Thursday, December 08, 2005

Narnia coming out in time for Aslanmas

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe opens in theatres this week. Novelist C.S. Lewis created the fantastical world of Narnia, with mythology bearing numerous striking parallels to the legends at the heart of Christianity, although — as Douglas Gresham on Wednesday's Nightline pointed out — those legends also find echos in many other traditions going back thousands of years before Christianity co-opted the trappings of pagan celebrations from Jerusalem to Gibraltar and from Stockholm to Stockbridge.

Besides that, if you're reading Narnia looking for confirmation of the divinity of Jesus, you're barking up the wrong lamp post.

C.S. Lewis was a devout Christian, and he wrote a fairy tale with some gospel thrown into the mix, but it's beyond exaggeration to call it a Christian story. If you want to read Lewis' real Christian writings, try Mere Christianity, but be forewarned that its logic is full of holes big enough to swallow Cair Paravel.

One other item of warning: do not be deceived by the Narnia DVD's you may find for cheap. The BBC, in a rare lapse of judgment, made miniseries of four of the seven books. Unfortunately, the actors were chosen about as carefully as the head of FEMA, and many of them would be out of their depth in a third-grade class play. "Painfully bad" just doesn't even begin to cover it.