Liam Neeson Angers Narnia Fans By Comparing Aslan to Buddha and Mohammed

narnia_aslan_225.jpgLiam Neeson, who voices Aslan, the Christ-like lion throughout the Chronicles of Narnia film series, has just caused a bit of controversy among Christian fans of the series during Voyage of the Dawn Treader press tour. Neeson said that to him, the lion symbolizes all great prophets including Buddha and Mohammed. I'm guessing this would have gone unnoticed if not for that Mohammed part, but let's take a closer look at these supposedly misguided, controversial statements and the ensuing criticism.

Neeson told The Daily Mail:

"Aslan symbolises a Christ-like figure but he also symbolizes 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."

And cue the outrage. Walter Hooper, Lewis's former secretary and a trustee of his estate 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.'" Added William Oddie, a former editor of The Catholic Herald, "I can't believe that Liam Neeson is so stupid..."

Whew. I'll admit that Lewis' text is as subtle as a sledgehammer in its Christian symbolism. But just to play (ahem) devil's advocate, shouldn't any serious work of art should be open to individual interpretation? It's not like Neeson put any words in Lewis' mouth. And is this really a bigger deal than having a professed-agnostic direct the film? Especially since Neeson is Roman Catholic and actually helped an order of American Catholic priests to bring out a CD of spiritual meditations for Lent two years ago?

In any case, I'm guessing the controversy will blow over once fans realize they can't actually think of anyone who could knock Aslan's voice out of the park the way Neeson has. Meanwhile, I'm much more interested in the charming and unpredictable Tilda Swinton's take on what Aslan symbolizes.

·Narnia fans' fury after Liam Neeson claims Aslan -- the symbol of Christ -- could also be Mohammed

[The Daily Mail]

·The Narnia Policeman [Christianity Today]



Comments

  • nicolette says:

    ha ha ha! there is more evidence christ existed than julius ceasar!!! your ignorance is entertaining :)

  • Some Guy says:

    Can you reference where CS Lewis said that Aslan was a metaphor for Christ; I must have missed that. Thank you.

  • Some Guy says:

    as a Christian, I agree 100% with Neeson's statement.

  • anonymousman says:

    yes in the narnia books aslan does say it doesn't matter what name you pray to as long as your intentions are good you are praying to him. BUT that does not mean to pray to other gods! that means other names for jesus, like the great i am, or other names for jesus. NOT to pray to other gods like buddha or mohommed! also i have read biographys of c.s. lewis's narnia books and it clearly states several times that he is a christian and that he said "aslan is christ as many know, and the white witch is the devil." I don't understand why all you non-christians care about this anyways. You didn't believe the first thing in the first place.

    • Hayley says:

      @anonymousman I believe you are missing the entire point of Aslan's message. He does mean ALL good works belong to him, no matter who you are. If he meant all good works in his name or just other variations of his name, then all of the good Emeth did in the name of Tash would be meaningless.

  • Jasmine Alfa says:

    I believe that what Liam meant was that; for every religion, Aslan represented their God and the white witch indicated the devil. For Christians- Jesus, for muslim-Mohammed, and so on for other religions. Everyone is entitled to his or her opinion.

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