December 7th, 2005

wwad?

What Would Aslan Do?

Tomorrow night I'm going to the premiere of "The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe" at El Capitan. I am v. excited about this. I deeply loved the Chronicles of Narnia as a kid, and read and re-read them many times. Throughout my life I have had dreams of going to Narnia, too. This is a big moment for me.

What I do not want is the damn Religious Right stealing what is, at heart, a really good story. True, it has strong Christian allegorical content - but if it didn't stand on its own as a moving, meaningful fantasy story, it never would have captivated generations of children and their parents. I recently re-read the series, and while Christian elements of the story are unmistakeable to an adult, they're easily missed by a child. It certainly all went over my head when I was a kid.

It would do a strong disservice to Lewis' beautiful stories, then, to reduce them to nothing but a parable - there's so much more to Narnia than just Jesus-as-Aslan. There's a great story for anyone, regardless of their religious affiliation, to enjoy. Yes, Aslan's sacrifice is not dissimilar to Christ's crucifixion, as is their eventual resurrection and triumph over evil. Though... Jesus didn't need four English schoolchildren to help him out. Anyway, the point is - as a story, themes of redemption, sacrifice, and triumph through selflessness are powerful - they stand on their own.

If you're on the fence about whether you're 'allowed' to enjoy "The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe" or not because of your own religious ambivalence - consider that the story exists on its own, and is sufficient and worthy. If the religious right tries to "own" Narnia as something solely for Christians, they water down and corrupt it to be a far less worthy experience. Narnia is more than just an allegory - much, much more. It's up to us moderate, thoughtful folks to be sure that it is not dismissed as "The Passion of the Christ for Kids!"

Just ask yourself -- What Would Aslan Do?
(and feel free to steal this icon!)