The Golden Compass Controversy
I am sure that by now you have heard the uproar about The Golden Compass. Based upon the trilogy written by an agnostic (not an atheist) who hates CS Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia series and desires not to see children “brainwashed” with their optimistic view of childhood and of God.
The movie is bound to generate a lot of interest. Especially with so many Christian and Catholic organizations and churches calling for a boycott of the film and the books. This typically generates more interest because it is now taboo to see it.
So what is a Youth Worker to do? Should we run for cover and boycott the movie?
We should research the movie. Look into the motivations behind it. Why were the books written? Why was it adapted to film? What drives the actors to star in such a controversial piece of entertainment (especially when Nicole Kidman claims Catholicism)? What worldviews does the movie present? Is there any redeeming quality to it? We know that many of our students (and students who will be coming up into our ministries) will be pouring into theaters to see it (the trailer makes certain of that). So would it really benefit us in our ministry to avoid the movie?
Think through this critically. There is an old mentality that one can only make an informed decision by experiencing the situation (which holds some truth, but is not a practice that should not always be submitted to, such as a former student of mine wanting to experience drunkenness just so she could better relate to others who did it all the time), so read critical-thinking-motivated reviews. Read the books for yourself. Watch the movie. Take a few students to see the movie, and afterwards stop off for a milkshake and discuss the themes that were present in the movie.
Don’t hide your head in the sand. Educate yourself. Paul knew the poets who were popular in Athens before sharing the Gospel there. And he not only could recite them, but was able to point them toward God by using these same poets. While there not be much in The Golden Compass that can be used to point students toward God, there is a lot that will be important in the Spiritual development of your teens. It seems that our teens today get most of their Spiritual development from popular media anyway. Here is your chance to help turn that tide, even if just a little bit.
A few links to get you started:
Plugged In Online’s In-Depth look at The Golden Compass (available for a limited time)
The Chronicles of Atheism (A Christianity Today article)