Friday, March 04, 2005

LOTR and Stories Like It

Since this topic came up in the comments of yesterday's post, I'd like to address it. My dear Holly wrote, "I am curious as to what others of you feel about Lord of the Rings. I know what I think...but perhaps I am misguided." (What an awesome attitude! Holly rocks!)

I'm going to give my honest and wildly unpopular (SHOCKER!) opinion. It is one that gave my own flesh much pain, since I have always loved stories like this. Since I believe the Word of God speaks to it, though, it is not a "gray" area to me.

God tells us very clearly throughout the Bible what He thinks of witchcraft, sorcery, and (as I wrote yesterday) syncretism. Witchcraft is an abomination to Him:

Deut 18:9-12
When thou art come into the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not learn to do after the abominations of those nations. There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch. Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer. For all that do these things are an abomination unto the LORD: and because of these abominations the LORD thy God doth drive them out from before thee.

Gal 5:19-21
Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

Rev 9:20-21
The rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands nor give up worshiping demons and idols of gold and silver and bronze and stone and wood, which cannot see or hear or walk, nor did they repent of their murders or their sorceries or their sexual immorality or their thefts.

As Lani declared in the comments yesterday, there's "plenty of witchcraft going on in [LOTR]." And in The Chronicles of Narnia, and in Harry Potter.

Putting ALL FEELINGS aside, all of your "love" for the books and movies, can you really justify putting witchcraft before your (and your children's!) eyes?

1. "But it's CHRISTIAN! It has themes of good and evil! It has a Christ figure!"

First, I highly recommend this article, which goes into greater depth and states the entirety of the problems better than I.

There is no such thing as "good" and "bad" magic. All magic (sorcery, witchcraft) is of the devil and is clearly condemned by God. This takes us back to yesterday's points: is God glorified in the midst of abomination? Does He USE abominations to GLORIFY Himself? Answer carefully.

Rearding themes: Take it from a former English teacher--you can produce "themes" of good and evil in almost any work. You can find a Christ figure in tons of English lit. What does that really mean? Does God sanction witchcraft in this instance, but it's an abomination in others?

God does not change (James 1:17). What was detestable to Him still is. When I realized that, I knew I could never look at The Chronicles of Narnia, LOTR, or anything that contains sorcery the same way. Regardless of how much I 'loved' Aslan. As I distanced myself from them, I began to see other theological problems with them (which are out of the scope of this article).

2. "But I am not participating in witchcraft! I am just watching it."

We must not become neo-gnostics and separate our earthly activities from our "spritual" reality. What we DO, what we set before our eyes, does affect our spiritual condition. We cannot countenance, even approve, of abominations and emerge unscathed. The little foxes spoil the vineyard, and putting a "God-stamp" on witchcraft does not sanctify it.

I pray with all my heart that my brothers and sisters would seek the Lord on this. I pray for discernment, wisdom, and a love for truth for all of us. May the Lord lead us into all truth by His Spirit.

I am not saying, "Do not touch!" to the things that God does not mention. But we ARE to separate from unholy things.

Rev 18:4-5
Then I heard another voice from heaven saying,
"Come out of her, my people,
lest you take part in her sins,
lest you share in her plagues;

for her sins are heaped high as heaven,
and God has remembered her iniquities.

Psalm 101:7
No one who practices deceit
shall dwell in my house;
no one who utters lies
shall continue before my eyes.


2 Cor 6:17
Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.

There's a lot more to say, but perhaps this is enough for now. I know I am treading on many of my beloved family's toes, and I hate to do that. But I hate deception and the tactics of the enemy much more.

ADDENDUM: Holly brought up a great point to me privately that I want to address. I am writing primarily here about entertainment--seeking to amuse ourselves. I am NOT writing about education. I would teach my children about Greek myths, for example. We would study all about what other cultures believe(d), etc. At an age-appropriate time, we'd examine what cults and the occult teach, and how what they teach compares to the Word. That is not my subject here.

I am also not saying that all entertainment is horrible. I do think Americans are obsessed with being entertained, but that's another post. ;-) Amusement is not sinful! But indulging our flesh in obviously sinful images and music is not pleasing to God.

Jodi made a good point, too, that I agree with. There are neutral things--movies, for example, that do not contain things that grieve the Spirit. We must all seek the Lord about how we spend our time and what we participate in; He will never lead us astray. But we must listen to Him, and not ourselves. Sometimes the voice of the flesh is so much louder than the still, small one of the Spirit. We must conquer and quiet the flesh (again, by God's grace and empowerment) in order to hear Him.

39 comments:

flowerlady said...

I actually lay in bed thinking about that very thing last night. I have been a lover of Narnia my whole life (still have my boxed set). I have had discussions with a friend who has no issues with Harry Potter (yes, she is a strong Christian) and Narnia. My flesh doesn't enjoy the thought that maybe my Narnian friends aren't so 'godly' after all. At the same time there is always going to be a battle over good and evil and we need to teach our children to stand against it. In that there is some value in Narnia, none in Harry Potter. Not all Christian literature is exactly on the mark either. Case in point - the devotional that we read with our kids this morning stated that if we love God He will keep us safe from harm but if we're wicked He won't. Tell that to my Mennonite relatives who lived through the Russian Revolution. There is truth there but not the whole truth. We need to be discerning in ALL that we put before our eyes and ears whether it bears the title Christian or not.
Lani

Kristen said...

Aboslutely, Lani; I agree. The Word says to test ALL things and hold on to that which is good. That applies to, well, ALL THINGS. :)

molly said...

Aaaahhh, I was wondering if we were going to differ here.

A few books I read helped us to change our views (from Narnia is bad, to Narnia is AWESOME). "Wild at Heart" by John Eldridge, and...oh crud, it's downstairs (the other book), but it's Christian and specifically dealing with children and fairy tales, etc. The author makes an incredible case...

The main argument is that the battle between good and evil is often the element of most classic stories, and that this is because it is written inside the person's very being. Even though we can't see the battle around us, even though many of us humans refuse to believe the truth about our existance and the war waged for us, it's like we instinctively know it.

...And we write stories where the Real Story is all over the place--Good being tricked/overpowered by Evil, Good and Evil struggling, Good triumphing over Evil in the end, etc...

Magic is seen in many of them simply because how else can the supernatural be explained by the mind? How else can you typify the supernatural element that most certainly exists? Bring in: the White Witch from Narnia, et al... It stands for the unseen realm that is more real than the one we see...it's just that we can't see it, and that makes it so hard to realize (to remember?) that it's there...the stories bring the Cosmic Struggle to life.

So we embrace fairy tales (reading some of the old classics, not the stupid Disney movies!) in that light with our children now. We talk about them as such: this is a fairy tale--ie, pretend, an allegory--and use them as tools. And tools they are--whewie!

You may disagree. Probably will. :o) But I've seen the switch firsthand, and the awakening it does to the mind, my own mind included--the re-telling (allegorizing) of The Story over and over and over again, in countless forms, makes the Truth all the more real--though it sounds funny to say it like that, I guess... It's just that it awakens you...helps you to *see* the unseen, in a way, I guess... (Like CS Lewis' Space Trilogy, for example: boy howdy, have I met God in those books and then some!!!!!)...

Imagination was not meant to be cut off, or deadened...the "turning the truth into stories" is rampant through Scripture--our God being King of the Allegory. :o)

When we read through the Narnia chronicles with my oldest daughter, she *met* Jesus for the first time. None of the Bible stories could do that for her yet ...At age 5, He was too distant, too otherworldy--something wholly seperate from her? Yet in Narnia, she fell in love with Aslan. And when she realized that Aslan was Jesus (in the middle of the book), it was like her eyes were opened for the first time, and something she felt only nominal about turned into something a lot more real. And she was IN LOVE. I have to say, it happens to me to, every time I go through them.

Anyways, there's quite a diversity of thought on this topic...and I used to be wholeheartedly over on your side of it, Kristen. So I understand where you are coming from. It's just that I see things differently now. Not because of worldly pressures or something, but because I was challenged by a few authors and couldn't stand up to their arguments... If I get a chance to later, I'll skim through the books and see if I can sum up their arguments for you (if you've never heard them before, that is).

Kristen said...

Molly, yeah, we disagree. It had to happen sometime. ;-)

You can sum up those arguments if you want, but I can almost guarantee I've heard them.

I do not propose to "deaden the imagination" just because I reject magic and myth. Please don't help perpetuate the notion that everyone who feels as I do is a big ol' killjoy who doesn't want to imagine anything or be creative. I just feel that God has boundaries for it, and I want to abide within those.

I know Lewis' argument about pagan myths being types of Christ. And if the Bible didn't specifically condemn sorcery and witchcraft, I'd agree that the "supernatural" can be revealed that way. But as it is, God has made a distinction between His work and witchcraft/sorcery. Fairy tales have led MANY, including myself, into the occult. I just think it's dangerous ground.

But I LOVE you anyway!!! Nothing like this could change that. :)

molly said...

Ok, almost twin...
*grin*

I found the book. It's called, "A Landscape With Dragons" by Michael D. O'Brien (I got it used at a used homeschool curriculum fair). I've never seen a better argument presented, and it totally changed the way I view the allegorical world of the fairy tale.

And he makes, btw, a HUGE distinction between most modern tales and those of the past. Disney's Cinderella vs. the actual fairy tale version of the story, for example, are two totally different stories preaching two totally different worldviews.

I can't really sum up his arguments here, because then I would be taking over your blog (harhar), but if you ever see that book cheap, GET IT. If you can tackle his arguments and beat 'em, then I'd like to hear it. *grin* Because it was a cut and dried case for me, but after reading that book (and thinking and wrestling and arguing with it for a while, during and after)...I did a huge change of face, and so did my husband (who is more famous than I for being skeptical of an argument and always has a million questions to ask before he'll accept anything)...

You have to understand though (which is hard to do, since I really haven't gone into any details) that we have major problems with many "modern fairy tales." Le'Engle books, for example, and such like. I know that may not make sense to you (why accept Narnia and not Le'Engle?), but like I said, I think it would take too long to explain here. Maybe I'll just blog on it sometime...

Ok, gotta run.

Kristen said...

Thanks, Moll. I'd be willing to hear what he has to say...I'll keep a look out for the book. :)

Rachel said...

I am not a person who sees a lot of "gray area" in morality, but literature is one place where I find it difficult to be strictly black and white. They key, to me, to navigating the gradient between the two is discernment. I'll use your three mentioned books as examples. For this discussion, black = "would never say was acceptable reading" and white = "see no problem with anyone of any age reading it."

When you look at it that way, there aren't many books on that "white" side, are there. I mean, as a mother, we abridge the Bible for our kids. A five-year-old girl and an eight-year-old boy do not need to be introduced to, say, rape and incest. They don't even know how intercourse works yet, so they're certainly not ready to encounter those topics at this point. So we skim or skip passages that deal with those concepts. This will obviously not always be the case.

Anyway. Back to the three examples given.

First, Harry Potter. I think it's appalling that this is considered kid-lit and that so many parents, even Christian ones, are just so happy to see their kids tackling these huge stories that they don't address the issues involved. Most young kids aren't equipped with enough discernment to tell what's demonic and what's from God. These books contain so much stuff that would require that discernment, and so little of real value, that if my kids ever read these books, it will be with me, as a class assignment in high school, and we'll be doing some serious picking-apart in our discussions of them. (As an aside, people seem to have forgotten that there was ever any good literature written for children before the mid-nineties.)

Then we have Lord of the Rings. This would probably be a little to the white side of gray for me. I've read the books and there is a lot of sorcery, and other issues to discuss -- a lot of chaff to separate out from the wheat. These stories do have a lot of "wheat" as well, and I think they are worth reading -- with discernment. I don't think we should toss out a lot of very worthwhile concepts because they are played out next to some that are bad. However, I don't think kids should just be let to read these on their own -- because again, children don't generally have the discernment necessary to do the separating.

And lastly, The Chronicles of Narnia. Yes, there are theological issues here. Our family has had some great discussions about how we believe Lewis was wrong about some things -- and to have a vigorous family discussion about whether Lewis believed in eternal security or not, based on the fact that by The Last Battle, Susan was no longer a friend of Narnia, or about the whole thing with that one soldier whose sacrifices to Tash were accounted as sacrifices to Aslan -- to research Lewis' position on these issues and then research the positions themselves and pick them apart -- it's actually a time of great spiritual growth. No, you don't read these books as gospel truth. But to cast them aside because they have some errors, and some positive treatment of un-Biblical ideas, is to throw out three things: First, the chance to discuss and grow in the way I've just described. Second, an awesome allegory, which Lewis wrote completely on purpose, and some keen insights into the nature of God. And third -- a ripping good story.

The bottom line is that every single thing we ever read, everything we watch, everything we feel and think, even, should be approached with discernment. The effect on us should not be to pull us away from the Lord or to even leave us static, but to move us toward Him. There are definitely books (and movies, and images, and what have you) which from this perspective are pure trash -- nothing redeeming enough to make up for the negatives. But there's an entire spectrum of works which, while I certainly wouldn't advocate sitting your child down with them and walking away, or approaching them mindlessly for pleasure, are certainly worth checking out.

Kristen said...

Rachel--I can totally live with that. :) (Hehe, as if you need me to be able to live with your family's decisions!!) ;-)

I think your arguments are well-reasoned. The truth is, at some point we all have to draw boundary lines for ourselves and our families. You bring up another good point about abridging the Bible for younger children...of course.

Honestly, my heart is just to A) present my own convictions and some scripture in order to, I hope, B) get Christians (and anyone interested in being one) to THINK about what they're doing and why. So many people never do that.

mormy73 said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
mormy73 said...

I agree sorcery is evil in any religion, but why do you refer to your god as 'him' is he a man? Who is 'his' wife?

Kristen said...

Mormy--I e-mailed you.

Christy said...

Hi, its Christy (I say that in case my name doesn't show up on top)
We loved the fantasy genre as immature christians, so we identify with you Kristen, and others that love it as well. The struggle against good and evil, as well as the idea of living in a midevil land really intrigued us. When LOTR came out, it was very hard for us to decide what to do about it. I have to confess that when they did come out, we did see them. We really enjoyed the movies on a fleshly level, and I was surprised that much of the magic, but not all, was omitted from the movies. Since I had never read the books I went to the library to get them out. I wanted to learn more about the story, and I was mildly sucked in by the "its a christian epic" opinion. The night I got them out, I noticed much more darkness in the books right away, including Runic symbols (which Rob and I were involved with before we realized that kind of witchcraft was wrong- was I immature back then or WHAT?? naive I think ANOTHER testimony for ANOTHER day haha)
After I saw those symbols, I prayed to the Lord and asked Him what he thought about these books, were they harmless or not. Now, I believe that when we ask God, He answers, in the scripture, as well as talking to us "directly". And we know that when we experience something, we know it is of Him, if it lines up with the scriptures. Ok, so when I ask Him, I usually dream something that gives me insight. I don't think its a vision or anything like that, it was just an answer. I dreamed that I was in this dark hallway of my house (first time I ever dreamed of my then current house btw...freaky) Everything was dark,and the light switches would not work, but one independant light kept shining in my face. It was small, but it was pretty powerful. The Lord said in my ear that I had let Satan in my house. He led me to my bedside, where the three books were neatly stacked on a shelf. I woke up looking at the books. I knew then that they were evil, and I had Rob get them back to the library post haste! I then researched Tolkien, and found out that he and CS Lewis knew each other. One was an athiest, and one was a nominal Catholic. My confidence in the fact that these were christian stories wavered till I saw an interview with Tolkien on one of the DVD's for LOTR. He wanted the interviewer to know that this was not supposed to be a christian based novel, it was just "for fun".
The Lord led me to the scriptures you posted Kristen, esp. the ones in Deut. and Ezekiel. Mixing the holy with the unholy is evil period. Wizards, witches, elves, no matter how white, are still anti-christ. Ask any witch. God does not use unclean things to make christian points. I wish it were otherwise RE LOTR, but I feel my questions to the Lord were answered.
Why doesn't anyone make a movie of John Bunyan's A Pilgrims Progress? That is a great, and godly read for anyone who loved fantasy novels, and very scriptural.
Here's another freaky thing that happened...I was on a site for LOTR looking at some stuff...and my baby son fell off a chair in the kitchen and knocked a tooth out. Blood was everywhere...I know it could have been a coincidence, but I really felt the Lord saying get away from that stuff.
I do think it really pleases the flesh to watch these things, but what is it worth compared to eternity?

Christy said...

I also wanted to post quickly on the aspect of emotionalism vs. truth. There seem to be a lot of things that really get us validly excited over the Lord, and Godly things, and spur us on to learn more, and get into the word more. Then there are other things that stir our emotions for a while, but then fade away. Its very hard in this day and age of movies, media and tv (of which we have greatly refrained from, for the benefit of our children) to discern between the things that truly stir the spirit, and things that charge us on an emotional level. Hope that makes sense. Another example that struck me as far as emotionalism goes, is the Passion movie. Many were stirred up to seek Christ, but found the Bible somewhat lacking compared to the excitement of the movie. OR the images were so graphic that already christians were having trouble during their devotional time. Emotional images really affect us.

We have 5 children (soon to be six) and we know that under the age of say 12, a child is very visual. Under the age of 9, we have seen that a child cannot differentiate between abstract and concrete. They cannot tell truly the difference between reality and fantasy. Everything that comes into the eye/ear gate is real to them (for example the monster in the movie is suddenly under the bed at bedtime). Even if we want to teach our children with analogies, it doesn't really benefit them till later in life.

Those are just two opinions I wanted to share after reading some posts. It's not to offend anyone, I just enjoy seeing differing opinions, and we all have a very valid right to our own. This discussion has been very interesting. ~Christy

Kristen said...

Christy, thanks so much for your perspective, dear friend. :)

Threefold Cord said...

Hey, hey, hey...this was my topic! :) Why aren't you all over on my newborn blog discussing this? (I'm just kidding. I wouldn't be able to handle y'all. You're too smart for me.) Keep up the good chatter. I'm enjoying it!

Threefold Cord said...

Were there really interviews with Tolkien on the DVD? I didn't remember that. He died a looooong time ago.

Coffee and a Muffin said...

I'm going to act like the mayor of Mayberry and say you all are right! lol! *kidding* Actually, I'm more in line with Molly on this. I used to avoid everything that wasn't perfectly acceptable at not violating Scripture. There's not much left after that. None, really, if you get right down to it. Everything has a tinge of sin in it. Our world is a sin-filled world. The question for me is, does it draw me to the Lord or away from Him to watch or read a movie/book?

So far, I feel no difficulty in watching or reading LOTR or Narnia and being doctrinally and relationally sound. They do not conflict for me.

Here's another one of my "hope-I-made-sense posts!

Kristen said...

Kim, I do know where you're coming from.

I do want to make it clear, though, that I never set out to condemn everything that smells of being human ('tinge' of sin). I am talking about witchcraft, magic, sorcery, sexual immorality...abominable sins. Not just anything.

Thus, I am not saying that you can't watch Pride and Prejudice because (gasp!) Lydia runs away with Wickham (hope I didn't just spoil anything for anyone). It does matter how sin is divulged and treated in a story.

Hope that's clearer than mud. :)

flowerlady said...

My goodness, y'all are deep thinkers! I have to agree that I would rather read the 'old' fairy tales than the newer versions that are out there. Do need to be aware that many of them were written to 'teach' children to stay away from certain things by scaring the pants off them!! (Grimm's) I believe everyone is in agreement here that discernment is the key to choosing what we or our children take in. How do we get discernment, by spending time with our Lord and understanding His heart on the issue, when we know what He thinks we will easily be able to discern what the right thing to do is. All of us are at different places on our journey to the Father's heart and God will require different things of each us at different points along the way...

Lani

Coffee and a Muffin said...

Kristen, I sure did sound like I was rationalizing my choices, didn't I? lol! It is an area I'm not totally sure about yet. The entertainment world certainly gives us much to deal with.

Coffee and a Muffin said...

"I am talking about witchcraft, magic, sorcery, sexual immorality...abominable sins. Not just anything."

You right! you right! Case made! ;-)

Todd said...

Kristen,

I believe God puts on our hearts those things He specifically wants each of us to deal with...kind of the Potter and clay thing. He is constantly molding each of us, taking away some of the bad (refining) and in its place, installing the good.

I have mixed feelings about the whole Harry Potter/LOTR/Narnia discussion. On one hand, I agree with you that we need to avoid that which poisons our minds, but on the other, I see in these stories (not all mind you) the continuing epic battle of Good vs Evil.

I believe as parents, we need to participate in order to ensure our children keep the proper perspective with these types of stories/movies, as we should do with all things involving our children.

I personally own all of Tolkiens works, including the LOTR trilogy. My children also have Harry Potter, and most of C.S. Lewis' works. We talk about them often, and I point out most if not all of the issues regarding magic, but I also point out the love shown for their fellow man in each of these stories.

Christians will always agree to disagree. Why? Because we are each in a different place in our walk with the Lord. Each of us is being refined one day at a time. What I read, or watch today, more than likely will not be what I read or watch in a month.

That is the truly wonderous part of walking with God.

Keep up the great work.

Rachel said...

Kristen, this is key:

get Christians (and anyone interested in being one) to THINK about what they're doing and why.

What matters isn't whether we all come to the same level of conviction about all issues. What matters is that everyone who follows Jesus would go through life with our eyes open and our Spirit-led brains in gear, not just blindly accepting anything, but holding it up to the light of Scripture.

flowerlady said...

Amen!

molly said...

Oooh, Rachel, that was good...

greasy joan said...

Kristen, We've never read Harry Potter, LOTR or LW&R series although I like Lewis' other works. I've grappled with this myself. You arte correct that we are talking abomidable sins here.

Furthermore, you've inspired me to search and exegete every nuance of Deut. 18.

Anne

Kristen said...

Everybody, thanks for the great discussion. :)

Anne--that sounds like a really interesting study!

Coffee and a Muffin said...

Kristen, just out of curiosity I did a word search for "abomination" (it's 8441 in the Strong's). These are also considered abominations to God: A lying tongue, a proud look, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are swift in running to evil, a false witness who speaks lies, one who sows discord among the brethren, dishonest scales (diverse weights and measures) - pretty much every movie Hollywood makes has abominations in them. Where do we draw the line?

Kristen said...

Well, Kim, I guess my answer to that is twofold. On one hand, we reject most of what Hollywood offers. The satanist Aleister Crowley looked to Hollywood as one of his greatest hopes to corrupt America and usher in the New Age. I believe Hollywood has helped fulfill that "calling" in many ways. Godly people lived without Hollywood (and the types of entertainment it puts out) for centuries.

On the other hand, as I mentioned to you yesterday, I think it does matter how sin is treated within a story. In Pride and Prejudice, Lydia runs away with Wickham, living with him as his wife without being married. The event is treated--in the family and in society--as a grave scandal. It's eye-opening to see how differently fornication was viewed then. Do you see the distinction I am making? First, no "lovemaking" scenes are shown (maybe that's a post for another day), and secondly, the sin is treated as it should be, at least from the POV of the characters the reader/audience is encouraged to identify with (Jane, Elizabeth, and Darcy).

All I can offer you is how we've thought about it and dealt with it. I like Napoleon Dynamite, too...but I won't sit here and tell you how godly it is. It's just much more neutral than most offerings. We saw it at Ryan's parents' house--we were almost trapped into it at a family gathering--but lo and behold, it was funny and clean, with nary a curse word or a sex scene! A story about a dork and his friends (hey, I can identify with that).

So we're not hermits. But I'll tell you right now that not much passes muster. :) Also, I don't want to run for a movie every time I have a couple of hours. I don't think it's the best use of time.

Make sense? :)

Coffee and a Muffin said...

Kristen, we're pretty much on the same page. I am VERY careful what comes into our house. I do let some things slide, but not by much - like in one of the animated Beatrix Potter stories the mother cat lies to her child. Nothing comes of it. But the story has a wonderful moral at the end, nonetheless. So, while it isn't perfect, I do allow it so long as my children are made aware of anything like that which comes up.

I am probably a lot more strict than most parents in what we watch. And we don't watch a lot of TV unless there's a sickie in the house. Then I tend to be more liberal. Robert and I only watch a bit of TV in the evenings after the children are in bed, mostly a tape of something. It is not hard to avoid the TV, but I do like watching a video sometimes

I had serious concerns about the LOTR movies when I had first heard about them because I had never read the books nor knew much about them. I just went by my own preconceived notions. I was not ever going to see them out of fear of what would be in them. After hearing so many Christians rave about them, I decided to give them a chance. I was very impressed with the heavy moral emphasis, albeit in a fantasy setting, but I must admit that I was moved to seek to be more honorable after viewing it. No, it was not without its problems. But they were few. So I probably sound like I'm trying to justify my choices, but I assure you that I am very sensitive to the Lord's promptings. There ARE times when He loudly says NO to me. I never sensed that with LOTR. I dunno. Pondering all of this...

Coffee and a Muffin said...

", but I must admit" should read ". I must admit" That's what I get for not checking everything before hitting the button.

Kristen said...

That's interesting...we had a very different reaction after viewing the first film. We didn't feel the 'moral' justified our viewing participation with the sorcery and witchcraft. I don't want to whitewash it...that's what it is. I just don't believe that God sanctions that stuff.

Coffee and a Muffin said...

I don't think He does either. Not sure why I wasn't as repelled by it. You're certainly more in the right on this one, scripturally. No argument there. :-)

Carmon Friedrich said...

Isn't it fun opening a can of worms?

The book by Michael O'Brien that Molly mentioned is very good. I have a review of it at my website. Here's an article by him about what's wrong with Harry Potter. Here is another longer article by O'Brien which also addresses Tolkien and Lewis, and answers the objections of a correspondent who has some of Kristen's concerns.

We do not do Harry Potter in our house, or Madeline L'Engle, but we do read Narnia and LOTR.

Brandy said...

Hi! came here through Women4God blogs. I found it really refreshing to read a Christian blog that shares my views on this very topic.

Focus on the Family is a staunch supporter of the Narnia series. When I found that out, I sent them an email....just basically asking them, very politely, how they could not only watch it, but promote them? Even gave them some Scripture.

Their response? Basically, they told me I was dead wrong about it. So my family and I quite supporting them (not for that reason alone, it was just the straw that broke the camels back so to speak)

Anyway. Awesome post! I look forward to reading more of what you have to say!!

Blessings to you and yours!
Brandy (Lady4Jesus)

Kristen said...

Hi Brandy! Thanks for your comments. I can't wait to check your blog out, too.

As far as the reception you got from FOTF, that's to be expected, especially from a mainstream ministry. I like some of what they do but have big issues with a lot of it. (Don't even WANT to open that can of worms right now!) ;-)

God bless you! :)

Atlantic said...

Hi all, I just wanted to clarift something about Tolkien.

Someone in the previous post comment said "Anyhow, what I wanted to say is that while Tolkien was a strong believer and is credited to have helped to lead C.S. Lewis to Christ, he was not yet a Christian himself when he wrote the LOTR trilogy. Many Christians try to espouse that it is "christian literature" when it in fact isn't. He became a Christian *after* writing the trilogy."

Some above also referred to Tolkien as a "nominal Catholic".

Both of these comments are not true. Tolkien was a lifelong devout Catholic. This is clear if you have read anyy biography or his published letters. He wrote in a letter, "The Lord of the Rings is of course a fundamentally religious and Catholic work; unconsciously so at first, but consciously so in the revision."

Since most of you seem to be Reformed, maybe being a devout Catholic is worse (to you) than being a nominal one :) but just so we have the facts straight.

There is an interesting article here:

http://www.decentfilms.com/commentary/magic.html

that contrasts and compares the use of magic in Tolkien, Lewis and Rowling. He says, for example, that Lewis "took pains, as I will show, to avoid even the appearance of condoning any sort of magical study or practice in the real world," and that "The whole shape of [Tolkien's] worldview as a Catholic Christian and of his imaginative life was antithetical to the 'deceits of the enemy'; and the very quality of the magic of his world, as well as of the imaginary situations in which it might be lawfully pursued and exercised, was very much removed from, and opposed to, the forbidden practices of real-world occultists and practitioners of magic..."

Kristen said...

Interesting, Atlantic! Thanks for contributing to the discussion. I know much more about Lewis than about Tolkien, so I wouldn't be the one to refute or corroborate what you say.

I am not Reformed/Calvinist, but if I'd known Tolkien, I'd have wanted to ask him about a few problems I have with Catholicism. But that's a post for another day.

Atlantic said...

Well, I am not nearly as educated or eloquent as Tolkien, but I am a Catholic, and I would be happy to answer any questions you have (within the limits of a comment box) and/or to put you on to more in-depth or authoritive answers. I’m very pleased to see how on this site people can disagree with each other so nicely!

Incidentally, I hope it would put your readers’ mind to rest to know that there is nothing intrinsically pagan or evil about runes. Runes were an alphabet used by the people of northern Europe both before and after their conversion to Christianity; the pagans used (and use) them for magic but the same is true of all alphabets, including the Greek and Roman alphabets!

As a matter of fact, some of the most famous runic inscriptions are Christian – the Ruthwell Cross is carved with lines from the earliest known poem in Old English, all about Christ and the Cross. There is a site all about it here:
http://www.flsouthern.edu/eng/abruce/rood/HOME.HTM

Obviously, some people may have particular situations where exposure to runes, or rune-like alphabets like Tolkien’s – or even fantasy literature in general – may be a serious temptation and proximate occasion of sin, so in such a case they should definitely avoid it.

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