In Defense of Criticizing Pullman

To my surprise, a number of readers have written to challenge my critique of Philip Pullman's theology.  I say "to my surprise" because in recent years I have read a number of articles by or interviews with Philip Pullman in which his hostility to Christianity has been on display.  It is common knowledge. 

I didn't keep any of these articles on file, but an informative paragraph from an article in The Sunday Times (John Cornwell, "Some enchanted author," October 24, 2004) gives a fair summary:

"In Northern Lights, the first of the His Dark Materials trilogy, Pullman conceives of an alternative but contemporary Oxford in which travel technology has not got beyond steam and the airship, and where human beings are accompanied by individual soul-mate familiars in the form of protean animals known as daemons: monkeys, birds, snow leopards, reptiles, moths. It is also a world in which the fall of man, as told in the Bible, represents human emancipation rather than a moral catastrophe and hereditary guilt. Pullman's preoccupation in the trilogy is nothing less than "man's first disobedience and the fruit". In his reprise of Paradise Lost, original sin is a lie, and God is an ancient fallen angel who has perpetrated a creationist con on the human race, wickedly exploited by a viciously inquisitional church. As the trilogy develops, the central teenage character, Lyra, emerges as a second Eve. In a quest that takes in the literal death of "God", who is no more than a wizened, foetus-like invalid, Lyra releases human beings from attachment to the afterlife. Meanwhile, Will, the novel's hero, who becomes Lyra's companion, enables her to pursue her quest to its ultimate bittersweet consummation with the aid of a "subtle knife" (based on the laws of quantum physics), which allows him to cut windows into parallel worlds. The finale is the toppling of the kingdom of heaven and the establishment of a celestial atheistic republic on Earth."

Lest anyone miss the connection, the phrase "his dark materials" comes from Milton.  The speaker is Satan.