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Unicorns, Magicians, Middle Earth vs Faith


pegesus.jpgOne has to wonder, I’m sure it’s not the water, what it is about England’s Oxford University and its production of literary scholars, especially those dealing with so-called “Children”stories.

Several of these stories have become “epic” “faith” based volumes and interpreted as having Christian values and ideals woven throughout the pages and plot.

There has been four literary scholars that I can think of that attended Oxford, and one who wanted to but because of finances couldn’t, that are notable for their “Children Stories” tied to “Christian Values.”

Kenneth Graham, who wanted to attend Oxford but didn’t, has been a favorite of mine for many years and authored Wind in the Willows.

His simple story of Otter, Toad, Muskrat and all the other “creatures” delighted me growing up and still today brings a warm tug at my heart as I re-read.

Of course his mentioning of “Pan” as the protector of the woodland creatures does rile the most “fundamental” of conservative believers but I, as a child, was brought into that literary world with a heart pulling sense of delight and the lessons of good, right and comradeship of “all” creatures was well learned.

The first “Children Story” Oxford scholar has to be Lewis Carroll and his Adventures of Alice in Wonderland.

This simple story has been interpreted and re-interpreted many times as to Lewis’s meanings and motives.

Out of the four scholars that I will mention, Lewis is probably the lest of those connected to a “Christian” motive in writing his novel but one can find the strands and threads in the plot.

Now comes the “heavy weight” division of Oxford scholar/writers, C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien and the latest to join the list, Philip Pullman.

C.S. Lewis wrote the Narnia Series and Tolkien the “epic fantasy novel” Lord of the Rings both being associated with championing “Christian Values.”

I was prompted to write this post because of the controversy over Philip Pullman’s Northern Lights (Golden Compass) which was released as a movie back in the Winter of 2007. Film goers were being urged to “boycott” the movie because of what “fundamental Christians”  called  it’s “Atheistic” and “anti-Catholic” themes.

The fact good versus evil, with good conquering, is not of value to the far right in their arguments and seems to have shaken their “faith.” So they urge everyone not to see the movie and I wonder if book burning it’s in the future?

Somehow this is all reminiscence of a book published in 1965 by Hugh J. Schonfield, a “Messianic Jew”, who wrote The Passover Plot.

Christian Conservatives went wild about how this was “blasphemy” and should not be read and it didn’t matter that Schonfield believed Jesus is the Messiah but his “theory” was to be feared.

The Passover Plot was published over forty years ago and it hasn’t “weakened” or “destroyed” anyones faith, for the “far right” seems to be doing quite well.

If ones “Faith” is on such “shaky” ground that a single novel or movie can destroy that “Faith” then I submit that it was no “Faith” at all.

I did see Golden Compass, tho I waited for its release to DVD, and I strongly believe that my “Faith” saw the entertainment value more then the theological value of the movie/story, just as it does when I view The Wizard of Oz with its “witches, wizard and munchkins.”

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