Is ‘The Hobbit’ Un-Christian?

It all depends on what you mean by “un-Christian.”

About 99% of the fiction–stories and novels, movies, TV shows, comic strips, video games, etc.–generated since the start of the 20th century presents us with a world in which God does not exist. At least He is never mentioned, except on those many occasions when a fictional character takes His name in vain.

Certainly in The Hobbit (I haven’t seen the movie, but I’ve read the book many times) there is no mention of God or Jesus or any kind of church, and the characters never pray or do anything else of a distinctly religious nature. We know from the author’s own life that he was a Christian, a staunch  Catholic who was instrumental in converting his friend, C.S. Lewis, from unbelief to Christianity. So where is the Christianity in The Hobbit?

We know from J.R.R. Tolkien‘s other writings, letters and such, that he intended a spirit of Christianity to permeate his created fantasy world, and to that end, purposely removed all overt references to religious belief and practice. Seems a pretty odd procedure, to me (as readers and I have discussed elsewhere on this blog–see, for instance, Tolkien’s Camoflage). I doubt a reader who wasn’t a Christian, and hadn’t studied Tolkien, would ever guess that a spirit of Christianity is supposed to permeate The Hobbit or The Lord of the Rings.

So we can say the author intended The Hobbit to be “Christian” in a very subtle way. In all fairness to Tolkien, now that I know what to look for, I can see it. Whether it can survive the movie industry’s treatment of the story, I can’t say.


2 comments on “Is ‘The Hobbit’ Un-Christian?

Leave a Reply