A good article from the New Yorker about Phillip Pullman, author of "His Dark Materials" trilogy. Excperts:
“we can learn what’s good and what’s bad, what’s generous and unselfish, what’s cruel and mean, from fiction”; there is no need to consult scripture. As Pullman once put it in a newspaper column, “ ‘Thou shalt not’ might reach the head, but it takes ‘Once upon a time’ to reach the heart.”
In his Carnegie Medal speech, he said, “We need stories so much that we’re even willing to read bad books to get them, if the good books won’t supply them. We all need stories, but children are more frank about it.” What angers Pullman most about theocracy, in the end, is that it blinds people to the true purpose of narrative. Fundamentalists don’t know how to read stories—including those in the Bible—metaphorically, as if they were Lord Asriel’s imaginary numbers.