Friday, June 13, 2008

Old Narnia Under Attack - Today

This news story and this news story- if you keep your eyes open - are becoming more frequent in western nations. Now, what needs to be remembered is the central theme or leitmotif of C. S. Lewis's book, Prince Caspian. Regardless of the recent film version that ran with the minor element of "Narnia - A Land at War," Lewis's true message was "Narnia - A Land Awakening from the Lies of the Telmarines."

We are fast becoming a time and place of myth. If you recall your Girard, myth is one of three crucial elements of the primitive Sacred. Author and friend, Gil Bailie, reminds us that "myth doesn’t answer questions. It extinguishes the mental vitality to ask them. To mythologize is to leave out or obscure the things that would lead to contrition."

Myth justifies and makes us feel good about the violence committed against a victim or victims against whom the mob develops an onus of blame. While in a state of myth, one feels extraordinarily "righteous". Lewis makes Narnia a place where while humans are on the throne, ruling justly with concern for the common good and with respect to all manner of talking animals, a place of wonder.

But the Telmarines have entered the picture, ruling tyrannically, throwing out the Magisterial truth and morals that Aslan instituted as son of the "Emperor over the Sea." Now might makes right, intrigue is the rule, and even reference to the "old ways" is outlawed.

Begin to sound familiar to today? The old ways of Catholic truth, faith, and morals are beginning to be branded as "hate crimes," "irrational", and "intolerant" - lest any "alternative lifestyle" persons or religions be "offended" by such Magisterial thinking and speaking. Oh, and throw out any reference to the Judeo-Christian God revealing such truth too (but a bloodthirsty, vengeful god of the Scimitar is A-OK).

Lewis knew our times would come: a new Dark Ages, only this time not in the wake of the collapse of the Roman Empire, but rather a barbarian invasion and attack on Christian truth. WE are the "old Narnians" and "talking animals!" The question facing us is, How to respond to these attacks of the primitive Sacred in both its forms: the postmodern neo-pagan and the Scimitar?

It is a difficult question indeed.


Always On Watch said...

Prince Caspian is quite a hit at the cinema right now. I wonder how many theater-goers notice the message?

Athos said...

Lewis's message is still there, just more embedded than the more ostensible central theme in his book. If the film leads them to read the book, it will pop out in both.