(Honestly, I love you all and I am gratified that you want me to blog. Please have patience and just send me a kick in the ass every once in awhile.)
Despite my busyness, I have been reading my emails. Not responding, mind you -- that would take too much time -- but reading. And the other day I received a forward from a relative of mine regarding a certain movie. Now this relative is older, and tends to forward anything and everything that lands in her inbox. I usually just roll my eyes and delete them. Occasionally when they are just too outrageous, I will track the rumor down on Snopes and send her a link. But for the most part, I just ignore.
However, this email was one of several that I've received about this movie, and I just couldn't take it any more. Upon reading it, my eyes glazed over and my brain went into melt-down mode. My fingers hit 'respond' and started typing without any prompting from the ol' grey matter. And apparently my "don't-chew-out-older-relatives-because-you-will-just-offend-them-and-get-the-family-up-in-arms" button was on vacation, because I went off on a rant worthy of Dennis Miller.
This is the email that I received originally:
THE GOLDEN COMPASS, IS A SOON TO BE RELEASED MOVIE WITH NICOLE KIDMAN.........AS CHRISTIANS WE NEED TO GET THE WORD OUT ABOUT THIS MOVIE, IT IS COMING OUT IN DECEMBER, AN ATHEIST PRODUCED IT, IT IS MARKETED FOR CHILDREN AND IN THE END THEY KILL GOD!
CHECK IT OUT WITH THE 'SNOPES' WEB-SITE BELOW. http://snopes.com/politics/religion/compass.asp
No offense or anger or any negativity toward those who have forwarded this email is intended. I am simply stating *my own* feelings on this message that has been busily making the rounds.
And then I kinda lost it ...
Actually, no one kills God in this movie. The movie doesn't really have anything to do with religion. The books do, but the movie is a watered-down version of only the first book, and the studio took the religious tones out. If you actually read that Snopes article, it quotes the president of the Catholic league in saying that the movie is not the problem.
Honestly, it's a PG-13 movie, so I wouldn't take my kids to see it anyway. But my feeling is if my faith is strong, and I'm raising my kids to have that same faith, then a movie--which is *fantasy* and about *entertainment*--is not going to harm them, even if the book it was based on has anti-religious themes. I'm much more worried about the exposure they will get to sex and violence through movies then about them seeing one that brings up religion.
The outrage over this movie is somewhat bemusing to me, seeing as how the movie doesn't include the religious themes of the books. So many people are passing this email around without doing any of their own research on what they are protesting. The Snopes article isn't the only one written on this, but it's the one everyone is linking to. However, even in the Snopes article, it is directly stated that, "In 'His Dark Materials,' Pullman's criticisms of organized religion come across as anti-authoritarian and anti-ascetic rather than anti-doctrinal. (Jesus isn't mentioned in any of the books, although Pullman has hinted that He might figure in a forthcoming sequel, "The Book of Dust.") His fundamental objection is to ideological tyranny and the rejection of this world in favor of an idealized afterlife, regardless of creed."
(By the way, if you want to read a thorough and non-biased article on the movie, go to http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200712/religious-movies).
One thing that every Christian passing around warnings about this movie seems to miss is that the movie is not anti-Christian. It's anti-religion. Pullman doesn't like religion, and he wrote a trilogy of books about it. Part of the trilogy was made into a movie, and now the Christians have their panties in a wad. Why??? Why not Jewish people? Where are the Hindu protesters? Muslims? Anyone? No, it's just the Christians. I wonder why that is. Are Christians less secure in their faith than people of different religious persuasion? Do Christians more strongly feel the need to de-cry anything that challenges religion in general?
Not this Christian. My faith is strong enough to be perfectly fine with the existence of a movie based on a book written by someone who is anti-religion. I've questioned the practices of my church enough to not have a leg to stand on when it comes to others who question as well. And you know what? Someone else's doubts might start an interesting theological discussion for me, but they are not going to change my core beliefs. I'm fine with an atheist making a movie about their beliefs. I'm fine with an agnostic person making a movie about their beliefs. I'm fine with a Jewish or Muslim or Hindu or WHATEVER person making a movie about their beliefs, or lack of. I am sad and disgusted that us Christians can't seem to be tolerant toward beliefs that aren't our own. Even beliefs that go *directly against* our own are still valid beliefs, for the person believing them.
My heartfelt wish is that this email would shrivel up and die. It's misleading and in some cases an outright lie. I would love to see the Christians of the world get up, get off their computers, and go volunteer in a soup kitchen or collect toys for homeless children. I'd love to see us *really* make a Christian difference, instead of worrying about a silly fantasy movie.
Looking back, I realize that although I still truly believe in everything I wrote, I most likely really hurt the relative who sent me the original email. I'm sorry for that, I really am. I should have just vented to my husband, like I usually do (he puts up with a lot of venting). But since I did send it, and I can't take it back, I can only hope that some free thought starts taking the place of knee-jerk, sheep-like reactionism.
Or at the very least, that I won't be getting more forwards any time soon.
Happy Holidays y'all.
The Spreader of Truth and Light; aka, The Killer of Bad Forwards