CS Lewis Posthumously Corrects Philip Pullman

There is no need to be worried by facetious people who try to make the Christian hope of “Heaven” ridiculous by saying they do not want “to spend eternity playing harps.” The answer to such people is that if they cannot understand books written for grown-ups, they should not talk about them…

A child saying a child’s prayer looks simple. And if you are content to stop there, well and good. But if you are not–and the modern world usually is not–if you want to go on and ask what is really happening–then you must be prepared for something difficult. If we ask for something more than simplicity, it is silly then to complain that the something more is not simple.

Very often, however, this silly procedure is adopted by people who are not silly, but who, consciously or unconsciously, want to destroy Christianity. Such people put up a version of Christianity suitable for a child of six and make that the object of their attack. — C.S. Lewis

When a movie or a book comes out which is perceived to undermine Christianity, the reaction by some Christians really leaves a lot to be desired. The rallying cry of “Boycott” is heard from some Christian leaders and is a symptom of perhaps what can be called knee-jerk reactions.

Exhibit A,

“Christian groups slam new Kidman children’s movie”

The movie, of course, is “The Golden Compass” which is based on Phillip Pullman’s book “The Northern Lights”. Mr. Pullman does not like Christianity very much, this may be in part due to a misconception regarding the Way of Christ, but more than likely it might be the natural contempt humans have for the things of God, as the Apostle pointed out here.

Albert Mohler does not commit the mistake in Exhibit A, on the contrary he wrote a good article regarding the upcoming movie,
The Golden Compass — A Briefing for Concerned Christians

Dr. Mohler does his usual stellar job of breaking things down in a logical and concise manner. In his commentary, he cited an article in which Pullman further reveals his ignorance,

“This is exactly what happens in the Garden of Eden,” Pullman told me. “They become aware of sexuality, of the power the body has to attract attention from someone else. This is not only natural, but a wonderful thing! To be celebrated! Why the Christian Church has spent 2,000 years condemning this glorious moment, well, that’s a mystery. I want to confront that, I suppose, by telling a story that this so-called original sin is anything but. It’s the thing that makes us fully human.”

Besides the obvious display of darkened human understanding, as evidenced by Pullman’s description of original sin, Isaiah describes Pullman’s view of things here.

Though Pullman is no fan of C.S. Lewis he might want to read his works to at least know just what he is so vehement against,

A reasonable (and traditional) guess, based on our own experiences of going wrong, can, however, be offered. The moment you have a self at all, there is a possibility of putting Yourself first–wanting to be the centre–wanting to be God, in fact. That was the sin of Satan: and that was the sin he taught the human race.

Some people think the fall of man had something to do with sex, but that is a mistake. (The story in the Book of Genesis rather suggests that some corruption in our sexual nature followed the fall and was its result, not its cause.)

What Satan put into the heads of our remote–ancestors was the idea that they could “be like gods”–could set up on their own as if they had created themselves–be their own masters–invent some sort of happiness for themselves outside God, apart from God.

And out of that hopeless attempt has come nearly all that we call human history-money, poverty, ambition, war, prostitution, classes, empires, slavery–the long terrible story of man trying to find something other than God which will make him happy.

Lewis goes on,

That is the key to history. Terrific energy is expended–civilisations are built up–excellent institutions devised; but each time something goes wrong. Some fatal flaw always brings the selfish and cruel people to the top and it all slides back into misery and ruin.

In fact, the machine conks. It seems to start up all right and runs a few yards, and then it breaks down. They are trying to run it on the wrong juice. That is what Satan has done to
us humans.

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8 Responses to CS Lewis Posthumously Corrects Philip Pullman

  1. kevmoore says:

    Excuse me, Mr Holier than thou, but where do some Christians get off on calling people like Pullman “ignorant” just because they hold a different view? Have your faith by all means, but allow others to actually exercise free will. Im not Christian, but I love the Narnia Chronicles, the “Christian” concept doesnt get in my way, I like a good story, you know, like the Bible. So why are Christians getting their knickers in a twist over this? What are they afraid of? Answers on a communion wafer please…..

  2. Laz says:

    Kev,
    Thanks for checking in.

    Did you even read what I said about “Christians getting their knickers in a twist over this?”

    I admitted the following,

    When a movie or a book comes out which is perceived to undermine Christianity, the reaction by some Christians really leaves a lot to be desired. The rallying cry of “Boycott” is heard from some Christian leaders and is a symptom of perhaps what can be called knee-jerk reactions.

    What do you think the “leaves a lot to be desired” means? Well in this case it means that they overreact as the article I linked points out. Some Christian groups are hypersensitive, I agree with you that there is nothing to be “afraid” of. I hope that I made that clear, forgive me if I didn’t.

    Kev, please try to read and understand what I’m saying before criticizing.

    I called Pullman ignorant not because he holds a different view, again please read more carefully before going off on emotion-laden tirades.

    I called Mr. Pullman ignorant because well, he is ignorant of the Christian worldview. The Fall, as Lewis correctly points out, had nothing to do with sex it had to do with pride.

    Have your faith by all means, but allow others to actually exercise free will.

    Did advocate for preventing others from exercising free will? As if…

    Kev, please please read things first before criticizing.

  3. JILAM says:

    Maybe Pullman would not have so much hate in him if he actually did have the peace of God in his life. It is a shame that he has to write his books with such anger and hate toward Christianity. If he is as intelligent has he claims to be, then he would open his mind to the concept of Christianity as well as other concepts. It appears to me that Pullman is the one who is afraid of God and has become so full of himself that he actually thinks he is better than God now. That type of pride is pathetic. I feel sorry for him.

  4. Chris Gibson says:

    Your rebuttal of Pullman’s work is a refreshing perspective. I welcome the opportunity to provide a rational and well reasoned critique to my aethiest associates who have challenged me to comment on this matter.
    However I am curious to know what answer you would give to those christians whose “reaction leaves much to be desired.” I have heard nationaly respected Pastors say to me “Phillip Pullman hates the Christian Church and will do everything he can to hurt it.” This is not someone I consider uninformed or radical by nature. What answer would you give to such a man?

  5. Carlton says:

    I really enjoyed reading this article, and gained some excellent perspective. It is sad that many Christians are all too willing to jump on the “boycott” bandwagon, as there are some good non-Christian stories and material out there.

    Regarding the “Susan problem”, I wonder that no one has expressed the idea that Mr. Lewis was making a comment about something Jesus said: “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 18:4). Lucy Pevensie was always the closest to Aslan, and consequently the youngest and most child-like; Susan, however, had lost her desire to remain child-like –to believe in the miraculous and spiritual with unquestioning faith, like Lucy continually displayed– and so was no longer fit to enter the Kingdom. I think this helps explain the remark made that she had long desired to be “grown up”.

    What do you think of such a view? I’m curious that I’ve not seen it expressed elsewhere, as far as I know.

  6. Laz says:

    JILAM,
    Sin has nothing to do with lack of intelligence. We are all born in sin (intelligent or not) and the “opening of the mind” is God’s doing not ours, as evidenced by Lydia’s conversion in Acts 16.

    It appears to me that Pullman is the one who is afraid of God and has become so full of himself that he actually thinks he is better than God now. That type of pride is pathetic.

    This type of pride was inherent in us all when we once were children of wrath, just as people prayed for us to come to saving faith in Christ it is imperative that we do the same for those who still remain in their sin.

    Thanks for checking us out.

  7. Laz says:

    Chris,
    Thanks for checking in, I’m curious as to whom you are referring to here,

    What answer would you give to such a man?

  8. Laz says:

    Carlton,
    Thank you for your comments and for the kind words.

    What do you think of such a view? I’m curious that I’ve not seen it expressed elsewhere, as far as I know.

    I’ve had a book sitting on my shelf titled “Recapture the Wonder” by Ravi Zacharias. I have a feeling that he addresses the whole “child-like faith” thing and I might give you a better opinion after reading that book.

    I’ve often wondered what Jesus meant by what He said in Mt 18:4. Could He be referencing the fact that we must be born again? Not sure. Or does Paul echo our Lord when he wrote in his first letter to the Corinthians (14:20),

    Brethren, do not be children in your thinking; yet in evil be infants, but in your thinking be mature.

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