Alpine Summit

Friday, December 09, 2005


So the blogosphere is alight with many views on Disney's new movie: "Narnia." I figured I would add my two cents on the subject (which probably amounts to .000001% of the total "money supply" on this topic). Since I haven't actually seen the movie, I'm going to comment more on what people are saying about it.

I'm going to start with a column written by Paulie Tonybee at the Guardian in the UK. Tonybee is definitely an atheist who isn't just non-religious, but anti-religous. Her vitriol towards Christianity is well-conveyed. Her column has become the blanket standard for criticism for this movie.

Of all the elements of Christianity, the most repugnant is the notion of the Christ who took our sins upon himself and sacrificed his body in agony to save our souls. Did we ask him to? Poor child Edmund, to blame for everything, must bear the full weight of a guilt only Christians know how to inflict, with a twisted knife to the heart. Every one of those thorns, the nuns used to tell my mother, is hammered into Jesus's holy head every day that you don't eat your greens or say your prayers when you are told. So the resurrected Aslan gives Edmund a long, life-changing talking-to high up on the rocks out of our earshot. When the poor boy comes back down with the sacred lion's breath upon him he is transformed unrecognisably into a Stepford brother, well and truly purged.

How is Christ's sacrifice repugnant? Russell Smith makes a good point about this contention by Tonybee by using scripture:

I Corinthians 1:18 -- "For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God."

Things like that are what make the Bible such an awesome book to me. That the writings within it predict and respond, perfectly, to how people will react to the Christian message depending on their beliefs, criticisms, and doubts, no matter what they are. I'm not entirely sure why Tonybee considers selfless sacrifice and ultimate love "repugnant," but she does! Perhaps selfishness and hatred are preferable concepts to her; she certainly shows it in her writing.

Many say that this can be seen as simply a fantasy movie or as a Christian allegory. I would say that's true to some extent, but Lewis was a Christian apologist who, I believe, was motivated by his religion to write this series of books. You just have to see the other works he put out to see this (i.e. "Mere Christianity," "The Screwtape Letters," "The Problem With Pain," etc.) So while it is a fantasy story, Lewis deliberately wrote in the message of Christ in the story. Why? I believe it was because there is no greater story than that of Jesus.

Another perhaps more relevant theme within "Narnia" is the concept of war. Is any war a just one? Sun and Shield has a great post describing the morality of fighting the "evil" characters in the stories of "The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe" and "Lord of the Rings." I highly recommend it.

I'll end this post here since it's getting a little long. If you want to read more thoughts and reactions from Christians about "Narnia," you can go here. It's a really good roundup and most of those linked have links to other places ensuring hours of reading material.