Did Tolkien believe in God?

Discussion in 'Annals of the Eldanyárë' started by Aragorn, Sep 2, 2008.

  1. Aragorn

    Aragorn Registered User

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    Tolkien fans,

    Firstly sorry for any mistake, for I am not from an English speaking country, but I’ll try to be as clear as possible.

    The Question that I would like to ask is about faith:
    “Did Tolkien believe in God”?”

    This question (about the existence of God) has always hunted me and I could never find a straight answer, the existence of our soul and the passage to the other world has always been a mystery to me (wich Tolkien presented as Erù and Mandos). Frankly I don’t like to stay like this my entire life, I mean: “Either I believe or not”.

    As a huge fan of all Tolkien works and as a believer of the imaginary and the mythical world that he created I’m asking this question hoping I could find out the opinion of Tolkien about this matter through your answers.

    Thank you all.

    Sincerely.
     
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  2. HLGStrider

    HLGStrider All Knowing Magic Cat

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    Yes, Tolkien was a practicing, and from his writings, very sincere Catholic/Christian. There are some very good biographies of him that might answer more questions about Tolkien's personal life/faith etc. Not knowing your language I can't comment as to whether they have been translated into it as of yet, but you seem to have a good enough grasp on English that even a copy in that language of Humphrey Carpenter's biography would serve you well.

    Tolkien did not wish his work to be an allegory or a morality tale so I don't think you can draw too many direct parallels, but there is a good deal of reference to morality and the struggle of a higher good against evil.

    http://www.thetolkienforum.com/showthread.php?t=19174&highlight=religion


    here's a thread with a topic involving how his religion influenced his writing which also might be of interest to you.
     

  3. Aragorn

    Aragorn Registered User

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    Thank you for your answer HLGStrider,

    I found Humphrey Carpenter's Tolkien biography in PDF extension and I'll try to read it once I complete the Silmarillion.

    Now let's be back to our Topic; while reading The Lord of The Rings I always felt the presence of many values that our world lacks today, I felt that Tolkien has always hoped in his heart that good wins against evil. Indeed I always touched hope, courage, honour, friendship...etc (which seldom exist nowadays). The struggle between good and evil takes place in our world daily, and despise all the bad things that our life suffers we can stand thanks to these values (I remember a quote that Sam said to Frodo during their quest to Mount Doom: "Mr. Frodo, look. there is light and beauty up there that no shadow can touch...").

    When it comes to believe in values and to have principles, I do; for these are abstract things and yet we feel them in our heart. But when it comes to God, Angels, Demons...etc I wonder if they are real and exist in a parallel world of ours or are just the making of humans before us to represent good against evil.

    Now, HLGStrider that I know that Tolkien believed in God I would like to end the struggle in my mind and find out my own opinion. But how to decide? I really don't know...
     
  4. HLGStrider

    HLGStrider All Knowing Magic Cat

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    http://www.thetolkienforum.com/showthread.php?t=13858

    Relgion and politics off topic from Tolkien's own personal beliefs and influences are actually restricted topics due to problems with people getting offended in the past when they couldn't agree with others. I linked a non-discussion thread where people can put up prayer requests. That said, the path to what a person believes is very personal. If I were trying to make up my mind I would probably start by talking to people who I admire/trust about their beliefs and where they come from . . . though also looking up thinkers on the subject is helpful. I am a big fan of C. S. Lewis for theological writing. There are a lot of others, though.
     

  5. Aragorn

    Aragorn Registered User

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    Thank you for your advice, it was never an easy decision to make but time will show the path. More research will be needed, but after all I think that I shall listen to my heart instead of my mind, because both atheists and believers have their own way to convince, and which matters the most is the one belief.
     
  6. HLGStrider

    HLGStrider All Knowing Magic Cat

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    I wouldn't totally divorce your mind from the process because while a lot of faith issues are things that cannot be proven by human abilities there is such a thing as pure logic and I try to hold my own beliefs up to a standard of logic. After all, if history has proven anything it has proven that you don't have to be right to be passionate, and emotion is so easy to twist.
     
  7. Aragorn

    Aragorn Registered User

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    You’re right, emotion is so easy to twist; as a standard of logic and as I said in a previous message I believe in values and principles and in the depth of my heart I would like to believe that these things, that represent the pride of our humanity, are protected by a divine power. The only problem is that all this remains always a mystery and sometimes the idea of being under the control of a religion that I didn’t even choose or worshiping it makes my mind in such confusion with all the bad things that occur in our world. I mean is it necessary to follow a religion to know the right path?

    I read in another thread:” There is the sensibility of right and wrong, cruel and kind, good and bad, honest and dishonest …“, personally I think that that’s what logic tells us to recognize, in addition to that I’m thinking about another question:
    “How could life be after Death?“
    We know that any religion that believes in God provides two choices: Haven as a reward or Hell as a punishment. So that said, does any person who doesn’t worship God but fight for a good that he feels in his heart deserve Hell (if it really exists)?
    Another last question: If you believe in God? What makes you know that he really exists?

    PS: I mean no offence in my questions; I’m just seeking the truth if ever I could reach it.
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2008
  8. Gothmog

    Gothmog Lord of Balrogs Staff Member

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    Greetings Aragorn,

    As Elgee has pointed out, discussions on 'real-life' questions of religion separate from Tolkien are not allowed on this site. However, we have a sister-site dedicated to just such matters "Project Evil".

    You will find the link to it in my Sig. It is rather slow at the moment but with luck a few more people will join up and have some good discussions about these matters.

    Hope to see you there also.
     
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  9. Blueduindain

    Blueduindain Made in Gondor

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    Yes, he was Catholic.
     
  10. 1stvermont

    1stvermont Member

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    Yes he believed in God. A great source to understand him and his thoughts on this subject is his letters.

    https://www.amazon.com/Letters-J-R-R-Tolkien-J-R/dp/0618056998

    and the authorized biography

    https://www.amazon.com/J-R-R-Tolkie...rd_wg=99oZa&psc=1&refRID=NBN87H4S5DZB64WP6MV7



    He goes in depth on this subject in many letters. If you want to know how his Christianity effected his writings these are great books

    https://www.amazon.com/Finding-Lord...524169735&sr=1-1&keywords=finding god in lotr

    https://www.amazon.com/Gospel-Accor...=1-2&keywords=The Gospel according to Tolkien



    You could also read my short bio on this forum of him for some of this stuff.

    http://www.thetolkienforum.com/index.php?threads/j-r-r-tolkien-a-short-biography.23274/


    Well you find it out by sending me a pm. I would love to talk with you as a fellow Tolkien fan and as a christian myself. I would love to share with you what caused me to become a christian and how i decided what was true. Let me know good sir.


    Agreed, do not follow emotion. The fact that you recognize morals and right and wrong tells you their is indeed evil in this world and a higher law of good and bad. If their is no god and we are just the result of random chemicals, than there is no morality and when you see an "evil" it is just your random chemicals making you feel this and thus, rape is a just or unjust as giving to those in need. But of course as all mankind is created in the image of god we do recognize good and evil. I would also not want you to be controlled by some religion, but by God alone. A relationship and knowledge of your creator.

    Why is their evil in the world? that is a question I believe only the bible has a logical answer to, see here.

    Why is There Death and Suffering if God is all Loving
    https://forums.totalwar.org/vb/show...here-Death-and-Suffering-if-God-is-all-Loving

    What I think your asking is what of those who have never heard of Christ. I suggest this thread.

    What of Those That Have Never Heard of Christianity
    https://forums.totalwar.org/vb/showthread.php?153314-What-About-Those-who-Have-Never-Heard-of-Jesus



    What makes me know he is real? those threads are many and coming soon. Pm me.

    Could you link me to the site please?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 20, 2018
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  11. Erestor Arcamen

    Erestor Arcamen Archivist Staff Member

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    I don't believe that Project Evil is a thing anymore.
     
  12. 1stvermont

    1stvermont Member

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    I did not realize how old this thread was, yikes.
     
  13. Gothmog

    Gothmog Lord of Balrogs Staff Member

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    It is true that Project Evil no longer exists.
     
  14. Squint-eyed Southerner

    Squint-eyed Southerner Treacherous and Vile

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    But Dr. Evil still does -- right?

    giphy (6).gif
     
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  15. Gothmog

    Gothmog Lord of Balrogs Staff Member

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    Yes. LOL
     
  16. Elaini

    Elaini Lost in Eä

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    He most definitely did. He even turned CS Lewis from Atheism to faith, though to Tolkien's disappointment he became Anglican instead of Catholic.

    I still have to wonder about how deep Tolkien's devotion to Catholicism actually was. I only know that Catholicism was special to him because it was his mother's alignment in Christianity, and what his mother did before her death had an enormous impact on what he turned out to be.

    But then again he researched many different mythologies willingly and even wove his own based on them, and explained to Lewis how mythologies in general may present glimpses of stories that may have actually happened.
     
  17. 1stvermont

    1stvermont Member

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    Catholicism was the single most important aspect of his life.

    https://www.amazon.com/Letters-J-R-...430912&sr=8-1&keywords=letters of jrr tolkien

    https://www.amazon.com/J-R-R-Tolkie..._rd_t=40701&psc=1&refRID=CEDZ3S8WC9J02T0KW8JS
     
  18. Glorfindel_ofGondolin

    Glorfindel_ofGondolin Elf Lord from the First Age

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    Which inspired CS Lewis' own series of books, the Chronicles of Narnia, his children targeted fantasy series.
     
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