January 24, 2007

IT'S HARDLY A COINCIDENCE THAT THEY ALL FOLLOW A BEARDED PROPHET OF THEIR OWN:

The Anti-Christian Mythology of Phillip Pullman (Annalee Newitz, 1/23/07, AlterNet)

For several years I've heard Philip Pullman's young-adult fantasy trilogy His Dark Materials called an anti-religious response to the mega-Christian Chronicles of Narnia. Progressive fantasy about troubles with an otherworldly version of the Christian right? I'm there. So I snapped up Pullman's three novels -- The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife, and The Amber Spyglass -- each named after a magical device that aids our heroes in a quest through parallel universes, including a parallel Oxford, England.

Right away, however, I discovered that these are not antireligious novels. Certainly, there are some bad Christians, but there are also a god and tons of angels. Plus, all the universes are united via a spiritual substance called Dust -- or, in our world, dark matter. Turns out dark matter is a kind of psychic life-essence that fuels angels and souls. The Dust thing really bugged me. I expect magic in fantasy worlds, but Pullman turns astrophysics into spiritual goo. It was a rhetorical move right out of Jesusland, where believers have managed to convert science into intelligent design. [...]

But the problem here isn't Christianity itself. It's with a bunch of antipleasure adults who want to torture erotic desire out of kids in the name of God. In addition, as we learn in the later books, a similar social problem has emerged in the world of angels. The Christian God is actually a frail old creature being kept alive by fascistic, high-level angels who are using his reputation to reestablish the authority of the kingdom of heaven throughout all the parallel universes. And somehow, because our heroes are fighting to stop these power-mad angels and bad-actor Christians, we're supposed to think the book is antireligion?

Perhaps the West is so steeped in Christian mythology that we can't imagine an outside to Christianity.


Sucks to be trapped in Creation, eh?

Posted by Orrin Judd at January 24, 2007 12:00 AM
Comments

Those books bored me to to tears until about two-thirds of the way through the third book.

Reading taste is subjective, to be sure, but that trilogy didn't do much for me.

Posted by: kevin whited at January 24, 2007 11:49 AM

Pullman is even more anti-academic, since he believes in telling stories:

http://www.randomhouse.com/features/pullman/author/carnegie.html

Posted by: Bob Hawkins at January 24, 2007 12:47 PM
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