A Totally Unbiased Opinion Piece on why Lord of the Rings Should be Shown in Religion Class


By Aidan Pesce, Assistant Reporter

Several weeks ago while walking by room 204, you may have seen a class watching a movie, and wondered: “What are they doing?” Well, I have the answer: learning about the faith. How? By watching Lord of the Rings. Wait – learning religion through Lord of the Rings? How does that work? Well, that’s why I’m here. But first, let me explain how this all came to be…

For those unfortunate souls who do not have Mr. Kieda as a teacher, you should know that Mr. Kieda is a connoisseur of movies. So, when my class raised the topic of Lord of the Rings one class, we had a feeling it would lead to a discussion about the series, but little did we know it would eventually lead to the showing of the Fellowship of the Ring. But of course, whenever a movie is brought up in a class, there will always be that one annoying soul who asks to watch the movie. In Mr. Kieda’s class that fateful day, there were multiple, including myself. However, the teacher usually says no, so it came as a great surprise when he told me, “If you write me an email explaining how Lord of the Rings fits into Christianity, we might watch it.” And so, a few nights later, around 10 o’clock, when I was faced with the decision of studying or going to bed, I remembered Mr. Kieda’s words. Later that night, I triumphantly clicked the send button, and my email was off. All that was left was to, in the words of Alexander Dumas, wait and hope.

And so I waited…for about 12 hours until I saw him the next day, where I, being a good student who was not at all eager to hear if we would watch Lord of the Rings, instantly asked him if he saw my email. His answer: yes. And then Mr. Kieda uttered the words that I hope every religion teacher from now on will utter: We’ll watch Lord of the Rings.

And we did.

So, now that you know the story, let me quickly explain how Lord of the Rings fits into Christianity and why we should watch the film series in class from now on.

To start things off, Christianity was a large factor in the creation of Tolkien’s fictional world, and this was seen through many of the characters and events. For instance, the forging of the ring comes from Sauron’s pride, which one can compare to Eve eating the apple. Furthermore, in Morality, you will learn that all sin comes from pride, just as the ultimate evil in Middle-Earth, the forging of the ring, came from Sauron’s pride. Similarly, we see that the ring possesses the minds of the weak, making them susceptible to sin. However, this is a modifier, which you will learn about in Morality. You may begin to notice the pattern emerging here, but in case not, I will continue:

In the lesser-known Silmarillion, the Genesis of Lord of the Rings, Tolkien explains how Middle-Earth came to be, and it is very similar to the story told in the Bible. For instance, as the Word of God shaped Earth, the Song of Eru, Middle-Earth’s own deity, shaped Middle-Earth. Similarly, Eru parallels God by punishing his creations and then offering them a chance of salvation when one of his creations, the Valar, creates the dwarves. Hmmm, punishing a species for sinning but still offering them a chance of redemption, sounds familiar. It’s almost as if Christianity inspired Lord of the Rings…

Oh wait, it did. Christianity directly inspired Lord of the Rings, and the movies embody both the history and the lessons of the faith. Lord of the Rings teaches Christianity, improving what Xavier teaches us. According to several of my classmates, it helped them understand certain topics they were unsure about, especially culpability in Morality. And since the first movie proved to be so helpful, it makes sense that we should watch the other two, not just my class, but all of Xavier. If our school wants to fulfill its mission of teaching the faith, Xavier needs to incorporate the Lord of the Rings into its curriculum. As Tolkien says, “It is not the strength of the body, but the strength of the spirit.” We need Lord of the Rings.