Was Tolkien ever accused of creating a non-Christian based reality with the LOTR?

…or were his books not deemed influential enough during his lifetime for anyone to be concerned about that?

Some fundamentalist protestant churches objected to his writings for those sorts of reasons, which really only displays their ignorance. JRRT was a very devout Catholic, and didn’t feel anything he wrote contradicted church teachings. He purposely built most of his tales around the “Elder Children” of God, the Eldar (elves). When dealing with the origins of Man, he kept them rather vague, but included a “fall from grace” in their history.

Well, in view of the fact that he discussed at length, during his lifetime, the underlying Christian themes inherent in his mythos, I’d have to say that anyone who did such an accusation would be eisegetically imprinting the Tolkien mythos with his own preconceived notions, rather than the reverse.

Is there some source on the web or link that outlines his discussion of these convergent themes?

I got my information from his collected Letters, and, to a very small amount, from Humphrey Carpenter’s biography of him. I’m not sure what’s available online relative to this – Qadgop? Bueller?

The great bulk of Tolkien’s papers and manuscripts are now at a Catholic institution, Marquette University, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

From Christianity Today:
Sacramental Imagination, by Thomas Howard.

Wow! That answered lots of questions, esp about the difference between Catholic and Protestant faiths.

There are fundamentalist protestants who do not consider Catholics to be christians.


Thanks for that link, Walloon! Fascinating.
Qadgop the Vlaandersman

You are correct, of course… but from what I hear, JRRT’s good buddy, uberChristian C.S. Lewis, didn’t think so.

Yeah, but I wouldn’t call C.S. Lewis a fundamentalist. (And, btw, people have criticized the Narnia books as unchristian, also.)

Slight Hijack: Didn’t Lewis convert rather late in life?

Someone’s going to have to show which part of LOTR is reality, non-Christian or otherwise. I always thought it was fiction.

Lewis was raised Church of Ireland, but then left the religion. He then converted back to Christianity when he was around 31 or so.

So’s Harry Potter. That something is fiction does not always matter to fundamentalists.


Man, that’s nuts.

And you’re right, of course… Lewis was too much of a thinker to be much of a fundamentalist… :smack:

One of the more famous accusations that Tolkien’s worldview wasn’t actually Christian was in a Jack Chick comic where the warning was made that you should stay away from Tolkien’s and Lewis’s books since they are sold next to Dungeons and Dragons stuff and hence are also demonic.

An interesting thing I’ve noted recently is that Lewis’s books are not sold very much these days in many of the stores that call themselves Christian bookstores. Indeed, I noticed several years ago that in a store called Kramerbooks, in the Dupont Circle section of Washington, D.C., there are a fairly large number of Lewis’s books on their shelves, perhaps 25 or so copies, which is more than I’ve seen in any Christian bookstore. Now Dupont Circle is a semi-hip neighborhood (well, it’s too expensive anymore to be really artsy, just yuppies who think that they’re artsy), and Kramerbooks (and its attached restaurant Afterwords) is a semi-hip late-night restaurant/bookstore. Kramerbooks has almost as many copies of Lewis’s books as one of the local Barnes & Noble’s or Borders.

In case anyone cares, there are several books addressing Tolkien, LOTR, and religion, and here is one I enjoyed.

That may be related to the ascendancy of the fundamentalist wing of the religion, and what I have perceived to be an attitude that it is insufficient if your fiction contains Christian values, their preference is that Christian fiction actually preach the doctrine.

Indeed, it seems to me that the Christian bookstores just don’t want to display any book that treats Christian values with any subtlety. That means no satire and no fantasy in which there aren’t any Christians directly making reference to Christian values. They don’t seem to mind books that are mostly right-wing tracts with an occasional nod to Christian values.

I own a lot of books of Tolkien, and maybe a dozen of them are about his Christian faith.