Is Narnia Christian?

Is the Narnia Series Christian?

is the narnia series christian

How Does Teaching a Perceptibly Christian Book Work in Public Settings?

Most of the seven books in the Narnia series by C.S. Lewis are taught at some time in the school years by public schools, private schools (religious as well as secular), homeschools, churches, and kids clubs in America.  The same is true for many other countries as well.  With such universal appeal, the question could be asked, “How can a book that is perceived as Christian be used in all sorts of schools besides Christian schools?”
Actually, not only Christian concepts are found in all of the Narnia books.  There is also Greek, Roman, and Norse mythology, English and Medieval folklore, and many other influences. Some examples of these influences are the myriad creatures that he highlights throughout the series.  There is the faun, centaurs, nymphs, Silenus and Bacchus, Dionysus, dwarfs, and dragons, to name a few.
Mr. Lewis himself answered this question when he said, “Some people seem to think that I began by asking myself how I could say something about Christianity to children; then fixed on the fairy tale as an instrument, then collected information about child psychology and decided what age group I’d write for; then drew up a list of basic Christian truths and hammered out ‘allegories’ to embody them. This is all pure moonshine. I couldn’t write in that way. It all began with images; a faun carrying an umbrella, a queen on a sledge, a magnificent lion. At first there wasn’t anything Christian about them; that element pushed itself in of its own accord.”

The History that Brought Christianity into the Series

Mr. Lewis became a Christian as an adult. Consequently, his great dedication to Christianity caused this influence throughout most of his writing. In some of the books he authored, the Christian themes are very strong throughout the themes.  The same can be said of his great love for mythology and legend. Both of these also found their way into most of his work.
Bu he never wanted his work to be considered allegory. He said that the parallels were not close enough to Christianity to actually be allegorical.  In December of 1958, he said, “If Aslan represented the immaterial Deity in the same way in which Giant Despair [a character in The Pilgrim’s Progress] represents despair, he would be an allegorical figure. In reality, however, he is an invention giving an imaginary answer to the question, ‘What 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?’ This is not allegory at all.”

So Then, Is the Narnia Series Christian?

So, to answer the question, “Is the Narnia series Christian?”  In summary, Mr. Lewis did not set out to make this series a Christian series. However, he did openly admit that the influence of Christ in his life did seep into the books in way that he was happy to later acknowledge. Even with the influence of Christianity throughout the series, it is still very subtle.  So people who are unfamiliar with Christianity will most likely not make any connections to the symbolism that Mr. Lewis clearly wrote into the series. What they will be able to take away from the series is a great study on character, strength, greed, and evil in the midst of fantastical characters in an amazing land.
No wonder it is still one of the most popular and enduring classics to this day.

And the best part is that you can enjoy these books immensely regardless of your religious background.

Consequently, I have made the lesson plans and curriculum on this site friendly to any program that desires to use them–whether secular, Christian, or any other religion.

To learn more about C.S. Lewis, check out this great website by clicking here.  You will find interviews, biographical information, information about all of the books he wrote, and much more.

Feel free to check out a Sample Chapter by clicking here.

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Comments 61

  1. It doesn’t bother me if it is or isn’t. I am agnostic. I would always hope books would be available Christian or not so people can make their own decisions. Luckily my kids just go to a public school so they can read all sorts of books, thank goodness!

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      Exactly! I feel that most people who aren’t involved in Christianity would not necessarily see a connection, which kind of makes these books perfect. It allows the reader to pick up the things that they perceive as valuable in life. And there are so many other great aspects to the books that there is something for everyone.

  2. I think that the Narnia series is classic literature and worth reading, just as I enjoy reading books that have a Jewish or Hindu or any other religious perspective. That’s one way to learn about each other.

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  3. I always knew it wasn’t particularity a Christian series however CS himself was a devote Christian so obviously he’d put his own influences into that. In the city of Belfast, the capital of my wee country, we have an iron lion statue in his honour in the Upper Newtownards Road area. It’s gorgeous! Definitely worth seeing if you’re ever over.

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      That is awesome. I would love to see it. Actually, my daughter and her family are in Ireland this week visiting old friends from a trip she took waaaay back when she was 14. Maybe I’ll send her to go see it and take some pics for me. 🙂

  4. I am not religious and I didn’t think that any of the Narnia books had anything to do with religion. I thought it was a very nice and kind series.

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      Thank you for your thoughts, Joanna. I think that is one of the best parts of this series. It allows you to read it in almost any light or background and glean from it out of your own experience.

  5. I’ve heard of the Narnia series, but I’ve never had a chance to read it before. I’d love to get to know more about the series, especially because of the subtle Christianity aspect, which was included in the books! 🙂

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      They are awesome! I hope you get a chance to. They are really fast reading books, so if you get a spare minute here or there, you will be able to read a good amount. You just may not be able to put them down, though!

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  6. I definitely saw a lot of Chrisitan influence in the books when I read them, but I don’t think that should make a difference to anyone who enjoys a good, high fantasy book. If you look at many books, these themes are there.
    One of my favorite book series is The Wheel of Time. Throughout the books you can see various religious and cultural influences woven into the various mythologies and peoples of the world.

  7. I didn’t feel these book were christian and it wouldn’t matter to me if they were or weren’t. I enjoyed the books so much! I just think people find similarities in many different things and read into things that aren’t actually there. But that’s the beauty of literature is that it’s up to the reader to interpret or relate to it in different ways than others.

    Kileen
    cute & little

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  8. I see a lot of links to Christianity, but it’s only natural. He was a Christian. It only makes sense that that fact would come through during the writing.

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      I remember watching it in the theater and being so taken by the cinematography that I didn’t want it to end. They did an amazing job.

  9. I completely agree, although I am pretty sure I read some of the books in grade school, I can’t remember, I did see the movies. While I can see some Christian undertones, it doesn’t make the books less appealing to Non-Christians. They are great feel-good stories that teach good lessons.

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      You are absolutely right, Matt. The Christian undertones are actually so subtle that without a background in Christianity, most people would entirely miss them.

  10. it is an interesting question you pose about how to teach seemingly christian fiction in a secular environment. when you think about it — so many books have christian themes and elements. think – the robe, ben hur, pilgrim’s progress, paradise lost, and the list goes on.

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      You are right, especially when you think about the fact that until about 50 years ago, religious thought was universal, so it really affected the vast majority of print and art. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

  11. I agree that this is a great series and an enjoyable read regardless of religious background. What’s essential is that readers get to learn about building traits of good character.

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  12. wow ! i honeslty did not know that – its even better that mr Lewi did infuence his books , i am a massive fan ( since childhood) of the lion , the witch and the wardrobe

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  13. I think I’ve read the Narnia series way back in the past, so I guess that’s why I can relate to this post a bit. Thanks for sharing this with us! Looking forward to rereading the series again.

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      I hope you enjoy it even more now! I loved it way more as an adult than when I was a kid. I understood the undertones so much better.

  14. While I found out as an adult that C. S. Lewis was a Christian writer, as a child, I never realized then Christian undertones in the Narnia series. In fact, I would argue that they just offer life lessons applicable to any religion (or lack thereof). 🙂

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      I would agree with you on this, Emily. While it was definitely not meant to be a religious text, it definitely had the influence of his Christian life as well as the influence of his pre-Christian life and lifelong interest in mythology among other things.

  15. I loved Narnia and never saw religious pattern in there ( I read in my late teenage so I could tell). But I am not Christian so I might have missed it as it is not as straightforward as for example in ‘His Dark Materials’

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      You are right, Lyosha. I think it was really meant to be obscure enough that it wouldn’t come across as religious to those who are not, but it would to those who are. Pretty genius actually!

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  16. Not that the Narnia books are so discernibly religious, especially to kids, but it is possible that religious matter be taught historically rather than as a doctrine.

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  17. I dont know of any schools in India that teach Narnia books but the movie on Narnia gained popularity in Indian cinema halls. I am a non fiction reader so it didn’t intrigue me too much but i could see my friends buying one Narnia series book after watching the movie! So, thanks for a detailed description of the Narnia Series!

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