Jump to content

Cs Lewis Crap


megasamurai
 Share

Recommended Posts

I'm sure all of you have heard from this guy. You might remember him as the writer of the children's book series, The Chronicles of Narnia which is famous for Aslan the lion that is obviously a stand-in for Jesus. These books have been made into hilariously stupid movies if you think about them. This guy seems to have so much about him to snark about. There's lots of stupidity in Narnia and his other works I would love to make fun of.

 

First target, The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe. It's the story of obniouxious British kids who discover another world that is in the closet (lol.). The obvious Devil analogue, The White Witch, is oddly an attrictive woman. The misogyny seems to be quite obvious from the first book. Some kid turns completely evil and betrays the other kid because the pedophilic White Witch offered him candy, and perhaps something extra. The evil kid, Edmond, eventually changes his mind because he finds out she's a total bitch. Lewis is obviously trying to point out the depravity of humanity by having Edmond side with someone extremely evil for a petty reason. Edmond's brief flirtation with evil, and the explanation of how humans become evil, seems very unconvincing. Because Edmond fucked up, Aslan has to die for some nonsensical reason (just like the source material). He comes back to life in a few days making the Jesus metaphor as subtle as an anvil to the foot. Aslan ends the book/movie with the sensible thing and has them endanger themselves by fighting the White Witch. This seems to be a metaphor for "spiratual warfare" or avoiding the temptation to break God's rules.

 

The sequel, Prince Caspian, is even worse, the titular character is a boring plot device of a prince who was usurped by generic villains in the book and generic villains with stupid, fake accents in the movie. The characters return to Narnia thousands of years in the future because time passes differently there. The characters see a dwarf in danger and shoot before asking questions. The obligatory cute, talking mouse is added to the book to pander to the audience and to sell merchandise for the film version. The characters spend most of the book waiting for Aslan to get off his ass and do something. The movie instead opts for horrible, long, and repetitive battle scenes where characters wave their swords to attack  enemies who are conviently offscreen to keep the movie PG for 30 minutes straits. The book/movie becomes too boring to make fun of until the end. Aslan comes and solves everything in an intentional deus ex machina ending by kicking the enemies' butts. The message is that Jesus acts on his own time, even if it inconveniences you by waiting until the last minute for no apparent reason. The movie and book never explain why.

 

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader is where things get boring. A whiny kid named Eustice gets introduced. Somehow, time used to move faster in Narnia than the real world, but that rule stopped with this book/film. The characters sail in a ship and bore the audience. I have no idea what theological point the film was making. It's too boring to snark at.

 

The Narnia books that weren't made into films apparently had things ten times worse than the first three. Muslims became cannibals and Aslan becomes more bloodthirsty. I don't know much about it, but I'd like to hear about it. I know Narnia's an easy target and I can snark at the book, movie, BBC miniseries all my life. I think I'll rant about The Great Divorce next because it's had a far larger impact on Christian culture even though the book itself is obscure. It's the book that retcons hell from Dante's place of torture into self-inflicted torture. The "hell is a place people send themselves to" was presumably invented by this book. I'll snark about it later. For now, everyone can add their own comments and snark at CS Lewis' works.   

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If you think those stories are bad, just wait until you read CS Lewis' other books laced with Christian Apologetics.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Never got into any of those books, and from the sounds of it, i'm not missing much.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I used to read the books for their own sake and ignored the heavy-handed religious undertones.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's sad. Back when I was a Christian, I used to love his stuff. Narnia I was never terribly fond of (I found them rather slow), but I read the first book in The Space Trilogy series and remember it being interesting enough (I would have read the rest if they weren't so long). I also read The Screwtape Letters and, at the time, adored it. The ending was overly sudden but the book was interesting to me. I read most of the Great Divorce. I felt that one was more a bunch of moral messages with a thin layer of story around it, as most of the book seemed to be dialogue (generall the main character being spoken to.) To be honest, I did sort of like that writing style, but I never found that book readable since it was so confusing as a result of that. I had no idea that that book birthed the whole "people choose to go to Hell" thing. If so, that's a pretty big deal.

 

I haven't read a CS Lewis book in a long time. I wonder what I'd think of them now. Probably not well.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If you thought Chronicles of Narnia was bad you should have read the Space Trilogy.

 

SPOILER ALERT

 

Book I

Angels are aliens.  Every planet has a chief alien who runs that planet.  Earth's chief alien was Lucifer who waged war against God and caused Earth to be cursed.  But some British professors broke that curse by building a space ship in their back yard and flying to mars.  Mars is teaming with life (This story was written in the 1920's) and of course the Martian life is goofy looking.  But it turns out they all worship God.  Well, wasn't that an adventure!

 

Book II

The heroic British professor travels to Venus.  It turns out Venus is a water planet and the major land mass is floating, lilly pad type flora.  It also turns out that life just began on Venus in the form of the first native man and woman.  They were given a command by God to not spend a full day on the only dry land on the whole planet.  So instead they have to live on the lilly pads.  But the plot thickens!  It turns out an evil British professor has also traveled to Venus.  And the Venus Adam and Eve have been separated on different lilly pad by ocean currents.  So now the heroic British professor and the evil British professor spend around 100 pages debating with Venus Eve about whether or not she should disobey God's commandment.  (Very boring and you can tell that Lewis enjoyed writing the drawn-out debate)  Then when the debating doesn't go anywhere Satan possesses the body of the evil professor so two out-of-shape senior citizens have a fist fight to settle the matter.   

 

Book III

There is a secret, evil organization taking over Britain.  There is also a secret good organization run by the heroic British professor who is now secretly sitting on the throne of King Author.  Merlin the magician is released from suspended animation and finds the new Pendragon King.  Meanwhile the evil organization finds a way to animate a severed head so that demons can tell the evil organization what to do.  But fear not because the angels of heaven/aliens from other planets visit Merlin and possess him making him an even more-powerful sorcerer than he was before.  Then possessed Merlin goes to the evil organization's headquarters and casts magic spells that would shame Voldemort.  All the people in the evil organization die and the place goes up in smoke.  Britain is saved! 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

hahahahahahahaha... yup, that's about it!

 

Been a long time since I read those ones.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Time to attack The Great Divorce. The Great Divorce is all about a man who sees what hell is like. Hell is reimagined as a rainy gloomy place. The fire and man-eating worms Jesus describes in the Bible are completely absent in this depiction. Since CS Lewis was a professor of literature, I'm shocked he showed either ignorance, or more likely, intentional "artistic liscense" of the most famous piece of literature in Western history. The unbelievers there are all portrayed as complete unloving assholes. Wonderful for a former atheist who knows what it's like to be a believer  to stereotype unbelievers as incapable of compassion for other humans. The pain and suffering in hell are caused by their own tortured emotions of being unable to be with God. The odd thing is that they don't want to be with God but feel in pain because they are physically unable to feel love or feel loved when they are in hell. This is odd that Muslims pray to God five times a day, yet suddenly want to be separated from God for all eternity. Lewis seemed to invent the fallicious equation "not believing Jesus is a diety=hating Jesus and wanting to be separated from him".Lewis, like many other Christian theologians, never ask how come it's impossible to have post-mortem salvation. Lewis never brings up the idea that a Hindu might want want to be with Jesus if the Hindu found out that the Hindu gods never existed and Jesus is the real God. (Lewis never attempted to answer how it's not a dick move to not offer post-mortem salvation but his successors such as Lee Strobel have a response, albeit a very crappy one).

 

The people in the book are too obsessed with their own sins to consider going to heaven. If hell's a place full of sex and booze and immortality so neither of those could kill you, Lewis seems to accidently portray hell as something that would be cool except for the fact that love doesn't exist here. I find it odd that most non-believers desire love and want to be loved, but Lewis says that they would hate love and hapiness.God offers them the chance to go to heaven for one day. They go, but don't want to stay because they don't want to humble themselves and admit that they are scumbags. 

 

This book has changed the face of hell and Christians' perceptions of unbelievers forever. Lee Strobel's The Case for Faith uses Lewis interpretation of hell and elaborates on why it is good by giving crappy explanations why reincarnation, annihilation, not creating unbelievers in the first place and post-morem salvation are not as good as sending people to hell.  Telling them I think it's evil for God to send people to hell isn't effective anymore when people believe non-believers send themselves there. I wonder how CS Lewis could be such a literature professor at a high-class university if he honestly believed hell isn't described as a lake of fire in the Bible when it explicitly is. He seems to have deserved an F on his New Testament exam if he thought that people voluntarily went to hell, when the Bible explicitly portrays it as a punishment instead of a choice. He got an F-- on his understanding of human nature by portraying all non-Christians as hating love. Why did CS Lewis portray nonbelievers and hell the way he did and why do people like Lee Strobel believe him? 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Don't forget how Lewis treated one of the protagonists - Susan i think her name was - she gets ostracized from Narnia because she developed an interest in makeup and boys. Heck, even J.K Rowling pointed out how stupid that was:

 

Harry Potter author J. K. Rowling has also commented on the same issue:[6]

 

“ There comes a point where Susan, who was the older girl, is lost to Narnia because she becomes interested in lipstick. She's become irreligious basically because she found sex. I have a big problem with that. ”

J. K. Rowling

Since the publication of Gaiman's story, "the problem of Susan" has become used more widely as a catchphrase for the literary and feminist investigation into Susan's treatment.[7][8]

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Susan_Pevensie#Criticism

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Don't forget how Lewis treated one of the protagonists - Susan i think her name was - she gets ostracized from Narnia because she developed an interest in makeup and boys. Heck, even J.K Rowling pointed out how stupid that was:

 

Harry Potter author J. K. Rowling has also commented on the same issue:[6]

 

“ There comes a point where Susan, who was the older girl, is lost to Narnia because she becomes interested in lipstick. She's become irreligious basically because she found sex. I have a big problem with that. ”

J. K. Rowling

Since the publication of Gaiman's story, "the problem of Susan" has become used more widely as a catchphrase for the literary and feminist investigation into Susan's treatment.[7][8]

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Susan_Pevensie#Criticism

 

Likewise Lewis had horrible things to say about condoms - even for married couples.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

When I first read the Space Trillogy, I was actually impressed that the evangelical culture accepted someone with such heretical ideas. Or rather, I kept thinking "do they... do they really know what's in here?" I mean... well... aliens? God saving other planets than ours? Merlin being as useful as he was because he wasn't christianized enough and was still heathen enough to talk to the spirits (but they didn't let him wake up all nature spirits)?

 

I remember being impressed with Mere Christianity, or at least some bits of it, because at least someone was trying to make sense of all that nonsense. But I think there were also parts of it where I was hoping for the Big Explainations of stuff I had questions about, and found the answers unsatisfactory.

 

My favorite book of his was Till We Have Faces. It made me cry. I'm tempted to reread it now and see if it still seems as powerful, but I'm also afraid of rereading it and discovering that my teenage self was an idiot with bad taste.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Lewis never brings up the idea that a Hindu might want want to be with Jesus if the Hindu found out that the Hindu gods never existed and Jesus is the real God. (Lewis never attempted to answer how it's not a dick move to not offer post-mortem salvation but his successors such as Lee Strobel have a response, albeit a very crappy one). 

To be fair, in The Last Battle, there was a bit where one of the people serving Tash went to heaven, because he was actually worshipping Aslan. Lewis seemed to be saying that "good" people following other religions can be saved anyway, since they didn't know any better. Of course, that brings up another set of problems, but there it is. 

 

I don't think Chronicles of Narnia are so bad. Yeah, there's some heavy handed religious stuff that weighs it down, but they're better than some of the other shit out there. I'd rank them above Twilight and The Inheritance Trilogy, but then, that's not saying much. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We recently watched all three Narnia movies since our 7-year-old daughter was interested after discussions at her Christian school. (Don't worry -- we hope we have the Christian part of her school worked out with her.)

 

I pointed out that Aslan was supposed to represent Jesus. She thought the association was weak, and proceeded to try and match up other Narnia characters to various bible characters (Satan, the apostles, etc.) or religious concepts (evil, greed, etc.). In the end, she decided the whole thing was silly and made better sense as just a plain old non-religious story. (Mommy was so proud.)

 

She expressed her disappointment with Aslan -- if he was so loving and powerful, why didn't he help more, and help sooner? (One of you also pointed this out earlier in this thread.) And why did they have to bow to him like that? Silly. So I asked what she thought about Jesus and his supposed role in this world. I sat in shocked silence as she explained that praying to Jesus is the same way... in the end, you fix it yourself and then people give credit to Jesus for finally showing up. (Holy shit, I tried not to laugh -- she is so damn smart!)

 

She gave me an example. Every morning at school, one of her classmates opens the day with prayer. (She never volunteers, as her teacher has confirmed.) They always ask for the same things... help us be respectful of the teacher and each other, help us to learn, keep us safe on our field trip, etc. She said you don't need god for that -- just be nice and pay attention!

 

During the last week of school, her class (only 11 kids, which we love) put on an amazing poetry recital. (They had memorized a bunch of complex poems, and had written some stunning original poems themselves, which is one of the reasons we love this school despite the christian part.) One girl opened the recital with prayer. (Interestingly enough, it was the spoiled blond girl in a yellow dress who always bullies the other girls, but of course she is good at praying. LOL) All the kids sat with their hands folded in their laps, heads bowed, eyes closed. My daughter sat with her hands behind her back, kicking her legs gently in the chair, head up, looking around the room as if to say, let's get on with the poetry and snacks already! (Again, Mommy was so proud.)

 

Anyway, back to the Narnia discussion...

 

She then went into a whole discussion of why Lord of the Rings was much better. The orcs are freakier, the elves are more beautiful, the adventure is much tougher. I explained to her that some people see Aragorn as a sort of Jesus figure. She balked. She felt the opposite. The ring is like religion -- it tries very hard to suck you in; the more you resist, the harder it tries to work on your mind. If you continue to resist you will be destroyed by the orcs or other evil minions of the ring. (She has witnessed the bullshit dished out to me by the evil people at our former church.) If you give in to the ring/religion, you either go crazy (jumping off the cliff in a burning ball of fire) or are doomed to that scary orc/minion life. I listened in complete amazement -- are you really only 7?!

 

So there you have it. Some criticism from the mouth of a babe. I can learn a thing or two from this kid of mine!

  • Like 6
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Considering the liberties with the Bible taken in The Space Trilogy, Narnia, and the Great Divorce what does that CS Lewis belief in the Bible. Was he not a fundamentalist? Was he ignorant of the Bible? What explains his re-invention of hell and salvation? If CS Lewis considered that good non-believers could go to heaven, why do Lee Strobel and his successors detest this idea yet still cite CS Lewis?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We recently watched all three Narnia movies since our 7-year-old daughter was interested after discussions at her Christian school. (Don't worry -- we hope we have the Christian part of her school worked out with her.)

 

I pointed out that Aslan was supposed to represent Jesus. She thought the association was weak, and proceeded to try and match up other Narnia characters to various bible characters (Satan, the apostles, etc.) or religious concepts (evil, greed, etc.). In the end, she decided the whole thing was silly and made better sense as just a plain old non-religious story. (Mommy was so proud.)

 

I concur with your daughter. Growing up in an athiest/agnostic household, I remember with fondness reading the Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, and enjoying the cheesy old cartoon about it. I was not told about the religious aspect of the book. I did get the reference of "Son of Adam and Daughter of Eve" titles, but it never clicked that the whole story was supposed to be Christian themed. To me, it was just a fun story about four kids who go to this fanciful land full of my favorite monsters of mythology and then get to rule it! 

 

It really DOES make more sense as a plain old non-religious story. Aslan is a lot cooler, kinder, more interesting, and MUCH more useful than Jesus was as a character.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I agree with everyone who said that Narnia is better if you don't look at it from an Xian perspective. Religion messed up a lot of great books. Jane Eyre has been my favorite forever and even then, the author keeps interrupting the plot to preach about how everybody needs God and if worshipping him isn't your foremost concern, you get punished. Les Miserables won't let up about redemption. Screw Jesus.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I read The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe when I was about twelve years old. I liked the story enough but being a strict bible literalist at a very young age, I found the biblical references to be blasphemous...lol. I was shocked to learn Christians considered it a great analogy for the bible. I wouldn't waste two hours of my life watching any of the Narnia movies.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

RenaissanceWoman, what a fantastic post, thank you!

 

And I'm so glad many are mentioning the sexist crap in Narnia. When I was a kid I read TLTW&TW, and was so pissed that when the boys went to war, the girls stayed behind and fawned sickeningly over Aslan. That was why I never read any of the others in the series. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I read The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe when I was about twelve years old. I liked the story enough but being a strict bible literalist at a very young age, I found the biblical references to be blasphemous...lol. I was shocked to learn Christians considered it a great analogy for the bible. I wouldn't waste two hours of my life watching any of the Narnia movies.

My mom had a crazy fundie friend who wouldn't let her kids watch anything that had anything even close to magic in it. (Because of this friend, I wasn't allowed to play Super Mario Brothers because my mom had been convinced by this lady that it had magic in it.) I was really surprised when we went to her house one time and they were all watching the animated version of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Time to attack The Great Divorce. The Great Divorce is all about a man who sees what hell is like. Hell is reimagined as a rainy gloomy place. The fire and man-eating worms Jesus describes in the Bible are completely absent in this depiction. Since CS Lewis was a professor of literature, I'm shocked he showed either ignorance, or more likely, intentional "artistic liscense" of the most famous piece of literature in Western history. The unbelievers there are all portrayed as complete unloving assholes. Wonderful for a former atheist who knows what it's like to be a believer  to stereotype unbelievers as incapable of compassion for other humans. The pain and suffering in hell are caused by their own tortured emotions of being unable to be with God. The odd thing is that they don't want to be with God but feel in pain because they are physically unable to feel love or feel loved when they are in hell. This is odd that Muslims pray to God five times a day, yet suddenly want to be separated from God for all eternity. Lewis seemed to invent the fallicious equation "not believing Jesus is a diety=hating Jesus and wanting to be separated from him".Lewis, like many other Christian theologians, never ask how come it's impossible to have post-mortem salvation. Lewis never brings up the idea that a Hindu might want want to be with Jesus if the Hindu found out that the Hindu gods never existed and Jesus is the real God. (Lewis never attempted to answer how it's not a dick move to not offer post-mortem salvation but his successors such as Lee Strobel have a response, albeit a very crappy one).

 

The people in the book are too obsessed with their own sins to consider going to heaven. If hell's a place full of sex and booze and immortality so neither of those could kill you, Lewis seems to accidently portray hell as something that would be cool except for the fact that love doesn't exist here. I find it odd that most non-believers desire love and want to be loved, but Lewis says that they would hate love and hapiness.God offers them the chance to go to heaven for one day. They go, but don't want to stay because they don't want to humble themselves and admit that they are scumbags. 

 

This book has changed the face of hell and Christians' perceptions of unbelievers forever. Lee Strobel's The Case for Faith uses Lewis interpretation of hell and elaborates on why it is good by giving crappy explanations why reincarnation, annihilation, not creating unbelievers in the first place and post-morem salvation are not as good as sending people to hell.  Telling them I think it's evil for God to send people to hell isn't effective anymore when people believe non-believers send themselves there. I wonder how CS Lewis could be such a literature professor at a high-class university if he honestly believed hell isn't described as a lake of fire in the Bible when it explicitly is. He seems to have deserved an F on his New Testament exam if he thought that people voluntarily went to hell, when the Bible explicitly portrays it as a punishment instead of a choice. He got an F-- on his understanding of human nature by portraying all non-Christians as hating love. Why did CS Lewis portray nonbelievers and hell the way he did and why do people like Lee Strobel believe him? 

Because the vast majority of modern Christians worship CS Lewis, as if he were a god.  I find it amusing to witness their adoration of him, when he was not an evangelical and said so plainly in his books.  It's all part of the Christian superstar syndrome.  A bit like with their endless fawning over Billy bloody Graham!!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've never liked Lewis, but I have always assumed it was because of some subconscious anti-Christian bias. But I didn't like Tolkien, either, and I read his stuff before I knew he was a Christian.  I find Lewis a bit stuffy and Tolkien just plain boring.  Sorry, Tolkien fans.

 

As long as I'm pissing people off, though, I don't like Catcher in the Rye, either, even though as an English teacher I'm supposed to.  Same with Invisible Man, by Ralph Ellison.  However The Invisible Man, by H.G. Wells, was pretty cool.  I really don't know what any of those guys believed, and except for Wells I don't really care.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I loved the Narnia stories as a boy long before i became a christian.As a christian I found his apologetics very difficult and eventually concluded certain aspects to be 'unbiblical' pmsl.Now he is irrelevant to me as a writer of course.I would still say that to a christian his writing is quite harmful to a reasonable belief ,whatever that is lol.As a deconverted man i wouldn't read his writing atall now,why would I.

i actually bought into some very wicked fundamental christian thought in the closing yrs of my christian life that went on about how the narnia stuff was inspired by demons etc.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"Mere Christianity" was helpful in my deconversion. In a thread on Google+ someone was talking about, well, I don't quite remember, but it had to do with their opinion of how atheists cannot explain morality, maybe social-Darwinism related. I questioned it, and a preacher said "read Mere Christianity... It's AMAZING!"

 

Now, this guy is really smart in some ways, and studies a lot. He's a former non-believer whose mother is church of Christ and when he decided he was a believer after all and became a preacher well, whatdoyouknow? He decided the religion he grew up with was the right one all along. He wants to be an intellectual about everything, and gave his kids names that are ancient and would result in teasing at school if it weren't for the fact that they are homeschooled. He's smart, but too credulous, else he would reject Christianity.

 

Anyway, I read the book and Lewis' argument is that because there is a universal sense of right and wrong, it must be instilled into us by god. That's all! Well, he's wrong all the way around. First, even his examples of morality aren't universal. About the only thing close to universal is that nearly -- nearly but not quite -- every society condemns murder. Every other moral issue is subjective. Second, since not killing each other is good for the species, even if we were all born without murderous tendencies, this would be the likely result of evolution. However, if God instilled this in people, there would be no born sociopaths, which clearly there are.

 

So the simpleness of this supposedly amazing argument, and its clear failure, helped me to say "that's all you got?"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've never liked Lewis, but I have always assumed it was because of some subconscious anti-Christian bias. But I didn't like Tolkien, either, and I read his stuff before I knew he was a Christian.  I find Lewis a bit stuffy and Tolkien just plain boring.  Sorry, Tolkien fans.

 

As long as I'm pissing people off, though, I don't like Catcher in the Rye, either, even though as an English teacher I'm supposed to.  Same with Invisible Man, by Ralph Ellison.  However The Invisible Man, by H.G. Wells, was pretty cool.  I really don't know what any of those guys believed, and except for Wells I don't really care.

 

I never liked The Unvanquished (Sinclair Lewis, I think), The Great Gatsby, Oedipus Rex, most especially not the Scarlet Letter nor probably any of the supposed classics that we read in high school. I was a nerd back then just not that kind of book nerd. My teacher would not let me select any Tolkien to read even though I may have actually finished one of the Lord of the Rings titles (I also played D&D). Heaven forbid someone should be able to read something they enjoy. Not making a case for or against Tolkien in particular. Just reminiscing about the half-read classics from high school.

 

Later on in my 30s I tried to read the Scarlet Letter on my own. No go. lol. Read a ton of scifi for a while tho.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Guidelines.