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I have been writing a series on Tolkien’s Middle-Earth and Christian theology, however, let’s take a quick pause to reflect on one of the key themes discussed in the last post and make our opinion known on the issue. The next post in the series is forthcoming.

In On the Varieties of Evil in Tolkien’s Middle-Earth, I mentioned how evil in Tolkien’s world manifests itself in many ways, but one of the more prominent ways is through isolation or exile. It is evident in the life of the creature Gollum and perhaps prominent to an extent in the life of Aragorn who seeks exile and only returns to his throne upon entering back into community with his people after some time with the Fellowship. There are other evidences mentioned in the previous post, but for now, what do you think of this understanding of community and exile?

Jean-Jacques Rousseau has stated famously, “Man is born free and everywhere he is in chains.” Rousseau believed that if the individual was stripped of church, society, and societal demands that all that was left was the desire for self-preservation. We live in a world marked by great and terrible men who have been greatly influenced by these very words. Men such as Hitler, Mao, Lenin, Marx, Robespierre, and more were inspired by such words, but many of their conclusions were far from good. Rousseau’s words have created a very modern, highly individualized world.

Is this world which is centered upon the individual conducive to living as Christians? If not, then how can we be the Body of Christ in such a highly individualized world with so many sects of Christianity?

I look at the global Body of Christ with all it’s denominations and traditions being much like a mirror which reflects the image of God (functionally and visibly), yet, bears many cracks which taint the image.

Tolkien’s Middle-Earth has many visible and obvious troubles, evils, and dangers. What are some of the evils, and dangers of our real-life modern world which can make it difficult to live out a Christ-centered life in a biblically modeled/grounded community of faith?