How do we respond to movies that negatively portray Christianity? I hope we have learned from the Christian response to movies like The Last Temptation of Christ and The DaVinci Code and Harry Potter. We have to be careful to not draw more attention to the movie and accidentally promote the film by our complaints. But we do have an obligation to speak the truth and let Christians know the dangers of films that promote false doctrines. So we have this tension, we don’t want to be known by what we’re against, but we have a responsibility to speak the truth in love. I think much of the damage is done by pastors who speak out against movies without knowing the facts. They see a news story or an article on the Internet and automatically assume that they know enough to blast the movie from the pulpit. People want to know real facts, real issues behind the condemnation. And typically the church just makes a fool of itself.
That brings me to the current movie that everyone is buzzing about, The Golden Compass. Our first responsibility as Christians is to educate ourselves about the culture of today, if we truly wish to speak truth into that culture. Here are some movie reviews about The Golden Compass. Read some of these first.
- Rotten Tomatoes – A compilation of secular reviews from major newspapers around the country.
- Plugged In Review – A review from Focus on the Family.
- Al Mohler – What You Need to Know About the Golden Compass – The president of Southern Seminary has a very balanced and excellent article about the movie.
- Philip Pullman on Wikipedia – Here is the wikipedia article on the author of trilogy. Note especially his outspoken support of atheism.
- Update: Planetwisdom has added a great review here.
Now that you’ve read some of the background of the movie, it’s time to engage others in meaningful discussions. A film like this is not going to destroy the Christian faith, so don’t overreact. I’m sure that the cinematic quality of the movie will be incredible, but the storyline does trouble me. So how do we react?
I would like to see Christians use this film to say that the church is really not like it is portrayed by this movie. As a Christian, I would want to let other Christians know that this movie (and especially the later 2 parts of the trilogy) have some very troubling spiritual overtones. We must realize that movies are an incredibly powerful way to influence others, and the author of this book has great disdain for Christianity . Personally, I won’t see this movie. I’m not attracted to this genre, and I really don’t want to support Hollywood by paying money to see it. But I’m not going to scream and yell at others who do. Let’s use this movie to tell an unbelieving world that we as Christ followers are focused on loving God and loving others, and that there are more important issues in this world than a movie that attacks our beliefs.