Religious Leaders, Families Weigh In On The Golden Compass

Knoxville (WVLT) -- The controversial movie The Golden Compass opened Friday night across East Tennessee.

We talked to several families and religious leaders about the movie.

Most who had seen it said there was no anti-god message, but some still discourage seeing it.

The Golden Compass is based on a trilogy of books called "His Dark Materials," written by self proclaimed atheist Phillip Pullman.

Critics of the film say it encourages children to rebel against authority and kill God.

"God is eternal and we're not threatened by the idea that kids could plot to kill him," said Rabbi Louis Zivic of Heska Amuna Synagogue. "I believe in free speech. If this author is brave enough to call himself atheist and go for a film, then Hollywood has every right to put it out"

Father John Orr of Knoxville Catholic High School doesn't agree with the movie, but understands why it was made.

"We have freedom of speech," he said, "but maybe some things are better left unsaid."

Father Orr also said he won't steer his congregation away from the film.

"I wouldn't recommend people go see it necessarily."

The movie didn't seem to offend any of the viewers we talked to.

"I read the book and I'm a Christian and I never had any problem," said Steve Scarboro who saw the movie on its opening night. "I read the books I didn't think it was anti-God"

One viewer even said he would recommend taking your kids under one condition.

"You just have to talk to kids and explain what's going on," said Mike Kennedy.

Golden Compass is certainly a movie that's already had an abundance of critiques even before opening night.

Meanwhile, a lot of movie critics say the movie is just a watered down version of the books.

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