Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Which god?

You've probably gotten an e-mail forward or two or heard the news stories about The Golden Compass, which opened last week in theaters. It's based on a series of books by Phillip Pullman, a professed atheist, and the final installment of the trilogy includes a controversial scene in which "God" is supposedly killed. (As a note-- we've yet to read the books but hope to get them from the library sometime in the near future...)

This post (thanks Common Grounds!) asks a very important question about which god is actually being killed in Pullman's book. Is it the God revealed in Jesus Christ, or a caricature, a capricious old-man figure? Although Pullman obviously is antagonistic towards Christians and the church, and is not killing some false god in order to set the True God in its place, it does put a different spin on the idea.

It reminds me of the story N.T. Wright often tells from his days as a college chaplain. A student might confess to him: "I don't believe in God." And Wright would go on to ask the student to describe this god in which he didn't believe--usually some angry-grandfather figure who looked down from on high to punish people according to his whim. The students were often surprised to hear the chaplain Wright respond, "Well, I don't believe in that god, either!" Wright tells how he would go on to say that he believes in the God revealed through His Son, Jesus Christ, and begins a dialogue. That's certainly one way to catch an atheist's attention!


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