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Philip Pullman and the Seduction of Children


Meet Philip Pullman, the man whom English author Peter Hitchens refers to as the most dangerous author in Britain.


He writes children’s literature that mocks God and ridicules church. “He is the anti-Lewis,” Hitchens states, referencing C.S. Lewis’s classic Chronicles of Narnia series. He adds that Pullman is “the one the atheists would have been praying for, if atheists prayed.” Yet, unlike most atheists who attack God through stuffy academic treatises that will never be read by the general public, Pullman uses children’s literature to foment rebellion against God.

Pullman’s most popular work is a trilogy named His Dark Materials. The first book is titled The Golden Compass (previously Northern Lights), the second The Subtle Knife and the third The Amber Spyglass. Pullman borrows freely from the imagery of C.S. Lewis. The first book, which is the one that has been adapted to a film starring Nicole Kidman, begins with a 12-year-old girl hiding behind academic robes in a closet. There, she discovers a whole new universe and during her subsequent adventures, she will encounter talking animals, witches and God.


Here ends the parallels to Lewis’s work. In Pullman’s universe, good and evil are reversed. God is the oppressor. Pullman portrays him as an angel created out of dust who lied to the angels that followed him in creation. His lie was that He claimed to be their creator. He got away with it until another angel questioned the lie.

Christians should be offended. Pullman’s plot is a blasphemy worthy of Screwtape himself. All Christians believe that God is not created, but the Creator. What the world now touts as bestselling children’s literature is, Christians believe, the very lie that motivated Lucifer and one-third of the angels to rebel against God.

Yet Satan is sneaky. While Christians debate Harry Potter and the appropriateness of J.K. Rowling’s use of fantasy magic to tell a tale of good versus evil, Pullman’s work has slipped under the radar of most Christians. Parents will find Pullman’s anti-Christian tales on their children’s reading lists, in the classroom and in the children’s section of their local library. Come time for the Christmas holidays, they will also find it on their television sets and in the movie theatres.

Not surprisingly, the Catholic church is the vehicle through which Pullman attacks God. It is with the assistance of the Catholic church that God brings about the totalitarian control of Pullman’s universe. Young children in particular are persecuted by the church. One experiment sees young children kidnapped off the street, shipped to the Arctic, and fastened to a machine that severs them from their souls. While witches remain a deceitful and seductive lot in Pullman’s universe, he portrays them as good. Their assistance is invaluable when it comes time to rescue the children from the church.

Having attacked God and the Catholic church, Pullman also turns his pen against the natural law.

Thus, Pullman’s books are a direct attack upon God and the Christian faith. Pullman has inverted the imagery of C.S. Lewis, of whom Pullman said in a 1998 article in The Guardian: “He didn’t like women in general, or sexuality at all, at least at the stage in his life when he wrote the Narnia books. He was frightened and appalled at the notion of wanting to grow up. Susan, who did want to grow up, and who might have been the most interesting character in the whole cycle if she’d been allowed to, is a Cinderella in a story where the Ugly Sisters win.”


This author has foisted his dark ideas upon unsuspecting children.

Having attacked God and the Catholic church, Pullman also turns his pen against the natural law. His books use something called a daemon to attack gender identity. Everyone in Pullman’s universe has a daemon. It appears to be a cross between a person’s conscience and a person’s soul. It takes the shape of an animal and it has a definite gender.

Pullman portrays people from our world as having an internal daemon. We don’t see our daemon, although we might converse with him or her. Every individual in Pullman’s parallel world has an external daemon. The daemon’s gender is almost always the opposite of that of the human to which the daemon is attached.

Dr. Grumman, a retired military explorer from our world, finds himself trapped in Pullman’s alternate world after his Arctic expedition goes awry. There, he discovers his daemon. “People here cannot conceive of worlds where daemons are a silent voice in the mind and no more,” says Grumman. “Can you imagine my astonishment, in turn, at learning that part of my own nature was female and bird-formed and beautiful?”

This is another attack upon what Christians believe the Bible teaches about God as our creator. All of creation falls within a natural order. God gave every man and woman a human soul, not that of an animal. Moreover, Genesis 1:27 is clear: “God created man in his own image, in the image of God He created him, male and female He created them.”

Thus, God created us male and female. He created us with purpose. He wanted man and woman to come together as one flesh (unless called to the celibate state for his greater glory), then go forth and populate the world. This is the message denied by those who promote abortion, same-sex “marriage” and contraception. In denying one’s intrinsic maleness or femaleness, Pullman shares the same root philosophy as the culture of death.

Considering Pullman’s admitted agenda and clear danger, perhaps the battle over Harry Potter was misplaced. For Philip Pullman is the real enemy when it comes to subverting young people through children’s literature.




Pete Vere. "Philip Pullman and the seduction of children." The Interim (November 2007).

Reprinted with permission of the author, Pete Vere.

The Interim is Canada's pro-life, pro-family newspaper.

The Author

Pete Vere is a husband, father, canon lawyer and Catholic journalist. He and his wife Sonya live in Sault Ste. Marie, Canada with their three young children. He is currently a canonical consultant for a number of diocesan tribunals, a sessional professor of canon law with Catholic Distance University, a regular columnist with the Wanderer and a senior reporter with the Interim — Canada's largest pro-life monthly newspaper. His work also appears frequently in This Rock Magazine and The Washington Times. He is the co-author of The Pied Piper of Atheism, Suprised by Canon Law: 150 Questions Catholics ask about Canon Law, Surprised by Canon Law 2: More Questions Catholics ask about Canon Law, and More Catholic Than the Pope: An Inside Look at Extreme Traditionalism.

Copyright © 2007 The Interim
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