Mark D. Roberts

Mark D. Roberts

Could Aslan Symbolize Mohammed and the Buddha? Aslan’s Voice Says “Yes”


Actor Liam Neeson, who does the voice of Aslan in The Chronicles of Narnia films, including the forthcoming The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, has upset fans of Narnia by claiming that Aslan represents, for him, a wide variety of religious figures. Here’s his statement, as quoted by the Catholic News Agency,

“Aslan symbolizes a
Christ-like figure but he also symbolizes 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.”


Not surprisingly, Neeson’s comment has stirred the pot. For millions of Christians, Aslan is not just some “Christ-like figure,” but a powerful representation of Jesus Christ. C.S. Lewis, who wrote The Chronicles of Narnia, was quite clear about Aslan as fictional image of Jesus, not whichever religious leader you choose.

Is Neeson completely out to lunch? As a practicing Roman Catholic, should he have said this sort of thing?

How should Christians respond to Neeson’s comment? I believe that this gives us a great opportunity to communicate the truth and love of God. Of course it also allows us to show the world how narrow-minded and judgmental we Christians can be.

I’ll offer some further reflection on this situation later. For now, I’d be interested in your observations.

  • Kozak

    I’d say it shows lack of conviction and spinelessness on the part of a Catholic who feels uncomfortable proclaiming his faith. Instead, he panders to the irreligious and the anti-Christian. Sad.

  • Linda Worden

    As a Christ follower, I long for God’s truth to be clearly understood and embraced by everyone. The Narnia series is one way for that truth to be unveiled through intriguing stories. As you suggest, this opportunity in which there is a difference of opinion about whom Aslan represents, can be a great conversation starter. It can also become an avenue to stimulate thoughtful reflection on the character of Christ. And if our conversation also models Christ-like attributes, this film will provide many opportunities to be a voice for His truth. I’m really looking forward to the film’s arrival in theaters this Friday. I plan to be there cheering for Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy!

  • Jennie

    If this quote is a direct quote, Liam Neeson says “but he also symbolizes FOR ME Mohammed, Buddha and all the great spiritual leaders and prophets over the centuries.” The key words are FOR ME. For Lewis, Aslan represents Jesus. For Liam Neeson, Mohammed, Buddha and all the great spiritual leaders and prophets over the centuries. Narnia is a beautiful series of books in this way because people from many world views can feel included in the stories. I agree that it’s a great conversation starter and a way to share one another’s faith. I feel no ill will or sadness, nor the need to call people names.

  • Lorynne Young

    I was unable to find the original source of the quote, but it would appear that Neeson was responding to a question about what the character symbolized. He does not seem to be on a crusade to change people’s views about the Narnia series. Most of these “controversial” statements would have a very short shelf life if outraged Christians didn’t keep them in the news.

  • Paul Kilian

    Among the several reasons Jesus taught in parables is that they can bypass–slip story-like right around, under and through–prejudices and other preconceived worldviews and demonstrate a foundational truth of The Kingdom. C.S. Lewis was only following in his Master’s methodology here, and those who cannot perceive universal applications in his stories are viewing life through a very narrow lens indeed. The principles of mercy, compassion, justice, integrity and the rest are common among all major faiths, and even though we as Christians find their most powerful expression in the Christ, we sell our God short if we think that He can’t impart these values through the other faiths as well. It strikes me as great irony that the Carpenter of Nazareth, who railed so vehemently against the exclusivity of the Pharisees, was to see His church, within four centuries, become an exclusive club as well. Righteous indignation, contrived and then fed to a feverish pitch, does little to further the Kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ. Aslan is huge; let him reign.

  • Ray

    Neeson isn’t the author, so his opinion carries no more weight than mine. At least his “for me” qualifier implies that he understands that his is just one opinion of many.
    “For me” Neeson’s statement refelects the pluralistic, politically correct mood of contemporary culture.

  • Bruce Crane

    In the press coverage surrounding Liam Neeson’s remarks on the character of Aslan in the latest Narnia film, there is reference to an order of “American Catholic priests and a Lenten CD of spiritual meditations.”
    The Redemptorists of the Denver Province collaborated with Liam Neeson in 2009 on the Lenten production, “Praying the Way of the Cross.” Proceeds support the work of our foreign missionaries in Brazil and Nigeria.
    The CD is available through Little Lamb Music at

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