“Christmas? Bah, humbug.”
— Scrooge, in Charles Dickens’
A Christmas Carol
by Rod D. Martin
December 24, 2005
Scrooge may have been a fictional character in a 19th-century Dickens novel; but did you ever imagine Scrooge’s ghost could haunt the ACLU, People for the American Way, and America’s other citadels of radical secularism in the way it does this year?
Just dare say “Merry Christmas” in public, and watch these folks theatrically cup their ears and shriek, like Victorian matrons who’ve just heard the forbidden word “sex.”
And now they’re going after Aslan.
The fictional beast in C.S. Lewis’ The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, now being shown at a theater near you?
The British writer Philip Pullman is representative in his fuming that Lewis’ children’s stories are based on “reactionary prejudice.”
Well, if so, there must be hordes of reactionaries out there: at least 100 million of them in fact, the number of copies of Narnia sold to date.
The Guardian, Britain’s chief leftist newspaper, lambastes Aslan for representing “everything that is most hateful about religion,” sort of a furry cross between David Duke and Osama bin Laden, rather than a strong, kindly, self-sacrificing hero.
Here in America, our homegrown totalitarians prefer attacking Aslan’s creator, the late C.S. Lewis himself: the Oxford and Cambridge don and one of the greatest Christian thinkers of the last century.
Writing in the November 21 issue of The New Yorker, Adam Gopnik echoes fellow secularist Charles McGrath, whose November 13 New York Times Magazine article hurls at Lewis whatever’s left in the liberal sandbox after the latest “Bush is Hitler” mudfest.
Their charge? C.S. Lewis was — gasp — a sinner before becoming a Christian.
Earth to McGrath and Gopnik: One cannot become a Christian until one admits that he has sinned.
That’s precisely why Christ died: to save sinners. That’s precisely why Christ was born. And that’s precisely why Christians celebrate His birth each Christmas: to remember His grace and mercy, the underserved forgiveness received from the risen Prince of Peace.
Like hundreds of millions of Christians of every nation and race, Lewis confessed his past misdeeds readily: McGrath and Gopnik are, at best, redundant. And regardless, it is Lewis’ ideas, not the poor earthen vessel who penned them, which count.
The literal crux of the matter, and the source of the anti-Christian left’s bile, is that Aslan is a thinly veiled picture of Christ. The whole world of Aslan and Narnia is anathema to them. It opens the heart to the imagination and innocence of childhood, and the mind to the disinterested pursuit of reality and truth through logic and reason.
This terrifies and infuriates those who’ve built their lives on the flat, lifeless trinity of Darwin, Marx and Freud, on the empty lie that there is no innocence, nor truth, nor possibility of a world or life beyond our own.
For most people, this sort of philosophy is worthless, because it drains meaning and life from everything. But for others, it provides a ready excuse to cast aside all moral restraints, to define oneself as the final arbiter of all “truth”.
Such is the attraction of radical secularism. It is a Faustian bargain, the precise opposite of Pascal’s Wager. For the privilege of ruling today, it sacrifices all hope of tomorrow.
But one cannot wave reality away, any more than one can blot out the sun by closing one’s eyes.
In all times and places, the vast majority of humanity has believed that the magic of myth and the lure of logic point to an ultimate reality beyond merely material existence.
Christmas is the joyful story that confirms that the majority is right. Nature is not all there is. There is something beyond its mere contours. But the Christmas story — the myth that became real — goes farther than that. There is beauty and meaning, purpose and truth. We live in a moral universe.
Most of all, there is indeed a God — but a very special God. He is a deeply personal God who so loved us that He brought His only Son into the world to be in fellowship with us, to teach us His ways, to die in our place so we might be redeemed, to be raised and one day to return as the chivalrous King, destroying all evil, wiping away all tears, and reigning forever over a brand-new heaven and earth, all which can be ours through Him if we open our hearts with the faith of a child.
Who’s afraid of Christmas, Aslan, and Lewis? Simply put, those who’d rather be in control than be happy. Those who insist on being captain of their ship — even when it’s the Titanic.
If you know or love someone like that, take them to see The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.
And to you and yours, Merry Christmas.