But by the age of fourteen he had lost his faith in God-partly, perhaps, because his beloved mother had died of cancer when he was nine in spite of his fervent prayers for her recovery
This is, of course, the kind of mindset that evangelical churches prefer and cultivate: the kind that makes people vote against their own economic and social interests, that makes successful, attractive, and apparently intelligent young men and women want to become the apprentices of Donald Trump, or of much worse rich and powerful figures. This mindset could even be called deluded, since in this world a giant lion does not usually appear to see that the right side wins and all the good people are happy. In Narnia faith in Aslan, who comes among his followers and speaks to them, may make sense: but here on earth, as the classic folk tales have told us for generations, it is better to depend on your own courage and wit and skill, and the good advice of less than omnipotent beings.
They teach us to accept authority; to love and follow our leaders instinctively, as the children in the Narnia books love and follow Aslan
Clive Staples Lewis, who was born in 1898 and grew up in Northern Ireland, was raised as a Low-Church Anglican, with an emphasis on religious observance as a duty. His doubt and sense of abandonment were increased when two weeks later he and his older brother Warren were sent to an awful English boarding school that Lewis later called “Belsen” in his autobiography.
When they met, Janie Moore was “a pretty blonde Irishwoman” of forty-five and Lewis was eighteen; by the time he became a practicing Christian she was fifty-nine and he was thirty-two. (It is possible that Lewis’s conversion to Christianity, with its commandment against adultery, ended an erotic connection that might by then have become a burden.) As she grew older and her health failed Mrs. Moore became difficult and demanding. Lewis remained devoted; even after she had more or less lost her mind, he visited her in the nursing home every day. Moore’s house (which he helped to buy) for twenty years, spoke of her death in 1951 as the end of a “mysterious self imposed slavery.”
Many critics who first read The Chronicles of Narnia as children report being unaware of its Christian meanings or of any other hidden messages, but several complain that when they reread the books as adults they were shocked and dismayed. In Revisiting Narnia, a diverse collection of present and former fans (it includes a Catholic, a liberal feminist, an agnostic, a New Age witch, a postmodernist, and several popular authors of fantasy) both praise and criticize Lewis. Other readers have been wholly negative. One is the immensely gifted and popular British writer Philip Pullman, author of the best-selling trilogy His Dark Materials, who has described himself as a Christian atheist. Last year he denounced the Narnia books as religious propaganda, and called the series “ugly and poisonous.” He summed up their message as “Death is better than life; boys are better than girls; light-coloured people are better than dark-coloured people; and so on.” 2
In Narnia there is also no such thing as a good and strong supernatural female figure, as there often are in fairy tales. The Narnian embodiment of virtuous power is male, while the embodiment of evil power is the White Witch, who appears to be based partly on Hans Christian Andersen’s evil Snow Queen and partly on George MacDonald’s North Wind (who is really Death, and rules over a kingdom of ice and snow); both of them also abduct and enchant a little boy.
J.R.R. Tolkien, who was a close friend of Lewis’s, spent decades planning the world of The Lord of the Rings, giving it a consistent geography, an elaborate history, and several languages. He hated The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, regarding it as too rapidly and carelessly put together out of mismatched scraps. Yet Tolkien has been overruled by generations of readers who remain enthusiastic fans of Lewis even though some of his moments of imaginative triumph involve incongruous juxtapositions. The famous scene at the beginning of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe when Lucy goes through https://hookupdate.net/escort-index/green-bay/ the wardrobe and comes out into a snowy winter landscape lit by a London street lamp, and meets a faun carrying an umbrella and several brown-paper parcels, proves that sometimes anachronism can be magical.
It is no surprise that conservative Christians admire these books. By implication, they suggest that we should and will admire and fear and obey whatever impressive-looking and powerful male authority figures we come in contact with. They also suggest that without the help of Aslan (that is, of such powerful figures, or their representatives on earth) we are bound to fail. Alone, we are weak and ignorant and helpless. Individual initiative is limited-almost everything has already been planned out for us in advance, and we cannot know anything or achieve anything without the help of God.