I’ve had quite a few responses to the news story I posted yesterday regarding Capalert.com’s review of Fellowship of the Ring, and have decided to share some of the views express by both Christian and Tolkien fans alike.
I hope you post this letter referring to “A Different Take Of Fellowship Of The Ring” posted on Dec. 29. I am a Christian, in fact, my name is Christian, and I hate other Christians who go for the throat on things like the Lord of the Rings more than non-Christians hate it. It gives people the wring impression on Christianity. It tells them, join us and you too can bash what people are enjoying these days. I’m a Tolkien collector, somewhat new (but rapidly growing, especially since my Tolkien-Everything Christmas this year), and I’m still a Christian. Every day I listen to, watch, or read something by or inspired by Tolkien. I LOVED the movie, I saw it three times (I would have seen it more but I don’t have a way to get there). I didn’t see anything at all in the movie that I felt contradicted my Christianity.
The people that wrote the article only saw the movie so they could find the evil in it. They more than likely NEVER read the books. They probably only heard it had a “magical ring” or a wizard in it and ran off to the theatre to find this devilry. They don’t understand that Tolkien himself was a Christian (I believe Catholic) and the movie didn’t add anything the book didn’t have (as far as “devilry” goes). They also don’t understand that there is even a book called “Finding God in the Lord of the Rings”. Also, C.S. Lewis, one of Tolkien’s friends and personal critics, was one of the best known Christian authors and was part of the religious/literary discussions they had weekly at Oxford. I find NOTHING wrong with the Lord of the Rings books movie or anything that has anything to do with either of these (except for an unofficial tarot deck). I personally don’t remember Gandalf sitting down and whipping out his Satanic Bible or his guide to Witchcraft and Wizardry. The only thing close was when he spoke elven for “friend” to enter the Mines of Moria. Nothing wrong with that. Nothing wrong with Tolkien. Nothing wrong with Lord of the Rings. Nothing wrong.
The article that was linked to your site on December 29 entitled: “A Different Take on The Fellowship of the Ring” made me quite angry. (Satanic worship in TLotR, indeed. Honestly!) To have such a masterpiece as TLotR compared to Potter was the last straw. However, I have a very logical and much more intelligent article on the subject that explains the differentiation between Harry Potter and TLotR magic with a little Lewis tossed in. It DOES NOT bash either, it is simply a literary analysis. Here is the address: www.decentfilms.com/commentary/magic.html. Please post it, for such ignorant articles need intelligent response.
I’m writing in response to one of the articles you posted today, “A different take of FOTR”. Of course I’m a huge fan of Tolien’s work and of the movie. I’m also a Christian. I just wanted to give you the opportunity to read what most Christians actualy are saying about this movie. Here is a review from Focus on the Family (a Christian organization aimed towards families): www.family.org/pplace/pi/films/A0018963.html
Mainly read the “positive elements” part. It talks about how all the Christian symbolism that Tolkien put into the books shines through in the movie. The kooks who can only see the sorcery and wizardry are missing the whole point of the movie – friendship, loyalty, and solid moral teachings.
Here is a copy of the mail I sent to the Christian website that posted the review – First, I was raised in an extreemly conservative Christian home, for which I am gratefull. I attended a private Christian school for 14 years, graduating Valedictorian before being accepted to a prestigious private Christian college where I was placed on the Dean’s List for all but one semester. I tell you this to let you know that I am NOT someone who has not been educated in Christian theology and worldview.
I have just read your scathing review of the movie Lord of the Rings, and I must say I have never been more dissappointed in a “Christian” website in my life. I cannot argue with the argument you have against the violence of the movie, but your rail against the “sorcery” of the books show a sincerley disturbing failure of the worst kind. You failed to do your “homework”, so to say. Just as understanding the meaning of Jesus’ New Testament teaching and illusions requires one to study the stories in the Old Testament and the Hebrew history durring the Roman Empire, so to understand the story of The Lord of the Rings you must study the history that Tolkien painstakingly laid out in the Silmarillion. In doing so you see a beautiful Creation story where Illuvitar creates the world and the beings that inhabit it, a story that closely follows the one found in Genesis 1 and 2. You would see the Istari, or “wizards” as you call them, the group that Gandalph and Saruman are a part of are actually angels… ie immortal!! And Sauron even makes his appearance… he is an angel who falls with the arch enemy Morgoth, ie Satan. Following a pattern closer to Milton’s Paradise Lost than the Dungeons and Dragons you would make it seem, the Silmarillion sets the tone that shows Gandalph as what he is, a guardian angel in the flesh, looking after Frodo and his friends. This makes Gandalph’s sacrifice on the Bridge of Khazad-Dum even more meaningful. The violence of the books echo nothing more “evil” than the destruction and wars the beast of Revelation brings upon the earth.
I realize that the movie contains none of this backstory, however those who see the movie might decide to read the books, and some who do might read the Silmarillion and come into contact with a very Christian creation story, and from there go on to read the Bible and eventually be brought to Christ. It saddens me that your website writes of this beautiful story of true compassion and freindship as an “evil” story, especially when it is obvious that you failed to live up to your faith. The Bible says to do everything dillegently and in order. If you are going to write reviews of movies based on your faith, do your Lord justice by actually working at what you attempt. Instead of helping spread Christ’s Way to the world as he commanded, you are building a wall between unbeliever’s, who you call the “adversary”, and the hope of their salvation.
It saddens me to see the work of Tolkien, a dedicated Christian who was instrumental in converting the greatest Christian appologist of our age, CS Lewis, from athiesm to Christianity in the early 20th century, slandered in a very un-Christian column. I am heartened that most unbelievers first come into contact with the wit and wisdom of Dr. James Dobson, Chuck Colson, Charles Swindol, and Billy Graham before they come across your website and your failure to live up to the strength and wisdom of God’s enduring message.
I’m a senior majoring in Theology at Marquette University (home of many a fine original Tolkien manuscript let me tell you) and the Capalert.com review is a horrid horrid wretched then. Obviously this person has no clue as to what is in the Bible because all his criteria would cause the Bible itself to be rated highly inappropriate. Because of this he is marring the face of Christianity and making it a laughing stock. Already in this world too many people joke about and ridicule Christians and we that believe do not need people like this reviewer causing confusion and adding to the ridicule by saying that an obviously religious movie, with many Catholic Christian undertones, is not Christian! If need be I can provide a list of the errors and contradictions this reviewer is making.
I also have another question that I need answered either from you or somebody else. There is a line in the movie spoken to Frodo by Arwen as Frodo is wrating. It is something to the effect of “Any grace that I may have been granted, may it pass on to him (Frodo) so that he may live.” This statement is very Christian and very Catholic. A protestant would not use this terminology at all in such a sentence if they would even suggest such a sentence could be said. This line is not in the book nor does anything really come close to it at all in the book. There are only two explanations for this line being there; either that the writers were honoring the devoutly Catholic J.R.R. Tolkien, or one of the writers of the screen play was Catholic enough to place the correct words that fit with the themes that Tolkien was using in his book. Do you know which is the case?
As an ardent CS Lewis fan who knows his head from his toe this idiotic review offends me on many levels. Thanks for giving me a good laugh. Wow! For the record I am a high school Sunday school teacher and a deacon at a baptist church.
It’s a story! And a great story at that. I would just like to let everyone know that not all Christians are narrow minded fools. Tolkein is a genius.
I found the article increadibly unfair, and extremly unrealistic to the teaching of the Catholic Christian faith. There seems to be a very unfortunate fundamentalistic attitude in their review as if Tolkiens world was not fantasy, but reality… and all who watch this film will fall under the spell of satan. Highly untrue to a person who poses faith in God. And for those who do not share in the belief, which Christians hold, I think that Tolkiens work will, if possible, only bring people closer to the truth of Christianity.
I only feel the need to defend the Catholic faith, for this review certainly places extremely unrealistic fundamental views, which could give all of Christendom a vile name. In defense, I offer this article/review, as a more understanding Christian view of Tolkiens wonderful work with the hopes that you will make it available to your surfers.