Thursday, November 05, 2015

The religious demography of Middle-earth

As I was rummaging through the unpublished papers of Bilbo Baggins, I ran across his "Religious Demography of Middle-earth," in which he classifies the denizens of Middle-earth according to their religious affiliations. 

Hobbits: Earnest little English Methodist countryfolk.

Frodo: Holy fool. Ought to be a conventional Methodist, but the monkish ways of Gandalf rubbed off on him, making him a holy fool, in the tradition of Eastern Orthodox hagiography. 

Elves: A syncretistic cult. Their quaint speech and aristocratic airs are indebted to Anglicans; their hairdo is indebted to Jesus Freaks, while their archery is indebted to a DC comic book superhero. 

Dwarves: Hard Shell Baptists, given their working-class values and clannishness. 

Wizards: Catholic prelates, redolent with priestcraft: bachelors, vestments, temples, crosiers, incantations in dead languages. 

Sauron: The Pope

Saruman: The Grand Inquisitor 

Gandalf: Sedevacantist. The Archbishop Lefebvre of Middle-Earth. On a mission to defeat the Antipope.

Aragorn: Presbyterian. The John Knox of Middle-Earth. 

Ringwraiths: Mormons, vibrant and substantial on the outside, hollow and dead on the inside. 

Orcs: As apostate elves, they are militant atheists–which accounts for their intolerant and brutish behavior. 


  1. It's interesting that you have the militant atheists working for the Pope. Not too off-base actually since the ills of the RCC are the stuff from which militant atheists love to construct straw men. It's like Muslim apologists calling Bart Ehrman a Christian.

    I might add the Ents to this list: Quakers, perhaps? They have no leader having to arrive at a consensus for any decision to be made, they have no real convictions, and they are generally pacifistic (until they finally realize that they are being slaughtered). On the other hand, they could be Shakers because they can't find their wives.

    One other group might be the Army of the Dead. I hesitate to speculate who that might be, but I'll venture some propositions: Liberal Lutherans and Episcopalians? United Church of Christ? Deadly to all, yet decidedly unengaged.

  2. Catholic modernists are closet atheists.