American Papist reports the delightful news that the Pullman atheist propaganda film is a box office flop. This shouldn’t be a surprise.
The fact of the matter is that atheism just doesn’t delight anyone. Narnia enchants people because it is positive and full of light and faith. Lord of the Rings is built on beauty, nobility and hope. It is not the fantasy itself that delights and enthralls, but the beauty, truth, hope and goodness in those works.
Any work that is built on atheism, cynicism, doubt and negativity cannot possibly delight anyone. Instead it repels. At the very end of the day Pullman, Dawkins and their crowd (like communism) will fall flat. Shadows are nothing but the emptiness cast by light on solid form, and darkness is the absence of light.
The other problem with any work built from atheism is that it is bound to be a commercial flop because audiences are, for the most part, very conservative in their values.
They want Truth in their story, and that means they want a happy ending. They want what Tolkien called the ‘eucatastrophe’. The Eucatastrophe is the happy ending which proves that the story had a point and the hero’s quest had a reason, and that all the sacrifice was worth something of lasting and even eternal merit, and as Tolkien teaches in his essay on fairy stories, when a story has a happy ending people implicitly believe that life has a happy ending, and it it has a happy ending, then there must be someone who makes it have a happy ending, and therefore there must be an author, and the Eternal Author can only be the Almighty.
An atheist can never, therefore, write a tale that succeeds, and if he does all it will do is point (despite his most howlingly fierce atheism) that there is such a thing as an Author of Life after all.