Phooey on Aslan
And then there’s the Narnia thing.
Icky icky ick.
What Pullman particularly objects to about the Narnia series, as it comes to a climax in The Last Battle, is that the children are killed and go to heaven. ” ‘There was a real railway accident,’ said Aslan softly. ‘Your father and mother and all of you are – as you used to call it in the Shadowlands – dead. The term is over: the holidays have begun. The dream is ended: this is the morning.’ “
Yeah okay – sorry, I’m with Pullman here. I hate that medieval (literally medieval) ‘this world is crap boring shadowlands and “heaven” is all joy tralala’ idea. I hate the idea of a modern children’s story that tells them being alive is like being at school and being dead is holidays, that life is the dream and being dead is waking up. What does that give you? Well, at the outermost edge, it gives you people who are so eager to get there that they kill themselves to do it, and so deluded about what is ‘good’ and what their putative deity wants that they do it by killing as many other people as possible. Not just tube-exploders and semi-airplane pilots, either – also the child soldiers in Iran during the Iran-Iraq war: they were given plastic keys and told they were the keys to Paradise, and sent off to be killed. And only slightly removed from the outermost edge, it gives you all the monster raving loonies who believe in the ‘Rapture’ and get pleasure in contemplating the future torture of most human beings on the planet – which means you get morally disgusting human beings. And then you get a lot of people who just waste the lives they do have by failing to appreciate the real world.
Furthermore, to be morally mature will involve acknowledging that reality and living in relation to God, the ground of our being and the goal of our longing. There are different concepts of reality, and following on from that different understandings of what it is to be morally mature. For the atheist, moral maturity must involve rejecting religion. For the religious believer, it must involve acknowledging the supreme reality from whom we draw our being.
That sounds grand, doesn’t it. But it’s just windy nonsense dressed up. What’s morally mature about that?