A few years ago, I was asked to explain what Narnia means to me, as someone who has argued for the truth of Christianity in several books. My answer was featured as a chapter in an illustrated
book subtitled "Our Adventures in Aslan's World."* Here, with the kind permission of Harvest House, is the short story I told.
"I first discovered Narnia in the basement of my parents' friends' house two miles from Mendenhall Glacier near Juneau, Alaska. Neither Alaska nor Narnia have quite left me since: enriching my life even in slums outside Bombay, exhaust-choked Chinese cities, or sordid districts in Taiwan.
"A friend in Hong Kong used to call me 'Puddleglum,' no doubt for my cheery disposition, and blended my name with the tribe of Marsh-wiggles. Maybe I took her jokes as a calling. Ever since, I've wandered through an Underland of skepticism, Marxism, Buddhism, and Gnostic philosophy with a mission parallel to that of my webfooted mentor: to lead captives out of intellectual gloom and into the light of Christ. The Chronicles of Narnia are wonderful training for a Christian apologist.
"The books are sneaky. You think you're reading children's tales about talking mice, fauns, and centaurs? You think Lewis is a little sloppy, the way he mixes his mythologies? Watch out! A profound view of life and ideas and of how to think critically waits like Susan with her bow to ambush you.
"Is faith just wishful thinking? Puddleglum's speech in Underland is a brilliant response to deconstructionist views of life. Why should we believe the Christian God over other religions? Aslan's 'I was the lion' speech to Shasta and his welcome to Emeth reflect subtle Christian teaching on the 'divine logos,' or what Justin Martyr called 'tutors to Christ' in other faiths. Can we believe the remarkable claims Jesus makes about Himself? 'There are only three possibilities,' Professor Digory reminds us, yet his logic represents not a narrowing, like the arguments of a Dawkins or Harris, but a broadening of the possibilities of what it means to be human, backed up by the latest and best scholarship on the historical Jesus. The whole gang -- monopods, Reepicheep, and, of course, Puddleglum -- follow me into my own books, where they always have helpful things to say."
Adapted from: Lion and The Land of Narnia © 2008 by Robert Cording. Published by Harvest House Publishers, Eugene, OR. Used by permission.