Subject: Re: CS Lewis (Was: Favourite books)

Ven vendersleighc at
Mon Dec 13 19:41:36 EST 2004

I disliked Goddy books as a child (irrc Dwj
called them that in her biography) so count me in
as another who felt shocked and betrayed by the
realisation that TLTWATW was a Christian allegory
when my rather intense and scary RE teacher gave
us it as a set book. Despite this, after she
handed the books out, I immediately became
absorbed in rereading and quite I forgot there
was a lesson I was supposed to be paying
attention to. When she realised I was reading, in
her class!  she took my copy away from me,
intending I should only have it for read aloud
sessions in class  -- torture, the beeatch!
However,  as I could read it fast enough to get
it back to her the next day, I managed to get my
best friend to lend hers to me. 

The bit that got to me was the bit at the end of 
*The Last Battle* when the
Calormene soldier meets Aslan, and Aslan tells 
him, as near as makes no
odds, that it isn't what you *say* you are 
worshipping but whether you
behave in good ways in the process that makes the

difference.  I took this
(at about age 8, I suppose) to mean that God was 
God was God and it didn't
matter what we call Her, or to put it another way

that a good Muslim was
better than a bad Christian as far as God was 
concerned.  That was probably
the message I took away from the Narnia books 
more than any other, in fact.

After which I found it very difficult to cope 
with critics of Lewis who
said he was a bigot, because that was so 
not-bigotted, to me.  It almost
made up for the horrid bias in *The Horse and His


I take this to be a general tenet of Anglicanism
since it was the attittude taken by the parish
priest when I was growing up, the appropriatly
named Reverend Zeal. My Mum was very concerned
about my Nana who had never been baptised
(brought up Baptist, left home and church before
she was old enough to be). Mum (brought up
Catholic, became Anglican later) worried that her
mother was doomed to hellfire, as well as barred
from Christian burial. Whenever she tried to talk
about it  Nana (who I suspect was a non believer)
used to say "The Catholics will bury me" -- which
they may well not have done. Reverend Zeal
reassured Mum both that he would perform the
funeral and that God did know his own. She found
that a comfort regarding her athiest* daughter
too. Good man the Reverend Zeal.

*I have distinctly animist tendencies that make
it a bit more complicated than that...... And,
yes, I do come from a family that changes it's
mind about religion every generation or so. The
common thread, thankfully, is religious

I always found the Christianity/morality in
George Macdonald's books very easy to accomodate,
he takes a similar  position for example in
regard to Mistress Croale in Sir Gibbie.


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