Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Dark and Light Materials

As you may know, Pads has greatly enjoyed audiobooks, like those of Philip Pullman's - the 'Sally Lockhart' series especially. Pullman's 'His Dark Materials' series is fairly notorious: it starts off well enough but his militant atheism really shows its teeth in the second book, The Subtle Knife. So much so that Pads started to lose sleep over it. I favour a 'liberal education' and was confident that Pads would be able to make his own mind up about it. He did, and he's moved on to Jurassic Park instead. There are many people who are dead set against 'organised religion' because of all the damage it has allegedly done over the years (see this q&a between Pullman and a fan for example). I'm not condoning violence or harm, but apart from this being an 'old chestnut', a denial of the complexity of 'religion', not many who hold that view can command an audience of thousands of young people who will eagerly devour their every word.
But Pads saw through Pullman's disguise early on and it left him wondering how anyone could betray a good story to pursue such a pointless self-defeating objective. Pullman will simply join the long line of little human beings who have tried to 'kill God', but who fizzled out in the attempt. When asked for a comment, Pads says, 'he seems to believe in God because he's trying to destroy Him!' It's rather akin to Richard Dawkins sadly being heard to blaspheme under his breath on air the other week. If you are trying to eradicate God, why bother to use his name as an expletive? According to various sources, Pullman does not believe in God or an afterlife. If you do, and you're facing Him and it square on, this book is unhelpful. Try an excellent sermon on the subject instead (like the one our pastor preached last Sunday).
'The Tender Grape' has long been enjoyed by our children. We were delighted to receive a letter from it's recently retired editor, Mrs Boorman who, for over 40 years, has faithfully published this monthly magazine for children.

Pads and his mum have been pretty quiet over the last three days. Ally went down with a dose of shingles on Sunday and is still feeling drained by it. Hopefully Pads will not be affected by it, although he is at an increased risk given that he's on chemo (temozolomide) and if he does get any symptoms then we're on notice to get him put on the same antiviral drug Ally's taking.


Helen Ceridwen said...

Interesting on Pullman. It's well-written and he is obviously very well versed in the Bible. Always had the feeling that he was trying to emulate C.S. Lewis, but with a different agenda (clearly). The anti-Christian or anti-church or anti-belief system propaganda does become more & more obvious through the series, think he fails to convince at the end (as Padi has realised, without getting that far!)

Mike Johnson said...

:) Thanks Helen! Pads is REALLY enjoying Dune instead. The writer, Frank Herbert, was a Zen Buddhist, according to wikipedia, so the spirituality of that book is roughly equivalent that you'd find in Star Wars...