Some people say that despite Tolkien had written a superb piece of art with all those linguistic flavors entwined with the different peoples of Middle-Earth, with their culture, their traditions, some tend to complain that Tolkien missed religion as a whole in his writings. Religion is part of a people and such a powerful tool in a group’s mind that traditions, moral standards clearly reflect that. Obviously, there should be a distinct religion for Elves, Dwarves, Men, Hobbits and so on. It’d only add to the reality likelihood of his work. But did he really let religion out of what he wrote?
NO! Look again! There’s no organized religion in Middle-Earth, but we see here and there, practices, beliefs and other points that surely hints there was some kind of devotion and divine reverence.
Check those points, people by people below. Read them all and tell me: Wasn’t all that, some kind of religion?
A Elbereth Gilthoniel! That’s it! With these words begins a hymn made to honor Varda. Very much like a Psalm would do, it praises Varda Elentári and shows that Elves held her in high-esteem. She was the most important figure for them and her “worship” resembles something like Ishtar to the Assyrians or Athena to the Athenians (not in the way of worshiping, but the importance and reverence devoted to her). Elves revered also other Valar, but Varda was the most prominent in elvish culture. They didn’t have temples, they didn’t have sacred writings but they had the stars all nights and their beautiful voices which they used to pray her in sweet singing and delightful music.
Dwarves revered Mahal their creator who in ancient times made the Seven Fathers of the Dwarves that from time to time, would come back through reincarnation. Mahal is no other than Aulë, the Valar who devised the dwarves even before the 1st Children of Ilúvatar came into being. It’s not clearly stated if Dwarves had any singularity or special way to worship their Creator, but it’s really notable the concept of reincarnation which they had. Bottom line, dwarvish ‘religion’ is like a mixture of Islam (monotheism) with Shinto (past family members worship) and Hinduism (reincarnation concept).
Nope…no…nadie! Not a single trace of what hobbits believed, of whom they worshiped or anything like it. To begin with, hobbits are the most “unknown” people of Middle-Earth. Few things are known about their origin or where they came from. They just were! They were there and Frodo did it (that’s what matters, huh?!) Hobbits were apparently devoid of spiritual needs and they were pretty much busy with their daily affairs. Their society as a whole looks like mankind nowadays. Without God and getting farther and farther from him, being more devoted to secular things.
To be continued with the most intriguing examples of all: MEN!