.- Actor Liam Neeson, the voice of the lion Aslan in the latest Narnia film, has drawn criticism for saying the character is a Christ-like figure who also symbolizes other spiritual leaders.
Aslan is a character in all seven Narnia books by the British Christian writer C.S. Lewis. In the climax of the first book âThe Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobeâ Aslan sacrifices his life to save Narnia before rising from the dead.
Speaking ahead of the upcoming release of the Narnia movie âThe Voyage of the Dawn Treader,â Neeson said: âAslan symbolizes a Christ-like figure but he also symbolizes for me Mohammed, Buddha and all the great spiritual leaders and prophets over the centuries.
âThatâs who Aslan stands for as well as a mentor figure for kids â thatâs what he means for me.â
The 58-year-old Neeson is a practicing Catholic who grew up in Northern Ireland and was named after his parish priest, the Daily Telegraph reports. The actor has also collaborated with American Catholic priests to produce a CD of Lenten spiritual meditations.
Walter Hooper, Lewisâ former secretary and a trustee of his estate, said that C.S. Lewis would have been outraged by the claim.
âIt is nothing whatever to do with Islam,â Hooper told the Telegraph. âLewis would have simply denied that. He wrote that the âwhole Narnian story is about Christ.â Lewis could not have been clearer.â
He attributed Neesonâs remarks to political correctness and a desire to be âvery multicultural.â
William Oddie, a former editor of The Catholic Herald who is a lifelong fan of the Chronicles of Narnia series, charged that Neeson had committed âa betrayal of Lewisâs intention and a shameful distortion.â
âAslan is clearly established from the very beginning of the whole canon as being a Christ figure. I canât believe that Liam Neeson is so stupid as not to know.â
Lewis himself characterized Aslan as an invented imaginary answer to the question âWhat might Christ become like if there really were a world like Narnia, and He chose to be incarnate and die and rise again in that world as He actually has done in ours?â
âThe Voyage of the Dawn Treaderâ will be released in the U.K. on Dec. 9 and in the U.S. on Dec. 10.