[DWJ] Northern Lights movie- very slight spoilers

Minnow minnow at belfry.org.uk
Thu Dec 13 09:07:43 EST 2007

>On Thu, 13 Dec 2007, Minnow wrote:
>> I dunno if that's against list policy though: Deborah?  I'm not having nor
>> asking for any sort of discussion about religion here, I just wondered
>> whether such discussion were justified by the film -- not one here, but one
>> elsewhere, as it were.

and deborah was reassuring:

>Fine with me!  Totally allowed: discussion of religion vis-a-vis
>Pullman, including his self-stated athiesm, his detractor's
>accusations of Satanism, and my claim that nobody could hate CS
>Lewis so much who doesn't love him, too.

I have a feeling that what we have here is someone who totally failed to
notice  that the Narnia books were Christian on his first reading of them
at a tender age, and felt very stupid when he was older for having failed
to notice their underlying message -- probably being mocked for it by
someone.  Either that or having their religious basis rammed down his
throat by some well-meaning evangeliser-of-the-very-young, and having them
thereby ruined for him from the outset.  It feels more like
betrayed-by-the-loved-object than anything else,  anyway.  -- People his
age usually achieve atheism rather than starting out that way, as it were,
in my experience: they mostly (in England anyway) got at least *some*
religion early on, at school or whatever, and reacted against it.

I did argue with him about religion once just because the subject arose,
and he didn't seem to make much sense to me, but then it is notoriously
hard to prove a negative and that was what he was having to try to do.
When I started making points for him in a sort of 'one could say *this*'
way I ended up with the Quaker thing that goes 'tell you what, you
disbelieve in God and let him do whatever he wants about believing in you,
and that way you'll both be happy', which made him threaten to set his
wife's dogs on me...  A futile notion, because they are charming creatures
with whom I already had a scratch-behind-the-forelegs relationship going,
and they were unlikely to do anything worse to me than try to lick me to
death, but as an argument about the existence or otherwise of a Supreme
Being hardly cogent.  He's a lot more sound on the interpretation of
Charles Dickens, *I* think.  In fact I strongly suspect he's more sound on
things he hasn't felt obliged to be rude about in a way more extreme than
he actually feels: I simply don't believe for instance that anyone of his
erudition can possibly dislike and dismiss the entirety of Early English
literature merely because of having been forced to read Beowulf as part of
a university course decades ago.  It would be absurd.  I'm sure that
claiming to pity me as a Medievalist on that basis was a Pose.

Come to think of it, atheism and Satanism are surely not compatible, since
Satanism also relies on belief in a Supreme Being, which in has case he
does not have.  Or says he doesn't.

But that doesn't have much to do with the people who seem to be making a
fuss about this film on religious grounds, which is what I am wondering
about really.  Is it a sort of monstrous egotism to assume that something
written in a book was written specifically to *get at one's religion*,
rather than to make a point in an imaginery universe?  I mean, is it like
people who assume that a villainous character in say Martin Amis' work is
meant as an unflattering portrait of *them*?

>Not allowed: discussions of whether Satanism or Christianity or
>athieism are immoral/illegal/fattening. (Eg. "Melissa, you're a
>Mormon and that makes you smell!" "Yeah, well, Deborah, you're an
>athiest and that makes *you* smell!")

Coo!  Does it?  I mean, do they?  I know that drinking too much lager makes
people's sweat smell funny to me the next day, but *religion*?  I suppose
that a strictly vegetarian religion might make its followers smell
vegetarian, not  that I have ever noticed but I am told that deer can tell
if a large male carnivore has piddled round a vegetable patch and the smell
keeps them out, so one's vegetarian male friends are no use for keeping
deer out of the garden in Scotland...

"Wanted: males to micturate my boundaries and keep the deer at bay.
Payment in food and wine.  Jains need not apply."

That advertisement is probably illegal under the current legislation
against prejudice.  :-)


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