Liam Neeson has caused controversy by suggesting that Aslan, the Christlike character in C.S. Lewis’s Narnia books, could represent the prophet Mohammed or Buddha. The actor who voices the lion in the film adaptations of the books has angered some fans of the stories, who claim he is distorting Lewis’s intentions to be “politically correct”.
Aslan the lion features in all seven Narnia books, guiding children away from evil and harm and encouraging them to do good. Lewis was clear that the Aslan was based on Christ, and once wrote of the character: “He is an invention giving an imaginary answer to the question: “What might Christ become like if there really were a world like Narnia?”.” In the climax of the first book, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Aslan sacrifices his life to save Narnia, before rising from the dead, a plot which is widely believed to represent the crucifixion and the resurrection.
But ahead of the release of The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, the third Narnia book to be made into a film, next week, Neeson said: “Aslan symbolises a Christlike figure, but he also symbolises 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.”
How very ecumenical of Mr. Neeson. And how very saccharine: “A mentor figure for kids”. Good grief.