The Subtle Magic of C.S. Lewis' Narnia
Michael Coren's Perspective as New Movie Looms
TORONTO, DEC. 8, 2005 (Zenit) - "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" may provide an opportunity for adults to talk about the faith, but don't expect children to notice the film's Christian themes.
So says Michael Coren, author, columnist and broadcaster who recently wrote "C.S. Lewis: The Man Who Created Narnia", a biography of Lewis written for teens.
Coren told us how mostly adults will understand Lewis' subtle Christian allegory, and how "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" has the power to plant seeds of faith in kids just the same.
Q: What do Catholics need to know about C.S. Lewis?
Coren: They should know he wasn't a Catholic, but that doesn't mean he wouldn't have become one eventually. G.K. Chesterton became a Catholic in 1922 but had really been one for 20 years.
Lewis was born in Belfast, in sectarian Northern Ireland, so he was raised anti-Catholic like most Protestant children there. He was a man of his background but his views were very Catholic: He believed in purgatory, believed in the sacraments, went to confession.
Otherwise, he was the finest Christian apologist in modern times and could communicate the Gospel message in a thoughtful, accessible way.
Q: How blatantly does C.S. Lewis use Aslan as the figure of Christ in the Narnia series?
Coren: He does and he doesn't. Unlike many modern Christian writers, Lewis was subtle and implicit. When I read the book as a little boy I was overwhelmed by the greatness of it, but I didn't realize the Christian message until I was an adult.
It's explicit when you're older, but I don't think we should necessarily be pointing it out to children; we can let them find it themselves. They don't need a running commentary. Let them read it and be overwhelmed by it and not realize what they're really getting at the moment.
Q: What are some of the most notable parallels between Jesus and Aslan the Lion in "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe"?
Coren: There are many in this book and the other six in the series, but some obvious ones are: the breaking of the stone table and the old law being shattered; how it is winter but never Christmas, and it doesn't become Christmas until Aslan arrives; how Aslan dies for a sinner, a little boy who represents everyone, and takes away his sins; and how Aslan comes to life again and re-creates the world.
In the scene before Aslan's sacrifice for the little boy, Edmund, the White Witch says, "Because he has sinned, he is mine," and she intends to kill Edmund. And Aslan says, "But I can give myself in his place." She agrees to this and kills him, but then he is resurrected.
Q: What can we learn from Lewis about the integration of popular fiction and Christian values? Do you hope modern writers might follow suit?
Coren: J.K. Rowling has said that Lewis had a huge influence on her, yet many people have problems with Harry Potter. I've heard many writers say they've been influenced by Lewis and they try to copy him. It is often too similar; all these books are pale imitations.
He was of his age and wrote at a specific time in history. Some of his characters would not translate into modern times. If someone wrote a book today with those characters, kids wouldn't be able to relate to them. He was a man of 1963.
Q: What is the significance of another Christian film coming out of Hollywood, on the coattails of "The Passion of the Christ"?
Coren: I don't think "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" is a "Christian" film; we have to be careful with calling it that. I don't believe "The Passion" produced this movie -- I think "The Lord of the Rings" did.
What is more significant is why there have been no biblical movies after "The Passion." They could make a really bad movie and it would do well financially because there is such a hunger for Christian movies out there.
But Hollywood would rather do anything than make a movie with Christian values. It is a wonder that nothing has come after "The Passion."
Q: What are your hopes -- and fears -- for "The Lion"? Do you expect it to bear fruit as a witness to Christ and the Gospel message?
Coren: I haven't been able to see any special early screenings of "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" up here in Canada; the Christian world is not as organized or influential like in the States. I will be going to the midnight screening on Dec. 8 with everyone else.
I have no fears about the movie. There will always be some Christians who define their faith by what they are offended by, and nothing is ever pure enough for them. There will be people who say this or that is wrong, and some who think the movie should not have been made.
I think the movie will be a helpful way to talk about Christianity. People will read Lewis, talk about faith and the movie and other good things.
I read the book when I was 6 or 7. I wasn't raised in a Christian family and had no exposure to Christianity. Twenty years later I came into my faith and I am convinced the seeds were planted by that book. I believe my faith began then.
But we can't expect someone to see the movie, have an evangelical experience, and come out of the theater on their knees and say "Save me!" We shouldn't think it will change everything -- what did "The Passion" change? They are only movies. The Holy Spirit can use a movie but it doesn't need to.
https://www.catholic.org CA, US
Catholic Online - Publisher, 661 869-1000
Narnia, CS Lewis, Lion, Witch, Wardrobe, Children, Movie
More Catholic PRWire
Showing 1 - 50 of 4,718
A Recession Antidote
Monaco & The Vatican: Monaco's Grace Kelly Exhibit to Rome--A Review of Monegasque-Holy See Diplomatic History
Dna. Maria St. Catherine Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.
A Royal Betrayal: Catholic Monaco Liberalizes Abortion
Dna. Maria St.Catherine De Grace Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.
Embrace every moment as sacred time
Mary Regina Morrell
Letting go is simple wisdom with divine potential
Mary Regina Morrell
Father Lombardi's Address on Catholic Media
Pope's Words to Pontifical Latin American College
Prelate: Genetics Needs a Conscience
State Aid for Catholic Schools: Help or Hindrance?
Scorsese Planning Movie on Japanese Martyrs
2 Nuns Kidnapped in Kenya Set Free
Holy See-Israel Negotiation Moves Forward
Franchising to Evangelize
Catholics Decry Anti-Christianity in Israel
Pope and Gordon Brown Meet About Development Aid
Pontiff Backs Latin America's Continental Mission
Cardinal Warns Against Anti-Catholic Education
Three words to a deeper faith
Relections for Lent 2009
Wisdom lies beyond the surface of life
Mary Regina Morrell
World Food Program Director on Lent
Pope's Lenten Message for 2009
Keeping a Lid on Permissiveness
Glimpse of Me
The 3 stages of life
Sex and the Married Woman
A Catholic Woman Returns to the Church
Modernity & Morality
Just a Minute
Catholic identity ... triumphant reemergence!
Edging God Out
Burying a St. Joseph Statue
George Bush Speaks on Papal Visit
Sometimes moving forward means moving the canoe
Mary Regina Morrell
Easter... A Way of Life
Papal initiative...peace and harmony!
Proclaim the mysteries of the Resurrection!
Jerusalem Patriarch's Easter Message
Good Friday Sermon of Father Cantalamessa
Papal Address at the End of the Way of the Cross
Cardinal Zen's Meditations for Via Crucis
Interview With Vatican Aide on Jewish-Catholic Relations
Pope Benedict XVI On the Easter Triduum
by Catholic Online
- Death threats for opposing gay marriage? Florist appeals to Supreme Court
- California bill that could BAN THE BIBLE advances
- Daily Reading for Monday, April 23rd, 2018 HD Video
- Has California just voted to ban the BIBLE? HD Video
- Daily Readings for Saturday, April 21, 2018
- St. Anselm: Saint of the Day for Saturday, April 21, 2018
- Five things Catholics can do to promote international religious freedom
- Daily Reading for Sunday, April 22nd, 2018 HD
- Global Warming threatening Europe with colder weather HD
- The Memorare HD
- God Alone Suffices HD
Learn about Catholic world
Inform - Inspire - Ignite
Catholic Online Saints
Your saints explained
Catholic Online Prayers
Prayers for every need
Catholic Online Bible
Complete bible online
Catholic Online News
Your news Catholic eye
Today's bible reading
Products and services we offer
Catholic Online Shopping
Catholic medals, gifts & books
The California Network
Inspiring streaming service
Learn the Catholic way
Teacher lesson plans & resources
Support Free Education
Tax deductible support Free education