The leaving out of Tolkien’s faith is a convicting wake-up call to us, the confessing church. And this reason may be true of other public slights of the Christian faith, too. It may not be because the unbelieving media is attacking Christianity. They instead might just have witnessed Christians use Christianity as a means to something else for so long that they assume that personal faith in Jesus isn’t really something of primary importance.
I haven’t seen the film, but I’ve heard Tolkien includes no reference to J.R.R. Tolkien’s faith. This may even be one of the reasons why the Tolkien estate has disavowed the film. Now, of course the exclusion of his faith is intentional: much work goes into creating a movie; it wasn’t left out accidentally.
But why was Tolkien’s faith left out?
We might automatically assume his Christian faith was omitted by the producers, writers, and directors to denounce the Christian faith. Such an assumption is that the creators intentionally omitted it out of a desire to assault the Christian faith, so that our faith might be subverted.
But perhaps there’s a less sinister—but more serious for us—reason. And perhaps this other option, as surprising as it may seem to many of us, is one of the major reasons why the Christian faith is often diminished in the public sphere, whether it be in movies, music, news articles, or conversation.
Seen as Secondary
What if the world omits and downplays our faith not because they’re attempting any sort of militant attack on the faith, but simply because the world sees the Christian faith in a way we often show it, namely, as secondary?