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Thread: Tolkien intertwined his religous beliefs in Christ into the books, do you agree it WAS a good idea?

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Welcome to Pt #1ElijahLover. Waving Hello Smilie

Could you please explain that last post a bit more? I haven't noticed any references, however subtle, to Christ in Tolkien's works, certainly nothing to let others come to know Christ.

Eru and the Valar in Tolkien's world are essentially gods, but their existence is never doubted and is documented as exact history. There is only one basic version of the story of creation in Arda, due to the fact that the early days, and the gods, were witnessed by some Elves, who were of course immortal. This is in contrast with the religions of our world.

Although Tolkien was a devout Catholic, it is debatable whether he intended his world to contain any religion in the true sense of the world, because all the creation stories he wrote were presented as factually as any others. After all, the main reason that he disliked the Arthurian mythology was that
It is involved in, and explicitly contains, the Christian Religion

I personally am not at all religious, simply because there is no proof of the fundament of the majority of religious beliefs. There is no element of doubt on the part of anyone, in Tolkiens stories, regarding the creation of the world and such.

Specific inclusion or reference to any known religion in his works would have greatly lessened their appeal to those not of that persuasion, be it Catholicism or any other.

If you can provide some background information, however, I shall be willing to reconsider my opinion.

See also my post in [url=]this thread.

[Edited on 19/6/2003 by Peredhil]
Firstly, a big welcome to Planet Tolkien, #1ElijahLover. I hope you have an enjoyable time here.

Secondly, like Peredhil, I do not see any strong links to Christ specifically in his books. Obviously many recognisable religious themes are present, such as the Creation, the Flood, the Exodus etc, as well as ideas from more pagan religions like multiple gods.

Who do you actually see as being Christ in his books, though? Gandalf? Frodo?

Moderator Smilie Thirdly, as religion is one of the banned topics on this site, could anyone posting comments in this thread be very careful to keep their subject material focused entirely within a Tolkien discussion and not wonder off into a discussion about religion in general. Moderator Smilie Thank you.
Always good to keep a cool head about conversation topics. I myself can't find anything in Tolkien's works to be referencing to Christ either but I'd be interested to learn if there are such themes. Drawing on the most obvious of Biblical references is a good indication of religion in Silmarilion but I don't think I've noticed any others.
first and formost i am sorry if i have or will offend any one.

"but do you remember gandalf's words:eve gollum may have something yet to do"? [frodo to sam-bookVI, chapter3]
"we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, wh have been called according to his purpose" [Romans 8:28]
connection:even evil must ulitimitly serve God's purpose.

"it must offten be so sam, when things are in danger: some one has to give the up, lose them, so that others might keep them."[frodo to sam-book VI, chapter 9]

"God demonstraights his love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us."
connection: self sacrifice is the essence of every hero and rthe ultimate means of redemption.

"we always seem to have got lef out of the old list & old stories"[merry to treebeard-bookIII, chapter4]

"the Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, the Lord looks at the heart."[1Samuel16:7]

connection:God offtenuses those we least expect to accomplish hi greatest works.

i will not cotinue this debate on this site, however if you wish to you can e-mail me at


Welcome to our forum #1ElijahLover. Happy Elf Smilie

The problem with religious discussion is that we Christians in our enthusiasm can be perceived as arrogant and intolerant toward the beliefs of others be they of different denomination, religion, sect, or persuasion, even when our intent is otherwise. The Council has thought it best to steer away from such discussions for this reason.

That there are thematic parallels between the written word of Tolkien and passages of the Bible is to be expected, as Joseph Campbell taught us, these thematic parallels can often be found in the great literature of all our world's cultures.

*I will be a good girl.......I will not rant & rave.....I will be a good girl...the council members WILL NOT HAVE TO moderate what I say....*

Im glad you think that 1#ElijahLover,but I never read or saw anything in Tolkiens books that talked bout or mentioned Christ.
Elfstone digs down, and does his best Darth Vader imitation, ’Impressive, most impressive!’

First of all great response to this thread Anilorak, you really have been impressing me lately. Not to be lame, but most kids your age, don’t know s*%#! See how much smarter reading Tolkien makes us all!
Tongue Smilie

Secondly, welcome to PT #1ElijahLover, I hope you stick around!
Happy Elf Smilie

I agree with Val that there many recognizable religious themes present (the Creation, the Flood, the Exodus etc..), and Anilorak hit it right on the bull’s-eye as to what Tolkien’s intent was with these themes. I also believe that Tolkien’s Catholic upbringing played a part in this.

Anyway, anyone who is interested should check out the link below as it relates directly to this topic.
Elf Smilie
First and foremost:
Welcome to PT #1ElijahLover.
I strongly think not only did it give a spritial touch, but i gives a chance for others to come to know Christ. It was and is a good idea.

While it is easy to draw an "allegory" between the events in Middle Earth and the Christian religion it was not a conscious intention of Tolkien's. Being a professeur, Tolkien would have been very aware of critics and academics who would analyse his work, which may be why he was very quick to make the distinction between "allegory" and "applicability". Personally, I perfer "applicability" as it gives the reader the freedom to relate his own values and beliefs, as well as, life expereinces, to The Lord of the Rings. Which has been very nicely explained by Anilorak .
From Letter # 165
I am in any case myself a Christian, but the 'Third Age' was not a Christian world

That is not to say that The Lord of the Rings cannot be used as a source for teaching Christian values. You may be interested in this book
Tolkien's ordinary virtues : exploring the spiritual themes of The lord of the rings by Mark Eddy Smith
It is quite good.
Please do continue to visit us and post. As the other mods have mentioned, we have to be very careful of religious topics because we are a global site and have a very diverse membership.
first and formost i am sorry if i have or will offend any one.
There was no offence caused by your post, #1ElijahLover. In the past, however, I have seen similar threads quickly get out of hand and cause upset to other members. From past experience, I posted my warning to curb any transgressions before they occurred.

I hope we continue to see you here at Planet Tolkien.
1#ElijahLover, I really like this topic, and whole heartily agree with you on what you say, but did Tolkien ever REALLY mention Christ or anything religouse at all? And I dont think it brought anyone to Christ. If ppl want to come to Christ then they should be reading the Bible and not fantasy books.
As someone who has read most reliogions holy books I see little resembelance to any of the Judiac religions. Yet I keep seeing people trying to say they see the resembelance. Please tell me where you see this resembalnce and enlighten us all?
Welcome to PT, #1Elijahlover!
Hi there #1Elijahlover!
If you really want to get into it, there is a book called J.R.R. Tolkien: Myth, Morality, and Religion by Richard L. Purtill that gets into more detail about it.
Here's the reviews on the book in case you do want to check it out:
sorry. i was wrong in posting this. the heck with me, i am only 12.i see now it could not have brought ppl to Christ.

1#ElijahLover, I really like this topic, and whole heartily agree with you on what you say, but did Tolkien ever REALLY mention Christ or anything religouse at all? And I dont think it brought anyone to Christ. If ppl want to come to Christ then they should be reading the Bible and not fantasy books.

she is all around right. i am sorry for posting this, i really embaressed myself.

Don't feel bad, ’ pats #1ElijahLover on back ’ at least your post has meaning to it, most of mine are babble and it's usually because I have nothing better to do!
i am sorry for posting this, i really embarrassed myself.
Try not to feel that way, #1ElijahLover. What you started was a discussion, and that's what we are about here. It is through discussing things with others that we all learn and improve our knowledge. Though the discussion tended to move away from your idea that Tolkien brings us closer to Christ specifically, most people tended to agree that there are strong religious undercurrents within Tolkien's work.

Don't let this one put you off posting here. Most members will respect that you are only 12, and your opinions will be as valued as everyone elses.
Like Andrea, and Val have already said, don’t feel bad because you didn’t know at the time that for necessary reasons, religion, and political discussion are banned topics on the discussion board. When I first started posting here, I myself had no idea that such topics were banned, so again, please don’t feel bad. You certainly haven’t embarrassed yourself, so there’s no need to worry about that.

In a perfect World, it would be nice if we could all be able to discuss such topics in a rational, civilized manner, but as you get older, sadly you’re going to find that those two topics are very touchy, emotional topics for people, and people get very upset, mad, and get their feelings hurt when discussing these topics.

I’ll give you an example from my own life, I’m 32, and my wife is 29, and we have different political opinions and views than my wife’s parents (my in-laws). Her parents are very stubborn, and set in their ways when it comes to their political views. As a result we have learned that for the greater sake of harmony, that we can’t discuss politics with her parents, because it just ends up turning into a negative situation, that goes nowhere. My wife’s parents are in their late 50’s, and we’re all adults, so you would think that we could discuss such topics in a rational, adult-like manner, but again, sadly this is not the case. As you get older (and even now), you are going to begin to discover that the older some people get, the more like little children they act. I myself will always be a kid at heart.

Anyway, don’t get put off from posting here #1ElijahLover, because this is a really great website, and I think you will find that the majority of the people here, are all really kind, decent, honest, and sincere human beings. Hope to see you around!
Happy Elf Smilie
*sticks head around the corner* Waving Hello Smilie

Hi all! Well this seems to be one of those threads I missed out on during my long period of not visiting certain parts of the forum, but I'm here now and very willing to join in the discussion if there is one left. Smile Smilie

First of all, welcome to pt, #1ElijahLover, good to have you around here, and like everyone else's said: don't feel bad about starting this thread. I think it's a very interesting topic, and we should keep it going by all means. The object of pt is discussing Tolkien, and that's exactly what we're doing here. Absolutely nothing wrong with that, on the contrary. Thumbs Up Smilie

Well for a start, I myself never have seen any links with religion in Tolkien's works, because I never really looked for them. But I am sure many other people out there do see them, and it's their good right. Everyone has their own opinion on certain topics, and the same sentence can easily be interpreted differently by many people.

What I am trying to say is that Tolkien did not write an allegory to the Christian beliefs, War, or anything else. He used Applicability to leave those things open to each reader.

While the examples you brough up might hold intense and obvious meaning and connection with christ for you, it might mean something completely different to someone else. That is not a bad thing, Tolkien did this on purpose. He wanted to move away from the "intention domination of the Author", and leave it up to the reader to apply it to his or her own life.

Exactly, very well put, Anilorak. And I think I might want to totally agree with that. I never thought Tolkien was trying to refer to anything with his books. I always strongly believed that the single purpose of his books for him, was to be the storyteller of a long, interesting and exciting story. But like Anilorak said, it's not because Tolkien didn't mean to refer to anything that you should not see those referations. Every reader reads the book in a different way, and that's good, because that's what they are for. If everyone had the same opinion, what would be left over to discuss? Just as long as we all stay adult and reasonable, and respect each other's opinions and give everyone a chance to put their own words in, everything will be just fine. Oh yeah, we should also respect the rules of course. Big Smile Smilie Animated Wink Smilie
thanx Smile Smilie Wink Smilie
Elijah Lover, welcome to PT! Don't feel bad about starting this thread, it is a great thread! Part of what is good about PT (and what can be scary) is posting things and having people disagree with them. It is a good learning experience, because you practice backing up your own opinions while also practicing looking more critically at yourself, and saying, am I wrong here? It broadens your mind.
It can be embarrasing though, and I think you are very brave (in a good way) for bringing up topics like this. Anyway, as long as we stay to the rules, you shouldn't need to feel embarrassed, we will respect your opinions. Big Smile Smilie Okay enough lecturing...
I agree with Anilorak in that Tolkien was not writing a religous allegory. I can see where the Christian parellells are though. I am not religous, so I chose not to read them as specifically Christian. However, I can see why some people do and that's fine with me.
However, I think that sacrifice is a theme that goes back before Christianity and is contained in many other religions as well. This reminds me of something an Indian educator I was talking with told me. She said that all religions, in order to survive, must have the same basis. (these weren't the exact words she used, she said it much more beautifully, this is just Sam's humble remembering). And I agree with her.
But I think your general idea, that reading LotR brings Christ to people, is interesting and I can see how that would be true. Big Smile Smilie