Last Christmas an English newspaper heralded the release of a new film as "this year's Christmas blockbuster." Other newspapers were even more effusive. "Spectacular!" cried one. "Classic," boasted another. "Outshines even the likes of Potter and Narnia." The film boasted some of the film industry's leading stars. It was based on a trilogy of children's stories by a British writer whose works have garnered praise and literature prizes and have sold millions of copies. The writer is Philip Pullman, a British atheist who has made no secret of the aim of his works. Though the film version toned down the overtly anti-God message of the books, it did not eradicate it entirely, especially since it may be taken for granted that the screen version must generate added interest in the original works.
Those works are presented as a trilogy titled His Dark Materials. Each of the three volumes follows a carefully worked out course with a very clear agenda. The New York Times called His Dark Materials "a thrillingly ambitious tale. ... [It may] well hold the most subversive message in children's literature for years." Pullman's agenda is no secret. He has gone on record repeatedly to say that he wants to kill God and introduce children to atheism. He told the Washington Post, "I am trying to undermine the basis of Christian belief." Again he stated, "My books are about killing God." Pullman hates God, the Bible, Christianity and anything that he considers may support them. He also hates anything that cherishes the innocence of children untouched as yet by such things as sex and adult themes. For that reason he detests such children's classics as Winnie the Pooh and The Chronicles of Narnia. He reserves his most violent hated for Narnia because those tales exalt children's innocence and most of all because he sees them as Christian propaganda. In Pullman's world-the world he and his publishers want to drag our children into-good is evil and evil is good. What the Bible describes as sinful or evil he teaches is good and liberating.
Pullman mocks those, especially in America's Bible belt, who have raised an alarm against the Harry Potter stories and yet who allow his work to go unchallenged: "I've been surprised at how little criticism I've got. Harry Potter's been taking all the flak. ... Meanwhile, I've been flying under the radar, saying things that are far more subversive than anything poor old Harry has said. My books are about killing God."
Despite this open hatred for God and especially for Christianity, Pullman has continued to receive rave reviews. In Britain, the first part of his trilogy was awarded the prize as the best children's book of the last 70 years. Even the Archbishop of Canterbury got in on the act and opined that His Dark Materials should be included in the Sunday School curriculum!