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Old 01-27-2003, 03:42 PM   #1
Vorrothiel
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Question LOTR vs. Religion

I've met people that don't like the movies (FoTR and TTT) because they are religous (is it spelled right?) They compare LoTR and the Bible. Some people say: " I have to watch the film from a Christian-point of veiw". And meaning they come out from the cinema don't liking the film. They have for example compared Gandalf with God.. I'm NOT saying that you can't be a Christian to like the movies, but I think some people overreact...<BR>What do you think???
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Old 01-27-2003, 03:46 PM   #2
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Lord of the Rings does have a very Catholic point of view to it, as Tolkien was a Catholic. However, I do not have a religion, and I think that I enjoy it just as much as christian people. Personally, i prefere not to have a religion for the time being. I suppose you could say that LOTR is my religion.
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Old 01-27-2003, 03:55 PM   #3
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i think the <B>book</B>has a whole lot of representation of the catholic religion, i like that (probably because i am catholic) but it takes a bigger brain than most of the people who think the movie is to "religious" have to figure it out.
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Old 01-27-2003, 05:52 PM   #4
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Very interesting thread topic. I like it and I'm glad you brought it up. <P>Yes, a lot of people compare LotR with the Bible and they associate the characters within with Biblical figures. Which is not completely off the wall considering Tolkien was Catholic. You can definitely see parallels within the story line and its characters. Many people associate Gandalf with Jesus Christ, Sauron with Satan, etc...and say that is exactly what Tolkien intended. Now unless he (Tolkien) actually says that, I think that is an ungrounded assumption. <BR> <BR>Yet as a Christian, I can most definitely identify places in the movies and books that do indeed go along with many ideas found in the Bible. When I first watch the Fellowship I <I>loved</I> how there was so much emphasis on resisting and refusing temptation. My friend and I had several long and in-depth discussions about this and how we loved being able to see some of what is so important in our lives in so many things in this world...now my favorite movies! <BR> <BR>Not everyone can see the parallels placed within the books and movies, and I am not saying they were put there on purpose. But it is enjoyable to see that Eru and God are quite similar and just some of the other ideas presented that I can apply to my life and faith. <P>What frustrates me is when people blow it out of proportion and say that 'Tolkien meant everything to be that way' and they try to make it the complete and utter focus of the movie. I think it is a very neat thing to be able to identify parallels and I love doing it, I just wish people didn't take it to the unattractive extreme all of the time.
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Old 01-27-2003, 07:11 PM   #5
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I am a Catholic and do see many paralells with LOtR and the Bible. But I've seen a copy of the Hobbit with a note from Tolkien to the readers that clearly states that some of the paralells between his books and the Bible were completely unintentional.
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Old 01-27-2003, 07:15 PM   #6
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Let's stick to the movies....there are a few parallels, but not really any big, overbearing allusions. I mean, "Gandalf=Jesus"...did Jesus ever lead an army to destroy a bunch of demon-spawned baddies attacking Jerusaleum or somewhere? No. You can compare <I>The Silmarillion</I> to the Bible very easily, just like you can compare <I>Dune</I> to the Q'uran. Who cares?<P>But I digress.<P>If you really want my opinion about the religious allegory stuff, just read my signature.
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Old 01-27-2003, 08:22 PM   #7
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We should all know of what Tolkien thinks about allegory, just read the preface to the book.<P>As for folks that let their catholicism get in the way of them enjoying the movie, it sounds like the same people that think Harry Potter is satanic. It's just a story folks.<P>H.C.
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Old 01-28-2003, 12:30 AM   #8
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Christian point of view? The answer is simply that that is the way Christians see things. My family is positively crawling with them, and though sometimes they may turn the volume up or down on the old 'intensity' dial, it is ALWAYS going. But it's the same for anybody else - Muslims see things from a Muslim point of view. Vegetarians see things from a vegetarian point of view (how could Aragorn have killed that deer just for the five of them - what a waste). Tolkein 'purists' see things from a Tolkein purist point of view, scrutinizing the movie as thoroughly as any film critic or religious zealot out there.
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Old 01-28-2003, 12:58 AM   #9
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wasnt the silmarillian actualy written as a bible for middle-earth? That would explain the parallels.
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Old 01-28-2003, 03:40 PM   #10
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<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:<HR>We should all know of what Tolkien thinks about allegory, just read the preface to the book. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P>Yes. Tolkien wanted to make it very clear that his works had no allegory.<P>However, this makes Tolkien extremely brilliant. (at least to me) Because this leaves readers to come up with their own connections to the story particuraly ones that effect them the most. Being able to relate to a story is what draws readers and Lord of the Rings does just that.<P>Over the years people have tried to connect religion and WW2 to Tolkien's books. Tolkien fully denies a WW2 connection and religion only shows up because of Tolkien's own religious beliefs.<P>So I guess if people link LotR to religion then they aren't wrong. Just let them know it's not the only meaning.
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Old 01-28-2003, 04:15 PM   #11
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I'll just add some quotes from Tolkien's letters to this topic.<BR>from letter 131(written ca 1951):<P> <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:<HR>"Myth and fairy-story must, as all art, reflect and contain in solution elements of moral and religious truth (or error), but not explicit, not in the known form of the primary "real" world" <HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P>and in another letter (142, written 1953) to a friend who was a priest, he even wrote:<P> <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:<HR>"The Lord of the Rings is of course a fundamentally religious work; unconsciously so at first, but consciously in the revision. That is why I have not put in, or have cut out, practically all references to anything like "religion", to cults or practices, in the imaginary world. For the religious element is absorbed into the story and the symbolism." <HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P>I think this is why LotR appeals to so many people, also people who would be put off by direct religious allusions.
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Old 01-28-2003, 04:46 PM   #12
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To be fair, you can compare any work of literature to the Bible and other religious works. Its utterly pointless.
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Old 01-28-2003, 06:33 PM   #13
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<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:<HR>However, this makes Tolkien extremely brilliant. (at least to me) Because this leaves readers to come up with their own connections to the story particuraly ones that effect them the most. Being able to relate to a story is what draws readers and Lord of the Rings does just that.<P> <HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P>Yes. Very good.<P>Laialthriel
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Old 01-28-2003, 07:06 PM   #14
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<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:<HR> I mean, "Gandalf=Jesus"...did Jesus ever lead an army to destroy a bunch of demon-spawned baddies attacking Jerusaleum or somewhere? <HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P>Ohhhh, yeah! Happens all the time--who do you think led the army that kicked Satan's butt out of heaven? Though I neglect to share the viewpoint that Gandalf is an allagory for our Lord--maybe Lazarus.<P>Having direct and blatant connotations with fictional characters and religous figures is something that I think the Christian community should try to stay away from; Tolkien, being a proper man of his faith, does so (whether he intended the allagory or not has already been established). Why would a good christian author declare "I fashioned Gandalf after Christ" when Gandalf is falliable and Christ is not? It's different to see something "Christ-like" in Gandalf, which is always what happens when Christians see people (or characters) exibiting virtutious attributes. If you're a christian, every time you follow a christian teaching you're "christ-like", and every time you see someone else do as such they are, too. So it goes.<P>But we're wandering into the realm of the book, and many many threads have spun around and around the subject until every nuance is exhausted. ::repeats to self:: "Movie, movie, MOVIE!"<P>How about some different topics?<P>Aragorn and Arwen: (portrayal in the movie) The only book that comes to mind in that aspect is the Song of Songs, and I don't think that Aragorn ever says to Arwen "your waist is a mound of wheat incircled by lilies" (!) Even though in ancient Hebrew times that was some really sweet talking. Maybe Ruth, "where you go I will go," but Arwen doesn't exactly follow Aragorn down the Paths of the Dead, now does she? (Well, I haven't yet seen PJ's rendering of RotK) <P>Anyone else?<P>-'Vana
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Old 01-29-2003, 11:21 AM   #15
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hallo ida <BR>I have also met people "like that". <BR>some even said that it was a lousy story (they have not read the book, just seen the movies) they are outsiders and they don't understand JRRT writing.<BR>this is just me: but I think it should be obligatory to read the books before you go to see LOTR on screen... but thats me!
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Old 01-30-2003, 07:07 PM   #16
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i'm a 7th day adventist and i love the book and the movie.my whol family is christian and they enjoy the movie.i don't understand why some people have to always compare a movie to the bible,why can't people just enjoy the movie.what ****es me off is the type of people that say"oh i don't watch that movie cause they compare God to Gandalf" .i don't get it,all they do is go to the movies to see what compares to the bible.don't get me wrong i think that the elves are like angel and the orcs are like demons,cause they're fallen elves,just like the demon are fallen angels,but i don't go around telling people "i don't like it because of that,hell it's just a movie.i can't even think of one movie that doesn't have something to do with good and evil.well thats just what i think. :<BR>oh and my sister and i think that the one thats more like Jesus is aragorn,cause he's the only one who can redeem man kind and frodo offers him the ring and he doesn't fall like the rest of them.plus we think he could play jesus in a movie.he has that look to him,you know kind,graceful and peace in his eyes.plus he's very good looking,thats what we think. :<BR> : princess of the misty mountians :<P>Smeagol: Argh!! Whats he doing! Stupid fat hobbit! You ruins it!<BR>Sam: Whats to ruin? Theres hardly any meat on em. <BR>Sam: What we need is a few good taters.<BR>Gollum: Whats taters, preciousss? Whats taters uh?<BR>Sam: PO-TAY-TOES! Boil em. Mash em. Stick em in a stew. Lovely big golden chips with a nice piece of fried fish.... <BR>Smeagol: Pbbbttt!! <BR>Sam: Even you couldnt say no to that. <BR>Smeagol: Oh yes we could! Spoiling nice fish... " Give it to usss rrraw... and wrrriggling! . You keep nasty chips". <BR>Sam: Youre hopeless.<BR>---The Lord Of The Rings:The Two Towers---
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Old 01-30-2003, 07:23 PM   #17
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<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:<HR> However, this makes Tolkien extremely brilliant. (at least to me) Because this leaves readers to come up with their own connections to the story particuraly ones that effect them the most. Being able to relate to a story is what draws readers and Lord of the Rings does just that. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P>This for me is the central point. People can draw from JRRT's works what works best for them. What I do not accept is any suggestion that, because someone does not hold a certain belief (whatever that may be), they cannot enjoy or appreciate the books as much as someone who does.<p>[ January 30, 2003: Message edited by: The Saucepan Man ]
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Old 01-31-2003, 08:04 PM   #18
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I am a Christian and was not in the least bit offended by the films. One must take it as a story. Completely fictional, I doubt I'll ever bump into an orc, have a wizard knock at my door, or become invisible by putting on a gold ring. Besides enjoying a good story (I was a little confused till I watched it a second time and read the book) I found it to be heartwarming, inspirational and alltogether an enjoyable film. No matter what religion, I believe each person can take from the film something that personally speaks to them. I think for me, Gandalf's converstaion with Frodo about not being hasty to deal out death was what stood out the most. If someone has a problem with the film, they shouldn't see it. If you liked the film, great! If you didn't, that's ok too. But don't go bashing others for liking it just because it didn't meet all your theological criteria. <P>Note: I for one, hate debates
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Old 02-01-2003, 02:17 AM   #19
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I am a Christan, and I, too, was not offended by the books or the movies. There are a lot of Biblical paralles in the books, its just there. There are a lot of symbolistic(sp) things in the books, as in every other.I'm not going to sit here and tell them all, people can interpet it as they like. If you know your Bible as I do then you will see more than thoes peopel who don't know the Bible. People have been using the Bible to make statments in popular novels all through out history. Now indays people dont' know they Bible as well because people don't value having a riligion as much as they used to. Whether Tolkin ment for there to be such big parallels or not they are still there.
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Old 02-01-2003, 07:08 AM   #20
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I'll keep this brief and simple because it strays from the film a bit.<P>Tolkein was not writing a Christian book.<P>His prime purpose was to pull together the separate Celtic/Norse/Saxon (pre-Christian) traditions to see whether he could construct a single Saga or Legend for Britain. Broadly, and very simplistically, the Elves represent the Celts, the Rohirrim represent the Vikings and the Dunedain (Aragorn, Gondor) represent the Saxons and posibly Normans. [Dunedin is the original germanic name of Edinburgh, a Saxon settlement]. The hobbits and Gandalf are in there pretty much by chance because he made up The Hobbit for his kids and, when they wanted to know more about Elrond and the elves, he just started reeling off and adding to his Legend and ended up constructing the entire book.<P>Tolkein was one of the world's leading experts in the old languages of the British Isles and this book was largely an intellectual exercise, so he kept his personal faith completely out of it, a professional to the end.<P>That said, I completely agree with the comments above that people get from these books whatever they are looking for. What we are all seeing in the films is what Peter Jackson got from the books. PJ was brought up in a deeply Christian country, and his art is in bringing the images in his head onto the screen. We shouldn't expect him to be as detached as Tolkein because he'd be a pretty poor director if he was.
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Old 02-01-2003, 11:45 AM   #21
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Haven't you read my quotes from Tolkien's letter #131 above, Kayman ? What do you say to that, then? <BR> Besides, your equations about the peoples of ME seem a bit too simple, (and I thought Tolkien resented it when readers saw allegories in his works...) As far as I know, the Rohirrim were most like the AngloSaxons, that's why Tolkien made their speech close to Anglosaxon. And the Numenoreans were most like an old culture like the Egyptians.(It's mentioned in one of Tolkien's letters)
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Old 02-06-2003, 03:44 PM   #22
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Speaking as a Calvinistic Christian, I can see a lot of parallels between Calvinism and the worldview laid out in LOTR--especially the teaching of Total Depravity, which states that we are all corrupt and incapable of doing good by ourselves. All of the Bearers eventually fall; there are no ideals. This is entirely from my own worldview, however; I have no idea if Tolkien was a Calvinist, and really, it doesn't matter. <P>Since we're all just speculating based on a little that we know, I'll say that I find it more likely that he drew inspiration from the Nordic sagas he read and studied and which, in fact, he somewhat sought to emulate in LOTR, which was supposed to be a British epic. I haven't read nearly as many of these sagas as Tolkien did, nor have I studied them as in-depth as he did, but I know from what I have studied of that mythology that there was a heavy emphasis on the fallenness of human nature and the inability to escape doom once it was pronounced against you (Sigurd the Volsung is an excellent example, and you can see some of this influence indirectly in Turin Turambar).<P>But really, this debate is, in the end, purely an intellectual exercise. We have only Tolkien's writings (which are by no means a full revelation of everything that went on in his head) and, possibly, whatever Christopher Tolkien can or will tell about his father's ideas. All anyone is accomplishing here is to air different sets of odd facts that we've all dug up in our own separate studies; there can be no true conclusion since the man himself has moved on.
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Old 02-10-2003, 12:24 PM   #23
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Yes, it does have a religous sense to it, but it's not imposing. It's a good story that doesn't require you to be Catholic or Christian or anything to enjoy it. They're just nice things to notice. I can't imagine the references to Christianity being so overbearing that no one can read it or watch it.
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Old 02-10-2003, 02:17 PM   #24
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<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:<HR>however; I have no idea if Tolkien was a Calvinist, and really, it doesn't matter.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P>Well, he was a Catholic, so definitely not a Calvinist then, and it <I>does</I> matter, but on a level that I don't think really relates to the movies a whole lot. And anyway, while the friends described above say that there is "too much" religion in the movies, I could think of about twenty people off the top of my head (I live in North Carolina ) who would argue that there is "not enough" religion in the movies, and "evil" "pagan" influences run amock. Everyone sees what they want to see.
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Old 02-10-2003, 02:22 PM   #25
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Hmm, I'd better not get too deep into this topic. Anyway, I have plenty of devoutly religious friends who absolutely love LOTR. I think it's more the very exremists who are likely to disapprove of LOTR.
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Old 02-13-2003, 04:09 PM   #26
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I am a Christian, and I do see some parallels between the LOTR and Christianity. However, you can see almost anything in a book that you try to see. If you try to see Biblical parralels, then you will see them. Also, we shouldn't confuse allegory and parallels.
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Old 02-13-2003, 04:26 PM   #27
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Oh, sweet mercy. This topic is the most discussed and annoying in the realm of Tolkien discussion. There are a myriad threads and arguments upon it on this forum alone. Find them, read them, and don't feel obliged to post again here.
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Old 02-13-2003, 04:50 PM   #28
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I disagree respectfully, dearest Rimbaud. This topic is second in terms of annoyance-inducement to Balrog wings (or lack thereof). Or, indeed, it could be third, when one takes into account the Legolas-inspired tripe. And anyway, there is no topic better suited for scandal than religion, and what true lush doesn't like a scandal or two?
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Old 02-13-2003, 06:14 PM   #29
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Um, I'll be back later with a rather long email, when I get a copy back from a friend, if he kept it. Basically, I set out the case for LOTR to calm the concerns of Christians who are nervous about wizards and the like. I got high marks from all who read it, but it is lengthy. I'll get it ASAP, maybe tomorrow.
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Old 02-14-2003, 01:00 PM   #30
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<I>...and here it is! EDITS are in [...] brackets or the word "DELETED" is used.<P>Please excuse the length of this post. I believe that an important topic of the thread is closely concerned with the objections that Christians might raise to Tolkien's work, and the questions raised in this letter were extremely representative. My answers satisfied the concerned Christian, who is now a great fan of LOTR.</I><P><BR>January 2, 2003<P>Dear DELETED,<P>Let me take your points in order, following the text of your letter...<P>> 1. Gandalf, by order of God Himself, would have been stoned to death <BR>> in Israel, and by teaching of the Apostle Paul, would not have been <BR>> allowed in a New Testament church, or in heaven (Leviticus 19:31; <BR>> Exodus 22:18; Galatians 5:21).<BR>> <BR>> 2. All of the sorcery and magic in Lord of the Rings is in direct <BR>> violation of Scripture (Acts 8:11; Revelation 9:21; II Kings 21:6).<BR>> <BR>Perhaps I can answer the first two in one shot. Grima Wormtongue, the agent<BR>of Saruman the White Wizard of Isengard, who was an agent in the control of<BR>King Theoden, would have been a candidate for stoning. Gandalf is actually<BR>an angel, in Tolkien's fictional mythology. Tolkien regarded "magic,"<BR>"sorcery," and "necromancy" to be things generally practiced by wicked folk<BR>seeking power. Similarly Tolkien's Elvish "magic" is not really magic, as<BR>one of the elves tells the hobbits. In fact, the elf is unsure of what they<BR>even mean by magic. Rather, what seems magical in Tolkien's Middle-earth is<BR>more often than not simply the inate abilities of "the elder race" of Elves,<BR>or in the case of Gandalf, the abilities of an angelic being.<P>> 3. Frodo is told by Gandalf to "trust yourself" in order to fulfill <BR>> his mission. This is in direct violation of Scripture (Proverbs 3:5-<BR>> 6; 28:6).<BR>> <BR>I think it is in violation of Tolkien, too, though that is more difficult to<BR>track down. It was a jarring note from the movie that I noticied as well,<BR>but I do not remember ever reading that false doctrine in Tolkien's pages.<P>> 4. While the books and movies contain significant Christian allegory, <BR>> the believers I have mentioned this to who have seen the movie all <BR>> look at me as if no such thought had occurred to them. I have found <BR>> this a bit troubling because my personal justification for the <BR>> problems with Rings has been the supposed underlying message of good. <BR>> However, I don't think that folks are getting it, at least in regard <BR>> to the movies.<BR>> <BR>I know that many Christians do "get it" from the books, for we have argued<BR>endlessly citing Scriptures and even Tolkien's own words (from a book of his<BR>correspondence regarding his works) to demonstrate it to those who will not<BR>see. As for the movie, I think that it is more difficult to pick out themes<BR>of Christian faith and doctrine. I don't think most folk are looking for<BR>it. When we are urged to "study that which is good" we should be doing so<BR>in an attempt to see the Truth in it. Most folk, even Christians, do not do<BR>this, especially with movies. A book inspires contemplation. A movie is<BR>simply absorbed. I can say that the writers (especially the director's<BR>wife, Fran Walsh) made note of the Christian underpinnings of the work.<P>Tolkien did not intend for his work to be a straight-up Christian allegory,<BR>like the Chronicles of Narnia. He, in fact, did not like that style of<BR>writing at all! He preferred the method of telling a really good story and<BR>letting the reader draw from it what they could. In the case of "Rings" we<BR>are not dealing with allegory, but fairy tale. And these are two different<BR>things. <P>> 5. In a generation such as ours in which witchcraft has infiltrated <BR>> the church (such as you and I talked about the other day), how do we <BR>> explain to our kids that this is a truly devilish evil to be avoided <BR>> if we allow them to be entertained by books and a movie steeped in <BR>> sorcery? Do we tell them that there is a "good witchcraft" as opposed <BR>> to a "bad witchcraft"?<BR>> <BR>In the case of "Rings," the Christian parent should explain that Tolkien<BR>differentiated between good and evil acts even in the case of magic. To<BR>elaborate on the "Gandalf is an angel" theme, a theme made more clear in his<BR>other writings, at the end of it all, the only folk capable of "good magic"<BR>(which is to say those who were created with innate superhuman or<BR>supernatural ability) in Tolkien's fictional mythology, wind up in fact<BR>leaving the planet, or eventually just fading away. Tolkien's meaning<BR>behind this is that any and all magic practised after that "dispensation"<BR>was, and is, evil. <P>Hence, while I am quite concerned about Benny Hinn and the TBN network, I<BR>have little concern about "Rings" when active Christian parents are engaged<BR>in the raising of their children.<P>> 6. I gotta tweak you a bit here, in jest: you hate Santa Claus, <BR>> the "jolly ole elf", but you love what's his name, the blonde elf who <BR>> shoots arrows like machine gun bullets. <BR>> <BR>Everyone ought to know that Legolas is a fictional character. And while I<BR>certainly do not hate St. Nicolaus (indeed, I hope they do not disinter his<BR>resting bones again to move him back to Turkey!), I do hate the way that<BR>parents (Christian parents!) participate in the active deception of little<BR>ones. I know a fellow who believed in Santa Claus until he was in grade<BR>school. He was devastated when he learned otherwise, and I cannot help but<BR>think that to some measure his present disbelief in Jesus Christ is founded<BR>upon this great deception of his childhood. Tweak away, but ole St. Nick<BR>was NOT an elf, however jolly he may have been!<P>> 7. Is it true that Tolkien was a very profane man? I've heard this <BR>> from several sources over the years, but have not personally verified <BR>> it. [DELETED PASSAGE]<BR>> <BR>I don't know, as I have never heard that he was a profane man. (C.S. Lewis<BR>was held by some to have used bad language, but I've not tracked this down,<BR>either.) Rather to the contrary, Tolkien was held to be a very devout man<BR>in all that I have read. In his published (previously private) letters this<BR>certainly seemed to be the case. And he is attributed with leading C.S.<BR>Lewis to the Lord (though I suspect he didn't sit down with the fellow and<BR>take him down the Roman Road!). They shared a life long friendship, that<BR>cooled somewhat near the end of Lewis's life (due to some [remarks Lewis] made regarding the history in England of "Papism") but that the<BR>old fellow was so saddened by his death that he was unable to make remarks<BR>at Lewis's funeral, as his family requested. Tolkien wrote that he intended<BR>"Rings" to have a Christian undertone, and he is specifically thought by<BR>some to have used some of the Catholic conception of Mary in his depiction<BR>of Galadriel [...and Elbereth/Varda...]. In his own words, Tolkien stated that he drew upon all of the<BR>great mythologies, histories, and religions, except those of the East. He<BR>did not, however, deliberately intend any specific allegory, whether of<BR>Mary, or of Atomic Bombs (as some thought during the Cold War), etc.<P>> 8. I also find it troubling that among two families devoted to the <BR>> Lord Jesus, the Lord of the Rings dominated our time together <BR>> yesterday instead of the Lord of the Bible. I take personal <BR>> responsibility for this as pastor, father and husband, but as DELETED <BR>> said, the movie seems to have the same power as the Ring itself. It <BR>> dominates the attention of even sincere believers. <BR>> <BR>Not to be flippant, but one can say as much as Gone With The Wind. And<BR>don't give this away, but NO ONE could, in the end, resist the power of the<BR>Ring. Unlike the One Ring, you certainly can set book and movie down and<BR>never pick it up again! <P>Having said that, let me say that this is probably the most important point<BR>you raise, and the one that I share most deeply. In fact, Tolkien himself<BR>was worried that the fascination of Middle-earth was too strong upon<BR>himself, and that there were folk who would over do it, and spend far too<BR>much time on it, and not on more important things.<P>Other Christians on the internet and I have discussed this very point.<BR>Obviously, one can use anything in spending time away from the contemplation<BR>of our Lord. It is much easier and more easily justified, to do so when one<BR>has as well written and as well enacted a text and movie as "Rings."<P>How many of us spend too much time in contemplation of College Football,<BR>Politics, Signs & Wonders, Work, etc? DELETED recently told me that God<BR>told him to completely drop College Football, which was a consuming passion<BR>of his. I think that we are all called upon to sacrifice various matters as<BR>we walk the road of Calvary. I don't know if "Rings" is one of them for you<BR>and yours, but I could lead you to a world of [Christian] Tolkien-nerds [myself being one] who should pick<BR>up their Bibles (if they have them) and set down the Professor for at least<BR>a time. I'm sure he wouldn't mind.<P>> 9. My understanding is that Rings was one of the most beloved <BR>> literary pieces of the drug culture of the 60s and 70s, and that LSD <BR>> made the books especially appealing. This disturbs me a bit, <BR>> especially because of the Biblical relationship between drugs and <BR>> sorcery (same root word in the Greek).<BR>> <BR>I think that was coincidental with the book's time of publication (50s &<BR>60s). I am guessing it was one of the ammeliorating influences upon that<BR>generation. This points out again, by the way, the difference between<BR>Biblical sorcery (the use of drugs to jolt the mind into a different state<BR>of awareness to enable demonic possession and preternatural acts) and<BR>Tolkien's "magic."<P>> 10. As you mentioned the other day, Hollywood chose an atheist <BR>> homosexual to portray the Christ figure Gandalf. Is this not deeply <BR>> disturbing and troubling?<BR>> <BR>It bothered me quite a bit. I wish it were not the case. For what it is<BR>worth, Hollywood rejected the fellow last year for Best Supporting Actor. I<BR>thought he might be a shoe-in for those reasons alone. But, this was not<BR>actually a Hollywood production. I imagine that Hollywood would have<BR>seriously changed the entire message and all the worth that was in it. As<BR>it is, I suspect that Sir Ian McKellan was cast in the role, as were the<BR>rest, because of his ability to play the part. I've seen him in other<BR>roles, some more near his actual character, and in still other roles. I was<BR>curious about this fellow and have prayed for him. He is an absolutely<BR>brilliant actor in all that I've seen, and his Richard III is perhaps the<BR>best there's ever been. I have not heard what faith, or lack thereof, the<BR>other cast members have.<P>I suppose one could call Gandalf a "Christ figure," some have, primarily<BR>because of his seeming resurrection after his battle with the ancient demon.<BR>But Tolkien purists would say that since Gandalf was an "angel" this does<BR>not apply. I've seen others suggest that Frodo is the "Christ figure" for<BR>his self-sacrificing journey. Others still find "The Return of the King" to<BR>be Christian beyond words, and might suggest that Aragorn, at first dispised<BR>and lowly but then seen as lofty and regal, is a "Christ figure."<BR>Personally, I find that Tolkien wrote well enough that we could perhaps even<BR>see all of these things.<P><BR>> This is a pretty heavy load to throw at you, but DELETED'S question <BR>> won't go away in my mind and heart. I'll be interested in your <BR>> thoughts and consider them carefully.<BR>> <BR>As one who HAS spent more time in Middle-earth than I should have (or so the<BR>Holy Spirit tells me) I feel that that is the chief sin to avoid in these<BR>matters. Consider the difference between Harry Potter and "Rings." In<BR>"Potter," absolutely everything is bound up in magical this and magical that<BR>until one grows sick of it. In "Rings," magic is presented as dangerous and<BR>a passing thing, such that any remaining practitioners are clearly evil.<P>Hope this helps!<P>[GILTHALION]<P><I>OH! And it is to me a happy point that may not be entirely coincidental, that the films are promoted in association with Christmas!</I><p>[ February 14, 2003: Message edited by: Gilthalion ]
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Old 02-14-2003, 01:18 PM   #31
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Gilthalion, I am truly impressed at how you can respond so eloquently and rationally to such barbed assaults. If this guy doesn't want to watch or read LoTR, power to him. We're all the better for it, but he shouldn't expect the rest of the world to be as slavish about scripture as he is.<P>It's a big world with many varing opinions and folks that delude themselves into thinking that have all the answers is fine (though they scare the crap out of me). When they feel the necessity to shove that down everyone else's throats though, it's infuriating.<P>H.C.
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Old 02-14-2003, 04:32 PM   #32
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There are of course many parallels between Tolkien's works and religion. In particular, Christianity and worship of Morgoth. <P>When Sauron was on Numenor, he built a temple, which was viewed as a heinous act. Who builds temples? Well, organised religions such as Christianity of course. The point being that religion in Middle earth was un-organised, apart from Morgoth-worship. The lack of organisation meant that worship was an individual spiritual activity, not part of a bid for secular power by priests/ministers/pastors/etc.<P>Additionally, the orcs were well prepared to follow bible teaching. In Psalms, you are recommended to beat out the brains of your enemies' children on convenient rocks. The genocide at Jericho has served as a template for many war crimes over the centuries. Basically, if your leader says that God wants you to kill everyone inside an enemy city, the bible says that you should obey this instruction. At Minas Tirith the orcs were enthusiastic to carry out these despicable acts of savagery, as they had prviously displayed at Gondolin, Minas Ithil etc.<P>This thread appears to be dominsted by talk of Christianity, but why no contributions from Hindus, Moslems, Buddhists, Jainists, Zoroastrians, Celtic and Scandinavian pagans, Confucians, Mithraists etc.? <P>(I'll represnt the atheists for the moment!)
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Old 02-14-2003, 04:46 PM   #33
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To be quite honest, to compare the books and films to religion is to ruin them. They just don't go. There is a lot about the ancient viking ways, but I think Tolkien stayed off religion. Big deal, Gandalf was a wizard, there was Valar, the equivalent to heaven. It really makes no difference to me, as a christian, when I know it's made up. Tolkien, as a Catholic, wouldn't have writen anything which was very bad.
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Old 02-14-2003, 05:44 PM   #34
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Good post <B>Gilthalion</B>. Though it in no way surprises me, I did not think about the fact that some Christians would be disturbed by the casting of an "atheist homosexual as the Christ figure Gandalf". Oh man, that sends my hackles up... a tad on the judgemental side perhaps?? The rest is all similar in nature to that comment - If I respoded further it will all be personal opinion stuff, which I think should be avoided lest unresolved argument ensue. Besides, I am anxious to get back to practicing my magic and doing my drugs, thankfully I have Tolkein's LotR and Peter Jackson's movies as my guide... <p>[ February 14, 2003: Message edited by: Tar-Palantir ]
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Old 02-17-2003, 09:12 PM   #35
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Actually, it is possible to be both Catholic and Calvinist; the Calvinistic teachings are not at odds with the teachings of the Catholic church. The fact that John Calvin was a Reformer and a Protestant had nothing to do with it, because in the end, the choice is between Calvinism and Arminianism, which could both be considered equally applicable to Protestant and Catholic doctrines.<P>And as for why no Hindus, Muslims, etc. have spoken up...who says they haven't? Not everyone posting here has said that they are Christians. And if it bothers you that these others haven't posted, by all means, go find some and tell them their opinions would be appreciated here. No one said they couldn't come; they just either haven't or haven't declared themselves.
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Old 02-17-2003, 09:31 PM   #36
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No, no, and no. Sorry, folks, but Christianity does not have a lock on the Heroic Archetype. Rather the opposite. <P>Anybody out there ever read the works of Joseph Campbell? Do so, then get back to me.
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Old 02-17-2003, 09:40 PM   #37
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Interesting opinion, Rumil. There are flaws, but interesting. <P> <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:<HR>If I respoded further it will all be personal opinion stuff, which I think should be avoided lest unresolved argument ensue <HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P>*Grin* Well said. Rumil, PM me if you'd like to discuss this further. Besides, I've heard it all before.<P>On topic (for once):<P>Here's what one of my betters, Legolas, said in another thread... if I may be so bold to repeat it.<P> <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:<HR> Tolkien basically said "Gandalf is not Jesus" in a passage I've just noticed. (!)<BR>Letter No. 181:<P><BR>quote:<BR>--------------------------------------------------------------------------------<BR> There is no 'embodiment' of the Creator anywhere in this story or mythology. Gandalf is a 'created' person; though possibly a spirit that existed before in the physical world. His function as a 'wizard' is an angelos or messenger from the Valar or Rulers: to assist the rational creatures of Middle-earth to resist Sauron, a power too great for them unaided. <BR>[...]<BR>Thus Gandalf faced and suffered death; and came back or was sent back, as he says, with enhanced power. But though one may be in this reminded of the Gospels, it is not really the same thing at all. The Incarnation of God is an infinitely greater thing than anything I would dare to write. Here I am only concerned with Death as part of the nature, physical and spiritual, of Man, and with Hope without guarantees. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P>It goes just with the Gandalf=Christ, but I suppose it can be compared with any aspect. Though what I like about this thread is that it's not debating whether there is intentional allagory in LOTR, but the search of such and talking about it. <P>There is also a similarity between the Valar and the Hindu Gods, but only a small one.<P>-'Vana<p>[ February 17, 2003: Message edited by: DaughterofVana ]
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Old 02-17-2003, 10:45 PM   #38
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"As for folks that let their catholicism get in the way of them enjoying the movie, it sounds like the same people that think Harry Potter is satanic. It's just a story folks."<P>Basically, I could not agree more with that statement. People need to learn to relax and realize that a story is a story and if it happens to be about a war than any guy leading the forces of "good" in the story can be paralleled to Jesus or God and any guy leading the forces of "evil" in the story can be paralleled to Satan. People just tend to overreact and assume that the parallels were intended because of their devotion to their religion. Other people can be fine with it if they are intelligent enough to realize the parallels were not intentional and are therefore not offensive. I can attest to that as I am myself a Catholic, and am just leaving a very Catholic household (graduation on June 8, CANT WAIT!!!!!).<P>As for parallels to WW2 I actually did my term paper on parallels from events related to world wars one and two and if anyone would like to read it and give me some suggestions on how to revise it a little more just PM me. Thanks for listening to this rant guys.<P>Dondagnirion<BR>"There is no spoon."
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Old 02-18-2003, 11:46 AM   #39
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My opinion is: Tolkein put symbolism and metaphor in his books. If he did it on purpose or not, they are still there. The thing that makes the books and movies enjoyable is that he lets the reader or the watcher decide for themselves what they want to see in the story. Christians(like me) can compare the story to events in the Bible. People who study mythology(I don't know the scientific name) can compare the story to events in mythology. People with no religion get to compare the story to whatever they want. I beleive that the way a man(Tolkien) thinks will reflect on what he writes. He was a Catholic, so he either intentionally or unintentionally wrote in reflection to Bible stories and characters. I think he intentionally put allegory in, but said he hated it and disliked it. He didn't want to have to explain to people what everything meant, so he denied putting allegory in. If he had proclaimed of intentionally putting it in, like C.S. Lewis in the CoN, there would be alot less fans and they probably would have never made the movies. All the fans would be religious and such. The brilliance of J.R.R. Tolkien was he let the readers decide what they wanted. If it had been written just for Christians, and only sold in Christian bookstores, we probably wouldn't even have this debate or the website we are debating on. I personally hate debate, and would rather not do this at all. I just had to get it all out. It's your choice what you want to see in the LotR. And as for Harry Potter, i just don't like it. I think it's stupid and Lord of the Rings is a whole lot better. Sorcery and magic, at least in LotR is just there to make the story more exciting. It's just a story, and it's not like the LotR was written to be a cult or occultic. People aren't trying to make blue fire come out of staffs or trying to destroy bridges with a magic spell, are they? Some of those fantasy stories can get pretty bad, but LotR is just fine.
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Old 02-18-2003, 01:42 PM   #40
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Did anybody notice Gilthalion's post?<P>The allegory/metaphor/symbolism thing has been cooked and recooked on other threads. What is different here is another side of the coin - there are Christians (and others I'm sure) who see this as EVIL on the whole or in part. The post up above insinuates:<P>Breaking of scripture in a couple ways, including Gandalf telling Frodo to trust himself. Oh my.<P>Holding Tolkien as a profane man.<P>Connecting Lord of the Rings to the LSD and Drug culture. <P>Calling the sorcery witchcraft, a "truly devilish evil"<P>The movie has the same "power" as the Ring, holding sway over even sincere believers.<P>This one I'll post in it's entirety:<P> <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:<HR> 10. As you mentioned the other day, Hollywood chose an atheist <BR>> homosexual to portray the Christ figure Gandalf. Is this not deeply <BR>> disturbing and troubling?<BR> <HR></BLOCKQUOTE><BR>That is just plain bigotry, and it disturbs me that it even bothers somebody. Who can honestly say there is another more skilled or universally respected actor in the films?<P>This is not just another religious allegory thread. <B>Gilthalion</B> gave a response to these queries above, but surely someone else must have an opinion on this subject?<p>[ February 18, 2003: Message edited by: Tar-Palantir ]
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