We took our eight-year-old to see Narnia – The Voyage of the Dawn Treader on Saturday.
It’s the third in the Chronicles of Narnia films which are based on the seven fantasy books for children by C S Lewis. It is entertaining stuff about the difficulties and temptations of life, but I’m not sure the final climactic battle with the powers of darkness warrants the low-threshold PG classification; the troubled face behind the Polarised 3D glasses beside me indicated that a 12A classification would be more appropriate. Thankfully as yet we’ve had no nightmare-induced knocks on our bedroom door.
Liam Neeson provides the rich deep voice for Aslan, the gentle powerful Lion in the film who represents Jesus. In Lewis’ first Narnia story, The Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe, Aslan dies in the place of one of the children and then comes back to life thereby breaking the power of the White Witch, aka the devil. It is a clear reflection of the New Testament account of Christ’s death and resurrection.
Neeson does a good job in the films – but off-film the Catholic-raised Northern Irish actor who professes admiration for the Province’s hot-Prot preacher Dr Ian Paisley (here) has just said some rather silly things: “Aslan symbolises a Christ-like figure but he also symbolises for me Mohammed, Buddha and all the great spiritual leaders and prophets over the centuries,” he opined (here) .
Now apart from Christ, which of these ‘great spiritual leaders and prophets’ was killed on behalf of others? And which of them claims to come back to life thereby defeating death and the devil? None except Jesus of course.
Multi-cultural multi-faith politically-correct censorship has done its hatchet job on Neeson. As a public persona he evidently feels the need to reduce all culture, morality and religion to a heart-warming sweet-smelling potpourri that is as inoffensive as it is untrue. In the pc lexicon the virtue of ‘discernment’ has been dumbed down to equal the new vice of ‘discrimination’, and we are not now permitted to distinguish between people-groups or values. Everything is equal and everyone must have prizes.
It’s facile and unintelligent and leads to category confusion and the conflation of opposites. It’s also potentially dangerous, as when then-Home Secretary David Blunkett equated right-wing evangelical Christians with Islamic violent extremists (here) and thereby downgraded the threat from the latter.
Media consultancy Lapido Media has recently instituted a Religious Illiteracy Award and bestowed the first such honour on New Statesman political editor Mehdi Hasan (here) for his inability to discern a difference between the Pope and the anti-Semitic, gay-stoning, FGM-supporting Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi.
I’m nominating Liam Neeson for the second.