Religion in The Lord of the Rings
The success of The Lord of the Rings as a religious medium is due to the fact that it is subtle in its Christian themes and isn’t what one might call a “preachy” Christian book.One theme that we find throughout The Lord of the Rings is the longing that many of the characters have to return to a former age where the world was a better and happier place. For instance, Gimli longs to see the former glory of the home of his ancestors. The elves also long for a return to the Elder Days before evil and darkness came into the world. Basically, there is an overall tone that the world is in a “fallen state.”The concept that the world is in a “fallen state” is a familiar one to Christians. The time of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden is viewed as a paradise full of light and splendour. When evil was introduced and Adam and Eve were kicked out of the Garden, the glory that they experienced there faded from them and hardships and despair were introduced. Although they accepted their fate, they longed for a return to their former glory.When observing all the suffering and death in the world, it is not hard to understand why people feel the world has fallen from grace. As a consequence, many people hope for a better or more just world. As Bruner and Ware state, “Tolkien saw the world as neither completely right nor completely wrong, but rather as a good that has been violated, a beauty marred” (4). This is a major theme of Christianity. that we are trying to get back to the state before we were tainted. In other words, we are looking for redemption to make us whole again.The Christian concept of a Savior is also prevalent in The Lord of the Rings. Because Christians believe the world is in a broken and evil state, there is a need for someone to rise up and save the world from permanent darkness and despair.Three characters in the Lord of the Rings who fit this “Savior” role are Gandalf, Aragorn, and Frodo.