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Always Death, Never Resurrection

The works of the well-known Protestant writer, apologist and academic, C.S. Lewis, have recently returned to prominence through the making of the Lion, Witch and Wardrobe film. This is not the place to speak of the obvious Christian symbolism of the film and its Christ-like hero, Aslan, Who rises from the dead and redeems fallen mankind: we hope that this is clear to all.

True, an Orthodox Christian author would surely have entitled the book differently, perhaps: 'Christ, the Devil and the Resurrection', or 'Never Death, but always Resurrection'. However, that is a detail. We sincerely hope that the worthy work of this worthy author and the worthy American Christian financial backer of the film will have a positive effect. Perhaps they will help to deflate at least a little of the anti-Christian pressures and ignorance that have swollen up in recent years in Western societies. Nevertheless, we would like to point out a fact raised by this work, which seems to have been overlooked by many.

Lewis lived and wrote in the mid-twentieth century, when much of Europe was indeed similar to Narnia - 'always winter, never Christmas', living in fear of annihilation. For Lewis' inspiration was undoubtedly shaped by the geopolitical situation of the age in which he lived. Frozen by the homicidal ideologies of Fascism and Communism, Western Europe escaped from the former only through the assistance of the United States. However, Europe as a whole escaped from the grip or threat of the latter only through Communism's inner collapse. Its almost bloodless implosion took place because nobody any longer believed in its bankrupt ideology. And here, surely, there is a lesson for us.

Thus, tyrannical ideologies can be brought low by military power and huge bloodshed, but they can also be brought low peacefully, through losing popular consent. We should not forget that so many murderous ideologies have come to power, either democratically, like Hitler's, or else because very large minorities supported them, be it in Soviet Russia, Nazi Germany, China, Cuba, Vietnam, Cambodia, Iraq or Iran. Equally, they fall, or will fall, only when large enough numbers reject them.

Now, with the Western world's massive apostasy from all forms of Christianity in recent years, a new and repressive ideology is coming to power here, that of 'political correctness'. In recent weeks in the United Kingdom, for example, we have heard how group after group, government or corporate, have banned the word 'Christmas', 'because it does not conform to our non-religious outlook', as one organization put it. (They do not seem to realize that a 'non-religious outlook' is in itself a religious, i.e. anti-religious, outlook).

It seems as though the greeting 'Merry Christmas' is soon altogether to be replaced by 'Happy Xmas', or, worse, 'Season's Greetings', or else the American 'Happy Holiday'. The new Puritanism (the old one of the seventeenth century also banned Christmas) of political correctness finds that the word 'Christmas' 'discriminates against Non-Christians'.

Our point in all this is that dictatorships are always dictatorships of the human spirit; they come to power only because they are freely consented to, they are self-imposed, passively accepted. Thus, the obscenity of Communism was not destroyed by a War, but fell through its own inertia and incompetence, through the total loss of popular faith in its effectiveness. The new dictatorship of the Western spirit, political correctness, is coming to power, only because people have lost the last shreds of a Christian Faith. And the tyranny of political correctness will fall only when people return to the Faith.

In the meantime, beware: the Western world, of its own free will, risks entering Narnia, the land where it is 'always winter, never Christmas'. And if there is no Christmas, in the West it will always be the Hellish Feast of Death, never the Paschal Feast of the Resurrection.


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