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View Poll Results: What Confession Do You Belong to?
Atheism 19 16.67%
Buddhism 4 3.51%
Christianity (Catholic) 20 17.54%
Christianity (Orthodox) 7 6.14%
Christianity (Protestant) 37 32.46%
Confucianism 0 0%
Hinduism 0 0%
Islam 2 1.75%
Judaism 6 5.26%
Other 19 16.67%
Voters: 114. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 01-28-2007, 03:01 PM   #81
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I guess since I participated in the poll, I should give an explanation. I marked Protestant, though I think of the term as non-Catholic and non-Orthodox. My parents met at the local Non-denominational Christian church, and I have since been raised and baptized in that particular church. I consider the Bible to be the final authority on morality, and the differences in denominations to be results of different interpretations on the Bible.

Has LOTR had influences on my beliefs? Surprisingly no. I'm still trying to find all those pieces that are considered to have Christian influence. I don't find LOTR to be as allegorical as say, C.S. Lewis's work.
"So why the safe distance, this curious look? Why tear out single pages when you can throw away the book? Why pluck one string when you can strum the guitar?
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Old 08-13-2007, 09:50 PM   #82
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I am a Seventh Day Adventist, I don't know what type of Christianity that settles into, but it is not Catholic thats for sure...We believe that everyone would be happier if they took Jesus Christ as their savior and read their bibles, and had a close walk with God.
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Old 07-05-2016, 09:07 AM   #83
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Having a day off post-Mooting has given me a deep dive into the Archives for interesting material, which is now coupled with a wake from my normal Huorn state into posting.

Rereading this thread, it occurs to me that while I answered the black and white question of which religious confession I call home, I did not really delve into the implicit question of "how does your faith (or lack thereof) affect your reading of Tolkien, or vice versa?"

Perhaps that's just as well--ten years ago I would have been even wordier than I am now, and I think my answer has probably changed. The black and white question hasn't: I remain a practicing, believing Roman Catholic; but I have grown a little bit in the intervening decade, both as a Catholic and as a Tolkien fan.

Ten years ago, although I was happy to note that I shared Tolkien's faith, I was actually rather bristly towards most arguments that tried to read anything religious into his work, a stance drawn largely from Tolkien's own cordial dislike of allegory. I started reading Tolkien when I was ten or eleven and I was neck-deep in fascination with his world before I discovered he was a Catholic and while I did eventually discover the Letters and was happy to discover he had been a Catholic too, I did not really change in my conviction that this had no implicit bearing on anything in his fiction. I was, after all, also discovering "On Fairy-stories" about that time, and my summation then of my response to Tolkien would have been to disavow anything overtly Catholic in Middle-earth as attempting to force upon the text an interpretation that did not allow the art of storytelling to be supreme.

To an extent, I still feel that way, though I might highlight the connection between good storytelling and my faith a bit more strongly. As I see it, the best storytelling has the quality of Truth to it, so what allows the story to excel as a story will make it more congruent with Truth itself, which as a believer of course means my faith. In the precise case of Tolkien, this is an easy transition to make, since his own worldview and thus his own tastes in storytelling, were formed and fed by his Catholicism.

Beyond that, in the last decade I have left seminary and the deliberate path of a life in the Church and gone on to a secular career. Tolkien has remained a major influence on my creative thought and has become even more of a rolemodel (or warning) of how to live as a practicing Catholic in a non-Catholic context. In some respects, he has been a model that has encouraged me to be a Catholic amongst non-Catholics rather than seeking to be within the company of other Catholics.

His works too, mainly The Lord of the Rings and The Silmarillion are read a little differently these days. They are well-worn pieces of mental furniture to me. Coupled with the breadth of their content and their beauty, this has made them a solace to me in hard times, not entirely unlike the Bible. Which is not to say that I think of them as Divinely Inspired, but I do incline--more than I used to--to see them as the products of a Catholic mind and thus to find the struggles within them as reflections by a mind with similar faith working through the great issues of life.
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Old 07-05-2016, 09:42 AM   #84
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This is a thread I've somehow missed all this time. Thanks Form, for unearthing it.

I selected the Christianity-Protestant option. I was born and reared in the Baptist denomination, though my parents weren't notably devout. We attended church fairly regularly, but throughout a good deal of my childhood faith wasn't a large part of my life.

I had read The Hobbit and LOTR well before my 'epiphany' in adolescence, the point at which I became a committed follower of Jesus Christ. Since that time, Tolkien's works have to me echoed many elements of my faith, and the meaning of the books is much deeper than when I read them in childhood.

Like Form, I too can find moral and spiritual solace in Tolkien sometimes. For example, there have been times when I was obliged for financial reasons to sell items that, while cherished, really served no purpose, and it was very unlikely I would ever actually use them. At those instances, I could almost hear the voice of (not Vigo!!) Aragorn saying to me "he who cannot cast away a treasure at need is in fetters".

Other times I think of the mercy shown to Gollum by Bilbo and Frodo, and the way in which that worked to ultimate good that the hobbits never imagined. Tolkien helps me to keep a sense of perspective; a knowledge that my daily struggles and triumphs are part of a larger picture that may not become clear to me for a long time, or never on this earth. But as long as I persevere and keep the faith to my best ability, the great Playwright will work all ends for good.
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Old 07-10-2016, 10:07 PM   #85
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Since we're sharing, I thought I'd throw in my two cents. Hopefully it doesn't take us too far off topic.

I think it's great how although people come to Tolkien's works with different perspectives and worldviews, we all get something meaningful out of them. A writer's worldview can inform their storytelling without being overt about it, which makes it relatable to different groups/types of people. I don't care much for allegory myself -- high school studies of Orwell beat that thoroughly out of me -- and I don't think I would enjoy Tolkien's works nearly as much if his Catholicism was clearly front and center, because I don't share those beliefs. (And I don't think the writing would have been nearly as good. Take, for example, Pullman's His Dark Materials books -- while I share the author's atheism and generally like the plot, the writing is not what you would call subtle. )

Being nonreligious, I find inspiration in other things, including literature. The melancholic yet, at the end of the day, optimistic tone in LotR fits my attitudes about the world. "Above all shadows rides the Sun, and Stars forever dwell..."
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