Re: [mythsoc] Re: Catholicism and Lord of the Rings
- Hi Jeff,
I see. Then granted, Tolkien is certainly Catholic!
But beyond that, regarding your saying that those who act in harmony with Natural Law are acting in harmony with Christian beliefs, that may be. Yet that does not make them Christian, let alone Catholic. In fact, since many neo-Pagan and Wiccan belief structures share much in common with Natural Law (at least, to my limited understanding of it), you may as well state that Christians are Pagans, as Pagans Wiccans.
Catholicism, and most sects of Christianity, have strict criteria as to what makes a Christian or Catholic, fundamental to which tend to be a belief in Christ, and a Christian God. Since Christ was not yet born in the Third Age of Middle-earth, and Eru was not widely worshipped, the characters in LotR cannot be Catholic, or even Christian. They may share aspects in common with Christians, and Catholics, and Pagans, and indeed arrogant god-haters such as myself, but that does not make them Christian, or Catholic.
So I would agree with you that most of the (Free People) of Middle-earth act in harmony with Christian teachings. But I would argue strongly that this does not make them Christians.
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Wednesday, June 10, 2009 3:01 PM
Subject: [mythsoc] Re: Catholicism and Lord of the Rings
I was refering to our natural inclination to look at a person
we admire in real life and "see" them through the lens of our
own beliefs. The more we admire them, the more we want them
to conform to our own beliefs, even if to do that requires that
we be in denial about obvious facts. The extreme cases of this
might be found by unsupported claims by homosexual writers
that Shakespeare was homosexual, or the claims by feminist
writers that Flannery O'Connor was a feminist. The "facts"
that support such suppositions are largely fabricated by the
folks doing the claiming.
And, regarding Tolkien's characters, claiming they are pagan
in the sense that we know paganism is rather like trying to
figure out what sort of plant a zebra is. The Rohirrim were
certainly based in part on the Vikings, and some of their beliefs reflect aspects of Viking culture. Nevertheless, there is
nothing specifically pagan about believing in an afterlife.
And the "good" folk in Tolkien's legendarium, whether Elves,
or Dwarves, or Hobbits or men, are all shown to behave in a
manner that is consistent with Natural Law. Catholic teaching
suggests that Natural Law is something that we are all born
knowing. We can choose to follow it or go against it, but "good
folk" of any religion or no religion who act in a manner
consistent with Natural Law essentially are acting in harmony
with Christian teachings, even if they've never heard of Christ.
This is the state of most of the "good" folk in Tolkien's
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- Luthien: Alas! My beloved has perished! I must go to the Halls of Mandos to beg --
Beren: I'm not dead yet.
Luthien: Shh! To beg Mandos to bring him back --
Beren: I don't want to go on the cart.
Luthien: Shut up! I'm having a dramatic moment here.
Beren: I feel happy...
Luthien: (Nods to nearest elf with big club)
Big Club: Thud.
Luthien: Okay, I'm off to the Halls of Mandos. See ya. (Falls down)
>From: John Davis <john@...>________________________________________
>Sent: Jun 15, 2009 3:48 AM
>Subject: Re: [mythsoc] Re: Catholicism and Lord of the Rings
>Perhaps he was just mostly dead.
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: scribbler@...
> To: firstname.lastname@example.org
> Sent: Friday, June 12, 2009 4:40 PM
> Subject: Re: [mythsoc] Re: Catholicism and Lord of the Rings
> > I've always wondered -- was Beren really dead? Or was he merely so close
> > to death that no one around could tell the difference? Was he really
> > resurrected, or simply revived?
> > If the Gift of Men is beyond even the Valar's understanding, it doesn't
> > make sense that Mandos would have the power to give Beren back his life,
> > no matter how persuasively Luthien sang.
> > emerdavid
> Well, it would seem incongruous that Mandos himself would not be able to
> distinguish between a "nearly dead" mortal soul and a "dead" one. Mandos
> is made anxious about the situation because Beren WILL NOT GO ON the way
> he is supposed to.
> It seems to me, that Beren's soul held onto the world to an unexpected
> degree, instead of passing out of the world. If he had passed out of the
> world, then I agree, Luthien's singing would have been tragic in that it
> would be to no point -- Beren would not be *there* to be returned. But
> that's not what Tolkien sets as the situation. He has Beren "hanging
> around" unexpectedly.
> I say - Beren was dead, but not "departed". A unique situation that the
> Valar could actually address.
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