Friday, December 7, 2007

The first movie I plan to see to kick off the winter secular holiday break.

In theaters today, New Line Cinema's The Golden Compass is a $180 million project based on a series of children's books entitled His Dark Materials, by Philip Pullman. The movie is ironically being compared to The Chronicles of Narnia - interesting, since the Narnia books feature a Jesus-like lion, Aslan, while the book The Golden Compass is outwardly atheist, the whole plot being for the child hero, Lyra, to kill God.

However, despite the symbolic undertones of theology Pullman weaved into the books, a recent article in The Atlantic Monthly exposes how Hollywood eliminated the atheism that lies at the heart of the story - don't want to offend American Christian audiences around Christmastime, now do you?

The controversy surrounding this latest epic-style movie is intriguing, and I think revealing about the way our society views religion. Yesterday's 80 Hours cover story also approaches this issue, looking at the different ways people celebrate (or choose not to celebrate) the holiday season - atheists included.

So even though Facebook groups such as "Do NOT support The Golden Compass" have popped up with over 180,000 members, the movie could prove to be a thought provoking experience - not necessarily to convert someone to atheism, but as a a movie worth intellectual discussion because of its social value in today's religious climate.


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