I’ve been re-reading The Lord Of The Rings. It occurs to me that for such an incredibly popular story it contains some very unfashionable views. For example, the good is attractive and appealing, whereas evil is ugly and repugnant. Being in the age of anti-heroes as we are, just pause and consider how unique this is today.
But nowhere is LOTR more unfashionable than in its unembarrassed belief in an objective moral order. There is real truth, beauty, and goodness. These are not assigned by us but only discovered and lived for. In our culture today this is not recognized easily. Aragorn, in an amazing moment of dialogue, utterly rejects the idea that good and evil, right and wrong can be culturally or individually determined. *he’s so wise, he should be king someday or something*
Eomer, in a moment of confusion and uncertainty given the shifting nature of his world, asks: ‘How shall a man judge what to do in such times?’
Aragorn replies: ‘As he ever has judged’, said Aragorn. ‘Good and ill have not changed since yesteryear; nor are they one thing among Elves and Dwarves and another among Men. It is a man’s part to discern them, as much as in the Golden Wood and in his own house.’*
Did you see the wisdom? Whatever the times, or culture, good and evil are what they have always been. It is not ours to make up or determine right and wrong but to discern and discover them. I only wish this insight was as popular today as the LOTR movies have been.
* The Two Towers, chapter 2.