Having allowed my whole family to watch the new Lord of the Rings film I asked Henry, What did you learn from the Lord of the rings?
Henry’s answer- ‘Not to go out on my own’
Well, I guess thats one function of letting kids see depictions of evil! Of course the other is to instill in them the age old story of the fight of good versus evil.
Many seem to learn more expicitly Christian messages from the film, such as for example Nick: “Does Lord of the Rings reflect Christian values? I think so. I see the One Ring reflecting our sin, and Frodo’s role as the Ring-Bearer one that each of us have to endure.”
I think we can go down this road too much however, and interestingly Rick quotes Tolkein himself about what he meant by the story “‘The prime motive was the desire of a tale-teller to try his hand at a really long story that would hold the attention of readers, amuse them, delight them, and at times maybe excite them or deeply move them . . . . As for any inner meaning or message, it has in the intention of the author none. It is neither allegorical nor topical.’”
Of course, today the very concept of evil itself is being undermined, and when Bush spoke of an axis of evil he was ridiculed by many. If evil is an exclusively Christian concept then the Lord of the Rings clearly illustrates it. That is not to say that the story doesnt excelently illustrate many christian values, but lets not make it too much like a Christian parable, because it clearly wasn’t intended to be that.
Stories do shape us however, and I for one am much happier about the way the Lord of the Rings with its clear demarcation between good and evil will shape me and my family than I am say Harry Potter which from what I understand tends to blur the boudaries somewhat.