Tuesday, October 14, 2008

More on Tolkien and the "Long Defeat"

I learned from a blog post by Alan Jacobs today that not only did JRRT refer to history as "a long defeat" in his letters, but also that this is a quote from LOTR. (I found Jacob's entry through Rod Dreher's blog "The Crunchy Con.") Here is the Jacobs entry:

As I noted in a previous post: Tolkien says in Letter 195: "Actually I am a Christian, and indeed a Roman Catholic, so that I do not expect 'history' to be anything but a 'long defeat' - though it contains (and in a legend may contain more clearly and movingly) some samples or glimpses of final victory."

In LOTR, Galadriel says to Frodo: "For the Lord of the Gladhrim is accounted the wisest of the Elves of Middle-Earth, and a giver of gifts beyond the power of kings. He has dwelt in the West since the days of dawn, and I have dwelt with him years uncounted; for ere the fall of Nargothrond or Gondolin I passed over the mountains, and together through the ages of the world we have fought the long defeat." (Mirror of Galadriel, LOTR)

An entire philosophy of history and indeed, a spirituality, is contained in this hauntingly beautiful phrase "the long defeat." In the saeculum - the period between the Ascension and the Glorious Return of our Lord - we live in a period in which the world continues under the usurpation of the Enemy even though Jesus Christ has been exalted to the right hand of the Father and is the rightful Lord of the world. In this time the faithful people of God live under the tyranny of the Enemy and despite all our efforts the lesson is re-learned over and over again that we cannot establish the Kingdom of God by our efforts and we cannot re-capture Eden by our wisdom or power. We fight and occasionally we triumph for a little while. Yet evil always rises again and can never be destroyed by human hands. Our experience of the long defeat inclines us to pray fervently "Thy will be done, Thy kingdom come, on earth as it is in heaven." We long for heaven but most of all we long for heaven to come to earth in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ. We are gradually made first courageous, then humble, and finally hopeful.

Blessed is he who neither takes "history" too seriously or not seriously at all, but just seriously enough.

4 comments:

Peter William Lount said...

An entire philosophy of history and indeed, a spirituality, is contained in this hauntingly beautiful phrase "the long defeat." In the saeculum - the period between the Ascension and the Glorious Return of our Lord - we live in a period in which the world continues under the usurpation of the Enemy even though Jesus Christ has been exalted to the right hand of the Father and is the rightful Lord of the world. In this time the faithful people of God live under the tyranny of the Enemy and despite all our efforts the lesson is re-learned over and over again that we cannot establish the Kingdom of God by our efforts and we cannot re-capture Eden by our wisdom or power. We fight and occasionally we triumph for a little while. Yet evil always rises again and can never be destroyed by human hands. Our experience of the long defeat inclines us to pray fervently "Thy will be done, Thy kingdom come, on earth as it is in heaven." We long for heaven but most of all we long for heaven to come to earth in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ. We are gradually made first courageous, then humble, and finally hopeful.

An evil and vile philosophy indeed is the Christian dogma which is the real enemy of freedom, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The silly christian notion that we are all sinners begins "the long defeat" that there is no escape from. It's a very good thing that faith and beliefs are simply made up mind poo and have no correlation with what is real in objective reality.

Human beings (as well as other creatures) are not evil from the beginning, it's their actions that are evil (in the non-supernatural sense of doing harm to others).

Of course evil can't be defeated since it's the actions not a thing that is evil.

Anyone proclaiming to be the second coming of Jesus the lord thy god would be laughed at by the vast majority of people and sent to the nutter house for medical treatment.

What amazes me is that you can't see how crazy your religious beliefs are when they are written down or when you spew them from your mouths. It's quite shocking how irrational they demonstrate you are being.

Get real.

Peter William Lount said...

Oh, forgot the quote characters... on the first paragraph of the previous comment was quoted from the above article posting.

Craig Carter said...

Peter,
I didn't see you comments until I happened to be looking at this post today. If you see this please know that I prayed for you today (May 12, 2010) that you would come to see the truth of God for yourself. I sense a lot of passion in your words about something you claim not to believe in, which suggests that you may be a seeker. I hope you find Him.

Julie said...

This is a wonderful post! Thank you for sharing.