Jump to content

Is "lord Of The Rings" Over-rated As A Religion


Recommended Posts

On the thread Are The Religious Moderates Better Than The Fundies? the topic of Lord of the Rings as a religion came up repeatedly. Neon Genesis posted a question that can perhaps be better addressed in a separate thread so I am posting it here.

 

We've got people on here who take LoTR pretty seriously. The way it's been referred to on this thread gives me the impression that some of the people who have responded in this thread take it as seriously as most Christians take the Bible.
Am I the only one who thinks LOTR is severly over-rated? *goes back to worshipping anime*

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

To back-track for those who did not see the posts leading up to that one:

 

This I suppose is what LoTR couldn't really become a religion, because it's not really a society that help shaped the face the myth took.
Actually, I have seen people over the Internet who claim to believe that they are the reincarnations of fictional characters and I've actually seen people argue this belief as being as legitmate of a religion as Christianity. I guess the Internet takes all kinds...

 

 

We've got people on here who take LoTR pretty seriously. The way it's been referred to on this thread gives me the impression that some of the people who have responded in this thread take it as seriously as most Christians take the Bible. It may be worth noting that many Christians don't want to be told that Christianity is a religion; it's a relationship. LoTR certainly speaks to something inside of me. There's something so earthy and "real" about it. It could be called a relationship, too, a relationship with the earth, with what is real. TBH, though, I read the series once and it was over such a long period of time that the details barely hang together in my head. I do not feel like I really know the story and I definitely have not read or talked to anybody who practices or believes in it as religion. All I am saying is that I can see why they would.

 

I guess I don't really know if anyone takes it as a religion or not. Personally, I don't feel a need for a religion at this point in my life, but it would seem to me that LoTR would fit very nicely into nonChristian theism and other North European mythology. Then again, I don't know enough about literature to differentiate between fairy tales and myths. Someone said LoTR is just a fairy tale. So here's a thread to discuss the issues for those who are interested.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Someone mentioned about it being taken literally. From what perspective would it be taken literally? That is my question. I think the relationship with the earth would be the enduring theme or message that could be taken literally.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, I don't think it's feasible as a religion right now. But maybe say, a thousand years or so after we've had some cataclysmic event, and some part of the book is found somewhere preserved, and people in that time have no idea it was meant to be fictional, just maybe then it could be a religion. I also wonder if that's what happened with the Bible, that someone originally write it intending for it to be taken as an allegorical tale, and the people who took it literally won in the ideological fight.

 

By taking things literally, I mean believing that things in the story actually happened. For example, believing that Frodo, Samwise, Gandalf, and all the rest actually existed, and believing that there actually was a ring that was destroyed that was evil. Worshipping one or more of these characters as a result. I don't think that will happen in our time. But in some distant future after everything in our time is forgotten, its possible.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't know that it could ever be taken literally, at least not for the aforementioned 1000 years, but it could conceivably be adhered to religiously at some point. Have you read The Silmarillion by any chance? it it a complete history of middle earth, right down to a very detailed creation story that explains how everything in Middle Earth got there, it's gods, lesser deities (of whom both Sauron and the wizards Gandalf and Saruman number), and so on. It also chronicles the stories of its heroes and demigods, and major events, much like the bible, so presumably, there's no reason (aside from the many internal inconsistencies) that someone wouldn't want to create a bona fide religion based on it.

 

Middle Earth after all, was implied (if only jokingly) to be a history of our world. Oh, and the Dagor Dagorath, is pretty much like armageddon, so it's got that Revelation vibe going too. Hell, if I were religiously inclined, and wanted to piss some christians off for no good reason, I would start that religion myself.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 3 months later...

The Silmarillion was written by J.R.R Tolkien as a mythology for England. Although I find his writing some of the best in the world and history of writing, I do not think I could worship it.

 

I know there are groups of people who are completely obsessed with his writing, and do, practically worship it. However, there are people who take Dune, D&D, and Final Fantasy too seriously too.

Link to post
Share on other sites

In two thousand years someone is liable to mistake the skid marks in my kid's shorts for another Shroud of Turin too!

 

Moral lessons Tolkien wrote into LOTR saga, with statements similar to 'not all who wander are lost,' etc., many fans find a spiritual fulfillment with these books that they do not find in church. I have not met a fan that thought these books were true and without error or wanted to make it their religion. If they did, it would be more credible than christianity that stamped its theology and doctrine upon on humanity through brutality in reality. I think I'll join the middle earth folk in their religion. C'mon, how can you drink mead with a bunch of guys named Frodo, Mary, and Pippin, and not not have a party? The weed in middle earth has got to be supreme!

Link to post
Share on other sites
By taking things literally, I mean believing that things in the story actually happened. For example, believing that Frodo, Samwise, Gandalf, and all the rest actually existed, and believing that there actually was a ring that was destroyed that was evil. Worshipping one or more of these characters as a result. I don't think that will happen in our time. But in some distant future after everything in our time is forgotten, its possible.

Hey, wait a minute! Are you saying Frodo, Samwise and Gandalf were made up? :Wendywhatever:

 

Seriously, though, I think there may be a unique clue to understanding Christianity in this discussion. Words have power. As anyone who has escaped from Christianity knows, if compelling words are written down in a book, the book itself can become a god that people worship. But nowhere in the Christian bible do I find a single instance of Jesus having written a single word. Not only that, nowhere do I find in any of the things Jesus supposedly said, a single instance of his telling any of his disciples to write down anything at all. It was supposed to be the holy spirit that informed and empowered people to know the truth, and in fact, I believe that's what Jesus said when he appeared to the disciples who were hiding out after he was crucified, that he had to leave so that the holy spirit could take his place within each one of the believers. But I believe his disciples eventually lost the faith, and substituted their own musings, recollections and letters for a straight shot of god power. And the world has been suffering from it ever since. The bible became god.

 

Tolkien, on the other hand, was an honest writer of fiction. He crafted the trilogy to entertain and delight, not to form a religion. But I think the ring trilogy and the bible share the same potential to become gods.

 

 

Rob

Link to post
Share on other sites

I've had a wierd revulsion to LoTR since I was in Jr. High and my friends wouldn't stop talking about it. I tried to read it, but couldn't get past page one. The style of Tolkien's writing and the subject matter are less than uninteresting to me. For some reason it repulses me instead. I had something similar going with the original Star Wars. Guess I just don't do well with fantasy.

 

If I'm ever sent to Gitmo, they'd get me to crack pretty quick if they strapped me to a chair and pried my eyelids back Clockwork Orange style and forced me to watch LoTR, Star Wars, and Planet of the Apes. I'd probably be a babbling loon before they got past film credits on the second showing.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I can't really understand the religious type feeling some people have for this series of books. I had a hard time getting through the first few chapters. It was many years ago that I read it and probably wouldn't have the patience to get through it if I were to try to read it for the first time now.

 

Seriously, some people are really way out there on this Lotr thing - I know someone who must read it every year.

 

Having said that, after the first few chapters I did enjoy the story at the time. It probably had to do with the fact that I was on vacation in Greece at the time. I didn't have much to do and the setting was so exotic to me it went along with the book in a way. Nowdays I am not crazy about the sacrifice theme - it seems too Christian to me. I know there are other themes in the book but the big "Frodo suffering" thing just doesn't thrill me.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I can understand how LOTR could become a religion to someone, just as the writings & stories written by some followers of some guy called 'Josh' about 2000 years ago became a cult following. Fortunately for these lonely, delusional, types of today that wish to make LOTR their new-found cult, there are a lot of good therapists out there that can give them some guidance back to reality. :grin:

 

elana

Link to post
Share on other sites

Since starting this thread I talked with someone who will go so far as calling LoTR the Holy Scripture. Maybe not literally but in comparison to the Bible. Since this is a person for whom I have much respect and who has been of much moral support to me in time of serious need, you can imagine that I don't take his opinion lightly. He is definitely not what I would call delusional.

 

I simply cannot figure out how anyone ever figured out that the bible should be so holy. I was told what an awsome book it is but once I was allowed to actually look inside its cover and read it I was unimpressed. I was perhaps ten or eleven years old. With enough hard work and sheer will power I was able to make it seem holy but making it unholy had probably been easier.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Nowdays I am not crazy about the sacrifice theme - it seems too Christian to me. I know there are other themes in the book but the big "Frodo suffering" thing just doesn't thrill me.

 

tbh I don't see any obvious christian reference in Frodo's suffering. He suffers because the ring is evil - it just adds dramatic tension to the story.

 

There are other christian references in LOTR though. The whole 'lost king' thing with Aragorn seems a bit messianistic. And obviously the whole good versus evil thing. I prefer a bit more moral ambiguity in fiction. This archetypal good versus archetypal evil seems a bit plastic and unreal. That's why I like Golem so much - he's the only morally ambiguous character in the books and so he seems the most real. Although Frodo's suffering and being tempted by the ring gives him a bit of realism too.

 

Tolkien was Catholic, which is why there are slight echoes of christianity in his work. But they are only slight and subtle.

 

If you want nauseatingly obvious references to christianity - then CS Lewis is your man (yuk!)

 

Tolkien may have been christian but he was sensible enough to be subtle about it. He was first and foremost an excellent writer of great, exciting fantasy stories.

Link to post
Share on other sites
tbh I don't see any obvious christian reference in Frodo's suffering. He suffers because the ring is evil - it just adds dramatic tension to the story.
When I read LOTR, I always saw the ring as being like sin. When Christians commit sin, it might help them get ahead in "the world", but it's also supposed to cause them spiritual suffering, like the ring causes Frodo to suffer even if its magic helps him in the war. And so Christians must overcome the sin with the strength of God/Jesus and return sin to where it belongs and destroy it, like Frodo returning the ring to Mt. Doom. Of course, the difference is that God/Jesus is the one responsible for sin whereas in LOTR it's evil that's responsible for the ring. Though, I agree that the Christian influences in LOTR are a lot less obvious than those in Narnia and even Harry Potter is more obvious than LOTR.
Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Guidelines.