The Instigator
roman.legion
Pro (for)
Losing
19 Points
The Contender
nrw
Con (against)
Winning
21 Points

"The Golden Compass" trilogy does not support atheism.

Do you like this debate?NoYes+0
Add this debate to Google Add this debate to Delicious Add this debate to FaceBook Add this debate to Digg  
Vote Here
Pro Tied Con
Who did you agree with before the debate?
Who did you agree with after the debate?
Who had better conduct?
Who had better spelling and grammar?
Who made more convincing arguments?
Who used the most reliable sources?
Reasons for your voting decision
1,000 Characters Remaining
The voting period for this debate does not end.
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/26/2007 Category: Religion
Updated: 9 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 1,787 times Debate No: 1038
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (7)
Votes (12)

 

roman.legion

Pro

1. While the books attack established religion, they do not attack the concept of God or many gods.

2. Materialism is not promoted in any sense.

3. While the stated goal is to end destiny, the book itself relies upon the concept of destiny. One gets the sense that while the author dislikes the idea of destiny, he (at least subconciously) accepts that it makes for a better story.

4. The author does not really support evolution in its purest atheistic form. He recognizes that their is a distinction between people and animals, and states in the book that at a single point in history animals went through an ontological change and became people.

5. Even if the author does not believe that the Church came from heaven, one gets the feeling that he thinks it came from hell.
nrw

Con

[Just as a check, I am not saying the Golden Compass trilogy is bad or good, and I am not saying that promoting atheism is bad or good - I am just saying that the trilogy does promote breaking FROM religion, - (just as the Chronicles of Naria promote Christianity) - which may be good or bad, but nevertheless, the book promotes it. I am not saying the books/movies should be banned or anything - please do not take this debate/voting on the debate any further than the topic at hand.]

Pullman quote:
"In the world of the story — Lyra's world — there is a church that has acquired great political power, rather in the way that some religions in our world have done at various times, and still do (think of the Taliban in Afghanistan). My point is that religion is at its best — it does most good — when it is farthest away from political power, and that when it gets hold of the power to (for example) send armies to war or to condemn people to death, or to rule every aspect of our lives, it rapidly goes bad. Sometimes people think that if something is done in the name of faith or religion, it must be good. Unfortunately, that isn't true."

Pullman sees breaking from religion as good. In the movie now out, based on his first book, the plot describes the "evil magisterium" which needs to be overthrown.
-In real life, the word "magisterium" means the teaching authority of the church.

Pullman advocates that people should not belong to a religion - he says it is bad because the church has power. Personally, he has said he doesn't care if people belong to church or not - some have misconstrued this to mean his books don't promote breaking from religion, but that is not what it means; Pullman still conceedes what the book is actually about and that not following a religion is best.

Pullman has openly stated that he dislikes the Chronicles of Narnia and his books can be seen as showing "the other side." His books promote atheism rather than theism.

Furthermore, at the end of the trilogy, (not in the movie - which is only the first book), the children "kill God." Pullman is not being shady at all - he himself is an atheist and openly promotes atheism in his books, and that's fine, but it's true.

With all that in mind, I will address your numbered points briefly/specifically...

1. Well, the books do also attack God/gods. (Look to the plot of the end of the trilogy.) But, more importantly, you conceede that he attacks established religion - along with that, he promotes no religion - he sees that as best.

2. Materialism is kind of irrelevant in this case. I'm not really sure if Pullman promotes materialism or not in the books, but it doesn't affect the fact that his books do promote the break from religion.

3. Yes, he is saying it makes for a better story - that is one of the points of the books - he is trying to say that the idea of destiny exists because people know it makes for a better story, people want religion because it is the better story- that is why he promotes no religion as the best alternative.

4. Evolution is also kind of irrelevant. He agrees with evolution, so do many religious people. He beleives at some point a change occured that made our species humans - that is evolution. He doesn't not beleive in evolution - just because he has his own interpretation of it doesn't mean that he isn't a "real" atheist or something.

5. Ok, the author is writing a story. If one gets the feeling that the author suggests the church came from hell, then that is because the AUTHOR has succeded in conveying that the church is evil, and the READER has associated evil with hell. The book does not suggest the existance of hell, just evil.
Debate Round No. 1
roman.legion

Pro

Right, real quick before I go to bed.

1. The "god" in the book is inconsistent with most theists conception of God, a god, or the gods. The idea and concept of having a god in general is not touched. You also need to make the distinction between being anti-religion, which the books clearly are, and atheistic. A person can be a theist without belonging to a religion. I don't think there is anything that a (very) liberal Christian would argue with in the trilogy.

2. The break from religion aspect is also irrelevant.

3. That point doesn't come across in the book, and I'm going to have to insist on the topic at hand, which is the book. Maybe Pullman was just saying destiny makes a better story which is why we buy it, but the reader only comes away with the fact that the story was good and it had destiny.

4. The evolution wasn't really the important part here. The important part was that there is a big difference between humans and animals, which (in my humble opinion) is a better arguement against atheism (in general, though not always, depending on the atheist) than all of his arguements against religion. Regardless of its worth either way, though, its an arguement used by theists.

5. This arguement was more about fun than anything. I'll just give it to you.

Hmmm... Maybe I should finnish the last 100 pages before I go much further.
nrw

Con

[First, please refer to all my analysis at the beginning of my part of Round 1 - my opponent seems to ignore all of these points and just skips to his numbered list. I did more than just answer these 5 points.]

With that aside, your list...

1. You are still conceeding that Pullman sees no religion as best - that IS atheism - and he conceedes that this idea is prevalent in the book, he conceedes the book has an agenda supporting break from religion. And you are wrong about the 'god' aspect. The books discuss the overthrow of the church and the children look to 'kill god' at the end. Furthermore, Pullman has conceeded that he is an atheist and through his books he is attempting to convey the message that religion is wrong. I know a person can 'not belong to a religion' or whatever - but Pullman still thinks, and his message in his books is consistent, that NO RELIGION (atheism) is best.

2. Ok, so you conceede that materialism is irrelevant. But, the break from religion is NOT irrelevant. Look, my point is that you see the books as only promoting that religion can be bad, but the message and Pullman's beliefs are more than that - you are ignoring that Pullman conceedes his own atheism and that he wants his messsage to be that NO religion is the best. This is the crux of the debate - how can it be irrelevant?

3. We are not talking about the point that comes across in the book. You said, "One gets the sense that while the author dislikes the idea of destiny," and I am saying that yes, that is true - this is because the author believes the concept of destiny is for story making, as went along with your analysis. This is another reason the author's views come through in the story - the concept of religion has a basis in destiny, that there is life after death - the reader gets the idea that the author dislikes this because he does - he sees religion similar to "a better story," and thinks this is the reason that people accept religion. The author would advocate that telling (what he sees as) the truth, rather than telling the "better story."

4. Ok, so there is no point to the evolution thing then - fine, you think it's a good argument against atheism. This doesn't mean that just because Pullman takes his own interpretation of evolution different from other atheists, he is some sort of "weak athiest" or something. You didn't answer this. Again, it's kind of irrelevant.

5. Ok, conceeded. I'll take it. :-) The book does not support the idea of hell, just evil.

Thanks, hope to see your response soon.
Debate Round No. 2
roman.legion

Pro

1/2). As usual, this arguement is one of semantics. We are disagreeing over the definition of the word "atheism." I will concede to you freely that the book is very anti-religion. It really is. Unfortuneately for you, religion has very little to do with the definition of atheism. I went to dictionary.com, and out of five entries, not a single one had the word "religion" in it. Atheism is a denial of the existence of any gods, and the trilogy doesn't deny the existence of any gods. There are many liberal Christians and Jews out there who hate organized religion, but they are not atheists. There are many out there who despise the Church and every other religious institution, but they still believe in God.

3). Actually, we are talking about the point that comes across in the book. Many debates are won by changing the frame of the arguement, but I won't fall for that. Pullman is an atheist, I grant it to you. His book is not atheistic, and the topic of this debate about his book. The ideas of the auther are secondary to the content of the book. I don't disagree with what you are saying about Pullman's beliefs, but Pullman's beliefs are beside the point.

4). I'm just saying, its a view normally taken by theists. Regardless of what Pullman believes about evolution, the books take on it is decidedly closer to theism than atheism.

This is going fairly well so far, but it'd be nice if we could actually get together on what we are supposed to be debating.

************************* To The Voters ***************************

I believe you should vote for me because I stuck to the topic. NRW makes some good points, but they are beside the point for this debate. He debated about the author, and I debated about the book. I trust after looking at the topic title you will make the correct vote.
nrw

Con

[Again, look to my conceeded analysis in round 1 that was made before the numbered list.]

1/2.) The reason the definitions for atheism do not include the word religion in it is because atheism is not a religion - it is essentially the lack of one. Not all religions beleive in God. Sure, liberal Christians might hate organized religion, but they are still Christian - Pullman, through the book, conveys the message that people not having a religion at all personally is best. Even if people hate the church and still beleive in god - the message is that the religion those people have is still bad because bad things are done in the name of religion - regardless of its organization. The book would show that one of the worst things that can happen is that a religion causes organzied power that becomes evil, but this is not the only problem that religion can cause.

3.) Yes, I know we are talking about the book - but you are missing the boat. Look at my analysis from the very beginning. Pullman conceedes that he is attempting to convey HIS message through THE BOOK. Therefore, the book supports Pullman's message - this is evident through our discussions about destiny, and the book's framing of evil, etc. Look to the concessions that Pullman makes himself about the book's message. Look to the plot. The children 'kill god.' The beliefs of the author are not secondary because the author conceedes that his book has an agenda to promote his beliefs. I have said this every round yet you ignore it.

4.) My point exactly, the evolution in the book or in Pullman's beliefs do not matter. There is no "closer to theism" about any of this. The message is still atheistic in the sense that it not only promotes the break from religion, but that NO RELIGION is the best alternative.

We are together on what we are debating. I explained this before, I would be wrong if it was only a break from established relgion - but the message is more than that. The book conveys the message of Pullman, and he conceedes that agenda. The promotion is not only break from religion - it is that religion in and of itself is bad because bad things are done in the name of religion (look to the quote, round 1). Established religion gaining power is only one of these bad things. The books, along with Pullman because they convey his message, say that NO RELIGION is the best way.

The reason I discuss the author is because a book often contains an author's message. In this case, Pullman has conceeded that his book DELIBERATELY conveys his message. The source of the message is the author, fine. But, the final result is the message being said through the story in the book. I trust after looking at the topic title the voters will make the correct vote.
Debate Round No. 3
7 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 7 records.
Posted by roman.legion 9 years ago
roman.legion
Thank you Tarzan.

And I don't believe being anti-religion is atheistic in any sense. Besides, you are the one that started splitting hairs. If you wanted to debate the most general possible definition of atheism (though even then I think your use would be inaccurate), you should not have said that I could not point to Pullman using a generally theistic arguement like a theistic model of evolution. You seem to want atheism to be made all encompassing and theism to be as narrow as possible. Be consistent.
Posted by JustCallMeTarzan 9 years ago
JustCallMeTarzan
I don't intend a distinction between atheism and strict atheism - I simply mean that the books promote a structure of belief that is more conductive towards atheism than organized religion. However, there is no place where Pullman directly implies that a god does not and cannot exist.

One could construe the books to promote atheism in the environment created by the lack of religion(s). Saying the books promote atheism is analogous to saying that a lack of atheism promotes theism. The books promote a lack of organized religion and agnosticism.
Posted by nrw 9 years ago
nrw
the definition of atheism isn't my point, roman.legion, I know what the definition of atheism is - my point is the books promote instances of it, it definately doesnt promote theism - it is obviously against it

this division between atheism and "strict atheism" is rediculous
Posted by JustCallMeTarzan 9 years ago
JustCallMeTarzan
Atheism by definition refers to the belief that there IS NO god - not simply that it can't exist. Thus: A- (against) theism [belief in god(s)]. Therefore the notion that atheism refers to a lack of religion is utterly absurd.

Pullman's point is clearly geared more towards the abolishment of an authoritarian sort of religion than towards atheism. Actually... organized religion may be a better term for what he argues against. IMO - the books don't promote strict atheism.
Posted by roman.legion 9 years ago
roman.legion
Find me one definition that says atheism means a lack of religion. Just one. Justify to me this insane insistance on the incorrect definition of a word.
Posted by roman.legion 9 years ago
roman.legion
I do agree, in fact. I used to take debate, but my argumentation skills seem to be a bit rusty. It would be nice if I could get an accurate assessment of them from this site, which means I want votes because I argued better.
Posted by nrw 9 years ago
nrw
As this is a very hot issue right now, I would ask that the voters vote based upon who's argumentation was better in the debate, not upon personal views. I am sure roman.legion would agree. Thanks.

Also, those of you checking this debate out: could you please check out some of my other debates? A few are tied/close and I would appreciate the feedback. Thanks.
12 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Vote Placed by Aziar44 8 years ago
Aziar44
roman.legionnrwTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:Vote Checkmark--2 points
Total points awarded:60 
Vote Placed by JBlake 8 years ago
JBlake
roman.legionnrwTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:40 
Vote Placed by Evan_MacIan 9 years ago
Evan_MacIan
roman.legionnrwTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:30 
Vote Placed by ScrewSociety62 9 years ago
ScrewSociety62
roman.legionnrwTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:03 
Vote Placed by JustCallMeTarzan 9 years ago
JustCallMeTarzan
roman.legionnrwTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:30 
Vote Placed by hark 9 years ago
hark
roman.legionnrwTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:30 
Vote Placed by Lacan 9 years ago
Lacan
roman.legionnrwTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:03 
Vote Placed by impactyourworld89 9 years ago
impactyourworld89
roman.legionnrwTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:03 
Vote Placed by HempforVictory 9 years ago
HempforVictory
roman.legionnrwTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:03 
Vote Placed by or8560 9 years ago
or8560
roman.legionnrwTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:03