Actor Liam Neeson, the voice of the lion Aslan in the latest Narnia film, has drawn criticism for saying the character is a Christ-like figure who also symbolizes other spiritual leaders.
Aslan is a character in all seven Narnia books by the British Christian writer C.S. Lewis. In the climax of the first book “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” Aslan sacrifices his life to save Narnia before rising from the dead.
Speaking ahead of the upcoming release of the Narnia movie “The Voyage of the Dawn Treader,” Neeson said: “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.”
The 58-year-old Neeson is a practicing Catholic who grew up in Northern Ireland and was named after his parish priest, the Daily Telegraph reports. The actor has also collaborated with American Catholic priests to produce a CD of Lenten spiritual meditations.
Walter Hooper, Lewis’ former secretary and a trustee of his estate, said that C.S. Lewis would have been outraged by the claim.