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Old 07-03-2014, 12:08 PM   #26
wilwarin538
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Silmaril

I was raised a Christian, and read the books for the first time when I still was and I remember especially with the Ainulindale feeling very 'connected' to what Tolkien wrote, and it really held a lot of deep meaning for me. Similarly, when I read the Narnia books, those really touched me and I saw Christian symbolism everywhere and I enjoyed them all the more because of it.

For the past three years, after quite the journey, I am an atheist (might shock a few people!), and though I think of these books in a different way I don't think I necessarily appreciate them any less. As I now view the Bible as an impressive work of (fictional) literature and still appreciate it for it's literary value, I hold that same appreciation towards Tolkien's and Lewis' works.

I love Tolkien's books just as much as I did before. I do think that my intensive knowledge of Christianity has made the symbolism more obvious than someone without that knowledge, but not to the point where I wouldn't have appreciated or understood the books otherwise. With Narnia the symbolism is way more blatant, I remember seeing the first film with a non-religious friend who didn't pick up on any of the symbolism, but it didn't stop them from enjoying it and understanding the plot (though it does sort of make it less enjoyable now for me, because it's just so blatant it brings up bad feelings, LotR is certainly not near that point).

Basically, I think there are religious aspects to Tolkien, but it isn't actually necessary for someone to be religious to understand or appreciate those aspects, and as someone who has had both mind sets when reading them it did not at all diminish my love or appreciation of the books, I perhaps wasn't "spiritually" connected to them anymore, but the religious aspects of the books didn't turn me off at all, because they aren't really blatant enough in my opinion, but rather very subtle.

So yeah, my complete turn-around in perspective did not at all change the way I see LotR, I love it just as much, if not more.
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