Liam Nesson: 'Aslan symbolizes all great spiritual leaders'

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Liam Nesson: 'Aslan symbolizes all great spiritual leaders'

Postby Savber100 » Dec 04, 2010 10:07 pm

I was surfing the net for reviews, when I found this interesting quote from Liam Nesson, VA of Aslan.

Neeson said: ‘Aslan symbolises a Christ-like figure but he also symbolises for me Mohammed, Buddha and all the great spiritual leaders and prophets over the centuries.That’s who Aslan stands for as well as a mentor figure for kids – that’s what he means for me.’

This quote seems to have riled some fellow Christans like William Oddie, a fomer editor of The Catholic Herald and a lifelong fan of the Chronicles of Narnia, accused Neeson of ‘a betrayal of Lewis’s intention and a shameful distortion’.

He said: ‘Aslan is clearly established from the very beginning of the whole cannon as being a Christ figure. I can’t believe that Liam Neeson is so stupid as not to know.’

Ok, let me be clear. I admire and love Liam Nesson as an actor but I really have to respectfully disagree with his comments on Aslan and I'm curious what you guys think about this.

I have to admit it's really not that surprising... many people have different interpretations of the text but I can't help wonder whether such beliefs minimize/undermine the impact of the important spiritual themes that Lewis placed in the series.

Source: http://bighollywood.breitbart.com/jjmno ... -mohammad/

Mods: I was uncertain whether this topic belonged here since it's an opinion rather than an examination on spirituality in Narnia. But feel free to move this if you think it doesn't belong.
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Re: Liam Nesson: 'Aslan represents Mohammad'

Postby wolfloversk » Dec 04, 2010 10:38 pm

That was semi-taken out of context:

The full interview was in the press release thingy here:

http://www.narniaweb.com/2010/12/dawn-t ... ss-junket/

http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php ... 7783916834

I think he has a point... I mean, really Aslan is the number one role model in the film, so naturally people will associate them with their real life number one role model. Now of course we all know who Lewis meant Aslan to be, and I'm sure Neeson does... Actually I'm more suprised that the article picked Islam out of all the association's Neeson mentions... due to the fact that Christianity and Islam are both born out of the same history (Judeaism) and that, from my understanding, they believe in the same God, just that we Christian's believe that God sent Jesus, his one and only son who gave his own life to save us, where as Muslims believe he was simply a prophet. It would make much more sense to me if they focused on Buddhism, or at the very least emphasize that he said Mohammed, and not God. But that's just my two cents... ;) So yeah I don't think he's nessacarily being "politically correct" he's just acknowledging that lots of people look at Aslan as a role model, and not all of them are Christians. I will admit though... it'd be very interesting to hear Lewis' take on this ;))
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Re: Liam Nesson: 'Aslan represents Mohammad'

Postby Skilletdude » Dec 04, 2010 11:25 pm

If Neeson wants to say Aslan is representing "great spiritual leaders and prophets over the centuries," he can do that. But in the books he is the son of the great Emperor-beyond-the-Sea and the Lord of the whole wood as Mr. Beaver said in LWW. Now Neeson is calling him merely a prophet. I hope his wishy washy point of view won't influence the filmmakers and steer the series in the wrong direction theologically. If future movie adaptations don't have the courage to retain the true image of the primary character in the series, I'd rather they quit before they completely dirty the waters.

In the end, people can say what they want about Aslan and who he represents other than Jesus but for those who really pay attention to what Lewis was trying to communicate in The Chronicles, they will see there is no room for any Tashlans.
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Re: Liam Nesson: 'Aslan represents Mohammad'

Postby icarus » Dec 05, 2010 4:40 am

I'm not really one to have much of an opinion about the whole aspect of theology here - not really my area - but i do think its important to actually quote Liam Neeson directly if you are going to discuss what he said - i've seen quite a bit of press coverage for this story in the UK and it really makes me angry how low the printed media in this country continue to sink.

He never said that "Aslan represents Mohammed" or any such words as i have often seen him paraphrased as saying, and i think its rather typical of the media (the UK's hate-filled Daily Mail in particular) who have focused on that one particular aspect of what he said in order to deliberately stir up controversy and sell papers.

For a start he also referenced the spiritual figures of other religions as well, not just Mohammed (but of course nothing about 'Buddha' is ever going to sell tabloid gossip rags) an he very clearly offered the quote as his own personal interpretation of an artistic work - to requote him as if he stated matter of factly that "Aslan represents Mohammed" is simply out-and-out wrong.
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Re: Liam Nesson: 'Aslan represents Mohammad'

Postby adamie » Dec 05, 2010 5:52 am

Well, I don’t know anything about the daily mail, but it seems kinda low to use a statement like this just to have something shocking to write about.

Personally, I don’t think Lewis meant it the way Liam puts it (he obviously meant Aslan to be Christ), but I think it’s a beautiful way to put it, and so very true. I don’t think Lewis would have minded. Even if people did not think Aslan was Christ, they would still get the message Lewis was trying to bring through the character. What they call him doesn't really matter, as long as they learn the message he was trying to send them. I believe Lewis was wise enough to know that you can find beautiful aspects in all religions.

I myself am not sure whether or not I'm a christian. This does not mean I'm not interested in religion. I just believe that you can only learn what you believe by growing old and having experiences that can lead you to religion. Personally, I prefer not to be raised into a religion from birth, because that would take away the element of choice, which I think is very important. Also, I see that a lot of religious people stick to there beliefs, without seeing the wisdom that can be found in other religions. In it's extreme form, this is what leads to racism and war.

So, I try to study all religions, and take everything I find true and wise out of those. I try to apply those in my life. I sort of form my own 'religion' as it were. This is were the Narnia books are of great help to me.

Oh, and just for the record, Buddhism isn't a religion, it's a way of life. There is no God of any sort to be found in Buddhism. For example, you can perfectly be a Christian AND a Buddhist at the same time.
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Re: Liam Nesson: 'Aslan represents Mohammad'

Postby Warrior 4 Jesus » Dec 05, 2010 6:06 am

Sorry, that's not true. Yes, Buddhism isn't a religion but it's still spiritually adverse to Christian belief. Also, forming one's own religion is not wise because then the creator of said collection of religions becomes the god by which truth is measured and that is very dangerous.

But back on topic, I'm against tabloid tactics. Aslan is definitely meant to point to the Christian Triune God but everyone should be able to enjoy reading the books.
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Re: Liam Nesson: 'Aslan represents Mohammad'

Postby Lirenel » Dec 05, 2010 6:40 am

Aslan was definitely meant to point to Christ, there is no doubt about that. But before we start bashing Mr. Neeson too much, let's remember that Aslan *isn't* Christ. A literary representative, yes. Christ Himself, no. Neeson's quote is misinformed, but he's not saying that Christ is Muhammed or Buddha or anything like that.

And remember, God uses all things for His glory. If people are more likely to read the Chronicles because they aren't instinctively biased against them because of their bias against Christianity, they will be exposed to a little bit of the Truth, and who knows where that seed will lead them.

Just to head off some of the potential firestorm here...
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Re: Liam Nesson: 'Aslan represents Mohammad'

Postby adamie » Dec 05, 2010 9:47 am

Warrior 4 Jesus wrote:Sorry, that's not true. Yes, Buddhism isn't a religion but it's still spiritually adverse to Christian belief. Also, forming one's own religion is not wise because then the creator of said collection of religions becomes the god by which truth is measured and that is very dangerous.

But back on topic, I'm against tabloid tactics. Aslan is definitely meant to point to the Christian Triune God but everyone should be able to enjoy reading the books.

it's not adverse to christian belief. My mother is a school pastor, yet she uses Buddhist methods in her work. The Bishop who appointed her knows about this method, and supports it. At home, we have both books on Buddhism and Christianity, and after reading those, I can tell you that the two work perfectly combined.

Also, You misunderstood me about forming my own religion. I expressed it wrong. What I mean is that I try not to choose for one religion, thereby ruling out all others. I try to take some distance, accepting that everyone has the right to belief what they want, and that, in belief, there can be no good and wrong, for there is no proof. that's why it's called belief. You have the choice to belief, which makes it all the more powerful when you do.

By accepting a religion as absolutely and certainly true, you basically mark those who belief something else or don't belief at all as liars or ignorant. That's where hatred is born, and that hatred often goes against the religion you believed in in the first place. In every religion there are fanatics who turn to physical or verbal violence to make others believe what they believe. To me, that's wrong. every person has the right of free choice.

So, no, I do not create my own religion. I do not make up rules, after which I follow them without thinking. That, indeed, would be dangerous. But what I learn from Religions, and what I learn from Narnia and Aslan as well, is that I have to try to lead a good life. To show respect to all others. To treat every man as an equal. So, in every choice I make, I try to do the right thing. and I believe that's what everyone does. Some call it doing the will of God, others call it doing the will of Allah (and I'm not saying those are the same, they are not! They both say different things, but they are equal in my eyes.) I call it trying to be a good man.
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Re: Liam Nesson: 'Aslan represents Mohammad'

Postby Liberty Hoffman » Dec 05, 2010 11:32 am

this comment was interesting to me.....I mean, I was kind of surprised to hear him say that. but I don't know his heart, only God knows, and I am not going to judge anyone based on a single comment. all I can say is that God knows his heart and tells no one any story but their own.
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Re: Liam Nesson: 'Aslan represents Mohammad'

Postby mm1991 » Dec 05, 2010 12:10 pm

His point was that the film and it's characters mean different things to different people. Case closed.
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Re: Liam Nesson: 'Aslan represents Mohammad'

Postby Josh » Dec 05, 2010 1:30 pm

Shouldnt this be on the "Narnia and Chrisitanity" forum? I know it revolves around an actor's quote, but I feel it is a bit unrelated to the actual movie.
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Re: Liam Nesson: 'Aslan represents Mohammad'

Postby Ithilwen » Dec 05, 2010 5:58 pm

I think Liam Neeson was just making a personal statement about how he views it, and not a statement about what Aslan does/should represent to everyone, or how the author intended the character. He's just stating his viewpoint, which he has every right to do. He's not saying everyone has to see it that way. :)


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Re: Liam Nesson: 'Aslan represents Mohammad'

Postby Savber100 » Dec 05, 2010 6:15 pm

Interesting responses from everyone!

Sorry, icarus, if it seemed that I took the quote out of context as it wasn't my intention and was only just stating what I read from the link, which revolved around that quote.

Thanks for giving the other links, wolfloversk! :D

Josh, I was uncertain myself hence my note at the bottom. I left it to the decision of the mods.

In the end, my question was whether this undermines the spiritual impact that Aslan was suppose to represent in the films? In filmmaking, if the actors stray from the original intent/interpretation of the source material wouldn't it have a negative impact?

Personally, I thought what Nesson said here isn't heresy as the article makes it sound but his interpretations does stray from the original intent which I believe lessen the impact of the spiritual themes that Lewis was trying to represent. However, one can still argue that the spiritual themes represented in Narnia is universal, which was an interesting point that a friend brought up to me once.
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Re: Liam Nesson: 'Aslan represents Mohammad'

Postby Raticus » Dec 05, 2010 6:30 pm

First off I agree that this thread is better suited for the Narnia and Christianity section.

Liam Neeson was expressing his own opinions and religious beliefs, and I think it's pretty immature and destructive to the credibility of Narnia and C.S Lewis to imply that all of a sudden these films are tainted by the notion that not everyone involved in the project agrees with Lewis's world view and interpretation of his characters albeit if is other than the original intent. Also the thread title seems to suggest that Neeson is saying that Aslan is Mohammed (why leave out Buddha and other spiritual leaders?) rather than symbolizes him in some aspects as he implied.

Again, he was asked a personal question about what he believes and he responded.
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Re: Liam Nesson: 'Aslan represents Mohammad'

Postby Ithilwen » Dec 05, 2010 6:51 pm

^^ I agree. Plus, I'm sure there are lots of people working on the movie who don't view it as Christian at all. Skandar Keynes, after all, is an atheist. He might not make any connection at all between the characters and plot to Biblical principles. And they don't really have to. They are acting.


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Re: Liam Nesson: 'Aslan represents Mohammad'

Postby Clive Staples Sibelius » Dec 05, 2010 7:01 pm

Lirenel wrote:Aslan was definitely meant to point to Christ, there is no doubt about that. But before we start bashing Mr. Neeson too much, let's remember that Aslan *isn't* Christ. A literary representative, yes. Christ Himself, no. Neeson's quote is misinformed, but he's not saying that Christ is Muhammed or Buddha or anything like that.

And remember, God uses all things for His glory. If people are more likely to read the Chronicles because they aren't instinctively biased against them because of their bias against Christianity, they will be exposed to a little bit of the Truth, and who knows where that seed will lead them.

Just to head off some of the potential firestorm here...


Very well put. I couldn't agree more.
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