If you want to understand why your children (grandchildren or any young people you really care about) should not be reading His Dark Materials, read Pete Vere and Sandra Miesel's book, Pied Piper of Atheism. It consists of two essays which give a brief back ground of Philip Pullman, the author/creator of the series; summarize the series and critique its many pitfalls for young readers.
For starters, there's Pullman himself, as volatile as an Oklahoma firestorm, and just as likely to change directions. Numerous examples are given of his conflicting statements, retractions, inconsistencies and contradictory claims; they are too numerous and unbelievable to begin to list or go into here, so I’ll just mention one. He accuses C. S. ‘Lewis – who he hates with a vengeance – “of a sadomasochistic relish for violence”. Yet his own novels offer gore far more graphic than anything in Narnia. Pullman sees no reason to shield young readers from…murder, suicide, mutilation, torture, euthanasia, and cannibalism. Iorek the polar bear eats his fallen rival’s heart and his best friend Lee’s corpse.’ (page 88) Both essays offer enough other disturbing examples of excessive savagery from the Dark Materials Trilogy to make Narnia seem as tranquil as a sleeping baby by comparison.
As for Pullman’s irrational hatred of Lewis -- and J. R. R. Tolkien -- 'So deep is Pullman's aversion to Lewis that he marked the hundredth anniversary of Lewis’ birth in 1998 by viciously denouncing the man and his work in Britain’s premier leftist newspaper, the Guardian. … His hottest wrath is directed at the Narnia series, “one of the most ugly and poisonous things I’ve ever read”.’
Speaking about his contemporary competition, Pullman is quite thrilled by the heavy artillery Christian critics have trained on J. K. Rowling. This amused him. “Harry Potter’s been taking all the flak”, he told the Sydney Morning Herald in 2003. “Meanwhile, I’ve been flying under the radar, saying things that are far more subversive than anything poor old Harry has said. My books are about killing God.” (page 89)
Miesel's essay does an excellent job explaining the difference between the so-called magic in the Harry Potter series which is really natural, inborn ability, not Gnostic “secret wisdom” as it is the Pullman series. Rowling’s spells invoke no gods or demons, and consists of an alternate form of technology. Pullman’s Arctic witches are pagan, sexually permissive and embody modern Wiccan divination. Neopagan ceremonies, child sacrifice, adultery, church trashing and moral relativism are the stuff of the alternate world Pullman has created. Even the so-called god he claims to have killed is a tired old man and certainly not the One True God at all, for all the author’s wasted imaginative efforts and talent.
If the violence, atheism and occultism isn’t enough to concern you, then be assured there’s also plenty of ambivalent sexuality, both overt and covert to fill any child’s mind with confusion. Every person in Pullman’s world possesses what is known as an external daemon—part soul, part conscience, part personality—which assumes the form of an animal. In all but a few cases, the daemon is of the opposite sex, a point which Pullman draws attention to and uses to create/raise gender identity questions totally inappropriate for young readers.
Parents are most strongly urged to boycott this series. For further information, do read Pied Piper of Athiesm. There is a very small amount of overlap in the two essays but they are in no way redundant. This book is quick read and comes most highly recommended!
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