Kuro5hin.org: technology and culture, from the trenches
create account | help/FAQ | contact | links | search | IRC | site news
[ Everything | Diaries | Technology | Science | Culture | Politics | Media | News | Internet | Op-Ed | Fiction | Meta | MLP ]
We need your support: buy an ad | premium membership

[P]
A Surprising Thumbs-Up: Christian Groups Like LOTR.

By joegee in News
Tue Dec 25, 2001 at 06:29:22 PM EST
Tags: Culture (all tags)
Culture

Knowing it is replete with wizards, warriors, elves, dwarves, magic, and an evil dark lord I was surprised to read on the American Center for Law and Justice while clicking through links, that many conservative Christian groups apparently feel "Lord of the Rings" is an appropriate expression of belief that coincides neatly with Christian teachings and values.

I do not usually think of most Christian religious groups as being either particularly tolerant or deeply logical, but apparently many of these people have read the books and see in them a struggle between fundamental principles of good and evil, more specifically between followers of an evil power and followers of a good power. This meshes nicely into their view of the world.


Knowing that J.R.R. was a devout Catholic, these groups feel that Tolkien's trilogy, with "its epic struggles between good and evil, was written with a strong Catholic Christian perspective."

I never approached the trilogy with the idea that it could be representative of a Christian-centric struggle of good versus evil. In fact, I always thought it was symbolic of the conflict Europe faced early in the twentieth century.

Although I have never studied Tolkien, I've read the trilogy more than twelve times (I lost count.) The whole idea presented by this article took me aback, so I suspect a few readers might find this viewpoint, and the thinking necessary to embrace it, of interest.

Sponsors

Voxel dot net
o Managed Hosting
o VoxCAST Content Delivery
o Raw Infrastructure

Login

Poll
Tolkien's Lord of the Rings is about:
o the struggle of good versus evil in Europe ca. the early 1900's. 13%
o the struggle of God versus Satan. 9%
o lining Christopher Tolkien's pocket. 11%
o tourism in New Zealand. 6%
o homoerotic hobbit-love. 58%

Votes: 138
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o American Center for Law and Justice
o many conservative Christian groups apparently feel "Lord of the Rings"
o Also by joegee


Display: Sort:
A Surprising Thumbs-Up: Christian Groups Like LOTR. | 81 comments (76 topical, 5 editorial, 0 hidden)
Christian influence is pretty well known (4.90 / 10) (#2)
by TheophileEscargot on Mon Dec 24, 2001 at 02:05:00 PM EST

Tolkien was not only devout, but rather evangelical; did a lot of lay preaching I believe.

The Christian influence is buried pretty deeply, but it's there. Remember where Gandalf returns from apparent death, but mysteriously his followers don't recognise him? Remind you of anyone?

Or consider Gandalf's reply to an outburst by Frodo that someone deserves to die:
"Deserves it! I daresay he does. Many that live deserve death. And some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then do not be too eager to deal out death in judgement.

Very reminiscent of "judge not lest ye be judged".

Now that Harry Potter though: he's certainly evil ;-)
----
Support the nascent Mad Open Science movement... when we talk about "hundreds of eyeballs," we really mean it. Lagged2Death

Tolkien quotes (5.00 / 7) (#4)
by TheophileEscargot on Mon Dec 24, 2001 at 02:15:37 PM EST

What the heck, I've put these quotes from Tolkien's foreword everywhere else, might as well put them here.

As for the inner meaning or 'message', it has by the intention of the author none. It is neither allegorical nor topical.

...I cordially dislike allegory in all its manifestations...

I think that many confuse 'applicability' with 'allegory'; but the one resides in the freedom of the reader, and the other in the purposed domination of the author.

The real war does not resemble the legendary war in either its process or its conclusion. If it had inspired or directed the the development of the legend, then certainly the Ring would have been captured and used against Sauron; he would not have been annihilated but enslaved...
In that conflict both sides would have held hobbits in hatred or contempt: they would not long have survived even as slaves.

----
Support the nascent Mad Open Science movement... when we talk about "hundreds of eyeballs," we really mean it. Lagged2Death
[ Parent ]

I had read these quotes before ... (4.00 / 1) (#8)
by joegee on Mon Dec 24, 2001 at 02:47:14 PM EST

... but was not aware Tolkien functioned as a lay preacher. I also was not aware of his devotion to Catholicism, which is why this one just surprised me. :)

I know there's a plethora o' Tolkien stories around right now, but I figured throwing this in the queue would at least give me some more reading re: an aspect of Tolkien that I know very little about. Thanks for your comments.

<sig>I always learn something on K5, sometimes in spite of myself.</sig>
[ Parent ]
LoTR (2.83 / 6) (#3)
by Vladinator on Mon Dec 24, 2001 at 02:05:17 PM EST

Definately tourism in New Zealand. I'd have happily traded several of the long panaramic shots for 5 more minutes of story in the movie.
--
LRSE Hosting
Here's hoping for the director's cut (5.00 / 1) (#14)
by jesterzog on Mon Dec 24, 2001 at 05:25:07 PM EST

Same here. I enjoyed the movie lots and I'm planning to go and see it again to pick up more detail, but I did think some bits of the story were very compressed. I'm sure I was sitting therer filling in some of the gaps from what I already knew, and I'm not sure what it'd be like without the book.

A couple of the things I personally would've liked to have seen more of were the council of Elrond, since heaps of the things there didn't seem to be completely explained. Also I would have liked to see more of the fellowship being blindfolded through Lothlorien, which I think would have done a lot to emphasise the friction between Dwarves and Elves. I don't want to downplay what I still think was a really cool film, though.

For the record, theonering.net is reporting that lots of potentially cool scenes that were filmed didn't make it into the final cut. I'm really looking forward to seeing the director's cut of the three films when they're out.


jesterzog Fight the light


[ Parent ]
It'll be six hours long (nt) (none / 0) (#26)
by joegee on Mon Dec 24, 2001 at 08:07:38 PM EST



<sig>I always learn something on K5, sometimes in spite of myself.</sig>
[ Parent ]
Fine with me if it gets the story elements :) (nt) (none / 0) (#35)
by jesterzog on Tue Dec 25, 2001 at 03:37:28 PM EST


jesterzog Fight the light


[ Parent ]
the only obvious scene (none / 0) (#49)
by kubalaa on Wed Dec 26, 2001 at 08:31:06 AM EST

Although lots was missing compared to the book, I only saw one scene that was blatantly trimmed: the stone trolls appeared in a scene but weren't explained at all. Anybody know of anything else in particular?

[ Parent ]
The trolls were explained. (none / 0) (#52)
by BlaisePascal on Wed Dec 26, 2001 at 10:14:29 AM EST

The trolls were explained in the beginning, when Bilbo was telling the Hobbit children the story of his adventures. The story he told about how, when he and his fellow companions were captured by the trolls, the trolls argued so long about how to cook and eat them, that the sun came up and turned them into trolls.

Of course, I've seen the movie twice now, and both times I missed seeing the trolls in that scene.

[ Parent ]

Not every Xian agrees (4.77 / 9) (#5)
by MotorMachineMercenary on Mon Dec 24, 2001 at 02:19:00 PM EST

Many conservative Christians might ignore unholiness in FotR, but not everyone. A notable exception is ChildCare Action Project (CAP): Christian Analysis of American Culture. Their in-depth analysis.

Before going to the site, I'd like to point that this site is by far the funniest site on the net, even funnier than the Onion, adequacy.org or Land Over Baptist. While the three previous examples are satire, a intricate troll and satire respectively, CAP is most likely made in earnest, which makes it even funnier.

Check these quotes from FotR analysis:

"many attacks by evil beings, some (especially one) very, very hideous"
"smoking, repeatedly"
"After more than 500 movies I suspect I can say with credibility that any of the imagery of evil you have seen before now does not match the evil in The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring."

And this is on FotR. For a good belly-laugh, go and check out what they have to say about Natural Born Killers, for example. Novel!


My bodyweight is muscle and cock MMM
Tenured K5 uberdouchebag Herr mirleid
Meatgazer Frau gr3y


CAPalert (4.66 / 3) (#6)
by fluffy grue on Mon Dec 24, 2001 at 02:40:29 PM EST

I also like this guy's unshakeable faith in Christianity. With quotes like "Maybe Christianity is under attack because it's The Right Religion and therefore is the only one which makes a target for adversity" and getting high-and-mighty about Fight Club's line "God does not like you; in fact, he probably hates you" and so on.

Oh, and in the X-Men review... he lambasted the entire movie based on the fact that the mutants' powers show up at puberty. Like, oh my god, a time of massive bodily change is NOT an appropriate time for such changes to occur? It's like those people who want to pretend that sex is only something that sinners do, rather than it being a natural part of everything (unless you're a bacterium, anyway).
--
"Is not a quine" is not a quine.
I have a master's degree in science!

[ Hug Your Trikuare ]
[ Parent ]

american pie 2 (4.00 / 1) (#11)
by rebelcool on Mon Dec 24, 2001 at 03:49:37 PM EST

Under "offense to god" contained a single word - 'cornuto'. Now, what kind of word is that? I had to look it up.

cornuto \Cor*nu"to\ (k?r-n?"t?), n. [It., fr. L. cornutus horned.] A man that wears the horns; a cuckold. [R.] --Shak.

Apparently American Pie 2 has a horned man somewhere in it...

COG. Build your own community. Free, easy, powerful. Demo site
[ Parent ]

argh! (3.00 / 1) (#27)
by Kalani on Mon Dec 24, 2001 at 09:55:46 PM EST

That'd be a man whose wife has cheated on him, wise guy. :)

-----
"I [think] that ultimately physics will not require a mathematical statement; in the end the machinery will be revealed and the laws will turn out to be simple, like the checker board."
--Richard Feynman
[ Parent ]
CAP is in deathly earnest (3.00 / 3) (#45)
by ragnarok on Wed Dec 26, 2001 at 03:17:28 AM EST

It is definitely bizarre. After reading it I can definitely say, "Thank God I'm an atheist!" And to think at one time I would've taken such rubbish seriously.

Why the hell don't we slashdot them with the TGIAA mantra? Just for the hell of it!

NOTE: None of the organizations in the images on this page are paying one cent for the space.

There is one other movie rating outfit which has mimicked the CAP model from its start, but that is all it is -- a mimicry. And it does not have the CAP Thermometers. Nor the more than 40 mathematical equations in every report. Nor the Rock-solid investigation standards.


"And it came to healed until all the gift and pow, I, the Lord, to divide; wherefore behold, all yea, I was left alone....", Joseph Smith's evil twin sister's prophecies
[ Parent ]

about that mantra (4.00 / 1) (#65)
by czar chasm on Thu Dec 27, 2001 at 02:48:51 PM EST

Why the hell don't we slashdot them with the TGIAA mantra?
Hmm, because this isn't Slashdot? :P


-Czar Chasm
Bloo!
[ Parent ]
Pansexualists? (4.50 / 2) (#56)
by selkirk on Wed Dec 26, 2001 at 05:19:57 PM EST

This CAPS website is entertaining.

From American Pie:

The movie starts out with a teen boy watching a porn flick on cable TV (audio present) -- and he is doing that which the entertainment industry and pansexualists want you to think about what teenage boys do if watching sexual material alone in their bedroom.
What exactly is it that ultra-christian movie reviewers think teenage boys do when watching sexual material alone in their bedroom?

And what is a Pansexualist?

[ Parent ]

Tolkien was strongly Christian, as was LOTR (4.28 / 7) (#7)
by Anatta on Mon Dec 24, 2001 at 02:46:36 PM EST

From this interview, a quote from Tolkien:

"The Lord of the Rings is of course a fundamentally religious and Catholic work; unconsciously so at first, but consciously in the revision."
I think that about covers it...
My Music
It still surprises me though ... (none / 0) (#9)
by joegee on Mon Dec 24, 2001 at 02:50:09 PM EST

... again, I've never read it in that context. Regardless of his personal beliefs, to hear that groups sanctioned by the 700 club were actually endorsing a sword and sorcery movie for its values really shocked me. :)

<sig>I always learn something on K5, sometimes in spite of myself.</sig>
[ Parent ]
Why? (3.50 / 2) (#20)
by A Dapper M on Mon Dec 24, 2001 at 06:29:26 PM EST

Think about it.

Clear cut good and evil. No sex. (no sensuality at all, for that matter). Lots of platonic (read: xian-approved) love.

Sounds like xian porn to me ^_^

"I sought only myself." - Heraclitus


[ Parent ]
HAHAHAHAHAHA :))) (NT) (none / 0) (#23)
by joegee on Mon Dec 24, 2001 at 07:47:29 PM EST



<sig>I always learn something on K5, sometimes in spite of myself.</sig>
[ Parent ]
Clear cut good and evil, eh? (none / 0) (#28)
by Elendale on Tue Dec 25, 2001 at 03:22:51 AM EST

Just wait until the rest of the movies are released :)
Of course, it's a very Christian-like blurr- but whatever.

-Elendale
---

When free speech is outlawed, only criminals will complain.


[ Parent ]
Huh? (none / 0) (#37)
by A Dapper M on Tue Dec 25, 2001 at 04:01:20 PM EST

I read all the books not too long ago, and can't recall the clear cuttedness between good and evil getting blurred.

Could you please elucidate what you meant?

"I sought only myself." - Heraclitus


[ Parent ]
Well, it depends.... (3.00 / 2) (#40)
by Macrobat on Tue Dec 25, 2001 at 08:08:18 PM EST

(Speaking on behalf of Elendale, hope you don't mind.)

It depends on what you mean by clear-cut. Sauron is unadulterated Evil, without a doubt. Everyone else is somewhere between capital-G Good and capital-E Evil. Gandalf is wise, but not all-knowing, and occasionally cantankerous. Frodo, of course, makes great sacrifices, but fails at a critical point (and utters the "pity Bilbo didn't kill Gollum" line). Boromir succumbs to the ring, but redeems himself in the end. Saruman does evil only because he thinks Sauron is irresistible. And so on and so on...

This only means, of course, that the characters are not clear-cut good and evil. The question of what to do with the ring, or whether or not Sauron is to be opposed, is unambiguous (so far as the reader is concerned). This leaves the tale open to the charge of being morally simplistic, but I feel that it's a red herring. The story simply isn't about whether Sauron is evil, or whether destroying nature, enslaving nations, or torturing enemies is bad; it simply assumes these. If Sauron were a human character, with mortal limits to his power and human needs and fears, then portraying him as a giant flaming Snidely Whiplash would have been inappropriate; but that's simply not the story Tolkien was telling.


"Hardly used" will not fetch a better price for your brain.
[ Parent ]

Didn't see it? (none / 0) (#57)
by crank42 on Wed Dec 26, 2001 at 06:34:49 PM EST

... again, I've never read it in that context.

So, because you didn't notice something, it's not there? Anyone who has a fair familiarity with Catholic mythology would recognise the references pretty quickly in LoTR (at least the book; I've not see the movie).

[ Parent ]

one minor quibble... (none / 0) (#72)
by sphealey on Fri Dec 28, 2001 at 05:02:36 PM EST

Tolkein was indeed Christian, and as you stated he felt that LotR was Christian in spirit. However, he also explicitly stated that Middle Earth was our current Earth, long enough ago that the continents and seas had changed but not long enough that the constellations or year were different. Say 10,000 years. Which is before the time of Moses and Jesus. So the events of the LotR are by definition pre-Christian. sPh

[ Parent ]
Uhm, you might want to check the Bible again (none / 0) (#78)
by Rizzen on Sun Dec 30, 2001 at 12:29:02 PM EST

Moses and Jesus were several hundred/thousand years apart. :)
The years of peak mental activity are undoubtedly those between the ages of 4 and 18. At age four, we know all the questions; at eighteen, all the answers.
[ Parent ]
Um, yes. (none / 0) (#81)
by sphealey on Tue May 28, 2002 at 07:00:46 PM EST

Well, yes. The time of Jesus is generally believed to have been approximately Year 0 in our current numbering system. Say 2000 years ago. The time of Moses about 3000 years before that. So that is a total of 5000 years ago. If LotR occured 10,000 years ago (or 10,000 years before 1940), how does that contradict what I said? Just curioius. sPh

[ Parent ]
I love this expression, I'm gonna use it (3.33 / 3) (#12)
by jayfoo2 on Mon Dec 24, 2001 at 05:10:54 PM EST

From the cited article.

I guess that explains why this first of three Rings trilogy is 170 minutes long! Great day in the morning! Three hours!

My gosh! I've been waiting for a new catchphrase for ages. Great day in the morning! I'm not sure what it means but I can't wait to start using it.

OT: Catch phrase (none / 0) (#16)
by X-Nc on Mon Dec 24, 2001 at 05:59:27 PM EST

Heh, you are making me feel so VERY old. That is an anchent expression from the days of my father, over 60 years ago. But I believe it was very popular in the 50's.

--
Aaahhhh!!!! My K5 subscription expired. Now I can't spell anymore.
[ Parent ]
Oh boy oh boy (3.66 / 3) (#13)
by jayfoo2 on Mon Dec 24, 2001 at 05:24:45 PM EST

One more quote from the article which has me in stiches.

There is no such thing as a "good" witch. Not even Wendy.

Who is wendy? did he mean Glenda? Wendy from Peter Pan? Wendy from Wendy's (good fries).

Inquiring minds want to know.

Of course that's not even the most ignorant thing in the article. I can't decide if this passage makes me mad or just amuses me.

Comparisons are not being drawn between the two movies under any other "religion" I am aware of, not the Muslim or Tao or Jewish faiths or any other faith, just the Christian faith which is under more attack than any other faith. Maybe the Christian faith is under attack [by the adversary though the unbelievers] because it is the "right one": the one faith that poses the greatest and maybe the only real threat to the adversary.

Once again I'm not sure I get it. First of all what adversary is he talking about. Are we talking about Sauron? He's after Christianity now?. But wait isn't the fellowship fighting him? wouldn't that make them good and godly? I'm really confused now. Is it he-who-can't-be-named? Could it be, oh I don't know, Satan (props to the church lady) Or is the adversary the aforementioned Wendy, that darn Wendy.........

Ok, one more. (none / 0) (#15)
by jayfoo2 on Mon Dec 24, 2001 at 05:27:25 PM EST

Ok, I'm going well off topic here, this should probably be in my diary but I can't resist.

From the CAP site's review of Austin Powers: The Spy who Shagged Me

One more quick one -- Dr. Evil sensually sucked his little finger.

This. has. got. to. be. a. parody.

[ Parent ]
Casper? (5.00 / 1) (#21)
by khym on Mon Dec 24, 2001 at 07:00:54 PM EST

I think it's refering to Wendy the Witch from the cartoon "Casper the Friendly Ghost".

--
Give a man a match, and he'll be warm for a minute, but set him on fire, and he'll be warm for the rest of his life.
[ Parent ]
Prejudices (4.30 / 13) (#17)
by Bad Harmony on Mon Dec 24, 2001 at 06:04:49 PM EST

I'm not even a Christian, but I find the attitudes that many people have towards Christianity to be disturbing. Surprise, surprise, not all Christians are knuckle-dragging Neanderthals, with a bible in one hand and a torch in the other. Some of them are even, gasp!, intellectuals who read books and appreciate well-made films.

5440' or Fight!

Moria Drums (3.00 / 4) (#18)
by pbryson on Mon Dec 24, 2001 at 06:24:38 PM EST

The drumming noises heard deep in Moria? It was an army of bible thumpers preparing to march on Mordor.

Thump
Thump
Thump...



- - - - - - - - -
Paul Bryson
http://www.technocore.org
- - - - - - - - -

[ Parent ]
Of course, but... (4.25 / 4) (#19)
by A Dapper M on Mon Dec 24, 2001 at 06:26:42 PM EST

You are, of course, right that many christians are intelligent individuals.

But, they tend not to be the most vocal group of christians. The author is suprised that most of the vocal christian groups (read: fundie) are in favor of this, not that the more intellectual ones.

just my $0.02

"I sought only myself." - Heraclitus


[ Parent ]
However, tolerance is atypical among conservatives (2.66 / 3) (#22)
by joegee on Mon Dec 24, 2001 at 07:24:21 PM EST

which was why I was surprised ...

<sig>I always learn something on K5, sometimes in spite of myself.</sig>
[ Parent ]
Only if that's how you classify a conservative (3.00 / 1) (#43)
by johnnybtulsa on Tue Dec 25, 2001 at 10:08:23 PM EST

Only if that's how you classify a conservative

[ Parent ]
Tolerance is atypical among humans (4.33 / 3) (#46)
by PresJPolk on Wed Dec 26, 2001 at 03:32:34 AM EST

Ever seen tolerance on a university campus lately?

They'll tolerate you, as long as you don't say or do anything that offends them.

[ Parent ]
Campuses preach conformity ... (3.80 / 5) (#54)
by joegee on Wed Dec 26, 2001 at 12:14:56 PM EST

... of non-conformity. The world is full of white sheep all marching in one direction. Counter-culture has become an institution of its own, and it behooves the black sheep to all march, as one, in the opposite direction. It's OK to dissent, as long as it's dissention along acceptable lines.

Hence my sig.

<sig>I always learn something on K5, sometimes in spite of myself.</sig>
[ Parent ]
sane christians do exist (4.25 / 4) (#24)
by Weezul on Mon Dec 24, 2001 at 07:51:23 PM EST

but not in these orginisations. You most likely know some sane christians in real life and you have spoken to some online, but you did not know they were christians and they most likely have not managed to make it to church for many months. The christians your are likely to see running around proclaiming their christianity are not really all that sane.

These orginisations support of the movie is surprising since they oppose almost every other fantasy work in existance, including Potter and D&D.

Speaking of D&D, homoerotic hobit love seems to be winning out. Looks like those of you who play a halfing rouge in a D&D game should consider having your character "come out of the closet." :)

"Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power." - Benito Mussolini
[ Parent ]
I noticed that :) (4.00 / 1) (#25)
by joegee on Mon Dec 24, 2001 at 08:05:17 PM EST

I just added that choice on a lark because I had read it somewhere in an analysis about the bond between Frodo and Sam. :)

<sig>I always learn something on K5, sometimes in spite of myself.</sig>
[ Parent ]
religion vs intelligence (2.28 / 14) (#31)
by treat on Tue Dec 25, 2001 at 01:20:42 PM EST

Surprise, surprise, not all Christians are knuckle-dragging Neanderthals, with a bible in one hand and a torch in the other. Some of them are even, gasp!, intellectuals who read books and appreciate well-made films.

Those who are indeed intellectuals are not true Christians. That is, they do not truly believe and follow the teachings of their bible and their church. The belief structure of most religions is incompatible with rational thought. If you are choosing to pretend to believe in a religion because it makes you feel good, and yet you choose rational thought when it is necessary, that is fine. You are deceiving only yourself for your own comfort, and this common. But do not categorize yourself as a believer when you are in fact not a faithful follower.

[ Parent ]

I don't think faith precludes belief (4.00 / 3) (#33)
by zakalwe on Tue Dec 25, 2001 at 01:56:02 PM EST

Why do you claim that belief can't be held due to knowledge? Personally, I'm an atheist, but if I saw something that could best be explained by something I would call a God, or saw sufficient evidence for the $FAITH belief, then I would consider myself a believer who had reached his belief by rational methods.

Admittedly, the Christian church seems to place a high value on 'faith' - "You have seen and so you believe, but blessed are those who have not seen, and yet believe", (which I think is idiotic), but it certainly doesn't claim that the seeing means you don't have 'true' belief.

Admittedly, I doubt most believers have experienced evidence which would convince me, so their belief may not appear totally rational to me. Still, their faith makes no restrictions on their thought in other fields. Their faiths seem to only be "incompatible with rational thought" in areas which involve their belief. This might seem a bit hippocritical, but certainly doesn't somehow compromise their beliefs.

[ Parent ]

What's a true Christian? (4.80 / 5) (#48)
by pyramid termite on Wed Dec 26, 2001 at 08:28:53 AM EST

Those who are indeed intellectuals are not true Christians.

And who appointed you or anyone else as the official judge of what a true Christian is?

That is, they do not truly believe and follow the teachings of their bible and their church.

Which Bible? There's several different ones, and many different beliefs in how infallible they may or may not be. Which church? There are hundreds of generally known denominations.

Basically, you've made a straw man argument here.
On the Internet, anyone can accuse you of being a dog.
[ Parent ]
Christianity == Contratictionity (2.00 / 2) (#59)
by scanman on Thu Dec 27, 2001 at 01:21:48 AM EST

And who appointed you or anyone else as the official judge of what a true Christian is?

He was self-appointed, obviously. Who appointed you to refute his comment? Hmm?

Which Bible? There's [sic] several different ones, and many different beliefs in how infallible they may or may not be. Which church? There are hundreds of generally known denominations.

He was probably referring to Christianity as he percieves the average Christian. Like most Christians, you quibble over details, because you know you cannot win an argument over the main points.

On another note, have you ever read the bible? If so, you will notice that God says wants his subjects to be sheep. He wants them to believe everything he says, in fact he only created them for his own amusement. It would take an absurdly liberal interpretation(read: direct contradiction) of the Bible to allow for independent thought. Most Christians deliberately blind themselves - they do not really believe in God, they "have faith", which means they believe with no basis in reality. Rational, thinking people do not have such "beliefs", they construct their beliefs on demonstrable facts in the real world.

"[You are] a narrow-minded moron [and] a complete loser." - David Quartz
"scanman: The moron." - ucblockhead
"I prefer the term 'lifeskills impaired'" - Inoshiro

[ Parent ]

Then where are the "Rational, thinking people (4.50 / 2) (#61)
by Gravaton on Thu Dec 27, 2001 at 02:01:15 AM EST

Avoiding personal attacks, I have to say that your analysis of Christianity is as one-sided and irrational as the mindset you deride. While you claim Christians "quibble over details," you make sweeping generalizations about not only the contents of the Bible and the Christian faith, but also about the general mindset and lifestyle of Christians themselves. And talking about the "main points," you forget the crucial fact that neither side can win a head-on argument. I can't show you proof there is a god, but you can't show me proof there is none. Same for most to all tenements of Christianity - there's just no evidence for either side. The truly rational person doesn't just believe in what he can see, he also doesn't disbelieve what he hasn't seen to be untrue. Lack of the latter has been the biggest hindrance to scientific progress man has ever cooked up for himself.

One more point...you say that God says he "wants his subjects to be sheep." Now, assuming that there is a god, and assuming that that god fits the standard Christian archetype of an omnipotent, omniscent figure with nothing but good intentions for us (YES that's in the Bible dernit;)). If that's true, would it be right to trust and obey someone who not only desired to do us good but also was all-knowing? Don't we do things like that every day, trusting people we think don't mean us harm? And wouldn't it be a logical conclusion to absolutely trust someone who is always absolutely right and wishes us absolutely no harm? Just some food for thought :) Now time to go back to my cave and read my Bible by candlelight.

[ Parent ]
Right here :) (4.00 / 1) (#62)
by scanman on Thu Dec 27, 2001 at 04:40:53 AM EST

Avoiding personal attacks, I have to say that your analysis of Christianity is as one-sided and irrational as the mindset you deride.

Of course it's one-sided, it's my opinion. As for irrational, I don't think you're qualified to make that classification.

While you claim Christians "quibble over details," you make sweeping generalizations about not only the contents of the Bible and the Christian faith, but also about the general mind set and lifestyle of Christians themselves.

Those were not sweeping generalizations, they were descriptions of what I percieve to be the top of the bell curve of Christian thinking.

I can't show you proof there is a god, but you can't show me proof there is none. Same for most to all tenements of Christianity - there's just no evidence for either side. The truly rational person doesn't just believe in what he can see, he also doesn't disbelieve what he hasn't seen to be untrue.

Can you really prove anything? No. Therefore, you have to take the facts you have and make the best conclusion you can make. I try to keep an open mind, and if there was any evidence supporting God, I would consider it. However, there is no credible evidence that supports God. There is, however, plenty of evidence against. None is conclusive, but inconclusive evidence is better than no evidence.

One more point...you say that God says he "wants his subjects to be sheep." Now, assuming that there is a god, and assuming that that god fits the standard Christian archetype of an omnipotent, omniscent figure with nothing but good intentions for us (YES that's in the Bible dernit;)).

Actually, no. If you had actually read the Bible, you would know that he thinks of us as little more than pets, and sees nothing wrong with killing large numbers of us. Please note that these are only my opinions, based entirely on my own experience and research.

"[You are] a narrow-minded moron [and] a complete loser." - David Quartz
"scanman: The moron." - ucblockhead
"I prefer the term 'lifeskills impaired'" - Inoshiro

[ Parent ]

top bell curve? (none / 0) (#70)
by Anonymous 242 on Fri Dec 28, 2001 at 01:06:11 AM EST

Those were not sweeping generalizations, they were descriptions of what I percieve to be the top of the bell curve of Christian thinking.
So you are familiar with the writings of Thomas Aquinas, John of Damascus, Symeon the New Theologian, Gregory the Theologian, Nectarious of Aegina, Blaise Pascal and so on and so forth?

Have you read much by Richard Swinburne or Alvin Plantinga?

I suspect that you either have a misperception of the top of the bell curve as it pertains to Christianity or that you have an axe to grind.

Personally I"ve yet to come across a rational case against Christianity. Every atheistic argument I've looked into boils down to an argument from emotion (like the arguments against God from hell and evil) wherein the person behind the argument really means to say "I don't like a God that is like X". Nevermind that a God like X is usually a strawman and unknown to the likes of John of Damascus.

Regards,

Lee Irenæus Malatesta

[ Parent ]

Top of the bell curve. (none / 0) (#73)
by scanman on Sat Dec 29, 2001 at 08:27:38 AM EST

So you are familiar with the writings of Thomas Aquinas, John of Damascus, Symeon the New Theologian, Gregory the Theologian, Nectarious of Aegina, Blaise Pascal and so on and so forth? Have you read much by Richard Swinburne or Alvin Plantinga?

These do not interest me. I have, however, had discussions about religion with the many Christians I know. I think I have a good understanding of how the average Christian thinks.

Personally I"ve yet to come across a rational case against Christianity. Every atheistic argument I've looked into boils down to an argument from emotion (like the arguments against God from hell and evil) wherein the person behind the argument really means to say "I don't like a God that is like X". Nevermind that a God like X is usually a strawman and unknown to the likes of John of Damascus.

This website gives a particularly well-reasoned argument.

"[You are] a narrow-minded moron [and] a complete loser." - David Quartz
"scanman: The moron." - ucblockhead
"I prefer the term 'lifeskills impaired'" - Inoshiro

[ Parent ]

That was a lackluster reply (none / 0) (#79)
by Anonymous 242 on Mon Dec 31, 2001 at 08:53:07 AM EST

[names of Christians near the top of the bell curve snipped]
These do not interest me.
So you are not interested in the data points that would disprove your observations?
I have, however, had discussions about religion with the many Christians I know. I think I have a good understanding of how the average Christian thinks.
What evidence do you have to think that these Christians lie near the top ten percent of the bell curve? Have you done any canvassing to determine which sects of Christianity draw which sorts of people? Here's a clue, if a Christian is convince by the arguments of pseudo-scientists likes Ken Ham, there is a very good chance that Christian isn't near the top ten percent of the bell curve. (Creation Science is both bad science and bad religion.)
[The Christian meme] website gives a particularly well-reasoned argument.
Well reasoned, yes. Well supported, no. The good folks that run that web site are astonishingly ignorant any form of Christianity that predates the reformation, relying on the social myths and misconceptions of post-Reformation Protestant theologians for their information on "ancient" Christianity.

For example, the Christian meme website has no understanding of how the Church has interpretted the Old Testament from the time of Christ up until the dawn of the movement of what is now known as Fundamentalism. Are you aware that some medieval rabbis interpretted the Torah to teach that the earth was about somewhere around two billion years old?

Lest you think I am pulling this out of the air, consider what Saint Neilos the Ascetic has to say on the topic of interpretting the Old Testament in his Ascetic Discourses.

The story of Ish-bosheth also teaches us not to be over anxious about bodily things, and not to rely on the senses to protect us. He was a king who went to rest in his chamber, leaving a swoman as door-keeper. When the man of Rechab came, they found her dozing off as she was winnowing wheat; so, escaping her notices, they slipped in and slew Ish-bosheth while he was asleep (cf. 2 Sam 4:5-8). Now when bodily concerns predominate, everything in man is asleep: the intellect, the soul and the senses. For the woman at the door winnowing wheat indicates the state of one whose reason is closely absorbed in physical things and trying with persistent efforts to purify them.

It is clear that this story in Scripture should not be taken literally. For how could a king have a woman as doorkeeper, when he ought properly to be guarded by a troop of soldiers, and to have around hime a large body of attendants? Or how could he be so poor as to use her to winnow the wheat? But improbable details are often included in a story because of the deeper thruth they signify. Thus the intellect in each of us resides within like a king, whele the reason acts as door-keeper of the senses. When the reason occupies itself with bodily things --and to winnow wheat is something bodily-- the enemy without difficulty slips past unnoticed and slays the intellect. [Saint Neilos the Ascetic, Ascetic Discourses, Chapter VI from the Philokalia: the Complete Text, Palmer, Sherrard, Ware, translators.]

Sites like Christian meme burn down a strawman. Regrettably a strawman that is popular among some segments of Christianity. These segments, however, only add up to a small fraction if one looks at the entire body of Christians world wide.

Regards,

Lee Irenæus Malatesta

[ Parent ]

here we go again (none / 0) (#76)
by mlong on Sat Dec 29, 2001 at 11:46:30 AM EST

Actually, no. If you had actually read the Bible, you would know that he thinks of us as little more than pets, and sees nothing wrong with killing large numbers of us. Please note that these are only my opinions, based entirely on my own experience and research.

And again you show you have no understanding of the Bible. Your "experience and research" probably comes down to a bad childhood memory or something. Read the Bible before you comment on it...I mean READ IT and read it from start to end.

[ Parent ]

Listen. (4.50 / 2) (#64)
by valar on Thu Dec 27, 2001 at 10:21:16 AM EST

I have found that many non-Christians also the caveman type. The difference is that in their non-torch hand, they hold literature of their particular belief. Just because a religion is contradictory, does not mean its beleivers are all ignorant, or that it is impossible to believe the things taught by the religion and remain an intelligent individual. Let us take a non-religious example: quantum physics. Most people here at k5 believe that quantum mechanics is a working model for explaining the behavior of atomic and subatomic particle. However, there are some inherent contradictions and explanations lacking. Everyone agrees on the minor points, but when we get to the contradictions, that is when the physicists disagree. However, surely neither side instantly becomes a torch wielding primitive man. This is starting to sound familiar, eh? I personally disagree with this blanket generalization that all christians are unintelligent. Many posters here on k5 come off sounding like they have had severe christianity related trauma they are so bent against the religion. To say that all christians are unintelligent is as wrong as some christians stateing that all non-christians are going to hell. Or the KKK stateing that blacks are inferrior. Or any other labeling of group a by group b as adjective. This is what, in the literature analysis field they call a "logical fallacy", specifically the good old overbroad generalization.

[ Parent ]
Gross generalizations, etc. (4.00 / 1) (#66)
by pyramid termite on Thu Dec 27, 2001 at 03:39:44 PM EST

He was self-appointed, obviously. Who appointed you to refute his comment? Hmm?

Of course, I was just talking about one person and what he said. He was talking about what he thinks millions of people believe.

He was probably referring to Christianity as he percieves the average Christian. Like most Christians, you quibble over details, because you know you cannot win an argument over the main points.

Which would have been what? That we all think alike? (Then why so many denominations?) That none of us think at all? (Hint - most of Western art, science, literature, you name it was done by Christians).

On another note, have you ever read the bible?

Yes.

If so, you will notice that God says wants his subjects to be sheep.

Thou shalt not read allegory, or poetry literally.

It would take an absurdly liberal interpretation(read: direct contradiction) of the Bible to allow for independent thought.

And it would take an extreme rationalist to regard the Bible as a literal textbook on social and spiritual engineering, rather than a complex and nuanced work made by many people trying imperfectly to explain the presence of God in their lives. Which, come to think of it, would put you and your average fundamentalist minister in the same boat.

Rational, thinking people do not have such "beliefs", they construct their beliefs on demonstrable facts in the real world.

Their beliefs? I thought they had demonstratable facts and didn't need beliefs.

It's not a matter of whether one has faith or beliefs. We all do. It's a matter of what assumptions we have faith or belief in. You, as a rationalist, have faith that the universe is a consistent place with laws, where effects and causes can be reproduced. You can't prove this - you assume this as you feel it is useful to assume so. Also, you have faith that the universe just happened without any God to make it so. You can't prove this - you assume this. It's as big a step either way to assume there is a God or there isn't one, that the universe just happened, or someone made it. Occam's razor doesn't work here - the mere existence of a universe that can't be explained is an entity that's unnecessary ...

But, I should be careful not to generalize what rational, thinking people believe or do not believe, as I might make the same mistake others have made about Christians.
On the Internet, anyone can accuse you of being a dog.
[ Parent ]
Rationalism (none / 0) (#74)
by scanman on Sat Dec 29, 2001 at 08:38:52 AM EST

It's not a matter of whether one has faith or beliefs. We all do. It's a matter of what assumptions we have faith or belief in. You, as a rationalist, have faith that the universe is a consistent place with laws, where effects and causes can be reproduced. You can't prove this - you assume this as you feel it is useful to assume so. Also, you have faith that the universe just happened without any God to make it so. You can't prove this - you assume this. It's as big a step either way to assume there is a God or there isn't one, that the universe just happened, or someone made it. Occam's razor doesn't work here - the mere existence of a universe that can't be explained is an entity that's unnecessary ...

I have no faith that the universe is a consistent place with laws, where effects and causes can be reproduced, but it has been my experience so far.

I do not know the cause of the universe, and nobody does, yet. I do think that it is better to speculate on such matters on the basis of direct observation, not on the basis of a millenia-old book and a group of people who hold beliefs that they are not willing to change.

"[You are] a narrow-minded moron [and] a complete loser." - David Quartz
"scanman: The moron." - ucblockhead
"I prefer the term 'lifeskills impaired'" - Inoshiro

[ Parent ]

hmm (none / 0) (#75)
by mlong on Sat Dec 29, 2001 at 11:43:36 AM EST

On another note, have you ever read the bible? If so, you will notice that God says wants his subjects to be sheep. He wants them to believe everything he says, in fact he only created them for his own amusement. It would take an absurdly liberal interpretation(read: direct contradiction) of the Bible to allow for independent thought. Most Christians deliberately blind themselves - they do not really believe in God, they "have faith", which means they believe with no basis in reality. Rational, thinking people do not have such "beliefs", they construct their beliefs on demonstrable facts in the real world.

Well I see YOU haven't read it.

[ Parent ]

If you say so (3.33 / 6) (#51)
by ubu on Wed Dec 26, 2001 at 10:01:27 AM EST

Those who are indeed intellectuals are not true Christians.

A great many "intellectuals" have adopted this strawman as their sole defense against the claims of Christ. I expect you will have the same dismal luck making a credible case for it.

Ubu


--
As good old software hats say - "You are in very safe hands, if you are using CVS !!!"
[ Parent ]
Not at all surprising (3.60 / 5) (#32)
by MK77 on Tue Dec 25, 2001 at 01:41:44 PM EST

I mostly expected that the more thinking Christian groups would approve of the film -- it resonates strongly with Christian philosophy. In fact, after I finished watching LOTR, I emailed a friend, commenting that though the film was masterfully produced, I disliked the film because the assumed world-view reminded me too much of Christianity.

Here's what I wrote on Dec 19th:

So, I saw it today, and it was much better than Episode One, but something similar bothered me about it. I find this whole encouragement to thinking about the world in terms of good and evil philosophically objectionable. I saw Tolkien's Christianity bleeding all over the film, and I didn't like it one bit. When you start to think about the world as a struggle between good and evil, it brings out something ugly buried deep in the genetic code, and you start to look at the world as a dichotomy -- as a battle to fight even. Happens all over. Then you start bombing afghanistan. Us vs. the infidels. Us vs. the terrorists. Isreal vs. the Palestinians. India vs. Pakistan. Us vs. Microsoft, even. Ugly, ugly, ugly.

Inflammatory statements in that exceprt aside, let's just say that Fellowship of the Ring has been inspired by Christianity, for better or for worse.


--
Mmm... rageahol

"People" vs. "The World" (none / 0) (#41)
by Macrobat on Tue Dec 25, 2001 at 08:45:31 PM EST

I think, based on what you posted above, that you really do see the world in terms of good and evil, only you use the euphemisms "philosophically objectionable" and "ugly." The evil/ugliness you see in the world isn't because people view things in "the World" as good or evil, but because they think of people as good or evil. And I most emphatically do not see that in Lord of the Rings. If anything, I suspect that's why he used fantasy creatures to represent evil, so he could make the dichotomy between Evil and (sympathetic) humans doing bad things blazingly clear.

"Hardly used" will not fetch a better price for your brain.
[ Parent ]

The nature of evil (none / 0) (#44)
by MK77 on Tue Dec 25, 2001 at 10:35:11 PM EST

Perhaps you are right -- I do see the world in terms of ugly and beautiful -- but I choose not to use the world good and evil because those words sometimes imply something metaphysical or absolute in judgement. And, you are right, it is when one begins to see people as evil that it becomes a problem.

In Lord of the Rings, I guess I am disturbed by the humanoid nature of some of the villians. The orcs are very human-like. The Nazgul, less so. In the film, Sauron is depicted in humanoid form.

These things would seem to encourage the thought processes of thinking of people as Evil, or at least of thinking of people as the agents of Evil -- with a capitol E -- as some metaphysical force which must be reconed with.

I dislike that, but I still found the film hugely entertaining.


--
Mmm... rageahol
[ Parent ]

No kidding (4.00 / 1) (#50)
by ubu on Wed Dec 26, 2001 at 09:54:58 AM EST

Happens all over. Then you start bombing afghanistan. Us vs. the infidels. Us vs. the terrorists. Isreal vs. the Palestinians. India vs. Pakistan. Us vs. Microsoft, even. Ugly, ugly, ugly.

Christianity as the genesis of bloodshed and global conflict. I find your views intriguing, and I would like to subscribe to your newsletter.

Ubu


--
As good old software hats say - "You are in very safe hands, if you are using CVS !!!"
[ Parent ]
Hehehe (none / 0) (#58)
by xriso on Wed Dec 26, 2001 at 08:27:26 PM EST

It's correct Us versus the evil Dichotomists, and they're going DOWN!
--
*** Quits: xriso:#kuro5hin (Forever)
[ Parent ]
You fail to see the Good and Evil (none / 0) (#69)
by brandon21m on Thu Dec 27, 2001 at 11:34:36 PM EST

Why is viewing the world in terms of good and evil objectionable? A huge purpose/main idea/whatever_is_the_right_word of Christianity is the battle between God and Satan. Is that not good and evil? God influences humans in a good way but some people are more susceptible to the evil influences of Satan. In that way we see the interfacing between the spirtiual world (both good and bad) and mortal humans. Satan is always trying to pull people away from God and God is doing the same to pull people away from Satan but it's still up to the humans involved to make the decisions which are provided to us by God(free will). Why is it so hard then to view the world as the struggle between good and evil?

The biggest struggle in the world today is the good Christians of the US (what's left of us Christians) and the Jews in Israel (these are the 2 biggest players) against the Islamic terrorist groups who think we are the evil group even though we only kill in defense, not offense like the terrorists do. The terrorists are motivated by Satan whether they like it or not and their target is the people who believe God is the Savior, ie. the Christians and some Jews. If you know the Bible then you know that the overall theme is good vs. evil and that will continue until the Tribulation comes to separate the good from the evil.



[ Parent ]
Poll a little limited... (4.00 / 1) (#34)
by seebs on Tue Dec 25, 2001 at 02:18:28 PM EST

What if it's not really "about" these other things, but just draws on them for inspiration? There are bits of Christian mythos in there, as well as references to many other things.

It is a wonderful book. And I have seen at least some "Christian" groups bashing it for violence, portrayals of magic, and so on. BTW, please don't make the mistake of assuming that all Christians are like that. If you think that most Christian groups are either intolerant or illogical, you have been seeing a very small (but admittedly loud) subset. How would you feel if someone, observing that many people on Jerry Springer don't seem to believe in much, concluded that they were fairly representative of atheism?



What surprised me though is the 700 club ... (none / 0) (#39)
by joegee on Tue Dec 25, 2001 at 08:04:39 PM EST

... apparently agreeing with this group's findings. The 700 Club is by no means a hot bed of liberal Christian views. It's not that I believe Christians in totality would dismiss the film, it's that these particular groups would seem to be giving it a thumbs up. :)

<sig>I always learn something on K5, sometimes in spite of myself.</sig>
[ Parent ]
Agreed, that is a bit odd... (4.66 / 3) (#47)
by seebs on Wed Dec 26, 2001 at 05:35:41 AM EST

Perhaps after a few embarassing attempts to get C. S. Lewis banned from libraries, they've learned to do their research and not come out against books by noted or famous theologians.

:)


[ Parent ]
Really? (none / 0) (#68)
by hedgefrog on Thu Dec 27, 2001 at 10:50:16 PM EST

embarassing attempts to get C. S. Lewis banned from libraries

When? I am not accusing you of lying; I just never heard of that happening.
slashdot is to linux what osama bin laden is to islam - a pimple on the arse - Eviltwin
[ Parent ]

Boy, hard to remember... (none / 0) (#77)
by seebs on Sun Dec 30, 2001 at 12:35:52 AM EST

I just remember that _The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe_ was supposedly challenged for portraying "anti-Christian and pagan themes". I've also seen claims that there were complaints of its portrayal of violence. The challenge was in Howard County, MD, in 1990.

[ Parent ]
Limited "conservative" Christian viewpoi (4.50 / 6) (#38)
by sto0 on Tue Dec 25, 2001 at 05:43:52 PM EST

*** Please note that I'm generalising a lot of the time here (e.g. "the church" etc.), so please don't take undue offence.

As a Christian, the way that the church sometimes seems to act like some vetting system irritates me. I can understand that there may be a Christian perspective to some things, but I really don't think that it's that relevant. To denounce things like Harry Potter just displays a narrow-minded view of what Christians believe, IMHO.

I feel personally that there are many things wrong with our culture, but I dislike the often knee-jerk reaction the church gives to potential threats. I believe that God has ultimate authority, and whilst my opinion does count, his counts infinitely more, and I'm not in the position (being a mortal, finite being and all ;) to pronounce his judgement on things such as these.

This does not mean that we are unable to understand God's thoughts on our own morality. That's what I believe the Bible to be there for, however trying to denounce Harry Potter or whatever on the basis that it isn't "good" because it contains stories of wizards, demons etc. just doesn't cut it for me. As far as I understand (in my own limited understanding, of course), things which promote anti-Biblical stances are against my faith, but purely the use of anti-Biblical stances does not negate any value that the thing may have to make a point (e.g. American History X is pretty nasty, and contains huge amounts of racist content, but has ideas which are in line with Biblical viewpoints).

In short, maybe LOTR does have a Biblical viewpoint, but even if it didn't, Christians should be able to make up their own minds, themselves instead of having the church act like God.

I'll stop there because I think I'm rambling, and my point may have not been explained very well... sorry.

Tokien responsible for CS Lewis's conversion (5.00 / 6) (#42)
by johnnybtulsa on Tue Dec 25, 2001 at 09:49:39 PM EST

One reason why Christians like Tolkien so much is that he is one of the main reasons for the conversion of C.S. Lewis to Christianity. If you don't know, Lewis is one of the main theologians of this century. He actually started out as an Atheist wanting to prove Christianity false, and in the course, turned into a Christian himself. C.S. Lewis and Tolkien both were fantasy writers, and they both wrote fantasy books that concerned themselves with matters of faith. It's much more evident in C.S. Lewis's Chronicles of Narnia (like The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe), but it's evident in Tolkien's works as well. A lot of people have speculated the origin of The Lord of the Rings, and some try to place it as a reaction to Europe's political situations, specifically with the nuclear threat. However, according to C.S. Lewis (who was part of the Inklinks with Tolkien - a club in Oxford), The Lord of the Rings actually gained it's story line before WWII even though it was published afterward, and the story was much more personal to Tolkien than political.

Another suprise: Dune (4.00 / 1) (#53)
by scross on Wed Dec 26, 2001 at 10:15:22 AM EST

I was really suprise when an American friend of mine, who is a devout Southern Baptist, called Dune one of his favourite movies. He said the underlying storey of Muad'Dib and his rise had a very Messianic flair to it.

Cheers, Sarah
Catholisism? What about Wagner? (4.50 / 2) (#55)
by Ghost Ganz on Wed Dec 26, 2001 at 05:17:26 PM EST

I last read the books about 14 years ago, but I still remembered most of the plot when I saw the movie. The thing that I noticed now was how LoTR is built from many of the myths and stories of the 19th century.
Although I loved the film, I couldn't help feeling a bit uneasy about the deeply conservative, or even reactionary, world view the story offers. Considering that, I was not at all surprised that conservative Christians would like it.

[Bottle 'B' is for the monkeys only]

the purpose of the story? (4.00 / 2) (#60)
by zephc on Thu Dec 27, 2001 at 01:30:58 AM EST

Was to put a backstory to his synthetic language(s) like Quenya (Elvish). Tolkien was a philologist before a story teller, and he wrote the story around the language, not the other way around Also, in the Christian connection thing, he was a good friend of another vocal Christian, C. S. Lewis, and his biblical parables in his Chronicals of Narnia

Tolkien influenced C.S. Lewis to become Christian (5.00 / 1) (#80)
by jholder on Tue Jan 08, 2002 at 03:08:55 PM EST

C.S. Lewis was actually not a Christian before his many discussions with Tolkien. In fact, he was almost anti-Christian. Tolkien strongly influenced C.S. Lewis's becoming a Christian... I read this in one of the Biographies of Tolkien, I forget which one...

[ Parent ]
Some of the reasons for Christians liking LOTR (4.50 / 2) (#63)
by farmgeek on Thu Dec 27, 2001 at 08:52:21 AM EST

The bad guy is really bad and is easily identifiable as such.

The ring itself, while being magic, extracts a heavy toll from the soul of the user, and all who use become corrupted by it (depending on frequency and duration of use), yet even evil (i.e. Gollum) is used to bring about good.

Gandalf, and the other magicians are hand picked for their craft (can you say disciples?), not just everyone starts weilding around magical powers, although this may not be apparent from the movie.

Aragorn is a messianic figure, the king that no one realizes (at first). So too is Gandalf who gives up his life for his friends.

Saruman can be seen as a Judas like figure.

I could go on and on (and many have before me).

And if you really like to torture yourself, compare the back history in the Silmarillion (sp?) with the Bible, especially the creation story.

As far as how this differs from Harry Potter, I can't say as I haven't had a chance to see it or read the books. My kids aren't old enough to care about HP, and I am not terribly interested in it myself.

I think many Christians may be prejudiced toward liking LoTR simply through previous exposure to the books and knowing that Tolkien was a (Catholic) Christian. Who knows, twenty years from now most Christians may feel the same way about HP, that's basically what happened with "A Wrinkle in Time".

A few clarifications (4.50 / 2) (#67)
by Rizzen on Thu Dec 27, 2001 at 04:12:12 PM EST

Gandalf, Saruman, Sauron, and the other "magicians" are not "hand-picked". They are born, actually craeted at the dawn of time (See [i]The Silmarillion[/i]). The "magicians" of Middle-Earth are, in fact, not human. They are closer to lesser gods or angels, Maiar in Middle-Earth-speak. Hence why they are still around 3000+ years later.

----- The years of peak mental activity are undoubtedly those between the ages of 4 and 18. At age four, we know all the questions; at eighteen, we have all the answers. -- unknown
[ Parent ]
Thank you. (4.00 / 2) (#71)
by farmgeek on Fri Dec 28, 2001 at 04:22:39 PM EST

Makes the point even better, and would also be another parallel with the Bible.

[ Parent ]
A Surprising Thumbs-Up: Christian Groups Like LOTR. | 81 comments (76 topical, 5 editorial, 0 hidden)
Display: Sort:

kuro5hin.org

[XML]
All trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective companies. The Rest 2000 - Present Kuro5hin.org Inc.
See our legalese page for copyright policies. Please also read our Privacy Policy.
Kuro5hin.org is powered by Free Software, including Apache, Perl, and Linux, The Scoop Engine that runs this site is freely available, under the terms of the GPL.
Need some help? Email help@kuro5hin.org.
My heart's the long stairs.

Powered by Scoop create account | help/FAQ | mission | links | search | IRC | YOU choose the stories!