The Golden Compass as an Atheist indoctrination tool? The hypocrisy…
Recently we’ve heard a lot of derogatory remarks about Philip Pullman’s The Golden Compass. Many enraged Catholics have called for a boycott of the movie, saying that it is an Atheist indoctrination tool. This is interesting in many ways.
While I haven’t seen the movie or read the book, this is what I’ve heard—feel free to correct me, agree with me, or otherwise put in your two cents. Firstly, the movie really shied away from being too direct in its criticisms. There was apparently allusions and metaphor detectable to the educated viewer, such as referring to the controlling group as the Magisterium—again, correct me if I have not represented this accurately. But overall the movie was sufficiently sparing and indirect with its allusions that Nicole Kidman, a practicing Catholic, was willing to star in it. The book, I hear, was also rather indirect in its allusions to the Catholic Church.
So is The Golden Compass—book and/or movie—an atheist indoctrination tool? Well first off, I’m not sure if it’s appropriate to use the term “indoctrination” the same way when we’re talking about atheism versus religion, as long as the atheism we are referring to here is agnostic atheism (i.e., the lack of belief in a God, as opposed to the outright denial of God). Religious indoctrination teaches kids what to believe. Encouraging people to form beliefs based on rational analysis of the evidence is hardly the same thing; if anything, it is an indoctrination vaccination. The only thing being indoctrinated into the pupil is a commitment to having sound rational beliefs about the world, oneself, and one’s ways of thinking.
But even if they were atheist indoctrination tools, who in the hell are Catholics to talk!?!? Sunday school isn’t an indoctrination tool? Bible camp? Engaging the toddler—hell, the infant—in ritual practices years before they have the concept of virgin, let alone virgin birth!? Organized religions are the alpha and omega of indoctrination. This is well beyond the pot calling the kettle black.