Liam Neeson is a fine actor (I like the underrated "Taken") but he is a lousy theologian. Neeson is the voice of Aslan in the Narnia fillms. "The Voyage of the Dawn Treader" launches next week. But now Neeson has angered many Christian fans of the books and films by declaring his Aslan to be way more ecumenical than C.S. Lewis ever intended.
Aslan, of course, is a symbol of Christ. It's kind of hard to get around that. Especially the death and resurrection thing in the first book. This isn't stopping Neeson's interpretation:
"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.
That’s who Aslan stands for as well as a mentor figure for kids – that’s what he means for me."
This is not sitting well with Narnia fans and those who revere Lewis:
Walter Hooper, Lewis’s former secretary and a trustee of his estate, said that the author would have been angered by Neeson’s comments.
He said: “It is 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.”
Mr Hooper attributed Neeson’s remarks to political correctness and a wish to be “very multi-cultural”.
And that's saying it nicely. Others are being a little more blunt:
William Oddie, a fomer editor of The Catholic Herald and a lifelong fan of the Chronicles of Narnia, accused Neeson of ‘a betrayal of Lewis’s intention and a shameful distortion’.
He said: ‘Aslan is clearly established from the very beginning of the whole cannon as being a Christ figure. I can’t believe that Liam Neeson is so stupid as not to know.’
Amen. Let's refocus on the Voyage:
Neeson did say that the Queen told him she cried at the film's London premiere.
Oh, and I know where you can see an actual wardrobe from Lewis' childhood home. Click here for more.
Naria quote to ponder:
'If there's anyone who can appear before Aslan without their knees knocking, they're either braver than me or else just silly.'
'Then he isn't safe?' asked Lucy.
'Safe?' said Mr. Beaver. 'Don't you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? 'Course he isn't safe. But he's good. He's the King, I tell you.'