What can man do when the God he believes in doesn’t act like the God he believes in?
“Do you think I care if Aslan dooms me to death?” said the King. “That would be nothing, nothing at all. Would it not be better to be dead than to have this horrible fear that Aslan has come and is not like the Aslan we have believed in and longed for? It is as if the sun rose one day and were a black sun.”
“I know,” said Jewel. “Or as if you drank water and it were dry water. You are in the right, Sire. This is the end of all things. Let us go and give ourselves up.”
This is an interesting question that is rarely addressed, since few Christian writers would dare to pose such a question, let alone in a children’s story. Their conclusion is also quite fascinating, yet disarmingly simple: Meet this person that claims to be God, and if he is anything like what they believed in, he may have mercy or at least ease those fears; if not, then everything they believed in was a lie, and death pales in comparison to such a life.
Of course, the truth is a bit more complicated. The truth is that Shift has swiftly set himself up as a dictator and is essentially tying a bow around Narnia and handing it over to the Calormenes, all in the name of Aslan.
“Please,” said the Lamb, “I can’t understand. What have we to do with the Calormenes? We belong to Aslan. They belong to Tash. They have a god called Tash. They say he has four arms and the head of a vulture. They kill Men on his altar. I don’t believe there’s any such person as Tash. But if there was, How could Aslan be friends with him?”
“Tash is only another name for Aslan. All that old idea of us being right and the Calormenes wrong is silly. We know better now. The Calormenes use different words but we all mean the same thing. Tash and Aslan are only two different names for you know Who. That’s why there can never be any quarrel between them. Get that into your heads, you stupid brutes. Tash is Aslan: Aslan is Tash.”
So this represents the argument that all religions are basically the same (NOT about Christianity vs. Islam specifically; that’s more of a special case). The Lamb presents the counterargument: How can two (or more) gods whose natures are so fundamentally different even be “friends”, let alone the same?
So Shift is officially a false prophet (claiming to speak the word of God), and what’s more, he’s using the Narnians’ zeal against them. This would seem like a perfect time for Tirian to step in set things to rights, wouldn’t it?
“Ape,” [Tirian] cried with a great voice, “you lie damnably. You lie like a Calormene. You lie like an Ape.”
How to win friends and influence people!
Get used to our hero failing. It happens a lot.
Until next time…