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'The Way' with Kevin Pauley
Originally posted on 08/01/2020

The Golden Compass, 1 of 5

Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness, who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter. Woe to those who are wise in their own opinion and clever in their own sight. - Isaiah 5:20-21 HCSB

In all the years that I have been writing, I only remember one other time I felt compelled to argue directly against a particular author. That occasion was when a Canadian pastor claimed the Bible was filled with errors, was racist and was misogynistic. Why he bothered to declare himself a Christian is beyond me.

Once again, I feel an author is misleading the public or at the very least, is being hypocritical. I would like to warn you about a certain English author named Philip Pullman. A movie titled The Golden Compass is coming out soon that is generally based on one of his books and I think it’s important you know something about Mr. Pullman and his stories.

First, Mr. Pullman presents a misleading statement of philosophy.[1] Mr. Pullman claims to be an atheist at times and an agnostic at others, depending on who he’s talking to. At first blush, his testimony seems to be supported by the fact that he is a Distinguished Supporter of the British Humanist Association and an Honorary Associate of the National Secular Society.

However, in looking over his books, I quickly came to the conclusion that his avowed agnosticism is false. Although Pullman claims to question organized religion, he consistently advocates an occultic point of view. He teaches that humans are not the most powerful beings in existence and that we can be enlightened, or helped, by these powerful nonhuman forces through such spiritual disciplines as medititatively-induced trances.

In The Golden Compass, everyone needs “daemons”, which are shape-shifting extra-corporeal beings that reflect the human’s nature, give advice and add vitality to them. These daemons take the form of animals like dogs or monkeys, reflecting the medieval tradition that those who follow occult practices have “familiars” that can guide their hosts from the nether world.

These daemons don’t take their final shape, retaining their malleability until the host’s childhood passes. Once the daemon has settled into one shape, it is indicative that the host’s character has been set. If the daemon is separated from its host, it dies but the process also kills the human host.

The main character’s name is Lyra and her daemon’s name is Pantalaimon, “Pan” for short. Pan is the mythical goat-god best known for his music’s ability to induce sexualized behavior or panic. Many wrongly translate “Pantalaimon” as being the combination of two Greek words “pan” meaning “all” and “laimon” meaning merciful or forgiving. However, the reference to Pan (whose name comes from pa-on which means shepherd) indicates that the correct interpretation of the name should be “merciful shepherd.”

So her daemon is the goat god (called merciful shepherd) who forgives all sin. On his official website’s faq[2], Mr. Pullman says, “The daemon is that part of you that helps you grow towards wisdom.”


[1] In this short series of articles, I have highlighted certain phrases in bold. These phrases state major philosophical points of difference that I have with Mr. Pullman. There are fourteen points in total.

[2] http://www.philip-pullman.com/about_the_author.asp

Meet the Author:
I make no claim of superior wisdom or originality. I am a student, just like everyone else. My goal in writing is to simply share whatever God chooses to teach me (many times by my children or parishioners) on any given day. I hope the devotionals are a blessing to you.

Kevin Pauley is a pastor and writer. He lives in Illinois with his wife, Lynn, their five children and two dogs. His internet address is Berea.

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