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Catholic JRR Tolkien's Influence On CS Lewis' Conversion To Christianity, Hollywood and Rock Supergroup Led Zeppelin. This Mild Mannered Englishman Helped Change Christianity In The 20 & 21st CenturyBy Dave Hartline

JRR Tolkien a mild mannered Englishmanhad aprofound influence on the religious and secular world. This man who was chiefly responsible for the conversion of CS Lewis to Christianity probably wouldn't have believed his books would have had such drastic influences well into the 21st century both with religious and non-religious audiences. His influence would range from the university level where CS Lewis' religious literature was oftendebated to the smoke filled taverns and living rooms where much of the world listened to rock super group Led Zeppelin

Tolkien was born to British parents in South Africa in 1892. Shortly after his birth, his parents returned to a town near Birmingham, Englandwhere Tolkien was raised. Tolkien's childhood was ordinary even ifhe was not your typical child. He was brilliant. Thedueling imagesofBritish countryside optimism contrasting with the glum grit of Birmingham made a lasting impression on the young Tolkien. Today, many tour his childhood haunts to see the influences for such concepts as the "Two Towers."

Tolkien survived World War I although he contracted trench fever which resulted in a prolonged illness. Tolkien was greatly influenced by war and religion. Some of Tolkien's family converted to Catholicism when he was young and the images he learned from Catholicism would also be very visible in many of his story lines.

In 1926, while teaching at Oxford, Tolkien met CS Lewis at a faculty party. Although both taught at Oxford, theydidn't have an occasion to meet until that faculty party.The two would embark on a friendship that would last their entire lives. At the time of their meeting Lewis was an atheist neglecting the Anglican faith of his childhood. Tolkien, in his intellectual ways, helped Lewis understand faith in a modern, intellectual setting. One wonders if there would have been anyone besides Tolkienwho would have been able to explain faith to Lewis. Considering the impact Lewishad on 20th century Christianity, it seems rather providential. One can only wonder what the modern Christian world would be like without "Mere Christianity, "Screwtape Letters," The Problem of Pain" etc

Tolkien also unwittingly influenced millions with his books.The pop cultureand science fiction world which are often not often taken to religious imagery, would be tremendously influenced by the Hobbit and The Lord Of The Rings. Robert Plant future lead singer of the rock super group Led Zeppelin was one of those teenagers who was greatly influenced by Tolkien's work. Many might remember the rumors that Jimmy Page, Led Zeppelin guitarist,dabbled in the occult.Whether or not that is true, it is certainly true that as far as lyrics go Plant won the day with Tolkien whose books always containedparables about religious faith, especially Catholicism. There is much discussion of which Led Zeppelin songswere actually taken from Tolkien's imagery butthere is no doubt that songs like "Misty Mountain Hop,Battle of Evermore" and "Ramble On"," were greatly influenced by Tolkien.

Manypeople in their 20's, 30's, 40's and 50's who grew up listening to Led Zeppelinprobably didn't know what they were singingabout in "Ramble On" when they sang the words, "Twas In the darkest depths of Morder I found a girl so fair but Gollum, the evil one, crept up and slipped awaywith her." Plant has said many Led Zeppelin songswere greatly influenced by Tolkien but would never say exactly which were or weren't. Therefore speculation aboutwhether theLed Zeppelin epic, "Stairway To Heaven"had anyTolkien influences will have to remain just that, speculation. Ryan Hammell speculates on his web page that there might have been some Plant references to Lord of the Rings in "Stairway To Heaven" when Plant sings, "There's a feelingI get when I look to the west and my spirit is crying for leaving. Inmy thoughts I have seen smoke through the trees and the vision of those who stand looking."

In 2001 "Lord of the Rings," the Peter Jackson movie wasfilmed with permission and consultatation from the Tolkien family. There were many Catholic images of sacrifice and good works throughout the movie. Often questioned teachings like Purgatory were shown insuch a positive light in the movie. The Church would do well to capitalize on the imagery used for teachings like purgatory. The mild mannered Tolkien was a towering figure in modern Christianity, perhaps even more so than Lewis, for where would Lewis have been in his faith walk without the influence of Tolkien. People of faith oughttosay a prayer of thanks for the imagination and brilliance of JRR Tolkien. We are all better Christians for it.

The Catholic Tide Continues to Turn


You can buy "The Catholic Tide Continues to Turn" from the link above or directly call the publisher (Aquinas and More) toll free at 1-866-428-2820.


Contact Dave Hartline for any inquiries, questions or to speak to your group by clicking the "speaking links" on the left side of the page directly opposite and above this entry.


Upcoming Appearances
by Dave Hartline


4/12/2009
Saint Gabriel Catholic Radio. My Interview With Father Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life


March 7, 2009
Saint Gabriel Catholic Radio, I Will Be Hosting The Post Game Show Following The Columbus Catholic Men's Conference


February 27, 2009
Brian Patrick's Sonrise Morning Show, Sacred Heart Radio EWTN


1/9/2009
Brian Patrick Sonrise Morning Show Sacred Heart/EWTN Radio


9/17/2008
Paul Clemens Show WLCR AM 1040 Louisville


July 7, 2008
Catholic Answers Live With Jerry Usher


June 26, 2008
Brian Patrick Show On Sacred Heart Catholic Radio, Cincinnati


March 4, 2008
St. Peter-Chillicothe, Ohio


February 11, 2008
St Mary's-Marion, Ohio


12/15-16/07
Signing Books After Mass-St Michael Parish-Worthington, Ohio


12/8-9/07
Signing Books After Mass-St Joan Of Arc Parish-Powell, Ohio


11/13/07
Relevant Radio The Drew Mariani Show


11/5/07
Relevant Radio The Drew Mariani Show


10/26-28/07
Marian Center Conference XVI Boyne Mountain, MI


9/14/07
Michigan Catholic Radio


9/27/07
Theology & A Pub Columbus, OH (Columbus Maennerchor) 966 S High Street


9/11/07
Michigan Catholic Radio


8/03/07
Relevant Radio's Searching The Word Program 12-1 CST


8/15/07
In His Service Catholic Radio, Philadelphia


7/30/07
Radio Maria & Affiliates (Louisiana)


7/26/07
Catholic Marketing Network (Cleveland)


5/24/07
St Gerald Church Farmington, MI (Speaking & Signing Books) Event Begins At The Conclusion Of The 7PM Mass


6/06/07
Paul Clemens Show WLCR AM 1040 Louisville 5PM


5/23/07
Al Kresta Radio Show Ave Maria Radio 5PM EST


5/22/07
St Jane Frances DeChantel Church Sterling Heights, MI (Speaking & Signing Books) Event Begins At 7PM


5/15/07
Teresa Tomeo Show Ave Maria Radio 8AM


4/28-4/29
St Mary Parish-Marion, Ohio (Briefly Speaking After Masses & Signing Books)


3/25/07
Saint Peter Church-Chillicothe, OH (signing books)


3/23/07
Lino Rulli Show-Sirius Satellite Catholic Radio


3/03/07
Cincinnati Catholic Men's Gathering-Cincinnati, OH (signing books but not speaking)


3/02/07
Maronite Catholic Youth Gathering-New Castle-PA


2/21/07
Catholic Family Theater Productions-Hollywood, CA (Pasta & Prayer Series)


2/20/07
GodSpace Catholic Bookstore-Thousand Oaks, CA


2/07/07
Al Kresta Show-Ave Maria Radio


1/31/2007
EWTN Bookmark Program-Birmingham, AL (Taped At The Catholic Marketing Network)


1/18/2007
Catholic Marketing Network Gathering-Birmingham, AL


1/16/2007
Relevant Radio-The Drew Mariani Show


1/08/2007
KVSS Catholic Radio-Omaha, NE (Bruce & Kris McGregor)



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