I have asked this question on other websites, but I keep getting conflicting answers, so I figured I would ask here.
I'm a Christian. I first read the "His Dark Materials" trilogy when I was in 5th grade, and I loved them. I went to a Catholic school, and every Tuesday we would have reading groups in my class, and my teacher suggested that we read "The Golden Compass" (this was about a month before the film was released).
Obviously, we were hearing about the religious backlash that these books were receiving, but my teacher (who had read them all) said that she loved them and that the books were just fantasy fun. I read all three of the books, and as I did, I could definitely see where the criticism was coming from. The religion-bashing was everywhere, but the elements of the story were so good and so intriguing that I didn't care.
Now, I'm 18 and would love to revisit the series once again. But I am concerned that I won't be able to overlook the constant God-hating/religion-hating that's in the book (especially the third). Is there any way at all that these books could be read objectively? In other words, by separating all religious ties that these books carry and just reading them as fun fantasy books?
EDIT: What I really should be asking is this: what are some ways that one can read this series while effectively disconnecting the message of the book? In other words, can the "God" in His Dark Materials be viewed as a character that solely exists within the universe of the trilogy?