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Thread: i have a question

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Delidia began this thread with the following post.

I have a question. well, duh, but...o nm
Is there a religion in Middle Earth? or...does everyone just do what their ancestors did and not have a religion?

Valedhelgwath replied

If you do not have a copy of the Silmarillion at hand, I recommend you have a plough through the first assignment in the Silmarillion Reading Discussion Group thread. This topic was discussed in great detail in that section.

A very brief answer for you is yes there is religion. There is Eru (very similar to God), and the Ainur (kind of like demi-gods, Angels etc).

The first chapter of the Silmarillion describes the creation of Ea (the world in which Middle Earth is but one continent).

There's also a God in Lord of the Rings thread somewhere on this site. I've forgotten where though.

[Edited on 23/2/2003 by Peredhil]
Also, if you are really interested there is a book called Finding God in the Lord of the Rings. I can't remember who the postAuthorID is at the moment. I will look it up for you and let you know.

Ok, I found it. The postAuthorID is by Bruner, Kurt D. and the SKU is 0842355715

[Edited on 2/25/2003 by MelliotSandybanks]
... but being a devout Catholic, Tolkien would not create a godless world, or one with multiple gods (as many other fantasy writers have done). Hence, we have Eru/Illuvatar who is, I think, intended to represent God, at least in Tolkien's eyes.

The Ainur and the Valar are more like angels. This Istari must be some kind of lower cast angel (I like to think of Gandalf as an angel).
Hi Baker! And welcome to PT! I hope that you will enjoy this magnificient site as much as I do!
If that is a laugh or a grunt of satisfaction Baker, then Welcome to our forum. Happy Elf Smilie If it is a gag, well then ... Elf With a Big Grin Smilie
HAHAHAHAHA!! Didn’t really think about that! hahahaha what a great first post there Baker! hahahahhaa Big Laugh Smilie
LOL. I dont exactly remember what my first post was. I used to hate the forums. NO, hate is a strong word. I used to dislike the forums. But now i love 'em! Elf Smilie
Well it was a good thing to change your dark thoughts Delidia! Big Laugh Smilie
I dont't think that they have a religion in the sense that they worship a god or many but I think of it as more of a governmental system as there is one person in the place of highest postAuthorIDity who is in charge, there are then the Ainur rule as his enforcers (accept when things get tough [numenor]).
Tolkien was a devout Catholic and if there is any hint to a religion in the books it is because he meant it to reflect his own religion (at least that is what I beleive to be true). I just remember reading somewhere that there was not meant to be a god in LOTR or in the histories but that it was meant to reflect the religion of christianity as well as catholisism.
Good call Allyssa. You're right about Tolkien being a devout Catholic but do you think that he intended for the Valar to be more of guardians than anything else? But then again, since they work in service and in praise of Eru, perhaps they are closer to angels than anything
IMHO Tolkien didn't delete God from his world, he just didn't add any organized religions. And I'm very happy he didn't.

Since the beginning of time, organized religions have been used by one group of God's children to put down another group of God's children to the detriment of both. Because he didn't want this age old conflict to get in the way of his story telling, he decided to build his world with no rabble rousing priests or clerics of any kind.

If any of his characters practiced any kind of religion, it was a very personal thing which they did in private, one-on-one with their God and was never shared with others.

You may also have noticed that Tolkien's characters never ruminated their internal thoughts which make them more enjoyable for me to read. Characters like Thomas Covenant, Ishmael, and Natty Bumpo were a pain in the neck to me; their pages of internal ramblings slowed down the action and I didn't give a darn about how much internal turmoil they went through in making their decisions. I wanted to find out what happened next, but then that is my personal preference. Is this a "guy" thing or just me?

(Would that last paragraph and any discussion be better moved under Author or has Delidia's question been run to ground?)
I wanted to find out what happened next, but then that is my personal preference. Is this a "guy" thing or just me?
I'm pretty much the same, Grondy. When I read something, I prefer it to keep me on the edge of my seat. If a book is going to keep me up until 4.30am because I cannot put it down, it has to have something about it.

I liked the Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, and I think Donaldson introduced some wonderful concepts and characters into his books, but you are right, Covenant was a pain in the butt. How many times do you have to go through reading a couple of pages at a time about him having a shave? Give me a hero like Aragorn any day.
Because he didn't want this age old conflict to get in the way of his story telling, he decided to build his world with no rabble rousing priests or clerics of any kind.

Grondy, if David Eddings could do it then so could Tolkien.....I think it gives it a great twist in Eddings books....Grolims trying to take over Mallorea and have their rituals OPENLY for Torak! It is a great series!
But you see, I have never read Eddings and even if I had, I'm not saying religion should not be kept out of liturature, I'm just stating that, that is why Tolkien left it out of his. There are many books where religion and/or politics are a core part of the plot and their postAuthorIDs have made it work. A Canticle for Liebowitz and its sequel Liebowitz and the Wild Horse Woman are two that come to mind. Tolkien just chose not to clutter up his world with an organized religion.
Oh you mean it like that! I see.....well then you are right!
But Grondy you got to read The Belgaran and The Mallorean by David Eddings! THey are awesome....I think that you would like them alot!
Cheers mate!
What do you mean Uruk? I do not understand what you are trying to point outTongue Smilie

[Edited on 27/5/2003 by Aul’]
If Tolkien had made Middle Earth Catholic, it would lose all its appeal to readers belonging to other religions.
Yeah sure....but did Delidia mean OUR religions???