I got this question from a reader named Trudi. I’m guessing she decided to ask me, of all people, because I have written a lot about C.S. Lewis and the Narnia movies. I’m amazed at how many Christians will read something on a website and think–it must be true. Good grief. God gave us brains, let’s use them!
She wrote: What is your comment on all the sun worship elements in Narnia? There are many web sites explaining it in detail. As a comitted Christian I cannot see how we can teach our children about the living God and sun worship at the same time. Did you study the sun worship in Narnia and what is your opinion? I pray that God will teach us the full truth, because only the truth will set us free. I was mislead for a long time and I have a lot of respect for Lewis’s work, but I think we are deceived by this work of Lewis and also the work of his friends. Best regards
Here is what I wrote back to her:
Well, Trudi, I was a lit major at Wheaton College, a respected Christian college, and I took entire college courses on C.S. Lewis (including the Chronicles) and had never heard about this. The folks at Wheaton have been studying Lewis since he was first published, and they have almost all of his personal papers in their archives there–so if he was a sun worshipper I think they, of all scholars, would be privy to that info.
You said there are “many” websites. I googled it and found that they are a number of web sites, but most of them are written by one person who does not seem to have any academic credentials. Who is this person? And what is the tone of their website? Do they quote any other scholars or are they simply sharing their own opinions? Anyone can put up a website and write whatever they want–it does not make it true.
The Chronicles are works of fantasy and fiction. Lewis playfully brings in elements of of various myths and stories, from various traditions. It’s literature, not a sermon. But the central character, Aslan, represents Jesus. Read actual literary criticism, and you’ll learn that Lewis did not intend his book to be an allegory, but simply a story.
I simply disagree with the way these rather alarmist websites have interpreted the books. I wonder if they read the books, or only saw the movies, which are slightly different from the books.
You can mis-interpret anything. For example, Jesus called his disciples James and John “the suns of Thunder”–was he referring to Zeus, the greek god of thunder? was he advocating worship of Zeus? And he was crucified with a crown of thorns–a circle–was that an “obvious” symbol of sun worship? He said he was “the light of the world”–is that an “obvious” reference to the sun? In fact, he called himself the “son of Man”–does that mean he is a humanist? Or was that “son” thing really about the “sun”? He said he would “rise”–like the sun, right? You can see (I HOPE) how easily we could twist things. If you buy the arguments about Lewis and sun-worship, you’ll have to buy my silly arguments about Jesus advocating sun worship as well. Which hopefully, you don’t, because I am being facetious to make a point.
I do not think it is Lewis who is “deceiving” you.
The truth will indeed set you free. And the truth is, Lewis is not advocating sun worship. And the truth is, just because something is on the Internet doesn’t make it true.
I recommend “Inside Narnia” by Devin Brown, a professor at Asbury Theological Seminary, and also A Family Guide to Narnia by Christin Ditchfield, a respected Christian scholar and radio show host.