Saturday, December 10, 2005

Anti-Christian reaction to The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe

Lowry: Who is afraid of C.S. Lewis, and why?

C.S. Lewis, the late Christian apologist and Oxford don who is the author of the seven-book Narnia series, has been the subject of critical, even contemptuous, pieces in The New Yorker and The New York Times Magazine. The press coverage of the movie has emphasized how a (tiny) proportion of its marketing budget has been directed at - gasp! - Christians.
The British author Philip Pullman has said the Narnia books are based on ''reactionary prejudice,'' and the British paper The Guardian attacked the stories for representing ''everything that is most hateful about religion.''
For anyone who has been enchanted by the stories (100 million copies sold), this reaction must be bizarre. Who is afraid of C.S. Lewis, and why?

UPDATE: Minette Marrin: They're desperate to kill the magic lion
Above all, I can’t help wondering why the instincts of secular liberals should be so repressive. It is odd, when one considers that a major part of post-enlightenment secularism is supposed to be enlightened tolerance. Their response strikes me as similar to the response of the British Muslims who burnt The Satanic Verses or the British Sikhs who demanded that a play offensive to their religion be closed.

What both groups have in common — one extremely religious, the other extremely opposed to religion — is a reductive cast of mind. They all suffer from extreme literalism. This is perhaps understandable with religious fundamentalists, including Christians; they all see themselves as people of the book and of the literally true word. With secular fundamentalists it is harder to understand; they have no book or word to refer to; they have no cultural excuse.

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