More on Entertainment: J. R. R. Tolkien

Now that I’ve started writing about Christianity in contemporary entertainment, I’d like to set down my apologetics for The Lord of the Rings, once and for all. I have talked to more than a few Christians who either refuse to watch The Lord of the Rings trilogy, or say they watched it but didn’t see anything Christian in it at all.
To which my first reply is, “Great–read the damned book!”

However, many of the Christian elements of The Lord of the Rings successfully survived translation into film (even when other story elements were destroyed). People no longer recognize that J.R.R. Tolkien was one of the great Christian writers of the 20th century. This is odd, since, as a member of the Inkings, he was a close friend of C. S. Lewis, whom few would deny was a staunch Christian apologist.
The problem arises because Tolkien despised direct metaphor. He thought it too simplistic for adult writing–so, unlike Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia, The Lord of the Rings has no single character that one can point to and say “That’s Jesus.”

Tolkien rather divided the Christ-attributes between three characters: Aragorn, the King who Returns, who entered the Land of the Dead and returned to pass judgement on the living and the dead, and who healed with his hands; Gandalf, the wandering miracle-worker, who cast down demons, who fell into darkness and returned to his followers in a flash of light such that they could not at first recognize him; and Frodo Baggins, who was wounded terribly and carried a great burden toward certain death to redeem the evil of the world.

Hey, maybe I could start performing services for Unity Christian Church!

Published by Little-Known Blogger

I spent the first years of my life in a trailer park outside of a tiny town in rural Missouri. I grew up to be a long-haired, gun-hating, military-hating, Presbyterian super-liberal. Well, perhaps the “growing up” happened later. While in high school, I was on the cross-country and wrestling teams, and actually won my weight-class in a State powerlifting competition. I went on to attend college on a Bright Flight scholarship, where I promptly became an atheist. I trained for a few years in Shotokan karate and Cheng-system taijiquan before training in my first real martial art, Hwarang-Do, under the late Franklin Fowlkes (later the Founder and Grandmaster of the Five Elements Martial Arts System). I married an older Taiwanese woman my junior year, got divorced in short order, and dropped out of college. After completing my AA in Psychology, I decided I needed a complete change of scenery and joined the U.S. Marine Corps (having early been assured that there was no way that a skinny liberal like me would ever survive Boot Camp). Contrary to what the Hipster Zombies will tell you, this did not “brainwash me into being a Conservative”. Instead, it made me a very unhappy, short-haired liberal, surrounded by guns and the military. However, I spent my whole contract (after schools) on the island of Okinawa, where I was exposed to points of view not dominated by the American liberal media. During this time, I taught ESL classes as a side-job, trained under some of the highest-ranking masters of karate on Okinawa, and discovered the practice of Buddhism. I also spent some time in Korea, where I got to train in hapkido. It was during this period that I came gradually to realize how stupid and evil American liberalism actually is. This was partly due to my Military Police command sending me to Small Arms Instructor school, which gave me more exposure to guns than I could ever have imagined—thus negating my idiotic liberal distaste for them. After the active-duty portion of my Marine Corps contract was over, I worked several jobs, from security contracts to operating a forklift in a warehouse. In 2002, however, when the invasion of Iraq was getting under way, I signed up with the Missouri Army National Guard, and have remained with them since, continuing as a Military Policeman. I am also full-time corrections officer, a member of the Anglican Church, and at one time was an Instructor Candidate in Dekiti-Tirsia Serradas Kali (until my instructor moved away). My hobbies (beyond blogging) include strength training, shooting sports, martial arts, creating digital art, and being a huge science and science-fiction geek.

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1 Comment

  1. Great post, G.P.!! :DMy Hub has been a HUGE fan of both J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis since he was a young teenager. I read “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy and “The Chronicles of Narnia” while we were dating.I don’t understand why a Christian would refuse to watch “The Lord of the Rings”! I loved it and saw lots of Christian attribues in it… One of my favs (which makes my eyes water) was when the good guys are all in the castle and the horrible and vast army of evil is decending upon them and it all seems so hopeless… But evil is always defeated! Sure, you could/should preach, Brother! 😉

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