If C.S. Lewis Caught You Off-Guard It’s Your Own Fault

I have seen quite a bit of discussion online about The Voyage of The Dawn Treader, the newest Narnia movie which is now playing in theatres. Although much of the discussion on these various blogs is civil and has merit, there is one thing which thoroughly irritates me about some of the comments. Let me explain.

I saw several comments where people said they thought the Narnia stories were nice at first, but then they found out that Aslan was a type and symbol for Jesus Christ, and it made them angry. One person stated that they wanted to throw The Voyage of The Dawn Treader across the room when they realized and understood the connection.

Here is my beef with that. First, I am Christian. I am a firm believer in Jesus Christ as the Redeemer of mankind. And you know what? So was Clive Staples Lewis. I don’t know all of the details of his conversion to Christianity, but suffice it to say that he had publicly declared himself to be an atheist as a young man, and then things started to change in his life. He had some really good friends who were believers. When he decided for himself that he truly was a believer in Christ, he went on to pen works such as Mere Christianity (an apologetic work, defending the Christian faith), The Screwtape Letters (a satire based on conversations between devils who are trying to cause the fall of a man), Miracles, The Great Divorce, and many more.

These are all Christian works. In fact, MOST of his books are deeply religious.

The Chronicles of Narnia series is no different.

We can debate all day long over whether the movie should have included Aslan’s statement to Lucy or not. Let me quote it here: “But there I have another name. You must learn to know me by that name. This was the very reason why you were brought to Narnia, that by knowing me here for a little, you may know me better there.”

Debate if you wish, but those words are in the book! I don’t have the movie script to compare, but I’ll bet they are nearly verbatim. They are Clive’s words. Those words made C.S. Lewis who he was.

Maybe you wish those words had not been spoken in the movie? As for myself, I was quite pleased with the portrayal of Aslan. In fact, the movie could have been even more Christian . . . in the book, Aslan first appears as a lamb, on the beach, by a fire, where fish are roasting to feed the hungry children. Jesus Christ did the same for his disciples in John chapter 21, verse 9, not long after his resurrection. I think the imagery is wonderful.

Perhaps you are offended by that. You certainly have a right to be offended if you choose to be. But know this: You can’t go blaming C.S. Lewis for sneaking up on you and tricking you with a taste of Christianity. C.S. Lewis was no sneak. He was VERY open about being Christian. In fact, Mere Christianity started out as a BBC Radio series during World War II. If there is fault to be assigned for your being caught off-guard, it has to lie with you, even if it is merely ignorance on your part for not knowing what kind of a writer he was.

Let me suggest something which makes this really easy: if Christianity offends you because you are atheist, or Buddhist, or Muslim, or whatever . . . don’t get angry. Just don’t bother reading any of his books, or seeing the movies based on them. Why? Because they are very CHRISTIAN.

Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Before I forget . . . one more warning: Don’t read my books either. I don’t think you’ll like them.

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If C.S. Lewis Caught You Off-Guard It’s Your Own Fault — 16 Comments

  1. Daron, you always manage to say what I would say if I were more eloquent. I guess that’s why you’re a writer. Well said.

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  3. Nice!

    You’re right, they probably won’t like your book either-and besides what you have pointed out-How did anyone miss the allegory until the third movie?

    It was Tolkien who helped guide Clive.

  4. Beautifully put Daron. I just said today that people in general are looking for the controversay and the dark. They are seeking to be offended when it is clearly a choice.

  5. Actually, after seeing the first movie, I was disappointed that they removed many of the Christian elements. Heaven forbid that a big budget movie make referrences to religion. I’ve read many of C.S. Lewis’ works and find them thought provoking. It’s a shame that people have to make a stink because the book / movie may actually have spiritual overtones.

  6. Excellent post, Daron! Truthfully, nothing and no one can offend us unless we allow it to and I’m with you. I thought the movie was excellent and my husband and I both cried our eyes out during certain parts because of the spirit we felt. I plan on seeing it again on Christmas day. Thanks:-)

  7. Fantastic blog as always, Daron. And definitely, if someone didn’t know C.S. Lewis was Christian, they’ve been living in a cave. Hello – the scene in the first movie, where Aslan is killed on the altar? That was the crucifixion, almost to the letter. I can’t imagine why some people didn’t get that until now.

  8. Oh no! Tolkien was a Christian? What to do? What to do?

    /sarcasm

    Thank you, Daron, for these insights. One could only look at the film’s production house and know it’s going to be faith based. No time to cite the previous “Christian” movies they’ve put out, but in my opinion, if we want more of this type, we’d better get behind VOTDT so we will. Go see an uplifting movie, folks. I will. Off now to do so.

  9. Great post and well said. I fully agree.

    The connection between Tolkein and Lewis is an interesting one when considering their works. Tolkein was very much NOT a fan of allegory (religious or otherwise) in his work while Lewis’s works are almost always very overtly filled with allegory.

    I’m always amazed when people suddenly realize something like this…especially for a piece of literature that’s been around for decades. It either suggests that I’m a niche reader who happens to know the series or the alternate suggestion that most of those now familiar with Narnia either had no idea they’re based on books, or they just don’t care.

  10. I totally agree! Lewis never hid the fact that he was deeply Christian, especially in his later years. And it’s funny that some people have not noticed until now.

    I’ve seen VOTDT and loved the Christian references, especially that line. And I agree, if it offends you, don’t go see it!

  11. Great post! I love his work and I agree that anyone who has ever read his books would know he wrote as a Christian and thank goodness! Haven’t seen the film yet but am planning on it. Thanks for posting a thoughtful observation. It’s too bad that some people are so clueless. They have no idea what they are missing.

  12. This reminds me of the time I went to see Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. The lady behind me said, “Where ever did they come up with this marvelous story.” I just about fell off my chair. Are people really that out of touch. Apparently.

  13. Very well said Daron. I never ceases to amaze me how ignorant people can be. To often today all people want for “entertainment” is useless drivel that has no redeeming factor because it is either filled with violence, sex, foul language, or crude humor. It’s refreshing to have generally wholesome entertainment that actually has a plot and makes you think. What a novel concept!

    I say generally only because the Narnia books, in my opinion, are so much better than the movies. They did a reasonably good job with bringing in the Christian factors in the first movie, but left out the majority of them in the second movie and bringing in some elements that were different entirely (the whole Caspian and Susan interlude). I have yet to see the third one. I hope it is better.

    Thanks again for sharing.

    Randy

  14. Daron, you are right on with this post. I feel the same way. I find it frustrating in the extreme that I have to accept everyone else’s beliefs and have tolerance for them, but because I am Christian, I have to walk on proverbial eggshells when talking or posting or writing, just in case I might offend someone else. I love C.S. Lewis. He was an amazing man who knew exactly what he wanted to say.

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