December 08, 2005
Narnia: An Evangelical Tract?
Posted by Gordon Smith

The impending release of Narnia has reignited the debate over C.S. Lewis' legacy. Tonight Nightline asked: Does Aslan represent Jesus?


Have you read the books?

Of course Aslan represents Jesus, and there's not much subtlety in the portrayal. Here's C.S. Lewis:

I thought I saw how stories of this kind could steal past certain inhibitions which had paralyzed much of my own religion in childhood. Why did one find it so hard to feel as one was told one ought to feel about God or about the sufferings of Christ?

I thought the chief reason was that one was told one ought to. An obligation to feel can freeze feelings. And reverence itself did harm. The whole subject was associated with lowered voices, almost as if it were something medical.

But supposing that by casting all these things into an imaginary world, stripping them of their stained-glass and Sunday school associations, one could make them for the first time appear in their real potency? Could one not thus steal past those watchful dragons? I thought one could.

The Narnia books are filled with all sorts of mythological creatures, and the stories are engaging, even without reference to religious metaphor. But I understand why Christians would seize on the film as an outreach opportunity. I also understand why non-Christians might be less enthusiastic about the movie.

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