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9/22/2017 12:11:25 AM
Posted: 8/22/2005 12:56:05 PM EDT

I saw the book "Finding God in Lord of the Rings" in store this weekend. It kind of weirds me out that people think God can be found there. Reading the reviews says the author believes LOTR has "evangelistic power".

Is this even possible? Sounds sacreligious to me.

Shok
Link Posted: 8/22/2005 1:02:41 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/24/2005 6:36:53 AM EDT by HardShell]

Originally Posted By QShok:
... It kind of weirds me out that people think God can be found there...



I don't see why... Tolkien was a religious scholar intellectual scholar and religious man and there are all sorts of Christian themes in the books IMHO. FWIW, that's one of the things I love about his works (and C.S. Lewis' Narnia series, for similar reasons).


Edited for clarity - IIRC, his scholarly area was Medieval history, etc., not religion per se.
Link Posted: 8/22/2005 1:05:11 PM EDT

Amazon.com
There's more to Middle-earth than meets the eye, argue Kurt Bruner and Jim Ware in Finding God in The Lord of the Rings. J.R.R. Tolkien, a devout Christian, helped bring C.S. Lewis into the faith and met weekly with Lewis and Charles Williams at an Oxford pub for heated religious and literary discussions that informed The Lord of the Rings. Although Bruner and Ware avoid any simplistic claim that Tolkien's saga is "a covert allegory of the Gospel," the authors assert that the books have evangelistic power because they "can open the heart's back door when the front door is locked." Twenty-one short chapters describe various scenes and themes from Tolkien's work in order to illustrate truths of Christian life. For instance, Frodo and Sam's awareness that their adventures are part of a larger story "reflects the Christian understanding of providence, that we are all part of a story being written by the creator of all that is." Finding God successfully clarifies the ways that Tolkien's Christian worldview influenced the creation of his fantasy world, while respecting the artistic integrity of his achievement. --Michael Joseph Gross



Interesting points, but I can't help but believe that people are reading way too much in Tolkien's brilliant creation.
Link Posted: 8/22/2005 1:44:35 PM EDT
Much of the LotR was taken from Norse/Germanic Mythology. Gandalf is all most the spittin' image of Odin and the Elf King and Queen are dead ringers for Freyr and Freya. Many others have their double in the Norse myths.
Link Posted: 8/22/2005 1:45:47 PM EDT

Originally Posted By PBIR:

Amazon.com
There's more to Middle-earth than meets the eye, argue Kurt Bruner and Jim Ware in Finding God in The Lord of the Rings. J.R.R. Tolkien, a devout Christian, helped bring C.S. Lewis into the faith and met weekly with Lewis and Charles Williams at an Oxford pub for heated religious and literary discussions that informed The Lord of the Rings. Although Bruner and Ware avoid any simplistic claim that Tolkien's saga is "a covert allegory of the Gospel," the authors assert that the books have evangelistic power because they "can open the heart's back door when the front door is locked." Twenty-one short chapters describe various scenes and themes from Tolkien's work in order to illustrate truths of Christian life. For instance, Frodo and Sam's awareness that their adventures are part of a larger story "reflects the Christian understanding of providence, that we are all part of a story being written by the creator of all that is." Finding God successfully clarifies the ways that Tolkien's Christian worldview influenced the creation of his fantasy world, while respecting the artistic integrity of his achievement. --Michael Joseph Gross



Interesting points, but I can't help but believe that people are reading way too much in Tolkien's brilliant creation.



I tend to agree.


Furthermore, the LOTR type movies, in my opinion, blurs the line that separates the church from hollywood.

It's hard for a young person/ non-Christian to see why the church might endorse LOTR but reject Harry Potter.

YMMV, of course.
Link Posted: 8/22/2005 1:46:39 PM EDT
Even funnier, my wife brought home a book call "What is your Dog Dreaming".
Link Posted: 8/22/2005 2:01:04 PM EDT

Originally Posted By QShok:
I saw the book "Finding God in Lord of the Rings" in store this weekend. It kind of weirds me out that people think God can be found there. Reading the reviews says the author believes LOTR has "evangelistic power".

Is this even possible? Sounds sacreligious to me.

Shok



I have always taken the Christian aspects of LOTR as a given, I wasn't even aware it was up for debate.

Link Posted: 8/22/2005 2:03:58 PM EDT

Originally Posted By arowneragain:

Originally Posted By PBIR:

Amazon.com
There's more to Middle-earth than meets the eye, argue Kurt Bruner and Jim Ware in Finding God in The Lord of the Rings. J.R.R. Tolkien, a devout Christian, helped bring C.S. Lewis into the faith and met weekly with Lewis and Charles Williams at an Oxford pub for heated religious and literary discussions that informed The Lord of the Rings. Although Bruner and Ware avoid any simplistic claim that Tolkien's saga is "a covert allegory of the Gospel," the authors assert that the books have evangelistic power because they "can open the heart's back door when the front door is locked." Twenty-one short chapters describe various scenes and themes from Tolkien's work in order to illustrate truths of Christian life. For instance, Frodo and Sam's awareness that their adventures are part of a larger story "reflects the Christian understanding of providence, that we are all part of a story being written by the creator of all that is." Finding God successfully clarifies the ways that Tolkien's Christian worldview influenced the creation of his fantasy world, while respecting the artistic integrity of his achievement. --Michael Joseph Gross



Interesting points, but I can't help but believe that people are reading way too much in Tolkien's brilliant creation.



I tend to agree.


Furthermore, the LOTR type movies, in my opinion, blurs the line that separates the church from hollywood.

It's hard for a young person/ non-Christian to see why the church might endorse LOTR but reject Harry Potter.

YMMV, of course.



I agree - Tolkien did draw on some things (Sauron having been Good once/Lucifer having been God's right hand man) but it is not an allegory for Christianity, and I don't think Tolkien would like people to see his story as such.

He said it himself - why do people always try and make LOTR an allegory - for WW2, Christianity, the War in Iraq - it is a story of Good vs. Evil.

Enjoy it as such.
Link Posted: 8/22/2005 2:17:34 PM EDT
Read the Sil. Gnosticism is the basis for religion and afterlife in Middle Earth.
Link Posted: 8/22/2005 2:19:47 PM EDT
In his intro (to my version at least) Tolkien dismissed claims that it was an allegory for WWII and was adamant that his book contained no allegory.
Link Posted: 8/22/2005 2:54:29 PM EDT
Its just good story telling. People have to mess it up with their own goals...
Link Posted: 8/22/2005 3:13:22 PM EDT
Here is a page of audio lectures by a Christian philosopher named Peter Kreeft (very intelligent man BTW). Lecture #4 is entitled 10 Uncommon Insights Into Evil from Lord of the Rings. Even though it does not directly pertain to our topic, I figure it's in the neighborhood (and pretty interesting).
Link Posted: 8/22/2005 5:05:44 PM EDT
www.ugcs.caltech.edu/~cherryne/mythology.html
" Many people are familiar with J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings or Wagner's The Ring of the Nibelung, but they are not familiar with Norse mythology to which both of these works are heavily indebted.

Tolkien was very well acquainted with Norse mythology, as can be seen by the use of it in his books. The name of one of his main characters, Gandalf, is found in The Poetic Edda. Gandalf is, in some ways, reminiscent of Odin, the leader of the Norse pantheon. Even the name Middle-earth, the setting for Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings, comes from Norse mythology. "

See, I told ya' so, LOL.
Link Posted: 8/22/2005 5:23:21 PM EDT
i never saw what people were talking about.
plus i thought the movies were boooooring.
Link Posted: 8/22/2005 6:49:25 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/22/2005 6:50:00 PM EDT by hydgirl]

Originally Posted By zpo:
Read the Sil. Gnosticism is the basis for religion and afterlife in Middle Earth.


You mean the Silmilarion (sp?)??

You're treading in my territory. I haven't read anything.. at all... anywhere... which would indicate that Gnosticism has anything explicitly to do with LotR... Although I'd love to see it. Honest.

You have a source?


<--- resident gnostic



(edited out an extra letter)
Link Posted: 8/22/2005 6:54:25 PM EDT

Originally Posted By mmx1:
In his intro (to my version at least) Tolkien dismissed claims that it was an allegory for WWII and was adamant that his book contained no allegory.


Honestly, just because he didn't consciously intend an allegory, doesn't mean the allegory isn't there. All hero myths (and LotR is certainly included in that) are inherently allegories. It can be said that all myths are allegories for some aspect of the human existence.
Link Posted: 8/22/2005 6:59:53 PM EDT
I thought Lord of the Rings grew out of one of the bed time stories Tolken wrote
for his kids during WWII? Thought I read that some where, I could be wrong. He is
pretty amazing creating his own world and language.
Link Posted: 8/22/2005 7:11:12 PM EDT
I can't believe I spelled his name wrong. I've read most of his books and seen
all the movies. Getting old stinks.
Link Posted: 8/22/2005 8:14:54 PM EDT
J.R.R. Tolkein was a very devout Catholic that drew on many sources for the LOTR series. He sat down without an outline and just started on the LOTR books from his imagination. To have it as coherent as it is, is a testament to his intellect. Especially, considering that he was using a typewriter. There are elements of many influences in this book(s).

People soon forget that his purpose for this book was to create a true English mythology.


wganz

Link Posted: 8/22/2005 11:30:50 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/22/2005 11:33:46 PM EDT by FMD]

Originally Posted By wganz:
People soon forget that his purpose for this book was to create a true English mythology.



+1

Tolkien used all sorts of influences, but to attempt to pigeonhole LOTR as "Christian allegory" or claim that the characters were taken from Norse mythology goes beyond oversimplification.

The Lord of the Rings is considered to be the greatest piece of fiction written in the 20th Century, IIRC second in worldwide distribution only to the Bible. When you include the other books, Middle Earth has its own rich history spanning 5000 plus years, with a unique mythology, replete with several complete languages that include their own grammar and inflection.

It's a staggering work. "Allegory" is an insult.

</latenight tolkien geek post>

ETA Just read this in the Amazon review: "Finding God successfully clarifies the ways that Tolkien's Christian worldview influenced the creation of his fantasy world, while respecting the artistic integrity of his achievement" I suppose I'll have to read it now.
Link Posted: 8/23/2005 3:14:22 AM EDT
I've read that Tolkein discouraged people from tryng to draw parallels between the LOTR and his Christian faith.

That said, over the past few years I've been to England a couple times on business, in the Oxford area.

I've had lunch a couple times at the Eagle & Child (Bird & Baby) pub, where the Inklings met. They have some documents written by group members framed on the walls. Also, there is a guy in Oxford who does a C.S. Lewis tour, taking you to the Kilns and other places of interest.
Link Posted: 8/23/2005 3:24:23 AM EDT
tag for later
Link Posted: 8/23/2005 2:08:09 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/23/2005 3:34:16 PM EDT by zpo]
hydgirl, IM sent. rm1bow, WWI. I don't know how to spell it, but the battles name he started writing the stories at sounds like "song". He was a Lt. of some degree.

ETA: It is true that he wrote all this to replace Englands mythology. He was sad that most of the English mythology was lost after the Normans invaded. The Arthur legend is mostly made from several French myths. The stories he wrote were his way of giving England her own mythology back.
Link Posted: 8/24/2005 9:28:22 AM EDT
Tolkien himself said that LOTR is "an inherently Catholic work," since his Catholic faith was so much a part of him. He stated that while he did not set out to write an allegory, it would have been impossible for him to write it without the story being permeated by his faith and a Catholic worldview.

I have talked to people who were involved in all sorts of things other-than-Christian who credit LOTR with starting them on the road to conversion. They didn't read LOTR and suddenly realize that Jesus is God and they need to worship him alone, but they did come to be open to the idea of objective good & evil, objective truth, hope, and the desire to seek out the truth even if it meant leaving behind what they believed currently. LOTR was just the first step of many, but they told me it wouldn't have happened without that first step.
Link Posted: 8/24/2005 9:34:52 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/24/2005 9:45:17 AM EDT by WildBoar]

Originally Posted By wganz:
People soon forget that his purpose for this book was to create a true English mythology.




English mythology? I though elves and goblins were a germanic myth. Arent Trolls icelandic or nordic?

Link Posted: 8/24/2005 2:45:33 PM EDT

Originally Posted By WildBoar:
English mythology? I though elves and goblins were a germanic myth. Arent Trolls icelandic or nordic?



The story wass influenced by all sorts of "fairey stories" (as Lewis called them). There are elements from many European folk tales incorporated into LOTR. He utilized it all, added his expertise on ancient language, and made up the rest.

However, IIRC, Tolkien thought of the Rohirrim as uniquely "English" and/or Celtic (itself indebted to Norse culture) in flavor.

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