Friday, December 26, 2008

Thoughts on Narnia

A younger friend recently asked for my opinion on the Narnia books.  Here, for what it's worth, is what I told him:

Narnia.  Wow.  That is a toughie.  My parents first read me the Narnia books when I was very young and I have read them many times since then.  They are extremely well written and are hard to put down.  I have also watched the movie versions of some of the books (the older movies which were produced in the early 80s, not the ones produced in the last couple years).  They are, as you know, Christian allegory which depict truths from the Bible.  There is no doubt that Lewis was a brilliant thinker.  However, as you have already probably heard, he uses characters from pagan Greek mythology as some of his “good” characters in Narnia.  Doug Phillips of Vision Forum has written a couple of articles about how detestable these ‘gods’ were in Greek mythology.  You can read what Doug said at,

This is one reason why some people feel that Narnia books blur the lines of distinction between what is good and evil magic (in a similar, but much milder way, to what the Harry Potter books have done in our generation).  Bottom line: when I was young I enjoyed the Narnia books.  The movies had some really great parts (but also some immodest dress).  (The newer movies, I hear, are less faithful to the books and are even more worldly.)  They did not cause me to think highly of pagan gods (I didn’t even know what ‘dryads’ were because I had not studied Greek mythology).  They did awaken a sort of desire in me to escape into a Narnia fantasy world myself and have fantastic adventures like the Pevensky children did.  (As if I, or any normal child my age, would have been as brave in combat as they were!!! Ha!)  This desire is of course futile and to some extent counterproductive.  My conscience was not as sensitive then.  I guess if I had kids now I would not encourage them to read the books or watch the movies.  Not so much because the stories are terrible but because there are better things to do with our lives.  

We tend to want a spectacular adventure like fighting a werewolf.  For Christians, the adventures we get sent on are far more difficult: washing feet, or perhaps dishes!  That reminds me of what Oswald Chambers said (

"Arise, shine." Isaiah 60:1

We have to take the first step as though there were no God. It is no use to wait for God to help us, He will not; but immediately we arise we find He is there. Whenever God inspires, the initiative is a moral one. We must do the thing and not lie like a log. If we will arise and shine, drudgery becomes divinely transfigured.

Drudgery is one of the finest touchstones of character there is. Drudgery is work that is very far removed from anything to do with the ideal - the utterly mean grubby things; and when we come in contact with them we know instantly whether or not we are spiritually real. Read John 13. We see there the Incarnate God doing the most desperate piece of drudgery, washing fishermen's feet, and He says - "If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet, ye also ought to wash one another's feet." It requires the inspiration of God to go through drudgery with the light of God upon it. Some people do a certain thing and the way in which they do it hallows that thing for ever afterwards. It may be the most commonplace thing, but after we have seen them do it, it becomes different. When the Lord does a thing through us, He always transfigures it. Our Lord took on Him our human flesh and transfigured it, and it has become for every saint the temple of the Holy Ghost.

Well, I’m getting off on a rabbit trail there.  Hope that helps some though with thinking through for yourself what to do with Narnia.

Books like “The Three Comrades” {another book we had discussed}, although not as beautifully written as Narnia, are more beneficial to our lives in the end.

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