Wednesday, May 23, 2018

tolkien | about lewis and tolkien | bc catholic

Christopher S. Morrissey, TWU logics and philosophy professor and Executive Advisor to the Inklings Institute of Canada, not only found time in his schedule to join us for Saturday's Theatre Club last weekend, but also to write a fascinating piece for The BC Catholic that is part-review and part-academic exploration of the collision of Tolkien and Lewis' worldviews. An excerpt is below, and you can read the entire piece here.

"The appeal of Tolkien and Lewis derives, I think, from their imaginative critique of the modern world’s domination by machine technology. In effect, the two re-humanize and re-enchant the world with their sanctifying fictions.

For Tolkien in particular, the possession of magic best symbolizes the abilities of technology in the modern age, which is intoxicated by the magic of “the machine.” Tolkien’s intricate tales capture the deep truth of our destructive fascination with this power.

But he also shows how we might overcome “the machine,” through the formation of real friendships. Think of Frodo Baggins and Samwise Gamgee.

Lewis’ imaginative worlds may be more accessible for the very reason Tolkien criticized them: they are more didactic, as they provide vividly imaginative justifications for the truth of Christianity.

Perhaps because Lewis felt he had wasted too much of his life on atheism and materialism, he saw the need to debunk such poppycock in the most directly effective ways possible.

Lewis was a convincing apologist, but his theology is arguably best articulated in his stories, especially in his science-fiction trilogy and The Narnia Chronicles.

His strongest philosophical argument against the Age of the Machine, against which both he and Tolkien were compelled to write great literature, is found in The Abolition of Man. Still relevant today, that book is my recommended starting point for anyone seeking to understand the noble purpose animating both Lewis and Tolkien."

(Photo credit: Jalen Laine Photography.)

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