Random Musings

Fact or Fiction?

Posted July 01, 2008

Works of fiction are sometimes criticized as being irrelevant for a Christian trying to spend their time doing for Christ. However I would point out that such works open doors for rather intriguing intellectual study.

Let's take fantasy for instance. By creating a new universe with its own laws of nature (and super-nature) the author now has greater freedom to take his readers into usually unattainable regions of thought. This is why the fantasy genre is often so attractive, especially to young people. It gives another plane of existence to understand.

Modern fiction as most of you know is rapidly deteriorating. This has added to the unflattering perception of this style. In spite of that, this author still maintains that fiction should not be condemned merely for being fiction. Christ spoke in parables which were fictitious stories. Might not a lesser person use the same medium? We are created in the image of God let us not forget.

The Way Its Meant to be Done

Posted May 29, 2008

If you've ever been to my house you've probably seen my coffee rig before. Here's a picture for those who haven't yet. If you can't see the coffee in the mug it's because it's not doctored (or "spoiled" as some might say).

Sui Angren Maeg Angren

Posted May 19, 2008

This is a continuum of the debate begun in my last post.

Dear Mr. Powers,

Let me say up front that I agree with you that 1: magic is evil, and 2: The Lord of the Rings is not an allegory, at least in a strict sense.

That being said I'm not sure I understand your choice of words with reference to "magic" and "allegory". You stated (as did I) that all forms of magic are completely and totally evil. I explained in my post that magic is merely a subset of the supernatural and falls under the "evil" category. I then explained the parallel between the two sources of said supernatural power found both in scripture and in Tolkien's universe.

I apologize for not stating my understanding of how the word "allegory" should be applied to Tolkien's universe. To summarize the definition found in the American Heritage Dictionary in relation to this context, an allegory is a representation of ideas or principles in a narrative form. Tolkien stated that he disliked the direct allegory writing style, like that you'll find in the works of his friend C. S. Lewis in The Chronicles of Narnia. However it is utterly impossible for any writer to not be influenced by his/her studies and research. For example, Tolkien came up with the idea for "Middle Earth" from Norse Mythology. The Norse "Vikings" believed in several worlds that crossed paths over the human-inhabited world "Midgard" which literally means "middle enclosure". Therefore, though Tolkien certainly did not write a literal allegory, he did use many parallels from other works both fictional and historical.

I am also rather confused by paragraph seven of your response. You said:

I know you probably think me ignorant in this allegory but even Tolkien chose to call the Istari Wizards (who cast multiple spells), if he had chosen to make them wise men sent from Eru then I would not have a such a big problem with this, but still as I have said before, Angels can only do the bidding of the LORD, ones who have disobeyed have been cast out.

You start of by using the word allegory in reference to Tolkien's work. I can only assume that since you firmly spoke against LOTR being an allegory that you are speaking of a parallel. You then say "even Tolkien chose to call the Istari Wizards (who cast multiple spells),...", even though I explained in my post that due to the many different languages Tolkien used, the word "wizard" (among others) was only used by unlearned characters such as most men and hobbits, or by more learned ones speaking to them. God speaks in various languages to us and uses terms we can better comprehend in order for us to learn more easily (eg. speaking in parables). Tolkien applied a similar principle with words like "wizard" and "magic". In The Silmarillion since he is writing as an Eldar (or "elvish") chronicler you hear almost no mention of wizards, necromancers, sorcerers, or magic unless it be in reference to "the enemy". Whereas in The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings he uses them more frequently in reference to the Istari or the eldar.

In the same sentence you said "...if he had chosen to make them wise men sent from Eru...". First of all, it has been stated already (and you'll remember this from The Silmarillion) that the five Istari are in fact Maiar, in the form of old men. You also said that angels can only do the bidding of the Lord. Where did I dispute this? And also, from a Calvinistic standpoint, both good and evil angels ("demons") are bound to the will of God even as everything else in the universe is. Those angels who have been "cast out" are known as "demons" yet remain angels (scripture refers to the devil and his angels), so it's entirely plausible for (in a parallel sense) Saruman, and even Sauron (who was also a Maia at one time) to be turned to evil.

I greatly appreciate your willingness to discuss and seek out this matter and look forward to further communications with you.

Sincerely,

Micah D. Ferrill

Maer Goeg G

Posted May 15, 2008

I started this post as a comment in response to a statement on this site about "all wizards being dark" with specific reference to The Lord of the Rings. It grew to be very, very long in a hurry (for a comment) so I decided to make a post and link to it.

Scripture speaks clearly to the fact that all sorcery and similar acts of witchcraft are evil. However there are innumerable places in the Bible that tell of supernatural events taking place that are declared good. Therefore we can say that there are two categories of supernatural happenings. First there is the bad kind which is caused by the devil and his demonic forces.

Witches and wizards derive their abilities from this category of the supernatural. Secondly there is the good kind which is caused by God himself directly or through a lesser power be it angels, prophets, or even a donkey (Balaam's ass).

Now let's travel to the land of make-believe. we'll stroll past tales of dragons and damsels and light on a set of books bearing the similarity that they were all penned by J. R. R. Tolkien and edited and published by his son Christopher (for whom the stories were first written). Tolkien (senior) was a language master. He invented more than a dozen complete languages as a hobby. And they aren't English just with different letters. They are complete languages, with their own pronunciation, scripts, dialects, and histories (fictional of course). Since he wrote LOTR as a history for these languages the names and tales are often not in English and so he had a tough time translating these into English for us poor illiterate people to read.

When looking at the many books Tolkien wrote about his fictional universe one can see certain tendencies between each of the races. Men and Hobbits are usually the medium through which he speaks to his readers since their language is closest to English. Men in Tolkien's universe are the most easily led astray of the free peoples and are sometimes very simple in their thinking. Where they would say wizard, an elf would say Istari.

The Istari are members of a group known collectively as the Maiar, a lesser class of angelic beings. The five Istari or "wizards" as the unlearned in Tolkien's universe would call them were sent by the Valar (higher angels) to aid the free peoples in the coming struggle against "the enemy" aka. Sauron. Sauron himself was once a Maia but had fallen astray and was corrupted by his lord: Morgoth (yes, Sauron has a boss).

Painful Scabs

Posted January 23, 2008

When the members of a society find themselves in a secure position, human nature will lead them to relax their vigilance and they eventually find themselves doing things they never would have imagined in their normal state.. As this can happen to anyone at any given time and lead to crime, governmental control of some kind is found necessary. However, when the same problem occurs within said government the members of such societies must rise up and create a new and better government to preserve their wellbeing. At the last however, when such failings occur to both at the same time by intent or accident the tyranny ensues.

As the people weaken their grasp in one part, the government in its natural thirst for more control reaches in and "fills" that need. As society accepts more and more government control in their lives, the fall increases its velocity. Each time a great movement in priorities takes place, a crack is found in the system which is then filled by the government until the citizens lose control entirely. At this point the government becomes a law unto itself. Now there is a state where each citizen is now the property of the state and no longer a person in and of themselves.

Translation

irritating knee injury + trapped mental energy = rambling.

I injured my right knee recently playing indoor soccer. It's just a surface wound (took a lot of skin off) but because its on my knee it can't form a proper scab. Every time I move my leg the scab cracks and more liquid seeps through to rebuild it. Trouble is, it overdoes the seeping part and leaves bumps on my knee that hang loosely when they crack. So I physically break off the excess to keep it under control. Interesting opening for parallel applications? You tell me.