Friday, 9 November 2007

the golden compass - to ban or not to ban

a friend asked me to comment on the upcoming movie based on phillip pullman's book 'the golden compass'. he quoted an email that is circulating around the internet. read the email below and my response to it at the end:


Dear All

There will be a new children's movie out in December called "The Golden Compass". The movie has been described as "atheism for kids" and is based on the first book of a trilogy entitled "His Dark Materials" that was written by Phillip Pullman. Pullman is a militant atheist and secular humanist who despises C. S. Lewis and the "Chronicles of Narnia". His motivation for writing this trilogy was specifically to counteract Lewis' symbolisms of Christ that are portrayed in the Narnia series.

Clearly, Pullman 's main objective is to bash Christianity and promote atheism. Pullman left little doubt about his intentions when he said in a 2003 interview that "my books are about killing God." He has even stated that he wants to "kill God in the minds of children". It has been said of Pullman that he is "the writer the atheists would be praying for, if atheists prayed."

While "The Golden Compass" movie itself may seem mild and innocent, the books are a much different story. In the trilogy, a young streetwise girl becomes enmeshed in an epic struggle to ultimately defeat the oppressive forces of a senile God. Another character, an ex-nun, describes Christianity as "a very powerful and convincing mistake." In the final book, characters representing Adam and Eve eventually kill God, who at times is called YAHWEH. Each book in the trilogy gets progressively worse regarding Pullman 's hatred of Jesus Christ.

"The Golden Compass" is set to premier on December 7, during the Christmas season (and staring Nicole Kidman), and will probably be heavily advertised. Promoters hope that unsuspecting parents will take their children to see the movie, that they will enjoy the movie, and that the children will want the books for Christmas.

Please consider a boycott of the movie and the books. Also, pass this information along to everyone you know (including church leaders). This will help to educate parents, so that they will know the agenda of the movie. This is sent out to those of you who have kids or friends with kids, grandkids or have influence with kids. So many things today are darkness concealed in what appears to be innocent. FYI.

Don't let kids see "The Golden Compass"

For anyone with kids, grandkids other relatives or friends who this may concern, please check it out at and it is true. Read the info in the link.


My response:

the email has been going around lately. seems to quote 1 general source for its criticism's of pullman, my guess from bill donohue and the catholic league. if you read snopes' writeup, at the end of the paper, there are some others who disagree that the book is anti-christian. rather, they say the book is anti-religion or more especially anti-organizational religion.

i have only read the 1st volume. my children have vol 1 and 3 (and i will try to read vol 3 although without vol. 2, it will take some time to bridge the missing gap). as a writer, pullman is far better than j.k. rowling. his trilogy is probably of higher quality than harry potter and on level with narnia.

pullman's anti-christianity is general knowledge and his works designed as a counter to lewis' narnia is well-known. does that mean we ban pullman's books? people will say that is rather biased on our part. if we can go on public to publicize the narnia movie, why ban the 'his dark materials' movies? we cannot decide for the rest of the non-christian public what they can watch or not watch. if we want to 'ban', we do it among our own christian community by educating our readers and viewers.

public banning does not solve the problem. the da vinci code movie is a good example. by banning DVC, we give more publicity to it and made it one of the best sellers. christians should have ignored it on the public level while we go around our church level to educate and inform. by also banning it on the church level, it also doesn't solve everything. it will make our children more curious to watch. there will be ways for them to find a copy. rather, we can sit with them and explain those difficult things from the books or movie.

when nicole agreed to appear in the movie, eyebrows were raised because she is a catholic. but her decision was entirely a professional decision. she is an actress and she acts according to the movie's demands but that does not imply she necessarily agrees with the author's beliefs.

i for one will look forward to the movie to see how well it has been adapted for the big screen. we all know from the LOTR's trilogy that the adapation was hopeless in many ways e.g. love scenes put in when there was none. but friends, remember it is hollywood. they have to adapt it in the way the producers think will 'sell' the movie. so, forget about those parts of the adaptations but see the rest of the movie. treat it as any other fictional book. pullman may have indeed intended it to be a critique of organizational christianity but there is a lesson we can learn here. for me, any critique of organizational christianity is welcomed as a good corrective for christians in case we have been so institutionalized that we do not even know it!


Ben Witherington has a post on this with comments. see his tuesday nov 6th post at:

Tuesday, 6 November 2007

Review of Bible Study Packages

Bible Study Software packages

1) Review of the top five packages
2) Other software, including free stuff
3) Personal recommendations


1) Review of the top five packages

John Glynn has produced a wonderful review of the top five, and this email is
really just an adjunct to his work. See:

a] Libronix (Logos) the big one -

b] Accordance the pretty one -

c] BibleWorks the all-in one -

d] Gramcord the old one - []

e] Pradis (Zondervan) the sturdy one -

PCs run them all (Accordance via an emulator) .
Macs run Accordance (and soon, Logos too)
All of them are growing and improving constantly, especially in the realms of grammatical analysis, secondary literature and background sources.

2) Other software, including free stuff

The Sword (free: PC, Mac & PDAs):

Online Bible (free: PC):

Bible Windows (PC): []

E-Sword (free: PC): []

AnyText (Mac):

Bible Database (free: PC):

Theophilus (cheap: PC): []

QuickVerse (PC):

More details:

For PDAs (ie Palms, Pocket PCs, phones & iPods):
BiblePlus (Palm, free, very good):

Olive Tree (all PDAs, scholarly, using Gramcord texts): []

Bible With You (Palm & Pocket PC, new, using Accordance texts): []

Laridian (Zondervan, all PDAs):
Quickverse (Palm & Pocket PC):

More details:

Comparative review:

3) Personal recommendations

Accordance is the one I find easiest to use and most powerful. It is less
pretty and slightly slower on the PC because of the emulator. It exports
Greek & Hebrew in Unicode, so that you can create documents which are
future-proofed and readable on PC or Mac.

BibleWorks is what I use mainly on a PC, mostly because it starts up quicker
than Accordance on a PC, and has most of the same tools.

Libronix is necessary because it has exclusive rights to so many important
works, but personally I don't like the interface.

Online Bible is useful on one of my old laptops, because it is so fast. Basic
searches only, but that's all you need for sermon writing.

The Sword online is just the thing when you are at an internet computer. Its
Web 2
programming means that it can have pop-up lexicon and parsing for Greek - see

OT LXX & MT at

NT parsed Gk at

BiblePlus on the Palm is what I used most. In my pocket I carry: various
Bibles in English, Hebrew, and Greek (with basic parsing & lexicon); Targums
in Aramaic & English; complete Josephus, Philo and even Nag Hammadi. Views
two versions at once with a split screen. All free!

Download from

Sunday, 4 November 2007

a world map of bible bloggers

john hobbins has done a great service for bible bloggers by creating a world map (actually a list) of bible bloggers. if you are interested to find out who is blogging on a certain bible subject or find a blogger who writes on a particular biblical discipline, this list is extrmely useful (not to say it will take up a lot of your time going through the links). the list is not complete but it being updated.

2 malaysian bible bloggers made it to the list: pastor tony siew (revelation is real) and yours truly (oldtestamentpassion).