What with the coming movie, there’s a new controversy in Ontario over The Golden Compass, with some Catholic schools pulling it off the shelves. I tend to think that though there are some solid theological moves in the series — particularly the harrowing of hell in the third book — the overarching theological scheme is merely another stale attack on Western religion. Let me just point out that this is the story of two kids who save the world by (a) killing God, and (b) having sex. Oh, and that the representatives of the church and synagogue end up falling into a bottomless pit locked in an eternal struggle. Ho hum.
The problem isn’t so much the books themselves, which read along like a shot and contain lots of provocative ideas. The problem comes up once you start to interpret the symbols. The results are flat, naive, and presumptuous.