Re: Something must change

Keith B Miller (
Mon, 24 Aug 1998 14:31:32 -0600

Glen wrote:

>As I have been thinking about my analogy in other notes with the Lord of
>the Rings, would it make a lot of sense for an English teacher to tell his
>class that the Lord of the Rings is "True but fictional"? How would a
>student evaluate such a statement? To appeal to a Wittgensteinian type of
>analysis, the 'true but fictional' phrase is a misuse of language. We
>don't use those words in that manner EXCEPT when it comes to the Bible. We
>Christians certainly don't use such language in relation to other religious
>books, such as the Koran, the Bhagadvagitta, or the book of Mormon. Is the
>Bhagadvagitta 'true but non-historical?'

I have avoided contributing to this thread, but I would like to respond to
this statement. I do think of _The Lord of the Rings_ as "true but
fictional". The reason it resonates so well with so many is that it
embodies truths about the nature of reality. It makes them accessible to
those who would be little impacted by a pure theological argument. His
work _Perelandra_, part of the space trilogy, has been especially helpful
to me in understanding the nature of sin. By probing the nature of sin
within a fictional setting it brings sharper focus on the theological
issue. Jesus' parables function in much the same way. They challenge the
listener to discover truth in a personal way through a fictional story.


Keith B. Miller
Department of Geology
Kansas State University
Manhattan, KS 66506