First, let me say that I did not write this blog post to cause trouble, or be controversial. I write it in sincere love to my brothers and sisters in Christ who may not recognize this series of books for what it really is. I know this is a rather lengthy article, but please read it anyway, especially if you are a fan of The Chronicles of Narnia, or know people who are.
My prayer is that the Lord will speak through this article, and that only what is true will be presented.
The Chronicles of Narnia
Most people are somewhat familiar with the popular, seven book series, The Chronicles of Narnia. It is widely accepted among Christians as an allegory to the Gospel and Christian life, with the strong theme of good warring against evil. The series also includes sacrificial love and a far-distant, yet caring, Ruler, who will someday return.
The series begins with the creation of the world, Narnia, and entrance of evil into it. Two British children are magically transported to the country, and observe the creation of it. In the second, and best-known book, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, four British siblings unexpectedly stumble into Narnia, which they find locked in winter, under the spell of a witch (who appeared in the first book). One of the brothers falls under her deadly influence, and would have lost his life, but for the intervention of the Ruler and creator of the world, Aslan, who takes the form of a lion, and voluntarily sacrifices himself for the boy. He is miraculously resurrected at dawn, and turns the tide of a great battle, which is in progress between the evil followers of the Witch, and his own followers. She is banished from the land, to which spring has come, and the four siblings reign as kings and queens.
Later they return to England, finding that no time has passed while they were in Narnia. In the later books, they and several other relatives or friends successively return to Narnia, taking place in revolutions, explorations, rescue missions, and finally witnessing the consummation of the country, and division of the good from the bad, at a final judgement by Aslan.
When I was younger, I was quite a fan of The Chronicles of Narnia. I owned a very nice set of the books, and read the entire series at least once a year. I read my favorite books over and over, and considered them to have almost attained the standard of perfection. But an article Mama read opened her eyes to the many problems in these books, and she and Daddy quickly realized they were not suitable reading material for me. I now entirely agree with my parents, and thank the Lord for showing them the danger of these supposedly Christian books.
There are two main problems with this series: paganism, and universalism.
1: Mixing pagan gods and mythological beings with characters representing Christ and Christians.
Something I did not observe when I was younger, is that these books are filled with characters from Greek mythology. Not being familiar with the Greek and Roman religions and lore, I did not recognize them, but they are throughout most of the books, especially the earlier ones, and always portrayed in a positive light. Wood gods, water nymphs, Bacchus and his followers, naiads, dryads, fauns, and centaurs- all are present. Anyone who is familiar with the Greek religion and mythology knows that it is wicked and defiling. The host of gods on Mount Olympus, and collection of mythological creatures and characters present in their mythology are far from good. The "gods" are filled with human passions, vices, and desires, and quarrel fiercely with each other, often forming temporary and illegitimate alliances with humans. Centaurs and fauns are generally harmful or mischievous; warring against mankind, or leading them astray in the forest.
What do these fanciful and wicked characters have in common with Christianity? Why would a Christian book include false gods, creatures that are half animal and half man, and the spirits of wood and water? The Lord says, in Isaiah 45:5 "I am the Lord, and there is none else, there is no God beside Me..." And also: I am the Lord: that is My name: and My glory will I not give to another, neither My praise to graven images." (Is. 42:8)
The inclusion of Bacchus is especially reprehensible, for he was the god of drunkenness. The worship of Bacchus included heavy drinking and wild orgies. Yet he is portrayed in The Chronicles of Narnia as a jolly, generous, rejoicing being, whose appearance was a special mark of Aslan's favor.
What place do these characters have in a Christian book? And why would Lewis change their natures from harmful, deceitful, and vile, to helpful, and joyous? A Christian has no business mixing pagan gods and creatures with Christianity. 2 Corinthians 6:15-16a says: "And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols?..."
2: Universalism: All roads lead to Heaven as long as you do good works.
The other main problem with The Chronicles of Narnia is the heretical doctrine finally unveiled in the last book. Universalism is the belief that all roads, (i.e. religions) eventually lead to Heaven, as long as the worshipper is sincere and does good works; no matter what god they are serving.
There are a few references to this heresy throughout the books, but it is fully declared in the last. The quote below comes from The Last Battle, and is part of a dialog between Aslan, and a follower of a rival god, Tash, a representative of the Devil.
"But the Glorious One bent down his golden head and touched my forehead with his tongue and said, Son, thou art welcome [to heaven]. But I said, Alas Lord, I am no son of thine but the servant of Tash. He answered, Child, all the service thou hast done to Tash, I account as service done to me... Not because he and I are one, but because we are opposites, I take to me the services which thou hast done to him. For I and he are of such different kinds that no service which is vile can be done to me, and none which is not vile can be done to him. Therefore if any man swear by Tash and keep his oath for the oath's sake, it is by me that he has truly sworn, though he know it not, and it is I who reward him. And if any man do a cruelty in my name, then, though he says the name Aslan, it is Tash whom he serves and by Tash his deed is accepted. Dost thou understand, Child? I said, Lord thou knowest how much I understand. But I said also, for the truth constrained me), Yet I have been seeking Tash all my days. Beloved, Said the Glorious One, unless thy desire had been for me thou wouldst not have sought so long and so truly. For all find what they truly seek."
Thus we see the representative of Christ letting a self-professed follower of the Devil into Heaven, in a book which is widely acclaimed as a Christian allegory. But is this presenting a true picture of God, or one of the worst delusions propagated by Satan? John 14:6 says: “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” Acts 4:10-12 confirms this: “Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole. This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” And 1 Timothy 2:5: “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus”.
What worse delusion could a man teach than the heresy that no matter which god a person serves, he will still be accepted by the Lord? If this were true, then why would God send His only begotten Son, Jesus, to die sacrificially for our sins? If there were some other way, why would it be necessary that He die? Why would the cup not pass in the garden of Gethsemane? (Luke 22:42-44.) The Bible makes it very clear that belief in the cleansing work of Jesus Christ is the only way to be saved from sin and its punishment: Hell. No true Christian allegory would even remotely hint otherwise, for to do so is directly contradicting God.
Are The Chronicles of Narnia a Christian allegory, or a Trojan Horse?
First, let’s define what the word “allegory” means: An allegory is a way of presenting truth, by portraying it in a figurative story in a way that clearly explains the meaning, and yet is interesting and enlightening. The interest of a true allegory lies not so much in the story used as a vehicle for explaining truth, as in the truth being taught.
The Pilgrim’s Progress is probably the best known true Christian allegory. Everything about this story, from the names of people and places, to the events, to the very landscape, holds a meaning which is clearly explained along the way. You cannot read The Pilgrim’s Progress and not realize that it is a book describing Christian theology and life, for the primary interest of the story is found in the meaning of it: great truths of Christianity.
In The Chronicles of Narnia, on the other hand, the allegorical nature of the work serves rather as an excuse for Christians to read a pleasurable tale, than as the motivation for reading it. If you know there is a deeper meaning to the story, you certainly can find it, though polluted with the pagan characters, and bad theology mentioned above. But if you did not know there was a deeper meaning, it would be quite easy to read the books merely for pleasure, and never consider what was meant by certain passages. They would be simply thrilling, remarkable, or maybe slightly puzzling, but would not explain themselves as an allegory clearly and accurately relating to Jesus and the Christian life.
For the Christian reading these books, bad theology is gently insinuated into the story, mixed with just enough truth to make it palatable. Is this right?
There is another huge danger in these books, especially for children. When a child is given fantasy books, they very quickly develop an appetite for them, to the extent that many children do not want to read anything beside fantasy. For this reason, I do not personally think it is wise to allow a child to read any fantasy stories at all (including wild books about outer space and aliens). Please keep in mind that a true allegory is not fantasy: it is an allegory, and interestingly enough, an imbalanced taste for true, solid allegories is not usually developed. (This shows for our sinful natures, and laziness!) I speak from personal experience and observation regarding this. When I was young, I went through a period of about 5 years when I wanted only to read fantasy books, and anything solid or true was extremely unpalatable. I am so thankful that the Lord gave my parents the wisdom to wean me away from these foolish (though well-written) stories, and make me read more solid books.
So should Christians read this popular series?
Remember the story of the Trojan horse: The city of Troy had been under siege for ten years, and the enemy could not take it. Finally, they came up with a clever strategy. They built a huge wooden horse, and left it, ostensibly as an offering to the gods, but really as a trap, for it was filled with Greek soldiers. When the rejoicing inhabitants of the city saw that the enemy had left, they gleefully brought the wooden horse into their town, and celebrated their victory far into the night. Under cover of darkness, when all was still, the enemy soldiers emerged from the hollow wooden horse, and took the town.
In the same manner, Satan often attacks the church. When open force cannot avail, he uses stratagem. This series of books contains false gods portrayed as beneficial beings which are tolerated, even encouraged by the Lord, and heretical "all roads lead to heaven" teaching. So you make the decision: Is the series, The Chronicles of Narnia, an allegory, or a Trojan Horse?
"And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God: as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them: and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
Wherefore come out from among them and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty."
2 Corinthians 6:15-18
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.