I've been following some of the furor surrounding the movie The Golden Compass in order to understand it a little bit better. As usual, I refuse to give people that blatantly attack the Catholic Church and/or God money in order to see their movie or read their books. I know that means I have to rely on others to comment but, as a priest, I don't have enough time in a day to read what deserves to get read like encyclicals and good periodicals and such.
But, if what I'm reading is true, here's the premise of the Golden Compass. God is not the creator but was, instead, created from chaos. If my memory of ancient philosophy holds true, this is Heraclitus who believed all matter was fire and, thus, change. When other things were created, according to the Golden compass, God claimed to be their creator.
Now, this is interesting for two reasons: absence of proof and solving a problem by creating a larger problem. By absence of proof I mean that the person writing this isn't claiming to have a vision by a god/angel telling him or her what is happening. It's just a fairy tale to make children atheist, according to the author (or so I've heard). And, what about this makes any sense at all? So, the problem of a creator God is taken care of but the larger problem of human origins still need to be solved. It fails to answer the most basic question that haunts all atheists: why is there something rather than nothing. Why does the creating ooze exist? Accident? Coincidence? What role does God play if not creator? Bully? Management?
A good story leaves the listener/reader wanting further clarification. But it can't make a person just say, "Yeah, that could never happen." But it sounds to me like that's what I would do if I were to read these books. Thank goodness I still need to find time to read other books including this one before I even ponder reading the Golden Compass.