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The Golden Compass Controversy: Why the His Dark Materials Series Was Previously Listed as “dangerous?

A brand-new, 180-million-dollar film based on the first novel in Philip Pullman’s best-selling trilogy, His Dark Materials, has roiled the Christian community in a passionate debate. The Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights protested the fantasy adventure movie The Golden Compass with outrage and demanded a global boycott.

What the Fuss Is All About? Should Jewish Leaders and Rabbis Follow the Catholic League’s Example?

Unquestionably an atheist who strongly opposes all forms of organized religion, Pullman is agnostic. In a 2002 British interview, Pullman stated that “wherever you see organized religion and priesthoods and power, you see cruelty, tyranny, and repression.” This statement applies to all forms of organized religion, including Christianity and all of its variations, Islam, and some extreme forms of Hinduism.

the golden compass controversy

He so rails against authoritarian figures who restrict the right to dissent, demonizes those who manifestly represent the Church and its beliefs, and extols free thought and the unwillingness to be intimidated by irrational authority.

Pullman uses the term “evil Magisterium,” which Catholics in the real world use to refer to the teaching authority of the Pope and the bishops of the Church, to describe the cabal that seeks to control the world for its own nefarious purposes, throughout the books, which are more well-known in Britain than J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter books.

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The Similarities Between the Villains in New Line Cinema’s Films and Their Christian Counterparts Have Been Minimized.

The similarities between the villains in New Line Cinema’s films and their Christian counterparts have been minimized. There are no longer any allusions to the Church. But the notion of unwavering faith is severely denigrated. However, we need to critically assess if the oversimplified answer that we will deny you the ability to be heard in response to attacks on faith is the wisest course of action.

Not very long ago, Mel Gibson‘s divisive and, in fact, provocative, “The Passion,” gave us Jews the impression that we were being singled out for criticism. A boycott of the highly publicized film, according to some, would lessen its likelihood of inciting anti-Semitism. Instead, we witnessed what Professor Gregory Black has now convincingly proven to be true: “Boycotts generally have driven more people to the box office.”

the golden compass controversy

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However, this method is so flawed as the best response against attacks on faith that it isn’t only the fact that boycotts are almost always counterproductive that makes it so. Close-mindedness cannot live in an open-minded society. True faith, as Maimonides and so many of our greatest philosophers frequently taught, feeds on doubt; its strength comes from facing it head-on and triumphing over it rather than avoiding obstacles.

Did You Ask Any Good Questions Today?”

When asked to what he ascribed his achievement, Nobel Prize laureate Isaac Rabi replied that he always remembered his mother asking him each day, “Did you ask any good questions today?” after he returned from school. He learned that ultimately we gain more from questions than from answers. Questions allow us to gain a deeper and more thorough understanding while answers put a topic to an end.

That could possibly be the best explanation for Jewish genius. We study the Torah, Talmud, and commentaries starting when we are young, and we are encouraged to ask questions even when there isn’t a clear answer in sight. Any other approach would imply that our religion is weak and cannot endure inquiry and that our devotion to God is so flimsy that it is wary of scrutiny.

The response to The Golden Compass is a microcosm of a far more significant problem that has significant ramifications for the Jewish community as well. Catholic authorities who argue for the film’s prohibition think its message must be suppressed because it is dangerous. But in the middle of this uproar, another strategy emerged.

the golden compass controversy

The mission and discipleship council of the Church of Scotland stated that the movie “offers a perfect opportunity to encourage conversation on a wide range of moral and spiritual problems.” The movie should serve as a catalyst for the kind of discussion that could clarify people’s religious beliefs, according to several well-known Catholics who have publicly urged followers to watch it. Perhaps, as some have said, criticism should not be silenced; rather, it is best if it is heard and answered.

Ours is a secular age. Best-selling atheist authors criticize religion in their works. People who insult spiritual ideals are praised in our culture. Should our answer be limited to our frightened refusal to face them in battle?

Boycotts Imply that We Are Aware We Will Lose the Conflict.

I ask for your patience. The Golden Compass is not something I argue in favor of seeing. I watched the movie in order to discuss these topics for the post, but in all honesty, I believe that my time could have been much better utilized.

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I do, however, strongly believe that we should be considerably more cautious when establishing that disagreeable points of view are off-limits. If we took the time to explain why our faith is so much better than other faiths, we could accomplish much more.

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