Nothing Lost. Something Gained?

I’m conflicted.

Although, that’s not entirely accurate. I’m certainly leaning more one way than the other, but I think my true angst comes from a separate issue altogether. You see, I can’t decide if I really want to see the Narnia film or not. I loved the Chronicles of Narnia as a child — I read almost all of them — but I was a deeply religious child. A deeply Christian child, to be exact. The story of Jesus’ sacrifice was very moving, and whatever was very moving had to be true in my child brain, because there was no separation between fact and feeling. I’ve since learned that when a story is very moving, that’s all it is. In fact, a story can be very moving and yet be entirely fictitious. The only thing that might be true about it is that it touches a nerve of common human experience. That’s all it takes. The most moving story I’ve ever read was Ray Bradbury’s “All Summer in a Day.”

And I suppose that’s all there is to The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. It’s a very moving, entirely fictious story. However, so is a lot of propaganda. It’s all about intent: Is the work to manipulate the reader into believing something as fact? C.S. Lewis admits in a currently unpublished letter that Narnia is the story of Christ. It certainly feels like to me the perfect wheel greaser for children to later be emotionally manipulated into accepting Christianity.

That’s where I get hung up. Do I want to give money to a commercial cause that is actively promoting a religious belief to children that I think is potentially emotionally and spiritually destructive? Or can I simply go to the movies and see a very moving, entirely fictious story?

I do enjoy good stories about personal sacrifice for one’s friends and even strangers. (Out of Body, my book in progress, is about letting go and personal sacrifice for a greater good.) But I don’t believe that in the fictious story of Jesus that he sacrificed anything. He started as God. He came to earth and “died.” And now He’s God again. He didn’t lose his Godhood. He really didn’t lose anything at all. Nothing lost, yet something gained. Is that what we want to teach our children? As a culture, is this idea helping us? Or causing us more grief?

Think about it.

I wish I was simply rolling in angst about a film, which would be silly, but I’m not. I’m concerned about religious trends in art and politics, and whether I can with good conscience support something potentially destructive. (I chose not to see the Jesus Chainsaw Massacre for this reason and others.) I don’t think every person who walks away from the movie is going to run directly into a church, but certainly the roads will be more clearly marked.

And, for various reasons I see every day in my friend’s journal entries, I think this is scary and dangerous, growing moreso every day.

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