Interesting Get Religion piece over the weekend on a Unitarian outreach to atheists. This passage was what pulled the chatty-ring-
Many people who come to All Souls as atheists have not rejected God but their fourth-grade concept of God, he said.
“I say to them, ‘Tell me what God you don’t believe in, and I’ll probably tell you I don’t believe in that God either.’”
That brought back memories of this 2007 post, where discussion of The Golden Compass' Magesterium pointed out that the God that the writer was railing against didn't exist. Richard Heyduck had a good insight that fits all too well in this setting-
The description of the god at which Pullman aims does not fit the God of Christianity (though it does, unfortunately, fit the god some Christians have claimed over the centuries). The god of the books is closest to the god of medieval Christianity at its worst. The only attribute of Pullman’s god is omnipotence - and that omnipotence is pretty shoddy, reduced in reality to a mere exercise of authority.
The real God is omnipotent - but that omnipotence is always expressed in, through and around other characteristics, including holy love. It’s for this reason that Pullman’s picture of god and ‘Christianity’ has no place for Jesus. Jesus is not only the opposite of Pullman’s atheism but also of Pullman’s god.
It’s good to remember that one of the things for which the early Christians were persecuted was atheism - they didn’t believe in the right gods. (That’s why when you converse with someone who says, “I don’t believe in god,” it’s always a good idea to figure out which god they don’t believe in. There are more gods that I don’t believe in than that I do.)
People who reject God (sadly, that includes quite a few UUers) may be rejecting a false version of God. Introducing them to the real God is important, since they may be bashing a straw deity that has little resemblance to the Great I AM.
P.S.- Thankfully, they haven't done any sequals to the movie. Five years out, and you'd think that the second installment would be out if they were going to run with the series.