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Ian McColgin
11-25-2007, 10:43 AM
For those benighted souls who don’t take the Boston Globe, there’s a wonderful essay about the movie “The Golden Compass” and Philip Pullman’s “Dark Materials” trilogy of which this is the first.

http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/ideas/articles/2007/11/25/god_in_the_dust/

The reviewer, Donna Freitas, is a BU visiting professor of religion who has a whole book on the matter: “Killing the Imposter God: Philip Pullman’s Spiritual Imagination in His Dark Materials.”

Freitas explains why the Roman Catholic Church is deeply set on tanking the movie and the books as anti-church and anti-Christian. Freitas is herself a Roman Catholic theologian who disagrees, finding at least mild irony in Pullman’s claim to be an atheist while revealing such an enlightening view of an authentic (mainstream liberation and feminist theology) spiritual reality.

Interesting enough that I plan to get the trilogy and probably Freitas’s book, even though I probably won’t hit the film. I would be interested in the reaction of any apologists to any of this.

peb
11-25-2007, 11:32 AM
I have not read the books. From what I have heard, the first book is somewhat subtle in its anti-Christian and anti-Catholic aims (although the bad guys being cardinals and some type of evil magisterium is not overly subtle), but the 2nd and 3rd book are over-the-top anti-Christian.

I won't read them, certainly my kids won't read them. Diddo for the movie.

Ian McColgin
11-25-2007, 11:45 AM
I strongly recommend reading Freitas's essay before committing to an uncritically obedient stand. Children will be exposed to alternatives no matter how one attempts to shield them. Better to have engaged conversation than disobeyed proscription.

peb
11-25-2007, 11:48 AM
Freitas is herself a Roman Catholic theologian who disagrees, finding at least mild irony in Pullman’s claim to be an atheist while revealing such an enlightening view of an authentic (mainstream liberation and feminist theology) spiritual reality


This is funny. Apparently Pullman doesn't see it that way:


I have the greatest difficulty in understanding what is meant by the words "spiritual" or "spirituality".

Nanoose
11-25-2007, 12:07 PM
Interesting review, Ian.

From the article:
"While Dust is indeed the divine fabric of the worlds of "His Dark Materials," Dust is not all-powerful, all-knowing, and immutable. Dust is as dependent on creation for its sustenance as we are dependent on Dust for ours."

She indicates the role of Dust in the movie/books is that of the Holy Spirit, yet this statement of her's indicates Dust is more in line with perhaps pantheistic thinking than orthodox theistic theology.

elf
11-25-2007, 12:13 PM
I have not read the books. From what I have heard
I won't read them, certainly my kids won't read them. Diddo for the movie.

Well, there you are. My mind is closed and I'll do nothing to see whether it's rightly so except depend on hearsy.

That's the way of the Catholic church condensed into two sentences.

And the word is spelled "ditto".

peb
11-25-2007, 12:36 PM
Elf, I have no interest in reading the books. Books that the author has admitted are opposed to my religion. Why should I be interested in them? I have it on good authority the books would not interest me and I don't need these books to learn about another point of view. Its not like we are talking about Marx or Kant or Hegel.

Ian McColgin
11-25-2007, 01:00 PM
peb, it's certainly within normal paternal choise to make choises for their children, but depending on age and environmental factors one may not be able to prevent exposure to everything. I'd urge at least hitting the link and putting Dr. Freitas's essay into your mind, in case your children become - what shall we say? - contaminated and you want to at least reason together with them.

You are right that Pullman is avowedly atheistic and anti-church. The short version of Dr. Freitas's view might very well be a pantheistic version of the Trinity, but almost no one gets Trinitarian doctrine anyway.

G'luck

Keith Wilson
11-25-2007, 01:30 PM
Peb, the church that is portrayed in the books is not the Catholic Church you know; it is, after all, an alternate-reality science fiction/fantasy story. In the world of the book, Pope John Calvin had moved the center of chuich authority to Geneva, and what remained was sort of a combination of the worst of Calvinist Theocracy and medieval Catholicism, with a lot of 20th century soulless beauracracy thrown in. Although it's not central to the story, it rather makes me appreciate the Catholic Church we have in this world.

OTOH, if you don't want to be exposed to heretical ideas, you shouldn't read the books, even though it's a great story in its genre. Particularly, before your kids are so set in their ways that no new ideas will penetrate, at all costs, do NOT expose them to the phrase, The Republic of Heaven. :D

My daughter figured she'd better read them before she saw the movie, and stayed up till 4 AM last night reading The Subtle Knife.

George Roberts
11-25-2007, 01:36 PM
"Better to have engaged conversation than disobeyed proscription."

Providing the books makes an implicit statement that the book has redeeming value. It is best to keep books with no redeeming value out of the house.

(I am not in the position to say if this particular book has redeeming value or not.)

Hughman
11-25-2007, 01:41 PM
For those benighted souls who don’t take the Boston Globe

Benighted, is it? What, Uncle Henry's isn't enough for you??
http://www.unclehenrys.com/

I think I will read these too.

P.I. Stazzer-Newt
11-25-2007, 01:42 PM
I find much to admire in the "Trial-by-petty-censorship" approach to childrearing.

Either they will develop the wit to read the stuff surreptitiously, surely one of life’s great pleasures, or they’re just too dim to benefit – and need the protection.

elf
11-25-2007, 01:45 PM
(I am not in the position to say if this particular book has redeeming value or not.)

and how would you find that out?

elf
11-25-2007, 01:49 PM
Elf, I have no interest in reading the books. Books that the author has admitted are opposed to my religion. Why should I be interested in them? Maybe in order to know for certain that you have no interest? Or even to know for certain that those whose "good authority" you're relying upon really do have "good authority"?
I have it on good authority the books would not interest me and I don't need these books to learn about another point of view. How can you know that if you've not checked out the books? There is no other way. Good authority is never sufficient.
Its not like we are talking about Marx or Kant or Hegel.You have no way of knowing that without reading the books yourself.

peb
11-25-2007, 02:16 PM
How can you know that if you've not checked out the books? There is no other way. Good authority is never sufficient.

What a bewildering statement. Of course authority is sometimes sufficient. All of us accept good authority on 90% of our knowledge. I have no first hand knowledge that the Battle of Hastings ever took place. I have to take it on authority that it did so.


OTOH, if you don't want to be exposed to heretical ideas, you shouldn't read the books. Particularly, before your kids are so set in their ways that no new ideas will penetrate, at all costs, do NOT expose them to the phrase, The Republic of Heaven

I now have it on Keith's authority that the books have heretical ideas and they can influence my kids in that directino.


Sadly, few parents REALLY want their kids to form their own opinions.... most prefer the notion that they can indoctrinate their kids to think just like they do... and are dissapointed, when they don't.

Guilty as charged :)

peb
11-25-2007, 02:18 PM
You have no way of knowing that without reading the books yourself.

So you think so little of Marx, Kant, and Hegel, that it is possible a modern pop children's story has as much useful information as they do? Perhaps you are correct.

elf
11-25-2007, 02:52 PM
If you haven't read the books why should I take your word for it that they're a "modern pop children's story".

I'll have to read them myself to find out.

But so will you.

glenallen
11-25-2007, 03:38 PM
So, we have some fictional literature that is heretical and dangerous and some fictional literature that is the Word Of God.

adampet
11-25-2007, 06:17 PM
When my oldest brother was young( I can't tell you exactly how old) he read every book in the children's section of the local Library. He moved on to the "Adult' section. The librarian called my mother and asked her if she wanted her son exposed to grown up ideas and themes. She told the librarian that she could talk about ANY idea with her son, and explain how it did or didn't fit into our family ethics. Now if you don't think that your personal beliefs are strong enough to stand a little questioning, by all means, don't expose your children to any ideas that might make them think.

Yes, I've read the books, I can't wait for the movie. Looks like alot of fun!

So a heirarchical organization doesn't like the portrayal of a heirachical oraganization in fiction! Why so threatened?

Adam

Keith Wilson
11-25-2007, 06:34 PM
I now have it on Keith's authority that the books have heretical ideas and they can influence my kids in that direction.They most certainly do contain heretical ideas (from the point of view of the Roman Catholic Church). OTOH, they are works of fantasy. While our own world exists and is portrayed (briefly) in the books, most of the plot takes place in places very unlike anything we know exists. I'm certainly no expert on such things, but I'd think it would be pretty hard to find anything to read among popular fiction or Sci-fi/Fantasy that doesn't contain heretical ideas. I'm not sure they'd influence anybody in any particular direction. Reading Lewis's Narnia books certainly didn't make me a Christian. I think making a fuss will just broaden their appeal.

peb
11-25-2007, 06:54 PM
And the really sad thing is that you're evidently proud of it.

For me, I'd be a pretty sorry specimen of fatherhood if I didn't want and encourage my kids to think for themselves and come to their own conclusions.

Oh really? So what did you encourage your children to read about Christianity? Did you encourage them to read Lewis' Mere Christianity? What about Chesterton's Orthodoxy or Everlasting Man? Did you encourage them to read the Bible?

What materials did you encourage your children to read so that they could come to their own conclusions?

Me, I consider it a moral responsibility to raise my children in the Catholic faith. They have plenty of oppurtunities to be exposed to the unchristian aspects of our society without my help.

peb
11-25-2007, 06:57 PM
They most certainly do contain heretical ideas (from the point of view of the Roman Catholic Church). OTOH, they are works of fantasy. While our own world exists and is portrayed (briefly) in the books, most of the plot takes place in places very unlike anything we know exists. I'm certainly no expert on such things, but I'd think it would be pretty hard to find anything to read among popular fiction or Sci-fi/Fantasy that doesn't contain heretical ideas. I'm not sure they'd influence anybody in any particular direction. Reading Lewis's Narnia books certainly didn't make me a Christian. I think making a fuss will just broaden their appeal.

A couple of thoughts come to mind. If I remember correctly, you did not like the Narnia books because they were so overtly of Christian influence.

Also, I would say that all books, even fantasies, can have an influence on how we think. These books were written with the intent of influence kids away from the Church.

Finally, making a fuss about them may broaden their appeal, and that is a valid argument with some movies. But making a fuss about these books will alert a lot of parents to the problem.

ahp
11-25-2007, 07:12 PM
I read all three of Pullman's books in this series and they were great fun. I am regular church attendee and choir member too. Pullman may offend some people and religious organizations but I think he has done a real service, namely showing what religious organization can do, but shouldn't. His premisses are not far remove from actual history.

peb
11-25-2007, 07:15 PM
If I tried to direct them towards any specific materials, I'd be guilty of the thing I totaly disapprove of: trying to mold them in my own image.

Not true, you admit that your daughters received a reasonable education in Judaism. So you did encourage them to some specific materials. Which, btw, is only natural.


What I don't understand is how you "encourage my kids to think for themselves and come to their own conclusions" without encouraging them towards any type of learning about the options. If a person did not read a well put treatise on Christianity (Mere Christianity comes to mind), another on Judaism, another on agnostism, how can they come to their own conclusions?

At the end of the day, what I think you did was pass on to your kids your religious ideas the same way that I am trying to pass on my religious ideas to my kids. In your case, these ideas were a indifference to religion and it appears you were successful, in my case it is Catholocism, and so far I have been successful.


I suspect that if your kids don't grow up to be faithful Catholics (but are otherwise good people) you'll have considered your child-rearing to have failed. Am I right?

I don't know, it hasn't happened.


More importantly: if they grow up and decide to reject Catholicism... will you love them any less?

I hope, just the opposite would be the case.

I always hate when people speculate on how they will react to a hypothetical situation that they have not experienced. I try no to do so.

glenallen
11-25-2007, 07:20 PM
"Me, I consider it a moral responsibility to raise my children in the Catholic faith." peb

Why, of course you do, peb. That's what you've been trained to do. That's how it works, for hundreds of years, don't you know?
You see, if you fill their heads with acceptable Catholic Fiction, you don't have to worry about dangerous Heretical Fiction.
Think of your children as Pavlov's Dogs; if they say their prayers and do all the fancy footwork of the Catholic Jig, pat them on the head and give them a hug.
If they read "dangerous fiction" poke them with a cattle prod. Amazing how quickly they learn! Geeeesh!

peb
11-25-2007, 07:26 PM
"Me, I consider it a moral responsibility to raise my children in the Catholic faith." peb

Why, of course you do, peb. That's what you've been trained to do. That's how it works, for hundreds of years, don't you know?
You see, if you fill their heads with acceptable Catholic Fiction, you don't have to worry about dangerous Heretical Fiction.
Think of your children as Pavlov's Dogs; if they say their prayers and do all the fancy footwork of the Catholic Jig, pat them on the head and give them a hug.
If they read "dangerous fiction" poke them with a cattle prod. Amazing how quickly they learn! Geeeesh!

glenallen, As you usual, you speak from bigotry and ignorance. I would put a good, authentic Catholic education up against any other type in its the ability to teach people to think critically.

rbgarr
11-25-2007, 07:35 PM
Took me awhile to figure out what 'RC' referred to. 'Race Committee' was my first thought but then I could see that didn't fit.

It reminds me of a walk I took with some college friends, both Roman Catholics. We passed a church notice board that said "St. Angela's RC Church" and I said to myself "What does RC mean?? Royal Christian??"

They stopped and looked at me with jaws dropped. I felt pretty foolish but it was kind of funny how oblivious I could be.

peb
11-25-2007, 07:36 PM
I don't think you're suggesting that you gave all religious beliefs an equal basis in what your kids were taught, did ya... you gave them a bias... a STRONG bias.

Of course I am not suggesting that. I have specifically denied that and have admitted I gave them a bias. What I am trying to show is that you have done the same thing. You have given your children a STRONG bias towards religious indifference.

So don't be smug and think it is sad how I raise my children.

glenallen
11-25-2007, 07:47 PM
glenallen, As you usual, you speak from bigotry and ignorance. I would put a good, authentic Catholic education up against any other type in its the ability to teach people to think critically.

And you speak from bigotry and indoctrination, peb, no offense intended.
I am not "ignorant" of Catholicism, Religion, or Child-Rearing.
I didn't think we were talking about "critical thinking".
I thought we were talking about religious beliefs and the ever present threat of "dangerous fiction".

peb
11-25-2007, 07:50 PM
I didn't think we were talking about "critical thinking".


From wikipedia:


The phrase "Pavlov's dog" is often used to describe someone who merely reacts to a situation rather than use critical thinking.

It is impossible to have discussions with you guys.. You start a conversation and when challenged, immediately try to deny that is what we are talking about.

Good night all.

glenallen
11-25-2007, 08:14 PM
Adios!!!!!

Nanoose
11-25-2007, 08:27 PM
Norm - you congratulate yourself for having passed on to your daughters an open mind, yet you exposed them only to Judaism. You are guilty of that which you condemn peb. Such two faced hypocrisy.

glenallen
11-25-2007, 08:45 PM
Norm - you congratulate yourself for having passed on to your daughters an open mind, yet you exposed them only to Judaism. You are guilty of that which you condemn peb. Such two faced hypocrisy.

I certainly do not see Norm as a hypocrite. Nothing he has ever written here exposes him as a hypocrite.
Healthy open-minded children do their own research and experimentation. It's their human right and obligation to live their own lives.
Indoctrinated children OTOH become Christians and Muslims and Hindus and Mormons and Scientologists.

Nanoose
11-25-2007, 08:47 PM
Ah, c'mon Norman....

SOMEone got your kids to religious school....knew of it, suggested it, drove them. And you exposed them to only that one religious view. You like to see yourself as 'innocent' of any time of 'indoctrination' you condemn peb of. However, I see you, by omission, doing exactly that which you condemn.

Nanoose
11-25-2007, 08:48 PM
Indoctrinated children OTOH become Christians and Muslims and Hindus and Mormons and Scientologists.

Come on, ga. It didn't work for you, so you're one example of how your statement is in fact not true. And we both know there are hundreds of thousands of other examples to prove your statement false...from both sides of the equation.

glenallen
11-25-2007, 09:01 PM
What didn't work for me, Deb?
What statement is not true?
Don't be so subtle, bash me with the truth!

peb
11-25-2007, 09:06 PM
Ok, I am back for one more post. My point was not the same as Deb's. I am claiming that your intent was to make your children agnostic/indifferent to religion just as you are. You have specifically limited their exposure to religious points of view, or at the very least you have not encouraged them to study any religious points of view.


And that is the same as what I am doing. You wanted your children to be a-religious, I want my children to be Catholic. You have succeeded in your goals, the jury is still out for me.

Nanoose
11-25-2007, 09:07 PM
There's an overwhelming difference between what I've done, and what peb has done.

My intention was to let my kids decide for themselves.



By giving them ONE option. Ya right. Some decision. Great integrity, Norm. Keep patting yourself on the back. You've convinced yourself. I guess that's all that counts. SHeesh....

glenallen
11-25-2007, 09:12 PM
"My intention was to let my kids decide for themselves." Norm B

Me too! And they have done so, with my blessings.

Nanoose
11-25-2007, 09:17 PM
Ya. No answer, Norm. So turn the tables onto someone else. Great tactic. Sheesh....

glenallen
11-25-2007, 09:19 PM
Deb, you don't give people options!
You don't have that power. People, even your own children, make their own options and their own decisions. You're simply too arrogant for your own good.
You imagine that you have control over other people. Bwaaaaaaha!
Maybe it has something to do with being a classroom teacher. You may imagine a world wherein you are the teacher and everyone else is in the third grade. Try again!

skuthorp
11-25-2007, 09:20 PM
This is a film, right? One made for a market, to make a profit, right?
I find it interesting that 'prothelesysing athiesm' is seen as a growth market now and big enough to justify a gamble on that market. Any overtly 'anti' moves are just free publicity, folks who'd never notice the film will make a point of seeing it or joining the unwitting protest publicity machine.
My unbelief has always been a personal thing, Dawkins was interesting if a little shrill. I have no interest in these films at all.

Ian McColgin
11-25-2007, 09:22 PM
I am truly loving this conversation because I think that child-raising values are the most important – though I’ve raised no children myself, just the amiable godfather or surrogate or whatever – and because what might be called “both” sides are so well represented by people of authenticity.

Perhaps the folk that would shield their children from “The Golden Compass” will be faced with disobedient children who see it. Those children may or may not find in the movie a reason to move away from the True Faith. But, as our voice from darkest Wales has noted, they might or might not anyway. (Almost every Jebby racehorse I’ve known read his way through the books on the Index by age 13.)

Parents do best if they are true to themselves first. If they are RC or Mormon or Buddhist or whatever, be as clear about that as possible. If they are questioning and troubled, be as clear about that as Henry James Sr. was. Get with the consequences.

But it always helps if parents at least see a bit of “the other side” and are prepared to be open to differences, accepting of alternative decisions, about matters ranging from a religious or philosophic peccadillo to a discovered condom in the top drawer or a bit of unexpected parenthood . . .

I think Freitas’s essay is handy as a way in to communication, at the minimum. For serious Roman Catholics, it could be ever so much more.

Anyway, here's a place where I part from Dad's advice not to argue politics or religion. I believe they are the most important of arguments so long as one respects that in the end a person - the adult with whom you're argueing or the child who's disrespecting family traditions - will make up his or her own mind and the best thing the arguement can do is help make that decision informed and meaningful.

G'luck

Nanoose
11-25-2007, 09:23 PM
Deb, you don't give people options!
You don't have that power. People, even your own children, make their own options and their own decisions. You're simply too arrogant for your own good.
You imagine that you have control over other people. Bwaaaaaaha!
Maybe it has something to do with being a classroom teacher. You may imagine a world wherein you are the teacher and everyone else is in the third grade. Try again!

Excuse me?

Brian Palmer
11-25-2007, 09:26 PM
We have listened to the first book (The Goloden Compass) on CD and are half way through the second book (The Subtle Knife) on CD with the kids (ages 7 and 9).

I was raised a Roman Catholic, but have since fallen away.

For kids, the books are much more of an adventure story than a treatise against organized religion or Christianity. However, those elements are there, mostly in the context of evil or "mad" people doing evil things in the name of religion or under the authority of a hierarchical authoritarian religious organization (The Magisterium). However, there is very little mention of religious ceremony (so far), or any specific reference Catholicism or the Catholic Church.

Still, there is also a lot there to challenge what one means or thinks when it comes to religion. In the first book, there is a college of scholars that practice "experimental theology," complete with instruments and techniques. There are also windows to other worlds that parallel ours, but are significantly different and have different forces of good and evil. Very interesting reading.

-- Brian

Nanoose
11-25-2007, 09:28 PM
My kids did have a choice.

Between Judaism and Judaism. Yes. Great. Sheeesh....

glenallen
11-25-2007, 09:30 PM
Excuse me?

You're excused!?
C'mon, don't be coy!

S/V Laura Ellen
11-25-2007, 09:30 PM
Between Judaism and Judaism. Yes. Great. Sheeesh....

So, Deb... What do you suggest that Norman should have done?:confused:

Nanoose
11-25-2007, 09:31 PM
You're excused!?
C'mon, don't be coy!

I was hoping you'd enlighten me how you got from where I was to where you took me to be.

So, I will repeat....Excuse me?

Keith Wilson
11-25-2007, 09:31 PM
If I remember correctly, you did not like the Narnia books because they were so overtly of Christian influence. No, not quite. I gagged on the heavy-handed allegory because I was old enough when I read them to recognize it, and because I had read Tolkien first. I would have had just as much of a problem if Lewis had been advocating for Islam, or Buddhism, or whatever, although I might have had more trouble recognizing the allegory. Tolkein's work is at least as Christian as Lewis's, BTW, and I love Tolkein.

Also, I would say that all books, even fantasies, can have an influence on how we think. These books were written with the intent of influence kids away from the Church. The first is true, but the effect is often indirect, and many times not in the direction we might expect. I'm speaking of good fiction, not propaganda. Pullman's books are not propaganda, nor allegories. You could read them and entirely ignore, or even miss, his anti-religous convictions, just as one can ignore the Christianity in Tolkein. Anyone who reads the books expecting a shrill anti-religious propaganda screed like The God Delusion will be severely disappointed. They will find an exciting and well-written fantasy adventure with lots of interesting ideas, however.

__________________________________________________ _______________________

It is not unreasonable to for a parent to tell their kids about what they think is true. We would be pretty lousy parents if we didn't. Norm (if I may be so bold as to speak for him) and I think freedom of thought and religious belief is of paramount importance, and that skepticism, particularly about "revealed" truth, is the right course. Peb and Deb disagree. How could it be otherwise? Why are we arguing about it?

Nanoose
11-25-2007, 09:34 PM
So, Deb... What do you suggest that Norman should have done?:confused:

Norman presents himself as a righteous, holier than thou agnostic - open minded, tolerant...you name it. The reality is he is exactly all that he so vociferously condemns.

He presented his children with one option, just as peb has done. He does that which he condemns. What should he have done, or what should he do? Face the truth of what he did.

Nanoose
11-25-2007, 09:36 PM
It is not unreasonable to for a parent to tell their kids about what they think is true. We would be pretty lousy parents if we didn't. Norm (if I may be so bold as to speak for him) and I think freedom of thought and religious belief is of paramount importance, and that skepticism, particularly about "revealed" truth, is the right course. Peb and Deb disagree.

Excuse me?!?!?!?!???

Nanoose
11-25-2007, 09:41 PM
What I have condemned is the idea of compelling one's children from excercising their choice about religion, and trying to exclude alternate perspectives from them... something which peb fully admits he does.

Yup. Again, the choice you gave your children was Judaism, or Judaism. As I said, some choice. Same as peb. Catholicism, or catholicism. Different faiths, same deal.

Nanoose
11-25-2007, 09:46 PM
I don't see, Norm, how anyone can compel anyone to observe any faith.

glenallen
11-25-2007, 09:48 PM
How old are your children, Deb?
How will you react when they do as they damn well please one day, and their actions are 180 degrees off the course you set for them?
Will you disown them, as many do? Will you feel like a failure as a parent and as a pawn on the grand chessboard of Jesus?
Me, I feel like the gratified and rewarded parent of forty year old children, despite my barbarity.

skuthorp
11-25-2007, 09:48 PM
Some here (in Aus) are calling the religious indoctrination of children 'child abuse'. Somewhat exaggerated maybe except where the religion is an 'extreme' one. And then of course what'e extreme, and what's not? You have to be careful not to toss out the baby with the bathwater. Not to loose the values religion can teach when you dismiss the dogma.

Nanoose
11-25-2007, 09:51 PM
How old are your children, Deb?
How will you react when they do as they damn well please one day, and their actions are 180 degrees off the course you set for them?
Will you disown them, as many do? Will you feel like a failure as a parent and as a pawn on the grand chessboard of Jesus?
Me, I feel like the gratified and rewarded parent of forty year old children, despite my barbarity.

Old enough to decide for themselves.
It's hard, but they're my kids and I love them regardless.
No, I haven't nor will I disown them.
No, I don't feel like a failure as a parent. I recognize my kids are living their own lives, making their own decisions, and responsible for them.
"...a pawn on the grand chessboard of Jesus?". I have no clue what that means.

Nanoose
11-25-2007, 09:56 PM
...compelled to attend Mass and go to confession... to be confirmed... to go to Catholic school... be prevented from reading literature which isn't approved by religious authorities... and so on. The objective was to essentially force the kids to adopt the faith, rather than be drawn to it.

You can't force faith on anyone. Faith is chosen.

skuthorp
11-25-2007, 10:00 PM
You can implant fear though, and children are impressed by the theatre of the church Nanoose

Nanoose
11-25-2007, 10:03 PM
They may try, but it ain't gonna work.

IF it's simply about going through the "Catholic" (in the case of this discussion) motions, I guess that can be forced. But that kind of 'religion' was what Christ most vociferously condemned. Not sure I'd want to raise my kids in what was condemned by the one I believe to be God incarnate. Sounds risky.

Nanoose
11-25-2007, 10:04 PM
You can implant fear though, and children are impressed by the theatre of the church Nanoose

Yes, I suppose if that's your tactic. But it's not truth, is it. It's fear. It's 'the church' not Christianity. There is a difference.

glenallen
11-25-2007, 10:09 PM
"...a pawn on the grand chessboard of Jesus?" I have no clue what that means." Nanoose

C'mon, you're not that dense!
It's a metaphor for life according to Christianity, in which we are all lowlife, scumsucker sinners(pawns) on the highway of life(the chessboard of Jesus).
If you can appreciate Revelations, surely you can appreciate my metaphor.

Nanoose
11-25-2007, 10:11 PM
Ah. There you are mistaken, ga. Life according to Christianity is NOT about "us all being lowlife...".

And Revelations is NOTHING like your metaphor! ;)

Tom Montgomery
11-25-2007, 10:13 PM
It is not unreasonable to for a parent to tell their kids about what they think is true. We would be pretty lousy parents if we didn't. Norm (if I may be so bold as to speak for him) and I think freedom of thought and religious belief is of paramount importance, and that skepticism, particularly about "revealed" truth, is the right course. Peb and Deb disagree. How could it be otherwise? Why are we arguing about it?Agreed. So long as the government keeps hands off I see no need for argument.

Authors of fiction presenting "heretical" ideas is an old story. Leo Tolstoy was excommunicated.

S/V Laura Ellen
11-25-2007, 10:23 PM
Norman presents himself as a righteous, holier than thou agnostic - open minded, tolerant...you name it. The reality is he is exactly all that he so vociferously condemns.

He presented his children with one option, just as peb has done. He does that which he condemns. What should he have done, or what should he do? Face the truth of what he did.

Deb, you must be a politician, you skirted the issue without answering the question. His kid(s) are constantly subjected to the Catholic religion and many other Christian religions, he provided some info on the Jewish faith, so what more? Are you saying he should be devoutly religious so that his kid(s) will be properly shown the light?

So, What specifically do you think Norman should have done to provide his kid(s) with options?

glenallen
11-25-2007, 10:25 PM
Ah. There you are mistaken, ga. Life according to Christianity is NOT about "us all being lowlife...".

And Revelations is NOTHING like your metaphor! ;)

So, we are not all born in sin? (lowlife)
We don't all need redemption?
I'm sure I read that somewhere?

Nanoose
11-25-2007, 10:29 PM
No, Christianity is not about "us all being lowlife...". It is about us being loved, however.

Nanoose
11-25-2007, 10:30 PM
I've never disparaged people for having faith, even though I've disparaged the faith itself.... it's what freedom of thought, action, and religion is all about.

Please help me understand the difference.

And if you believe in "freedom of thought, action and religion", why do you disparage faith?

Nanoose
11-25-2007, 10:40 PM
You respect religious people for being sincerely deluded. You applaud their sincerity, while separating that from their stupidity. Is that it? How can you hold to both?

skuthorp
11-25-2007, 10:46 PM
"It's 'the church' not Christianity. There is a difference."

I know there is, but churches are power-based political organisations, with a lot invested in their 'franchise' of god. It is not necessay to belong to a 'church' to have faith, but they won't tell you that in the marketing.
On the other hand so much good is done by committed people of the church, they relieve govt and society of much responsibility for the disadvantaged. I think they should be berating govts, giving them a very difficult time over their dereliction of care.
It's not a simple thing, is it?
There's Catholic Action, Anglicare, St Vinnies, The Salvo's...........
even as a non-believer I respect and support these groups who are the moral conscience of the western world. I don't see any Aithie-care organisation, probably because athiests are individuals. But if the prothelestising mob get a head of steam who knows? Maybe they'll become a 'virtual religion'.

glenallen
11-25-2007, 10:48 PM
You respect religious people for being sincerely deluded. You applaud their sincerity, while separating that from their stupidity. Is that it? How can you hold to both?

How can you not hold to both?
Didn't Jesus condemn the sin but not the sinner?
You see how much like Jesus Norm is?
No? I figgered!:D

Nanoose
11-25-2007, 10:52 PM
"It's 'the church' not Christianity. There is a difference."

I know there is, but churches are power-based political organisations, with a lot invested in their 'franchise' of god.

And those associated with 'the church' would do well to constantly remind themselves of Christ's condemnation of 'the church' of his own time, and I believe, of any time. He called its leaders hypocrites, and condemned them to hell.

I have been pondering a thought I heard last week...a significant thought within Christendom. Christ condemned any aspect of 'lording it over' anyone, and by his word and example showed a different way - a way of servanthood.

I've been chewing on this, and I think it is key....key to him and to what he calls his true church to do/be.

Any type of 'lording it over' was not to be - whether of power, of finances, of intelligence, of connectedness....anytype of 'lording it over' was condemned.

So, anytime we see 'lording it over' anywhere, it is not of Christ, of Christendom, of God. He laid aside his right to 'lord it over' and became a servant. And he calls his followers to the same.

Much of what is called 'Christian' is not. Don't confuse the baby with the bath water.

Ian McColgin
11-25-2007, 11:02 PM
I’ve alluded to Henry James. Sr. One hopes that folk will take the time to understand. The history here has much to say about child raising and about two major geniuses of five children. Not to mention the Sweedenborgian bit.

I recall the late afternoon almost thirty years ago when I was driving south from a New Hampshire family climbing romp with my sister in the front seat and my Mom and Dad in back. Mom was at least visibly asleep. My sister was sharing a community-political problem among her radical lesbian therapist community: a visiting trainer had come out to the group that (s)he was actually a lesbian trans-sexual. That split the community between those who were accepting and those who figured that a guy does not get to be a gal by a slip of the knife. . . I caught a glimpse of Dad’s rather appalled look in the mirror as I serenely helped my sister through the political issues of the community.

Point is, step back from sectarian name-calling and realize that parents do best when they stay true to their own selves and, by example, encourage their children to find their own truth.

Further point is, this is a good time to recognize that there are a lot of different way to be a good parent. To draw a difference one hopes only exists in rhetoric and not in actuality, it makes sense to some that one understand theological alternatives.

Major point: Jacob is not the only guy or gal to wrestle an angel.

glenallen
11-25-2007, 11:19 PM
"It is about us being loved, however." Nanoose

Most of us healthy humans feel loved....by other healthy humans, parents, children, friends, neighbors....not by mythological beings.
We, in turn, love our parents, children, friends and neighbors....not mythological beings.

Nanoose
11-25-2007, 11:21 PM
"It is about us being loved, however." Nanoose

Most of us healthy humans feel loved....by other healthy humans, parents, children, friends, neighbors....not by mythological beings.
We, in turn, love our parents, children, friends and neighbors....not mythological beings.

Agreed :)....except I have no idea about/experience with any "mythological beings", so I'll have to take your word for it on that aspect of your comment, ga ;)

glenallen
11-25-2007, 11:34 PM
There you go being coy again!
So, who is it you're "being loved by" if not a mythological being?

Nanoose
11-25-2007, 11:44 PM
You said Christianity is about us being low life. I disagreed and said it is about us being loved.

So...who are we loved by, in Christian faith? Christ. Definately not a mythological being.

skuthorp
11-25-2007, 11:54 PM
The human animal has a long history of belief in 'mythological beings'. It seems to be part of our make-up as sentinent beings and probably one of our oldest traits. And it may be that there is a 'god', force, whatever even though there are a few of us who can't imagine why. But for many it's their only consolation and what right have we to dismiss what is at worst harmless and at best gives hope.
Of course there are always the hucksters and charlatans in and out of the varying franchises, and guillible victims are always to be found. I'd like to see some of them in court for fraud, misrepresentation and false advertising. But court's are reluctant to take on a 'religion', and some of them ally themselves with political forces for mutual advantage. It's human nature I guess.

Nanoose
11-25-2007, 11:56 PM
But for many it's their only consolation and what right have we to dismiss what is at worst harmless and at best gives hope.


Or, perhaps, it is not merely about "consolation" but something substantitive. Why allow only one option, skuthorp, and a dismissive, condescending one at that?

skuthorp
11-26-2007, 12:01 AM
Sorry Nanoose, was not meaning to be dismissive or condescending, I admit the possibility that my humble opinion might be wrong, that there is indeed a 'god'. Just not trying to put my own opinion up as the be-all and end-all. This is an argument that will go on as long as the species survives, and a good thing too

glenallen
11-26-2007, 12:05 AM
You said Christianity is about us being low life. I disagreed and said it is about us being loved.

So...who are we loved by, in Christian faith? Christ. Definately not a mythological being.

Now, we've gotten somewhere.
I can accept that you believe Christ is not a mythological being and think nonetheless of you for your belief.

Nanoose
11-26-2007, 12:09 AM
Thanks, ga.

I find myself wondering why you think he is a mythological being?

elf
11-26-2007, 12:39 AM
He may have, once upon a long time ago, actually existed, but since the time when he may have existed his identity and character have been continuously transformed until there is only unsubstantiateable rumor remaining.

I'm really not in to believing in unsubstantiateable rumor, especially when it's so easy to believe in and follow ethical values without the rumored example.

If religion stuck to conveying and exemplifying those values it would be as much a miracle as the myths about a jewish guy in the middle east 2000 years ago.

Unfortunately, the greatest of those values was tolerance - and in my 65 years of experience I have not encountered a lot of that from the proselytes of the jewish guy in the middle east 2000 years ago.

That's not to imply that any other proselytes are doing any better.

Nanoose
11-26-2007, 05:40 AM
There is not merely "unsubstantiateable rumor remaining", elf.

"Unfortunately, the greatest of those values was tolerance...". I'm not sure if your 'unfortunately' is in regard to tolerance, or that in your experience you haven't experienced a lot of tolerance. If you are thinking one of "the jewish guy in the middle east 2000 years ago" 's greatest values was tolerance, we're thinking of a different 'jewish guy...' than I'm thinking of, and I don't know which one you're referring to. You'll have to enlighten me. The one I'm thinking of was considered many things, but tolerant wasn't one of them, and tolerance wasn't even an issue. It is the buzzword of today, mind you.

Andrew Craig-Bennett
11-26-2007, 07:06 AM
Well, I've almost read them. I gave up halfway through the third volume - I just lost interest and could not be bothered to find out what happened next.

I bought the set, recommended by the local chidren's bookshop, for my then-11 year old son as a Christmas present; he finally opened one last week, when he had 'flu, and said, "This is "The Golden Compass", Daddy" but then he put it down and picked up "We Didn't Mean To Go To Sea" instead.

I had not realised that a film had been made.

I think his invention is good enough in the first book, but it flags in the second and falls right away in the third.

elf
11-26-2007, 07:43 AM
The one I'm thinking of was considered many things, but tolerant wasn't one of them, and tolerance wasn't even an issue. It is the buzzword of today, mind you.

Well, that really depends on whether you take loving your neighbor literally or not.

Keith Wilson
11-26-2007, 09:48 AM
It is not unreasonable to for a parent to tell their kids about what they think is true. We would be pretty lousy parents if we didn't. Norm . . . ) and I think freedom of thought and religious belief is of paramount importance, and that skepticism, particularly about "revealed" truth, is the right course. Peb and Deb disagree
Excuse me?!?!?!?!??? Perhaps you misunderstand. I'm not saying that you favor a revival of the Inquisition, or that everyone should be forced to adopt Christianity. OTOH, you do appear to be a fairly orthodox Protestant, as far as I can tell. You believe that this doctrine is correct and that other religions - the ones that teach submission to the will of Allah, or make offerings to Ganesh, or follow the Eightfold Path - as well as religious ideas like John's atheism or my vaguely theistic agnosticism or my wife's Unitarian theism are simply wrong, demonstrably wrong, wrong like claiming the force of gravity is proportional to the cube of the distance. You obviously believe that there is One True Faith, and do not think that skepticism toward all forms of "revealed" truth is the correct stance. This is OK.

You will tell you children what you believe is true. How should you do otherwise? Yes, in one sense this is like what Norm does; both of you tell your children about your beliefs. However, the beliefs are quite different. What's the argument?

peb
11-26-2007, 09:54 AM
You will tell you children what you believe is true. How should you do otherwise? Yes, in one sense this is like what Norm does; both of you tell your children about your beliefs. However, the beliefs are quite different. What's the argument?

Keith, this is exaclty what I was saying yesterday in my argument with Norm. He says it is "sad" that I do exactly as you describe. It is ok for people with a disregard/disrespect for religion to pass that on to their children, but it is sad for a religious person to pass that on to their children. That is the argument.

The behavior you find completely understandable and an expected behavior, Norman (and elf) did not.

P.I. Stazzer-Newt
11-26-2007, 09:59 AM
Where is the difference between;
1. Teaching your kids that which you believe to be true.
and
2. Censorship and the banning of certain books.

elf
11-26-2007, 10:11 AM
Keith, this is exaclty what I was saying yesterday in my argument with Norm. He says it is "sad" that I do exactly as you describe. It is ok for people with a disregard/disrespect for religion to pass that on to their children, but it is sad for a religious person to pass that on to their children. That is the argument.


That's not the argument I see unfolding here. What I see is:

one of you thinks that it's good for people to share their religious or spiritual orientations with their children,

while the other one thinks it's good to keep any other religious or spiritual orientations except their own from their children.

Clearly, to me, censoring what your children encounter is restricting their opportunity to encounter other points of view. Norm's claiming that he has not done that. You're claiming that you are doing it and intend to do it for yourself as well.

Norm says he encouraged his girls to be open to any religious or spiritual experiences they came upon while offering up the one about which he knew the most and with which he felt the most comfort.

You say you censor what you and your children experience because you know that your way is the only way.

Keith Wilson
11-26-2007, 10:15 AM
With all respect, I don't think anyone has suggested banning Pullman's books. They are freely available in just about every bookstore on the planet. OTOH, Peb can read, or not read, anything he likes. If he's going to buy books for his kids, he has to decide which ones to buy. It's not unreasonable that he buys the ones that contain ideas he likes and agrees with. I suspect we all do the same; the difference is that I think skepticism (or at least lack of dogma) and exposure to a broad range of conflicting religious/theological ideas is a good thing. I won't buy my kids the "Left Behind" books, but I wouldn't object all that much if they wanted to read them. (Not bloody likely BTW; both of them have a far dimmer view of most religions than I do.)

P.I. Stazzer-Newt
11-26-2007, 10:20 AM
With all respect, I don't think anyone has suggested banning Pullman's books. They are freely available in just about every bookstore on the planet. OTOH, Peb can read, or not read, anything he likes. If he's going to buy books for his kids, he has to decide which ones to buy. I don't buy my kids the "Left Behind" books, but I wouldn;t object all that much if they wanted to read them. (Not bloody likely BTW; both of them have a far dimmer view of most religions than I do.)


I won't read them, certainly my kids won't read them.
And this is somehow not a ban?

Keith Wilson
11-26-2007, 10:24 AM
And this is somehow not a ban?Depends on what he would do if he found one of his kids reading a library copy of The Amber Spyglass. Look, he has to use some criteria to decide what books to get his kids; I think that we all tend to get books that contain ideas we like and agree with. What those ideas are, OTOH, varies considerably.

peb
11-26-2007, 10:26 AM
Norm says he encouraged his girls to be open to any religious or spiritual experiences they came upon while offering up the one about which he knew the most and with which he felt the most comfort.


But when specifically challenged as to what he encouraged his kids to read about various religions, he changed his tune. He said it would be wrong for him to econcourage any specific sources about various religions. So what he did is raise his kids in an atmosphere of religious skeptism and in effect taught them to be religous skeptics.

As for censoring kid's reading materials, what parent does not do this? The books at hand make a fantasy story about killing off an old and ineffectual God. Keith denies this is an allegory to the author's atheism, I fail to see how it is not. My kids won't read it or see the movie. And it is highly likely I won't ever have to say no because I won't even be asked. Based on a child's age, there are lots of things in our modern culture they should not be allowed to see, even hollywood recognizes this concept.


As for "censoring myself", that is the most ridiculous charge I have ever heard. Can that even be done? Is chossing what I want to spend my time reading (and I read very little modern fiction) self censorship? Wow. Between this and your statement that "good authority is never sufficient", I don't know what is more odd.

peb
11-26-2007, 10:30 AM
Keith, thanks for the support. This thread is turning in to an extreme example of showcasing the anti-religious bent of this forum.


Depends on what he would do if he found one of his kids reading a library copy of The Amber Spyglass.

At that point, I would probably take the book away, read it myself, and then decide what to do.

All, its not like I want sometype of complete mind control over my kids. As I said before, if the goal is to develope critical thinking skills, I will put a good Catholic education up against any other type. I fail to see how reading a pop, fantasy novel is necessary for developing these skills. And I fail to see how kids at certain ages should not be sheilded from certain ideologies.

P.I. Stazzer-Newt
11-26-2007, 10:30 AM
"To get for" - I have no argument with, but
"certainly my kids won't read them" is very very different - there are many potential sources of books - somtimes with ideas which are, how might one say - unpopular.
School and other libraries, friends, ebay, I as a teenager used copies of Mao's book (free from the embassy) as trade goods.

Keith Wilson
11-26-2007, 10:33 AM
Peb, the "old and ineffectual god" that is deposed in the books is an impostor who claimed be the creator of all but really wasn't. Many of the ideas in the books are influenced by the author's atheism, certainly. They're not an allegory; nothing nearly so heavy-handed as The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.

I'd say it partly depends on how old the kids are. The degree of control (censorship, if you will) appropriate for an eight-year old is ridiculous when applied at fourteen - particuarly when one has access to the internet.

elf
11-26-2007, 10:33 AM
Keith, the second quote is from peb at the very start of this thread. So he's saying that he will do everything he can to keep his children from looking into the Pullman books. I'm not sure you got that part of the conversation because it wasn't cited and was two pages ago in this thread.


Depends on what he would do if he found one of his kids reading a library copy of The Amber Spyglass. Look, he has to use some criteria to decide what books to get his kids; I think that we all tend to get books that contain ideas we like and agree with. What those ideas are, OTOH, varies considerably.

While it will be a challenge for him when he finds one of the kids reading something he wants to keep from them, still his behavior is censorship from the get-go by my definition. Eliminating or restricting access is censorship, plain and simple. And peb believes, from his contributions at the beginning of the thread, that he needs to eliminate access both for himself and for his family based on hearsay about the content of the books.

erster
11-26-2007, 10:37 AM
Peb, I think that we can also conclude that many people that are critical of your parenting decisions indeed are also supporting the denial of many youths, many that they will never know or come in contact with, supporting other higher ups to make the call to also deny exposure to anything christian related. This is being done by these higher ups in the name of what is best for them, a part of what is being said by the uncleansed.;)

Some decisions include barred from military recruiters on public facilities, even suing to deny this and yes suing to deny the mear mention of the christian faith in the form of prayer, a well established policy for so many years before sporting events and graduation events.
This is being done in the name of what is supposed to be in the best interest of minor children, many that have no parent to make such radical decisions, children that they don't even know or will ever know. Some of us are so old fashioned, I guess and will never get with the program.:cool: Applying parenting skills which has always been part of the family structure beginning at home, is just dated and not supported to happen anymore by many peoples admission.

Keith Wilson
11-26-2007, 10:47 AM
. . . what are saying to the uncleansed.Another planet heard from. Some varieties of Christianity deserve every bit of contempt that they get.

My point is that there are an awful lot of books. One can't read them all. One can't provide them all to one's kids A choice is therefore necessary. And I think we'd all agree that there are some things kids should probably not be exposed to. I wouldn't want kids watching Saw XVII or Leather Lasses in Bondage, and I don't think anybody would argue. The argument is about the degree of restriction and on what basis the decision should be made.

peb
11-26-2007, 10:47 AM
Peb, the "old and ineffectual god" that is deposed in the books is an impostor who claimed be the creator of all but really wasn't. Many of the ideas in the books are influenced by the author's atheism, certainly. They're not an allegory; nothing nearly so heavy-handed as The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.

I'd say it partly depends on how old the kids are. The degree of control (censorship, if you will) appropriate for an eight-year old is ridiculous when applied at fourteen.

Well, I will take your word for the novels' lack of allegorical value.

As to your last paragraph, that should be obvious. But I don't think basic parenting skills are too obvious on this thread.

erster
11-26-2007, 11:10 AM
Just one selected quote from the masses thats being critical of Peb's decision to be a PARENT.

You say you censor what you and your children experience because you know that your way is the only way.

No Peb is being a parent and takes the responsibilty serious enough to make daily choices for them while they are minors, choices in his opinion that sway ideas later on in life. What is so taboo about that? Life is full of many experiences, some good and some bad depending on who is doing the judging. Many here have judged Peb and have attempted to scorn him for making parenting decisions based on his personal thoughts.

Yes Keith from another planet another year in time, parents had children and took the responsibilty seriously enough make choices as a parent instead of placing them on the street for others to mould their minds, such as government officials. A minor child use to be any person under 18 years of age, which is still accepted in almost all courts in the country. This is not the case now with government thrwarting the parents ability to know whats taking place with children under the age of 18 years of age in numerous life and death decisions during the teenage years, too. The age that children are required to take responsibility for many actions in courtis still 18 years of age. Under 18 years of age, children as a rule are released to the custody of their parents which actually oversee the decisions of what should be done to their MINORS or what should be the end result as they do reach the age of 18. Peb is doing just that by his own admission.

Like I said, numerous respondants here are being critical when Peb states that he is making choices for his children from his own perspective. The very same also support choices of denial to children considered to be minors in the court of law and by the country's standards of accountability, actually mandating and dictating what should be presented to children under the age of accountability, 18 years of age.

peb
11-26-2007, 11:16 AM
There was no 'atmosphere of religious skepticism'.... in fact, I don't recall EVER discussing religion with them, one way or the other. I don't believe either of them ever asked me what I believed, until just a few years ago


Sorry, I will go back to my earlier wording. You raised them to be indifferent to religion.

Kaa
11-26-2007, 11:32 AM
Sorry, I will go back to my earlier wording. You raised them to be indifferent to religion.

Going purely by Norman's description, I don't think the word "indifferent" is correct. I would say he raised his kids in a religion-neutral atmosphere giving them the opportunity to be free in their choice of religion (or lack of it).

Kaa

elf
11-26-2007, 11:47 AM
Where is the difference between;
1. Teaching your kids that which you believe to be true.
and
2. Censorship and the banning of certain books.

The difference is in what you do when they encounter that which you believe to be harmful or untrue. Censorship occurs when you deliberately or forcibly block them from encountering or experiencing that which you believe to be bad for them or untrue.

That is what peb describes himself doing.

Keith Wilson
11-26-2007, 11:49 AM
You raised them to be indifferent to religion. Parents tell their children what they think is true. If a parent truly believes that his is the One True Faith, and that that one can go to Hell for disbelieving, than he's necessarily going to raise his children differently than one who thinks otherwise. Acceptance of one's children being exposed to, or even adopting, different religious/philosophical ideas positively requires a certain amount of skepticism, thinking "I'm not too sure", i.e. lack of faith. If being less than deadly serious about religion means one "raised them to be indifferent to religion" well, so be it. I don't think so, myself - not indoctrinating them in one One True Faith is different from actively discouraging religion. OTOH, having a non-religious parent that is a good person probably immunizes the children against the argument that religion is necessary to live a good life.

Kaa
11-26-2007, 11:50 AM
Where is the difference between;
1. Teaching your kids that which you believe to be true.
and
2. Censorship and the banning of certain books.

One is imparting information and the other is denying information. Can't be much more different, really...

Kaa

George Roberts
11-26-2007, 11:54 AM
"Norman presents himself as a righteous, holier than thou agnostic - open minded, tolerant...you name it. The reality is he is exactly all that he so vociferously condemns."

"And you're calling ME the hypocrite?"

norm is neither. He is simply old and faced with the normal contradictions of life. He fails to accept them.

He is not much different than the rest of us.

peb
11-26-2007, 11:56 AM
The difference is in what you do when they encounter that which you believe to be harmful or untrue. Censorship occurs when you deliberately or forcibly block them from encountering or experiencing that which you believe to be bad for them or untrue.

That is what peb describes himself doing


Lets assume for a moment that the following book for kids became a best seller, how many would allow their kids to read it? At what age?


#561 YOU AND YOUR FOLK. Translated from the Third Reich original Du und Dein Volk. Given to German boys and girls when they finished basic school, this booklet summarizes basic concepts such as folk, fatherland, Reich, race, duty, comradeship and patriotism. Most of all, it encourages them to become productive members of the folk community, parents of healthy families and devote their life energy to Germany. Inspirational examples throughout history and quotations from German literature (whose beauty unfortunately is diminished in translation) reinforce the central ideas. Furthermore, they provide the contemporary reader with an indication of the moral and spiritual maturity of the youth in Nazi Germany

or this one


#044 HITLER YOUTH POEMS. Translated from original Third Reich publications.

P.I. Stazzer-Newt
11-26-2007, 11:59 AM
Lets assume for a moment that the following book for kids became a best seller, how many would allow their kids to read it? At what age?


Me, and as soon as they wanted to.

Though I might be tempted to suggest reading it in the original.

peb
11-26-2007, 12:05 PM
Me, and as soon as they wanted to.

Though I might be tempted to suggest reading it in the original.

Interesting, the fact that these books have become a best seller would indicate that there is probably a huge poplar cultural acceptance of racism and racial superiority theories. In other words, your kids would be being exposed to these ideas quite often and people would be presenting them as right and proper. In this scenario, would you not be running the risk of your kids jumping on the bandwagon by letting them read the propaganda?

Kaa
11-26-2007, 12:07 PM
Lets assume for a moment that the following book for kids became a best seller, how many would allow their kids to read it? At what age?

Why, I would have no problems whatsoever with my kids reading such books. At any age.

Why shouldn't I allow them to read it?

Kaa

Keith Wilson
11-26-2007, 12:17 PM
I'm going to repeat this; it seems to have dropped into the void:

There are an awful lot of books. One can't read them all. One can't provide them all to one's kids, so a choice is therefore necessary. I think we'd all probably agree that there are some things kids should probably not be exposed to. I wouldn't want kids watching Saw XVII or Leather Lasses in Bondage, and I don't think anybody would argue. The argument is about the degree of restriction and on what basis the decision should be made. It depends a great deal on the age of the kids.

elf
11-26-2007, 12:23 PM
Interesting, the fact that these books have become a best seller would indicate that there is probably a huge poplar cultural acceptance of racism and racial superiority theories. In other words, your kids would be being exposed to these ideas quite often and people would be presenting them as right and proper. In this scenario, would you not be running the risk of your kids jumping on the bandwagon by letting them read the propaganda?

Probably? Cultural acceptance of racism and racial superiority themes?

I wonder how you can know that?

What do you know about who is making these books "best sellers"?
What do you know about the motivations of the people who are making these books popular?
How do you know that there is any connection between reading these books and what the readers believe when they're finished reading?

"Probably" is pretty dangerous. It pretty much precludes evidentiary knowlege. I'd recommend that you try "possibly" instead. It hedges your bets a bit better in the conversation.

Kaa
11-26-2007, 12:27 PM
...In other words, your kids would be being exposed to these ideas quite often and people would be presenting them as right and proper. In this scenario, would you not be running the risk of your kids jumping on the bandwagon by letting them read the propaganda?

Having a well-functioning mental immune system to deal with propaganda and other assorted bull**** is rather indispensable in our day and age. Just as with the biological immune system, it develops through exposure to nasty stuff.

Kaa

peb
11-26-2007, 12:28 PM
Probably? Cultural acceptance of racism and racial superiority themes?

I wonder how you can know that?

What do you know about who is making these books "best sellers"?
What do you know about the motivations of the people who are making these books popular?
How do you know that there is any connection between reading these books and what the readers believe when they're finished reading?

"Probably" is pretty dangerous. It pretty much precludes evidentiary knowlege. I'd recommend that you try "possibly" instead. It hedges your bets a bit better in the conversation.

Okay, in the interest of clarity, I will reword my hypothetical question, which was apparently too brief.

Lets assume that neo-Nazism was very popular in modern culture. Racism and racial supremacy advocacy had become present and accepted in every day life. The best seller list for kids included the two books I showed above. In that scenario, would you want your kids those two books.

Note: I am NOT making the comparison to todays culture and Pullman's books, I am simply trying to see if you guys really think that censorship of materials by parents is always wrong.

George Roberts
11-26-2007, 12:32 PM
I always thought that religion was about a set of morals and common experiences.

And that a parent who was proud of his religion should want his children to follow that religion more or less to the exclusion of other religions.

---

I am not proud of my religion. I don't believe in God, god, or gods. If I ever meet God, god, or gods, I will curse him for the poor job he has done. I will curse him for what he has allowed/made people do in his name.

Not proud of that religion. But it is what I have. I will not pass it on to my children or grandchildren unless they inquire.

peb
11-26-2007, 12:36 PM
I'm going to repeat this; it seems to have dropped into the void:

There are an awful lot of books. One can't read them all. One can't provide them all to one's kids, so a choice is therefore necessary. I think we'd all probably agree that there are some things kids should probably not be exposed to. I wouldn't want kids watching Saw XVII or Leather Lasses in Bondage, and I don't think anybody would argue. The argument is about the degree of restriction and on what basis the decision should be made. It depends a great deal on the age of the kids.

Keith, sorry, it didn't drop into a void. You are very correct and people seem to be ignoring you. I am guessing it is because it is uncomfortable for them having one who is normally on "their side" disagreeing.

peb
11-26-2007, 12:40 PM
Having a well-functioning mental immune system to deal with propaganda and other assorted bull**** is rather indispensable in our day and age. Just as with the biological immune system, it develops through exposure to nasty stuff.

Kaa

Of course we only take vaccinatinos in a very controlled environment. Only in the dose that doctors know we can withstand and only versions of thie virus that are less potent. And only when one is healthy and his immune system is strong.

elf
11-26-2007, 12:44 PM
My step-daughter was not hindered from reading whatever she wanted. I read what she read so I'd be informed if and when we had conversations about the contents of the books.

Under those circumstances, and the ones you've postulated, my side of the conversations would be one of questioning - her understanding, her experience while reading, what she learned, what she thought of the content of the book.

If she appeared to me to be rather too taken in by something I thought was intolerant, ungenerous, irrational or factually wrong I would take advantage of our conversation to accompany her on an exploration of other points of view.

There are many ways to encourage ones children to see the world the way one wishes.

Censorship is one of the least productive. It does not lead to critical thinking and leaves the children ill equipped to make their own informed decisions when the censor is no longer around.

Being ill equipped in that way often can lead to feelings of insecurity and being overwhelmed.

Those are not useful for healthy adults.

P.I. Stazzer-Newt
11-26-2007, 12:45 PM
Okay, in the interest of clarity, I will reword my hypothetical question, which was apparently too brief.

Lets assume that neo-Nazism was very popular in modern culture. Racism and racial supremacy advocacy had become present and accepted in every day life. The best seller list for kids included the two books I showed above. In that scenario, would you want your kids those two books.

Note: I am NOT making the comparison to todays culture and Pullman's books, I am simply trying to see if you guys really think that censorship of materials by parents is always wrong.

Always wrong? - tough call.
Almost always wrong? - yes.

Each generation has to re-learn the lessons of history and this is an arena where ignorance is no defence and smug self satisfaction positively dangerous.

The best defence against fascism is an understanding of the damage done by the second world war - and ideally an understanding of just how close facism came to triumphing, in both the USA and England.

They should also be aware that the same forces are at work now.

Nanoose
11-26-2007, 12:50 PM
If she appeared to me to be rather too taken in by something I thought was intolerant, ungenerous, irrational or factually wrong I would take advantage of our conversation to accompany her on an exploration of other points of view.

...Those are not useful for healthy adults.

So, the same thing is accomplished. Parents pass on what they believe is appropriate/right/true and mold their child's thinking. Even elf was making judgements based on her view of right/wrong, and deciding which "other points of view" to express and which to suppress. And, she concludes by stating she knows what is/is not "useful" for "healthy" adults.

elf
11-26-2007, 12:54 PM
Yup. But I didn't censor the other ideas.

That's the difference.

Kaa
11-26-2007, 12:59 PM
Of course we only take vaccinatinos in a very controlled environment. Only in the dose that doctors know we can withstand and only versions of thie virus that are less potent. And only when one is healthy and his immune system is strong.

I am not talking about vaccinations at the doctor's office. I'm talking about the natural development of the immune system -- the way it worked before doctors and the way it continues to work now.

I am too lazy to google proper references, but I think there were studies which showed that kids who were brought up in germ-obsessed, sterile households -- you know, washing hands 20 times a day, antibacterial sprays everywhere, not a speck of dirt is allowed, etc. etc. -- these kids grew up to be sickness-prone adults, falling ill at the slightest provocation.

Similarly, if you bring your kids up in the spirit of questioning, critical reasoning, doubt, and independent thinking, then there's nothing to fear from propaganda. They'll be able to sort it out. On the other hand, if you bring up your kids in blind obedience to the authority you just may have problems...

Kaa

peb
11-26-2007, 01:02 PM
I am too lazy to google proper references, but I think there were studies which showed that kids who were brought up in germ-obsessed, sterile households -- you know, washing hands 20 times a day, antibacterial sprays everywhere, not a speck of dirt is allowed, etc. etc. -- these kids grew up to be sickness-prone adults, falling ill at the slightest provocation.

It is a diversion, but I would almost think that you are wrong. A large part of our longer life-span and increase stature (I think the average person is 4 inches taller than 100 years ago) is due to cleanliness of our cities and removing the very pests you think are beneficial. That is why sanitation is such an important part of third world development.

Keith Wilson
11-26-2007, 01:14 PM
Matter of degree. I think that what Kaa is talking about is some recent work that shows that those who are brought up in environments that are too "clean" tend to develop allergies and autoimmune disorders. Kids brought up on farms, for example, where they're exposed to a fair amount of interesting dirt, have about half as many allergies as city kids, IIRC. That's not an argument for putting the outhouse next to the well, of course.

Kids need to learn something about the ideas that are floating around - even the bad ones. I had an interesting discussion with my son a few years ago after an acquaintance had told him in great detail about "The Rapture". I proceeded cautiously along the lines of "some people believe that . . ", and explained a little about the history of the idea and American fundamentalism. He ended the discussion by saying it was the biggest load of hogwash he'd ever heard. I think he was about twelve.

The essential difference is that some folks believe independent thinking, skepticism, and taking claims of Revealed Truth with several grains of salt is the right thing to do, and try to teach their kids that. Others think that they should try to make sure their kids follow the One True Faith, however much they encourage independent inquiry in other areas.

Nanoose
11-26-2007, 01:17 PM
Yup. But I didn't censor the other ideas.

That's the difference.

Sometimes we censor before exposure, sometimes after. How you 'molded' the conversations/thinking accomplished the same thing.

Nanoose
11-26-2007, 01:19 PM
... if you bring your kids up in the spirit of questioning, critical reasoning, doubt, and independent thinking, then there's nothing to fear from propaganda. They'll be able to sort it out. ...
Kaa

Sort what out? Propaganda? On what basis wil they discern/think critically?

Kaa
11-26-2007, 01:22 PM
It is a diversion, but I would almost think that you are wrong. A large part of our longer life-span and increase stature (I think the average person is 4 inches taller than 100 years ago) is due to cleanliness of our cities and removing the very pests you think are beneficial. That is why sanitation is such an important part of third world development.

Well, let me clarify. There is a relationship between the typical amount and the diversity of pathogens (bacteria, viruses, etc.) in the environment where you grow up and your health as an adult. But that relationship isn't linear, it's a curve -- you can have both too little and too much.

If you have too little, your immune system never fully develops and you remain vulnerable to opportunistic infections. If you have too much, you may either just die before you can handle the illness, or your immune system may become overstressed and fail in a variety of unpleasant ways.

Kaa

P.S. By the way, the increased stature is not due to sanitation, but rather to nutritional changes in the diet.

P.I. Stazzer-Newt
11-26-2007, 01:26 PM
Sometimes we censor before exposure, sometimes after. ....

Now I am intrigued, what does post-hoc censorship look like?

You will disregard that which........

Kaa
11-26-2007, 01:36 PM
Sort what out? Propaganda? On what basis wil they discern/think critically?

Yep, sort out the propaganda (used here in a very broad sense, e.g. advertisements are also propaganda because they want you to go do something -- buy stuff).

They (hopefully) will acquire the basis for critical thinking and discernment by being exposed to a lot of different ideas, perspectives, and points of view. Being able to reason and figure out the probable biases and likely consequences helps a lot. Basically, that's called an education. :-)

Kaa

Nanoose
11-26-2007, 01:42 PM
I'd like to know where in the U.S. an education like that is happening. :rolleyes:

"...will acquire the basis for critical thinking and discernment by being exposed to a lot of different ideas, perspectives, and points of view."

Simple exposure to a lot of different ideas/perspectives/points of view doesn't create critical thinking and discernment.

Ian McColgin
11-26-2007, 01:43 PM
Since I've not had children I go from my own up-bringing and such excellent models as how my goddaughter was raised. The limitations on my understanding include the roles of culture, intelligence, reading, and a very high level of dinner conversation. I don't have direct experience with a life that does not involve honest exploration of competing ideas and ideals.

In 1960 Mom gave me the real Moby Dick as she was horrified that in 7th grade we were reading an abridged edition. I got into trouble with the teacher for bringing it to class. Mom encouraged me to keep on reading the real thing; just not show up the teacher. That spring I got in more trouble because I was carrying in the hall the then just becoming popular "Lord of the Flies" that Mom had given me. The same English teacher told me I was not allowed to have the book in school as it was immoral. I, perhaps insouciantly, didn’t take the ban seriously and was nabbed the next day, this time being sentenced to a trip to the Principal. He thought the matter dire and called Mom, who was heartless enough to laugh at him. She also reminded him that as a parent and as Secretary of the School Board she took as dim a view of censorship as she had of abridgement. She had not intention of having my education abridged.

Other books I talked about at dinner with Mom, Dad and sibs included “Mein Kampf”, “Red Star Over Cuba”, “Daughter of Earth” and lots of stuff not in the school library.

A few years later when I discovered “Playboy”, I had the good taste not to leave any copies out where Mom or my younger sibs might find it. I don’t feel that was self-censorship so much as the same good taste and polite discretion I also learned from Mom and Dad’s behavior.

It was a wonderful community and many of my friends’ families were as culturally alive as we were but I did have friends of quite conservative Jewish, Roman Catholic and various Protestant denominations who did not allow their children to read or explore certain things. Those who had natural irrepressible curiosity simply snuck their reading, may even have been stimulated, as our man in Wales pointed out, by the thought of reading through the Index.

In talking about this sort of thing with Mom and Dad, they made sure I learned there are many ways to live a worthy life just as there are many faiths. Not everyone is interested in a life of reason, but that does not make them lesser people.

Our family believes life is best if no line of thought, no literature or even propaganda is a priori off limits. We believe that honest and open conversation is the very best way to help children develop the taste for quality and truth that will make them resistant to fads of racism, intolerance and stupidity that sweep all societies. We also learned that a person may be less apt in school, may really not care whether Nixon or Kennedy was closer to right about Quemoy and Matsu, may not even read the Sunday funnies, and still be honest in trade, kind to others, and charitable to the poor.

There are many ways to be a good person. The trick is for each person to find his or her own way.

I absolutely recognize that some people will attempt to insulate their children from Dark Matter just as some fancy the Harry Potter series, the Trilogy of the Ring and the Proctor & Gamble logo as all part of a satanic plot. If they are also good and fundamentally honest people, their children will survive just fine, whether their parents read Freitas’s article or not. As the give and take here shows.

Kaa
11-26-2007, 01:48 PM
Simple exposure to a lot of different ideas/perspectives/points of view doesn't create critical thinking and discernment.

That's a condition not sufficient but necessary :-) There's still no substitute for being able to -- you know -- think.

Kaa

elf
11-26-2007, 03:30 PM
Sometimes we censor before exposure, sometimes after. How you 'molded' the conversations/thinking accomplished the same thing.
Hmm. Just wondering how you know that I did that, how you could possibly know that I did that.

Since you weren't there watching.

Vince Brennan
11-26-2007, 03:35 PM
Gad! It's like being in a dorm discussion with a bunch of philosophy majors.

Well, it makes them happy.

Kaa
11-26-2007, 03:43 PM
Gad! It's like being in a dorm discussion with a bunch of philosophy majors.

Not at all -- far too little alcohol is involved here... :D

Kaa

Keith Wilson
11-26-2007, 03:46 PM
It's like being in a dorm discussion with a bunch of philosophy majors. Dude, I have been called a lot of things in the bilge, but that's f***ing unforgivable!! Philosophy major indeed, you misbegotten offspring of a dyspeptic camel and a rabid mongoose!

:D

Tom Montgomery
11-26-2007, 04:19 PM
It is a diversion, but I would almost think that you are wrong. A large part of our longer life-span and increase stature (I think the average person is 4 inches taller than 100 years ago) is due to cleanliness of our cities and removing the very pests you think are beneficial. That is why sanitation is such an important part of third world development.Actually, the science seems to support Kaa.

Wikipedia: The Hygiene Hypothesis (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hygiene_hypothesis)

Medical College of Wisconsin Healthlink: Hygiene Hypothesis: Are We Too "Clean" For Our Own Good? (http://healthlink.mcw.edu/article/1031002421.html)

Salon.com: Talking Dirty (http://dir.salon.com/story/health/feature/2000/05/03/germ_warfare/)

Nanoose
11-26-2007, 04:23 PM
Hmm. Just wondering how you know that I did that, how you could possibly know that I did that.

Since you weren't there watching.

You told us.

Nanoose
11-26-2007, 04:23 PM
Not at all -- far too little alcohol is involved here... :D

Kaa

Speak for yourself, Kaa! ;)

glenallen
11-26-2007, 04:40 PM
Speak for yourself, Kaa! ;)

Yeah!
Pass that bottle of Tequila over here, Deb, please!

Kaa
11-26-2007, 04:57 PM
Speak for yourself, Kaa! ;)

If you still can type recognizable words, there's far too little alcohol involved for a proper philosophy-major-style discussion :D

Kaa

Keith Wilson
11-26-2007, 05:17 PM
So itshohuld be liknthis? I waslnl;t ever atrpholisophy ,ajor so I don;t habve it down, but I can fke lit oprttthy ell.

Nanoose
11-26-2007, 05:39 PM
Interesting....this very topic (thread title, not the drinking part!...mind you, that would have come up eventually too!!) came up around the staff room table at lunch.

A couple of English department teachers, and the librarian were there. Sounded like they'd been reading our thread....critical thinking and all that....how those who were judgmental of the Harry Potter series were the ones that never read it, etc.

One said this book is well written and needs to be considered in that light. The librarian felt it should be read at the elementary school with the required discussion/evaluation/critical thinking skills put to good use.

Good to hear!

OK...now, pass the red wine please. :)

glenallen
11-26-2007, 06:07 PM
Heres ish a glassh off mine,@? Nangdush. Cheersh!

Keith Wilson
11-26-2007, 06:10 PM
Pullman's books are much less like propaganda for atheism than C. S. Lewis's Narnia series is for Christianity (and the contention that the Harry Potter books somehow encourage satanic practices is so ludicrous that it doesn't even bear refuting). I'd have no problem with either being used in English classes, although the Golden Compass series might be a bit over the heads of most elementary school students.

Nanoose
11-26-2007, 06:15 PM
I was surprised when the librarian suggested it would fit best at the elementary, but based on reading level, she felt that was the best fit.

Keith Wilson
11-26-2007, 06:19 PM
It surprised me too. Maybe just on the basis of vocabulary? I dunno - It's both pretty complicated and pretty intense in some parts. I can see some sections giving little kids nightmares - but then I was never one for scary stories.

Nanoose
11-26-2007, 06:37 PM
Elementary here (our school that is) is K-7. She's probably thinking at the gr. 6-7 level. Does that make a better fit?

Keith Wilson
11-26-2007, 07:03 PM
Probably. I have to get calibrated here; I read The Lord of the Rings in 6th grade and was conpletely entranced, and Pullman's books don't have the complicated vocabulary that much of Tolkein does. Yes, I'd guess most 6th or 7th graders would do fine with it.

Vince Brennan
11-26-2007, 07:59 PM
"Scue
Dude, I have been called a lot of things in the bilge, but that's f***ing unforgivable!! Philosophy major indeed, you misbegotten offspring of a dyspeptic camel and a rabid mongoose!

:D

'Scuse me, mate.... that's a dyslexic lemca! (Rabid mongoose was pretty close, though...)

:eek:

A guy is walking past a big wooden fence at the insane asylum and he hears all the residents inside chanting, "Thirteen! Thirteen! Thirteen!"

Quite curious about this, he finds a hole in the fence, and looks in. Someone inside pokes him in the eye.

Then everyone inside the asylum starts chanting, "Fourteen! Fourteen! Fourteen!"

Way I sees it, we all got the perfect right to inculcate our youngun's with whatever mumbo-jumbo floats our boats, but when they climb up on their hind legs and tell us that it's all bull$hit, and we go ballistic, then they can chant, "Fifteen! Fifteen!"

peb
11-26-2007, 11:16 PM
Lack of exposure to a lot of different ideas/perspectives/points of view, on the other hand, is a virtual GUARANTEE that critical thinking won't, or can't, take place.

At the proper time, context, and degree, I would agree. If you think that all control over a child's exposure limits his ability of critical thinking, you have not had the pleasure of conversing with young men and women who have received a traditional Catholic liberal arts education.

People here are condemning almost all censorship/control of a child's reading.

Of course, elf backtracked quite a bit when she said she would correct any wrong impression a child had from reading adverse material:



If she appeared to me to be rather too taken in by something I thought was intolerant, ungenerous, irrational or factually wrong I would take advantage of our conversation to accompany her on an exploration of other points of view.



Seems like movie ratings, video game ratings, etc are simply censorship that should be done away with in the name of education.

skuthorp
11-26-2007, 11:32 PM
Dont know what the fuss is about the Catholic thing, there's plenty of more doctrinaire, more fanatical education systems than theirs. Try the exclusive bretheren, the adventists, a collection of wacko protestant cash generating corporations masquerading as religion.
Yea, I know that the Vatican and the curia are control freaks but they've had most of the rough edges knocked off over the centuries and are basicly businesses with an enormous portfolio to manage these days. Not the mob to take risks, and anyhow, like most large corporates, their control at the perifery is not so effective.

elf
11-26-2007, 11:35 PM
Of course, elf backtracked quite a bit when she said she would correct any wrong impression a child had from reading adverse material:

Unfortunately that's not what I said. That's the difference between what I believe about people's access to materials and what you believe. Encouraging wider and deeper consideration of something is not "correcting".

At its best it's "offering my perspective", or "considering other points of view". Even better, it encourages an open mind and critical thinking.

peb
11-26-2007, 11:47 PM
Unfortunately that's not what I said. That's the difference between what I believe about people's access to materials and what you believe. Encouraging wider and deeper consideration of something is not "correcting".

At its best it's "offering my perspective", or "considering other points of view". Even better, it encourages an open mind and critical thinking.

This is conversation is getting more and more outragueous. This is your third statement that I find utterly incomprehensible. The first being that "Good authority is never sufficient". The second being, that by choosing what one reads, one is "self-censoring". Based on these two statements, I guess you have time to read everything ever written, I certainly do not.But even then, why read anything if good authority is never suffecient.

And now, in the hypothetical situation where you child is being taken in by Nazi propaganda, you specifically reject the notion of trying to correct the child.

Andrew Craig-Bennett
11-27-2007, 04:12 AM
I wish we might have this discussion about a better book.

Who else here has read it?

elf
11-27-2007, 07:24 AM
And now, in the hypothetical situation where you child is being taken in by Nazi propaganda, you specifically reject the notion of trying to correct the child.

Yup. What I encourage is that the younger person make up his or her own mind about what is loving, respectful, considerate, honest and fair in each situation the younger person encounters.

In fact that's what I encourage in all people.

Censorship is not any of those things, so I hope to discourage it. Control is also not one of those things, so I try not to lust for it except possibly when operating a mechanical device. Even there, when out shooting, I try not to control the aesthetic component, only the mechanical ones.

And one other thing, in the discussion about the Nazi booklets, we never established that the child was being taken in by them, only that they were offered and the child was reading them.

Nanoose
11-27-2007, 07:49 AM
Yup. What I encourage is that the younger person make up his or her own mind about what is loving, respectful, considerate, honest and fair in each situation the younger person encounters.



Why encourage that particular set of values over another set? What if the younger person rejects your set of values (e.g. the ones listed) in preference for their own freely chosen set e.g. hatred, bigotry, rage, abuse, power, defiance...(whatever)?

peb
11-27-2007, 08:10 AM
And one other thing, in the discussion about the Nazi booklets, we never established that the child was being taken in by them, only that they were offered and the child was reading them.

Actually you added that part to the scenario:



If she appeared to me to be rather too taken in by something I thought was intolerant, ungenerous, irrational or factually wrong

Keith Wilson
11-27-2007, 09:32 AM
Who else here has read it?I have. I rather liked them. My daughter really liked them and swallowed the entire series in one gulp, but she's more omnivorous than I am. They're not superb, but pleasant diverting fantasy adventures with more ideas than most; maybe a B or B+, Rowling, not Tolkien. Or within science fiction, Heinlein, not LeGuin. The supposed anti-religious bias is not very blatant (to me, anyway), far less obvious that C. S. Lewis's Christian allegory in the Narnia books.

I think the argument over what kids should read is kind of silly; everybody seems to be arguing with an extreme caricature of their opponents' position.

Andrew Craig-Bennett
11-27-2007, 09:59 AM
Do you think I ought to have another go at finishing off the third volume?

Keith Wilson
11-27-2007, 10:04 AM
I thought the second one dragged a bit (The Curse of Trilogies) and the third one was the best, but you may not. I'd say it would be worth your time.

Andrew Craig-Bennett
11-27-2007, 10:06 AM
I'll give it ago. The second volume reminded me strangely of a holiday spent, as a young teenager, with French friends of my parents in Biarritz!

I would not stop a child reading it. I liked the armoured polar bears.

Keith Wilson
11-27-2007, 10:17 AM
The second volume reminded me strangely of a holiday spent, as a young teenager, with French friends of my parents in Biarritz!Yipe! Must have been quite the vacation! :eek:

elf
11-27-2007, 10:24 AM
I tried the first volumn of the Rowling back when it came out, and found it poorly written and lacking in any reason for me to read more. After Tolkien just about anybody's got to be some sort of miracle worker to hold my attention in that sort of genre.

But I gave the second volume a try too, and couldn't get through it, it was so formulaic and episodic. Very uncompelling transitions from chapter to chapter in both volumes, unlike well-written prose and story telling. They were both so obvious, no subtlety at all in the Rowling, to me.

peb
11-27-2007, 10:31 AM
I think the argument over what kids should read is kind of silly; everybody seems to be arguing with an extreme caricature of their opponents' position.


I don't think it is silly at all. As to arguing the extreme caricature, that is an overstatment. I brought up an extreme hypothetical scenario, only because people had made very strong statements about not censoring any of a child's reading. And it appears, that on this issue, people advocating a free rein do go to the extreme.


I wish we might have this discussion about a better book.

There doesn't seem that much to discuss about the book itself. I think the various positions are rather clear. On top of that, since I haven't read it personally, all I can go on is what others say.

But the discussion it has morphed into is rather important. It extends beyond the family setting. I doubt if there is any school, public or religious, that would accept the completely laissez-faire attitude being expressed as to the books that are placed in its library.

Andrew Craig-Bennett
11-27-2007, 10:40 AM
I certainly do control what my younger son (an apprentice bookworm) reads, but then he is not yet six years old .

I have decided not to try to control what my elder son reads, but I do influence him in his choices from time to time. At the moment it is "Maurice and his Amazing Educated Rodents", which does reflect my influence. The adventures of the young James Bond, a week or two back, was his own un-influenced choice, as was a fairly technical book on steam railway locomotives.

peb
11-27-2007, 10:46 AM
I certainly do control what my younger son (an apprentice bookworm) reads, but then he is not yet six years old .

I have decided not to try to control what my elder son reads, but I do influence him in his choices from time to time. At the moment it is "Maurice and his Amazing Educated Rodents", which does reflect my influence. The adventures of the young James Bond, a week or two back, was his own un-influenced choice, as was a fairly technical book on steam railway locomotives.

How old is your older son?

Keith Wilson
11-27-2007, 10:55 AM
"Maurice and his Amazing Educated Rodents" is very good! http://www.woodenboatvb.com/vbulletin/upload/images/icons/icon14.gif

Honestly, I don't think anyone here buys books for their kids at random, nor walks through the library picking books off the shelf without looking at them first. I expect that anyone here who seems to advocate letting kids read anything has never bought their daughter a Victorian manual detailing the proper submissive behavior expected of a lady, nor a copy of Leather Lasses in Bondage for their 11-year old son. One question - a legitimate question, to be sure - is what degree of freedom and how early. Another question - a separate question, and also quite legitimate, is about teaching children the One True Faith (whatever one thinks that is) or independent inquiry and skepticism.

elf
11-27-2007, 11:09 AM
The truth of the matter is that you can't stop people from reading what they wish. Sooner or later they will do what they want. Either they will move away from you and do what they wish, or they will borrow the item from a friend and examine it when you're not around, or they will meet someone who will tell them all about it in great detail.

To me it is always better for them to experience what they encounter from a positive ethical foundation than from a negative one.

To me, good parenting models a positive ethic and works by setting a good example and by sensitive, thoughtful and respectful interaction. In my experience censorship contributes to creating a negative atmosphere often encumbered by power plays and put downs. Censorship is, at its heart, based on an assumption of superiority and knowing-it-all. To me those are negative head spaces and I try to avoid them as best I'm able. I certainly want to do the best I can to not impose them on others.

Sorting books in the library by the approximate age groups that they might attract certainly does make it less difficult to locate something one might like, similarly to sorting them by subject matter. But restricting access seems quite out of line to me.

Andrew Craig-Bennett
11-27-2007, 11:10 AM
Elder son will be thirteen 23 days after Christmas. Not only did his incompetent parents get him a birthday much too close to Christmas, but they produced his brother seven years and one day later!

There are things that I do not think either of them should watch - such as soap operas, where the language and behaviour of the protagonists is commonly truly dreadful!

peb
11-27-2007, 11:12 AM
One question - a legitimate question, to be sure - is what degree of freedom and how early. Another question - a separate question, and also quite legitimate, is about teaching children the One True Faith (whatever one thinks that is) or independent inquiry and skepticism.


Very good post. I will address the second question.

I don't understand our teaching a child about the One True Faith contradicts the idea of teaching a child about independent inquiry and skepticism.

First of all, if the goal is to teach a child the one, true faith, it is important, at the proper time and context, teaching the child about some of the alternatives in order to explain why one's faith is true. When doing so, it is important that the child, as close as possible, understands the alternatives in a fair and honest way. It does no good, in the long run, to cariacture the opposing point of view to make the contrast "easier".

Bear with me a second, on the following little diversion.

I would like to point out the history of the Jesuits within the Catholic Church. Every religious order in the church has a underlying reason for its existence. The Jesuits, in a very real fashion, were created in order to be the "intellectual army" of the Church (my words). Now, if the Church was as autocratic and as closed-minded as often portrayed, this would be a very dangerous thing to do. Having a internal organization that exists for the intellect is bound to cause controversy. Human nature tells us there will be people within the organization that will become overly proud about their mission and there will be people outside the organization that will be resentful of their mission. Of course, both of these events have happened multiple times during Jesuit history. But the Church, recognizing the dangers, nevertheless does not fear critical thinking, because th truth will win out.

This same attitude is present in Catholic education. It is not a laiz-faire system. It is controlled and people are corrected, but it does foster true adherents to the faith and critical/skeptical thinking.

Andrew Craig-Bennett
11-27-2007, 11:24 AM
Whilst I am not a Papist (;)) I concur, broadly, with much of what peb has just written. I will be moderately happier if I secure for my children the opportunity of growing up with a faith that I feel comfortable with.

The elder boy has been studying the Reformation at school. He understands the theory of indulgences, which is fairly easy, and I think he understands Luther's doctrine of justification by faith, which is not easy. He certainly could follow the argument about the Real Presence, which came up in a study of one of our local martyrs.

He illustrated a project about the effects of the Reformation on the appearance of churches with photos of local churches. It would have been much harder for him to follow this part of his course if we had not gone to church regularly during his childhood.

Keith Wilson
11-27-2007, 11:25 AM
First of all, if the goal is to teach a child the one, true faith, it is important, at the proper time and context, teaching the child about some of the alternatives in order to explain why one's faith is true. When doing so, it is important that the child, as close as possible, understands the alternatives in a fair and honest way. It does no good, in the long run, to cariacture the opposing point of view to make the contrast "easier".
Absolutely. This attitude is why I have a fair amount of respect for the Roman Catholic chuch at its best. This is also why allowing older kids to read Mein Kampf if they wish (It's dreadful - nobody ever finishes it) or even The Golden Compass is a good thing.
. . . but it does foster true adherents to the faith and critical/skeptical thinking.On some subjects, On others, questioning is forbidden.

P.I. Stazzer-Newt
11-27-2007, 11:27 AM
....
Sorting books in the library by the approximate age groups that they might attract certainly does make it less difficult to locate something one might like, similarly to sorting them by subject matter. But restricting access seems quite out of line to me.

Hmmm - how true.
The elder of our two was from a very early age a voracious reader and at age eight ran into petty officialdom's You can't have books from that shelf - they're for eleven year olds

So then petty officialdom met SWMBO - one-nil to SWMBO, sproglette given access to entire library.

Two years later, it happened again with sprog #2 - you'd think they'd learn.

peb
11-27-2007, 11:31 AM
Whilst I am not a Papist (;)) I concur, broadly, with much of what peb has just written. I will be moderately happier if I secure for my children the opportunity of growing up with a faith that I feel comfortable with.

The elder boy has been studying the Reformation at school. He understands the theory of indulgences, which is fairly easy, and I think he understands Luther's doctrine of justification by faith, which is not easy. He certainly could follow the argument about the Real Presence, which came up in a study of one of our local martyrs.

He illustrated a project about the effects of the Reformation on the appearance of churches with photos of local churches. It would have been much harder for him to follow this part of his course if we had not gone to church regularly during his childhood.

Well, I am a papist, we will just have to learn to get along.

At the risk of starting a different argument, which I don't have time for right now and I won't advance, I'm interested in your son's study of the reformation at school. In particular, did the study branch out from the theology of the event and cover the politics of the time that seems to have had a great deal (especially in England) with the events? I'm not talking about Henry's dicorce issue, I'm talking about the motivation of many princes/noblity at the time to secure Church property and reduce Church temporal power. I ask this not to start a debate with anyone, but because I am simply interested in the history of the reformation as taught in England, where the reformatino affected the complete history of the country, perhaps more than anywhere else.

peb
11-27-2007, 11:39 AM
On some subjects, On others, questioning is forbidden.


I would disagree, and an honest look at the Church's (rare) disciplining of theologians would bear me out.

Questioning and probing seems to be always allowed. What is prohibited is when one comes to a contrary conclusion and then proceeds to teach that opinion as a Catholic teacher (And even this level of discipline only occurs after quite a lengthy process and in rare circumstances). This is as it should be, if someone wants to teach a position that is contrary to the faith, why should the Church allow that to be done in the name of the Church, with the implied authority of the Church?

That's all the time for me now, its been fun.

Keith Wilson
11-27-2007, 11:45 AM
I would disagree, and an honest look at the Church's (rare) disciplining of theologians would bear me out.

Questioning and probing seems to be always allowed. Not always. The restrictions are much looser now than they were even 100 years ago, and running into them too hard is no longer hazardous to one's health, but it was not always so.

And congratulations, everybody, on the level of civility, particularly for a religious discussion in the Bilge

elf
11-27-2007, 11:47 AM
Loyola created the Jesuit order to assist Paul III and Paul IV in responding to calls for reformation. According to the wiki, which is all i have access to right now:

"The reign of Pope Paul IV (1555-1559), who is sometimes deemed the first of the Counter-Reformation popes for his resolute determination to eliminate Protestantism - and the ineffectual institutional practices of the Church that contributed to its appeal - marks these efforts of Catholic renewal. Two of his key strategies were the Inquisition and censorship of prohibited books. In this sense, his aggressive and autocratic efforts of renewal greatly reflected the strategies of earlier reform movements, especially the legalist and observantine sides: burning heretics and strict emphasis on Canon law. It also reflected the rapid pace toward absolutism that characterized the sixteenth century."

And from another site:
http://www.christianchronicler.com/history1/counter_reformation.html

"The Society of Jesus, better known as the Jesuits, stands as one of the church's most outstanding expressions of the Catholic Reformation. Ignatius Loyola, a former Spanish soldier of fortune, founded this order as a reforming society.

Loyola (1491-1556) served his King and Queen well as a soldier. ......... Loyola went to Paris where he entered the famous University of Paris. Because of his age he felt somewhat out of place among the younger men on campus. His devotion and leadership skills soon caused a group to gather around him. Among them was Francis Xavier. This small "campus ministry" became the nucleus for the Jesuit order.

The Pope approved the order's formation in 1540 and made responsible only to himself. No Bishop or Archbishop could supervise Jesuits, they answered only to the Pope. Jesuits became the church's militia for recovering Europe from heresy. Jesuits formed the backbone of the Inquisition. Contemporaries described them as fanatics who beheaded kings if it furthered the church's cause. "

Andrew Craig-Bennett
11-27-2007, 12:02 PM
Well, I am a papist, we will just have to learn to get along.

At the risk of starting a different argument, which I don't have time for right now and I won't advance, I'm interested in your son's study of the reformation at school. In particular, did the study branch out from the theology of the event and cover the politics of the time that seems to have had a great deal (especially in England) with the events? I'm not talking about Henry's dicorce issue, I'm talking about the motivation of many princes/noblity at the time to secure Church property and reduce Church temporal power. I ask this not to start a debate with anyone, but because I am simply interested in the history of the reformation as taught in England, where the reformation affected the complete history of the country, perhaps more than anywhere else.

Well, I wish that you did have time, as I'd like to discuss this on another thread with you.

In a nutshell, when teaching children at Alex's age, the teacher has to keep some interest at the back of the class, so the "divorce" issue gets a deal of prominence, with "thickies' homework" being "find a picture of the six Queens and tell me what happened to them?" (divorced, beheaded, died, divorced, beheaded, survived) and the keen ones at the front of the class get more of the real complexities of the issue. Certainly Alex understands that the problem of more and more land being left to the Church, free of all taxes, and the power of popular anticlericalism, were things that King Henry could turn to his advantage, following his father's policy of using commoners to do his unpopular dirty work and sacrificing them to the mob when occasion required.

That is as far as the compulsory teaching of the subject goes, and it may be that he will never come back to it, because of the bias towards "modern" history at GCSE and A level. If he does go over it again, which he may with a "Tudors and Stuarts" teacher, then certainly the revenue aspects of the Dissolution come in at GCSE and the theology and canon law comes in at A level with the Acts in restraint of Annates and the (very different!) First and Second Prayer Books of Edward VI. One can argue, convincingly, that the English Reformation actually happened with the Second Prayer Book of Edward VI.

But one can argue with perhaps even more force that the ill-judged nature of the Marian reaction was what sealed the fate of Catholicism in the British Isles. People did not like seeing good people, whom they respected, being burned alive in public, and it made wonderful copy for Foxe, who knew how to use a printing press. This is certainly taught at Alex's age.

Andrew Craig-Bennett
11-27-2007, 12:08 PM
YOU will be happier? Hmmm... in my concept of parenthood, it isn't about making ME happy whatosever.... it's about seeing to it that my kids are!

Ah!

Norman, we have an apparent, but not, i think, an actual, difference of opinion, here.

I am not interested in making my kids happy, I am interested in making them wise, which I hope may prove to be a source of happiness to them in the long run!

This may cause the occasional degree of moderate unhappiness in them and in me. But I am interested in my own happiness, and that is secured, in the long run, by having good children!

elf
12-06-2007, 09:04 AM
Great review of the movie here:

http://www.boston.com/ae/movies/articles/2007/12/06/flying_adventure_and_armored_bears_oh_my/

Larry P.
12-06-2007, 09:37 AM
I am not interested in making my kids happy, I am interested in making them wise, which I hope may prove to be a source of happiness to them in the long run!

This may cause the occasional degree of moderate unhappiness in them and in me. But I am interested in my own happiness, and that is secured, in the long run, by having good children!

Truly wise words Andrew, I tip my hat to you.

Keith Wilson
12-06-2007, 10:12 AM
Y'know, peb, I was prompted to read the books again. It was great fun; they're better than I remembered, but I think you're right. If you really don't want your children exposed to heretical ideas, ideas wildly at variance with Roman Catholicism, you should prevent them from reading Pullman's books. Whether this is a wise course or not is open to debate, but the fact remains, they contain and to some extent advocate religious/philosophical ideas with which you would disagree profoundly . They're not as propagandistic as The Chronicles of Narnia, but still . . .

The Kingdom of Heaven has been known by that name since the Authority first set himself above the rest of the angels. And we want no part of it. This world is different. We intend to be free citizens of The Republic of Heaven.
Phillip Pullman, The Amber Spyglass

peb
12-06-2007, 11:42 AM
Keith, thanks for the update. Earlier when you posted this about the god the children kill off in the third book:

"Peb, the "old and ineffectual god" that is deposed in the books is an impostor who claimed be the creator of all but really wasn't. Many of the ideas in the books are influenced by the author's atheism, certainly. They're not an allegory; nothing nearly so heavy-handed as The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.
"
I was tempted to respond that it sounded exactly like what many atheists want to do with our Christian God: ie get rid of him because he is not real and is only claimed to be the creator. The Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe was an allegory to the Christian faith. I would agree, these books don't sound like an allegory, but an attempt to influence young minds to do exactly as the author desires.

TomF
12-06-2007, 02:31 PM
Reality check time.

My 16 year old daughter, firm and faithful Christian, was utterly dumbfounded by all this ruckus. She thought the books were whacking good reads, and has been looking forward to the movie.

So I asked her if she thought the ideas in the books might be affecting her faith ....

"Dad - the books are fiction. Fiction. Not real ... you know? What effect d'you think they'd have on what I know is true? I can tell the difference. Duh."

Yup, I know.

PatCox
12-06-2007, 03:00 PM
Wacky catholics (the few but vociferous, often seen wearing truly ridiculous KofC uniforms) are always getting their panties in a bunch over piss christ and the dung virgin, The Exorcist, The DaVinci Code. Hyperventilating indignation is fun, and it makes you feel good to be fighting on God's side. But most Catholics could care less.

Rudy 9u11ani would make blasphemy illegal, as he tried to do in NYC. Adultery, divorce, graft, corruption, and lies, however, would be OK.

Joe (SoCal)
12-06-2007, 03:19 PM
Gonna go see it with Tess this weekend. We saw the previews when we saw Fed Clause last weekend, looks cool. Tess and I both looked at each other and were like YES we got to see that movie. She loves fantasy movies and books. She's reading LOTR after seeing the movies and she loved Ergon. So this is right up her ally. The cast looks good so I'm into seeing it as well.

peb
12-06-2007, 03:20 PM
Reality check time.

My 16 year old daughter, firm and faithful Christian, was utterly dumbfounded by all this ruckus. She thought the books were whacking good reads, and has been looking forward to the movie.

So I asked her if she thought the ideas in the books might be affecting her faith ....

"Dad - the books are fiction. Fiction. Not real ... you know? What effect d'you think they'd have on what I know is true? I can tell the difference. Duh."

Yup, I know.

Tom, you would make a poor marketing man. Advertisers have learned long ago that subtle impressions can last a long time. A book leaving a not-so-subtle message of christianity being evil probably won't do this with a 16 year old, devout Christian, but these impressions can build up in little kids. The author intended to do this, why is it such so strange for me to point it out.

Kaa
12-06-2007, 03:25 PM
... but these impressions can build up in little kids. The author intended to do this, ...

IT'S A CONSPIRACY TO BRAINWASH OUR CHILDREN!!!!!!!

:D

Kaa

Wild Wassa
12-06-2007, 03:52 PM
This trilogy by Pullman has been around for years. My daughter who is 13, has read all three books during this year and has only just finished reading the final book.

She saw the books as an interesting fantasy story and that is it. Children's minds and imaginations should be stretched, children should not just be fed one little bigotted religious line about life ... the end of story.

She doesn't appear to have grown horns nor does a bright green light shine from my daughters eyes and this coming Sunday she will be a Server in the Anglican Church ... and that is her choice.

The ridiculous claims made by some on this thread about protecting children from the harm of such writings, smack of religious fanaticism ... does someone here remind you of the fanatics who lost the plot over the Mohammed cartoons Skippers?

This thread is just as funny.

Warren.

peb
12-06-2007, 05:15 PM
No one is saying any single book is going to ruin a kid forever. However, the message is there, and if enough of those messages are seen, they can have an effect. Why do you think all the beer commercials have guys surrounded by babes in bikinis?

Keith Wilson
12-06-2007, 05:35 PM
Well, if you really don't want your kids exposed to any heretical ideas - and Pullman's books do indeed contain a lot of heretical ideas - that's the way to go; develop your very own Index Librorum Prohibitorum. At least you'll be giving them something substantial to rebel against in a few years. ;)

OTOH, there is something to be said for allowing them to encounter divergent ideas early (within reason; I'm not suggesting you go out and rent a copy of Leather Lads in Bondage). Consider it an inoculation, if you will. Strictly-raised Catholic kids who get to college and suddenly realize that they have a MUCH wider range of options are common enough to be a stereotype. But now that I think of it, they seemed to be having lots of fun, and you might not want to deprive them of that . . . Your call. Kids do grow up, and they do what they want.

I go on the inoculation principle, myself. My kids know a certain amount about some of the major religions, what "the rapture" is supposed to be, and have heard of the doctrines of original sin and atonement. When asked, they are less polite about them than I am here. Seems to be working so far.

Nanoose
12-06-2007, 08:33 PM
Thursday, December 06, 2007
Where Does 'The Golden Compass' Point ? (by Gareth Higgins) (http://blog.beliefnet.com/godspolitics/2007/12/where-does-the-golden-compass.html)



http://www.sojo.net/images/blog/071206_compass.jpgHere's the good news: The Golden Compass does not promote atheism. It isn't going to steal your children. It does not signal the end of hope for religion in the West. That's the good news. Here's the bad news: it promotes the same, shallow "don't touch my stuff or I'll kill you" message that appears in so much of popular culture. But more than this, in spite of delightful visual imagery, and a couple of performances in which it's clear the actors are having fun (an icy Nicole Kidman, and the great English theatrical knight Derek Jacobi to name two), it's simply a boring film.

At its centre there is at least an attempt at exploring interesting territory – we are in a parallel universe in which everyone is accompanied by a 'daemon' – an animal representation of their personality, and a comfort in times of trouble. Meanwhile, a shadowy authoritarian body, "the Magisterium", is abducting children and performing daemon amputations. Too much daemon, too much free will, too little for the Magisterium to do.

The religious resonances are obvious, but the film doesn't make any explicit commentary on Christianity. Rather, its enemy is the misuse of power to force people to think or act against the exercise of freedom. The image of severing our connection to that which keeps us in a state of wonder is a powerful one; and The Golden Compass does a good job of reminding us just why children can sometimes understand things that confound adults.

But, as is typically the case with such large canvas "family films," the antidote proposed is nothing more than violence on a massive scale. I have not read the acclaimed Philip Pullman books on which this film – the first in a trilogy – is based, so I don't know where the story leads, or if the huge fight at the crescendo of the movie is proportionate to the text. But while the film of The Golden Compass is angry about religious and cultural imperialism, its response is strangely Nietzschean – the reassertion of individualism and the use of physical brute force appear to be the only answer it can think of.

At the same time, it's so muddled as a film - having clearly been made by a studio breathing down the talented director Chris Weitz's neck, with scenes ended before they're finished, and a script that doesn't seem to know where it's going - that it maybe shouldn't be taken anywhere near as seriously as some angry activists think.

It's surreal watching a film like this, for you feel like you're being told something over and over again that you already know: religious power can be a dangerous mix, and so needs to be handled with care and be accountable to the community. This film wants to think that religion and power can never be used for good; and yet, in its unthinking embrace of survival of the fittest/might as right philosophy, it may actually end up on the same side as the neocons and religious imperialists it seeks to condemn. http://www.sojo.net/images/blog/portrait_higgins.jpgGareth Higgins is a Christian writer and activist in Belfast, Northern Ireland. For the past decade he was the founder/director of the zero28 project, an initiative addressing questions of peace, justice, and culture. He is the author of the insightful How Movies Helped Save My Soul (http://www.powells.com/biblio/0971457697?&PID=29218) and blogs at www.godisnotelsewhere.blogspot.com (http://www.godisnotelsewhere.blogspot.com)

(Note: emphasis added)


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Kaa
12-06-2007, 08:54 PM
Strictly-raised Catholic kids who get to college and suddenly realize that they have a MUCH wider range of options are common enough to be a stereotype.

I'll be less polite :-) and point out that's precisely the reason why from-a-catholic-school girlfriends are considered in college the best to have :D

Kaa

Pierce Nichols
12-06-2007, 10:08 PM
Oh really? So what did you encourage your children to read about Christianity? Did you encourage them to read Lewis' Mere Christianity?

Funniest satire of Christianity I've ever read...

elf
12-06-2007, 10:47 PM
You can always do what the Jehovah's Witnesses do, and forbid your kids from going to college.

peb
12-06-2007, 10:52 PM
Well, if you really don't want your kids exposed to any heretical ideas - and Pullman's books do indeed contain a lot of heretical ideas - that's the way to go; develop your very own Index Librorum Prohibitorum. At least you'll be giving them something substantial to rebel against in a few years. ;)

OTOH, there is something to be said for allowing them to encounter divergent ideas early (within reason; I'm not suggesting you go out and rent a copy of Leather Lads in Bondage). Consider it an inoculation, if you will. Strictly-raised Catholic kids who get to college and suddenly realize that they have a MUCH wider range of options are common enough to be a stereotype. But now that I think of it, they seemed to be having lots of fun, and you might not want to deprive them of that . . . Your call. Kids do grow up, and they do what they want.

I go on the inoculation principle, myself. My kids know a certain amount about some of the major religions, what "the rapture" is supposed to be, and have heard of the doctrines of original sin and atonement. When asked, they are less polite about them than I am here. Seems to be working so far.

Don't know what your stereotype is of catholic kids in college. So far (knock on wood), my college kids seem to be doing just fine. All kids get to encounter divergent ideas in this day and age. Its inevitable. Nothing wrong with keeping a little bit of it in check.

Keith Wilson
12-06-2007, 11:18 PM
Well, Deb - it won't be this first time a movie isn't as good as the book, and doesn't do justice to its ideas. I can't think of even one that was as good as the book, in fact. The three books are long, none of them stands alone, and they'd be very hard to make into a relatively short movie that didn't feel rushed and truncated. FWIW, violence as a solution to problems is standard movie fare. It's easy to make an viscerally exciting movie that way, and for the audience it's easier than thinking. "Revolution Against Tyranny" has been filmed about 10,000 times since Battleship Potemkin. Star Wars is probably the best-known recent example.

And peb, you won't do your kids any harm if you don't read them The Golden Compass as a bedtime story. It's good, but not as good as all that. BTW, Kaa explains the sterotype eloquently. Glad your kids are doing well.

Kaa
12-07-2007, 12:19 AM
Star Wars is probably the best-known recent example.

Recent?!!?!

I hate to break it to you, Keith, but Star Wars is more than 30 years old... :-)

Kaa

Keith Wilson
12-07-2007, 09:20 AM
OK, OK, I'm showing my age, obviously - :p - The Star Wars series. The "revolution against tyranny" plot line is, however, one of the five or six standard movie plot lines. Some others are "monsters lurking in the dark", "falling in love, with complications", and "coming of age".

My daughter saw the movie at midnight. :rolleyes: She said (sleepily) that she was kind of disappointed; that it didn't even cover all of the first book, but that the actress who played Lyra was very good, and the bears were very cool.

Keith Wilson
12-07-2007, 05:54 PM
Here's a review of the movie from the Catholic News Service. They liked it. http://www.catholicnews.com/data/movies/07mv242.htm

Keith Wilson
01-04-2008, 10:19 AM
OK, I'll revive this thread briefly. I finally got around to seeing the movie last night and I figured I'd post some impressions. It's not as good as the book, of course, although it's pretty good, and the visuals are quite spectacular. The plot is quite faithful to the book, although it has the once-over-lightly rushed sort of feel that one gets when trying to cram a fairly long novel into under two hours.

I don't think Catholics need to worry at all. The Magisterium, the church in the film, resembles the current Roman Catholic Church about as much as Oceania in 1984 resembles modern Britain. Imagine the church with attitudes from the time of the Council of Trent moved into the late 20th century and mixed with a heavy dose of Fascism - hardly the church you know and love, rather what it could possibly become in your worst nightmare. The dress of the people from the Magisterium is a grim mix of Roman Catholic ornamentation and '30s fascist military uniforms. The theme is not anti-religion, but anti-oppression, something I think we'd all agree with. And the actress who plays Lyra is indeed excellent.

OTOH, when they film the rest of them (as I'm sure they will, since this one was successful) it will be interesting to see how they handle it, since the later books are more explicitly heretical. I'm looking forward to it.

Andrew Craig-Bennett
01-04-2008, 10:25 AM
I looked into the books again.

No humour.

No humanity.

Frankly, boring.

Lets hear it for Terry Pratchett!

Keith Wilson
01-04-2008, 10:48 AM
Well, de gustibus . . . I can't take Terry Pratchett in more than fairly small doses (although Amazing Maurice was pretty good); maybe I'm just a dour humorless descendant of Calvinists. :D

Kaa
01-04-2008, 10:52 AM
Lets hear it for Terry Pratchett!

Terry Pratchett is excellent, though after going through a dozen or two of his books they do become a bit repetitive...

Kaa

Hwyl
01-04-2008, 10:54 AM
I cherry picked this discussion, I usually read everything before I post.

I read the books a few years ago and absolutely loved them. I did not read any anti religious undercurrent in them. I like to think of myself as perceptive.

Forgive me for enjoying a rolliking good story line, well written and thoroughly enjoyed.

Disclaimers
1) I grew up in what Americans call the episcopal church and have good reasons for disliking it very much
2)I'm an atheist , but I like to think I retain high moral values
3) Philip Pullman grew up near me and it seems we had a similar education (though his Welsh English teacher was probably better)

P.I. Stazzer-Newt
01-04-2008, 10:58 AM
If the Discworld series seems to be getting stale;
"Carpet People" - Truckers - Diggers.....

George Jung
01-04-2008, 05:39 PM
I've had this same conversation with my daughters, and their responses have varied by their personality types.

My first daughter (23) has been strong-willed and independent since shortly after conception and shows little indication of the dwindles; we had a rather strong discussion about this author and the storyline, with me noting some of the criticisms particularly from a perception of it being antichristian, most probably anti RC, and she stating her position based on 'friends perception that it's just a rollicking good fantasy adventure.

My other daughters aren't as contrary or outspoken, they took in the entire 'debate', nodded acceptingly, and continued their read. We continue to discuss the story as we progress.

My English lit. major daughter (19) sees the anti-C angle easily, but notes that, while it's a good, entertaining read, it's not written particularly well (to which I'd agree). The fifteen yo's reaction is that it's entertaining, but drags in spots. No real thoughts on the controversy.

Best part - #1 called last night, felt compelled to tell me that, after readng further, 'you were right - it's blatantly anti-C", a huge concession for her; she hates that! So with proper discussion, I can see the merits, and the opportunity presenting itself for this topic in the first place. Kaa tried the analogy of 'natural living vs immunizations', which I had a bit of trouble agreeing with, but would elaborate - the difference is with immunizations, you develop those protective antibodies in a controlled state, protecting that individual by removing the harmful parts of an infectious agent while allowing them to develop protection. 'Living naturally' works too - if you don't mind killing off, or having significant morbidity, in your target population. See 'Black Plague' for an example, or Small Pox in the natives. And 'increased stature' is actually due to a few factors - nutrition and hygiene among them.