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Iluvatar or Valar religion

Camille

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Hi I was thinking, and if this has come out in some other thread my apologies, but do you realize that in Middle earth there is no such thing as a religion?? Iluvatar and the Valars were not venerated as we do in real earth (Cristianity, The Islam, etc) they don't have temples or churches or anything like that, why is that??
for the elves I thinks it is maybe because they are so close to them that they feel them and don't have make anything to be close to them, and for Men... I dont know, and here comes another mistery at least for me? In tolkien's world were men go after they died? elves I know, but men??
Just wondering about some things..
Bye
 

Beleg Strongbow

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Originally posted by Camille
Hi I was thinking, and if this has come out in some other thread my apologies, but do you realize that in Middle earth there is no such thing as a religion?? Iluvatar and the Valars were not venerated as we do in real earth (Cristianity, The Islam, etc) they don't have temples or churches or anything like that, why is that??
for the elves I thinks it is maybe because they are so close to them that they feel them and don't have make anything to be close to them, and for Men... I dont know, and here comes another mistery at least for me? In tolkien's world were men go after they died? elves I know, but men??
Just wondering about some things..
Bye


In numenore there was temple worshiping Iluvatar and also when sauron came time of Ar Pharzon he turned into a temple for Melkor. Tolkien made a whole world, language and history 4 it he can't do everything.:confused: :D :D :)
 

Gothmog

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But in the midst of the land was a mountain tall and steep, and it was named the Meneltarma, the Pillar of Heaven, and upon it was a high place that was Hallowed to Eru Iluvatar, and it was open and unroofed, and no other temple or fane was there in the land of the Numenoreans.
The Silmarillion: Akallabeth : page 313-314.

This does not mean that Iluvatar was worshiped there but that thanks were given to Iluvatar in the place that was hallowed to him.

As for the temple of Melkor this was obviously a false religion started by Sauron to destroy the Numenoreans. So in fact the Only mention of any religious devotions in the books is to someone set up in pretence as a god.
 

Hirila

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The Sil tells us that Mandos alone (and of course Iluvatar and Manwe) knows where men go to when they die.
It is speculated that they go to the halls of Manods too, just as the elves do, but then they do not meet them there but have their own places.
 

Grond

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Gosh Camille, what an interesting topic. And don't forget, you asked.:)

Earthly religion is based on a person's beliefs that there is a supreme diety who desires to be woshiped. He is the all mighty who made us, who is deserving of honor, the only God or the greatest of gods. That all depends on which religion you practice and earthly religious beliefs are based on "divine faith". We know in our hearts and our souls that our belief is correct but there is never any direct, "I am God and hear me speak" intervention. I have oversimplified and apologize for that but that is the essence of theology and the preachings of any faith based religion. (BTW I am a Christian and wholly subscribe to this line of logic.)

J. R. R. Tolkien gives us a world where there is no real need for faith. You have Eru/Iluvator who creates the Vala, who sing the themes who make the world of Middle-earth. Eru/Iluvator sings his own special tune and the creatures of ME are created and come into being. All of these dieties are real and not imagined. You have people roaming Middle-earth who have both seen these Ainur and who are related to these Ainur. The entire focus is not on a higher being who is unknown but on One that is absolutely known. Hence, the only referrals of worship are a Temple dedicated to Eru on Numenor (later transformed into a Melkor Temple) and the worshiping of Melkor in the Far East and South of Middle-earth described in some of JRRT's unpublished writings in the UT and HoMe.

I don't know if I've really answered your question or not, but the basic difference is the known versus the unknown. Hope I've helped and not blasphemed too much.

BTW, welcome to our forum.
 
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Camille

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Hello Grond!!! yes I thinks that you get what I mean, and I agree with you that the difference about "religion" in our earth and in tolkien world is the unknow versus the knowing, I have always been interested about the fact that the Tolkien higher spirits walk among the Children of Iluvatar (well, mostly with the elves :) ), and even they are related with them (Melian the Maia and Thingol.... to Earendil to the Numenorans kings) what I have always liked about this idea is that the elves and men know for sure that they are not alone and they are part of something, I dont know I think is a more pure thought
I hope that nobody bothers with this thread, religion is always a delicate issue but is intersting :D
 
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ltnjmy

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Didn't the Edain of Numenor worship Illuvatar/Eru in their temple on top of the Meneltarma - before it was desecrated by Sauron ??
 

childoferu

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Didn't the Edain of Numenor worship Illuvatar/Eru in their temple on top of the Meneltarma - before it was desecrated by Sauron ??
Look at Gothmog's post, they more or less gave thanks to Illuvatar than worhsipped him, and then it was just abandoned instead being desecrated by Sauron, Annatar(as Sauron was being called at the time) instead built a more grand temple for the worship of Melkor, it was there were the original white tree NIMLOTH was destroyed :(
 

ltnjmy

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Look at Gothmog's post, they more or less gave thanks to Illuvatar than worhsipped him, and then it was just abandoned instead being desecrated by Sauron, Annatar(as Sauron was being called at the time) instead built a more grand temple for the worship of Melkor, it was there were the original white tree NIMLOTH was destroyed :(
You are right again COE - Gothmog's 2002 posting is right on point. :p
 

Hirila

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I'm just (once again) close to the end of the LotR and thinking about religion in the books I can't remember anything of the like. However, if I try to imagine such a thing in Middle-Earth I'd most likely come to something like a strong belief in nature itself.

So this here is pure imagination, transferred to realities from our own history:
For the elves very likely nature itself was a miracle and something hallow.
Men would worship gods of war and of wisdom.
The Rohirrim I imagine more like a Celtic-like world, with a horse goddess (Epona).
And the Hobbits? Don't know. They might have some sort of Bacchus and Demeter.
 

HLGStrider

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I don't have the exact quote but I remember Tolkien saying somewhere that people had complained that his book had "no women" which he said wasn't true and "no religion" which he said was intentional.

My personal theory, of which I have no proof, is that as a devout Catholic Tolkien didn't want to risk inventing something that would seem to replace or circumvent Catholicism. He also wanted to invent a pre-Christian myth for England.

We do have the Faramir facing towards the west at meal time to reference and the Elven songs, and we do know that all educated men would've been aware of the history involving Iluvatar/Eru and the Valar.

As pointed out by Grond, among the Elves there would still be some alive who had seen a Valar at some point. It's hard to be an atheist when you've literally talked to a god. On the other hand, if you had at some point actually seen your god, then really, would you feel the need to go to church anymore? I think in the place of the reality of it, the ceremony would lose most of its meaning.
 

childoferu

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I don't have the exact quote but I remember Tolkien saying somewhere that people had complained that his book had "no women" which he said wasn't true and "no religion" which he said was intentional.

My personal theory, of which I have no proof, is that as a devout Catholic Tolkien didn't want to risk inventing something that would seem to replace or circumvent Catholicism. He also wanted to invent a pre-Christian myth for England.

We do have the Faramir facing towards the west at meal time to reference and the Elven songs, and we do know that all educated men would've been aware of the history involving Iluvatar/Eru and the Valar.

As pointed out by Grond, among the Elves there would still be some alive who had seen a Valar at some point. It's hard to be an atheist when you've literally talked to a god. On the other hand, if you had at some point actually seen your god, then really, would you feel the need to go to church anymore? I think in the place of the reality of it, the ceremony would lose most of its meaning.
Now that I think about it, we do we assume that the Valar were treated like Gods among the Eldar and Edain, especially in the sense that we know it. I think the Eldar looked at the Valar like the Edain looked at the Eldar, the respected the authority and marveled at the wisdom of the older beings. Like look at the courtship of Elwe and Melian, even though Melian was Maiar and would be considered an angel instead of a God(more or less) it still would have been considered blasphemy, IF thats how the elves felt about the Ainur

p.s. Aww, what inspired the change in avatar Strider?
 

HLGStrider

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I just like to mix things up every so often and I'd had the kissing cats for awhile. Thought it was time to use the only thing cuter than kittens, my baby, as an avatar.

I don't know if I agree with your point, though. Considering how many myths involve the breeding of god and man, the marriage of an Elf and a Maia doesn't seem that unapproachable.
 

childoferu

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I just like to mix things up every so often and I'd had the kissing cats for awhile. Thought it was time to use the only thing cuter than kittens, my baby, as an avatar.

I don't know if I agree with your point, though. Considering how many myths involve the breeding of god and man, the marriage of an Elf and a Maia doesn't seem that unapproachable.
um, hmm...I have no knowledge of these myths, would you care to give a few examples?
 

HLGStrider

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Ancient Greece:
Can't count the number of love-children Zeus had lying about; some of these were eventually promoted to Gods (Dionysus's mother was mortal and died because she was tricked by Hera into asking Zeus to see him in his full glory). Hercules was a son of Zeus and a mortal in some versions. The moon goddess Selene fell in love with a mortal shepherd and had him cast into an eternal slumber so that she could live with him forever and he could never grow old. I'm starting to forget names but Leda was the mortal mother of Helen of Troy and a few others by Zeus in the form of a swan.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zeus

If you scroll down on that link it divides up Zeus' children by mortals and his children by goddesses. Suffice it to say there are a lot of both. I think Apollo also had a few mortal children. According to some legends, Romulus and Remulus were children of Apollo through a priestess.

Grecian gods are notoriously mortal like in their fallibility and taste for pleasure, of course, but most polytheistic gods have these traits.

Now with Eru you have more of a monotheistic system, but we are speaking as if Valar are Demi-gods and Maia are angelic. Now, if we say that it is a monotheistic system then we have no reason to assume that the marriage of a Maia, who is not even close to the power of Eru, would be on the same level as even a marriage of a mortal and Zeus, but rather on the level of a mortal and a Nymph or Driad or some such immortal but still non-deity.

I'm a little less familiar with other mythological systems. I can't think of any Norse gods who fooled around with mortals. You could say, however, that as a god-king any Egyptian pharoah with concubines is an example of a god and mortal marriage. I do know that Egyptians had inbred royalty so as not to water down the deity in the royal line.
 

childoferu

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Ancient Greece:
Can't count the number of love-children Zeus had lying about; some of these were eventually promoted to Gods (Dionysus's mother was mortal and died because she was tricked by Hera into asking Zeus to see him in his full glory). Hercules was a son of Zeus and a mortal in some versions. The moon goddess Selene fell in love with a mortal shepherd and had him cast into an eternal slumber so that she could live with him forever and he could never grow old. I'm starting to forget names but Leda was the mortal mother of Helen of Troy and a few others by Zeus in the form of a swan.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zeus

If you scroll down on that link it divides up Zeus' children by mortals and his children by goddesses. Suffice it to say there are a lot of both. I think Apollo also had a few mortal children. According to some legends, Romulus and Remulus were children of Apollo through a priestess.

Grecian gods are notoriously mortal like in their fallibility and taste for pleasure, of course, but most polytheistic gods have these traits.

Now with Eru you have more of a monotheistic system, but we are speaking as if Valar are Demi-gods and Maia are angelic. Now, if we say that it is a monotheistic system then we have no reason to assume that the marriage of a Maia, who is not even close to the power of Eru, would be on the same level as even a marriage of a mortal and Zeus, but rather on the level of a mortal and a Nymph or Driad or some such immortal but still non-deity.

I'm a little less familiar with other mythological systems. I can't think of any Norse gods who fooled around with mortals. You could say, however, that as a god-king any Egyptian pharoah with concubines is an example of a god and mortal marriage. I do know that Egyptians had inbred royalty so as not to water down the deity in the royal line.
Ohhhh okay, I'm aware of these myths and I thought you might have been referencing some myths in the Tolkien Legendarium, but now I must ask, even though marriage with a Maia wasn't unthinkable, do you marriage to a Vala was?
 

HLGStrider

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I'm not sure "unthinkable" but definitely more "unlikely." Maia seem to take on very human traits when they take on their forms. Vala not so much. Gandalf needs to eat and sleep. It is physically possible for Thingol and Melian to have a child. Even though several Valar "Pair off" in marriages, none produce children. They put on guises, "bodies," but they aren't bound by them. They don't seem to have the human drives and desires that effect the Maia or even the Greek gods.
 

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