I was listening to CS Lewis stepson Douglas Gresham on TV earlier this week pontificating that those who were promoting the new film as bearing an explicit Christian message were getting it all wrong. He was insistent that Lewis intended the Narnia Chronicles as 'just a good fantasy story'. A story which drew on all sorts of spiritual folklore, blah-de-blah. But having read Lewis' own Christian views it has always struck me that anyone as 'struck down' by the Christian faith, as Lewis certainly was, could have written such a close allegory without intended the comparison.
In short, Gresham's blustering sounded like the pompous ramblings of someone without an understanding of rich beauty (in this case faith) determined to spoil a rare flowering of it for others. For the new Narnia film is, from what I have seen of it, just that: a rare flower among recent movie thorns.
But let us allow Lewis to speak for himself. In the letter, written in 1961, he writes:
"The whole Narnian story is about Christ. Supposing there really was a world like Narnia . . . and supposing Christ wanted to go into that world and save it (as He did ours) what might have happened?” he wrote.
“The stories are my answer. Since Narnia is a world of talking beasts, I thought he would become a talking beast there as he became a man here. I pictured him becoming a lion there because a) the lion is supposed to be the king of beasts; b) Christ is called ‘the lion of Judah’ in the Bible."
So two things. 1. Why not treat yourself and your family this Christmas to a great evening out enjoying a powerful story (in what the director claims is a film faithful to the book)? 2. Next time you hear someone claiming Aslan does not represent the figure of Jesus Christ and the story is not meant to be the Christian gospel well you can intorduce them to a 'novel' concept, can't you? Letting them know that they don't know what they're talking about - and here's the proof of it.
After all, even Disney studios, the centre of fantasy production world USA, is promoting it as having an explicitly Christian message! Now you can't get much more de-fantasizing than that, can you? Case closed.
Why does all this matter? Because it matters to the detractors who are desperate to prove that one of the greatest literary children's stories ever written was not inspired by Christ and the Christian faith. Not to mention the mind of one of the world's greatest literary figures. Truth matters you see.