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Why didn't the Valar receive the One Ring?

Alcuin

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I did not directly address the question, “Why is it always wise to keep Tolkien's Catholicism in view when reading him?” but I will now. It is not necessary to keep Tolkien's Catholicism in view when reading his works, nor is it “wise” unless you are attempting to interpret it in that light: Why should an author’s religious views affect the quality of his work unless they detract? Unless, of course, you concur with the Marxist view that “everything is political.

I agree with you that “this is not the place to discuss real-world religions”, and Dave Pence’s Project Evil is shut down; but as an aside, I confess that like CS Lewis, I am also a former devout Atheist. With deepest and sincere personal respect for you and your opinions, “There is no God,” is an extraordinary claim, and as I am often reminded by friends and acquaintances who remain atheists and agnostics, “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence” – for everyone’s extraordinary claims but their own.
 

Gothmog

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Thank you. I agree about it being unimportant when reading Tolkien and this is why I challenged the statement in the first place.

It is a shame that Project Evil is no more. I had hoped it would have continued and grown. I very much enjoyed discussing and moderating on there. Great challenge :)

However, just one point. Atheism does not say "There is no God" it says "I do not believe your claims there is one". Being "Devout" is a problem that interferes with many things.
 

Gothmog

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It would be interesting to continue this discussion on a suitable site but for now we will have to just leave it where it is :)
 

Ithilethiel

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I will still ask why is it wise to do so while reading Tolkien since people of many religious beliefs and with no such beliefs read and enjoy the books and each understands them according to what each finds in them as intended by Tolkien. When discussing his works then his religious beliefs are important but likewise also his interest in languages, mythology, and fairie.
Ok Gothmog. For everyone else but for you just a little bit...
 

Alcuin

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In this case, I think we know Tolkien’s intention: You can read his work without reference to his religious beliefs and opinions, and he meant for us to be able to read his work without reference to his religious beliefs and opinions. Is he Christian? yes, most decidedly so. Is he Roman Catholic? yes, emphatically so! Does he want, mean, intend to influence his readers through his work? yes again, explicitly so. But you can and should be able to read and thoroughly enjoy his stories without any reference to or any knowledge of his beliefs about God or salvation or the afterlife. Tolkien’s influence is, and is intentionally, subversive: he wants his story to get down deep into you and influence you even without your awareness. If you awaken later to what’s going on, great; and if you are convinced, wonderful! But you need not ever cross those borders to become completely immersed in Middle-earth and the goings-on of Hobbits, Elves, and Dúnedain.

And by the way, that’s what happened to me. Thank you, JRR Tolkien. I hope I can thank you in person one day – Alcuin
 

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