Which is More Damaging - Narnia or Da Vinci?
I saw The Chronicles of Narnia : The Lion, the Witch, & the Wardrobe in the theater when it first came out & was quite excited about the quality of the film. I was excited when I learned that it did so well, that plans were made to turn the second book (Prince Caspian) into a movie. This past weekend, I saw the film again on DVD. This time I watched it more critically than I did at first. I have to say that I was quite disappointed with some of the dialogue. I was laying in bed that night thinking about the movie & had this thought:
Narnia is potentially more dangerous a film than the Da Vinci Code.
I know this is a blog regarding books…but both of these films began as books. I have not seen the Da Vinci Code, but I did read the novel when it came out, so I believe I can speak to it.
As to why I say Narnia can be potentially more dangerous than the Da Vinci Code is this. Even before Narnia opened, Christians everywhere (this writer included) were very excited. Some went as far as calling it a Christian film. Christian musicians wrote songs inspired by the film. Christians saw (& read) Narnia as an allegory for the Christian story of redemption. Sure it has bits of the redemption story & Aslan’s Passion is similar to that of Christ.
But Aslan is not to be equated with Jesus. There are Things which Aslan says in the film that would never ring true of our Messiah. In the first exchange Aslan has, the writers add the question “How could this happen?” (a line which Lewis never wrote, incidentally). Anyway, as people equate Aslan with Jesus, they equate Jesus with not being God – not having omniscience.
Later, Aslan is speaking with Peter about the impending battle with the White Witch. He mentions that he may or may not be there…& that this is his (Peter’s) battle, not Aslan’s. Two more examples of how unlike Jesus Aslan is. Jesus told us in Matthew 28 that he will always be with us…even to the end of the age. More telling was the fact that Aslan tells Peter it is Peter’s battle, not his (Aslan’s). I found this to be a very humanist statement. At best, it puts us up as “partners” with Christ in the work of the Kingdom; at worst, it is something we have to do, with marginal help from our King.
I think most people know the basic premise of the Da Vinci Code. Jesus didn’t die on the cross, & eventually married Mary Magdalene & settled in France to a normal life. Not even nominal Christians would have their faith shaken by this premise. Granted, people without faith may believe this to be true (13% of Americans according to a CT poll), but most Christians don’t give this slander much of any thought. And I would submit that those people who would hold that premise to be true are looking for excuses not to commit to faith in Christ.
Narnia may be more dangerous because it forms our idea of who God is, of who Jesus is. Our society gets its history & facts from film & television. We are not a reading culture, for the most part. Even if we are, little things like what I mentioned from the Narnia film get filed away in the back of our mind.
It just seems to me that slightly bad theology packaged in a semi-Christian way is much more heinous than awful theology packaged in an anti-Christian manner.
- posted by cubfann