I read the “Dark Materials” series, partly in response to this episode (it was the first from this podcast that I listened to). After just finishing the series I’m a little baffled by some of the comments. The fictionalized universe(s) where the books take place are clearly designed to be critical of earthly religious authority and, to a certain extent, religion in general. It particularly attacks the narrowly-devised mythology invented in “Paradise Lost,” which is only moderately scripture-based.
The children in the book do not set out to “kill God” because they hate God and Jesus and everything Christianity stands for. This fictionalized world is ruled by a monolithic church (like the catholic church before the reformation), which answers to a false God, who has since been usurped by an underling. The fictoinal Authority calling himself “God,” “Yahweh,” etc. did not create the universe in the books, but was just the first to arrive. Calling him the Christian God any way but allegorically is a stretch. The Authority was pre-existed by a sentient material that pervaded the universes, which lends itself to religious interpretations by many.
Pullman is critical of religion through metaphor and allegory, but doesn’t advocate deicide any more than C. S. Lewis advocates traipsing through closets to engage in totemic animal worship.
I suggest you read the books. I admit they don’t support evangelical Christianity. You may not like them, but you may be surprised to find they’re not about what you think they are. I think it’s healthy to maintain a diverse reading/podcasting list including points of view that oppose my own (which keeps me listening to you).
I’m almost tempted to think that your post is an attempt at humor…unless you are arguing from ignorance of who Yahweh is (???). I don’t think it’s coincidence that the God who has a war waged against Him has the same name as the Christian God, and allegory doesn’t use actual names. I take the usage of God’s name as a very specific and clear indication that the story is an attack on the Judeo-Christian tradition.
Thanks for your feedback 🙂
I have a good understand of who JHVH is and who Yahweh in the books represents (having read the books). I think the books represent less of an attack on the deity as worshipped by Christians (though that may be the case to a smaller extent, based on statements made by Pullman), but more an attack on the type of personification in paradise lost, Narnia, and other literary works that set up their own cosmologies.
So I take it that you have read the interviews with Pullman in which he comes right out and admits that his books were an attack on Christianity by saying that he was “trying to undermine the basis of Christian belief” and still maintain that it’s not an attack on the Judeo-Christian God, specifically?
Let me put it this way…let’s say that we wanted to write an allegory about the evil CEO of a company, and all the swindling he does…and he had the same name as the current President of the United States. Would this be viewed as an allegory attacking world leaders in general, or would it be viewed as an attack on our current President?
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