Over the past weeks I have read numerous articles about the upcoming movie “The Golden Compass,” based on the first book in a trilogy by Philip Pullman. (I will refrain from including details about the movie itself, since a Google search will provide countless links to a rather common set of material.) This movie appears to be the latest standard around which Christians are being called to gather in protest, following on the tail of Harry Potter and “Holiday” advertisements.
As Christians we should warn our siblings of things that could be dangerous. While we should all be diligent in our walk, invariably one may see problems with something before the majority does, and should sound the alarm about such things. Warnings about this movie, however, seem to involve much more hyperventilation than seems necessary.
Years ago I was involved in a sect of Christianity that, quite honestly, causes me great embarrassment when I recall my enthusiastic participation. This branch tends heavily toward extra-biblical regulations, and focuses on external activity as singular proof of personal holiness. The stereotypical visions of wide-eyed, pale-faced gasping-in-astonishment reactions to breaches in these regulations are, in reality, incredibly accurate depictions of some of these people. And that is the same reaction I am seeing from many folks regarding this movie.
We live in a fallen world. James tells us that pure religion involves remaining unstained by “the world,” referencing the world-view of unregenerate man. We must be wary of adopting or being seduced by this warped view of life and God.
It cannot be made any more clear than Paul’s statements that “no one does good, not even one.” Even as Christians we get hung up on this. “What about feeding the homeless?” or “I am a devoted father and husband — surely that’s ‘good,’ isn’t it?” And indeed, on our limited scale of human goodness, these things and so many others could be considered “good.” But we cannot dismiss Paul’s statement. By the righteous, perfect measurement, everything we do falls short of being “good.”
Every creation of unregenerate men must promote the fallen perspective of this world — it cannot do otherwise! Every movie will at the very least intimate a hatred or disregard for God. Every book is founded in unregenerate thought.
Is “The Golden Compass” an attack by Satan against our children? Not more than anything else created by fallen man. In fact, it may be less of an attack than the majority of things produced by our culture. And perhaps that is where I am befuddled. A sneak attack against Christianity cannot, by definition, include generally-obvious anti-God material! If this movie is part of a series that describes the killing of an emaciated character called Yahweh (as is mentioned in one of the more widely-distributed summaries), and obviously promotes the ideas of its atheistic (or more properly, agnostic) author, there is not much “sneak” in that, is there?
Be measured in your responses to things. Do not be surprised when the fallen world acts fallen. Certainly validate things against God’s Word. And by all means, stand against the world (world-view), while living in the world (the physical place called Earth) and loving the world (the people).