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THE UPSIDE-DOWN WORLD OF PULLMAN'S "GOLDEN COMPASS"

 

 

By Berit Kjos

November 18, 2007

NewsWithViews.com

"This will mean the end of the Church... the end of all those centuries of darkness!"[1, p.394] "The Golden Compass"

"The God who dies is the God of the burners of heretics, the hangers of witches... [That God deserves to die. The Authority, then, is an ancient IDEA of God, kept alive artificially by those who benefit from his continued existence."[2] Philip Pullman

"Woe to those who call evil good and good evil...." Isaiah 5:20

Flying witches, evil specters, talking bears and evolving "Dust" abound in The Dark Materials, Philip Pullman's popular fantasy series for children. In this confusing cosmos of multiple universes, humans are linked to a personal demons, and telepathic seekers find answers to life's mysteries through divination, Eastern meditation, ancient "wisdom" and ritual magic. These occult practices are essential to the battle for the "free" Republic -- against the despised old Church.

Lyra, the pre-teen heroine, is a headstrong tomboy raised without parents at an Oxford college in a universe parallel to ours. A proficient liar, she's first seen snooping in a forbidden area with her daemon camouflaged as a moth. From then on, she follows her feelings from one crisis to the next until all remnants of Biblical truth and authority have been destroyed. By the end of the series, God is dead. Free-spirited Lyra (still a 12-year-old) has sexually "come of age" and fulfilled her prophetic assignments in the war against Christianity.

As readers move from book to book, they meet likeable God-haters, experience magical worlds, and discover the strange forces that drive Pullman's occult cosmos. Defying any simple synopsis, this mind-changing trilogy appeals more to feelings than to understanding. But those feelings will open hearts to deceptions that produce death and bondage, not life in Christ.

In "The Golden Compass," the first book in the series, a strange mass of mysterious Dust is discovered during a magnificent display of Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights). But Pullman sees no Creator behind the beauty. Instead, he attributes the amazing phenomenon to evolving matter driven by intelligent consciousness -- an esoteric notion reminiscent of the occult philosophies of Teilhard de Chardin, Willis Harman, ancient Gnostics, and William Blake. The latter, one of Pullman's main sources of inspiration, was captivated by Rosicrucian's and Theosophy. [3]

Lyra's choices take her to the arctic island Svalbard. She sails northward from England with some valiant Egyptians [gypsies] determined to rescue children abducted by the heartless Church for experimental purposes. While traveling, she studies her alethiometer ["truth measure"] and practices the deep trance-forming concentration needed to receive its mystical guidance. Though she doesn't yet know it, she's being prepared for a greater purpose:

“The witches have talked about this child for centuries past.... And they have spoken of a child such as this, who has a great destiny that can only be fulfilled elsewhere—not in this world, but far beyond. Without this child, we shall all die."[1, p.176]

Do you see how this fantasy undermines Biblical values? Pullman's crafty tale pulls the readers' minds into an occult context where -- through their imagination -- they experience life from his atheist/occult perspective. In fact, his methods sound just like the transformational tactics in UNESCO's global education plan. These proven methods are designed to--

1. GIVE NEW MEANINGS TO OLD TERMS. For example, the word DAEMON (sounds like demon) refers to a loving, intimate and normally inseparable companion to its human counterpart. Unlike the demonic deceivers of Satan, these daemons live to help their human hosts. Though equated with human souls, they talk with their hosts as separate entities.

Second, the word "CHURCH" points only to an evil hierarchical dictatorship. The true Church -- those who trust and follow Christ -- are never mentioned. A proud, beautiful witch queen describes Pullman's perceived enemy well:

"Let me tell you... who it is that we must fight... It is the Magisterial, the Church. For all its history... it's tried to suppress and control every natural impulse... and every church is the same: control, destroy, obliterate every good feeling. So if a war comes, and the church is on one side of it, we must be on the other, no matter what strange allies we find ourselves bound to.... Lord Asriel [Lyra's heartless father] was my lover once, and I would willingly join forces with him, because he hates the Church."[4, p.50-5 ]

Third, we are told that "HEAVEN" is a lie. Instead, everyone ends up in the "world of the dead" -- a miserable "prison camp" established by the evil Authority. [5 -33]

2. REDEFINE GOD AND UNDERMINE CHRISTIANITY. Near the end of the third book, "The Amber Spyglass," Lyra rescues the captive dead. Corrupting the reader's view of Christ, Pullman trades Jesus for this telepathic 12-year-old girl who could hardly be less like our Lord.

The "God" or "Authority" in this story is a feeble old man. The following statement by an angel shows Pullman's contempt for him:

“The Authority, God, the Creator, The Lord... those were all names he gave himself. He was never the creator. He was an angel like ourselves—the first angel, true, the most powerful.... The first angels condensed out of Dust, and the Authority was the first of all.... One of those who came later was wiser than he was, and she found out the truth, so he banished her. We serve her still. And the Authority still reigns in the Kingdom, and Metatron is his Regent."[5 -31-32]

"She" refers to Sophia, the goddess of wisdom in the Gnostic context of multiple gods. Linked to a "divine spark" in everyone, she encouraged self-discovery and self-pleasing enlightenment rather than obedience to any authority. No wonder she was banished!

Metatron is featured in many occult systems. The Kabbalah and the Tarot view him as a powerful archangel. In Hermetic magic he is linked to the god Hermes and the mythical Emerald Tablet with its infamous code, "As Above, So Below." It summarizes the occultist's goal of connecting with higher powers in order to command change here below.

3. HIGHLIGHT SEDUCTIVE SUGGESTIONS THAT CLASH WITH TRADITIONAL VALUES. Daemons assume their permanent animal shape when their human partner "comes of age." For 12-year-old Lyra, that initiation came through sexual intimacy with Will, her close companion and lover near the end of the series. Will's father had been a powerful shaman in another world.

This fits our times, doesn't it? Myth replaces truth, feelings hide morality, and human effort nullifies the cross. In Pullman's amoral universes, all traces of Biblical truth must be purged or reinterpreted. For example, Gnostic and other occult philosophies have viewed the serpent as good and the forbidden fruit as enlightening. So did Milton in Paradise Lost, another source of inspiration for Pullman. But our wise God warned,

"Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; 'but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil ' you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” Genesis 2:16

4. RIDICULE AND REWRITE BIBLICAL TRUTH. Near the end of "The Golden Compass," Lord Asriel condemns the "Church" for its despised teachings on "original sin." Then he reads this false version of Genesis 3:1-7 to Lyra:

“...the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: 'For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and your demons shall assume their true forms, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to reveal the true form of one’s daemon, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband....

And the eyes of them both were opened.... But when the man and the woman knew their own daemons, they knew that a great change had come upon them, for until that moment it had seemed that they were at one with all the creatures of the earth and the air...." [1, p. 371-372]

Pullman's version of the Fall had destroyed unity -- an illusion that Al Gore and other globalist leaders want to recreate. Expecting Lyra to reverse those consequence, the witches conceal a second prophecy. But Lyra's devious mother forces one of them to reveal the secret:

"You witches know something about the child Lyra.... Tell me the truth.... Name her!"

"Eve! Mother of all!... Mother Eve!" stammered [the witch].... "What will you do to her?"

"Why, I shall have to destroy her... to prevent another Fall."[4, p. 314]

5. IMMERSE READERS IN TEMPTING OCCULTISM AND RITUAL MAGIC. Magical practices grab the readers' attention and eventually make occultism feel good and normal. Lyra's delight in "reading" her alethiometer may seem harmless, but her success requires the same psychic skills as those used for spell casting and other forms of magic. Notice the resemblance to the meditative practices now welcomed into emerging churches everywhere:

“...she sat still, letting her mind hold the three levels of meaning together in focus, and relaxed for the answer, which came almost at once.... She blinked once or twice as if she were coming out of a trance."[1, p.174]

"Concentrate.... Focus your mind. ... Now feel with it."[4, p.182-3]

Dr. Mary Malone, a physicist who shares Lyra's fascination with divination, uses I Ching and her computer to receive instructions from "those entities she called shadow particles."[5, p.80] But they can only be seen 'when you make your mind empty..." she tells Lyra in the second book, "The Subtle Knife."[4, p.92]

But God says,

"There shall not be found among you anyone who... practices witchcraft, or a soothsayer, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, or one who conjures spells, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead. For all who do these things are an abomination to the Lord..." Deuteronomy 18:10-12

6. CLOAK MYSTICISM IN SCIENTIFIC LANGUAGE. Pullman's mystical Dust is a perfect example:

"Dust came into being when living things became conscious of themselves..." [5, p.451]

"Dust is what makes the alethiometer work.... You’ve heard of electrons, photons, neutrinos, and the rest? They’re called elementary particles because you can’t break them down any further..."[1, p.370]

Ascribing consciousness to Dust makes sense to people like Dr. Willis Harman who have redefined the meaning of "science." A former Stanford professor, futurist, and founder of the Institute of Noetic Sciences, he even spoke at the 1979 "Evangelical" Consultation on the Future sponsored by the Billy Graham Center.

Like Pullman's "Dark Materials", Harman's book "Global Mind Change" promotes paganism as evidence for a consciousness-driven evolution:

"Down through the centuries, a variety of anomalous phenomena, including clairvoyant remote viewing, telepathic communication... and other 'psychic' phenomena, had been reported.... What was common to all of these anomalous psychic phenomena was that mind seemed to have some effects in the physical world."

"Perhaps a species on the long path of evolutionary development is... pulled by the kind of teleological force implied in... in Teilhard de Chardin's "The Phenomenon of Man." In this kind of explanation... evolution is characterized both by the organism’s freedom to choose and by its inner sense of 'right' direction."[6]

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The last sentence summarizes the guidelines for Lyra's success. No one could tell her what to do! As occultist Aleister Crowley said, "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law"? Lyra must be "free" to follow "her own inner sense of "right" -- no matter how wrong!

"...the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires... they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. But you be watchful in all things...." 2 Timothy 4:2-5

Footnotes:

1, Philip Pullman, "The Golden Compass" (New York: Random House Children's Books, 1995).
2, Phillip Pullman's answers to Questions about Science and Religion
3, Swedenborg
4, Philip Pullman, "The Subtle Knife" (New York: Random House Children's Books, 1997).
5, Philip Pullman, "The Amber Spyglass" (New York: Random House Children's Books, 2000).
6, Willis Harman, Ph.D., "Global Mind Change (New York: Warner Books, 1988), pp.13, 55.

© 2007 Berit Kjos - All Rights Reserved

 

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Berit Kjos is a widely respected researcher, writer and conference speaker. A frequent guest on national radio and television programs, Kjos has been interviewed on Point of View (Marlin Maddoux), The 700 Club, Bible Answer Man, Beverly LaHaye Live, Crosstalk and Family Radio Network. She has also been a guest on "Talk Back Live" (CNN) and other secular radio and TV networks.  Her last two books are A Twist of Faith and Brave New Schools. Kjos Ministries Web Site: http://www.crossroad.to/index.html


 

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Flying witches, evil specters, talking bears and evolving "Dust" abound in The Dark Materials, Philip Pullman's popular fantasy series for children.