I haven't seen it, so don't worry about any spoilers in this post. In fact, this post isn't so much about the movie as it is about the criticisms I hear so much of lately about Lewis and, specifically, Narnia. I was walking by the Slice today and overheard some unfriendly words being spoken about Jack. The post there was titled "Narnia and Paganism." Here are some of my thoughts (basically the comment I nailed to their door).
Lewis was fascinated with mythology - the stories it told about the people who created it and the stories it tells about us. Mythology for a literature professor has nothing to do with religion and everything to do with story - I'm not sure how to explain that. Lewis does blend his faith with mythology in much of his work (one of his greatest works, Till We Have Faces, is a re-telling of the Cupid-Psyche myth). But he did it as an English professor whose study, whose work, was literature - he saw God, the Christian God, revealed in stories that aren't explicitly Christian.
Mythology for Lewis, I suspect, had everything to do with metaphor. It was his language. Just as a Sunday School teacher whose profession is Coach might use sports metaphors to convey spiritual truths, so Lewis used literary and mythological references to convey spiritual truths. And the result, I believe, is beautiful. Of course, it's my language too.
We write because we are writers. It's who God made us to be and we glorify God in the writing. Lewis's theology is not perfect (glaringly imperfect at times), nor does it have to be in order for it to be suitable for us. If you strip away imagination, even "sanctified" imagination, from the church, then I think you will lose far more than you realize in the end. Our imaginations are gifts from God, and I would bet that God was pleased with Lewis's use of his gift.
Now maybe some of you think we should read just the Bible all the time. If that's the case, then there's not much we can discuss. Because at issue then is not Lewis's use of mythology so much as it is that Lewis was a professor of literature. It is not a discussion of whether Lewis can use his imagination to create a story about redemption so much as it is that it is not the redemption story. I don't want Lewis to write a gospel, I want Lewis to write Narnia and the Space Trilogy and Till We Have Faces. I want The Great Divorce and The Screwtape Letters from Jack, not the 95 Theses or Augustine's Confessions. Don't you understand? He gave us something unique and something good. Not perfect, but nontheless good. Not Luther, but Lewis. He resonates strongly with some of us, not because we're pagans wearing Xian Tees, but because he was authentically Christian and sought to authentically follow Christ. Just as we do: as best we can, as best we know how.