By Tom Quiner
My family can hardly wait to see the new Chronicles of Narnia movie, “The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.” This is the third installment in the classic series penned by the late C.S. Lewis.
We are waiting for our married daughter to fly in so we can all see it together over the holidays. For the record, there isn’t a kid in our bunch. Yet, Mr. Lewis’ stories tell a very adult tale as it appeals to the kid in all of us.
The wonderful Irish actor, Liam Neeson, provides the voice for Aslan, the lion. His voice is perfect, blending strength and compassion in proper proportion.
My appreciation for Mr. Neeson took a hit when I read his take on who Aslan is. With a typical Hollywood liberal need to be politically correct, he said:
“Aslan symbolises a Christlike figure, but he also symbolises for me Mohammed, Buddha and all the great spiritual leaders and prophets over the centuries. That’s who Aslan stands for as well as a mentor figure for kids – that’s what he means for me.”
Good actors typically research their roles so they can be true to the character the author has created. Had Mr. Neeson done his homework, he would have quickly learned Mr. Lewis’ intentions regarding Aslan:
“He is an invention giving an imaginary answer to the question: “What might Christ become like if there really were a world like Narnia?”
Narnia is a Christian allegory. It has nothing to do with Islam or Buddhism, whose belief system is at odds with Christianity. To throw them together like that is political-correctness run amuck.
The former editor of the Catholic Herald, William Oddie, called it a “betrayal of Lewis’ intentions and shameful distortion.” He went on:
“Aslan is clearly established from the very beginning of the [series] as a Christ figure. I can’t believe that Liam Neeson is so stupid as not to know [this].”
All it takes to get a liberal worked up is to mention Sarah Palin. In an interview with Barbara Walters, Ms. Palin was asked what books she is currently reading. It turns out that she’s reading C.S. Lewis.
This revelation prompted Joy Behar of the tv show, “The View,” to remark:
“Aren’t those children books?”
The intent, of course, was to cast Ms. Palin as a dunce who isn’t smart enough to read adult books. Ms. Behar only reveals her own ignorance in her need to put down Ms. Palin.
Mr. Lewis was certainly one of the most profound and influential writers of the 20th century. Here’s how the Scholar-in-Residence at the C.S. Lewis Institute, Dr. Art Lindsley, explains Mr. Lewis’ timeless appeal:
“A recent poll of Christianity Today readers found that the one book — other than the Bible — that has most influenced their lives was C.S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity. C.S. Lewis’ popularity shows no sign of waning; if anything, it is increasing. What is the key to his continuing impact? An essential part of the answer would be the way in which he combines reason and imagination.”
The genius of C.S. Lewis is the way he could talk about God to anyone, regardless of their age. His children books are gems. His writings on Christian apologetics are simply masterpieces of intellectual thought on the subject of God and Christ.
Anyone who reads these books with an open mind would be hard-pressed to doubt the existence of a personal God who cares deeply about every single soul on this craven world. Even Ms. Behar’s and Mr. Neeson’s.
Ms. Behar and Mr. Neeson deserve credit for getting people talking about C.S. Lewis’ writings. When I read C.S. Lewis, I am filled with hope, my belief in my Christian faith intensified.
Go and see “The Voyage of the Dawn Treader” this holiday season. And then treat yourself to a book written by C.S. Lewis. Which one? Why not start with “Mere Christianity.” Warning: this book may be hazardous to your secularisim.
[The heir to the C.S. Lewis throne is Dr. Peter Kreeft. If you want to read a fabulous book that is only a 115 pages long, get his book “Between Heaven and Hell.” It’s a story about three famous people who died on the same day, November 22, 1963. Can you guess who they are? Try John Kennedy, C.S. Lewis, and the writer Alduous Huxley. Here’s what Amazon says about the book: “The three men meet in a white mist or fog, they debate where they are, what they believe and where they think they will end up. Like many of Kreeft’s books it is written as a dialogue, a conversation in three parts. They each present their world views, their view of the afterlife and their understanding of what their life meant. Yet each is open to the `truth’ what truth really is and if it has eternal impact.” What a fun read!]