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“The Golden Compass” December 27, 2007

Posted by sel4592 in atheism, belief, morals, religion.
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I just finished reading “The Golden Compass” and liked it much more than the movie. It does have some pretty heady comments on the value of religion and the power of an organized church (in this case the Catholic church). But more important I think are its arguments condemning poor parenting and the idea of “original sin.” Lyra’s (the main character) strength as a positive force in the story is in difference to very bad parents whose agendas go against the moral fabric of her own moral compass (interesting tie in to the title). It is because of their actions for the negative that at the end she decides to take a course to rectify things for the good.There is a direct correlation in the story to the idea of original sin as promulgated by the book of genesis. In this case the sin is directly related to the idea of puberty and the change from innocence to worldliness-or a sexual being. The idea of daemons in the book is an outward metaphor for this idea as once a child in Lyra’s universe reaches puberty, their daemon settles into one form. A direct correlation to our idea of childhood vs. adulthood. In Lyra’s world, a child knows little of sin, but once they reach adulthood and the power of the elemental particle called “dust” gains more strength, then they have become more of a sinful being. The overall search by Lyra’s father to discover the source of this “dust” is in a way a metaphor for us to find and destroy this idea of sin, an idea put forth by most organized religions and philosophies world wide.

All in all I think Philip Pullman should be commended for writing a story of such depth and insight and thinking that children are certainly smart enough to understand these arguments. I can see why the organized churches are upset–why on earth would they want children to think critically on the their own? It would be a death-knell for the church’s doctrine and hold on future generations.

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