Anthony Horvath is up to his old tricks again, this time with an article on the insidious threat lurking between the covers of Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy. According to Horvath, this series of books, beginning with The Golden Compass, is even more dangerous than the Harry Potter series.
If we take an example like Harry Potter, whom the author of that article also decries, the difference between the threats is easy enough to detect: Rowling did not present her series as potentially being reality, nor does anyone- even young readers- think that it might be, whereas in the Pullman series, what he presents is explicitly something that he believes could be real, and by connecting with claims that students will hear described as scientific (Ie, Evolutionary theory and the Multiverse), students are led to think the same. There is no line between reality and fantasy, here.
The His Dark Materials trilogy is a series of stories about a girl who lives in a world where everybody goes through life accompanied by magical demons that can change form at will (up to a certain age), where witches ride on magical pine branches, and where talking polar bears build themselves body armor, sometimes cutting through sheets of metal with their sharp claws. The girl, Lyra, eventually meets a boy with a magic knife that allows him to slice open doorways between parallel dimensions or universes so that he can quickly travel from one to the other. In their journeys together, they battle soul-sucking ghosts and join in a war between good angels and bad angels.
And Horvath says, “There is no line between reality and fantasy here.”
If I hadn’t been a Christian myself for some thirty-plus years, I would be utterly boggled by such a statement. But when you look at the things Christians accept as real (angels, demons, a God who loves us even though He never actually shows up to say so, etc.), it gets easier to understand how they could have such trouble discerning the line between fantasy and reality.