Monday, December 13, 2004

What the Fundies are Afraid of

This is from the end of Philip Pullman's trilogy -- in one respect, it's the whole point to his Dark Materials trilogy (which is a very fine piece of work, BTW -- I highly recommend it):

Lyra and Will have just done away with, or helped God die -- it's not really clear which, and it's not God anyway in Pullman's theology, but a angel who was pretending to be God and messing up the universe for the rest of us, and then got himself in deep trouble trying to maintain the illusion -- but anyway, they've just done that, and now Will is thinking about what his father said before he died, and what it meant:

"He meant the Kingdom was over, the Kingdom of Heaven, it was all finished. We shouldn't live as if it mattered more than this life in this world, because where we are is always the most important place."

And Lyra agrees, agrees that this life matters, and agrees moreover that the two of them need to split up and go to their own separate worlds, to work in their own separate world. She says: "We have to be all those different things like cheerful and kind and curious and patient, and we've got to study and think and work hard, all of us, in all our different worlds, and then we'll build . . ."

All the different bells of the city chimed, once each, this one high, that one low, some close by . . . In that other Oxford where she and Will had kissed goodbye, the bells would be chiming, too, and a nightingale would be singing, and a little breeze would be stirring in the leaves in the Botanic Garden.

"And then what?" said her daemon sleepily. "Build what?"

"The Republic of Heaven," said Lyra.

This (along with the whole God-isn't-God-and-it's-right-to-kill-him bit) is what has the Fundies so upset: the point of this trilogy is that we should shift our focus from some heaven off there -- some Kingdom of Heaven we'll be moving to after death -- to a Republic of Heaven, here and now.

The point of this trilogy is that we should mend the world.

And we know how fundies feel about that.

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