Pullman and the Gospel: Kingdom or Republic


Firstly, a sense that this world where we live is our home. Our home is not somewhere else. There is no elsewhere. This is a physical universe and we are physical beings made of material stuff. This is where we live. Secondly, a sense of belonging, a sense of being part of a real and important story, a sense of being connected to other people, to people who are not here any more, to those who have gone before us. And a sense of being connected to the universe itself. All those things were promised and summed up in the phrase, ‘The Kingdom of Heaven’. But if the Kingdom is dead, we still need those things. We can’t live without those things because it’s too bleak, it’s too bare and we don’t need to. We can find a way of creating them for ourselves if we think in terms of a Republic of Heaven. This is not a Kingdom but a Republic, in which we are all free and equal citizens, with – and this is the important thing – responsibilities. With the responsibility to make this place into a Republic of Heaven for everyone. Not to live in it in a state of perpetual self-indulgence, but to work hard to make this place as good as we possibly can.

Philip Pullman

Finding a way of creating the Kingdom for ourselves has ultimately been the source of such ultimate failures as National Socialism and Communism. Haven’t we’ve had enough of Stalin, Hitler, and Mao? “Creating a Kingdom for ourselves” is the essence of the Fall.

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