Philip Pullman

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Sir Philip Pullman is an anti-Christian novelist. He has made public statements and written fictional works for children and young adults which were - admittedly - designed "to undermine the basis of Christian belief."

Pullman's life

Philip Pullman was born in Norwich, England, in 1946, to Audrey and Alfred Pullman. The early years of Pullman's life were spent travelling because his father was a member of Britain's Royal Air Force (RAF). His father died when he was age 7, and his family then travelled to London to find work. A year later, Pullman's mother remarried to another man working for the RAF. His family lived in Australia for much of those next two years. When Pullman was ten years old, his stepfather quit his job at the RAF to help his growing family. In 1965, Pullman won a scholarship to attend Exeter College in Oxford. He did so for four years.[1] At the age of 25, Pullman became a teacher at a middle school also in Oxford. From 1986 to 1994, he taught at Westminster College. Pullman wrote his first book Count Karlstein in 1982.[2] Today, Pullman lives in Oxford with his wife Jude. Pullman is a father to two grown children and has two grandchildren.[3]

Pullman's works


Novels aimed at children and young adults include the atheistic His Dark Materials and Sally Lockhart series. His works have come under criticism for their subversively anti-religious nature. His books portray God as an evil being who ruled the world through the Magisterium, an Inquisition-like institution which commits various heinous acts.

Philip Pullman has written almost 20 books. These include:

  • Count Karlstein
  • I Was a Rat!
  • The Scarecrow and His Servant
  • The Firework-Maker's Daughter
  • Clockwork/All Wound Up
  • The Sally Lockhart series
    • The Ruby in the Smoke
    • The Shadow in the North
    • The Tiger in the Well
    • The Tin Princess
  • The His Dark Materials series
    • The Golden Compass (Northern Lights in the UK)
    • The Subtle Knife
    • The Amber Spyglass
  • The Goodman Jesus and the scoundrel Christ


The Golden Compass was made into a Hollywood movie. See Hollywood values.


Philip Pullman has been the recipient of many awards:[4]

The Carnegie Medal (for the The Golden Compass, the first book of what became the His Dark Materials series)
The Guardian Children's Fiction Prize (for The Golden Compass, the first book of what became the His Dark Materials series)
  • The sponsor of the award, The Guardian, is a left-wing British journal.
  • Pullman split the award with Alison Prince for her book The Sherwood Hero. This was not indicated on the biographal page of Pullman's website in 2008.
  • If these books indeed became harsher toward Christian faith as the series continued, they stand notable for their gradually-deceptive approach.
The Whitbread Book of the Year Award (for the third book of the His Dark Materials series, the first time it was ever awarded to a children's book)
The Eleanor Farjeon Award for children's literature

Criticism of Pullman

Frank Furedi wrote:

[H]e is...adept at public moralising. He has denounced Narnia [The Chronicles of Narnia] as "morally loathsome," describing C.S. Lewis’s series of books as amongst the "most ugly and poisonous things" he has read. Indeed, Pullman directly counterpoises his "non-Christian" trilogy to the "Christian" Narnia.[note 1]

Blogger Joe Levi charged:

Pullman is a militant atheist and secular humanist (who describes himself as both an agnostic and an atheist)[. He] has said, "I don’t profess any religion; I don’t thi[nk] it’s possible that there is a God; I have the greatest difficulty in understanding what is meant by the words 'spiritual' or 'spirituality'" and despises C. S. Lewis and the Chronicles of Narnia. His motivation for writing this trilogy was specifically to counteract Lewis' symbolisms of Christ that are portrayed in the Narnia series.[5]

Peter Hitchens calls Pullman:

The most dangerous author in Britain [6]

Most of criticism of Pullman is based solely on the controversial His Dark Materials series, for which he became famous, in particular the killing of Yahweh, the Judeo-Christian God as the climax of the novels.

Pullman's motives

Pullman is quoted as saying:

  • "I'm trying to undermine the basis of Christian belief."[7]

Odd quote about The Chronicles of Narnia

"The highest virtue, we have on the authority of the New Testament itself, is love, and yet you find not a trace of that in the books," he said.

Considering the entire set of books is an allegory of Jesus' love, this statement is especially odd. There is a great deal of love among family members, love of country, and sacrificing to do the right thing. Indeed, it would be hard to read more than a few pages without coming across a strong concept of love. The comment has little to do with the works he is discussing.

External links


  1. Phillip Pullman said this to the Washington Post in 2001, in an interview about his trilogy, His Dark Materials. Furedi, Frank (December 10, 2007). "Golden Compass: the 'God Wars' as child's play". sp!ked website.


  5. Levi, Joe (December 4, 2007). "The Golden Compass: an attack on God?" Joe Levi website blog.