The Golden Compass - atheism for kids?

The Golden Compass is a forthcoming fantasy film based upon Northern Lights (titled The Golden Compass in the US), and is the first novel in Philip Pullman's trilogy His Dark Materials. The film is due for release in early December.
Pullman is a supporter of the British Humanist Association and an Honorary Associate of the National Secular Society. New Yorker journalist Laura Miller has described Pullman as one of England's most outspoken atheists.

His Dark Materials books have been controversial with some Christian groups. Peter Hitchens has claimed that Pullman actively pursues an anti-Christian agenda.
However, Pullman has found support from other Christians, most notably Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury.

The following e-mail has been circulated by a Christian in the Grampian area.
Christians Together cannot vouch for its authenticy.


Golden CompassThere will be a new children's movie out in December called "The Golden Compass". The movie has been described as "atheism for kids" and is based on the first book of a trilogy entitled "His Dark Materials" that was written by Phillip Pullman. Pullman is a militant atheist and secular humanist who despises C. S. Lewis and the "Chronicles of Narnia". His motivation for writing this trilogy was specifically to counteract Lewis' symbolisms of Christ that are portrayed in the Narnia series.

Clearly, Pullman's main objective is to bash Christianity and promote atheism. Pullman left little doubt about his intentions when he said in a 2003 interview that "my books are about killing God." He has allegedly stated that he wants to "kill God in the minds of children". It has been said of Pullman that he is "the writer the atheists would be praying for, if atheists prayed."

While "The Golden Compass" movie itself may seem mild and innocent, the books are a much different story. In the trilogy, a young streetwise girl becomes enmeshed in an epic struggle to ultimately defeat the oppressive forces of a senile God. Another character, an ex-nun, describes Christianity as "a very powerful and convincing mistake." In the final book, characters representing Adam and Eve eventually kill God, who at times is called YAHWEH. Each book in the trilogy gets progressively worse regarding Pullman's hatred of Jesus Christ.

"The Golden Compass" is set to premier on December 7, during the Christmas season (and staring Nicole Kidman), and will probably be heavily advertised. Promoters hope that unsuspecting parents will take their children to see the movie, that they will enjoy the movie, and that the children will want the books for Christmas.


Alasdair (Guest) 25/11/2007 13:19
Check -
Rosemary Cameron (Guest) 25/11/2007 22:41
I have read Northern Lights (UK name for The Golden Compass) and have absolutely nothing good to say about it. I consider it to be a very dangerous book which has so far slipped under the Christian radar due to the concentration on Harry Potter. The latter at least has some good features such as the positive portrayal of friendship, family life and sacrifice. Northern Lights is devoid of any such things. One particular aspect which concerns me greatly is the way that everyone in the world of Northern Lights has a daemon (sic) and the worst thing that could happen to a person is to be separated from their daemon! Daemons are portrayed as positive and are animals (shades of familiar spirits?) I would counsel all God-fearing parents to be very wary of this film and associated books.
Rosemary Cameron
SCP Mid Scotland and Fife
davis (Guest) 26/11/2007 04:00
a letter about this movie should be sent to every single church around the world so all will know about the anti-christ movie. What we as people of God should understand is that there is no such thing as and athiest because in the the word of God it says every knee shall bow and every tonge shall confess that Jesus is Lord. Remember that one day this author will have to stand befor a Holy God and be judged, so one day this author is going to have to confess that Jesus is Lord in this world or the next.
Editor 30/11/2007 12:32
The author of the book on which the new film The Golden Compass is based has hit back at critics who accuse him of peddling "candy-coated atheism".
Editor 30/11/2007 17:09
Church of Scotland has rejected boycott calls for the new film, The Golden Compass and is encouraging members to organise screenings of the film.See -


Church of Scotland Press Release (29/11/07) -

Kirk rejects boycott calls, publishes leaflet to mark film release

The Church of Scotland is looking forward to a major cinematic event this winter. The film adaptation of the first book in Philip Pullman’s “His Dark Materials” fantasy trilogy is set for general release in the UK on 5 December.

The film in question, “The Golden Compass”, is an adaptation of the book published in the UK as “Northern Lights” and is set to star Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig.

There have been calls from some sections of the Christian community for the film to be boycotted because of its attacks on organised Christianity. However, the Kirk’s Mission & Discipleship Council takes the opposite view, and believes that the film provides a golden opportunity to stimulate discussion on a wide range of moral and spiritual issues.

As a trilogy, the books present the struggle between good and evil as an adventure story featuring a streetwise girl as heroine. Lyra Silvertongue is a subversive figure, one of the powerless who turns out to be a saint, and so the film is an invitation to dialogue on human purpose and destiny, the abuse of power, the making of choices and the meaning of life.

Far from boycotting the film, the Church of Scotland is set to publish a leaflet to mark its release. This leaflet will be made available to C of S congregations, and other denominations, the length and breadth of Scotland. The Kirk’s Mission & Discipleship Council believes that “The Golden Compass” will enable congregations to engage with young people, and adults, in terms with which they can relate.

So, far from condemning the film, the Kirk looks forward to its release and the opportunities that it presents.

Rosemary Cameron (Guest) 30/11/2007 22:56
Regarding the CofS take on this film I have a couple of points to make. Firstly I do believe it is good to know what is going on in the world which is why I read Northern Lights. However I do not find, having read it, that it gives me much opportunity to 'engage with young people, and adults, in terms with which they can relate'. There is also a huge difference between an adult reading such material with a discerning mind and a child reading it, with a much more impressionable mind.
Secondly, I notice a trend whereby the film of a book has the anti-christian elements watered down to make it more acceptable to the cinema-going audience and it seems that this film is no different, if the bbc news article referenced by the Editor above is correct. The same was true of the film Chocolat which some dear christian friends recommended to me some years ago. I missed the film in the cinema and read the book instead and was horrified at its anti-christian agenda. I couldn't understand why my friends had recommended it. Only when I later saw the film on TV did I realise that it had been substantially changed from the book. Unfortunately many sincere christians who only saw the film were heartily endorsing it which I felt could be very confusing to anyone who read the book.
I'm not sure it helps to talk about bans and boycotts but I stand by my earlier posting warning people to be wary.
Editor 04/12/2007 20:02
The Golden Compass - what you need to know (from the Christian Institute)

And from Focus on the Family -
Editor 08/12/2007 15:09
"Has anybody been to see this yet? I have heard a lot of 'conjecture' from various Christian groups, but would love to know what is causing all these people to get their ephod's in a twist.

Will go myself next week."

Submitted on behalf of David Lynch
Paul (Guest) 18/12/2007 14:58
I think the books are rather good.
You need to take from it what you like and just remember, its just a story. Yes, its written by an atheist, but if we are going to complain and make a big deal out of an atheist book, then you need to make a big deal out of books written by muslims, jews, buddhists etc... and how they promote there beliefs!
If an atheists views and beliefs offend you then other religious views apart from our own should do to!
Editor 04/02/2008 13:11
David Couchman comments:
"In 'His Dark Materials', Philip Pullman misrepresents God and the church, and substitutes a pantheistic worldview for which there is no evidence, and a secular vision that does not work. He has woven a fascinating tale. Sadly, he has used some very dark materials to do so."

Pray that God will turn the impact of the film to His glory.

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