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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 01-28-2006, 05:56 AM   #41
Lalaith
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We're a rather fascinating bunch, we Others.
Pagans, Mormons, agnostics, lapsed choir-girls....we must all go out for a drink sometime.
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Old 01-28-2006, 07:21 AM   #42
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Originally Posted by Lalaith
We're a rather fascinating bunch, we Others.
Pagans, Mormons, agnostics, lapsed choir-girls....we must all go out for a drink sometime.

Of course we might end up glassing one another...... I like that " lapsed choir-girl" .. I have always thought it was unfair that you only seemed able to be a lapse Catholic...not a lapsed Protestant.. I know Anglacanism is a very broad church but still
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Old 01-28-2006, 01:32 PM   #43
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I have always thought it was unfair that you only seemed able to be a lapse Catholic...not a lapsed Protestant.. I know Anglacanism is a very broad church but still
Well, I guess the founding of the Church of England kinda was one big lapse...
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Old 01-28-2006, 02:59 PM   #44
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I voted 'other' simply because I've no idea what my story would fall under. So, here it goes:

Both of my parents were raised in Rhode Island as strict Catholics (I don't anything about the divisions within the church, so sorry if I'm oversimplifying things or leaving parts out.) And then came the teenage years, (They've known each other forever and grew up right down the street) and they sort of disowned the church and goofed off and became hippies. Then after they had finished college, they met up again at a Grateful Dead concert in Wisconsin (both of them were driving crappy old VW cars, one a Rabbit and one a bus.) and fell in love. (awww...) After they got married and had me, we were living in the mountains of California with no electricity in a hippie commune. (I think we lived right down the road from the singer Neil Young.) I grew up on Peace, Love and Happiness. We used to go out in the woods late at night and eat dinner under the stars and climb the trees and sing songs. (I remember all of this very vaguely, but we have pictures complete with the tie-dyed cloth diapers, so it must be true!)

My parents were, and still are, very open about religion. They made it clear to us (my brother and I) that we could practice any religion we wanted to and they'd support us no matter what. And so I've grown up on a coalition of religions. I went to a Protestant church once or twice to see what it was like and I went to a Catholic church to see what the difference was. When I went to England, I attended mass in St. Paul's Cathedral, which is Anglican (I think) and when I travelled to Spain and Italy, I attended mass in a very different Catholic Cathedral than the one back home. Now, this would suggest a strong background in Christianity, but that's not it either. I've been to the temple with my Orthodox Jewish cousins and went to a Wiccan ______ (I'm unsure of the word) with my boyfriend's aunt. I also wanted to study Buddhism and then Hinduism for a short time, because of yoga.

Now, about how all this mumbo-jumbo effected my reading of Tolkien, well, I can honestly say that I've never once considered any sort of religious aspects while reading Tolkien for my leisure (reading it for class and for an essay was an entirely different matter.) I can clearly see where people could draw parallels between Tolkien and religion, but for me, it has never affected anything.

Sorry, for being so long-winded! Blame it on my boredom and procrastination.
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Old 01-29-2006, 10:22 PM   #45
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I, too, am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. So, Lalaith, that drink will have to be nonalcoholic for me.

Tolkien’s work has more or less meaning for you because of your faith; has your faith grown in meaning to you because of Tolkien?
For me, none whatsoever. I like this story for its entertainment value, for the fantasy, for the adventure. I relate the most to hobbits so the inspiring part would be to enjoy the simpler things in life...family, food and making it count when it really had to.
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Old 01-30-2006, 01:01 PM   #46
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Can growth in faith through Tolkien be a little indirect? The books that have had the biggest effect on me religiously are those of C.S. Lewis. Lewis was a close personal friend of Tolkien, as well as being fellow member of Inklings, an informal club to discuss and encourage its members essays into fiction...
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Old 01-30-2006, 02:39 PM   #47
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Originally Posted by JennyHallu
Can growth in faith through Tolkien be a little indirect? The books that have had the biggest effect on me religiously are those of C.S. Lewis. Lewis was a close personal friend of Tolkien, as well as being fellow member of Inklings, an informal club to discuss and encourage its members essays into fiction...

Well Iwould say yes since Tolkien was an influence on Lewis's conversion although he was disappointed that he reverted to the church he had been brought up in rather than becoming a Catholic..
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Old 01-30-2006, 02:47 PM   #48
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Originally Posted by Amanaduial the archer
Well, I guess the founding of the Church of England kinda was one big lapse...
But not one I feel personally...... and the Catholic church was in need of reform.

Anyway you forget that "my" variety of Anglicanism is the "I can't believe it's not Catholicism" one.....
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Old 01-31-2006, 12:22 AM   #49
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Truly it is said 'reform of Church is not matter of main interest here'...

PS. I know I'm being snappish throughout the thread, but this is highly combustible matters I asked you to tackle into, so better be overly prudent than let the thread go out of hand
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Old 01-31-2006, 07:54 AM   #50
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as social surveys go, most of them are intended A. to help somebody to sell something B. to satisfy ‘scientific’ curiosity. As I’m not selling anything, this must be the latter case
A likely story. What's the pay like at HarperCollins these days?
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Old 01-31-2006, 09:20 AM   #51
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It seems we have quite a stew brewing here; with potatoes, turnips, carrots, cabbages, and little dashes of everything else (I burned pudding once, don't ask me to decide on the 'everything else').

I do love making everything into food...

Anyhow, to the topic. I myself would be a...Methodist...maybe. I've never been keen on going to church, or participating in religion on the whole. I always found it to be an interruption of a perfectly good Sunday morning coma (back in the good ol' days of being in my early teens). But, I do believe in God. And in some other tenants of Christianity in general. So, I would say I am a Christian in belief; nothing more, nothing less.
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Old 01-31-2006, 09:27 AM   #52
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Oooh....nice metaphor, Captain!!!

Now I'm going to spend my morning (what's left of it) deciding what religion corresponds to what vegetable. Maybe Christians are potatoes...ubiquitous, not particularly flavorful, and prone to mushiness when overcooked. BUT...you can make pretty much anything out of them, from plain milk soup to samosa (mmm, spicy). Endless variety, a single spud.

tee-hee. That metaphor works way too well for comfort.
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Old 01-31-2006, 10:06 AM   #53
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Indeed, the term Agnostic is absent from the list. An Agnostic is one who believes that a God does exist, but doesn't suscribe to any already prevalent view of God. (ie religion) Considering that Agnosticsm is a growing veiwpoint on the matter, it really should be covered.
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Old 01-31-2006, 11:40 AM   #54
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A likely story. What's the pay like at HarperCollins these days?
I wish that would be true

Recommendation:

I recommend that all critic, disagreement, improvement suggestions, likewise agreement, approval and so forth related to the survey structure as such be addressed to me by PM or otherwise, but not discussed in the thread itself. I believe that reasons why I prefered certain options over all others (given the limit of 10 poll entries already mentioned) are adequately explained in the opening post and do not require more debate. Thank you
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Old 02-01-2006, 05:40 AM   #55
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The agnostic does not believe in a god. The agnostic is simply unwilling to choose theism or atheism. Many people profess to being an agnostic when they are actually atheists. 'Agnostic' sounds friendlier, but it's often misused.
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Old 02-01-2006, 08:41 AM   #56
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Quote:
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The agnostic does not believe in a god. The agnostic is simply unwilling to choose theism or atheism. Many people profess to being an agnostic when they are actually atheists. 'Agnostic' sounds friendlier, but it's often misused.
True. For a large portion of my life I was agnostic. I didn't believe, but I didn't flat out disbelieve. I simply didn't care enough to bother choosing one side or the other without a lot more empirical evidence.

To add what I hope will be useful information for Sir Heren's study, I was quite a happy Methodist child until I just sort of trailed off out of the church, when I became atheist until I embraced Christ again until such a time that events in my life rendered me agnostic.

I really can't say that Tolkein's books affected my belief or faith, but they did affect my already strong humanistic philosophy toward life. Though the characters are fictional, they're written so realistically that one can read and begin to believe that people aren't so bad after all. Gives you hope, if nothing else, at times.
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Old 02-01-2006, 02:40 PM   #57
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I think that agnostic translates as someone who does not know.. a-gnosis =without knowledge as opposed to a-theos without god.... it is much more definite disbelief!!!
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Old 02-01-2006, 03:28 PM   #58
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I think it is safe to say that for many people Tolkien's works (and other works of Christian writers i.e. writers with a clear Christian influence) certainly have some effect on religious or moral beliefs. For example, myself. I used to be more or less an atheist (not surprisingly - my parents and pretty much my entire non-American family are atheists and none of my friends believe in God). Tolkien (but admittedly especially some of the comments of fellow Downers) has really got me thinking about religion again and I find myself far more interested and accepting of Christian faith than I was at any other time in my life. (I don't wish to go into sob story mode but I feel I should explain: when I was little, I lived in a Catholic community for a while and loved the church and bible classes more than any of my classmates - whether this was because of interest or faith I have no clue -, but was never permitted to attend 'real' mass and eventually they kicked me out of the classes because I was not baptised. I have never really liked the church since then - I was highly insulted - even though I have always felt closer to Catholic faith than any other religion). I feel at times very strongly about this - at the time of voting, for example, when I checked Catholic - even though I am aware that undoubtedly I will never seriously be anything else than an agnostic/atheist: my parents would find me a fool and my friends would definitely be far too amused.

Huhm - to make a long and rather personal story short, yes, Tolkien and his works can affect religious views when you're open to it, I think, and especially when you are a member of the Barrowdowns. I must say though, watching the movies and hearing the story as a kid I never really thought about faith, only the values that come with it. But maybe it hardly matters whether you believe or not as long as you are nice to everyone and share your chocolate chip cookies. And save the world when it needs you.
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Old 02-01-2006, 08:41 PM   #59
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I belong to the Church of Lush!

All are welcome.
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Old 02-01-2006, 10:20 PM   #60
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It is wonderfull to see something so small as a book, wel I guess its not so small anymore since they are now the 3 biggest movies in the world. ok maybe a little exageration. But somethign relatively small like this bringing so many religions/denominations/confessions, however you want to put it, together. We may have different opinions but its all to be respected and so far I haven't seen otherwise.

I personally and a huge religious person. A Lutheran. Yeah, give it up for the Lutherans. any others out there.

The symbolism in LotR is small and you have to really be thinking about it to find it sometimes but it is there. But as some have said before the awesome sybolic books of The Chronicles of Narnia. But as this isnt a Narnia forum ill just tell you that they are awesome and leave it at that. Awesome againg to have so many people here together. Just awesome.
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Old 02-02-2006, 07:37 AM   #61
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I don't think I ever could really say I was a Christian until about 18, and not a strong one until just the past year/few months. Events and circumstances conspired to hit me with a brick wall of responsibility and need-for-maturity, and that's a fairly good time to go looking for a little help. I'm afraid I shall be eternally skeptical of the person who says "I was baptized when I was five, and I'm such a strong Christian..." I'm twenty, and I know how much I have to learn, and I'm just beginning to see what a huge thing religious faith is, especially faith as "the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things unseen". It takes some real maturity of thought and action even to understand what you are saying and promising when you say that you are a Christian (or a Muslim, or a Wiccan, or laying claim to any faith or lack thereof as the cornerstone of your life.)

And in my experience, the strongest and most amazing faiths I have seen in the lives of my friends and family (I'm phrasing it that way because I'm including a Jewish friend of mine) are those that were raised in the faith, and had the courage to test their beliefs, and CHOSE to return to that faith. To the Christians and those with New Testaments reading this thread, read 1 Thess 5:21. Or maybe 2 Thess. There's only a 5:21 in one of them, so good luck.

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Old 02-15-2006, 06:58 PM   #62
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I'm the daughter of an agnostic Reformed Jew and a lapsed until fairly recently and now semi-practicing Catholic. Until about 4 years ago I was pretty much agnostic, but culturally Jewish, like my father. I wanted to become a more practicing Jew, but my dad was very unsupportive. (He pretty much forbade me from getting a Bat Mitzvah.) A little over 4 years ago my mom went back to the Church after an absence of at least 20 years and my brother and I started going with her. At this point I am Catholic in my beliefs, but I'm not 'officially' Catholic. My brother and I were never baptized. We've been having catechism lessons for ~2 years in preparation to be baptized sometime in the fairly near future. I'm very active at my church and I sing in the choir and go to Mass every Sunday, along with my mom and brother. My dad comes once in a blue moon, but that's only to hear us sing, since he's a classical music afficianado. I pray the rosary fairly often. (A friend of ours gives holds a dinner & Rosary at his house one Friday a month and my mom, brother and I go.) In my family there are many Catholics (some more practicing more than others), an aunt and four cousins who are Orthodox Christian, and many Reformed Jews (again, practicing to different degrees). I checked Catholic in the poll because that's what I consider myself to be and I do plan to be baptized in the not-too-distant future. The majority of my friends from outside of church (i.e. those close to my own age) are either atheists or agnostic, but there is one semi-Unitarian (that's what she believes, but she's not a practicing one), a semi-practicing Lutheran, a non-practicing Catholic, a semi-practicing Reformed Jew (he goes to Synagogue with his parents, but is agnostic in his belief), and one friend who is Evangelical Covenant (Protestant Christian branch that broke off from Lutheranism several hundred years ago.) I also have a few friends who are Lutheran despite being very involved with my church.


I think Tolkien's works have shaped my faith. I first read LotR a few months after I started going to Mass and the themes portrayed in it, especially selflessness have really helped me. Also, it doesn't hurt that my catechism teacher is a huge LotR fan.
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Old 02-18-2006, 04:26 AM   #63
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I am an atheist, make of that what you will. Tolkien has in no way affected my religion though I believe my own works have influenced my choice to quite an extent.
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Old 02-18-2006, 12:16 PM   #64
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Miss Nurumaiel at your service, notorious amongst her acquaintances for being a Catholic who agrees with the Church on all matters, and strives to live up to all its doctrines faithfully, with no exceptions, and has gone so far to be seriously considering entering a convent... and not just any convent, but a convent of Poor Clares, who, aside from the usual vows of obedience and etc., take a vow of enclosure, which means they never go beyond the walls of their convent. And if that isn't enough, she wouldn't be doing it with a dreary heart, but with one terribly excited at the prospect! Oh, dear!

Ahem...

I come from a family of good Irish Catholics. My father is a 'cradle Catholic,' as it is said, and my mother converted to Catholicism shortly before I was born. They've always been very devout in their faith, as well as always being very intellectual about it. On account of that, I've never considered doubting my Faith. There only ever came I time when I wanted to know 'why,' but certainly not because I doubted. My parents could answer any question I had, and they introduced me to G.K. Chesterton, the man who ensured that my father remained a very devout Catholic. I was also introduced to quite a few Catholic apologists, their books, and their magazines, which I love to pour over in my spare time.

Not only did they ensure I remained Catholic through their reasoning in the whole matter, which fixed very firmly in my mind that one didn't need blind faith to be a Catholic, but that one could agree with what the Church taught because it had a reason to it, they also inspired my Faith in the love they showed me from it. It wasn't so long ago that I desperately wanted to be confirmed, firmly convinced that God wanted to give me those graces, though I was under the age that our diocese generally allowed. My parents went to no end of sacrifices to bring it about. They wrote numerous letters to our pastor and our bishop, met with various people to talk it over, and engaged a Canon Lawyer. It was an extremely stressful time, for aside from being denied again and again, Pope John Paul II was dying, and I felt entirely ready to crumble. When he died, my mother, my father, and I all asked him to be the patron saint of our cause, without any of us knowing that the others were asking the same. A few days later the opportunity was set before us to go to another country, where I could be confirmed by a very holy archbishop who had been a good friend to John Paul II. Needless to say, I was in tears of joy, and my father could only smile and say, "I think our Pope loves you very much. Look what he did for you, as soon as he arrived in Heaven." And, without a mumble or grumble, my parents took me all the way to another country so I could be confirmed, when everyone else considered the matter so important. And that's only one example of the love they've shown me on account of their Faith.

But, enough with the history, and testimony. That should suffice to make clear my loyalties!

Has my reading of Tolkien influenced my Faith in any way? Yes, I must say it has. His vivid and poetic descriptions of the valleys, the rivers, the mountains have all increased my appreciation for beauty, and the closer I grow to beauty, the closer I grow to my Faith. The nobility of his characters (Faramir, for instance), have inspired me with a greater love of nobility and virtue. I've always applied imagination to everything I've done, and that includes my Faith. When I was about ten years old I first was introduced to Don Quixote, as portrayed in the musical Man of La Mancha. For quite a few years I was a knight, the Blessed Virgin was my chosen lady, and God was the King I served. And in a similar fashion Tolkien helps me. It's always pleasant to think, after overcoming selfishness to perform some good deed, that perhaps I behaved as Faramir has. Or, on the days when it's particular hard to be faithful, to imagine myself as a wee hobbit climbing a great mountain with a terrible burden... that always encourages me.

And of course the life of Tolkien himself has inspired me.

So, yes, indeed Tolkien has had an influence on my Faith, and I thank him very much for it.
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Old 06-26-2006, 05:09 PM   #65
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## I'm Catholic, and I've come to have more respect for Protestantism since I became Catholic. I think mutual understanding and dialogue is terribly important.

C.S. Lewis has had far more effect on my thinking than Tolkien (so far as I can judge) - but then, I discovered Lewis' books long before Tolkien's (whose influence had nothing to do with my becoming Catholic, BTW) ##
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Old 06-26-2006, 06:43 PM   #66
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Hmm... it says I've already voted on this poll, and I can't remember what I put. I probably put "other" because I really wasn't sure what religion/faith I was following. For I while I dabbled in Wicca, then just considered myself vaguely Pagan, and now I've decided that Atheism is the way to go. I can't make myself believe in a higher power and I get along fine that way, so that's that.
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Old 06-26-2006, 09:35 PM   #67
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Encaitare
Hmm... it says I've already voted on this poll, and I can't remember what I put.
Your answer is the one in italics.

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Old 06-27-2006, 01:45 AM   #68
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Quote:
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When I was about ten years old I first was introduced to Don Quixote, as portrayed in the musical Man of La Mancha. For quite a few years I was a knight, the Blessed Virgin was my chosen lady, and God was the King I served.
I’m not too familiar with the musical (Man of La Mancha), but the novel by Miguel De Cervantes (the edition I own is translated by Edith Grossman) portrays Don Quixote as a man who has lost all his ability to separate reality from fiction. Even though in his heart he believes entirely that he is doing a ‘chivalric’ deed to humanity (mostly in the name of Dulcinea of Toboso first, and God second). In many ways innocent people are victimized by these acts. And evil men are turned free. Is the musical different in any aspect? Your post was good and I'm interested to hear more.

Back to the topic. I was raised Catholic, but I'm not a very good one anymore. Curiosity killed the cat? Curiosity killed my religion.
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Old 06-27-2006, 02:20 PM   #69
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Your answer is the one in italics.
Ah, so it is. Thanks, dear.
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Old 06-28-2006, 01:19 AM   #70
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Well, all I can really say is that my mum was sent to a french catholic school, and that didn't last long . Then half of her family is either czech ex-communists, but who are still atheist, and the other is catholic. My father came from a mixed family of agnostics and irish protestants.
They are both agnostic now, and have been nice enough to let me decide my personal values when it comes to such matters.

Personally though, I've tried since a young age a few religions and philosophies here and there, and have pretty much settled upon atheistic/ignostic existentialism.
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Old 01-20-2007, 02:07 PM   #71
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PROVE to me God exists and I'll believe in him in an instant. I just can't believe in something that could as easily have been made up as be true.
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Old 01-20-2007, 02:10 PM   #72
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PROVE to me God exists and I'll believe in him in an instant. I just can't believe in something that could as easily have been made up as be true.
This thread is not for discussion or arguments about religion; it merely asks members who wish to do so to name their beliefs.
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Old 01-20-2007, 07:02 PM   #73
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Brought up atheist; dabbled in Wicca, joined the Catholic church at 23; still and always questioning and following the synchronicity of life wherever it leads me. Tolkien definitely played a large role in the formation of my personal belief system, particularily my sense of morality and sense of the worth of humility and faith.
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Old 01-22-2007, 04:01 PM   #74
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As a Roman Catholic, I always notice similarities between the Bible and Tolkien, who was a Catholic too. It is pretty cool sometimes. And if I recall correctly, C.S. Lewis was an atheist, but studied Christianity, and Christianity is the #1 parallel of his works, The Chronicles of Narnia.
Anyway, raised Catholic, but I dont think I have to go to church every Sunday. I love God... but I would not say no to an afternoon spent listening to Zeppelin in bed.
Either way, I do think that Tolkien has influenced the strength of my faith in God. The way he tells his stories and the way that he lived his life are definitely a model for me.
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Old 01-22-2007, 05:09 PM   #75
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ninja91
As a Roman Catholic, I always notice similarities between the Bible and Tolkien, who was a Catholic too. It is pretty cool sometimes. And if I recall correctly, C.S. Lewis was an atheist, but studied Christianity, and Christianity is the #1 parallel of his works, The Chronicles of Narnia.
Anyway, raised Catholic, but I dont think I have to go to church every Sunday. I love God... but I would not say no to an afternoon spent listening to Zeppelin in bed.
If I recall correctly, C.S.Lewis believed later due to Tolkien's influence.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tolkien's Diary
"Friendship with Lewis compensates for much, and besides giving constant pleasure and comfort has done me much good from the contact with a man at once honest, brave, intellectual—a scholar, a poet, and a philosopher—and a lover, at least after a long pilgrimage, of our Lord."
Anyway, concerning me... I was raised atheist, but nowadays I am a Protestant. Not that these divisions mean anything to me - I just consider myself a part of the Body of Christ. And I love God, which is the main thing, even if there were no church.
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Old 01-22-2007, 07:32 PM   #76
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Pipe Hmm...

Apparently, I didn't vote here earlier. I am surprised. Well, seeing as I have a paper to write and a book to read for tomorrow, I think it's a good idea that I do so now .

My mom is Lutheran, from a German-Lutheran father and Polish-Catholic mother (who has since converted). My dad is Catholic from a Irish-Catholic family. My mom's family is full of the go-to-church-on-Christmas-and-Easter sort of Christians who are very conservative, and my dad's family has some Catholics, some members of the Unification Church, and some weird agnostic-like Christians who I don't know how to define in the slightest, but who are mostly pretty liberal.

I was raised in the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, the crazy semi-liberal branch of Lutheranism. I went to Sunday school, Bible camp, mission trips, and so on, for most of my life, until I got to college. I decided Christianity just didn't work for me, and consequently became atheist. I researched Neopaganism, but I prefer being an atheist. Interestingly, I go to a Lutheran school.

I think The Lord of the Rings helped ferment my politically liberal, anti-authoritarian worldview, which helped me reject organized religion. It certainly reinforced my environmentalism. I don't think I will ever be able to go back to an organized religion.

Oh, and I really like seeing what sorts of changes everyone's gone through in their lives. Fascinating!
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Old 01-22-2007, 11:55 PM   #77
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I actually voted sometime ago, but haven't actually posted anything until now.

My parents actually met through their church, and so my sister and I have been baptized, raised, and confirmed as United Methodists. As a child, I always went to church with my parents, though lately, much to my mom's distress, I rarely go to church at all anymore.

While I do believe in God, I'm not a very religious person, and simply don't feel the need to be at church. Though I am still Methodist, I don't really focus on what any certain church believes in. I find myself strongest by holding on to my own beliefs, whether it is what my church taught me or not.

When it comes to Tolkien, I cannot say that LotR or any other of his works have ever influenced me at all...
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Old 01-26-2007, 05:40 PM   #78
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I'm a Muslim (Traditional Sunni). I'm nominally a follower the Hanafi rite, but in practice follow the Shafi'i rite because that's the dominant madhab within my local community. I'm interested in Sufism and may join the Qadiri or Shadhili order in the future.

Tolkien's works haven't been influential upon my faith. I liked the nobility of the characters in LoTR and appreciated that aspect of the work. It is something that I have noticed to be lacking in the characters of the other modern western literature books that I have read (admittedly few). I also enjoyed the general lack of mention of any religion or religious practices in the book. I didn't care for the Silmarillion as much because of the polytheism that Tolkien introduced into the history.
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Old 01-26-2007, 07:03 PM   #79
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Happy atheist here .....I try to think as little about religion as possible.
If there is religion in LoTRs, I take it like I take the religion in the greek/roman myths.....interesting stories, that's all.
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Old 01-27-2007, 04:01 AM   #80
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I'm a Muslim (Traditional Sunni). I'm nominally a follower the Hanafi rite, but in practice follow the Shafi'i rite because that's the dominant madhab within my local community. I'm interested in Sufism and may join the Qadiri or Shadhili order in the future.

Tolkien's works haven't been influential upon my faith. I liked the nobility of the characters in LoTR and appreciated that aspect of the work. It is something that I have noticed to be lacking in the characters of the other modern western literature books that I have read (admittedly few). I also enjoyed the general lack of mention of any religion or religious practices in the book. I didn't care for the Silmarillion as much because of the polytheism that Tolkien introduced into the history.
It's nice to see the plurality in here... every additional "vegetable" is welcome

And, the polytheism thing... I always took (and I think Tolkien did as well) the Valar just like "angels" or "stewards" (like Denethor instead of Aragorn). After all, they are under the will of Eru. So I wouldn't make so much of a trouble of it...
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