December 5, 2010
Aslan Represents . . . Mohammed and Buddha?
The 'stupid' comment is from Liam Neeson, who voices the Lion in the films
On the next-to-last page of The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, Lucy wonders how they shall live in their world without meeting Aslan, the Great Lion, again. But Aslan reassures her, saying she will meet him again: "But there I have another name. You must learn to know me by that name."
Any Christian lover of these C. S. Lewis books knows full well what that Aslan's name is here in our "real" world: It's Jesus himself. I mean, there's even a death-and-resurrection scene in one of the books in which Aslan must shed his blood to pay for the sins of another. Aslan as a Christ figure is almost as well-known a fact as, well, Jesus himself was a Christ figure in The Passion of the Christ. It's a no-brainer.
But now there's a low-brainer of a comment from actor Liam Neeson in today's London Daily Mail that already has Narnia and Lewis fans seething. Neeson, who does a fine job providing the voice of Aslan for the Narnia movies -- Dawn Treader releases worldwide later this week -- said in an interview with the Daily Mail that Aslan is also based on other religious leaders like Mohammed and Buddha.
The Daily Mail then cites a couple of Lewis experts who note how "stupid" Neeson's comment was.
‘Aslan is clearly established from the very beginning of the whole cannon as being a Christ figure," said William Oddie, a former editor of The Catholic Herald and a lifelong fan of the Chronicles of Narnia. "I can’t believe that Liam Neeson is so stupid as not to know."
Walter Hooper, Lewis’s former secretary and a trustee of his estate, said the stories have "nothing whatever to do with Islam. Lewis would have simply denied that. He wrote that the 'whole Narnian story is about Christ.' Lewis could not have been clearer."
Lewis himself once wrote of Aslan's character: "He is an invention giving an imaginary answer to the question, 'What might Christ become like if there really were a world like Narnia, and He chose to be incarnate and die and rise again in that world as He actually has done in ours?'"