Sunday, January 18, 2009

Of the Devil?

Hello. Ryan here. I need some people to weigh in on a subject for me. I'll try and be brief, but for those of you who know me, the only thing brief about me are my work you can tell by my slightly enlarged face and small muffin top (in my defense my brother says my face "puffs up like a bee sting in pictures). I bought p90x, but I can't make it through one DVD--having some Russian chick be able to do 25 pull ups when you can't do one isn't really motivating (though I think I detected a slight bulge in "her" lime green spandex--I'm on to you Katarina).

So I have a slight nerd streak in me--I love Harry Potter and the Chronicles of Narnia--just so you know, I've never read Lord of the Rings, so one cannot classify me as a sci-fi freak. I just like a little bit of thought provoking fantasy. So Erica and I rent movies from Red Box all the time--she picked the last movie-The Women-I can handle a chick flick, but this did women no favors. If any of you liked it--well you're probably still single and now you know why.
I rented The Golden Compass. I know it came out a long time ago and the only reason I didn't rent it earlier was from a chain e-mail from a friend talking about it's anti-Christian plot line. Now I don't usually read chain e-mails, especially from this girl in accounting, she's sweet, but the last time I forwarded the e-mail off to 10 friends I didn't receive a phone call in 5 minutes with someone telling me I won a million dollars (that's what I wished for--I figured world peace is soon on its way with Obama coming right?) ;)

Anyway (so much for being brief, but I hope you're interested), I decided to rent the movie. I REALLY liked the movie and I actually got a very different view of the meaning of the movie. I looked it up on Wikipedia and followed a few websites--sure enough the movie, based on the book, is about "The Church" (not ours, just in general) brainwashing kids into just beleivingand taking away their agency. The author, who is agnostic, said he believes in God, but a God like the one Christians depict deserves to be rebelled against. I wanted to be offended, but I kind of liked the idea of people believing because they want to believe and not just because they are forced to. I guess this story is one of three in a Trilogy called His Dark Tools (not the warmest series).

Here's the question...have any of you read this? What is your take on it? I think this guy has a great point. Please respond


Nichelle Jensen said...

Ry I really am that out of the loop with pop culture. I've never heard of this movie. I'll have to see what all this is about. That title on your post is such a Cha Chelly quote and she for sure hates this movie.

nikki said...

I heard all the hype about the anti-Christian movie and book but never partook.

I guess I can't totally have an opinion if I haven't seen or read, but don't you think the LDS church teaches that we believe because we want to believe? Our most important gift is our agency and I definitely don't think Heavenly Father is about taking it away. He wants us to do certain things because He knows it will make us happy and He sent Jesus to teach us how to do those things but in no way is it anyone's choice but ours to do what He asks. I love it!

Carrie said...

so I totally haven't read the book or seen the movie.

But I too got the forwarded email warning. But what I remember is that the email also said that the first book/movie in the series is less anti than the second or third in the series. And that the deeper a younger person got into it - hooked, the more anti it would become...

that said... I believe the warning was for children. I totally agree that we all have our agency and that is such an essential part of Heavenly Father's plan and it's important for us to make our own choices and religion is one of our most important choices, etc.

But I think I'd refrain from taking my kids until they were much older based on what I've heard...just because I want to avoid them getting taught things that are different from our beliefs until they are older. Similar to how I'd prefer the schools not teach same sex marriage in the schools. Younger kids who are told things by authority figures like teachers or movies or television programs believe things at face value without weighing other options. Just last night, we were watching a thing on Discovery about Polar Bears...and the narrater said that Grizzly Bears evolved into Polar Bears...but wouldn't necessarily agree with that...not that I'm anti-evolution because I'm sooo not...just that if that was the case, then why are there still grizzly bears in Alaska...why would some remain the same and others evolve into Polar Bears. Anyhow, I could think about it and decide what I wanted to believe, while Ryan (5 years old) believed it as a fact.

Cool topic of conversation...even though it isn't in person. I hadn't talked to anyone about the movie, so I was glad to hear you liked it! Interesting stuff!

Amy said...

I must be WAY out of the loop! I hadn't heard any of this till just now. So I can't comment on it. But, I will say are funny, I like reading your stuff, you should post more often!

Carrie said...

I should ammend the sentence in my comment about keeping my children from being taugh things that differ from my that I'd like to teach them the truth and would rather them not be taught things that are not true until an age where they have the abilities to think and weigh different options. I want to provide them with a true foundation in their early years. Which I don't think is different than any parent. Even parents with opposite view points than mine would want to teach their children their own beliefs...An atheist would not teach their children to believe in Christ.

I'm just sayin.'

I actually really love exploring/talking/debating stuff like this. It's fun...How come there aren't many comments yet? I'm curious:)

Sorry...I'm long winded:)

Erica said...

It actually is not a bad movie and you would never guess they were talking about "the church." I got from it that it was Satan and his followers trying to take away our free agency. Though it may really show that in the next movies. But this movie was not at all bad and did not make you think bad of believers. Although...scary for kids! It is PG13 and I would not show it to my kids either but not because of the content of the storyline.

Meg said...

Hey Ryan! You may not remember me, but this is Meg Meyer (Van Wagenen now :)...My husband and I read this series together and really enjoyed it! The book is 1,000 times better than the movie...the movie left a lot out. I think it is a great fantasy series and I have to agree with your take on the "Church" thing and Pullman's point...We found some themes could be tweaked to correspond with our LDS religion. And controversy aside,we found it to simply to be an entertaining book...BTW, darling little girl! I love her dark hair and smile..what a cute family. We just had a little girl, Ruby, in December. Hope all is well..

nikki said...

Carrie's point is a good one. I wouldn't take my kids to see it either - just the PG13 alone makes the decision easy for us on whether our kids are seeing it or not.

But for adults, it sure makes interesting conversation! You have definitely ramped up my curiosity.

Chase and Nichole said...

I have not read that. But I did go see the movie The Golden COmpass when it came out. I really liked it and I think its dumb everyone made such a big deal about how we should not go see it. I didn't really understand... maybe I am not the best at reading underlying messages the movie was trying to portray. In no part of the movie did I see anything that was sacreligious (in my oppinion). And guess what? We also have P90 x! We bought it like over a year ago and I still have yet to get through a workout on the videos other than the ab ripper!

Nathan said...

Hi, you totally don't know me, but I'm going to comment on your post here cause it's a point of interest for me as well.

First off, just thought I'd tell you that I stumbled across your post as your blog is linked from a good friend of mine's, Mark and Jenny Wilkes. Mark and I were mission companions, he was my Best Man at my wedding...anyways I digress...

To the topic at hand. I too got that forwarded email. It just so happened that it came from the Relief Society President in my ward whom I'm not terribly fond of. As a result of being told not to watch it or read it, I asked my wife to pick up a copy of all 3 books (they were on sale at Costco due to the impending big screen release). I've only finished the first one sadly, but she's read all 3.

Unfortunately the writing style and literature of it all left me wanting - wasn't written as good as say, Lord of the Rings, nor as entertaining as Harry Potter or Narnia. It was good enough, but didn't really keep me going.

So I did the only sensible thing - get the cliff notes online. Everything I read about it just pointed to the fact that though the Author has a deep seated hatred for the Catholic Church and his books were in fact meant to open children's eyes to what he perceives as the Catholic Churches biggest fallacies, he in fact pin pointed something very accurate pertaining to the truth as we know it (we meaning LDS).

In the end of the 3rd book, they defeat "God" - though the name he goes by is the Authority. The Authority is not actually God come to find out - but a fallen angel. Sound familiar? Who'd have thought, a fallen angel who is trying to take away people's agency.

So the overall arch of the story isn't really so sinister when looked at properly (though that's no reason to think it's great - there are still a few really weird themes in the books and some weird scenes...if the next two movies end up getting made it will make for some awkward moments).

I too liked the movie a great deal, but the book has a better sequence of events, and the movie didn't end properly either (the ending to the first book is pretty climatic...not sure why they didn't include it - they basically cut it very short). The bear fight scene was nothing short of awesome in the film though.

Anyways, sorry to bust in unannounced and offer an opinion, but hopefully it only makes you feel more popular. ;)

Erin and James said...

haha. ok first off - p90x works so keep going! Secondly, I loved the Golden Compass and didn't feel like it was at all evil or devilish! I think everyone can take what they want from a movie and turn it into something. I agree that it was good that people got to believe cause they wanted to.