Lewis & Tolkien

Discussion in '2003 Archive' started by Baptist in Richmond, Jun 11, 2003.

  1. Baptist in Richmond

    Baptist in Richmond
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2003
    Messages:
    5,075
    Likes Received:
    4
    I wanted to start a discussion on two writers that started on the Harry Potter discussion.

    Someone has mentioned that they were convicted about reading The Lord of the Rings. I am totally perplexed by this, as I would agree that this is one of the greatest literary works of the twentieth century. J.R.R. Tolkien was a Christian, and I do not see why anyone would be convicted about reading his trilogy. If you feel this way, please share your feelings as to why.

    Secondly, it was said that there was "some debate" about The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis. I was totally taken aback by this statement. I am a little biased on this subject, as C.S. Lewis is undisputedly my favorite author, but Lewis is arguably the greatest Christian apologist of the twentieth century. From Mere Christianity to The Screwtape Letters (which was dedicated to J.R.R. Tolkien), Lewis possessed an incredibly complex mind and was a prolific author. What is the debate over Lewis?
     
  2. Jim1999

    Jim1999
    Expand Collapse
    <img src =/Jim1999.jpg>

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2002
    Messages:
    15,460
    Likes Received:
    0
    An interesting read about Tolkien and his Catholicism and the myth of the Christ:

    Building on this philosophy of myth, Tolkien explained to Lewis that the story of Christ was the true myth at the very heart of history and at the very root of reality. Whereas the pagan myths were manifestations of God expressing Himself through the minds of poets, using the images of their "mythopoeia" to reveal fragments of His eternal truth, the true myth of Christ was a manifestation of God expressing Himself through Himself, with Himself, and in Himself. God, in the Incarnation, had revealed Himself as the ultimate poet who was creating reality, the true poem or true myth, in His own image. Thus, in a divinely inspired paradox, myth was revealed as the ultimate realism.

    Such a revelation changed Lewis' whole conception of Christianity, precipitating his conversion.

    Lewis was one of the select group of friends, known collectively as the Inklings, who read the manuscript of Tolkien's timeless classic, The Lord of the Rings, as it was being written. This work, which has been voted the greatest book of the 20th century in a succession of polls, was described by its author as "a fundamentally religious and Catholic work; unconsciously so at first, but consciously in the revision."

    Tolkien remain a Catholic to his dying day and a devout believer in mythology as truth.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  3. rsr

    rsr
    Expand Collapse
    <b> 7,000 posts club</b>
    Administrator

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2001
    Messages:
    10,079
    Likes Received:
    103
    The reality of myth as truth, as explained by Lewis, has been an important part of my faith. Myth is truth; God, because he is speaking to mortals, generates myth.

    Myth may or may not be truth. It was Lewis' contention that in Jesus Myth became Fact.

    Some of his theology does not find favor with American Baptists. That's too bad. I think the above expresses the "trilemma," as others have expressed it. I can find no stronger claim of Jesus' divinity outside the Scripture.

    Besides, he wrote the introduction to J.B. Phillips New Testament.

    Tolkien, I'm afraid, I do not appreciate. My college roommate, a total boor, was a Tolkien afficicianado, which damaged my interest in Tolkein.

    "God in the Dock" is my favorite book.
     
  4. russell55

    russell55
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2002
    Messages:
    2,424
    Likes Received:
    0
    I love those two authors--they are both very popular at our house. I will confess to being puzzled by those statements on the other thread as well.....
     
  5. Bible-boy

    Bible-boy
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2002
    Messages:
    4,254
    Likes Received:
    0
    Tolkien was influential in leading C.S. Lewis to Christ. The fictional works of both authors (Lord of the Rings, and Chronicles of Narnia) reflect their Christian worldview. No one here is trying to make the case that these fictional works equate to Scripture. The point is that these works contain issues such as the struggle between good and evil, the destruction caused by selfish desire, and the need for a savior. These are part of the Christian worldview of the authors that comes through in their works. The parallels between Lewis' work and the Bible are more overt than in Tolkien's Lord of the Rings. However, Tolkien's Christian worldview still comes through. I suggest you read the books before you bash them. Likewise, I also suggest a book entitled Finding the LORD in the Lord of the Rings.
     
  6. hsmom3

    hsmom3
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2002
    Messages:
    184
    Likes Received:
    0
    I honestly do not know much about the Chronicles of Narnia or the Lord of the Rings, but I do know that there seems to be a lot of debate on many homeschool email lists that I'm on. I was just mentioning it in passing! lol I never even dreamed it would start another debate, or I may have never said it. lol

    hsmom3 [​IMG]
     
  7. superdave

    superdave
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2000
    Messages:
    2,055
    Likes Received:
    0
    Both authors had a Christian worldview, but their writing style and intent was very different.

    C.S. Lewis was purposefully writing christian allegory and his characters and themes many times directly parallel those in scripture.

    Tolkien despised writing allegory, and maintained that LOTR was not allegory in any sense, and that any applications drawn by the reader were drawn from the reader's own experience and philosophy, not by any intent of Tolkien. These statements are found in his own writings about LOTR. So any Biblical references are not intentional, and there is no direct parallel to the Bible, although there are many Biblical themes woven through the book.

    As far as any comparison to Harry Potter, there is none. Tolkien and Lewis wrote about imaginary myth and "magic" a word which Tolkien despised, because of its occult connotations, since that is not the "magic" he was trying to convey. Most "magic" in LOTR is a function of the very nature of the characters, not a learned, practiced art. Tolkien was not trying to mirror the occult, or promote it. Harry Potter on the other hand is directly drawn from modern and ancient occult practices, and if one were so inclined, could be practiced by the reader, albeit with much less success in most cases ;) There are clear references to wicca, and other occult practices, and there is no attempt by the author to hide the agenda. Lord of the Rings fans I have found to be very interested in the fictional world of LOTR, and when I went to Borders, the LOTR books were located with many other fictional fantasy books, clearly trying to get LOTR fans interested in these other authors as well. The latest Harry Potter book was in a display with Non-fiction books about wicca and the occult! The publishers and bookstores are not even subtle about the link! :eek:
     
  8. Jim1999

    Jim1999
    Expand Collapse
    <img src =/Jim1999.jpg>

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2002
    Messages:
    15,460
    Likes Received:
    0
    Tolkien, Lewis and two others used to meet at a pub in town from the university. Over a glass of bitter, puffing their pipes, they discussed the spiritual realm. They were known as the Oxford Four, but I can't for the life of me remember the other two.

    I cannot say a whole lot for Tolkien on a spiritual plain, but there is no question about the direction Lewis' life took. His writings are indeed spiritual and direct the troubled soul unto the Lord Jesus.

    Both Tolkien and Lewis did not have an easy time of it in life. Tolkien had a son in the priesthood who was a tyrant and reportedly a peadophile, a very troubling situation for him. Lewis married late in life and his wife came down fatefully ill. He remained by her side throughout the trials, the heartache and pains. He never remarried, but continued to write great literature, faithful to the Lord Jesus Christ, his first love.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  9. RomOne16

    RomOne16
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2002
    Messages:
    459
    Likes Received:
    0
    As a kid, I enjoyed reading Tolkien very much. I must admit though, that the thought of seeing God in those pages never entered my mind. I was reading a wonderful, entertaining work of fiction.

    I am not familiar with C.S. Lewis, but due to the glowing reports I have read here and elsewhere, I will be getting his books very soon. [​IMG]

    But I have a question for everyone.

    I have seen it stated in this thread and others that Tolkien was a Christian. It's also been stated that he was a Catholic. Now, I have seen (on this very board) the salvation of Mother Theresa questioned because she was a Catholic .

    So my question is, does everyone here, who maintains that Mr. Tolkien was a Christian, also say that the majority of Catholics are also Christians? Or did Mr. Tolkien ever make a public profession of faith in Christ alone and that's why you feel he was a Christian?

    I ask this out of curiosity because it's been my impression that most Baptists don't consider Catholics to be Christians.

    Laura [​IMG]
     
  10. Jim1999

    Jim1999
    Expand Collapse
    <img src =/Jim1999.jpg>

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2002
    Messages:
    15,460
    Likes Received:
    0
    I don't think any of us would have the audacity to say no Catholic can be a twice born Christian.

    In the early days of modernism, language took on a dual meaning. For example, We talk about Jesus coming again, and we mean a literal, physical return to this earth. When the modernist talked about the second coming of Christ, their thinking was that Jesus comes to each of a second time in our death. Quite a different thing, and one could hardly hang his evangelical shingle on that hook.

    The question with Catholics is the terminology employed and just what do they mean by it. If one consistently follows Catholic doctrine, there might very well be some questions, and this is what is confused when it is said they are "Catholics" in relation to salvation.

    I am one that reminded us all that Tolkien remained a faithful Catholic to his death. He was never clear in any of his writings as to what "born again" means and he employed the use of mythology as truth, but lacked the definition applied by C.S. Lewis. The general belief following the word "myth" is false, fictional, supernatural or imaginary persons, and hence, we equate myth with fiction.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  11. Baptist in Richmond

    Baptist in Richmond
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2003
    Messages:
    5,075
    Likes Received:
    4
    Originally posted by hsmom3:
    &gt;&gt;I honestly do not know much about the
    &gt;&gt;Chronicles of Narnia
    or the Lord of the
    &gt;&gt;Rings
    , but I do know that there seems to be
    &gt;&gt;a lot of debate on many homeschool email lists
    &gt;&gt;that I'm on. I was just mentioning it in passing! lol

    I am curious as to what is being said on your hs lists. What are the problems they have with either author?
    My wife and I do not have children, but if we do have any, LOTR and the Chronicles of Narnia will be required reading in our household.

    &gt;&gt;I never even dreamed it would start another
    &gt;&gt;debate, or I may have never said it. lol

    NO, that is a good thing. [​IMG]
     
  12. Tim

    Tim
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2001
    Messages:
    967
    Likes Received:
    0
    My take on these two:

    Tolkien was the better story writer.

    Lewis was the better Christian.

    In Christ,

    Tim
     
  13. Gina B

    Gina B
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2000
    Messages:
    16,944
    Likes Received:
    1
    I didn't bash Tolkien, and I did read the series. I had bought Lord of the Rings to re-read since I hadn't since my teens.
    Why I felt convicted not to I don't know. It just gave me the shivers and after the first two pages that was it.
    I never really bothered to cross examine why, I know conviction and when it comes to reading a book or not it's such a little thing that I don't usually bother questioning God over it. [​IMG] Who knows, maybe I would've gotten an infected paper cut or something and that was the only reason. :eek:
    Gina
     
  14. Sherrie

    Sherrie
    Expand Collapse
    Banned

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2002
    Messages:
    10,274
    Likes Received:
    0
    My Sons, Grandaughter, and Grandsons, and I together read all the Narnia books. I absolutely loved them! My Children also loved them. I was really sad when we came to the end of all the books, and there were no more to read.


    Sherrie
     
  15. Mike McK

    Mike McK
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2001
    Messages:
    6,630
    Likes Received:
    0
     
  16. Terry_Herrington

    Terry_Herrington
    Expand Collapse
    Banned

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2002
    Messages:
    4,455
    Likes Received:
    1
    I read "The Hobbit" maybe twenty-five years ago and I was hooked. Since then I have read "The Hobbit" three or four more times and have read "Lord of the Rings" three times. It is almost time to read them again.
     
  17. Mike McK

    Mike McK
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2001
    Messages:
    6,630
    Likes Received:
    0
    I think the reason I have such a problem with Tolkien is that I can still vividly remember seeing William Shatner doing "The Ballad of Bilbo Baggins" on the Mike Douglas show.

    Oh, the horror.

    Which brings me to my next point: who in the world is going to name their kid "Bilbo"? That's just asking for trouble.
     
  18. Wisdom Seeker

    Wisdom Seeker
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2002
    Messages:
    5,702
    Likes Received:
    0
    And may I ask why you titled this thread "Lewis & Tolkien" if you were only going to talk about Tolkien? [​IMG]

    I'm readint the Chronicles of Narnia to my girls. They love it.

    My son is reading the Hobbit, but He's 11 and would rather be playing computer games. I think the language makes it a little difficult for some people to keep engaged in it. I read it and the other four books in the saga about a million years ago, (facetious) and it's probably about time I picked them up and read through them again. It's just that I'm doing a study on the history of the Bible, Judaism and Catholisim right now, and it's so engrossing. ;)
     
  19. timothy 1769

    timothy 1769
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2002
    Messages:
    1,323
    Likes Received:
    0
    i enjoyed reading tolkien and lewis immensely, but started feeling like a hypocrite, since they both treat magic as something good to greater or lesser degrees. the good book says magic is evil, so i tossed them all in the garbage and haven't looked back.
     
  20. Wisdom Seeker

    Wisdom Seeker
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2002
    Messages:
    5,702
    Likes Received:
    0
    Oh Timothy, didn't you see any similarity in Lewis' work and the story of God and his creation? Man, I sure did.

    Maybe it's just me, but I see God in a lot of books and movies. And I'm usually surprised when other Christians can't or won't see what seems so obvious to me.

    Well to each their own I guess.
     

Share This Page

Loading...