The Golden Compass

The Golden Compass  - Philip Pullman This book has a well-written, captivating story. Pullman brings in a lot of different plot twists that keeps the reader sitting on the edge of his seat. However, the book has a problem for Christians in it. Now, the problem is not in the fact that all the people have a daemon. This is where a lot of the criticism I've heard from Christians gets hung up, and I fully sympathize. However, this is not saying that everyone has a demon, but Pullman uses the Middle English daemon, which means spirit. It is my understanding that daemon doesn't have the same negative connotation that our Modern English demon has. These creatures are the person's soul, and I find it an interesting story ploy. The trouble is that Pullman's atheism keeps coming out. Pullman sets the story in our world, though a lot is different. He does this so that he can use the Church as the bad guys, and yet claim that it is fictitious and a fantasy world. However, he includes many references to Christians, the Vatican, and Scripture itself. His disdain for all things associated with Christianity keep coming out. At the end, the main character decides to side with "Dust" against the Church, who are trying to commit various atrocities against children. Although "Dust" remains to be developed further, I'm sure in the later books, it is hinted that "Dust" is in some way connected with sin. When Lyra decides to side with the side of "Dust", i.e. sin, then the reader must realize that Pullman is not just telling a fairy tale, but is trying to communicate his message of atheism in a way that children will accept. Because of this, I think the book would be acceptable for older teenagers and for adults to read the book, knowing what it contained before reading it, but I don't think that it would be a good idea for children to read the book.