broadcast today was focused on the letters of C.S. Lewis, and what we could learn about him through them. (Listen here.)There were a lot of great insights and letters, including the famous one where a mother is concerned that her son is liking Aslan more than Jesus. At Minute 52:36 you can hear my asking the question about Lindskoog's allegations against Harper. (Harper controls the Lewis estate, and Lindskoog has lead the allegations against him that he has engaged in fraud, inserting himself into Lewis' life to an extent that went far beyond Harper's limited experience with Lewis.)

Frankly I found Kim Gilnett's response disappointing, as I don't feel it completely addressed the subject. Yes, Gilnett brought up some good information on the reliability of The Dark Tower. But Lindskoog's attack is so vindictive yet overwhelming in it's evidence, that one would desire more of a response, particularly in regards to the evidence that Hooper wasn't actually in Lewis' life, and that he excludes all researchers from the Lewis estate unless they accept his version of events. Maybe Lindskoog is wrong, but I would love some evidence in rejoinder from the Lewis estate. And Gilnett seemed to respond with a simple rejection of Lindskoog's points, without evidence. Indeed, as I relisten to Gilnett's response to my question, I am struck that he doesn't provide any support for Hooper's presence in Lewis's life except for the last few months (the very point in contention), and that Gilnett has only praise for Hooper, similar to what Lindskoog suggests is necessary to do research on the Lewis estate. This is not to besmirch Gilnett in any way, but rather to point out that his response may be carefully nuanced.

Go to 1:02:11 to see the amazing final chapter to the child who liked Aslan more than Jesus, when Gilnett met him as an adult.


mumsey said…
How these parents rant and fuss! They worry about every possible future outcome provoked by every story that squeaks by Christian censors--when just the nature of our times has more potential for harmful consequences on undeveloped brains than any conjuration of an imaginary kingly animal devoted to human well-being. Bring on the 'net, ipods, cell phones! Do away w fairy tales and comics! Let's only flatline badly written "Christian" romances and "literature" and testimonial spins found in bible bookstores! Tell me, how have YOU done, since viewing Raiders, Star Wars, Superman, I,II, and III?
@bdul muHib said…
I think Lewis and Tolkien are good writing, as is Overstreet and Lawhead. I think something like Rowling glorifying witches and real-life magic, or Pullman glorifying witches and demons, is a different matter entirely.
quaintance said…
Have you read Pullman's "Dark materials" series? I found them craftfully written, and while in some ways challenging, I found they actually strengthened my own understanding of my faith.
@bdul muHib said…
Dark Materials' first book is actually the Golden Compass, the book/movie in discussion in this post. No, I haven't read them. I've heard enough from Adrian to make me feel that I wouldn't enjoy the work, for the reasons posted above. As well, it seems to have a heavy dose of Marcionite Gnosticism. Its not the kind of ideas that I want to get into my head, especially starting to see the demonic in a playful manner, as if it was a soul, rather than the primary enemy that we fight daily. I find fantasy and science fiction both have a way of getting into one's head much more than other forms of writing or fiction, and so I am careful about what I read.
Mom, an English major said…
I have to weigh in here...Tolkin's Ring Trilogy, Rawlings Harry Potter Series, CS Lewis's Narnia stories..all carry this theme, (an ancient one from Beowolf on): they all have an innocent child, who must combat terrors within and without the kingdom, finally willingly sacrificing themselves on adventures frought w danger so that others might live. What about this theme strikes familiar [non-nihilistic] chords @ Christmas?
@bdul muHib said…
I agree with that common theme, with certain nuances. But a key difference between Potter and Narnia/LotR is that in Potter, magic is the point. It is never the point in the other two, but rather a plot device that moves things forward. In Potter, witches are inherently good and heroes; in the other two, they never are, as Lewis recognized that witches are real, and are dabbling in evil.

Most importantly, in Potter, the magic used is at times real, in the sense of magic that people actually do as they involve themselves in the demonic. In Lewis and Tolkein, the magic is other-worldly, over-the-top, and ethereal, like transporting to another planet with the use of rings, or holding back hordes of ogers with a staff of light. There is no possibility that people would be enticed by this magic and think it could actually be done. With Potter, that is a very real possibility.

Lastly, as far as the movies go, LotR and Lion, Witch, and Wardrobe were excellently written and acted. Harry Potter was incredibly boring, with Star Wars-like plot progression, and some of the worst child actors to grace the Silver Screen.
@bdul muHib said…
There's some interesting comments on the cross-posting of this blog on Facebook.

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