A Lion for All Faiths

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader is in theaters today, but I don’t know when I’ll see it. After I’m finished with school stuff, most likely. I still haven’t seen the new Harry Potter movie, although I guess that’s a little less urgent. They’re going to make a final Potter film no matter what, but I hear that this could easily be the last of the new Narnia movies. Then again, if it changes as much as Prince Caspian, that might not be a bad thing. I’m going to give it the benefit of a doubt until I actually watch it, though.

Speaking of Narnia, I understand there was some controversy when Liam Neeson claimed that Aslan could represent Buddha or Muhammad. This just seems to be another example of the trend I’ve seen recently for some Christians to get really possessive of the fantasy series. I’m not saying they’re necessarily wrong, since to ignore that C.S. Lewis wrote the books with Christianity in mind would just be stupid. That said, you don’t necessarily have to agree with the author’s point of view to enjoy his or her works. Hey, I’m an atheist, but I’m willing to accept Aslan as a Christ figure as part of my willing suspension of disbelief. I get the impression that all Neeson was doing was trying to widen the audience for the films somewhat (which really needs to be done, for reasons I mentioned in the first paragraph) by making clear that you don’t have to go to church to appreciate Narnia’s bad-ass lion god. I can’t say I totally agree with Neeson’s two examples, as Aslan isn’t really a prophet or a sage, but rather a provider of supernatural assistance in times of need. If anything, he might be more similar to Krishna, but I’ll admit I haven’t really thought that through. Also, it’s not hard to see Lewis’ Calormenes (who, in terms of when he wrote the books, first appear in Dawn Treader) as caricatures of Muslims. To be more accurate, however, they’re definitely Middle Eastern, but their religion isn’t at all like Islam, as it’s polytheistic. I believe Lewis has said he was influenced by the Canaanite and Phoenician religions that were the main competitors for early Judaism, with their Baals and Asherahs.

Tash, head of the Calormene pantheon

I’d say the more controversial issue should be that Carrie Underwood is performing a song for the movie. The Chronicles of Narnia might be even more British than they are Christian, so why the music from the American heartland? Aren’t there any British musicians who would be willing to contribute music? Oh, and someone already made a joke about “Aslan, Take the Wheel,” so I guess I don’t need to.

Finally, one more Narnia-related thing you can check out is this article from Oxford University Press about the unusual words used in the series.

This entry was posted in Buddhism, C.S. Lewis, Christianity, Chronicles of Narnia, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Music, Religion and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to A Lion for All Faiths

  1. Ozaline says:

    Maybe the inclusion of an American singer is an attempt the broaden the audience anyway just from the trailers we already know this film has major changes… 7 swords to ward off the great terrible evil instead of 7 lords of Narnia.

    I’ll stick with the BBC version.

    • Nathan says:

      They really took out the seven lords? Maybe I shouldn’t be in such a hurry to see this.

      I have the BBC version on DVD, but I haven’t watched it yet.

      • Ozaline says:

        Yes, from the trailers I’ve seen instead they are searching for 7 mystic swords that when layed at Aslan’s table in his country beyond the sea will dispell the evil that is threatening to destroy Narnia.

        I guess they think there wasn’t enough inherrent conflict in the book.

      • Nathan says:

        Well, it’s an episodic story, so there didn’t really need to be a central conflict.

  2. vilajunkie says:

    If they’re able to produce and release “The Last Battle” before Lucy’s actress hits 30 (not bloody likely), it will be interesting to see how controversially they’ll handle Susan not being allowed in Aslan’s Country/True Narnia. I suspect some sort of Hollywoodized 3rd grade level Aesop about the evils of materialism…while of course promoting the propaganda merchandise to devoted fans with rosy glasses on when it comes to the Machine behind the Narnia movies.

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