Beren, you said this:
I...vehemently oppose the suggestion of the Christian God in Middle-Earth.
I THINK I have an idea what you are saying. Tolkien wants to suggest and invite the reader, so open options are better--Oh, what's that thing about allegory vs. applicability that Show has pointed out really well?
I'm not sure now what I think of this new book. I was excited at first, and at the moment I am less impressed, so I'll let you know how it goes.
I have alway been puzzled by Tolkien's comment that the LOTR is "fundamentally a Catholic work."--He says that in one of his lettters. I've always thought, "What? Catholic? Not Lutheran? Not Methodist? Not Episcopalian?" Did he really mean to say "Catholic," in a restrictive sense,and if so, what am I missing here about Catholicism or the LOTR or both? And there are little lines here and there that strike a chord because they sound kind of bibical--like the language is right out of the liturgy or common stories or hymns or SOMETHING because you read it an say, "Oh...I know that line....I've heard something like that before..."
So far the writer is pointing out things that I think most of us kind of already know. Eru or Iluvatar is the creator, and he is not just The Great Watchmaker who made things and then takes a hands-off approach. You would kind of THINK so, given the way that evil gets such a toehold so much of the time, but there are these little moments where you think, "No, some other power is at work here nudging things along: Luck, Happenstance, Fortune, Providence...Karma." And I mean, what are the ethics in his world? What is that whole thing about "pity" that Bilbo shows to Gollum? Why was that important? And why does Gandalf get Bilbo involved in th dwarf adventure in the first place? He likes grooming newbies and giving them broadening experiences? And why does Shelob freak out when she hears the name "Elbereth Gilthoniel"?
But right, I don't see why these ethics or forces of good are particularly "Catholic" or "Christian" yet. I'll keep you posted as I read more.
I think there are intresting questions, though. Like WHY, if forces of Good can intervene, do they wait until the very last minute? Why not help out and give some cushion, some wiggle room, so that people don't have to suffer so much anxiety? You know, like why couldn't the eagles have helped more? They seem so powerful. Why not save the poor little hobbits all of that trouble walking?