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The Golden Compass and Religion

I went to see the movie the Golden Compass last week. I have read all three books in the series with waning interest. What began turning me off in the second and third books was his obvious and negative view of religion. The books - instead of making me question religion and its role in society - I became repelled by his obvious dislike of all things holy.

Now I get the complaints about religion - violence in the name of God, a way to control the masses...Heard it all before, even spilling from my own lips at times. I too had a Mother who identified herself as a recovering Catholic and pretty much my entire childhood was shrouded in negative views of any church and of course, God. However, I was still curious...I have always thought it a bit na´ve to criticize something not fully examined. So as an adult I joined a several different Bible studies to discover the truth for myself.

Surprise of all surprises, I discovered a living book that spoke to my life right now. Interestingly, the first Bible study I did was with a fundamentalist Christian (I am most definitely not) because I wanted to challenge myself.

We read the Gospel of Matthew and one day we were reading Jesus words about his message. He discussed how men would use his message and twist it to there own meaning, however love was truly the center. Amusingly, as we discussed this passage, we began to disagree. My friend really believed if you don't follow the bible (really a fundamentalist interpretation) then to hell you go...What did you not read the loving words of Jesus - ALL are welcome???? She really could not see an all-inclusive loving God and certainly no other interpretations of God through other religious books were acceptable.

Personally, I don't feel any religion has a lock on God. God is for all of us no matter how you find him/her whether through meditation, nature, different religions, books, whatever. My image of God is clearly displayed in the story of the Prodigal Son.

The father, i.e. God, runs arms outstretched for his wayward child. The son only needs to turn to his father, who has been looking down the road hoping to see his child return. The father celebrates the return and even chastises his other son for being resentful of the celebration. I so understood that other brother's anger and then I realized the truth. No matter what you have done, God is there, pouring out his love and calling you home.

I don't have to be perfect to be in relationship with God. I can stumble, I can fail. It doesn't matter, God still waits and longs for me - each of us no matter what. That is power, that is love.

So as I read each book in Philip Pullman's series, I became more repelled. It malice and distain for religion became more clear with each page; evil angels, the Magisterium (in the Catholic Church, an actual board of power,) the issue of souls, etc. Honestly, it smacks of an immature and fixated negative view of religion. I really wonder if he has done any real challenging scholarship on spirituality and religion. I get the feeling that Mr. Pullman has no respect for spirituality and actually has a "less-than" view of those who do.

In fact when I finished the last book all I could think was, "Wow, this is sad. How depressing to be so cut off from the magic of life. How can do you find peace? So lonely." I can honestly say I have no desire to read anything by him again, because I just have no interest in witnessing material that pedals hate, separation from God and violence towards kids guised as a children's book. Yuck. This seems to at least be something that could reserved for adult books.

Kelly Ballard is a workshop leader, Intuitive Guide and Healer. Through workshops, private sessions and guided meditations Kelly specializes in helping others discover positive solutions for immediate change/growth in their lives thus drawing their most abundant life into reality. Find out more information about her services and meditation CDs at http://www.kellyballard.com Contact her directly at 720-984-4232 or email kelly@kellyballard.com She lives in Boulder, CO.

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