Author Topic: Was J.R.R. Tolkien a Catholic?  (Read 851 times)

Offline Daniel

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Re: Was J.R.R. Tolkien a Catholic?
« Reply #30 on: January 20, 2021, 06:39:48 AM »
This is a little off topic, but what about the claim of lack of conversions?

Could just be my experience, but Tolkien was fairly popular back at my high school (perhaps because I attended high school in 2006, when the LOTR movies were still relatively new). But most of the people who were reading Tolkien weren't Catholic. I did know of one conservative NO Catholic, about one or two politically-liberal nominal "Catholics", and a Presbyterian who were into it. But everyone else was irreligious or into wicca. Atheists, agnostics, and neopagans--the same kind of people who were into all sorts of fantasy stuff (ranging from D&D and MtG, to Final Fantasy games and other fantasy RPGs, to Ghibli movies and other fantasy anime, to Christian Narnia, to the more controversial Harry Potter, to the far worse His Dark Materials and other anti-Christian fantasy literature). And as far as I know, none of these people converted, despite having read The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and The Silmarillion.

So why is this happening? Is it simply because there isn't enough Tolkien and too much other stuff, such that the Tolkien has little to no overall influence? You'd think that if the books were thoroughly Catholic, then they'd effect conversions. By reading the books, a person would become more disposed to Christianity and eventually convert. But I guess that doesn't work when Tolkien is just one voice among many louder voices?
« Last Edit: January 20, 2021, 07:52:41 AM by Daniel »
 
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Offline Kent

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Re: Was J.R.R. Tolkien a Catholic?
« Reply #31 on: January 20, 2021, 09:03:22 AM »
This is a little off topic, but what about the claim of lack of conversions?

Could just be my experience, but Tolkien was fairly popular back at my high school (perhaps because I attended high school in 2006, when the LOTR movies were still relatively new). But most of the people who were reading Tolkien weren't Catholic. I did know of one conservative NO Catholic, about one or two politically-liberal nominal "Catholics", and a Presbyterian who were into it. But everyone else was irreligious or into wicca. Atheists, agnostics, and neopagans--the same kind of people who were into all sorts of fantasy stuff (ranging from D&D and MtG, to Final Fantasy games and other fantasy RPGs, to Ghibli movies and other fantasy anime, to Christian Narnia, to the more controversial Harry Potter, to the far worse His Dark Materials and other anti-Christian fantasy literature). And as far as I know, none of these people converted, despite having read The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and The Silmarillion.

So why is this happening? Is it simply because there isn't enough Tolkien and too much other stuff, such that the Tolkien has little to no overall influence? You'd think that if the books were thoroughly Catholic, then they'd effect conversions. By reading the books, a person would become more disposed to Christianity and eventually convert. But I guess that doesn't work when Tolkien is just one voice among many louder voices?

There are people who go through official channels (meeting with priest, undergoing instruction, etc.) who do not convert. What does that prove?

Tolkien did not write LOTR to be an instrument of conversion but of culture.  But even if he did write it as an instrument of conversion, all we would learn is that it was an ineffective instrument, not that it was cursed by God or some other such thing.

While I know there are plenty of irreligious people who are into LOTR, my own anecdotal experience differs from yours. The pagans and neopagans have minimal appreciation for the source material (they will claim to appreciate it, but I've met few who've actually read the books), while the Catholics I know are almost unilaterally appreciative of them. 

And let us not forget that cultural artifacts (be they films, books, or whatever) are usually interpreted within a cultural milieu. In a world where the Church has receded from influencing culture, it should be little surprise that cultural artifacts rich with Catholic themes are consumed in a way ignorant of those themes?
I do profess to be no less than I seem, to serve him truly
that will put me in trust, to love him that is honest, to
converse with him that is wise and says little, to fear
judgment, to fight when I cannot choose, and to eat no fish.
 
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