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sunnymoon6
Posts: 6
Registered: ‎10-29-2007
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Re: Religion in HDM ---SPOILERS---

For those interested, here is a link to a website that is from an atheists point of view on what they thought about Christianity. I feel this person has his finger on the pulse of what it is like to wonder much of the same things as our Author, Mr.Pullman, here has, but still come away with a very different opinion. Enjoy. http://www.doesgodexist.org/AboutClayton/PastLife.html in the end.
Author
DavidC
Posts: 102
Registered: ‎04-09-2007
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Re: Religion in HDM ---SPOILERS---

[ Edited ]

sunnymoon6 wrote:
Thanks David C. for the clarification. I appreciate the similarities that exist amongst us christians and atheists. I do not mean to leave the impression that people who do not believe in my God (or any God for that matter) are barbaric animals of some sort that have no desire to function within any set boundaries.I believe and see in my everday life many people who are trying their darndest to live by a strict moral code cause they believe it will enhance their lives and the lives of others. What I have trouble undrstanding is what source do atheist morals come from? Who do atheists say gave them their set of specific morals. Christians point to God as being that source for them. Who or what do atheists point to as being the source of their moral code? I pick up in the excerpts I have read and in the interview, that Mr. Pullman desires for the world to be a better place and that he has definite opinions about what is right and wrong. My concern with that is who does he get his version of right and wrong from? I mean, would it not make more sense to believe that something greater more intelligent than ourselves is responsible for a moral code that could assist us in living out our lives to their fullest potential as opposed to people saying basicaly " this is right and wrong in my opinion and because I do not base my opinions on anything other than my own beliefs they are suject to change at anytime because I am a man with limited understanding like the rest of you all"...



Sunnymoon6, you've brought up an important question. It focuses on something that atheists and the faithful approach from different directions, and, I think it explains one reason for the lack of civility in the usual dialogue. (Not the dialogue here, I'm glad to say!)

An atheist might ask you the same question in another way: Why is an authority necessary to ensure that we behave properly towards each other? You've brought up yourself as an example, and it sounds like you aren't motivated by a fear of God, or even necessarily by the promise of an everlasting life. But I think it's reasonable for atheists to feel that much of formal religion involves punishment and reward. An atheist might ask, why do we need God to tell us that we should be good to one another?

Your worry about shifting morality brings up the distrust that these two groups feel for each other. But I wonder if it's fair to ask. Religious laws shift constantly. Any discussion of a fixed moral code probably has to be limited to a very few ideas, what theologians might call "natural law." Some might say that the ten commandments are an example of those core beliefs. Well, once you get to those core beliefs, it's apparent they've always been as fixed for atheists as for the faithful.

In fact, an atheist could turn around this issue also. What's to prevent people from justifying actions that are contrary to those core beliefs because they believe God wants them to? And why should someone who's done a lifetime of evil be rewarded for nothing more than a deathbed apology? Isn't that a Get Out of Jail Free card, a license to do wrong? You don't live that way, but you must have encountered people who do. These thoughts explain in part why atheists sometimes distrust fervent religious belief.

You've said earlier that situations like that are exceptions. You believe they're the result of people being tempted or tricked into evil by Satan. They don't reflect the essence of God. HDM says let's stop blaming others—God, Satan, or any other "Authority"—and take responsibility for ourselves. An important idea in HDM is the "Republic of Heaven." By the word "republic" Pullman means a heaven that's of the people, by the people, and for the people. And he wants that created now, in this life, by people who act the same way you wish people would act.

For me, one of the most interest parts of the book was Pullman's description of the Authority, which I think relates to this question. Pullman didn't describe a strong, proud character who's defeated by a better opponent. He described a character who was exhausted by the burden of overseeing the human race. We're a lot of work!

Message Edited by DavidC on 11-02-2007 09:50 AM

Message Edited by DavidC on 11-02-2007 09:52 AM

Message Edited by DavidC on 11-02-2007 09:52 AM
Contributor
windchill2770
Posts: 12
Registered: ‎11-18-2007
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Re: Religion in HDM ---SPOILERS---

I really like philip pullman's ideas. I respect religion because God gives people strenght and hope right? But if you think about it, most of the major wars in history were caused by the catholic church persecuting nonbelievers. Is that really fair? Do you really think God wants people to kill under his name? No, i dont think so.
If there is a God, he must feel so ashamed of us right now. We use his name to do mroe evil than we do good. Well, not really anymore, but the bloody wars in the past could have been completely avoided if people were more open!
ah, oh well.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
I don't want to be the night,
but to be the moon instead, so that I can shed light and make sure you're never lonely.
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BarbaraN
Posts: 519
Registered: ‎11-08-2006
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Re: Religion in HDM ---SPOILERS---



windchill2770 wrote:
I really like philip pullman's ideas. I respect religion because God gives people strenght and hope right? But if you think about it, most of the major wars in history were caused by the catholic church persecuting nonbelievers. Is that really fair? Do you really think God wants people to kill under his name? No, i dont think so.
If there is a God, he must feel so ashamed of us right now. We use his name to do mroe evil than we do good. Well, not really anymore, but the bloody wars in the past could have been completely avoided if people were more open!
ah, oh well.




I think they are still going on. Many religions seem to confer "faith", theirs, by force.
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ConnieAnnKirk
Posts: 5,472
Registered: ‎06-14-2007
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Re: Religion in HDM ---SPOILERS---

windchill--Throwing out a caution here to avoid singling out any one religion in this argument, though, admittedly, Pullman does pick and choose and bend bits of Catholicism to symbolize organized religion, or imperialism, or whatever powerful entity you might like it to symbolize in your reading of the story. Catholicism has a highly visible hierarchy, which strikes me as perhaps the most attractive reason for Pullman to use that religion in particular as an example. As you say, it did have a history in Europe related to the Crusades, etc. However, many of the world's organized religions can be tied to the world's various wars over time. Others may argue that people of faith are the ones who stop war, as well, or human beings would have all annihilated each other by now.

~ConnieK



windchill2770 wrote:
I really like philip pullman's ideas. I respect religion because God gives people strenght and hope right? But if you think about it, most of the major wars in history were caused by the catholic church persecuting nonbelievers. Is that really fair? Do you really think God wants people to kill under his name? No, i dont think so.
If there is a God, he must feel so ashamed of us right now. We use his name to do mroe evil than we do good. Well, not really anymore, but the bloody wars in the past could have been completely avoided if people were more open!
ah, oh well.


~ConnieAnnKirk




[CAK's books , website.]
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BarbaraN
Posts: 519
Registered: ‎11-08-2006
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Re: Religion in HDM: REpublic of Heaven

I am a bit puzzled. I'm not sure what Pullman means by the Republic of Heaven. Is he talking about "electing God"? They can't even communicate between worlds anymore. Is he talking about electing the administrators of religion with different religions represented like different parties? Maybe then a "Pope" being elected or something. Even representative religion is an "imposed" religion because for their period of control, they are in control. The only difference is that a majority decides what the minority should believe and the rules they should follow. Pullman has definitely left religion in place here. I'm just not sure what this Republic of Heaven is supposed to be that Lyra and Will sacrificed their future happiness for.

Maybe I missed something. Anyone have any ideas what Pullman might have had in mind or even their own thoughts of what a Republic of Heaven might be.
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DavidC
Posts: 102
Registered: ‎04-09-2007
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Re: Religion in HDM: REpublic of Heaven


BarbaraN wrote:
I am a bit puzzled. I'm not sure what Pullman means by the Republic of Heaven. Is he talking about "electing God"? They can't even communicate between worlds anymore. Is he talking about electing the administrators of religion with different religions represented like different parties? Maybe then a "Pope" being elected or something. Even representative religion is an "imposed" religion because for their period of control, they are in control. The only difference is that a majority decides what the minority should believe and the rules they should follow. Pullman has definitely left religion in place here. I'm just not sure what this Republic of Heaven is supposed to be that Lyra and Will sacrificed their future happiness for.

Maybe I missed something. Anyone have any ideas what Pullman might have had in mind or even their own thoughts of what a Republic of Heaven might be.



A heaven that people create for themselves and others while they're alive. A society in which the good that some religions say can only be found in heaven is created on earth.

Pullman's not using the word "Republic" as a social scientist would. He's not trying to distinguish between true democracies and representative democracies. The word has a nice ring to it, and it ties into the political philosophies of some of his sources, who were themselves influenced by the American and French revolutions.
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BarbaraN
Posts: 519
Registered: ‎11-08-2006
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Re: Religion in HDM ---SPOILERS---The "death of God"

Since there is so much discussion connected with the movie about the kids in the book "killing god" I thought it might be enlightening to indicate what really happened. Ref ASG pages 409-411. To set the scene on the events, Metatron had usurp the power of the Authority and has been running things for a long time. "The Authority", now very old and feeble, has been caged in a glass sphere for "his protection", mainly as a figurehead for Metatron. The children, Will, Lyra, and the Gallivespians have been battling the cliff-ghasts who were attacking something:

-----------------------

"Will," said Lyra behind him, "Will, look at this..."

She was gazing into the crystal litter. It was unbroken, although the crystal was stained and smeared with mud and the blood from what the cliff-ghast had been eating before they found it. It lay tilted crazily among the rocks, and inside it--
"Oh, Will, he's still alive! But--the poor thing..."

Will saw her hands pressing against the crystal, trying to reach in to the angel and confort him; because he was so old and he was terrified, crying like a baby and cowering away into the lowest corner.

"He must be so old--I've never seen anyone suffering like that--oh, Will, can't we let him out?"

Will cut through the crystal in one movement and reached in to help the angel out. Demented and powerless the aged being could only weep and mumble in fear and pain and misery, and he shrank away from what seemed like yet another threat.

"It's all right," Will said, "we can help you hide, at least. Come on, we won't hurt you."

The shaking hand seized his and feebly held on. The old one was uttering a wordless groaning whimper that went on and on, and grinding his teeth, and compulsively plucking at himself with this free hand; but as Lyra reached in, too, to help him out, he tried to smile, and to bow, and his ancient eyes deep in their wrinkles blinked at her with innocent wonder.

Between them they helped the ancient of days out of his crystal cell; it wasn't hard, for he was a light as paper, and he would have followed them anywhere, having no will of his own, and responding to simple kindness like a flower to the sun. But in the open air there was nothing to stop the wind from damaging him, and to their dismay his form began to loosen and dissolve. Only a few moments later he had vanished completely, and their last impression was of those eyes, blinking in wonder, and a sigh of the most profound and exhausted relief.

Then he was gone: a mystery dissolving in mystery.

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