Blatant fictional atheism
January 1, 2008
Flicking through my news alerts today I came across the following letter to the editor at Dailypress lamenting the Golden Compass, the movie version of Phillip Pullman’s “blatantly anti-Christian book” Northern Lights. It got me wondering about the whole uproar over the movie and book. Are people complaining because the book (slash film) is atheistic or because it’s anti-theistic, because although they not mutually exclusive, they really aren’t the same thing at all.
As far as I can see, the characters aren’t actually atheistic, because they know and believe that the deities in the book exist, although it is indeed true that the book portrays it’s fictional church in a very negative light.
Regardless, is it inherently wrong for a work of fiction to be either of these things?
As a contrast, I decided to have a look for reviews of the “Left Behind” series* by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins, a fictional account of biblical end of days from the point of view of the naughty people who weren’t automatically raptured up to heaven and have thus been (dum dum dum) left behind.
It’s fair to say that the books are pro theistic, or to be exact, pro Christian biblical literalist, and to a certain extent anti-everyone-who-is-not-a-Christian-biblical-literalist. Interestingly, the half dozen reviews I found after a cursory google were all like this one, not complaining about the potential offense of the fundamentalist Christian tone of the books, but rather that they weren’t biblically literal enough.
Hmm. I have to say that I don’t really approve of the content, but once again it is fiction. Maybe the real problem here isn’t the plots of these books, but rather the people who can’t seem tell the difference between make believe and reality.
How about we all just agree to make clear to our kids that fiction is, by definition, not actually real, and then let them read whatever trash they want? I mean it’s better that the crap on TV, surely?