Monday, December 05, 2005
Narnia represents everything atheists object to in religion
Polly Toynbee has an interesting piece in the Guardian today.
Blogger is having some problems with parenthesis, so please excuse me if there are funny symbols instead of quote marks.
The Guardian film critic Peter Bradshaw gives the film five stars and says, "There is no need for anyone to get into a PC huff about its Christian allegory," but Polly is having none of that.
Laying her atheistic cards on the table she calls the Christian theme of Narnia "profoundly manipulative" an "arm-twisting emotional call to believers."
She is also firmly of the opinion that religion, and most of all Christianity is an emotional crutch for people who can not take responsibility for their own decisions. She says "Of all the elements of Christianity, the most repugnant is the notion of the Christ who took our sins upon himself and sacrificed his body in agony to save our souls. Did we ask him to?"
She calls Narnia "muscular Christianity - that warped, distorted neo-fascist strain that thinks might is proof of right." Aslan is "everything an atheist objects to in religion. His divine presence is a way to avoid humans taking responsibility for everything here and now on earth. Without an Aslan, there is no one here but ourselves to suffer for our sins, no one to redeem us but ourselves: we are obliged to settle our own disputes and do what we can."
But what if it is true? Lewis said that if the incarnation was true it is the most important event in the history of the universe. That is a weighty statement, but one not said lightly considering all that hinges upon it. If Jesus was who he says he was then it has profound implications for everyone. And as Lewis also said, if he was not who he said he was, then he can not even be a great moral teacher, he is mad on the level of someone who calls themselves a poached egg. He claimed to be the Son of God. People believed him. They still do, they divided the calendar to life before and after his time on earth. Christianity is everywhere in Western society. This is a debate we need to have.