Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Glenn Beck: Full of Holes on "The Golden Compass"

The other night, Glenn Beck - a commentator for CNN Headline News, interviewed the authors of the Left Behind series of Christian novels.

You can read the transcript of the interview here (scroll all the way to the bottom, then scroll up - it's the next to last segment). Let's fill in the holes:

First - this is the movie they're talking about. Which is based on this series of books geared towards young adults. Interesting how they didn't talk at all about either of them. They just threw the name of the film out there and started going off about atheists.

Now, what they tried to accomplish in this interview was to get people to boycott a film called "The Golden Compass" because the book that it's based on supposedly attacks Christianity.

[Sorry, I got sidelined by a nasty cold at this point in the post. It's now October 22nd, but I'll try to remember where I was and finish up.]

So, yeah, these two Christian authors and Glenn Beck are ganging up on this film based on the book series. Here are some interesting points in the transcript of the conversation I'd like to pick apart:

GLENN BECK: The film is based on the first installment of an award-winning children's series called "His Dark Materials." Nothing spooky or sketchy about that title, huh? OK, like "Left Behind" doesn't sound sinister either. Nothing like scaring your kids into believing something.

GLENN BECK: ...The author is an avowed atheist. Not really. Had Mr. Beck done some research, he may have found this interview with the author (whose name is Philip Pullman - another fact not mentioned for some reason, nor was Mr. Pullman apparently invited to be on the show) who clearly states he is "caught between the words 'atheist' and 'agnostic'".

TIM LAHAYE: Well, the problem is it's a vicious attack on Christianity, the church, and moral values. Why is it that every time someone writes or says something negative about or questioning religion that it is termed "a vicious attack"? To me, a vicious attack involves some kind of physical injury. Like if someone bombed a church, that would surely be a vicious attack. But for someone to write a fantasy novel that draws some parallels to modern Christianity, and asks young adults to give religion a hard look - that's not vicious. But I understand why it scares Christians!

GLENN BECK: But, Tim, you say that atheism is on the rise in this country and it's tearing us apart, and I believe I agree with you. I'm not sure who Beck means by "us" when he says "it's tearing us apart", but I'm going to assume he means "this country" (The United States). What I would like to know is exactly how atheism is tearing the country apart. Here are some current events that I think are tearing the country apart - please tell me how atheism is involved: the war in Iraq, lack of health insurance for those that most need it, droughts in the South and East, wildfires in the West...shall I go on?

LAHAYE: Well, it's not only on the increase, but it's becoming more evangelistic and more aggressive. Evangelistic? Hey, Christianity invented evangelism. Are they just mad that we're dipping into their bag of tricks? Aggressive? Another bad euphemism, like "militant", that Christians like to use instead of "outspoken". Yes, for the umpteenth time, we atheists are becoming more outspoken.

LAHAYE: Pullman admits that he's an activist atheist, and he'd like to tear down the church and discredit it in the eyes of the young people. Please show me where Pullman says this.

LAHAYE: This is something like indoctrination against belief in God. As opposed to an indoctrination for belief in God. That's what belief in God is, isn't it? If you raise your child to believe in God, that's indoctrination. So why badmouth atheists for doing it? Again, I think they're just mad because we're using the same tricks they are.

BECK: OK. I have not -- I've never even heard of this series before. Can either of you -- have either of you read this series? Can you tell me what's in it that is so disturbing, the things that are in it?

JERRY JENKINS: That's the problem, is that we haven't seen it and we don't like people criticizing our stuff when we haven't read it. But from all the things that have been quoted about the author, he clearly is, as Dr. LaHaye says, an active atheist and wants to propagate his views. At least they admit that they haven't read the books. They're just scared that the author is (supposedly) an active atheist who wants to propagate his views. Do you know what we call that in America? Free speech.

LAHAYE: Well, this atheism is even more subtle. Jesus made it very clear that children have a built-in faith. He said "they that believe in him." He just took it for granted. You have to teach children atheism, and that's the harm. Children have a "built-in faith" because Jesus said so? You have to "teach children atheism"? Well, sorry gentlemen. But I was not taught atheism. And neither were most atheists. We were taught religion, and we rejected it. If I had a "built-in faith", it must have come broken from the manufacturer.

I hope all of you on-the-fencers out there can see what I'm getting at.


Nicest Girl said...

It's so funny, and yet frustrating at the same time, to see these people getting so incredibly wound up over this movie coming out. I hadn't heard alot about the film at first and so thought that it would just blow over.. but as we get closer and closer to the release date and the word gets out about it... they are just being whipped up into a frenzy!
Of course I enjoyed the first and second books (just began the third) and so I will definitely go see the movie.
Why are these people so afraid that a movie is going to shake their children's faith. If they had read the books they would see that the anti-religion in it is probably over the heads of most of the young kids that will go to see it.

Snafu said...

nice blog. Couple of points I'd like to make. First off, although I see the point you're trying to make when you talk about indoctrination I don't think it's a good word to use when talking about bringing up children outside of religion. Children should not be indoctrinated either way. All you can do is provide a child with information that they may, one day, make their own decision. Just because you have not been indoctrinated to believe that God exists it does not necessarily follow that you have been indoctrinated to believe the opposite.

Secondly, I think it's interesting to draw some comparison with the movie release of 'The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe'. Here is a blatantly pro-religious film taken from a book written by an avowed Christian who has been well documented giving his beliefs on faith and the meaning of the book. When I went to see it the local church actually had a stall in the foyer giving children pamphlets encouraging them to go to church (I complained quite loudly).

I don't recall any outcry about that film

Anonymous said...

If people automatically would have faith then why are there so many of the religions and why is not everyone a say christian?
Weak arguments..

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