Rather than raise concern over whether homosexuals would be allowed ever to donate blood, why not worry that if the Red Cross takes its standards to their logical conclusion, everyone in the United States could be disqualified from donating blood ("The Red Cross standard," Dec. 20)? Because I spent time in the United Kingdom during the BSE ("mad cow disease") epidemic, now I cannot donate blood. What about the fact that BSE has now been detected in the Pacific Northwest? - Matthew Cole, Annapolis, Md.
The theory that Hinduism evolved in reaction to Christianity is intriguing. Another possibility, described in Christ in Ancient Vedas by Joseph Padinjarekara, is that many ancient writings exhibit insights into divine truth explainable only as primal revelation, such as God gave to Job and those before him. The presence of such insights is evidence that men "knew God, but did not honor Him as God, or give thanks." I can't explain the commonalities in Hinduism and Christianity-perhaps both theories contributed to the brew-but these facts are useful in building bridges to bring Hindus into the kingdom of God's Son. - Bill Shade, Thompson, Pa.
The casting, cinematography, and special effects in The Fellowship of the Ring were unbelievable. Each subsequent film, though, increasingly strayed from Tolkien in big and small ways. The worst was Mr. Jackson adding a scene that had Gandalf giving a view of death that was clearly New Age. Mr. Jackson had perfection in his grasp, but in the end he thought he knew better than Tolkien. - Pete McGrath, Albuquerque, N.M.
"Neo's mission" highlights an interesting facet of the brilliantly conceived, poorly executed, and tremendously flawed movie The Matrix: Revolutions. The Wachowski brothers left a train wreck of symbols and images from which many can scavenge; Christians should not refrain from digging out what good spare parts they can find. - Matthew Loftus, 17, Bel Air, Md.
Mr. Olasky's search for evidence of the Apostle Thomas's presence in India ("Echoes of India," Dec. 20) could be rewarded if he looks in Taxilla, which is near Peshawar, Pakistan. During my visits to Taxilla, the apostle's name came up often with claims that he was there. It seems a more likely place to find traces of his travels, since it is so much closer to Israel. I didn't look further into the legend that the Apostle Thomas lived in the Buddhist compound and converted it to Christianity, but it seemed to be common knowledge among visitors as well as residents. - Bob Heimburger, Birmingham, Ala.
Re: John Piper's column, "Brokenhearted joy" (Dec. 13): We Christians need a new perspective on all the "huffing and puffing" we do to reclaim our lost laws. God's purpose for America is not to promote American culture as belonging to Christians, which it does not, but that we might witness with tears, kindness, persuasion, and perseverance to the way of truth, beauty, and joy. - Gwen Rice Clark, West Carrollton, Ohio
Thank you for your review of The Return of the King. I am an avid fan and think Peter Jackson did a good job (as well as he could, on film) with the movies. Our family saw it on opening day and afterward had a great discussion about the same worldview themes your article talked about. - Laura LaPrise, Elk Grove, Ill.
The Lord of the Rings is "a profoundly Christian vision for the postmodern world"? Get real. I'm sorry, but it is no Trojan horse sneaking the Christian worldview into mass media. There are good guys and bad guys, self-sacrifice and obedience to a higher moral code, but aren't those also in The Last Samurai? - Jeff Alexander, Visalia, Calif.
I agree with you that Peter Jackson's movies, in spite of some flaws, portray Tolkien's vision and his Christian worldview incredibly well. - Sasha Decker, Hood River, Ore.
The fight scene in the third Matrix movie-between Neo and Smith-was perhaps the most dissatisfying for me ("Neo's mission," Dec. 20). After Agent Smith deconstructs love and truth and asks "Why?" Neo basically concedes the argument when he answers, "Because I choose to." Some may have wanted to stand and cheer; I wanted to throw something at the screen. That answer stripped his previous heroic actions of any moral value whatsoever. In the end it was all about Neo. I thoroughly enjoy Andree Seu's columns but I think she saw too much "Jesus" and not enough "Neo" in Neo. - Kyle Barrett, Valrico, Fla.
The statement, "Any art that makes my Savior dearer is a welcome thing," is great, but is The Matrix art? It is rated R for extreme gore, sci-fi violence, brief sexual content, and moderate profanity. Does this really reflect the glory of God? That the film contains blurred messianic themes is irrelevant. If Andree Seu wants to see this kind of "art" that's her choice, but she should not try to baptize the profane to justify it. - Jamey Day, Chester, Va.
Why should the subjective polling data from either coaches or sports writers be respected above the much more scientific BCS computer rankings (The Buzz, Dec. 20)? The BCS rankings were started to resolve the frequently differing decisions of media polls. I would be happy to tweak the BCS ranking formula but am quite satisfied with this year's bowl matchups. - Don K. Clements, Narrows, Va.
WORLD's consistent endorsement of a film trilogy that would have Tolkien rolling over in his grave is dumbfounding ("The royal treatment," Dec. 20). Jackson and Co. stripped Tolkien's work of the intellectual depth that made it worth reading. They substituted postmodern double-mindedness for Tolkien's notions of heroism, "monsters" and magic wands for his subtle depictions of evil, and five-second nonsequiturs for rational dialogue and character development. These films are a scandal worthy of his "deplorable cultus." - Andrew Vardeman, Ames, Iowa
Tolkien shows in The Return of the King how men can be attuned to "good forces" and even work with them, just as Christians can. But in Jackson's trilogy, men just go with the flow while others, like wizards and hobbits, are the real movers and shakers. Jackson seems to have purposefully lowered the spiritual status of men, even to the point of having Aragorn say in The Return of the King, astonishingly, that he had no hope left. - Vicki Stiegemeyer, Anaheim, Calif.
I was surprised to find Mr. Coffin asserting that the movie conveyed "Tolkien's vision ... whatever the personal convictions of the film's collaborators." A battle between good and evil is, to be sure, still there, but those "personal convictions" of Mr. Jackson and his co-writers stripped Tolkien's story of its Christian vision. There is little to nothing left of Tolkien's notion of providence, and every stitch of his Christian symbolism has been removed. - Edward G. Mathews Jr., Tunkhannock, Pa.
We need more swagger. Pessimism is not a Christian virtue, and the theology of the Bible is one of victory. Rome did not survive that Rock which is Christ, and our humanist culture cannot conquer Christ either. - G. Scott Damerow, Lynchburg, Va.