1. Honestly, when I was like in sixth grade and read that scene in The Last Battle, inwardly I was just kind of like ‘Huh?’. I was having severe doubts about my salvation at the time, so part of me considered taking Aslan’s statement at face value. I guess because up until then Narnia seemed like a decent representation of Christianity. But, deep down, I never did believe what Aslan told that Calormene guy, because it didn’t make sense. So I felt a little weird about that scene for a while.

    That said, there’s the fact that even with all its parallels to Christianity and our world, Narnia is still not earth. There are many other things in it that don’t mirror Christianity(like, salvation almost seems depicted as fighting happily on Aslan’s side, not accepting him into one’s heart) and hardly anyone seems to have a problem with that. Narnia works differently because it IS different. I try not to judge Lewis for that since I depict Christianity differently in different story worlds of mine, too. In fact, I think such depictions can help increase our understanding of Christianity(such as showing why God has things be one way instead of the other)

    There’s also Death of the Author vs Authorial Intent…I actually just watched a video about that recently, which explained it pretty well and discussed Harry Potter at length.

    This is relevant to Lewis in several ways. Like, in these discussions, people might ask if his intentions matter more than the actual content and how readers perceive it. Author intentions do matter a lot, so I don’t agree with people that are going to completely brush off an author’s intent just because their interpretations differ from the author’s intent. (And the video’s assertion that generally respecting the author’s intentions keeps readers from thinking critically is generally incorrect.)

    • mc says:

      Yah, one of the proposed theoretical ideas Lewis had of if God every created other races of sapient life is that if any then fell, the means and method of salvation might be different than on earth. For all we know, the same man could only be saved as he was because it was Narnia, not earth Lewis was writing about. Also, did Lewis somehow convert to a far eastern religion because he used some of their concepts converged with Christianity to make his point, or used the folklore the Wood between the Worlds might very well be based upon. The arguments of Tor are tenuous at best.

  2. For what it’s worth, C.S. Lewis believed those who never heard the Gospel could be saved somehow by personal revelation and Christ would know them as His own. He came to this idea through reading the Parable of the Sheep and the Goats in the Bible. His conclusion may be flawed (I think it is) but I can’t argue with his source material.

    • Piggybacking on what Rachel said, I’ve met several refugees from ‘closed’ countries who had never heard the name of Jesus and yet had Jesus reveal Himself to them in a dream (like literally introduce Himself) and tell them to come to America where they could learn about Him. So, yeah, Lewis didn’t go too far out on a limb with his ‘supposal’ salvation theory.

      I used to be one of those Christians that feared fiction that thought out of the box (as if fiction should always perfectly mirror reality, hello?!). It was a result of how I was raised: with good intentions but no critical thinking. When I read the Narnia series to my kids, it just blew me away, changed my thinking, and lit a fire for writing fantasy. That’s powerful, (dare I say anointed?) writing…and I know the Chronicles have been an inspiration to countless writers. Wow, that’s a testimony for Lewis and how he used his God-given gifts!

      We Christians can often shoot ourselves in the foot, can’t we? *Raises fist in the air* “Give us excellent fiction with a Christian worldview!” *Tosses book aside* “Wait a minute! There’s something in this SEVEN BOOK SERIES that doesn’t fit exactly with my theology. How could this FICTION book say such a thing?”

      If Lewis ever peeks down from heaven at the hullabaloo, he’s probably had a good chuckle and a few headshakes on our account!

      I will be commemorating his death by being thankful for his life and his writing on Thanksgiving!

  3. Well said and written, Rebecca. I can’t tell you how often I’ve banged my head on a desk trying to make someone understand the differences between allegory and symbolism and intentional vs. unintentional symbolism.

    And I’m glad this worked now. The little thing in the box just went away this time unlike last time when it stayed indefinitely and wouldn’t let me type in it, supposedly without the FB connection.

What do you think?