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The Golden Compass challenges?

Banned Books

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1nohrt4me
Nov 27, 2007, 7:33pm Top

Haven't read The Golden Compass, and wasn't on my radar until I heard about the movie.

I'm guessing that the purported "kill God" message is going to result in challenges aplenty.

Anybody read the book? Anybody got a bead on challenges? There are Christian groups organized to push boycotts of the movie (saw some over on facebook.com). Which is a sensible way to protest rather than trying to get the thing shut down entirely.

Like The DaVinci Code and Left Behind series, I'm not too interested in "Compass," but feel compelled to read just to know what the hooplah is about.

2Atomicmutant
Nov 27, 2007, 7:51pm Top

We are doing a group read of The Golden Compass over in the Green Dragon group, and there has also been lots of talk of it, and the proposed Christian boycott, over on the Happy Heathens group as well. 'Cmon over and join in!

I'm reading it precisely so I can know what the hoopla is about, rather than knowing some other people's uninformed opinion.
It does seem that the author is athiest, and has declared that this is a decidedly non-christian fantasy, a sort of "anti-Narnia", if you will.

I'm about halfway through, and can say that thus far, he's got a group called "The Magisterium", which resembles the Catholic Church, or a large institutional organization, anyway. There's precious little about god or anything like that, more of a challenge to a seemingly sinister power structure.

The book itself is pretty standard fantasy fare, and as such doesn't directly appeal to me, but I'm soldiering on so that I'm informed.

3weener First Message
Nov 27, 2007, 8:19pm Top

I read the Golden Compass shortly after it came out and read the whole series just a few years ago. It's gripping and amazingly well-written. It's pretty much a YA adventure story, the anti-religious undertones were written in a way that I didn't catch them the first time through (I was about 12 years old), in the same manner that I didn't catch on to the Christian message of the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe as kid.

The anti-religion messages are more obvious in books 2 and 3 than in the Golden Compass, and they are contained are as follows (SPOILERS!!!!):

-a malevolent religious institution that resembles the Catholic church allows priests to do pre-emptive penance so they are forgiven in advance for sins such as murder.

-"God" happens to be the first intelligent being that existed. He happened to tell all the ones who came after him that
he had created them, though he hadn't.

-A pair of angels who are probably gay.

-"Heaven" is a sucky, dirty place where everyone stands around doing nothing for all eternity while birds swoop down to peck at you.

(End spoilers.)

I don't have a problem with reading about these ideas and enjoyed the books very much. They have been compared to an athiest Chronicles of Narnia (which are still among my most treasured childhood books in spite of the Christian message).

It's up to you whether this content offends your sensibilities, but keep in mind that others have a right to read/watch and enjoy it.

4nohrt4me
Nov 28, 2007, 2:09pm Top

#3--Wasn't my intent to even suggest banning or challenging it; simply seemed the type of thing that WOULD get challenged and wondered what people were hearing. And I say this as a practicing Catholic.

A side effect of "The DaVinci Code" was that it made made lots of money for Catholic apologists on the speaking circuit telling other Catholics what to think about it.

I've been surprised that the same thing hasn't happened with this book, especially since it's aimed at kids.

Thanks for the info about the book.

5PossMan
Edited: Nov 28, 2007, 3:03pm Top

#1 Which is a sensible way to protest rather than trying to get the thing shut down entirely. Seems a bit strange that after this quote you suggest (in #4) you have no intent to challenge. I'm halfway through the final book and I suspect my awareness of the religious overtones is due in part to media comment (and this to some extent an extended newspaper interview of the author rather than a critique of the books). Can't help feeling this will be yet another instance where protest will prove counter-productive. I'm not Roman Catholic but not unsympathetic. Like weener I've quite enjoyed reading them as a story — not my normal bill of fare but I know from the speed at which I'm getting through them that they have something. I haven't (bookwise) got to Heaven yet but the angelic couple were certainly a pair of queers and the status of our "God" or demiurge as sole and supreme creator seems to be questioned in several gnostic texts but most of them are even less readable than the Bible.

6nohrt4me
Nov 28, 2007, 8:50pm Top

I must have expressed myself poorly, then.

I was trying to make the distinction between having an opinion and sharing it with others (i.e., "Don't see 'The Golden Compass'; it's disrespectful, poorly written, heretical whatever) and forcing a book or movie out of the public eye through censorship.

It looked to me that some of the groups that don't like "The Golden Compass" are stopping short of censorship and simply trying to persuade others not to read/see the work.

7weener
Nov 28, 2007, 9:45pm Top

Nohrt4me - I could tell that you weren't suggesting that the book actually be censored or protested. My comment to keep in mind others' right to enjoy it were directed at people in general, not you personally. :)

8nohrt4me
Nov 29, 2007, 11:11am Top

Thanks, weener.

9nohrt4me
Nov 30, 2007, 7:46am Top

Just wondering if this book (I'm on the library waiting list) might be taken as much as a criticism of organized religion as an atheistic manifesto.

Seems to me, and say this again as a practicing Catholic, that you get enough of the people running around purporting to speak for the Almighty long enough, and you'll start to wonder if it's all just a big load of crap.

10EclecticEccentric
Nov 30, 2007, 10:25pm Top

nohrt4me - I've read all three books in the series, and I read them as you describe, a criticism of organized religion rather than an atheistic manifesto. In my opinion, an atheistic manifesto would deny the existence of god rather than have "him" just be a corrupt angelic being.

And my personal belief is that if you can't handle criticisms of your beliefs existing in the world, then you are not a true believer anyway. A belief which can not be tested is no belief at all.

11sweeter
Mar 28, 2012, 7:34pm Top

I am writing a paper on the banning of this book.

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