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  #1  
Old 07-21-2011, 03:09 PM
Bpelta Bpelta is offline
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Fundamentalist reaction to Lord of the Rings

Fundamentalists sure got in a tizzy over the fantasy in Harry Potter. So I was wondering, when Lord of the Rings came out, was there a negative reaction from Christian and Jewish fundamentalists then?
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  #2  
Old 07-21-2011, 03:19 PM
Johanna Johanna is offline
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It was written by a religiously ultraconservative and devout Catholic. Not the Mel Gibson type, but staunchly oldschool. He kept the Lord of the Rings essentially free of religion. He definitely used inspiration from certain Christian concepts in writing his cosmology of Arda, mostly in the Ainulindalë. But he worked and reworked the Christian material until it was no longer overtly Christian at all, but was a cosmology and mythology which could comport well with Christianity in a general sense, if you wanted it to. The Valar could be read as archangels (with a Christian mindset) or gods and goddesses (with a Pagan mindset), but manage to be remarkably free of sticky ties to real-world theologies for any material so religiously inspired.
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Old 07-21-2011, 03:23 PM
Omar Little Omar Little is offline
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Tolkein received a pass from fundamentalist because of his long standing relationship with C.S. Lewis, who is revered by fundamentalist for his portrayal of Christ in the figure of the lion Aslan.

Rowling on the other hand, wrote her first book, while living off the dole in England, which is considered a no-no, by conservative fundamentalists.

Last edited by Omar Little; 07-21-2011 at 03:24 PM..
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Old 07-21-2011, 03:26 PM
Peremensoe Peremensoe is offline
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Some, sure, though it was a matter of some debate (notice C.S. Lewis takes some fire here as well). But lots of Christians of somewhat greater imagination have no trouble.

Last edited by Peremensoe; 07-21-2011 at 03:28 PM..
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Old 07-21-2011, 03:27 PM
Giles Giles is offline
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I think the big problem that Christian fundamentalists have with the Harry Potter series is that magic and wizardry are being used for good as well as for evil purposes. In their theology (based on some texts in the Bible) magic and wizardry are intrinsically evil -- and that view is reasonably consistent with the supernatural elements in the Lord of the Rings series.

Last edited by Giles; 07-21-2011 at 03:28 PM..
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Old 07-21-2011, 03:28 PM
Whack-a-Mole Whack-a-Mole is offline
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There is this (not that it makes any sense but then Fundies rarely do):

Quote:
The Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkien

Burned in Alamagordo, NM (2001) outside Christ Community Church along with other Tolkien novels as satanic.

SOURCE: http://www.ala.org/ala/issuesadvocac...nned/index.cfm
This is surprising (or maybe not):

Quote:
Coming in at #40 on the American Library Association’s banned book list, surprisingly to many, is J.R.R Tolkien’s epic masterpiece, The Lord of the Rings. The classic trilogy, along with The Hobbit, has been banned in many schools and public libraries across the nation.

<snip>

According to a National Health Service anti-smoking group in Plymouth, England, children should be banned from watching films like Lord of the Rings because they feature people smoking.

<snip>

The other, most popular, reason behind censorship attempts is that some find the story to be “irreligious.” This comes as a shock since Tolkien was a devout Catholic, and long-time friend of Christian fantasy author C.S. Lewis. He even wrote in a letter to Lewis that the creation of the LOTR was a “fundamentally religious and Christian work; unconsciously so at first, but consciously in the revision.” This is reflected in several pages with quite noticeable Christian themes and subtexts. When Tolkien began creating the world of Middle-earth, he foresaw one that would reflect Christian views and incorporate basic elements of Christianity into the world of fiction.

Nevertheless is has been repeatedly banned in Christian schools (and homes) as being anti-Christian, and generally anti-religious.

SOURCE: http://world.edu/content/banned-book...s-jrr-tolkien/
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  #7  
Old 07-21-2011, 03:40 PM
Omar Little Omar Little is offline
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Originally Posted by Giles View Post
I think the big problem that Christian fundamentalists have with the Harry Potter series is that magic and wizardry are being used for good as well as for evil purposes. In their theology (based on some texts in the Bible) magic and wizardry are intrinsically evil -- and that view is reasonably consistent with the supernatural elements in the Lord of the Rings series.
All this tells me is that alot of fundamentalist are not consistent thinkers and selectively apply their bias.

The whole premise of the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, is a magical piece of furniture which transports young children to an enchanted universe where they fight evil. That's okay, but Harry Potter fighting evil sorcerers is not. :shrug:
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Old 07-21-2011, 03:45 PM
Peremensoe Peremensoe is offline
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From my first link above,

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eric Barger
SIX MAJOR PROBLEMS WITH THE FANTASY OF TOLKIEN (and LEWIS)

1) The Identity of God - ...the idea of God contained in [Tolkien's] writing is very different from the Biblical revelation of God...

2) The Finished Creative Work of God – ...his mythical God stopped creating before the work was finished, and then turned the rest over to a group of lesser gods or "sub-creators"...

3) Tolkien taught reincarnation – Besides his extensive use of unbiblical themes such as elves, gnomes, dwarves and wizards and other creatures empowered with magical skills, he gave his elves the certainty of unconditional eternal life teaching overt reincarnation... Tolkien also overstepped the biblical mark by building ancestor worship into the storyline – one of the pagan world’s most revered practices.

4) Both Tolkien and Lewis endorsed drinking alcohol and smoking and did so in their personal lives...

5) Paganism Sympathy - Perhaps the reason that Tolkien and Lewis showed pagan sympathy in their stories is due to their affiliation with one Charles Williams who was a member of the highly satanic, Qabalistic "Order of the Golden Dawn"...

6) Occult Desensitization – If it happened to Tolkien and Lewis then it could happen to us. I have pointed out consistently for several years that the Harry Potter books were conditioning unsuspecting minds worldwide to accept the occult as normal... If the mind lives for any substantial amount of time in the fantasy realm of the occult, sorcery and witchcraft, there is certainly a possibility that when facing the same occultism in real life that our human response will not be one that immediately opposes it...
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Old 07-21-2011, 03:52 PM
Quercus Quercus is offline
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Well, when LOTR first came out, fundamentalists completely ignored it. Just like pretty much everyone else ignored it. It didn't get really popular until a decade after it was published. At which point (late 1960s), culture wars weren't about Christian versus satanists but True Americans versus latte-drinking, I mean, dope-smoking hippies. OK well, maybe things haven't completely changed, but fundamentalists weren't condemning books for being satanic at that point; they were still condemning books for having swear words or acknowledging that sex happens. Now LOTR has lots of people getting bloodily disemboweled and tortured and murdered, but pretty much pretends sex doesn't exist, so the Christians were basically OK with it (except for the generic objection to 'escapist fantasy' which isn't really a religious objection).
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  #10  
Old 07-21-2011, 03:52 PM
Giles Giles is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Omar Little View Post
The whole premise of the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, is a magical piece of furniture which transports young children to an enchanted universe where they fight evil. That's okay, but Harry Potter fighting evil sorcerers is not. :shrug:
The Narnia series presents a rather different issue, since the magical elements really aren't that important to the story, but the whole Aslan thing clearly mirrors the death and resurrection of Christ: C.S. Lewis was writing a Christian allegory far more obviously than J.R.R. Tolkien was, and religion is pretty irrelevant to Rowling's world. So it's hard for fundamentalists to be upset about what is so clearly a retelling of the central myth of Christianity. (But, of course, some still don't like it: Lewis clearly is not a fundamentalist, and he uses a lot of pagan elements in the Narnia books.)

Last edited by Giles; 07-21-2011 at 03:52 PM..
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  #11  
Old 07-21-2011, 04:33 PM
Chronos Chronos is offline
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My father objected to both Lord of the Rings and Narnia, and pretty much all other fantasy, on religious grounds. Thankfully, my mother is more sane.
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  #12  
Old 07-21-2011, 04:46 PM
t-bonham@scc.net t-bonham@scc.net is offline
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Originally Posted by Johanna View Post
It was written by a religiously ultraconservative and devout Catholic.
But a lot of fundamentalist don't approve of Catholics, either.
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Old 07-21-2011, 04:52 PM
David42 David42 is offline
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Originally Posted by Giles View Post
The Narnia series presents a rather different issue, since the magical elements really aren't that important to the story, but the whole Aslan thing clearly mirrors the death and resurrection of Christ: C.S. Lewis was writing a Christian allegory far more obviously than J.R.R. Tolkien was, and religion is pretty irrelevant to Rowling's world. So it's hard for fundamentalists to be upset about what is so clearly a retelling of the central myth of Christianity. (But, of course, some still don't like it: Lewis clearly is not a fundamentalist, and he uses a lot of pagan elements in the Narnia books.)
the great Irony here is that modern day fundamentalist Christian practice is chock full of pagan elements not found or even condemned in the Bible.
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Old 07-21-2011, 04:54 PM
David42 David42 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Giles View Post
The Narnia series presents a rather different issue, since the magical elements really aren't that important to the story, but the whole Aslan thing clearly mirrors the death and resurrection of Christ: C.S. Lewis was writing a Christian allegory far more obviously than J.R.R. Tolkien was, and religion is pretty irrelevant to Rowling's world. So it's hard for fundamentalists to be upset about what is so clearly a retelling of the central myth of Christianity. (But, of course, some still don't like it: Lewis clearly is not a fundamentalist, and he uses a lot of pagan elements in the Narnia books.)
A story of a resurrection in the midst of lots of pagan stuff going on? If this is anti-christian, then the bible is anti-christian itself.
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  #15  
Old 07-21-2011, 05:09 PM
SmithCommaJohn SmithCommaJohn is offline
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Originally Posted by Omar Little View Post
All this tells me is that alot of fundamentalist are not consistent thinkers and selectively apply their bias.
No freaking way!
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  #16  
Old 07-21-2011, 06:13 PM
Derleth Derleth is offline
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Originally Posted by Johanna View Post
It was written by a religiously ultraconservative and devout Catholic.
A Fundamentalist would view this as a shade away from a frank admission of his taste for the flesh of unborn children, considered as a testimony to his respectability as a human being.

Tolkien seemed to have been saved from the scorn heaped on Rowling by two things: His books were largely ignored at the time they were new, and the Fundamentalist sects we deal with now must not have existed at the time. Which leads me to wonder, when did they begin?
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  #17  
Old 07-21-2011, 07:02 PM
AClockworkMelon AClockworkMelon is offline
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Remember that Harry Potter, despite the magic, ostensibly takes place in the real world. Maybe that has something to do with it.
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Old 07-21-2011, 08:26 PM
Wendell Wagner Wendell Wagner is offline
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There is some basic misunderstanding of American religious history in the OP. First of all, there has not been a uniform amount of public display of Christian revivalism in American life. (It was always there under the surface, but it wasn't out there in public as much.) There have been four major waves where Christians were outspoken in American public life, each about 90 years apart:

The First Great Awakening in about 1730
The Second Great Awakening in about 1820
The Fundamentalist Movement in about 1910
The Religious Right in about 2000

The Lord of the Rings came out in 1954 and 1955, and this was a low point in Christian revivalism in the U.S. They weren't making any big deal about any particular book at the time. The 1950's were generally not a period of religious controversy in the U.S. Oh, it was assumed that you went to church or synagogue or whatever, but it was considered distinctly low-class to make a big deal of your faith.

Second, the brouhaha about the Harry Potter books was possible only because they were getting immense amounts of publicity as they were published. Why would Fundamentalists waste their time complaining about The Lord of the Rings, which was very little known for the first decade after it was published? The counter-reaction that The Lord of the Rings has gotten only came in the 2000's, after the Harry Potter books came out (and the same is true of The Chronicles of Narnia). There was no Christian reaction to The Lord of the Rings in the 1950's.

Incidentally, I wouldn't call Tolkien ultraconservative in any sense. Yes, he was a devout Catholic. I can't think of any way in which he was more religiously reactionary than any random devout British Catholic of the time.
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Old 07-21-2011, 09:04 PM
Johanna Johanna is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wendell Wagner View Post
Yes, he was a devout Catholic. I can't think of any way in which he was more religiously reactionary than any random devout British Catholic of the time.
I can. He was reluctant to change with the times:
Quote:
At one Vatican II-inspired Mass, Tolkien found the innovations too much for him. Disappointed by changes in the Mass's language and the informality of the ritual, he rose from his seat, made his way laboriously to the aisle, made three low bows and stomped out.

Much to the conservative Tolkien's chagrin, in the mid- to late 1960s the drug and political Left especially embraced his mythology. Afraid that such readers might create a sort of "new paganism" around his legendarium, Tolkien spent much of the last decade of his life clarifying its theological and philosophical positions in the work that became The Silmarillion.
When my family visited Kentucky in 1971, they introduced me to a woman who had read The Lord of the Rings. I was considered unusual for having read it (way back then), and it seemed natural for me to meet someone who was unusual in the same way. She said, in her Kentucky drawl, "Oh that's the hippies' Bible." That was all she'd say about it. "That's the hippies' Bible."
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Old 07-21-2011, 09:44 PM
Wendell Wagner Wendell Wagner is offline
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The passage you quote, Johanna, is by a writer named Bradley Birzer, and I don't consider him to be a very good scholar of Tolkien. (How, you might ask, could I know who is a good scholar of Tolkien? Well, since 1972 I've belonged to the Mythopoeic Society, a major scholarly organization for Inklings study. I've gone to their annual conferences since 1977, and I chaired the conference in 1994. I just got back from the annual conference this week. I've never published or lectured on Tolkien, I admit, but I do have some knowledge of who are the important Tolkien scholars.) Will you at least accept my claim that there is some doubt as to Birzer's credibility on this subject? Birzer wants very much to emphasize the Catholic nature of The Lord of the Rings. He's willing to overstate his case, I think. In any case, I don't think that being unhappy with the new mass (assuming that that really happened) is sufficient to make him an ultra-conservative.

(Oh, and since 1987 I've belong to the (British) Tolkien Society.)

I remember a certain amount of the same attitude toward Tolkien as you do. I occasionally would see Tolkien portrayed as a hero to hippies in the late 1960's and early 1970's. On the other hand, I grew up in a rural area where people didn't read that much, and I don't remember then as ever having an opinion, good or bad, about Tolkien.

Last edited by Wendell Wagner; 07-21-2011 at 09:45 PM..
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Old 07-21-2011, 10:02 PM
Peremensoe Peremensoe is offline
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How do you feel about Stratford Caldecott, Paul Kerry, Peter Kreeft, Alison Milbank, Joseph Pearce, Richard Purtill, Ralph Wood?
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Old 07-21-2011, 10:07 PM
Andy L Andy L is offline
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Originally Posted by Wendell Wagner View Post

I remember a certain amount of the same attitude toward Tolkien as you do. I occasionally would see Tolkien portrayed as a hero to hippies in the late 1960's and early 1970's. On the other hand, I grew up in a rural area where people didn't read that much, and I don't remember then as ever having an opinion, good or bad, about Tolkien.
I'm a little too young to directly remember the attitude that Tolkien was an author for hippies, but I seem to recall that LeGuin talked a bit about that idea in her "Language of the Night" - and the National Lampoon seemed to think that hippie and drug references were the right way to pastiche Tolkien in "Bored of the Rings."
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Old 07-21-2011, 10:17 PM
Johanna Johanna is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wendell Wagner View Post
Will you at least accept my claim that there is some doubt as to Birzer's credibility on this subject? Birzer wants very much to emphasize the Catholic nature of The Lord of the Rings. He's willing to overstate his case, I think.
I noticed. He was totally overstating it. I defer to your mastery of lore.
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Old 07-21-2011, 10:23 PM
Spectre of Pithecanthropus Spectre of Pithecanthropus is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Giles View Post
I think the big problem that Christian fundamentalists have with the Harry Potter series is that magic and wizardry are being used for good as well as for evil purposes. In their theology (based on some texts in the Bible) magic and wizardry are intrinsically evil -- and that view is reasonably consistent with the supernatural elements in the Lord of the Rings series.
I disagree; there is plenty of "white magic" in LOTR.

SPOILER:

And although the good guys generally resisted the temptation to use the One Ring, Frodo eventually did use it and nearly caused the failure of the entire quest.

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Old 07-21-2011, 10:29 PM
Wendell Wagner Wendell Wagner is offline
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Joseph Pearce, like Bradley Birzer, tries too hard to read Catholic meanings into Tolkien's works. He has also written books in which he tries to show that C. S. Lewis was really (if only unconsiously) a Catholic too.

I don't know much about Stratford Caldecott. He has also written a book about interpreting The Lord of the Rings in the light of Tolkien's Catholic faith. The same is true of Paul Kerry, Alison Milibank, Ralph Wood, and Peter Kreeft. I gather that they are all Catholics who want to show people that there are Catholic values deeply embedded in The Lord of the Rings. This all strikes me as true and yet overemphasized. It appears to me that there are a bunch of Catholic scholars who feel the need to show that it's necessary for Tolkien's Catholic faith to be obvious to everyone who reads the books, even though it isn't.

Richard Purtill is a reasonably good scholar. He sees the Christian values in The Lord of the Rings without overemphasizing them.
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Old 07-22-2011, 01:01 AM
Bpelta Bpelta is offline
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Originally Posted by Wendell Wagner View Post
There is some basic misunderstanding of American religious history in the OP...The Lord of the Rings came out in 1954 and 1955, and this was a low point in Christian revivalism in the U.S.
I don't know much about the history of Christian revivalism, so I actually included Jewish fundamentalism in the OP for just that reason; I do know that Jewish fundamentalism is really taking root in the States post-World-War-II and by 56, the Haredi Orthodox leadership is confident enough to launch a unified full-scale theological battle with Modern Orthodoxy's rabbinic association (via the Synagogue Council of America controversy)
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Old 07-22-2011, 01:15 AM
Chronos Chronos is offline
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Joseph Pearce, like Bradley Birzer, tries too hard to read Catholic meanings into Tolkien's works. He has also written books in which he tries to show that C. S. Lewis was really (if only unconsiously) a Catholic too.
Well, it's only natural that Lewis would look a lot like a Catholic, since Anglicans are a lot like Catholics. All the more so since Lewis had a Catholic upbringing.
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Old 07-22-2011, 04:03 AM
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Originally Posted by AClockworkMelon View Post
Remember that Harry Potter, despite the magic, ostensibly takes place in the real world. Maybe that has something to do with it.
Very astute of you. All the horror stories about Harry Potter were based around the concept that kids would learn about witchcraft from it. It was often portrayed as a guide to becoming a witch or wizard. The fact that it was portrayed so realistically was the problem. They believed this was what real believers in magick thought.

The fact that it was our protagonist, who thought he was a normal human, had the same problem. In the other works mentioned, the human protagonists didn't do magic. In fact, in Narnia, the one human who did do magic, Polly and Digory's uncle, was explicitly declared to be evil. And witchcraft was explicitly condemned in Prince Caspian.

That's the thing. Fundamentalists generally don't have something against all magic, just witchcraft. I wish I could describe the difference, but I'll leave that to someone else. The one thing I know is that magic from other people doesn't count. And, oddly enough, shows like Bewitched or Sabrina the Teenaged Witch generally don't count, either.

Perhaps it is because Harry wears black. I do know there is a definite creep out factor with wearing black, and anything creepy is bad.
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Old 07-22-2011, 04:33 AM
UDS UDS is offline
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Well, it's only natural that Lewis would look a lot like a Catholic, since Anglicans are a lot like Catholics. All the more so since Lewis had a Catholic upbringing.
Nitpick. Lewis was raised as an Anglican. And Belfast Anglicans are not quite as much like Catholics as Anglicans in some other places are.
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Old 07-22-2011, 04:46 AM
SanVito SanVito is offline
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Originally Posted by Omar Little View Post
Rowling on the other hand, wrote her first book, while living off the dole in England, which is considered a no-no, by conservative fundamentalists.
Nitpick, 'Scotland'. And I haven't heard any conservative fundamentalists complaining about her writing on the dole (as a single mother, *gasp*).
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Old 07-22-2011, 06:35 AM
Wendell Wagner Wendell Wagner is offline
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Bpelta writes:

> I don't know much about the history of Christian revivalism, so I actually
> included Jewish fundamentalism in the OP for just that reason; I do know that
> Jewish fundamentalism is really taking root in the States post-World-War-II and
> by 56, the Haredi Orthodox leadership is confident enough to launch a unified
> full-scale theological battle with Modern Orthodoxy's rabbinic association (via
> the Synagogue Council of America controversy)

And why would Jewish fundamentalists care about The Lord of the Rings? In fact, why would they care about any novel that's not overtly about Jewish life? As I understand it, Jewish movements in that period were about unity within Judaism, not about any irrelevant trends in American (or British) life. This was just after the Holocaust and during the early days of the new state of Israel. Why would they care whether an obscure British novel with no clear connection to Judaism might espouse views on magic that might or might not be opposed to any typical Christian or Jewish views on the subject?

Last edited by Wendell Wagner; 07-22-2011 at 06:35 AM..
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Old 07-22-2011, 08:13 AM
Hogfather65 Hogfather65 is offline
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Rowling on the other hand, wrote her first book, while living off the dole in England, which is considered a no-no, by conservative fundamentalists.
Scotland.... she was on the brew in Edinburgh
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  #33  
Old 07-22-2011, 10:57 AM
David42 David42 is offline
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Originally Posted by Spectre of Pithecanthropus View Post
I disagree; there is plenty of "white magic" in LOTR.

SPOILER:

And although the good guys generally resisted the temptation to use the One Ring, Frodo eventually did use it and nearly caused the failure of the entire quest.

SPOILER:

But it was universally condemned. Frodo didn't use the ring out of a belief that it was good--he was giving in against his will. This is not approval.

Gandalf undeniably had great power. In addition to any innate power, he wore Narya, the ring of fire. Nevertheless, any use of the power available to Gandalf was always downplayed. Any power he used directly in the books seems to be limited to light. There is the episode in the balrog, where it is implied he must have used great power to defeat the demon, but it is not portrayed in the books. The movies portray the fight with the balrog, but that is Peter Jackson's doing, not Tolkien's. Use of magic power by the good guys is definitely lacking in the books, whereas it is used widely by the bad guys (ringwraiths/Saruman.
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Old 07-22-2011, 12:49 PM
puddleglum puddleglum is offline
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The problem my fellow fundamentalists have with Harry Potter is that they are afraid it will tempt their children into the occult. The story involves a seemingly ordinary child gaining great power and prestige through the use of sorcery. They are afraid that this will appeal to their children who will start to dabble in magic and the next thing you know the kid has 5 cats, an extra 30 pounds, a sage garden, and a pickup truck with a Blessed Be bumper sticker.
LOTR takes place in another world so different than our own that no one could conceivably be tempted to become a part of it.

Last edited by puddleglum; 07-22-2011 at 12:49 PM..
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Old 07-22-2011, 01:15 PM
Dunkelheit Dunkelheit is offline
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A story of a resurrection in the midst of lots of pagan stuff going on? If this is anti-christian, then the bible is anti-christian itself.
QFT! But I suppose, like everything, it's different when Jesus does it.
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Old 07-22-2011, 01:20 PM
Dunkelheit Dunkelheit is offline
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The problem my fellow fundamentalists have with Harry Potter ...
With a name like "Puddleglum", I was really hoping you'd chime in on the Narnia angle. ;-)
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Old 07-22-2011, 01:35 PM
Voyager Voyager is offline
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Originally Posted by Johanna View Post

When my family visited Kentucky in 1971, they introduced me to a woman who had read The Lord of the Rings. I was considered unusual for having read it (way back then), and it seemed natural for me to meet someone who was unusual in the same way. She said, in her Kentucky drawl, "Oh that's the hippies' Bible." That was all she'd say about it. "That's the hippies' Bible."
I don't know about Kentucky, but I was in college in 1971 and pretty much everyone had read it. The Ace editions had already been stopped, and the authorized Ballantine editions were selling quite well.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy L
m a little too young to directly remember the attitude that Tolkien was an author for hippies, but I seem to recall that LeGuin talked a bit about that idea in her "Language of the Night" - and the National Lampoon seemed to think that hippie and drug references were the right way to pastiche Tolkien in "Bored of the Rings."
NatLamp thought drug and sex references were the right way to satirize anything. "Bored of the Rings" was a pretty standard job for them.

I don't remember LOTR being associated with hippies, more with college students in general. I suppose those who'd consider anyone not a white-shirt wearing short haired Nixon voter as a hippie might think this.

As for Harry Potter, I agree that magic using non-Christians living today are much considered as much more offensive to these types than those living long before Jesus.
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  #38  
Old 07-22-2011, 01:36 PM
Voyager Voyager is offline
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QFT! But I suppose, like everything, it's different when Jesus does it.
Just like drinking alcohol. Remember, Jesus was a pusher.
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  #39  
Old 07-22-2011, 03:10 PM
Malacandra Malacandra is offline
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Tolkein received a pass from fundamentalist because of his long standing relationship with C.S. Lewis, who is revered by fundamentalist for his portrayal of Christ in the figure of the lion Aslan.

Rowling on the other hand, wrote her first book, while living off the dole in England, which is considered a no-no, by conservative fundamentalists.
This being GQ and all that, I assume you have cites out the wazoo for both of these?
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  #40  
Old 07-22-2011, 03:53 PM
bump bump is offline
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I always thought the explanation was pretty simple.

LOTR: totally fantastic, unreal, not-Earth world, so presumably sorcery, non-human creatures like Orcs, and a different set of deities would be ok, since it's obviously fantastic, etc... Kind of like science fiction in that way- real aliens haven't been shown to exist, so why worry?

Harry Potter: Our world, but with a distinctly magical sub-culture and world underneath. As you can imagine, this runs more afoul of the Fundamentalist's ideas about witchcraft and sorcery.

I think they must think this sorcery stuff is actually real, because since the Bible condemns it it must be real, so they think a movie about it is a direct affront to their faith and the way they want to raise their children.

Kind of irrational and short-sighted (you'd think you'd want to show it to your kids and explain why it was bad, rather than make it forbidden fruit), but then again, when have rationality and far-sightedness been hallmarks of the Fundamentalist Christians?
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  #41  
Old 07-22-2011, 05:19 PM
dracoi dracoi is offline
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All this tells me is that alot of fundamentalist are not consistent thinkers and selectively apply their bias.

The whole premise of the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, is a magical piece of furniture which transports young children to an enchanted universe where they fight evil. That's okay, but Harry Potter fighting evil sorcerers is not. :shrug:
You don't understand the fundamentalist view of magic or the supernatural.

In that view, there are only two sources of the supernatural God (and His agents like angels) and the Devil (and his agents like demons). If something supernatural is going to happen, one or the other must make it happen. You make it happen via supplication of some sort - praying to God, say, or using a satanic ritual. By definition, God is only going to help people who 1) are following God's plan and 2) are properly giving God the credit. You cannot fight evil by asking for Satan's assistance - if Satan is helping you to fight evil, he's doing it only so that he can cause more evil. Christ even says in the Bible that it's impossible for one demon to drive out other demons - a house divided against itself cannot stand.

So, let's look at Moses. Lots of miracles - staves into snakes, plagues, etc. At one point, water is produced from a rock and the outcome is that Moses is banned from entering the promised land. Why? Because Moses made it look like producing the water was his power and his effort, not God's. (There may be other interpretations; this is certainly a popular one).

Look at Harry Potter instead. There's no mention of God, no reliance on His power, and no glorification of God. So we know that God is not supplying the power. Therefore Satan is providing it. And if Satan is providing it, he's doing so only for his own evil ends. Even if Harry Potter believes that he is doing good, it's impossible for him to achieve any net good.

So... what about the magical wardrobe? Well, first of all, the kids don't claim the wardrobe is their magical power - it's just an oddity they use to travel through. They can't control it in any way. Second, the wardrobe exists only to serve God's purpose for Narnia (that is, that the sons of Adam and daughters of Eve will arrive to defeat evil).

This is why Tolkien is more open to criticism from these kinds of people than Lewis is. Tolkien has few overt mentions of God and more people using magic.
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  #42  
Old 07-22-2011, 05:28 PM
Qin Shi Huangdi Qin Shi Huangdi is offline
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Nitpick. Lewis was raised as an Anglican. And Belfast Anglicans are not quite as much like Catholics as Anglicans in some other places are.
He was a High Churcher though (he even believed in Purgatory) and it was theorized he'd have converted to Catholicism if he'd lived longer.

OTOH it should be noted that there are various divisions of fundamentalists from simple Evangelicals like say Billy Graham to theological hardliner neo-Puritans who are nonetheless quite tolerant of drinking, smoking, and other cultural issues to Jack Chick type who think everything outside of their theological paradigm is part of the Papist-Satanist conspiarcy.
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  #43  
Old 07-22-2011, 05:49 PM
Dave Hartwick Dave Hartwick is offline
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I think it has a lot to do with the reaction to fads. New, suddenly popular, things are more likely to be treated with suspicion. I'm thinking here of the reaction to role playing games in the 80s, which was similar to the reaction to HP, except there was a media circus as well. Hey, did you know that the Israeli army frowns on Dungeons and Dragons? I didn't. According to wiki, playing it will lower a soldier's security clearance.

Tolkein and Lewis being Christians doesn't signify. Rowling describes herself as a practising Christian.

Also like to say that Wendell's timeline for the rise of the religious right in the US seems off. The Moral Majority was around well before 2000.

Also also, would like to note that if the OP means "Fundamentalist" as in "American Evangelicals" (which often seems the case), other subsections of religious groups have reacted against HP, such as Orthodox Christians and Muslims.
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  #44  
Old 07-22-2011, 06:31 PM
Knorf Knorf is offline
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This seems pertinent. It's pretty lackluster, really, by Chick standards.

I think the question has been answered fairly well. By the way, contrary to Wendell Wagner, who otherwise made excellent points, the Religious Right started to gain real power in the 1980s, which is when we saw the the rise of groups like Focus on the Family and the Moral Majority. They were both founded in the late 1970s, but their incipient political power became apparent in the 1980s (of course the Moral Majority was disbanded in the late 1980s). The late 1970s and early 80s also saw the precipitous rise of TV Evangelism and the increasing number of non-denominational, fundamentalist, evangelical Christian churches. It was in the 1990s, especially 1994, that we saw the rise of the Religious Right as a major political power in the GOP, and the necessity of GOP candidates kowtowing to the Religious Right in order to win primaries. It's only gotten worse. Let's hope the zenith of their influence has passed.

There are plenty of fundamentalists who decry the popularity of the Lord of the Rings as much as any fantasy novels. But I do think the Harry Potter series receives more ire than the LOTR movies did because of its setting in modern times, the absence of a clear divinity or omniscient moral guide in the novels and movies, and that its main protagonists are children. The Chronicles of Narnia gets a pass regarding the last point because of the explicitly Christian morality and divinity that runs all through it.

Lots of evangelicals have issues with C. S. Lewis and paganism, despite the allegorical nature of his work. Lewis always said that Christianity was never meant to contradict fundamental aspects of older religion, including pagan religions, but rather that it completed and thereby superseded them. For him, Christianity was still the final, complete truth, but Lewis argued that no religion is utterly without truth, including pagan religions. Lots of fundamentalists are uncomfortable with this, and the ways in which paganism comes out in his novels.

Last edited by Knorf; 07-22-2011 at 06:31 PM..
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  #45  
Old 07-22-2011, 07:19 PM
dropzone dropzone is offline
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It's an oldie but a goody:

How do you keep an American Evangelical from drinking all your beer?

Invite another American Evangelical.

Wokka-wokka-wokka!
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  #46  
Old 07-22-2011, 07:21 PM
Andy L Andy L is offline
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Originally Posted by Voyager View Post
NatLamp thought drug and sex references were the right way to satirize anything. "Bored of the Rings" was a pretty standard job for them.
Fair enough.
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  #47  
Old 07-22-2011, 07:28 PM
Qin Shi Huangdi Qin Shi Huangdi is offline
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Originally Posted by UDS View Post
Nitpick. Lewis was raised as an Anglican. And Belfast Anglicans are not quite as much like Catholics as Anglicans in some other places are.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Knorf View Post
This seems pertinent. It's pretty lackluster, really, by Chick standards.

I think the question has been answered fairly well. By the way, contrary to Wendell Wagner, who otherwise made excellent points, the Religious Right started to gain real power in the 1980s, which is when we saw the the rise of groups like Focus on the Family and the Moral Majority. They were both founded in the late 1970s, but their incipient political power became apparent in the 1980s (of course the Moral Majority was disbanded in the late 1980s). The late 1970s and early 80s also saw the precipitous rise of TV Evangelism and the increasing number of non-denominational, fundamentalist, evangelical Christian churches. It was in the 1990s, especially 1994, that we saw the rise of the Religious Right as a major political power in the GOP, and the necessity of GOP candidates kowtowing to the Religious Right in order to win primaries. It's only gotten worse. Let's hope the zenith of their influence has passed.

There are plenty of fundamentalists who decry the popularity of the Lord of the Rings as much as any fantasy novels. But I do think the Harry Potter series receives more ire than the LOTR movies did because of its setting in modern times, the absence of a clear divinity or omniscient moral guide in the novels and movies, and that its main protagonists are children. The Chronicles of Narnia gets a pass regarding the last point because of the explicitly Christian morality and divinity that runs all through it.

Lots of evangelicals have issues with C. S. Lewis and paganism, despite the allegorical nature of his work. Lewis always said that Christianity was never meant to contradict fundamental aspects of older religion, including pagan religions, but rather that it completed and thereby superseded them. For him, Christianity was still the final, complete truth, but Lewis argued that no religion is utterly without truth, including pagan religions. Lots of fundamentalists are uncomfortable with this, and the ways in which paganism comes out in his novels.
See this hysterical rant for instance: http://www.jesus-is-savior.com/Wolve...is-exposed.htm
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  #48  
Old 07-22-2011, 08:41 PM
Namkcalb Namkcalb is offline
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This seems pertinent. It's pretty lackluster, really, by Chick standards.
Sorry for the threadjack, but I just wanted to say Jack T. Chick is hillarious, as would anyone else be who believes all sects and religions other than certain ultra-fundamentalist protestant groups and the entirity of Islam, were founded by Satan.

Why the apparent tolerance for Islam?
SPOILER:
because he believes Islam was instead, an evil Catholic plot to destroy true Christianity in the middle east

Last edited by Namkcalb; 07-22-2011 at 08:43 PM..
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  #49  
Old 07-22-2011, 09:06 PM
UDS UDS is offline
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Originally Posted by Qin Shi Huangdi View Post
He was a High Churcher though (he even believed in Purgatory) and it was theorized he'd have converted to Catholicism if he'd lived longer.
After his conversion he was high church. But the claim was that he was raised as a Catholic, and he wasn't. He was raised as an Anglican, and not a notably high-church Anglican.
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  #50  
Old 07-22-2011, 09:52 PM
Chronos Chronos is offline
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And I stand corrected on that point.
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