I personally don't buy into this new movement in Christian apologetics which essentially is claiming that Church basically never did anything wrong, ever and if you don't like that claim, well just be grateful the Church rescued civilization out of (fill in the blank) otherwise you wouldn't be hear to question this new apologetic to begin with. That's how I read and have heard this new apologetic for the last couple of years. It comes off as smug and arrogant not to mention it isn't honest about history.
I mean, I get that this extreme attempt at vindicating Church history is simply a knee jerk reaction against the extreme criticisms of some people like Richard Dawkins and others but like some of the New Atheists who really don't know much about Church history (Christopher Hitchens is actually an exception as he seems pretty well read on the subject) these apologists are assuming (hoping?) that everyone else is equally as ill informed about church history and and so they just try and spin doctor history in our favor. This is a favorite tactic of Dinesh D'Souza, whom I'm sure is a nice guy, and seems like someone who'd be fun to hang out with, but when it comes to apologetics he reminds me of a used care salesman. His claim that "only" 19 women were killed by the witch hunts is so absurd that I cannot even believe people buy into it. He, like a lot of these new order apologists are playing on the ignorance of the masses just as critics of religion do. Again, I'm not criticizing the man, only the tactics. (I find him to be very likable in fact, but just wish he'd stay out of "defending" (inventing?) a new Church history because he's one of the few guys who's actually stumped Hitchens in debate. (but never with the history thing, where he gets creamed)
This type of apologetic is nothing short of rewriting history and I've heard all sorts of apologists argue things like; The crusades weren't really that bad, Eastern Christians were always peaceful, unlike those evil "Latins", without Christianity Muslims would rule the world, (uh, without Christianity there would never have BEEN an Islamic religion to begin with), the witch hunts were a minor event, the inquisitions "only" killed 2000 people, (what about the hundreds of thousands exiled, tortured, maimed, and driven from their homelands???), Christianity ended slavery, (yeah 1800 years after Jesus, and 1400 years after Church canons explicitly stated that if priests and bishops were courageous enough they should preach emancipation, whoops, I guess they weren't courageous enough?) we need Kings and Emperors to protect us plebs etc etc....
I don't buy any of this. I just think it's too much spin doctoring of history and plays into the hands of the New Atheists because they want Christians to make outrageous claims like this. I'm not saying the Church didn't do a lot of good that it never gets credit for, but the rewriting of history is what bugs me.
Now, as for LOTR...don't get me started....LOL! I think using LOTR and Tolkien as a defense of war, having kings to rule us and the like is beyond ironic. I'm not sure what this fellow was thinking? I mean, have these people even read The Lord of the Rings? Or Tolkien's letters, or anything from the man at all? LOTR's stance that sometimes we must commit evil to prevent an even greater evil is hardly a resounding defense of the medieval world, and in all cases it is abundantly clear (at least in the books, but I think it is clear in the movies too) that the whole quest is a terrible horror that although it was thrust upon them, should never have happened in the first place. it's even more clear in the Extended Edition films. But as Gandalf says, all we can do is decide what to do with the time that is given to us. Isildor should have ended it, but he didn't; and evil was allowed to remain. Frodo's mission succeeds, but he is never the same hobbit; just like with soldiers who are in war, they are never the same. The line from the movie (and I can't remember if it's in the book or not) where Frodo says, "sometimes there is no going back." That's a major theme in Tolkien's writings. The hurt and pain runs too deep, we are never the same person we once were after a traumatic (or even a good) experience.
If you really want to get depressed read The Silmarillion which is one horrific failure after another, on the part of the elves. The Great Enemy (Morgoth, the first Dark Lord who created the Balrogs, that giant fire/creature in the first LOTR film) has power and rules the world not because of the elves fail to take up arms, but because they are so easily lead into power hungry corruption; they take kingship and turn into a means of oppressing their own brethren, all for the benefit of their own people of course. The elves of course eventually DO learn from their mistakes, but only in part because of the union of Beren and Luthien, (man and elf maiden), however it's always the self sacrifice that leads to the ultimate victory as is the case with Frodo, or Bilbo, or Beren and Luthien for that matter.
Tolkien's stuff isn't a pacifist world view, that is true, but it is hardly a defense of Church and state union, or an apologetic for the authority of the king. It's almost always the kings who totally screw things up in all of Tolkien's stories. It's always the guys (or gals) with authority who botch things up, where as it is the little guy (ie: hobbits) or in Silmarillion someone like Beren) who gives hope to men and to elves. Its the empowerment of the little guy that saves the day. It takes a Hobbit to do what know one else in Middle Earth could have done, destroy the Ring of Power. It takes Beren, a mere mortal to do what no immortal being in all their glory could do, take back one of the Silmarils from the crown of Morgoth.
I don't think Tolkien can be used as an apologetic for anything. As he always said it is applicable but not allegory. However I really find it a bit of stretch to say LOTR shows how it's good to have kings and state religions when all the evils in all of Middle Earth began because someone wanted to be king or a king actually did something incredibly stupid. But everyone takes something different from Tolkien which is what is so great about his work. But it is a tough sell for me anyways.