I heard about this newest book from Philip Pullman (Author of His Dark Materials) during a homily. The priest at the English Speaking Mission spent most of his homily talking about this new book. The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ offers a retelling of the New Testament stories with a twist: Mary gives birth to twins, one named Jesus and the other nicknamed Christ.
Of course because the Catholic Church views Philip Pullman with such disdain because he’s proud atheist, the priest didn’t view the book very highly. I think the Church feels threatened by the works of Pullman (and The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown) so they feel obligated to put these works down and attack them. The thing they fail to see though, is they are works of fiction. If it’s a story, should it matter that it’s anti-religion? If it’s a work of fiction, why should one get offended at the contents. Yes I am aware that there’s slander and libel offenses, but can you really use those charges once you enter the world of literature and fiction? What the reader gets out of the book can be entirely different from what the author intended. I know that’s a staple of poetry, but I think it can also be applied to fiction and even some nonfiction.