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Old 02-21-2004, 03:27 AM   #41
HerenIstarion
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Why would God create a being who had no free will to choose against a sin which He clearly condemns
You are mixing fiction with the world as we know it again. As you yourself give a definition up there, sin condemned is power coveted and got from supernatural being on the evil side to God. Being good at chopping wood, or writing poems, is natural ability and gift of God. Inside HP story, being good at magic is of the same rank.

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HP could be considered to take place in its own world with different rules from ours
That’s the point

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Where do you think these kids might turn when they find out Hogwarts doesn't exist? Where will they go to satisfy their desire to perform magic like Harry and co.?
One can not tell (in any particular case), but one is inclined to think they will grow up as normal as the next man, yet with richer imagination and more to remember than the said next man who haven’t got read HP stories (or other stories thought by adults as “endangering”). Haven’t you be playing cowboys after watching some Western movie, or pretending to be a knight after reading through Scott? When I was a kid, I was constantly imagining myself inside ME, being 10th of the Fellowship, running to and fro with a sword (Not real one, alas, could not have afforded one). Now I don’t claim perfect normality (what with all the chaps out there thinking me a geek ), but I don’t think it came in somehow as damaging to my soul. The point is, evaluation of using magical (and any other) abilities in the books is in the right place – to be brave is good, to be treacherous is bad, etc etc.

Only way HP can lead a child to the occult is once it is banned, for than it will be much more attractive (ah, how sweet the forbidden fruit is?). As in any other field, it is adults correct/incorrect behavior with regards of anything that may bring damage to a child

And, after all, the child is as much human as an adult, and the problem of choice is set before it as well as before any adult. There is no real living for the over protected, I can’t help thinking. The thing you fear, as far as I am to judge, is that HP readers will actually mix up fiction and reality and believe that magic is to be found in our world, and start finding it out and become witches and sorcerers as described by Merriam_Webster (or was it Oxford?) dictionary. But, without correct reaction of its tutors, it may be led to believe there are really green men on Mars, or, as the films assure us, that one can always get away with it if daring enough to rob a bank.

But is it not written:

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I suspect that belief and appetite for marvels are here regarded as identical or as closely related. They are radically different…
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Children are capable, of course, of literary belief, when the story-maker’s are is good enough to produce it. That state of mind has been called “willing suspension of disbelief”… [but] what really happens is that the story maker proves a successful “sub-creator”. He makes a Secondary World which your mind can enter. Inside it, what he relates is “true”: it accords with the laws of that world…”is it true” is the great question children ask… but the question is hardly an evidence of “unblunted belief”, or even of the desire for it
Which, of course, implies that if there is a “willing suspension” of something, once it is removed, the something remains.

a bit sliced quotes from Tolkien’s On Fairy-Stories, to be found in The Tolkien Reader. (My edition Ballantine Books ISBN 0-345-34506-1, ask for it and you’ll get a good read on it)
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Old 02-21-2004, 03:19 PM   #42
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Theron, perhaps you mis-read my post? I was talking about the fact that a number of Tolkien's characters mis-used their Eru-given powers. Mushroom's original statement was taking the opposite viewpoint.

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Where do you think these kids might turn when they find out Hogwarts doesn't exist? Where will they go to satisfy their desire to perform magic like Harry and co.? HP has a dangerous potential to draw kids into real-life occultic practices. Christians are against that.
Yes, and Lady Chatterley's Lover was going to lead young girls everywhere straight to hell, with a quick layover in a brothel on the way.

I think the problem with your assessment of the potential dangers of Harry Potter lies within both the supposed nature of children as "innocents" that soak up different ideologies like sponges, rather than young human beings (and, as a Christian, I believe that no human being is innocent) that absorb information through the prism of their own intelligence. The latter view does not neccessarily imply that art introduced at an inappropriate time cannot harm the child (I couldn't imagine, for example, taking my 8-year old brother to a screening of Bertolucci's "The Dreamers" and then expect him not to be scarred for life), but that age-appropriate materials often have curious ways of being incorporated into a child's view of the world.

Furthermore, there is the nature of art to deal with. Eminem famously asked: "They say music can alter moods and talk to you/ Well can it load a gun up for you and c0ck it too?" His answer, while not clearing up any potential ambiguity, points out the obtuse nature of the argument, "Well if it can, next time you assault a dude/Just tell the judge it was my fault, and I'll get sued."

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but one is inclined to think they will grow up as normal as the next man, yet with richer imagination and more to remember than the said next man who haven’t got read HP stories (or other stories thought by adults as “endangering”).
And then there's Heren's excellent point to consider. In his critiqe of Harry Potter, Harold Bloom gruffly wrote that "art should enrich us." His argument was that HP did just the oppsosite of that. Leaving Bloom to soak in his own intellectual superiority (for now), I would argue that HP nicely accomplishes just that.
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Old 02-21-2004, 07:29 PM   #43
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HerenIstarion, I do not think I am mixing fiction and reality anymore. You say that Harry's abilities are a gift from God. That, I think, gets a little closer to mixing then what I was trying to say.
Of course imagination is a wonderful thing. But there is a distinction between healthy, imaginative play (cowboy, knight, hobbit, etc.), and play involving the occult. A witch is a decidedly un-Christian person. Playing witch is not the same as becoming one of course, but all the same it is a decidedly un-Godly game.
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One way HP can lead a child to the occult is once it is banned
If you are saying that HP is only appealing to children if it is banned then I disagree.
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And, after all, a child is as much human as an adult, and the problem of choice is set before it as well as any adult.
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[children] absorb information through the prism of their own inteligence.
Yes, kids are little human beings. They have a soul and a mind just like you and I do, but their mind is still developing its own thought and ideals. They look to parents/teachers/friends/TV/books to build their views of the world. When many of these people/things support occultism then their view of it will likely turn out positive; the first step to becoming involved in occultic practices.
Looking at the quotes from the children that were in my last post, I do not think they are harboring some sort of "willing suspension of disbelief." I think that they are actually trying to merge the world of HP and our own world; wishing to produce magic in our own world.
Lush, I really don't find HP particularly enriching, but I guess that it's a matter of opinion.
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They say music can alter moods and talk to you/ Well can it load a gun up for you and cock it too?
The decision to become a witch always belongs to the chooser alone. My point is that HP can make that decision easier.

Well, I really didn't intend to become so involved in this thread.
This discussion seems to be turning into a "does not" "does to" sorta thing, and I don't think we are ever going to agree. My original intent in posting on this thread was not to change any minds, but to make the Christian view of HP opposition more clear for y'all, to the best of my ability. I really don't think that there is much else to say. I'll be seing y'all around the forums, but it's time for me to leave this thread alone.

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Old 02-21-2004, 07:45 PM   #44
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Yeah, what HerenIstarion and Lush said.

(How's that for intellectual argument. )

Just to sum up. If a Christian God exists in HP's world, then HP's magical powers are derived from him and it cannot therefore be sinful to use them in the pursuit of good (just as in Middle-earth). If, on the other hand, a Christian God does not exist in HP's world then neither does Satan and therefore HP's powers cannot be satanic.

And so we come to the question of whether HP can be condemned on the basis that it might seduce children into satanic practices. I am convinced that it holds no such danger, for the reasons that HerenIstanion has given. Admittedly, it might engender an interest in mysticism and occultism. But these in themselves are not evil, nor will they cause someone who takes an interest in them to become evil. Someone who is predisposed towards wrongful behaviour might try to use them for malicious ends. But then they would have pursued such ends whether they had an interest in the occult or not. This comes back to my point that it is not the knowledge in itself that is good or evil, but the end to which you put it.

In my youth, having read LotR, I subsequently became interested in the RPG Dungeons & Dragons (itself condemned in some quarters as satanic). And thereafter, I became interested in the occult. But I never became a satanist. And I like to think that I have a pretty christian (small 'c') outlook on life. Maybe I would have developed those interests without having read LotR, but it definately sparked these things off for me. Which is why I believe that you cannot condemn HP without also condemning LotR, and indeed any form of art which involves magic (in the loose sense of the word) and mythical creatures. And I firmly believe that there is no call to condemn any of these things.

A few additional comments:

I looked up a few words in my Concise Oxford English Dictionary:

witchcraft n. the use of magic; sorcery.

sorceror n. (fem sorceress) a person who claims to use magic powers; a magician or wizard. sorcerous adj. sorcery n.

wizard n. 1 a sorceror; a magician. 2 a person of remarkable powers, a genius. 3 a conjurer.

magician n. 1 a person skilled in or practising magic. 2 a conjuror. 3 a person with exceptional skill.

magic n. 1 the supposed art of influencing the course of events by the occult control of nature or the spirits. 2 conjuring tricks. 3 an inexplicable or remarkable influence producing surprising results. 4 an enchanting quality or phenomenon.

No mention of evil. The definition depends upon the standpoint of the source.

And Theron, you are right that things are relatively "black and white" in Tolkien's works. Those that act evilly are acting under Morgoth's influence. And, in doing so, they may derive their immediate power from Morgoth, but his power was originally derived from Eru. So all power in Middle-earth is ultimately sourced from Eru. As I have said, it is, in my view, the use to which that power is put that defines whether a character is good or evil (at any given time), not the power itself.
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Old 02-22-2004, 06:42 AM   #45
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My original intent in posting on this thread was not to change any minds, but to make the Christian view of HP opposition more clear for y'all
For which we are thankful. The whole point of having the discussion board is discussion, after all . And sometimes minds may change (not in this particular case, though). So, welcome to the BD, Mushroom, and see you around. Good postings to you!
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Old 02-22-2004, 11:43 AM   #46
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I'd like to remind all participants in this discussion that posts on this board are expected to be related to Tolkien and his works. While the topic may be comparative, it should not go off on an unrelated tangent for any length of time.
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Old 02-23-2004, 05:14 PM   #47
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Originally posted by Lush
Theron, perhaps you mis-read my post? I was talking about the fact that a number of Tolkien's characters mis-used their Eru-given powers. Mushroom's original statement was taking the opposite viewpoint.
Yeah, I think I was not so clear in what I was responding to in your response to Mushroom. My point is more or less along these lines:

0) Eru - original source of all authority and ability.

1) Morgoth or anyone else (Valar, Maiar, Elves, Men, etc.) receiving a gift of authority or ability from Eru, the prime creator, has the free will to do evil with it, corrupting themselves to some degree, depending on how much evil and how long, etc.

2) Anyone taking their cues and instructions (pattern of operation) from either source 0 or 1 takes also the good or evil thereof.
-- (A) So, someone originally good, taking power and ability from Eru, or indirectly from someone else good, starts out good. But can choose to do evil with the authority and ability.
-- (B) However, someone taking their pattern and method of operation from Morgoth or someone already declared/defined as evil, chooses the evil power, the evil pattern, the evil goals. Starts off more openly evil, less 'redemptive' options possibly.

For example, even Sauron was given a chance to repent. He posed as though he had, but was a hypocrite, and remained confirmed in his evil. Likewise, Saruman.

The fact that a good person can do or choose evil, yet have options for redemption, seems clear in your description of Galadriel (of which I was unaware, BTW, not having read the Sil yet) and in Tolkien's treatment of Gollum while with Frodo and Sam.

So to go back to my main point. Yes, all power originally comes from Eru. That is without question. But Eru neither created evil, or made any evil power. Yet evil and evil power are manifest in the stories. The evil nature of certain beings' power or use of it, is in their rebellion against Eru and his will.

P.S. I have been in the corporate environment too long. I think in bullet points...
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Old 02-23-2004, 05:26 PM   #48
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Originally posted by Estelyn Telcontar
...posts on this board are expected to be related to Tolkien and his works. While the topic may be comparative, it should not go off on an unrelated tangent for any length of time.
Thank you to the moderators for doing the heavy lifting around here. Every one say, "Tough job!"

However, the topic being what it is AND comparative, too, I don't see how it has gotten off much. Nearly every post includes something about LotR or Tolkien. Even the few posts that deal primarily with some issue of HP and people's beliefs are, in general, responding to a post that related the two.
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Old 02-23-2004, 07:45 PM   #49
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It is a tough job, and Esty does it very well.

Experience has shown that Tokien, Harry Potter, and religion can make a combustible mixture. Too frequently, we've seen HP/Tolkien/witchcraft threads take bad turns into heated religious arguments. Esty's post is just a reminder to keep this discussion focused on Tolkien.
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Old 02-24-2004, 04:00 PM   #50
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*tiptoeing quietly around the 'Hillo*

Theron, naturally, I agree with everything you've just said in your latest post. I think our only quibble might be whether what occurs in Harry Potter is any different from what occurs in Lord of the Rings. The Mushroom seems to think so; I do and I don't.

I think the real difference lies in rhetoric: particularly in the word "witchcraft." It's present throughout the HP books and manifests itself in characters that are both good and evil. It's also present in LotR, but with negative connotations.

This might lead anyone to think that HP advertises the occult, whereas LotR explicitly condemns it.

I do not favour that view, because I think it hinges greatly on the use of a specific word, and less so on logic.

Stick the character of Galadriel into the world of HP, and what do you think her title would be? "Sorceress," at least.

I say this because I ultimately do not view the LotR as a book that has explicitly Christian themes; Tolkien intended to write it as a myth, and magic is one of the aspects myth will inevitably deal with. Naturally his creation is unique and its implications are unique as well, coloured by the author's own background, no less.

Yet if we were to read books strictly as the author intended them to be read, we would have no need for literature in general. Shakespeare, for example, would not have needed to bother with his comedies and tragedies and sonnets and etc. He should have just written a laundry-list of truisms on life as he saw it and left it at that.

Furthermore, I doubt that Tolkien neccessarily wished a specific Christian agenda to be attached to the books in the minds of his readers.

Ultimately, I think that people that oppose HP for religious reasons whilst condoning the LotR are failing to see beyond the rhetoric.
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Old 02-24-2004, 06:17 PM   #51
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Tolkien "dook"? Is that dook-ey? :D

Quote:
Originally posted by Lush
I think the real difference lies in rhetoric: particularly in the word "witchcraft." It's present throughout the HP books and manifests itself in characters that are both good and evil. It's also present in LotR, but with negative connotations. This might lead anyone to think that HP advertises the occult, whereas LotR explicitly condemns it.
I think it's kind of cartoony and obvious in HP. It is literally the whole backdrop of the stories. In LotR it is a side issue. So the Harry Potter series really does advertise 'magic.'

Tolkien confronts the issue by defusing it--changing it into a different issue, by using an old English term "wizard" relating to wise with age, experience, wisdom.

Quote:
Stick the character of Galadriel into the world of HP, and what do you think her title would be? "Sorceress," at least.
Not necessarily. What is the quote when the hobbits are in Lothlorien, they ask about some elvish article, Is it magic? Elvish 'magic' is explained in a way that definitely does not imply anything like witchcraft (either the Bible kind or the Harry Potter kind).

Quote:
I say this because I ultimately do not view the LotR as a book that has explicitly Christian themes; Tolkien intended to write it as a myth, and magic is one of the aspects myth will inevitably deal with. Naturally his creation is unique and its implications are unique as well, coloured by the author's own background, no less.
I am sure we can both agree and disagree here on the semantics. "Explicit Christian themes" - Everything in the book comes from an implicit Christian worldview--not just the author's background worldview. The story, however, explicitly takes place in a fictional pre-Christian era, i.e., after the fall (initial sin) of man, but before Christ is revealed as the redeemer.

Rowling wanted to write a book about a witchcraft world--wizards and witches among us. She could have written it as a Science Fiction style, some other planet with nearly parallel "evolution" producing a race of wizards. She chose to put it in the "known" modern present world, possibly a relatively confrontational choice. But then to sidestep the religious prohibition/taboo on witchcraft, she invokes the "witchcraft gene" hole card.

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Yet if we were to read books strictly as the author intended them to be read, we would have no need for literature in general.
I don't understand your point here.

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Furthermore, I doubt that Tolkien neccessarily wished a specific Christian agenda to be attached to the books in the minds of his readers.
"Agenda" as in baggage? As in allegory? I don't understand. The Lord of the Rings is not an evangelistic salvation tract that would be fit to hand out on street corners....

I think Tolkien would have been pleased and humbled that a reader could have taken from the book a strong appreciation for many clear Christian virtues, though his purpose was to write a great story, that pleased his interests.

P.S. Lest you get the wrong idea, I love the HP books, and encourage my children to read them.
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Old 02-24-2004, 06:34 PM   #52
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dook as in we just had some terps for dinner

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Yet if we were to read books strictly as the author intended them to be read, we would have no need for literature in general.
Quote:
I don't understand your point here.
What I mean is that literature as an art-form would become irrelevant. It would turn into pure rhetoric; whether religious, political, etc.

Quote:
What is the quote when the hobbits are in Lothlorien, they ask about some elvish article, Is it magic? Elvish 'magic' is explained in a way that definitely does not imply anything like witchcraft (either the Bible kind or the Harry Potter kind)
I know what you're talking about, but am currently too lazy to climb off my bed to produce the quote (I'm posting this whilst taking a break from writing yet ANOTHER mid-term paper, bleh). I do, however, remember several facts about Galadriel that might, in fact, imply witchcraft. First, she can stop time with her ring. Second, the only way to defeat her at Lorien would be to have Sauron himself march on over there, because so "great" was her power at the time that she was practically unbeatable. Now, this could potentially indicate sorcery. Perhaps not the kind of sorcery that involves flying on brooms and mixing potions in cauldrons, but a strong whiff of supernatural powers nonetheless. Then again, Tolkien doesn't spell it out for you in that instance, so I'd say we're back to the nebulous world of interpretation.
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Old 02-24-2004, 11:34 PM   #53
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The majority of Christians accept LOTR and the Chronicles. I find that most who don't haven't actually read them. (How could they? After all, they'd go to hell in a hand-basket if they did, according to their own beliefs.)

Let's see...magic in LOTR is a gift of power from Eru, or Iluvatar, commonly associated with God. Choices are made and the gift is used - it is neither good nor evil in itself.

Magic in Narnia - we have Uncle Andrew (Magician's Nephew), who dabbled in the occult, the White Witch or Empress Jadis (MN, TLTWATW), and we have the Green Witch Serpent (Silver Chair). All are portrayed as the antagonists. Uncle Andrew is a proud fool who dabbled in the occult. Jadis was the last ruler of Charn, and the source of her power is dubious, though I believe it came from her searching for power to destroy. The Green Lady's power is...well, never mind.

HP, however, has everyday magic. IMHO its more scientific magic than anything else - spells for convienience. I don't believe God is completely out of the HP picture, but he certainly isn't 'visible' in the books. The gift is given to certain people. Their choices are their own; the practice of HP witchcraft is not the practice of 'demonic' witchcraft. God forbids witchcraft; but real-life witchcraft has nothing to do with HP witchcraft.

Am I making any sense? Feel free to PM me if you have any questions for me...or if they relate to the thread post them here...

Cheers,

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Old 02-25-2004, 12:20 AM   #54
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but a strong whiff of supernatural powers nonetheless
It is arguable that no magic in ME is supernatural at that. Supernatural, as far as I can understand the term, means something taken, imposed, intruding from outside the nature(the implied feeling of something descending from above as with 'super' prefix nevertheless may be stretched to contain "outside" meaning). As a consequence, all powers acting within ME (yes, even Valar, for those are 'powers of the world', therefore parts of the world, so inside nature) are, in fact, natural. The only supernatural act we know off is the Intervention of Eru in case of Numenor, and, possibly, Gandalf's resurrection. In both cases the event is to be quilified as miracle and not magic. The definition of magic applies from the mortal point of view, for mortals do not possess such powers, and, due to their ignorance, label the art "magic" (as the abovementioned quote of Clark's goes: any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic)

As for HP, same principle may apply (if we draw the logical chain, it will lead us to conclusion that HP witchcraft is not magic either, for powers implied are also natural - so people are born to be wizards).

Therefore I, to my own slight surprise, come to conclusion that there is no magic (if it is what we define as supernatural powers) whatsoever in both books. Another conclusion follows that the whole fuss around HP comes from the usage of terms by the author. If she bothered to replace the 'bad' words with some scientific crap (as for telepathy, mental power tra la la tra la la), there would be nothing to clash our lances for.
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Old 02-25-2004, 10:25 AM   #55
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Supernatural, as far as I can understand the term, means something taken, imposed, intruding from outside the nature(the implied feeling of something descending from above as with 'super' prefix nevertheless may be stretched to contain "outside" meaning).
Then again, one might describe the Valar and the Elves as "supernatural" in the sense that they are not governed by the normal, cyclical laws of nature which impose a limited life span on natural creatures and which require that such creatures eventually die so as to make way for the next generation. Since (while Arda endures at least) neither the Valar nor the Elves die of old age, they are in that sense outside nature and therefore supernatural. Might it not therefore be fitting to describe their powers as supernatural?
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Old 02-25-2004, 10:28 AM   #56
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Stick the character of Galadriel into the world of HP, and what do you think her title would be? "Sorceress," at least.
Lush has a point here; you don't even have to put Galadriel in the world of HP. She's known as "the Sorceress of the Golden Wood" in Rohan. Éomer:
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'Then there is a Lady in the Golden Wood, as old tales tell!' he said. 'Few escape her nets, they say. These are strange days! But if you have her favour, then you also are net-weavers and sorcerers, maybe.'
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Old 02-25-2004, 10:33 AM   #57
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Shield Elf-Witch?

Although, to be fair, Eomer didn't exactly paint a positive picture of Galadriel. His association of her with sorcerers appears to have been done with negative intent.
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Old 02-25-2004, 10:41 AM   #58
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Yeah, I think that's sort of the point. Don't the 'muggles' in HP judge the 'wizard' characters as, if not outright evil, then at least dangerous and unnatural? Éomer's comments are based on fear and ignorance, and are far from the truth, as Gimli attests.
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Old 02-25-2004, 10:51 AM   #59
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True, but HP and his chums would happily describe each other as witches and sorcerors, whereas I don't see Galadriel referring to herself in these terms.

The words are used positively in the HP books, whereas they have more negative connotations in Tolkien's works.

Which is why I think Lush is spot on when she says:

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... the real difference lies in rhetoric.
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Old 02-25-2004, 12:02 PM   #60
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To those who would distinguish LotR from HP on the grounds that in Tolkien everything emenates from Eru - you only find that out if you've read the Sil. There is no mention of Eru or indeed of any religious practice or belief in LotR, except perhaps for Faramir and his men turning west before they eat.

I first read LotR before the Sil was ever published, and when it (the Sil) finally came out, I was quite surprised when I read the Ainulindale. "Oh, there is a kind of religion in Tolkien after all," I thought. I was a child at the time so I was perhaps not so aware of underlying symbolism and so on, but I still think that most adults today who have only read LotR would not necessarily be struck by its Christian meaning.

My own belief is that those who want/need religion in Tolkien will find it and those who insist on seeing evil in Harry Potter will find that too.
I am also not aware of this issue of banning Tolkien, Rowling or whatever being debated anywhere outside the US, but I'm happy to be corrected if I'm wrong.

(Oh and as for witchcraft in the Bible - Saul consulted the Witch of Endor in order to communicate with the dead Samuel. Necromancy, no less!)
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Old 02-25-2004, 03:03 PM   #61
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Tolkien Valar Supernatural, but Elves?

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Originally posted by The Saucepan Man
Then again, one might describe the Valar and the Elves as "supernatural" in the sense that they are not governed by the normal, cyclical laws of nature which impose a limited life span on natural creatures and which require that such creatures eventually die so as to make way for the next generation. Since (while Arda endures at least) neither the Valar nor the Elves die of old age, they are in that sense outside nature and therefore supernatural. Might it not therefore be fitting to describe their powers as supernatural?
I understand Tolkien made Valar to be angel-like in the Biblical schema. They were created by God. They are outside time and space, because they were created before the world or natural universe that is limited to space and time. So that they may enter into the natural world with supernatural powers or characteristics: moving faster than the speed of light, pass through solid objects, slay thousands of men in a single night, etc. So that would be manifesting supernatural characteristics. What is "natural" to them, characteristics inherent in their nature, would be considered supernatural to us.

Now the Elves are a different matter. I think I read in the Letters, but maybe here on the forum that Elves and Men are like different aspects of human nature in Tolkien's design. I don't really understand it that way, but do not really know how to define elves, or their "power". Galadriel gets some power from her ring. I don't really know the nature of the ring. What power would she have as a ringless elf?

The "good" men do not refer to elves as evil or sorceresses, etc. except out of fear and ignorance. However, there is clearly much about Elves that is "super" man-natural, or above the inherent nature of man.

Anyway, I am pretty sure there is more than a "rhetorical" difference between the magics (HP vs LotR).
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Old 02-25-2004, 03:29 PM   #62
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Tolkien Church Lady & Witchcraft

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Originally posted by Bekah
The majority of Christians accept LOTR and the Chronicles. I find that most who don't haven't actually read them.
If most Christians in your experience who DON'T "accept" LotR and Narnia Chronicles HAVE NOT read them, it is a sordid story, but found all too often in every type of situation--and not only among Christians.

However, I have a humorous story to relate. My children began reading the stories before I ever got around to checking them out. I had a vague uneasiness, because of the witchcraft issue and the books' popularity. I just made sure my children understood this to be make-believe.

My mother-in-law, without having read the books, said, "You're not letting them read THAT?!" My wife said, "Mama, why don't you read one? You're a former school teacher and a Sunday School (Christian training) teacher. You should be able to evaluate it yourself. Then let's talk about it."

She did and found them thoroughly entertaining and "non-corrupting."

Well, there was some big hoohah about one of the recent books published or the HP movies or something. And all the little old ladies in the Sunday School class, were up in arms about how people could let their children read/see/whatever. My mother-in-law said, "Well, have you ever read them?"

"NO!"

"Well, I have. And I see better character and values in there than I see in lots of church people!"

That pretty much shut them up.
Quote:
(How could they [read them]? After all, they'd go to hell in a hand-basket if they did, according to their own beliefs.)
Explain what belief or belief system you are talking about. I know certain people freak out like something is going to jump on them from out of the pages, but it is not according to teaching, Biblical or otherwise that I am aware of.

Quote:
HP, however, has everyday...scientific magic... I don't believe God is completely out of the HP picture, but he certainly isn't 'visible' in the books. The gift is given to certain people. Their choices are their own; the practice of HP witchcraft is not the practice of 'demonic' witchcraft. God forbids witchcraft; but real-life witchcraft has nothing to do with HP witchcraft.
I mentioned the author's choice to instill a "witchcraft" gene thesis as a way to bypass the Biblical injunction on witchcraft. These people don't have a choice. Which, in her fictional world is completely acceptable within the rules she establishes as the author.

However, by choosing to set the stories within present day society (wizards among us), she may have chosen purposefully to rile up these reactions among people.

Anyway, Bekah, what do you mean by "real-life witchcraft?"
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Old 02-25-2004, 04:35 PM   #63
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If most Christians in your experience who DON'T "accept" LotR and Narnia Chronicles HAVE NOT read them, it is a sordid story, but found all too often in every type of situation--and not only among Christians.
It is indeed. Btw, by 'Christians' I meant those who proclaim themselves to be, regardless of their personal relationship with Christ. After all, only God can truly judge a person. I cannot say, though, that I think those who condemn something without having enough knowledge of it to be able to form a valid judgement to be wise.

Quote:
My mother-in-law, without having read the books, said, "You're not letting them read THAT?!" My wife said, "Mama, why don't you read one? You're a former school teacher and a Sunday School (Christian training) teacher. You should be able to evaluate it yourself. Then let's talk about it."

She did and found them thoroughly entertaining and "non-corrupting."
Which is why I believe it is best to gather information from reliable sources, such as your own personal experience, before judging....very amusing story, btw.

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Explain what belief or belief system you are talking about. I know certain people freak out like something is going to jump on them from out of the pages, but it is not according to teaching, Biblical or otherwise that I am aware of.
Ever heard of the Exclusive Brethrens? My mother is employed by them as a teacher, and I went to the school last week for two days to visit. The EBS ban pretty much everything on account of it not being 'Godly' or because it will 'corrupt' anyone in contact with whatever it is....I daresay there are other groups of people with beliefs that result in banning books/movies for various reasons such as supposed 'evil witchcraft', but I don't know of them personally.

Quote:
Anyway, Bekah, what do you mean by "real-life witchcraft?"
More along the kind that you would encounter in the Bible or perhaps Wicca.

Quote:
(Oh and as for witchcraft in the Bible - Saul consulted the Witch of Endor in order to communicate with the dead Samuel. Necromancy, no less!)
Like that...

Quote:
To those who would distinguish LotR from HP on the grounds that in Tolkien everything emenates from Eru - you only find that out if you've read the Sil. There is no mention of Eru or indeed of any religious practice or belief in LotR, except perhaps for Faramir and his men turning west before they eat.
True, true, but it is my belief that God (or Eru) is always there even if there is no visible sign of him...

I think I should stop thinking about this for now. I'm starting to get a headache....

Cheers,

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Old 02-26-2004, 12:23 AM   #64
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Saucepen Man supernatural elves re (leaving whole witchcraft issue alone for a while):

From mortal point of view, yes, maybe they must have been thought of as supernatural (even at that time)

On the other hand, no, neither elves nor even Valar seem supernatural at all. By nature I mean not a nearby wood and a river , the Nature in question is the whole of the universe, created in the Halls of Eru. It is arguable that Ainur were before time and creation of the world, and therefore must be supernatural, but I was talking about Valar, who entered the World because they loved it and are henceforward bound by it. Ainur who did not do not meddle with the world afterwards. So, the argument is - whatever is inside nature, is natural, regardless its abilities of walking thrugh walls or high speed travel or enchantment

There is a whole of Osanwe-Kenta to consult with (as to restrictions following such an entrance and imposed by 'being bound with the history of the world', i.e. impossibility to interact with the substance of the world if not at least 'clothed' in a body etc.) Check out Jallanite's entry
here It deals mainly with the possibility of flight for the incarnate Maiar, but can give an insight as for 'supernaturalness' as well.

Therefore, I conclude, that there is no magic (if defined as something supernatural) in ME, but mere application of natural faculties
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Old 02-26-2004, 05:38 AM   #65
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Explain what belief or belief system you are talking about.
Bekah mentions one, but I have read posts on this site by many young people in the US who have found themselves in trouble at their schools for reading LotR, which was banned on religious grounds. There's a thread on the subject here.
http://forum.barrowdowns.com/showthr...ight=parochial

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However, by choosing to set the stories within present day society (wizards among us), she may have chosen purposefully to rile up these reactions among people.
Not at all. JK Rowling is British. She wrote HP originally for a British readership, and there is no witchcraft/book-banning controversy over here. It is very much a US issue, and only surfaced once HP became internationally successful.
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Old 02-26-2004, 07:19 AM   #66
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It is very much a US issue
international, I should say. There was quite a fuss in Russia immediately following the Russian tranlsation some years back (I happened to be at the place at a time), and there is quite a fuss in Georgia right now, for the two first books translations have been published last year and the third is coming along. Just this morning I've been watching the TV debates in the morning show, guests being the HP publisher, his advisor on one hand and some religious issue dealing newspaper editor and her mate on the other
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Old 02-26-2004, 07:37 AM   #67
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Fair enough.
I'm just going by the fact that in western Europe most media reports on controversy seem to come from the States. And I suspect that the Russian/Georgian fuss might have been sparked by the initial furore in the US.

But I don't think it would have occurred to either Tolkien or Rowling that magic/fantasy content in their books would upset or offend Christians. It just isn't an issue in the environment they were both writing in.
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Old 02-26-2004, 07:59 AM   #68
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It is very much a US issue, and only surfaced once HP became internationally successful.
Well, it’s certainly not a British issue. We are probably the least religious country in the world right at this moment.

Quote:
Explain what belief or belief system you are talking about.
Click on the article linked to in this thread for an example of one of the more extreme reactions against LotR (and HP). Mind you, I agree with this Yusko guy on one point: if one is inclined to condemn HP on religious grounds, then one should condemn LotR too. Where I disagree with him is that I do not believe that either should be condemned. Indeed, this article is a very real example of the extremes to which one can go if one starts banning works on the basis of real or perceived contradictions with one’s belief system.

Quote:
On the other hand, no, neither elves nor even Valar seem supernatural at all … So, the argument is - whatever is inside nature, is natural, regardless its abilities of walking through walls or high speed travel or enchantment.
I was talking about “nature” in terms of the natural cycle (the Circle of Life – to put it in Lion King terms ). Immortal beings would certainly seem to be outside of nature in the sense of being outside this natural cycle of life.

Nevertheless, I agree, HI, that, if you define nature in the wider sense of the natural world of Arda, then nothing which exists within Arda can be considered supernatural. Then again, as you said earlier, the same argument can apply to the world of HP.
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Old 02-26-2004, 02:15 PM   #69
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Quote:
And I suspect that the Russian/Georgian fuss might have been sparked by the initial furore in the US.
Well, I can't speak for the Georgians, but the fuss in Russia has more to do with how freakin' backward certain elements of Russian society have become in recent years.

Please don't think this issue is limited to Harry Potter either. Tolkien's works are viewed as equally corrupting by religious zealots.

I ought to know, I'm part of that institution (as in, I'm a practicing Russian Orthodox).

I suspect the Russian religious furor over Harry Potter and Tolkien has a lot to do with the church being able to let off steam after decades of being suppressed. It's like the initial fizz that comes out of a coke bottle that's been shaken one time too many.

P.S. As a disclaimer, though, on the other hands we have a large number of young Russian Orthodox priests smoking Marlboros in public, wearing jeans under their robes, reading everything from Tolkien to "Emmanuelle" (to educate themselves on popular culture, naturally). Russia is just...confused right now, in that whole lovable, post-USSR, utter economic meltdown sort of way.

P.P.S. Oh, and Heren, I'm totally right about magic in LotR, and you're totally wrong! Hehe. I think at this point we can agree to disagree.
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Old 02-27-2004, 12:06 AM   #70
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magic re: âñå ìîæåò áûòü...

well. dunno about being totally something, yet with all due respect I will retain my view in the case, m'lady...

*H-I bows

Quote:
I suspect the Russian religious furor over Harry Potter and Tolkien has a lot to do with the church being able to let off steam after decades of being suppressed
Same thing down here in the case. Though, to be honest, it is to be said that priesthood is divided with regards of their views of HP (nothing about LoTR so far, since only the Hobbit have been translated into Georgian, and movie issue haven't got into the scope of attention of the said zealots)
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Old 03-02-2004, 02:43 PM   #71
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A thought struck me today (better a thought that a truck, right?);

What if, the seeming discrepancy between the way that LotR and Harry Potter are perceived by "concerned" parents might have something to do with the advent of the information age and the way people have reacted to it?

Think about it. Back when Tolkien was first beginning to be published, the illusion of living in a vacuum still pervailed for many conservatives. The positive aspect of that, in my opinion, was that this made parents feel somehow more "responsible" for the way their young children behaved. The media was gaining power, but it did not yet seem omnipresent.

When Tolkien arrived on the scene, sure, religious concerns were raised and addressed. Protesting a work of art is not a 20th century invention; yet the past centuries organized religion's primary concern was science. The outlets used to popularize art were not nearly as powerful as they have recently become. In the context of the family, therefore, art did not seem to be an immediate threat to children. Furthermore, parents felt that they had more of a say in terms what their children read and how the reading affected them.

Flash forward to today. Mass-media appears to be taking over human conscience; the exchange of information is easy; news are merging with advertising and suddenly media executives have become "experts" on how to live.

How many local news reports do you watch a week that purport to intimidate you into leading your life a certain way? How many journalists/pundits/talk-show hosts appear to reach out to you and tell you that it is up to them to solve your problems?

In this climate, with Harry Potter arriving fresh on the scene and immediately becoming as familiar as Cindy Crawford's mole through the power of hype, parents feel marginalized. It's as if raising their children is no longer up to them anymore; it's up to Disney, it's up to MTV, it's up to...Rowling.

If an average conservative Christian father, for example, suddenly discovers his daughter to be dabbling in the occult, his immediate response may not be: "what have I done wrong in explaining to her that our religion does not approve of this?" Rather, it may go along these lines: "What has the media done wrong?" "What has Harry Potter done wrong?" "What has the chain bookstore done wrong?"

Tolkien, having already become an intrinsic part of pop culture, is safer by comparison. His books have been around. They seem to have been time-tested. They're alright.

Right?

(Though it would be curious to see just what the recent films have been doing to that image)
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Old 03-04-2004, 12:22 AM   #72
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fine by me

Though the wish to blame others for any blunders, even one's own, is what humans generally do. It's always good day for someone else to die, hum.

...my cow is dead not cause I'd forgotten to feed it, but cause that warty-nosy woman next door bewitched it...

But you are probably right. May be that, once written century ago, HP might have taken place on the shelves beside Alice.
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Old 03-08-2004, 05:11 PM   #73
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The Eye about the book banning...

I read the linked forum threads and articles till my eyes glazed over... I read the entire original wacko article on the website that referred to HP and LOTR as evil.

1. The guy just stated his opinion condemning everyone who basically does not think exactly as he does. I did not see any reasonable or logical argument from the Bible or anything. Just a bunch of propaganda techniques. So I can just dismiss that as that idiot's opinion.

So my more or less innocent question still stands. I mean a Bible or otherwise kind of justification for opposing LotR. Because beliefs are just that, beliefs. Like the T-shirt I had in college:
Quote:
Everyone has to believe in something. I believe I'll have another beer!
2. Almost everyone (at least many of the replies) on B-D forum said that guy has no right to say [fill in the blank here as to what he said]. Hello? Assuming the web-ranter-dude was from the USA, he has a right to his freedom of speech just as much as the B-D'ers. Well, actually more, because I noticed the Wight stomped one of the threads closed because it was off-topic. That is his right as forum moderator, because this place (forum) is not free speech. So everyone who said "he has no right" is just as "wrong" as the web-ranter.

3. On the thread about LOTR being banned from a school, it turned out on the second page of the thread (hard to remember, both eyes and half my brain was glazed over by that time) that it was a false alarm, and it was really HP that was targeted. People were still ranting about it.

4. In a private school, at least (presumably it was some religious one), the principal may indeed have the right and/or authority (depending on the charter) to 'ban' materials such as books based on content. I won't get into any details, but all the B-D'ers who were, again, yelling "What gives them the right?" were just down right wrong!

I even noted one person said, Hey, this is the USA, you can do anything you want! (not an exact quote, but that was the gist of it.) To which I say, what? Are you reading that in the US Constitution? Or is that some flyer from the People's Republic of California? Ha ha, maybe it is the Zeroth (0th) Amendment: We the people can do anything we want--after all, this is America.
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Old 03-09-2004, 12:16 AM   #74
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Theron Bugtussle, and the morale is...?
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Old 03-10-2004, 06:27 PM   #75
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Narya ...long explanations...

Heren, my original post was as follows:

Quote from Bekah:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
(How could they [read them]? After all, they'd go to hell in a hand-basket if they did, according to their own beliefs.)
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Quoting my own reply:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Explain what belief or belief system you are talking about. I know certain people freak out like something is going to jump on them from out of the pages, but it is not according to teaching, Biblical or otherwise that I am aware of.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Then Bekah responded of a sect/church that has some beliefs against worldliness. I was hoping for an explanation of those beliefs, some teaching or instruction as to how they developed the justification for a "ban" on The Lord of the Rings. There was no explanation of it there, though.

Then Lalaith and The Saucepan Man responded with links to threads where the book was banned. One of the threads included a link to a religious "ranter" against LotR, but my point is (point #1), there was no substance there, no logical case, no Bible instruction as to how he arrived at his opinion. So I am still looking for the belief system.

My point #2 was, that in those threads, the B-D'ers that disagree with the "ranter" are just as wrong when they say he has no "right" to condemn it or them, or whatever. He has the right to disagree with you, or me. I personally believe he is wrong, but he has the right to be "wrong" in my eyes.

I think this is how "political correctness" starts or perpetuates. People say, "You have no right!" when they should be saying, "I disagree with you. And I will debate you about it."

My point #3 was, the B-D'ers were going off "half-cocked" about a "ban" on The Lord of the Rings that never really happened. Then when the mistake was indicated on the thread, some B-D'ers continued to rant and rave about how it was wrong... Anyone feel embarrassed yet?

My point #4 was that in many school circumstances, particularly private (non-taxpayer) or religious schools, the authorities have every right to set the academic tone, rules, content, etc. So all B-D'ers disagreeing (again about the issue of rights) were wrong.

I realize that many members here are relatively young. So maybe you/they do not always clearly understand what a 'right' is and that people can disagree.

Next time, it might help if you read my reply a little closer. I usually try to make a meaningful explanation of my arguments. If that fails, read my sig!
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Old 03-10-2004, 11:39 PM   #76
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So one of the most beautiful aspects of life in America is that everyone can enjoy their constitutionally protected right to spout the most profoundly stupid stuff you might hear on this side of Western Civilization.

Ah, liberty.

My high school should have banned LotR, considering that I devoted entire class periods to reading Tolkien, only occasionally looking up with a glazed look in my eyes and mumbling nonesense about Aragorn when the answer was "Andropov."
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Old 03-11-2004, 01:00 AM   #77
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Doth quoteth Duchess - there always is a morale

Theron, how dare you? You have no right to give me long explanations!

*reads the sig

ah, so you were talking to yourself, than? You have no right to talk to yourself on the public fora!!!

*reflects a bit more

And nobody has the right to ban my wish to have a morale than and there!!!!!

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Well (good way to start apologetical sentences, the 'well' thingy). I hope you were not hurt by the bit of foolery immediately above.

And, of course, pray accept my apologies on being inattentive to your previous posts.

I was drifting in another direction with theological issues, (after all, that is what started the whole thread, 'banning/right to do so' being a side walk as a consequence of books being thought satanical) so concluded you were referring to those, not to human rights as it came out. I will be more attentive next time

cheers (and no worries, eh?)
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Old 03-11-2004, 07:40 AM   #78
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Sting Rights and wrongs

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Quote:
One of the threads included a link to a religious "ranter" against LotR, but my point is (point #1), there was no substance there, no logical case, no Bible instruction as to how he arrived at his opinion. So I am still looking for the belief system.
If you are enquiring whether there is any formal "belief system" (in the sense of an organised religion) which advocates the banning of books such as LotR as one of its precepts, then clearly there is none. On the other hand, individuals such as Yusko the Ranter clearly interpret their religion as holding that any mention of magic and witchraft is contrary to their faith and therefore taboo (to the extent, in Yusko's case, that he considers any involvement with them merits eternal damnation). In that sense, the advocation of a ban on books such as LotR and HP is part of his belief system and that of others like him. And I would be surprised if this was limited to Chrisitanity. Most religions have their intolerant wings (for example, Mr Yusko's approach, if not his specific beliefs, is akin to that of extreme Islam, although I doubt that he would accept such a proposition in a million years).

Quote:
the B-D'ers that disagree with the "ranter" are just as wrong when they say he has no "right" to condemn it or them, or whatever. He has the right to disagree with you, or me. I personally believe he is wrong, but he has the right to be "wrong" in my eyes.
You are, of course, strictly speaking correct. But I think that you are interpreting people's use of the word "right" rather too narrowly. I don't think that anyone is suggesting (or would be, if they thought about it) that this guy has no legal right to express his views. Really, they are just saying much the same as you (albeit perhaps more clumsily so), ie that what he says is in their opinion not right, ie it is "wrong". I can understand people in this forum (a Tolkien forum, after all) expressing their views in such forceful terms, particularly those of the Christian faith themselves who find their beliefs and sacred texts being twisted by individuals such as Yusko in this way.

Quote:
My point #3 was, the B-D'ers were going off "half-cocked" about a "ban" on The Lord of the Rings that never really happened. Then when the mistake was indicated on the thread, some B-D'ers continued to rant and rave about how it was wrong... Anyone feel embarrassed yet?
I would imagine that this is the result of people not reading the entire thread before posting (a practice that I would most certainly discourage). Nevertheless, even if the specific ban being discussed on that thread never came into effect, LotR has, I believe, been banned in some schools and communities in the US (and possibly elsewhere in the world too).

Quote:
in many school circumstances, particularly private (non-taxpayer) or religious schools, the authorities have every right to set the academic tone, rules, content, etc. So all B-D'ers disagreeing (again about the issue of rights) were wrong.
Again, I think that you are being unduly restrictive in your interpretation of people's use of the word "right". Of course, there are undoubtedly areas where schools have the legal right to ban books such as LotR. The question is whether it is "right" for them to do so in a wider sense of the word. Personally, I consider any restriction on freedom of speech, save in very limited circumstances (such as where necessary for national security or to protect children and other vulnerable sections of society), to be a breach of natural law and contrary to basic human rights. In my view, neither LotR nor HP falls within the limited circumstances noted above, and so I am happy to say that these schools have no right to impose such a ban. Yes, that's my subjective view, but it's one that I feel very confident in stating, and one which I am most happy to defend.
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Old 03-12-2004, 01:24 AM   #79
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The thread seemingly have had developed two parallel courses.

A) Human rights
B) Whether books fall under descrpition of 'satanic' (as described by Christian Faith, since the schools in question presumably profess such)

I rather tend to assume the main thing here is the clause B, and once it is solved (and I believe it is solved up there), the whole issue is worked out as well. For once it is proved LoTR and HP are books definitely acceptable by those professing Christianity, the whole point of banning those is lost

As for the A clause, I personally believe that schools have a right and are entitled to ban anything and everything from the classes, but individual has the right and is entitled to read whatever he/she pleases in the dormitory.

My [free] time is my own to spend, whatever the bans.

The major problem arises once school tries to ban one's free-time reading. Than indeed the battlecry of "excuse me pal, but you have no right to do so" should be uttered

Still more, it is unwise to ban a book, lest authorities doing so are not secret admirers trying to advertise it, and cunningly disguising themselves as persecutors in secret hope that thus books they are banning would become a way more popular. You tell people not to do something, next minute everyone is trying it out (even those who would not if it were free to do)
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Old 03-12-2004, 07:08 AM   #80
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Well, I guess worse things have been done before...

Sometimes I wonder whether Prof T had any interest in the Unknown himself. He spun very wonderful tales about wizards and elves and magic, but the only definitions and explainations that he himself would provide for all these unnatural stuff are that they are all things that Mundane Men have not heard about and learnt of. That really sounded a lot like: "You won't understand if I tell you anyway, so why bother to ask?"

All myths and fiction come from the thoughts of the human brain, and as such, should have basis in th actual living world, whether perceived or factual.
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