Tolkien wasn’t writing to convince anyone. He told stories to tell stories. And he understood that he was telling stories to a Modernist audience. Sad but true, the overt Christian imagery of a Poul Anderson or even a Robert E. Howard is alien to a large plurality of modern readers.
And we got here because the Death Cult knew better than to beat normal people over the head with sodomy, crossdressing, and atheism right off the bat. Instead they delivered their twisted themes through symbols.
In fact, the Death Cult relies on symbolism. Each of their stated positions is a symbol. That’s why they can switch them out as quickly as Benny from The Mummy (1999).