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the theology, idealized...gods and authors

ratodelmorte

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perhaps we see a paraodox; in the creation, the song; verily melkor was corrected by Iluvater, but as mr. Grond so aptly put
it terms of chi, there is dichotomy in the overall theme of the story.
Creating and destroying, only to build again...ad nauseum.
The fight between good and evil, the impulses felt..this is what made the story so compelling to me. I have read the biographies, as I am sure the general public here has, Tolkien felt strong ties to the Roman Catholiscism(sp?) view point, but he also felt the need to create a mythoi fort his native England, he always felt the mythological background was lacking in England's past.
But perhaps he felt guilty, because for it seemed he created a too real place for himself in middle-earth, he may have felt the sin of idolitry and that of the first commandment.

and in getting back to the punch line-does any one like it when they are labeled with only one moniker that equates them. The many facets of our personalities, are from the same prism, for to see in shades of gray, there must be refraction.

this refraction, is the temianl point of seeing things in black or white, good or bad, right or wrong. It is the issue of nature and self, our role in it and how it affects us.

as Sardte' would say

I am responsible for what I do, not what happens.


glamdring has swung, shifting his wieght for the killing blow,
tuor calls to the swans....his last prayer.
 

Grond

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rat (may I call you rat?) I enjoyed your soliloquy and agree with most everything you state..... but....... is there a question somewhere in there or were you just talking to your self??
 

ratodelmorte

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the rat speaks

long i have traveled and my tales are many...yeh, you may call me rato...and yes that was a question, however i meant rhetorically, i should have perhaps indented it more with a question mark. I am glad that we can see eye to eye, although mine are beady and black, I reflect my warmth. Hahah, to be truthful, i can be quite friendly-leave out the r if you want.
I believe, that Morgoth....perhaps wishing to rule in his dark way, did try to bring something to arda, to the children....think, in the telling aren't the battles he waged against the gods, and the creation, tales of such valiance and courage of the inner spirit, played out in blood, meted by DOOM alone...beyond Mandos
beyond manwe?..it is Iluvater who guided the song, but it was up to the minstrels to perform.....and they did, and we have a great read at the same time.
pithee sililoqui aside, to provoke the topic further, did Tolkien have a choice in the making of his world, or was it always there?
Just waiting to be found in the stream of collective unconscious thought-verily a play within a play-a view to the abyss etc, etc, etc...

rato has spoken the time is nigh a great army is forming
and the reach is long.....Bah, no one here has cheese
 

Grond

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My dear Rat. A question which has no certain answer. I am sure for the Author it was a world created in his imagination. Alas, for me, tis a world that always has been and which always will be. I still hope to buy a discounted airfare to either Hobbiton Central Airport or Minis Tirith International and I'll fly Aragorn Airways or Sam-Am (Sam-American). :)
 

ratodelmorte

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the ticket agent

i will expound my idea further, as from ancalagon's question, i assume we are talking about the published silmariliom...not the posthumous writings published later after 1973. the world Tolkien created was only partially realized, and i do believe he never even saw the publication of the silmarilion, i may be wrong and you may tell me so. the story is a weaving of many mythological themes, and yeah to go so low as to call it a collection of biblical passages, it was divided into sections, and to go into theology as some may wish i not, i will do anyway. these are the questions i ask myself, did the ainur have a passive roll in the makeing of the world, or did they have a more active roll in the song, as performers with instruments, where they able to percussively form the world, and as performer's where they given notation by iluvater?.
was he a conductor? channeling their differences, both good and bad, but more to a descriptive;light and dark, those that choose to remain in the light, or those that like melkor, choose to search the void, for the flame, for themselves. in this mode of thought, i see plainly that the ainur had total freedom in this regard, the freedom to come and go as they wished, the extent of their travels is well documented inthe tales of arda before the light of the trees, or the pillars, or even the moon and sun.....the darkness and what light they brought from within themselves illumined the realms of iluvater....the void, arda,and the flame itself.
these questions i ask, they are only meant to clear my head-to push further the analysis of these theme....the paralels to our own lives, though poeticaly and fantastically told by tolkien, are there....we ask of ourselves, perhaps....are we good or bad...and that is your own personal comfort level, to tell me not to draw upon outside sources to answer-hypotheticalities-is to scensor my thoughts,...I will not toloerate people telling me that i cannot bring theology into the argument are closed minded to the fact that tolkien did live in the real world. he prayed, he loved, he died, and all the personal moments that make up what we call life. i donot use the Bible to minister and solicit a religeon, i use it as an interpretery tool, it is important to realize that ancalagon's question is about godly things, thus the theology.


rato speaks he's got the cheese...........carcharoth is his pet, and i have the silmaril............poor beren will never be accepted by thingol, now.......................oh, Luthien...
 

Grond

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Oh Rat the Gracious..... I agree with some of what you have said but wish to expand on your explanation. Grond feels that your conductor analogy has great merit except the Conductor new the Orchestra much better than any we can compare to on this plane. For one must remember that the Conductor was also the father, mother and teacher of the orchestra as well. So, this Conductor new his orchestra as no other conductor in history. He new their strengths and weaknesses, their subtle changes and discords before they were even made and was, thus, able to redirect them to his delight. When the discord finally became pronounced, daddy stopped that movement and began anew.

So, I guess we get back into the free will issue. And Grond has always felt that Eru, the great Conductor, gave his orchestra total free will, but, since they were the offshoots of his mind, he new all too well what their music would be. So it all comes back to Melkor's discord being a planned and integral part of the song as a whole.

Having said all the above, you may bring theological comparison into the discussion but do so at your own risk! For Grond will grind you to dust with the following discourse. (For those who have heard my ideas before, forgive me for boring you with them again.... but Rat asks..... so Rat gets....)

There is little comparison, at best, to our faith based system of theology. One must remember that on Middle-earth the reality of their dieties was there for all to see. One need not have faith in Eru for everyone absolutely knew he existed. Melkor - Sauron - Satan was a physical/spiritual reality that everyone knew existed. He wasn't a make believe boogey man....he was real!. That is directly at odds with our faith based system of religion. The reality of Jesus was that of an extraordinary man doing extraordinary works on this Earth. It takes FAITH to accept him as the Son of God and the Messiah. Every religion on our Earth requires the same LEAP OF FAITH.

I don't know what I've really said or where I've really gone with this response which is appropriate since there isn't really any question to this thread. But Rat............. the ball is back in your court.:)
 

Tar-Steve

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But you have to admit that the the father, mother, and teacher of any child does not exercise total control over its actions. Even the attempt to predict those actions will lead to surprise.
 

Grond

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Once again, Eru was all those things and more. Since the Ainur sprang from his mind, they would in fact be instruments ultimately of Eru. Not as bound, say like a hand, but definately linked, to where their actions were predictable. IMHO, Eru new what was going to happen, just not in what sequence and when in the realm of reality it would occur. But since he designed the picture, he knew what paints the painters had to apply. He just didn't give them the order of application; but, knew from the very traits he instilled in them, of what tones and hue, they would apply.
 

rplp81

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There is little comparison, at best, to our faith based system of theology. One must remember that on Middle-earth the reality of their dieties was there for all to see. One need not have faith in Eru for everyone absolutely knew he existed. Melkor - Sauron - Satan was a physical/spiritual reality that everyone knew existed. He wasn't a make believe boogey man....he was real!. That is directly at odds with our faith based system of religion. The reality of Jesus was that of an extraordinary man doing extraordinary works on this Earth. It takes FAITH to accept him as the Son of God and the Messiah. Every religion on our Earth requires the same LEAP OF FAITH.
Grond, could you explain a little further. This intrigues me. When you say that the reality of their dieties was there for all to see, are you also implying that ours is not. I do believe that our system of religion is very much so faith based; but I also think that it is very real and obvious in many instances. Just curious! :)
 

ratodelmorte

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paradox, and a question

well, the racket is strung, and rato is ready.....perhaps he'll lob this one your way....You ask, is there free-will?...I ask is there life?
if we are to allow me to go further, the world's system of belief, unidonominational, is one based upon the infinite movement of faith, the having or not having, whether in those terms burgoise or atheistic-gnosticism...it all depends on how you see life. I ask a simple question. if all you believe in is unseeable, then where does free will take place, or i'll moniker the term free will as spirit, can you see your soul, or the birds that sing in the tree next to your window while your reply to my questions....eh, rato knows that there are real people behind those screen names....If you were to ask me, rato, show me your soul?...I would reply show me your life.....could you, no.
when dealing with linguistics, there is a thing called a mental image, a word that has no real world object to signifie it, it is a
like the word:pegasus. hell, how many of them exist in the world, no not because some crazy scientist crossed stem cell of a bird and a horse...nonononono...they just don't exist...except in the mythoi of greece's past, and when you read a book...we can be subjective like i've been, okay there are frescos of pegasi, but hey
that's why greece still rules the known world ....or we can get objective and say that it has to be alive to be real, well pegasi still don't exist. so theology aside, i believe iluvater knew what he was doing in letting the ainur flesh out the song, under his guidance....or perhaps, like rato....he makes it up as he goes along.


rato speaks.........the ball hits mid court.........just another eye in a blue face..........on the hill seven horses seem
to..be..on..the..run....rato coughs up wad of phlegm, thinks about what he just said, shakes his head...mutters...i'll get their cheese...steal it, devils! the chamber of the ages! THe children,.......gone....last hope, devils, kill them!
 

Ancalagon

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Mr DelMorte,

I am keen to jump into this debate with you, though you will just have to wait for my enlightened view of theology, The Ainur, The Author, Gods and Monsters as I am currently making my son hot-chocolate and getting him organised for bed. I will return after this short break.
 

rplp81

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Wow......Deep......This is the kind of discussion I like......Not constant banter over Arwen or Balrogs :rolleyes: :D :)
 

rplp81

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After much debate on my own over the years, I have come to a personal conlcusion, that just because something is unseen or invisible does not mean it does not exist. The wind...you can see the effects of the wind...but you cannot SEE the wind. Prime example. We cannot see our souls or thoughts...but we can see the effects of them. In this sense, I believe Iluvatar could forsee the effects of the songs of the Ainur.
 

Grond

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Okay rplp81, I'm sorry it's taken me so long to get back to you but I'll try to restate what I was saying earlier because again Grond must not have been clear. As for you Rat, I will ignore you for now and ponder your most recent post.

rplp81... My assertion was that faith in Middle-earth was unnecessary. Their dieties were knowns. The needn't have faith that....say Manwe existed. Hell, Galadriel had seen him. There was current first hand knowledge of his existence from unquestionable sources. Earendil sailed his ship everynight in the heavens while the light of his silmaril illuminates his path. He wasn't a star, he wasn't a constellation...... he was a reality not based in faith.

I'm not saying that God doesn't exist in our world. I'm not saying Christ or the Holy Ghost don't exist. I'm not saying that Buddha, or Grishna or Patangeli or any diety doesn't exist. What I am saying is that their presence is not visibly (in a first person visual sense) every day. Proof of the Vala and the Elda were there every day. Do you get my argument???

To me that is the critical difference in Earth and Middle-earth. On Middle-earth religion in and of itself was unnecessary as the rules were laid out for all to know (if they sought knowledge). On Earth our faith is what determines our reality of our diety. I personally am Christian and believe in the God of Abraham and Jesus Christ as the Messiah. And to me, I'm right ..... based upon my faith. You may be a Muslim who worships the same God of Abraham but you think that the great prophet is Mohammed. You base your assertion on the same faith in a different religion.

Heck, I am no longer exactly sure of what I'm saying so I will stop.............. I am soooooooooo dizzy........... the room is spinning........... somebody please stop it.:) :D ;)
 

rplp81

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I understand what you are saying. I, too, am a Christian. But I think that our God was present, visibly, at one time, in Jesus Christ. It was recorded. I don't base my faith on only something that I cannot see at this very moment (meaning God, of course). I also base it on something/someone that was recorded, that was seen. Does that make sense?
Thanks for responding, though. What you said was, in a way, encouraging. :)
 

ratodelmorte

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gods and legends, for surely they lived in times of prophecy

now, it seems to me that there is a misunderstanding between grond and i. i truethfully concur with you about the gods and the belief system, the mortals, and elves surely had true belief in them, for you are right about the active role the gods played.
they were seen and heard, much like the christian god and moses, the great miracle of the parting of the red sea were visible signs of godhood presenting itself whether he was who he is as the burning bush, or the god who struck down the great tower of babel, which really what all languages are, or the god who rained 4o days, 40 nights drowning his own creation, because satan had empry of the earth, these things like the visions of mary in south america, and lourdes france, show that we too have, had an active god....sodom, gomorrah....numenore, beleriand....different names but still, i use theology to explain my thoughts, theology doesn't mean the study of christianity, it is the study of faith based belief systems, if you do not believe in this ask the jehovah's witnesses who go door to door to bring god into your life.....or the hari krishna's who give you flowers at the airport....what ever, these people have seen the face of the lord,and the miracle of creation..........think when you look out your window, how much of what goes on do you control? can you stop the wind, can you blot out the sun for yourself, everyone else....using someone else's text to bash using outside sources for interpretation is nothing short of banter and philabustering....for if we are to talk of gods and godhood, it is to talk about theology. the auther as the creator draws upon inspiration from his/her muse...whether from their own wellspring or an outside influence....the creation as a whole is there as it is, it is seen by us, it tells its own unique story, or it can be in parts to make the whole a rich tapestry both connected to other sources(the industrial revolution withits dirty smokesstacks bothered tolkien) and a picture as a whole.
i know what i have said, you can ingnore if you wish, but rara avea the universal themes run true through every creation...it comes down to down to the view of the abyss and how far you want to go

rato speaks...........clears throat....sneezes....cleans whiskers...
hops off the podium.....says goodnight to the ladies and gentlemen.....goes into his tunnel.
 

rplp81

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You make some good points, but I'm not sure if I even understand what your actual point is. I'm not even sure how all of that relates to the Sil. Sorry, just confused, I guess. :confused:
 

Rendi

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Greetings and salutations!

What about the element of Ulmo and his (apparent) independence from the other Valar, out of love for the Children of Illuvatar? Ulmo, though he wants the best for all and is as a brother to Manwe, disobeys. But he does so in an unselfish way. He is like an uncle who is softer on the Children of Illuvatar than Manwe and Mandos.

My point is to ask how we can reconcile this tension with a Christian/Catholic view. It would be like one of the archangels tries to save Sodom and Gammora against Yahweh's wishes, and seemingly in an attempt to do so clandestinely. But it is for pity and selflessness, not pride, anger, greed or any other motive that stokes the evil of Melkor.

Ulmo clearly is neither totally obedient to Eru/Illuvatar, but he is far from the polar opposite of Manwe as Melkor is. So we no longer have a simple good vs evil dichotomy as in Christianity.

Rather, I propose, that the set up is rather like that of the Nordic/Teutonic/Celtic/Greek world. There is a disc world with continents and an encircling sea. This is the material world of the living. This is Midgard or Middle Earth. It is ruled over by a sky god, like Zeus, like Indra, Like Odin. He is the god of lighting, storms, air, clear sight, and he is the king of the gods. He tends to live at the top of the world axis. Odin watches Middle Earth from the heights of the word tree that grows out of the top of the central mountain. Zeus watches from on Mt Olympus, Indra watches from the top of the central mountain, etc.

The dark one, the enemy of mankind rules the underworld. He is Loki, or Hades-Pluto, or the Devil, Mara, etc. Down there one can find the roots of the Mt and tree that holds together the 3 worlds. Down there Melkor reigns. Balrogs lurk, as do dark elves, orcs delve in dark purpose, foalokes sleep, elves and men are enslaved in hel, toilimg for the Dark Lord...

BUT what about that middle plane? To some extent, Osse and Orome and Eru-Illuvatar sent the Istari, but mainly, Ulmo is for the most part, the keeper of Mid-gard or middle Earth, it's seas, and as ,uch as he can, the Children of Illuvatar.

Is there any precedent for this in any form of Christianity?
 

Parsifal

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Is there any precedent for this in any form of Christianity?
How about Christ?

Anyway, Roman Catholicism (which is btw heavily influenced by Roman and Germanic religion) does have many forms of Divine intervention or looking-after.
Mainly it are Saint, "ordinary" men who have been allowed to enter Heaven before the Day of Judgement, and now use that position of power to send out grace to the suffering. I suppose most Catholics also believe God himself will sometimes help, for they often pray to God Himself (and not just thanking or praising Him, also sometimes asking for favors). As for Angels, well, God obviously uses them sometimes, and there are lot of legends and stories (accepted by the Roman Church) in which Angels play a part.

Jeanne d'Arc for example, who was eventually declared a Saint. Or how about the storming of Jerusalem, in which Michael(?) took part with a flaming sword. There are many passages in the Bible about Angels as well, though mostly they are commanded by God.
 

Rendi

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I appreciate your thoughts and observations. However, if you think about it, the Christ, the Saints and even the archangel Michael act under the authority of God. Ulmo acts in despite of the will of Manwe and the other Valar.

I suppose what I am trying to suggest is that, whether he realized/acknowledged it or not, Tolkien's world has an irreducible element of Teutonic/Nordic/Celtic and even Olympian pagan cosmology to it.

One may argue that all is under the will of Eru and so Tolkien's cosmology is ultimately monotheistic. But the same applies to Brahman of Hinduism. But who would call Hinduism a monotheistic religion? There are not only good and evil gods, but also ambivalent gods and gods who are not as simple as good or evil.

I think Tolkien loved the pagan cultures he studied and couldn't help but include their pagan cosmology in his world.
 

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