jottings from tertius

views of the world from my worldview window

"If there was no God, there would be no atheists." G.K. Chesterton


SITES OF NOTE

Tektonics Apologetics Ministry
blogs4God
The Adarwinist reader
Bede's Library: the Alliance of Faith and Reason
A Christian Thinktank
Doxa:Christian theology and apologetics
He Lives
Mike Gene Teleologic
Errant Skeptics Research Institute
Stephen Jones' CreationEvolutionDesign
Touchstone: a journal of mere Christianity: mere comments
The Secularist Critique: Deconstructing secularism
Ex-atheist.com: I Wasn't Born Again Yesterday
imago veritatis by Alan Myatt
Solid Rock Ministries
The Internet Monk: a webjournal by Michael Spencer
The Sydney Line: the website of Keith Windschuttle
Miranda Devine's writings in the Sydney Morning Herald
David Horowitz frontpage magazine
Thoughts of a 21st century Christian Philosopher
one-eighty
Steven Lovell's philosophical themes from C.S.Lewis
Peter S. Williams Christian philosophy and apologetics
Shandon L. Guthrie
Clayton Cramer's Blog
Andrew Bolt columns
Ann Coulter columns




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"These are the days when the Christian is expected to praise every creed except his own." G.K.Chesterton


"You cannot grow a beard in a moment of passion." G.K.Chesterton


"As you perhaps know, I haven't always been a Christian. I didn't go to religion to make me happy. I always knew a bottle of Port would do that."C. S. Lewis

"I blog, therefore I am." Anon


Monday, December 15, 2003

Talking Tolkien

 
I write much about atheists and their atheism on this blog site; partly because I cannot fathom what it must be like to live without any sense of transcendent purpose and hope in life; partly because I am genuinely bemused by the kind of person who is more militantly and dogmatically god-obsessed in their denial of God than most believers are in their affirmation of God; partly because I find it bizarre that there are people who would project such an intensity of hatred and expend such a force of energy upon something which they claim does not even exist; and partly because of the realization that it is not the idea of “god” so much which really disturbs these guys but specifically the God of the Bible, as revealed in Jesus Christ and as worshipped in Christianity that really makes them madder than a junk yard dog. And as I have come to know Christ as Lord and saviour, as the One of such infinite love and compassion, it concerns me that this God of love is such an object of hate and revulsion to them.

Welcome to the weird world of cyberspace, I guess...

What has this to do with Tolkien and The Lord of the Rings? A lot, actually.

I have noticed how may footsoldiers for atheism are big fans of fantasy and sci-fi, how many of them are fascinated by computers and programming, of gaming and role-playing, of the kind of dressing up that goes with medieval and civil war recreations. I have often been struck by how many of them use names of characters from various fantasy and sci-fi epics as their online monikers. My point is that many of these guys - and guys they mostly are - immerse themselves in the fantastic and the mythic in a way that runs counter to their professed rationalism and commitment to philosophical naturalism. It's as if, on the one hand, they deny the existence of anything but the material but on the other hand, cannot extinguish their deep yearning for the spiritual, the mythic and the transcendent. They channel the latter urges into an obsession with toys, games, playing and escapism. It all seems rather contradictory but it also is telling in that one can apparently chase God out of one's life but one cannot get rid of the God-shaped vacuum that remains, so one attempts to fill it up with all sorts of little gods, perhaps the kind that inhabit books, and movies and computer games, perhaps some more malevolent ones...

Many atheists are big fans of the works of J R R Tolkien. In our common humanity that is something they share with Christians and other theists, pagans and agnostics. Tolkien strikes a resonant chord with all of us. But of course Tolkien was a committed Christian - as were many of the great pioneers of Fantasy fiction - MacDonald, Williams, Lewis et. al. - and his faith and his belief in God are an essential part of his writing. Not just a minor part, but at the core of his literature. One cannot fully comprehend the richness, the symbolism, the themes of his work if one cannot appreciate the spiritual and transcendent dimension that were so important to him. Of course Tolkien does not hit the reader over the head with his religious or spiritual concerns but the person for whom the cosmos is all there is, all there ever was, and all there ever will be is not a person who can inhabit Tolkien's world. But it says something about the human spirit and the religious impusle that the committed materialist and atheist can indeed feel at home in Tolkien's world even when rejecting the very basis of Tolkien's worldview. Perhaps, in a corner of his heart, behind a door he fears to open, the atheist really does believe in the myth of the gods after all...

1:34:00 am