Thursday, August 30, 2007

The Golden Compass

Or perhaps the title of this entry should be "The Spiritual Battle for our Children." Let me tell you why.

My oldest daughter is thirteen. Although she has always loved books and being read to, she was a reluctant reader. Within the last 6 months to a year this has all changed and she now devours books. We are always on the hunt for good books for her to read. After perusing the latest Scholastic Book Club flyer, she pointed out this book, "The Golden Compass." The cover photo looked cute with a friendlier looking armor-clad polar bear. The description had a vague mention of witches which is a turn off for me, but she was intrigued with the fantasy aspect of it. We decided to check it out at our local library. I did not look too closely at the book and Elizabeth began reading it. Yesterday she asked me about the word "daemon" which is a term used commonly throughout the book. Unfamiliar with the word, I asked her if it meant something like a demon. She said no and described it as an entity that was like a close sister to the main character. Later that day, she said it was just too dark of a book and said she wasn't going to read the rest. I was glad that she is discerning. Today I was doing some record keeping and recording all the books we have read in our house during the past few days including "The Golden Compass." The copy we have from the library is a bit darker looking and has the subtitle "His Dark Materials * Book 1." This gave me pause and I decided to do a little internet research on the book. Come to find out that the author, Philip Pullman, is a pronounced atheist who has even devised a religion course called "Why Atheism" which is a DVD for 11 years and older. He believes God is dead according to this article and to prove it even kills him off in the second book in the "His Dark Materials" trilogy. In his writings Evil is portrayed as God and the Catholic church. Nice. This is what is being promoted as good literature to our school children. "The Golden Compass" as well as the other books in the trilogy have given numerous awards including Parent's Choice Gold Book Award, Publisher's weekly Best Book of the Year, Book-of-the-Month Club Main Selection, ALA Best Book for Young Adults, Booklist Editor's Choice, Horn Book Fanfare Honor Book, along with many others. It was even a New York Times Bestseller.

I am writing this for other parents out there who might have been unaware like me that this award-winning children's book is atheist propaganda clothed as good literature. This reminds me that there is an unseen spiritual war upon us. Our children are on the frontlines and most of us do not even realize it. I pray daily for wisdom as a parent along with divine protection for my children. There have been times that I have been concerned that by homeschooling, we are sheltering our children too much. God has been showing me lately that a certain amount of sheltering is good. Our children are innocent and impressionable. I believe it is my duty to prepare them to face the world on their own, but not at the expense of their innocence and the hardening of their hearts. God tells us in His Word that we are to be mature and wise about God and His ways, but naive as babies to wickedness.

I believe that it is our duty to do our best to monitor what our children are exposed to. That being said, I am certainly not as strict as some and more strict than others. Before we watch a movie or video, we usually look it up to see what it is all about. A great site we use is Plugged In. It does a great job or reviewing movies, video, music, and TV from a Christian perspective. Now if only I could find a site like this for books, the "The Golden Compass" incident would not have happened. If you know of a good Christian book review site, please share.

One review I did find on the book is here.


Carla said...

Hey Trish!

Thanks for the review. Very interesting indeed. The Today Show is using this book for their children's book club, and I was telling my kids about it. I think I'll pass on it now. Seems like a weird choice. They talk to the author with the kids on the show. Keep an eye out to see what day the author is on. Probably towards the end of Sept. It will be interesting to see how it all goes! Loved Rat. You know the little rat you speak of. LOL! I just don't want to look up how to spell it!

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

Trish -- you are absolutely right! I think the author is playing off of the success of "The Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe". Now that is classic literature -- and the next in that series, "Prince Caspian" is coming out next. I'll take C.S. Lewis anyday -- I wouldn't give even the cover of Golden Compass a long look. Let's keep our focus on the Lord -- yes, we are in a battle but we know we are on the winning side!!