You know, I love Narnia. Or is that loved? I've always enjoyed fantasy/science fiction. Sometimes the books/movies I indulged in were better than others and sometimes they were worse, but Narnia always topped my list of favorites as one of the 'better' ones (along with LOTR). I considered it to be allegorical fiction -- some Christian message, but mostly just a fun read (or watch -- I had the older movies and really enjoyed the first of this new batch.) And I knew the difference between fiction and fact! So what was the matter if it had some pagan mythology mixed in?
However, recently I finally had to choose to give up most of my fantasy reading -- including Narnia. Why? Because I finally realized that it was not honoring to God. I'm not writing this to sound 'holier-than-thou.' It was a really hard decision to make (and yes, I know that choosing to honor God should not be a hard decision, but I'm still human and I really did love that series), and I want to share why I now believe that Narnia is not something Christians should indulge themselves with. By the way, I have read the books countless times, and watched the various movie versions as well (except the new Prince Caspian), so I am familiar with the contents.
1. Pagan mythology
Whoever of y'all has read the books know that they are full of dryads, nyaids, fauns, and other various forms of Greek mythology. This never used to bother me. However, these are not just 'walking trees' and 'living waters.' Lewis refers to them in his books as 'tree-gods,' 'tree-goddesses', the 'river-god and his daughters.' They are actually called gods in a matter-of-fact way -- as if it is quite natural to have multiple gods. Whatever happened to "thou shalt have no other gods before Me?" Lewis had a huge interest in pagan religion. He believed that Christianity could find its roots in the old pagan religions.
In Prince Caspian (the book), there is also a scene where Bacchus comes to celebrate a victory with the children and Aslan. I had always overlooked this. If you look him up, the worship of this false god (historically, he isn't called a god in the books) was always accompanied by orgies and immorality. According to Wikipedia, he was the god of wine, and the patron of ritual madness and ecstasy. The excesses of his worshippers actually caused the Roman Senate to forbid the worship of this demon.
This is in Prince Caspian (the book). Caspian's tutor tells him that the times will be changing. He has learned this information from watching 'the great lords of the sky.' I've read these books many times, and completely missed this reference to astrology. The tutor also makes reference to information learned while crystal-gazing.
Deuteronomy 18:10-11. "There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination [includes crystal gazing], or an observer of times [astrology], or an enchanter, or a witch, Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer."
3. False Biblical History
At one point in the series, the history of the witches is discussed. Aslan tells the children that the witches are descended form 'Adam's first wife,' the one he apparently had before he married Eve! I think it's the The Magician's Nephew, but my memory isn't quite sure. I wonder how many Biblically-illiterate readers will think that Adam, if he existed, really did have a wife before Eve? What was it that that last chapter of Revelation said about adding to the Word of God?
These books are filled with references to witchcraft and magic. In The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, Lucy is reading a book of spells -- charms (again, Deut. 18:11). She casts one of them to restore the people of an island from invisibility. Aslan himself is revealed when the spell is lifted, but not a word is heard against her act of charming. The magician of the island who has enchanted them (look, there's another reference to Deuteronomy) is a servant of Aslan's.
When Christians try to allegorize Narnia, they look at the slaying of Aslan at the Stone Table as a type of Christ's sacrifice on the cross. Yet in Narnia, this event is mixed with magic. References are made to the 'deep magic.' This magic apparently controls even Aslan, as we find out from the above-mentioned invisibility episode in VDT, when he was subject to the limitations of the magician's spell.
The White Witch of The Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe, the Green Witch of The Silver Chair, the Hag and Werewolf of Prince Caspian (who suggest the calling up of the White Witch from the dead -- necromancy). I recognize that these are the 'bad guys,' but why is it necessary for us, as Christians, to be reading about witches? They exist, but why must we fill our minds with them? This is the reason I have decided to stop reading/watching all fantasy fiction that includes witches or magic (which is most of it). The Israelites were instructed not to 'suffer a witch to live' in Israel. Why should we suffer them to live in our imaginations? Or the imaginations of our children? I was never tempted to imitate the magical part of my readings as a child, but I imitated a lot of other stories. How am I to know that my children, if allowed to read the same books, will not choose to imitate the magic?
5. Dangerous False Doctrine
Someone else has mentioned the scene about Tash, Aslan and the Calormene in The Last Battle. This is a fictional book, but the false teaching here is so subtly mixed with what appears to be truth, that it is a dangerous idea to have enter one's mind. Isn't a half-truth more dangerous than a lie?
Galatians 1:8. "But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed."
I hope this post isn't too long. I'm not trying to put down anyone who enjoys the movies/books (I probably still would if I watched/read them again). It's just that, no matter how much we may like them, they include elements that we should separate ourselves from -- even as fiction. They are not allegorical. Even if they were meant to be, the amount of false teaching would make them even more dangerous -- think The DaVinci Code.
2 Corinthians 6:14-17. "Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? 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."