Micah Redding — Christian Transhumanism: faith, technology & the future

The Golden Compass: Killing God?

I just finished the "His Dark Materials" trilogy, of which The Golden Compass is the first book. I know, I'm late on this one. The first book came out in 1995, and the movie caused a big uproar last Christmas. And I'm just reading last year's controversy now.

The reason that it's controversial, of course, is that it's about two kids killing God.

Except that isn't true.

I'm big on people being honest when they spread malicious accusations around; so I want to set the record straight on a few things, just to clear the air. I'm not saying the book wouldn't be controversial anyway...I'd just like the controversy to be about the right things.

First of all, the kids don't kill God. They do find him confused and afraid, and let him out of a crystal cage he's been kept in for thousands of years. When they do, they're surprised to see him evaporate in the wind, due to his extreme old age. And he is peaceful and happy about being released from his misery.

The kids are just trying to help an old man.

The parents of the kids, however, DID try to wage a war against heaven. This war brings Enoch, the reigning tyrant of the universe, into battle. Enoch is the guy who took over God's role, and keeps God in a cage. Enoch ends up getting killed by the parents.

So, to summarize: kids help out an old man, God dies of old age, Enoch is killed by the kids' parents.

NOW...it should be obvious that the "God" that dies here is not the God described in the bible. In fact, the book is explicit that this is a false god, an old angel who set himself up and claimed to be God. He floats around in something called Cloud Mountain, and terrorizes the universe. As he gets old and feeble (in this book, even angels age), he gradually turns his duties over to Enoch, who is much harsher.

So there's the story.