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Old 02-06-2003, 05:18 PM   #1
Aerandir Carnesir
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Tolkien God and Lord of the RIngs

As you may know, J.R.R. Tolkein was a devout Christian. He wrote his books, especially Lord of the Rings, in relation to the events in the Bible and tie in with Christian beleifs. I myself am a dedicated Christian who gets very offended at all the occultic ideas about Lord of the Rings. I was in a bookstore the other day in the Lord of the Rings section, and I saw a pack of Lord of the Rings tarot cards. I have also seen other things like that, but the point I am really trying to get out is that Christopher Tolkein did not intend for his works and spectacular imagination to be used for occultic purposes. There is a huge problem in our society that is people are ignoring the truth, and giving into temptation and turning their backs on God. I will start by comparing the ring of power to sin. It seems nice, but corrupts and transforms the bearer mentally, and in the case of Gollum, physically, and once it is destroyed, all it's influence and damage is undone. Sauron compares to the devil, and the orcs are his demons. Saruman can relate to corruption. Think of Gandalf as he fought the Balrog at the Bridge of Khazad-Dum. He sacrificed his life for his friends fighting evil. That can be compared to the death and ressurection of Christ. Tolkein also made the power of spoken word important in his books; The spells Gandalf uses and the language of the elves, it can be similar to the Holy Bible. The different people of Middle-Earth relate to different people in our earth. Christians are represented by the elves, and they go to the Grey Havens/Undying Lands which I think can be like Heaven. The last statement is not entirely accurate, seeing as Arwen stays when all the other elves go, but it's a good metaphor isn't it? Speaking of metaphors, I am aware that J.R.R. Tolkein disliked allegory and metaphor, but he did write his books around the Bible and Christianity etc. This is what he intended to do in his books. I'm just trying to say, Look for the truth in Lord of the Rings. The occult is bad company.
I am truly sorry if I have offended any people by this topic(we christians get what we deserve for how a select few act). I am merely expressing my opinons and beleifs, cause i myself have been changed, and Billions of people in the world would back me up in these truths(I am also aware that billions of people would be against me). If you write a reply, feel free to express your own opinions, but please don't send any thing threatening. I'm only fifteen. Namaarie,(farewell). [img]smilies/wink.gif[/img]

P.S. If you like this topic, let me know, and I'll be putting more insight into the topic with my own replys.

[ February 06, 2003: Message edited by: Aerandir Carnesir ]
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Old 02-06-2003, 05:57 PM   #2
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One of three things will happen:

1) People will be falling over one another to patronise you with repetitive quotes about how Tolkien disliked allegory.

2) You will be linked to many different Christianity/Religion and Tolkien threads already open and full of interesting posts.

3) You may be told not to overbear your views onto others, that a great number of people don't share your views and thus you shouldn't essentially preach and assert in such a steadfast way.

Me? A combination of the three, but also a hello! Enjoy the Downs!
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Old 02-06-2003, 06:04 PM   #3
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Newly deceased, huh. You must have been wise while living. Welcome to the Downs, Aerandir Carnesir, and what a way to start posting. *applauds*

I'm fearful that the moderators will, regratably, close this thread soon, but I may be wrong. I hope for the best. I'm quite stunned that you have the courage to post this. It is wonderful. However, I'll just warn you that you are soon to recieve a flood of posts about allegory and symbolism and the Forward of Lord of the Rings. Many will complain that you express your views too openly, and that this is no place for a "group alleluhia" as some have criticized me of proclaiming. I agree all the same with your symbolism, and I hope to see your name in print sometime soon. You've expressed the Christian Allegory in LotR perfectly. I love it. Now, we await the storm...

Singing Deeply to the World Around me,
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P,S, Cazoz, free speech is free speech, He's merely expressing his views, and as he is not forcing them onto anyone or responding to anyone in particular, leave his views alone, and enjoy the beautiful debate which is about to take place. (Lest the moderators kill it before its time)

[ February 06, 2003: Message edited by: Iarwain ]
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Old 02-06-2003, 06:06 PM   #4
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Hmmm ... I'll take option 3 please.

The purpose of this forum, in my mind, is to discuss the works of Tolkien and have a bit of Tolkien-related fun. Feel free to discuss how your Christain beliefs affect your viewing of the Professor's works (as many have already done on a wide variety of threads), but best to lay off the preaching a bit.

Welcome to the Downs, and have fun. [img]smilies/smile.gif[/img]
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Old 02-06-2003, 06:11 PM   #5
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Quote:
Cazoz, free speech is free speech, He's merely expressing his views, and as he is not forcing them onto anyone or responding to anyone in particular, leave his views alone, and enjoy the beautiful debate which is about to take place.
Pipe down, houseplant. I wasn't attacking his views, merely stating what would happen. It wasn't the view itself I was commenting on (everyone has their vices [img]smilies/wink.gif[/img] ) but the preachy tone I detected from it. And judging by the poster's post about being disgusted/appalled or whatever is was, at what pagans have done to LoTR in the Lewis thread, I don't think I was out of line. Good day.
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Old 02-06-2003, 06:15 PM   #6
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Thanks You guys for replying. I'm new to forums and I guess I went a little crazy on my beleifs/"preaching". My next post will be more Tolkein/LotR related. Again, I'm sorry for offending anyone. Please accept my sincerest apologies.
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Old 02-06-2003, 07:16 PM   #7
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I too am new to this forum, but I have the exact OPPISITE god-fearingness. I do believe though that Tolkien wrote his books with the Bible, God, and the Devil in mind. But that doesnt change my opionin of God(ess).
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Old 02-06-2003, 07:49 PM   #8
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welcome to the Downs

Quote:
Thanks You guys for replying. I'm new to forums and I guess I went a little crazy on my beleifs/"preaching".
If you wish to modify your post you can always use the edit button [looks like a little tablet , hammer and chisel.

I hardly ever post without editing at least once [img]smilies/wink.gif[/img] , but then I am lousy at reviewing...

As for the occult connections and 'spinoff's', some of it is sad, the tarot you mentioned was a real shock to me, but the family does not hold al of ther lic's anymore.

However, JRRT himself chose to write in a format that took many esoteric principles and concpets for granted.

Galadriel's mirror.
The Magic of the Elves and to a fqr lesser extent the Dunedain and others.

I could go on but I am out the door and I think there are a few other threads of old that make my point far more thoroughly than I can now.

In my own personal experience in speaking with Non-Christians [ or Non- Orthodow Christians for that matter] I have rarely had any positive results [ that I could discern anyway] with the 'fronatal assualt approach', as I call it.

But it certainly has a long history and perhaps the fault is mine.
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Old 02-06-2003, 07:49 PM   #9
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I, too, will take option 3. I wish I could get the last two minutes back....
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Old 02-06-2003, 08:04 PM   #10
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Hey Aerandir. I totally support your opinion here! Tolkien would be turning in his grave if he saw just a few of the things that we have turned the Lord of the Rings into. The Lord of the rings represents the endurance of painful struggles and burdens, a hope in the greater good and overcoming the ultimate evil--that sure sounds an awful lot like the Christian faith to me. I hold strong to Christian beliefs as well.(sorry if I come on too "preachy" to a few of you.) If you don't think Tolkien meant to bring Christian allegories into the L.O.T.R, then what do you think he was trying symbolize?
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Old 02-06-2003, 08:15 PM   #11
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Ten'oio, have a browse around the various threads and you will soon find pretty convincing evidence that JRRT did not intend his works to be allegorical in any way (and, as I have been reminded recently, allegory requires intention).

Of course, that does not stop them being applicable. You can take from the works what you will and apply them to your own views and beliefs. But that does not stop people of different beliefs enjoying them just as much.

Sorry if that sounds a little terse. It's not meant in that way. It's just that I get quite annoyed by the implication (present in a number of posts that I have seen on various threads) that I cannot enjoy the Professor's works as much as others because I am not a practising Christian.
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Old 02-06-2003, 08:26 PM   #12
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I never said you couldn't enjoy Tolkien's works because you're not a "practising Christian." I'm sorry if I ever gave you that impression. But, are you saying that you think Tolkien didn't intend for the Lord of the Rings to pose as a symbol for...well..anything? (I'm sorry, you are right. I haven't taken a look at the similar forums.) But I think he had a pupose for his works, and purpose has direction. I mean, I don't believe that he just sat down one day, and for no reason what-so-ever brought the Lord of Rings to existence.
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Old 02-06-2003, 08:50 PM   #13
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Shield

Hey every one!!! If you didn't notice (you probably did) I've edited the topic to more lord of the rings than religion, due to some complaints of being too "preachy", but I still hold firm in my beliefs, and I'm still trying to get my point out: Lord of the Rings is based around religion. Beleive me or not, keep enjoying tolkeins works in your own way, but give it some thought!!! [img]smilies/wink.gif[/img]
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Old 02-06-2003, 09:05 PM   #14
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Welcome to the Downs, by the way, Ten'oio. [img]smilies/smile.gif[/img]

Quote:
I never said you couldn't enjoy Tolkien's works because you're not a "practising Christian."
No, I know you didn't. But that's the impression that is sometimes given on threads like this.

Quote:
But I think he had a pupose for his works
I agree. Basically to give enjoyment to his readers, his family and himself (and I suppose the money didn't go amiss, either).

Aerandir,

Quote:
Lord of the Rings is based around religion.
I disagree. JRRT draws on a wide variety of sources, most notably Norse mythology. Again, take a look around the threads and you'll see a wide range of learned views.

Quote:
but give it some thought!!!
I have given much thought to the works of JRRT over the years and taken great enjoyment from them. But one thing that they're not going to do is change my spiritual beliefs.
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Old 02-06-2003, 09:20 PM   #15
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I am also aware that it was based around norse mythology. The angerthas and cirth runes especially. I'm not trying to change your religious beliefs, and I am definitely not trying to ruin tolkein for you. There is a book called Finding God in the Lord of the Rings that explains what I'm trying to explain much clearer. Sure, maybe there's a chance that he didn't intentionally put religion in LotR, but give it to him that he was a Christian, and did help C.S. Lewis come to Christ. Everyone has a right to their own opinion, you have yours and I have mine. Beleive what you want, and I'll beleive what I want. We can agree to disagree. [img]smilies/biggrin.gif[/img]
Namaarie,
Aerandir [img]smilies/wink.gif[/img]
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Old 02-06-2003, 09:21 PM   #16
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Silmaril

Aerandir Carnesir,

A few thoughts on your post:

-I couldn't tell from your original post if you have read The Silmarillion yet. If you haven't I strongly encourage it--I think you would enjoy it as it deals much more explicitly with the metaphysical/theological aspects of Tolkien's universe, which are only infrequently hinted at in LOTR.

-I agree that Tolkien's own religious beliefs influence his works, but I think the beauty of his writings is that one does not necessarily have to share his religious background to appreciate his books.

-I'm not sure I would agree that a set of Tarot cards is necessarily evil (just my own opinion) but basing it on LOTR characters certainly misses the point of the story. One thing in Tolkien's work is that magical objects or supernatural abilities are not intrinsically different than any other ability or talent. Like physical strength, intelligence, or charisma, they can be used for good or bad purposes. Having a magic wand, or a magic sword, or a palantir, doesn't avoid the moral dilemmas that most of Tolkien's characters must face.

Sauron's ring is perhaps the one exception, but even that had no effect on Tom Bombadil, because he, unlike every other person who came into contact with it, had no capability of lust for power, and so was immune to its temptation.

-The moral nature of Tolkien's world is somewhat more complex than the Christian doctrine, at least in its simplist presentation. There is no sense of "a Savior has arrived, so all we have to do is acknowledge Him, and all our misdeeds however grave, can be forgiven."

In ME it does matter whether you do the right thing or not, and blanket forgiveness doesn't generally seem to be a possibility. On the other hand, characters who do the wrong thing (if it's not too wrong), often end up having the chance to redeem themselves, at least up to a point. But, more often than not, they don't make use of the opportunity of redemption.
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Old 02-06-2003, 09:23 PM   #17
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I am not even going to get into this discussion, because it is way to deep and religious for me. Though I do understand that LOTR it is really based around religion, and Tolkien's own personal beliefs, though I do think it is wonderful that he put in those ideas in a way that it does not sound religious, and into such a great story.
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Old 02-06-2003, 09:31 PM   #18
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Hmm, well, I'm with Saucepan on the whole "Lord of the Rings is based on Religion" topic. It does provide a wonderful allegorical set up, but I am sure that he did not write it as a model of the Christain faith any more than he wrote it as an Allegory of September 11 (ridiculous, I know). His thoughts and beliefs were reflected onto his work of mythology, along with the turmoil in the world around him, and his experiences from WWI.

However, this does not mean that you do not have a wonderful system of symbolism going on, just be careful about what you say that the author was writing about in his story. This is no Animal Farm were working with, and though good, consistent symbolism can be found throughout the story, we should not directly persume that it is the allegory that the author was trying to get across to the reader. That said, what does everyone think of the system of symbolism displayed in this thread?
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Old 02-06-2003, 09:32 PM   #19
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I don't think its anybody's palce to insult anyone else here. We are all expressing our opinion. As someone said up there (forgot who, I hate my short term memory) this is free speech. No one is pressing their beliefs on anyone else, so lets not get upin arms over this. It would be quite stupid.

I myself am a Christian. A bunch of my LOTR friends are. We are pretty into it, but we have never really looked into the theologic aspects of it until recently. I have entertained the idea that Tolkien based his epic on WWII until someone so "nicely" shot me down and outright told me "No, he didn't you idiot". So I've dropped that after finding out from other sources it was true. I agree with a bunch of things you said, Aerandir. Very nice, good way to break onto the scene. Welcome.

I cannot say much now as I haven't reasearched much yet but I think its cool how you've noticed those things.

-GN

EDIT: What's an allergory? *feels stupid*

[ February 06, 2003: Message edited by: The Green Ringwraith ]
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Old 02-06-2003, 09:39 PM   #20
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Not to make you feel stupid or anything, but here's a definition of an Allegory:
Quote:
1.The representation of abstract ideas or principles by characters, figures, or events in narrative, dramatic, or pictorial form.
2. A story, picture, or play employing such representation. John Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress and Herman Melville's Moby **** are allegories.
3. A symbolic representation: The blindfolded figure with scales is an allegory of justice.
By the way, that was me you quoted, and I agree completely. [img]smilies/smile.gif[/img]
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Old 02-06-2003, 09:42 PM   #21
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You do make some good points Angry Hill Troll. I acknowledge your reply, although I do not agree with you fully. I agree that you don't have to be religios to enjoy Tolkein. It is again, They are my opinions and beliefs. I can also compare the use of magical items and spells and such to the Word of God,(the Bible) and prayer and miracles. I also agree that LotR doesn't have to be all religious and stuff. I am able to compare things from LotR to religion because I am familiar with my faith. Tom Bombadil has nothing to do with religion. Not everything in the books does. We can both agree that we are both devoted fans of Tolkein, although we don't have the same outlooks. I admit that I haven't read the Silmarillion, but when I do, It will not change my perspectives on Lord of the Rings and God. Thank you for your insight and for expressing your opinions. Just what I asked for. We can still enjoy LotR while we debate. Am I right?
Namaarie,
Aerandir Carnesir

[ February 06, 2003: Message edited by: Aerandir Carnesir ]
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Old 02-06-2003, 09:44 PM   #22
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I've gotta go. But whoever's in charge here, (sorry, haven't checked [img]smilies/frown.gif[/img] ) do not delete this thread.

~ Elentari II

P.S. Talk more later.
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Old 02-06-2003, 09:45 PM   #23
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Quote:
I don't think its anybody's palce to insult anyone else here.
Sorry, who's insulted who? If this is referring to me, then I apologise for any offence taken. None was intended.

I'm all for free speech. And I'm all for agreeing to disagree. So, I'll agree to disagree. [img]smilies/smile.gif[/img]
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Old 02-06-2003, 09:45 PM   #24
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**sigh**

If only it were that simple. While I will look forward to seeing many educated responses to this thread, it makes me apprehensive. Religious overtones may be found if that is what one is looking for. But your proposal of some grand scheme of Christian metaphor needs more than a little fleshing out to be convincing.
Quote:
The different people of Middle-Earth relate to different people in our earth. Christians are represented by the elves
Please go further. What are Dwarves, Hobbits and Men? Hindus, Buddhists and Islamics? Are the Woses Native Americans? Are you sure Satan is Sauron and not Morgoth?

Why does the Ring represent sin? Do not others without the Ring suffer from temptation, pride, prejudice, greed? After destruction of the Ring (Sin) and Sauron (Satan) why does injustice continue? How can Elves (Christians) bring hobbits (non-Christians) to Valinor? Etc... etc...

Quote:
I am aware that J.R.R. Tolkein disliked allegory and metaphor, but he did write his books around the Bible and Christianity etc. This is what he intended to do in his books
You are contradicting yourself here, and I know you know that, so why do it? Just 'sticking to your guns' does not make it valid. I wholeheartedly encourage to dig deeper, I would not be dissapointed in any way if you made a conclusive argument. You just need to go further if you expect to convince anybody of your argument. Excepting, of course, those that are already in your camp, which will no doubt help you in your cause. I hold my spirituality the number one priority in my life and am not 'challenging' you based on yours, just your assertions.
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Old 02-06-2003, 09:54 PM   #25
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Sorry, you're right. I didn't think I was insulting anybody, but if I did inadvertently I apologise.

One thing I might ask is that for the benefit of the non-orthodox Christians among us, the Christian folk include some sort of acknowledgement that their opinion is an opinion. It's petty, but seeing "Jesus died for our sins." offends me. Seeing "In my belief/I believe that Jesus died for our sins." is absolutely fine and dandy.

I can't explain it, but the certainty and assertion behind it implies that others are plain wrong, as opposed to simply having another view. Saying it with such conviction (although conviction is good, it sometimes seems OTT to the point of having a dig at others) sometimes it makes me feel condescended and scorned. Sorry, I know it sounds weird. But if I was all "When Jesus, that mythological character..." I would expect to offend somebody and be chided for it. It's unfair to pretend we truly know when in fact we only will when we die, or possibly never at all. Ok, back to LoTR, I'm rambling!

Whilst allegory is out, there is obvious symbolism within Tolkien's works, and even moreso if you are willing to find it. And the best thing is that because of the breadth of topics and issues to be found within the book, everybody can relate to it! It does have to be said, however, that the man's belief system and worldview will filter through into his work. It's natural and especially the Sil shows this. Whilst not a Bible per se, you can see blatant parallels between the Prof's own faith and the monotheistic ethos he's created in his work. Of course there are more simplistic parallels, like Frodo and Jesus or Gollum dying for mankind and its sins, or whatever. There are hundreds. But it's like looking into an ecosystem within a world. ME was around for many ages before the War of the Ring, and so to gain a more concise view and therefore more complex, interesting symbolisms, it's best to become acquainted with the Sil and look at the worlds from a macro perspective. Southern ME at the end of the TA, whilst very important is an incredibly micro view. Phew, my fingers hurt. [img]smilies/eek.gif[/img]

[ February 06, 2003: Message edited by: Cazoz ]
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Old 02-06-2003, 09:57 PM   #26
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You have all made very good points. I'm just a freshman in highschool, and I'm no Gandalf the Grey, but I do realize that I do contradict myself. And I do look for allegorical/metaphorical symbols when I read. It does help me understand God a little better. I didn't mean that Tolkein made his books as a
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Guideline for Christianity
but I do find my own metaphors in the books. Maybe that's just what I look for when I read. But could someone explain to me how LotR compares to WWII? I'm confused. [img]smilies/tongue.gif[/img]
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Old 02-06-2003, 09:58 PM   #27
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Of course, why wouldn't we be able to enjoy it? (I'm 1/12th of the way through my 8th time)

I certainly do hope that reading the Silmarillion does not change your views of God. I will, though, I am sure, change the way you think of God in relation to Tolkien's brand of post-industrial mythology. Connexions are not so easily made when the story you are dealing with is this complex and covers several thousands of years of history.

If Lord of the Rings is like the New Testament (sacrifice, ressurection, etc), the Silmarillion is like the Old Testament, and the Lay of Leithian is the Psalms. We begin to see that Tuor was a prophet to the unlistening Turgon in Gondolin, and Gelmir and Arminas (Jeremiah) crying out to a stolid Turin, bringing about the ruin of Nargothrond (Jerusalem).

Just continue on with the connections...


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Old 02-06-2003, 10:06 PM   #28
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Hmm, I see that I missed a lot of posts while I was writing the last one. The thing about Christianity, Cazoz, is that, while I respect that you have different views than I, I also believe, BELIEVE mind you, that you are wrong. I have solid faith that Jesus Christ is saviour, and that there is a God. If this was not being asked for, then I appologize. But otherwise, I hope you understand and respect that my beliefs are not merely about me, but others as well. I hope you don't take this wrong, but do you understand better now?

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Old 02-06-2003, 10:07 PM   #29
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Heh, heh, heh. These topics always seem to get people talking! As a side note from the future from which I have come back to edit my post, I have a few observations that have absolutely nothing to do with the topic. One, is that it scared me out of my wits to see that after I had posted I saw about ten posts that I didn't remember reading. Then as I looked at the times, I saw that there had been a flurry of postings which led me to mathematically figure that there has been, on average, a post every ten minutes on this thread. OK, to get back to topic...

I don't mean to offend anyone, I don't mean to suggest that Tolkien wrote allegory, I don't mean to suggest that Middle Earth is theologically equivalent to Christianity, and I don't mean to suggest that you have to be a Christian to enjoy Tolkien's works.

So what do I suggest? I suggest that Tolkien made up his own theology just as he made up his own universe. First of all, that makes sense. If you're going to make a new world, new language, etc, you might as well make a new religion, too. Second, I doubt Tolkien wanted to associate Middle Earth to any single religion. In his fantasy world, he would want to keep it just that - fantasy. Obviously you have to have a few non-fantastical elements to a story to make it understandable to your audience. But in order to write fantasy, it is best to have as few ties as possible to the real world. Third, as a Christian, Tolkien would have realized that an imperfect human could not re-create an accurate mirror of Christianity in Middle Earth. For, since man has a finite mind, he can not explain Christianity to the extent that would be needed as an omniscient creator/author of Middle Earth.

Yes, yes, I know that there are many parallels to Christianity in Middle Earth, but that can mean one of three things.

1) Tolkien wrote vague allegory. He denied it, so that's that.

2) He wrote veiled Christianity. Middle Earth has many non-Christian aspects to it, so that's not it.

3) Or... Tolkien took certain aspects of Christianity that he liked and wanted in his world and combined those aspects with aspects of other religions. Judaism and Norse mythology (as has been mentioned) come to mind.

Let's hear it for number three! Yay! Anyway, those are just my thoughts.

Oh, for the record, I am a Christian and do agree with you there.

[ February 06, 2003: Message edited by: aragornreborn ]
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Old 02-06-2003, 10:09 PM   #30
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I would imagine that the dwarve's beliefs represented Islam. Mahkal always sounded so Arabic...


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Old 02-06-2003, 10:22 PM   #31
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Don't give Aerandir a hard time guys. He's not God, and neither are you. We don't hold all the answers.

I can't remember who, but someone said that Christians make everyone who isn't a Christian feel just plain wrong. It's not that Christians think they hold all the answers, they believe they hold to the truth.

Whoa, I'm getting a little off topic right? Anyways, that's all we can do with Tolkien's work as well--look for what he might have meant in his work(what he was, if at all, trying to symbolize). It's not like we can call Tolkien up and find all the answers here.
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Old 02-06-2003, 10:26 PM   #32
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Thank you all so much for your replies!!! I'm going to bed as of now, but I'll be back tomorrow with a clear mind and new discussion. Keep talking amongst yourselves. Thanks goes out mostly to the ones who agree with me for helping me, and thanks also goes out to the ones who disagree for giving me things to think about and the pure excitement of debate. This is my first in depth debate by the way.
Tenna' ento lye omenta,
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Old 02-06-2003, 10:30 PM   #33
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I hope you don't take this wrong, but do you understand better now?
Iarwain, I know that you believe I'm wrong, and that's cool, that's your belief and I understand that this is necessary in any faith; to truly believe you are right. Thus others are wrong.

This I do not object to, it's more the flaunting of your belief that I am wrong. I obviously know you think it, and I'm sure you know that it's reciprocated. But it just strikes me as rather crass to parade it as such, as opposed to being an unspoken thing. Hehe, it all comes back to religion! My group of best mates consists of lads from different faiths, and those without one. Our one rule when we go out drinking, or anywhere socially is that we never talk about religion. Not only it never reaches a conclusion, but also it's not really fun stuff! [img]smilies/biggrin.gif[/img] And besides, I've always viewed religion as a one on one relationship between a person and their God(s) which would stay more special by treasuring it and keeping it personal. It's more intimate that way, I think.

I missed something from way up. The Elves as Christians? I know you haven't read the Sil, but if this is the case you'd be horrified with Feanor and his sons' blasphemy! This is way off and almost racist. With the exception of a few, ONLY Elves went to Valinor. Using the inferred parallel, am I to assume that you believe only Christians will go to the Heaven you believe in?

I think the assumption that the Elves represent Christians is a bit narrow-minded, I'm afraid. That isn't Tolkien's style, it's a cruder Lewis-esque method of writing. I think Elves are more likely to represent purity (again with exceptions), the wholesome nature conscious rural non-destructive people that Tolkien would have approved of. I personally think that rather than specific religions, the element of the rural versus the urban is the most important factor when looking for symbolism in Tolkien's species.
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Old 02-06-2003, 10:42 PM   #34
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Just because someone is a Christian, doesn't make them perfect. (ultimately, no human being is) Therefore, saying that the Elves represent Christians isn't entirely impossible. Feanor and his son's blasphemy doesn't change a thing. (good point though)
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Old 02-06-2003, 10:46 PM   #35
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Thanks, and I completely agree. And whilst obviously the Elves weren't all perfect, they were written and seen as the superior race and I thought the comment by Aerandir Carnesir implied this, in other words the Elves being the superior ones was a valid comparison to be made with Christians. Which of course isn't fair.
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Old 02-06-2003, 10:47 PM   #36
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Using the inferred parallel, am I to assume that you believe only Christians will go to the Heaven you believe in?
Ummmm. How should I put this. This thread will take a radically different direction if you want an answer to that question.
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Old 02-06-2003, 11:03 PM   #37
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I don't think that Aerandir was making some sort of connection with Elves as a superior race, and Christians sharing the same likeness. Christians are far from superior-->they are constantly taught to show humility.
(ex: when Jesus washed other's feet)
I think that Aerandir was trying to make more of a connection concerning the Elve's "leaving" middle earth for a better life elsewhere, which can be compared with the Christian belief of "leaving" this life on earth and going to live a better life in heavan and what not.
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Old 02-06-2003, 11:09 PM   #38
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Perhaps. I interpreted it differently, but I guess there isn't much we can say fairly until Aerandir wakes up and clarifies him/herself. That way keeps it more affable anyway! I don't want to continue down a road I'm not sure about.
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Old 02-06-2003, 11:26 PM   #39
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aragornreborn, I liked your first post, thanks, but the answer to your second post is that this is exactly where the thread is going, that is where it started after all - with Christianity and how it's details, lessons, preachings, nuances, and whatever else, manifests in the LotR. And we all know the answer to Cazoz's question anyway, so it's fairly rhetorical, and nothing to complain about. To use a bad pun here, the devil is in the details. And the details, especially blatant ones like saying that elves are the Christians and so get to go to Valinor, need to be addressed. He did, after all, liken the Undying Lands to Heaven.

In truth I believe it would feel confining and be overly limiting to Tolkein were he to write a book overwhelmingly based on ANY metaphor, let alone religious metaphor, and even more so with solely Christian metaphor. Yet this is what has been asserted by the topic starter. I think we can all agree this is not the case. Further, I believe we can all agree that there there is some religious influence. So, how much? How blatant? And for what purpose? Not much and not blatant I say. So then, purpose, what are people's opinions on this? The thought that Tolkein deemed any religious inclusions to be purposed for the spreading of any kind of dogma I find highly unlikely. He may have been a Christian, but to use his writings to spread the Word? Seems out of character, more than a little. In fact the topics dealing with WWII and Tolkein seem to be more on point, in my opinion.

I really believe Tolkein was a master at allowing each reader to see in it what is special to them. Whether you see valour, love, hope, WWII, Christianity, Buddhism, or anything else, as the theme or driving force.

cheers

This thread sure is moving fast, eh?

[ February 07, 2003: Message edited by: Tar-Palantir ]
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Old 02-07-2003, 07:01 AM   #40
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Since this theme has been discussed over and over again, and there are still open threads to which you may add your opinion, I am closing this one.

The previous threads on Tolkien and religion that are still open are those that were able to stay on the topic of Tolkien, not just preaching personal opinions on religion. Also, they were the ones that were conducted with respect for the opinions of others, since many members who were of widely diversified opinions participated. (As soon as people began insulting each other personally, the threads were closed – and there were several of those.) And thirdly, they were the ones that had something thoughtful, original and well-thought out to say, so that they weren’t redundant.

I ask all newcomers to read before they post, and to use the search function at the top right of the page. If you enter any of the following words, you will find an abundance of discussion on this topic: Christianity, Bible, religion, theology. Again, before you post on those threads, please read through what has been previously written. You expect others to read your posts, so you should do them the courtesy to read theirs.
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