From a comment on another recent question I learned that The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings have (in certain places and at certain times) been banned for supposedly satanic themes. A quick bit of searching online confirmed that indeed certain groups of people have attacked, or even publicly burned copies of, The Lord of the Rings claiming it to be satanic.

What are the supposed satanic themes in Tolkien's legendarium?

I can understand it a bit better with the more recent Harry Potter series, which is actively playing into the theme of the occult. While not at all equivalent to satanism, this does at least connect to witchcraft (Hogwarts School of what and Wizardry?) which some might see as connected with satanism. But Tolkien was a devout Christian, and his legendarium was presided over by the single supreme deity Eru - hardly promoting any different religion, let alone satanism! So, where did these accusations come from, and how were they grounded in Tolkien's actual writings?

  • This reminds me of a lawyer saying: Why did you kill your wife, before asking the defendant if he did or didn't. I thought it was common knowledge that fundamentalists do this kind of pointless ascription.
    – Lambie
    Commented May 17 at 20:56

1 Answer 1


I do not find JRRT's stories particularly Christian, but I do really enjoy them.

Having been exposed to some radical fundamentalists any mention of Magic is an aspect of demons at work to deceive.

From Bible Baptists Publications, Wizards, Witches, and the Word of God:

“Neither repented they of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts.” (Rev. 9:21) “And the light of a candle shall shine no more at all in thee; and the voice of the bridegroom and of the bride shall be heard no more at all in thee: for thy merchants were the great men of the earth; for by thy sorceries were all nations deceived.” (Rev. 18:23)

The above scripture comes from the book of Revelation, the final book of God’s word, which deals with the end-time. One might expect murder, fornication, and theft to be widespread sins in the last days because we see a continual increase of these sins with every passing year. But notice that a fourth sin is mentioned as well: sorcery. According to God’s word, we can expect to see an increase in sorcery as the second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ draws near.

According to Webster, the word “sorcery” means “magic; enchantment; witchcraft; divination by the assistance or the supposed assistance of evil spirits, or the power of commanding evil spirits.”

One does not have to look very far to see that God’s word is being fulfilled before our very eyes. Along with numerous other Biblical signs that our Lord’s return is near, we are also witnessing a tremendous increase in occultism. Much of this is obviously due to the way many books, movies, and television programs are glamorizing such evil practices as witchcraft and wizardry. God’s word clearly condemns all such practices, yet millions of >people, especially young people, are being led to believe that it is possible to be a good witch or a good wizard. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Satan is playing a very nasty trick on our children.

From Eric Barger, Lord of the Rings: Christian or Cultic?

Tolkien (and Lewis) created their stories in a day when the occult was not the norm, when there was NOT a mass proliferation of occult philosophy and practice and when the majority of the church had little or no understanding of such things. This does not justify the “white vs. black” magick scenarios in their works, but could serve to explain it. In my mind, this is another very important reason that Rings and other works of its kind are off limits in our day.

Then came the 1960’s and the great outpouring of evil activity that led us to the drug culture, the sexual revolution, and the blurring of truth in general.

Evolution, abortion and nihilism replaced God, life and hope. Along with this cultural shift came an insatiable demonically induced hunger to experience the paranormal.


If the mind lives for any substantial amount of time in the fantasy realm of the occult, sorcery and witchcraft, there is certainly a possibility that when facing the same occultism in real life that our human response will not be one that immediately opposes it. It is obvious that rather than rejecting the occult, what is happening is that entire generations are increasingly reacting in a positive fashion to its practices and practitioners. Smaller, yet more tragic are the numbers from this group who are not just favorably reading about Satan’s playground of sorcery and spells but are instead desirous to actually participate in it! Our response as Christians is to understand that the occult – the same practices promoted by Tolkien’s heroes – is repulsive in the site of God. He condemns such in no uncertain terms with the use of the word “abomination” three times in Deuteronomy 18:9-12. The Hebrew word here is the strongest condemnatory language used in the entire Bible on any issue! Dare we react in any other way? We had better call evil “evil” and never confuse it for “good.”


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