12/09/2018 (Sun) 20:33:13
The movie totally erases the criticism of religion, and the first book didn't have much to begin with. It's the third book that attacks religion. But most of the criticism in the series is subtle and might fly over the head of a kid, especially if they don't realize that "The Authority" is the Catholic church in a parallel dimension. A kid might not recognize the criticism of circumcision, of Catholic hypocrisy, of how when the church breaks the taboo and touche's someone's daemon, its doubles as a metaphor that the church are molesters. They want to dehumanize people and make people unhappy. And all the literary references to Hades, Milton, or the glorious bastard of Satan would fly over their head.
And when they meet Yahweh, the kids don't even realize it because he's just a pitiful frail old man who was trapped in a ark and when they let him out he dies instantly. (A child reading the book probably wouldn't realize that was the same God as supposedly resides in the holy ark in the bible.)
Perhaps what also surprised me most is how at the end of the last book two adolescents are about to have sex, while a Catholic priest assasins (who has been given forgiveness in advance),
tries to shoot them because they're evil sinners. (He also plans to convert the indigenous people.)
The Catholics of the internet are butthurt as usual and call the book too aggressive or preachy simply because the antagonists are their church, but I think most criticisms were too subtle for children and might have been aimed more at adults who might read the book. It didn't go far enough in attacking religion or promoting skepticism. But I do appreciate how the book was anti-establishment, anti-authority, pro-sex, skeptical of the best intentions of parents, and for letting kids love each other naturally. Left to their own devices most of the characters of the book would be good people, and its the church that divides people and makes them hate each other.