The Lion, The Witch, Tolkien and Atheism...We Ponder Into the Wardrobe of C.S Lewis

Kirsten Macdonald


Author C.S Lewis has held my attention and imagination captive for many years. For those who know and love Narnia, a wardrobe will never ever be just a wardrobe. A lion will never just be a lion. Ever. 

As a wee poppet, I loved a good story, and Lewis' The Chronicles of Narnia is an all-time favourite. The first book in the series of seven was The Lion, The Witch and Wardrobe. Set in WW2, three siblings are sent to the home of Professor Digory Kirke to escape the impending threat on London by Nazi Germany. What came next was nothing short of a masterpiece of fantasy, magic, heroic adventure and mythical beasts. The narrative of what lies beneath this formidable and conflicted world endures to the current day, where his books continue to sell millions of copies and translated into multiple languages, movies and TV series. 

 



photo credit: C.S Lewis square- belfast https://discovernorthernireland.com 


An intellectual herculean of his time, albeit a humble one- Clive Staples Lewis was born in 1898 in Belfast.

Oxford and Cambridge Universities were his stomping grounds along with his friend, JRR Tolkien.  It was actually during a stroll in the September of 1931 along Addison's Walk in the ground of Magdelen College that a conversation would change the course of the Irish scholar's life. The passionate and reportedly steadfast atheist chatted with Tolkien and Hugo Dyson about metaphor and myth. After some robust debate, Lewis was challenged by Tolkien that the myth of Christ was real and worth further investigation. C'mon right? More than a little fascinating, there was this one time when Tolkien and I were chatting...  



photo credit: creative commons Illustrated by Pauline Baynes 


Forty books later and countless works of literature, both in fantasy and academia, CS Lewis became one of the most prolific writers and lay theologians of the twentieth century. 

The world of Narnia provided more grown-up tales exploring loss, heroism, villainy, forgiveness, faith, siblings, and children's courage. Aslan, the lion, was as fierce and wonderous as the witch was frighteningly real, the beautiful trickster incarnate! There were life lessons to be discovered and a hankering for Turkish delight. To my fascination, the female characters developed stealthy warrior skills that were to be reckoned with. For a time, the book was banned in several countries for its perceived violence. 



The world is once again in a state of compunction, and perhaps dare I say it; a hue of change? I pray each day, each of us might find silver threads in the lining of all this; I know many have. In the meantime, Pondering can help us find meaning in a world of disquietude, and so I have found some of my favourite C.S.Lewis quotes to do what we do best - inspire, reflect and prosper. 

 

To top it off, our team has decided a gift is in order, so 

make sure you access your free subscription to Ponderings- Until June 2020. Normally 4.95 per month. We will choose a lucky subscriber to send this complete Chronicles of Narnia Hardcover collection, beautifully illustrated, featuring all seven books along with an essay by C.S.Lewis on writing. Valued at $89.95 

 

"Once a King in Narnia, always a King in Narnia. But don't go trying to use the same route twice. Indeed, don't try to get there at all. It'll happen when you're not looking for it. And don't talk too much about it even among yourselves. And don't mention it to anyone else unless you find that they've had adventures of the same sort themselves. What's that? How will you know? Oh, you'll know all right. Odd things, they say even their looks will let the secret out. Keep your eyes open. Bless me, what do they teach them at these schools."

-The Professor"

Clive Staples Lewis (1898–1963)