Is Narnia acceptable entertainment for Christians?

Posted on August 24, 2010 by

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Zeal for the truth is always commendable; as Christians we are called upon by God to examine each area of our lives in the light of Scripture. This includes our entertainment. However, the challenge is to examine entertainment in an objective, but Scriptural, light. This includes leaving behind any preconceived notions we may have had about a movie or a piece of literature and examining it for what it is. My goal is that by doing this to answer the question, “Is Narnia acceptable entertainment for Christians?” in the affirmative.

As we go into this it is crucial that we understand three guiding principles. These apply not only to Narnia, but to the examination of all fiction in general:

  1. All authors of books apart from Scripture are human and thus fallible. Therefore a certain level of error must be assumed and accepted, unless we are to say all non-Scripture reading is unacceptable.
  2. When an author writes a fantasy world, they are in essence creating their own “universe.” In order to examine this universe objectively, it must be examined from within. Since both the author and the reader will have brought their own cultural influences to the table, the fictional world must be examined as though it existed separate and apart from those biases. The key thing is that Christ, however imperfectly, be exalted.
  3. That fiction need not be a one-for-one allegory of Scripture for it to be acceptable, just as a theological treatise need not be wholly accurate to have a place in the library of a Christian.

With these thoughts in mind it is my intent to examine the fictional world of Narnia. I will not be treating on whether or not Narnia is beneficial, but rather whether or not it is acceptable. Therefore I will not spend time mentioning the many positive elements present in Narnia. There is plenty of  other media available that already do this. Also, I will be specifically dealing with the series of seven novels written by C.S. Lewis – any cinematic adaptations of the same will not be discussed here, since their dissimilarities require a larger scope than we are capable of within this limited forum.

My position revolves around the three above points as they relate to the Chronicles of Narnia:

  1. C.S. Lewis was a fallible human who struggled with the same sins and weaknesses as all fallible humans. His works are thus all flawed in some measure and some level of error is to be expected.
  2. Narnia must be examined from within itself, separate from the cultural biases of author and readers alike, but still subject to Scripture.
  3. Following the line of reasoning of the first point, Narnia is not an exact picture of Scripture and contains what may be interpreted as fallacious theological viewpoints. Narnia is not a theological handbook and this in no way invalidates it as acceptable reading. If the reader is not firmly rooted in Scripture, they have no business reading any fiction.
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Posted in: food for thought