I have been holding off writing anything about the upcoming movie, “The Golden Compass”, as I have not found any better commentary on the movie than John’s article on Verum Serum, and – better yet – Scott’s follow-up article.
So, in that spirit, here are excerpts from Scott’s follow-up which I think sums up my feelings on the subject. I plan on passing on the movie without personal fanfare. I suspect that some folks, knowing me and my interests, will ask me about it. My answer to them will be to “take a pass on it, but don’t make your passing a show unto itself…”
Excerpts from Turkey Lurkey and the Church That Cried Wolf:
As the time for the movieâ€™s release comes closer, I fully expect Christian leaders around the country to begin pounding their chests and grabbing their megaphones, trumpeting like a herd of water buffaloes when a lioness is on the prowl for one of their young. And I will commend them when they do try to sound the warning. In the case of this movie (and the book series) a warning is certainly necessary.
Hereâ€™s my problemâ€¦The Church has spent so much time over the last few decades hyperventilating about a plethera of â€œdangerousâ€ topics and sounding the alarm about countless, â€œevilâ€ and â€œinsidiousâ€ books, movies, etc that NOW, when something is out there that REALLY IS dangerous and insidious, few people are going to listen.
At this point in time in our culture, much of the â€œtraditionalâ€ church is looking like a Turkey Lurkey-Boy Who Cried Wolf hybrid. They have spent the last 25-30 years freaking out about so many things that at times when they have a legitimate concern nobody wants to listen.
- Backmasking (Anyone remember â€œI killed Johnâ€ and â€œNumber 9, Number 9â€³ from the Beatles and/or â€œI am Satanâ€ from Stairway to Heaven? I wonder what Barney says if you play the â€œI Love Youâ€ song backwards.)
- Devil drum beats are found within all rock music including Contemporary Christian Music. This includes the oft-used anecdote of the African natives hearing Christian music played by missionaries and asking them why they are using rhythms used to summon demons. (Funny, but when I hear organ music I could swear that I hear demonic voices telling me to smash the organ to pieces. Maybe the devil is a fan of the Whirlitzer.)
- The Last Temptation of Christ puts people in a tizzy. (James Dobson of Focus on the Family declares that God will not be mocked and that Universal will be punished by God, since those who sow in the wind will reap the whirlwind. Universal is later purchased by Seagrams and the stock triples in value. Ouchâ€¦thatâ€™s quite a punishment.)
- HIV/AIDS is Godâ€™s judgment against homosexuals and is His instrument for wiping the gay lifestyle off the planet. (Since HIV/AIDS then spread to drug users, spouses, those receiving blood transfusions and newborn children or children who are sexually abused, I guess that means God believes in collateral damage.)
- Boycotts should extend to Disneyland and any other corporation that has any policies affecting gays. The boycotts should extend to destinations (theme parkes), products (movies, television shows, drinks, shoes, etc), and services (financial planning, investments, etc).
- Harry Potter picks up where Bewitched left off in the 1960â€™s, exposing youth to the dark, twisted and evil world of witchcraft.
I could go on, but I wonâ€™t. The point isnâ€™t that I think Christians should never say anything or voice any concerns about what they see in the culture. The point is that many Church leaders and organizations have made a habit of over-reacting while drawing all sorts of media attention to their objections. Meanwhile, they rarely provide any sort of calm, logical, well-articulated, non-reactionary, measured responses. It is all religious hyperbole couched in Christian jargonese.
It makes it difficult as an individual person of faith to express thoughts and concerns without having to overcome and explain away all the other previous baggage that has been added over the years.
So, once again, I think boycotts are counterproductive, but a humble non-recommendation to a friend – unaccompanied by overt hand-wringing or self-righteousness – is probably the right response to this atheistic answer to C.S. Lewis…