Mon, 5 November 2007
In an interview with a Washington Post reporter in 2001, writer Philip Pullman candidly remarked, "I'm trying to undermine the basis of Christian belief." The occasion for the interview was the publication of the third book in Pullman's fantasy trilogy, His Dark Materials.
The first book of that trilogy, The Golden Compass, has now been made into a movie, which will open on December 7th. (It's ironic that the distributors of The Golden Compass hope their film will make more money by opening in the Season of the birth of the One who is the basis of Christian belief.) The trailers for the film suggest that Pullman’s suspicion of authority (and hence his antipathy toward the Church and her Lord) will not be abandoned as the book makes the transition to a film.
Whatever his other attributes, Philip Pullman is clearly a remarkably gifted writer. His powerful story takes place in a world similar to ours but with a significantly different history, an alternate universe with a similar cast of historical characters but a different story line. This narrative device allows Pullman a polemical platform to offer opinions about history as we know it without coming out and stating his convictions starkly.
In 2000, MARS HILL AUDIO's Ken Myers talked with literary critic Alan Jacobs about Pullman’s trilogy and the ideas it advances. In that interview, Jacobs explained exactly how Pullman pursues his project of undermining Christian belief, as well as some of the other disturbing tendencies of these creative books. Originally presented on the MARS HILL AUDIO Journal, a longer version of that interview is offered in this issue of Audition.
[NOTE: To save this podcast as an MP3 file, right-click or (for Mac users) Control-click on the link below and select the saving option your browser offers.]