Narnia or Neverland: what fantasy land would you visit?

Evangelicals prefer Narnia, Catholics have a wanderlust for Wonderland and mainline Protestants are split between hitching a ride to Hogwarts, Narnia or Neverland.

Those are the results from a unique poll by the television show "60 Minutes" and Vanity Fair magazine. The survey asked 1,000 Americans what fantasy land they'd most like to visit (Washington, D.C., excluded).

Evangelicals showed a clear preference for Narnia, the fantastical world of talking beasts entered through an enchanted wardrobe in C.S. Lewis' The Chronicles of Narnia series.

Lewis, an Anglican, topped the list for 28 percent of evangelicals. Both his fiction - commonly interpreted as Christian allegories - and also his nonfiction have become touchstones in contemporary evangelicalism.

Just 8 percent of evangelicals said they would like to visit Hogwarts, the school of witchcraft and wizardry from the Harry Potter series.

Alice's Wonderland was many Catholics' cup of tea, with 21 percent saying they'd like to take a trip down the rabbit hole. Peter Pan's Neverland (18 percent), Hogwarts (18 percent) and J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle Earth (16 percent) weren't far behind.

Mainline Protestants were similarly split between Neverland (19 percent), Narnia (18 percent) and Hogwarts (18 percent).

Among those listed as "other" religions, Hogwarts was the clear favorite (31 percent). And Middle Earth led the way for those who professed no religious affiliation (23 percent). The survey, conducted in late 2010 and recently highlighted by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown University, includes a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

What Do You Think?

  • What fantasy land would you most like to visit?
  • How do you account for the preferences among different sets of Christians?
  • Why did those with no religious affiliation prefer The Lord of the Rings’ Middle Earth?

Daniel Burke won the American Academy of Religion's Award for Best In-Depth Reporting on Religion in 2010. He holds an M.S. in journalism and an M.A. in religion from Columbia University and a B.A. from Georgetown University. This piece published via Religion News Service. / Photo courtesy of Walt Disney Pictures.

Comments (3)

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I’m fairly well-entrenched in the evangelical column, and I’d go for Middle Earth. I’d like to be there well before the end of the Third Age though, so I could miss that whole War of the Ring episode! Perhaps I could even become an Elf-friend. That seems to open up doors to new experiences for people. Then again, the only ones who get the title have been through some pretty tight scrapes.

As for why Middle Earth is also popular among the non-affiliated crowd, perhaps it’s because Tolkein did such a masterful job of weaving God’s sovereignty into the story (but never explicitly) so they feel safe in it. It takes a whole lot of reading between the lines to see just how catholic (in the universal sense) this story is.


I’d go with Neverland because then I could fly.

Middle Earth results are interesting considering how much of Tolkien’s Roman Catholic faith spills over into Middle Earth, especially in the ending. Yet modeling “Lord of the Rings” form as a “myth for England” and creating a variety of richly developed cultures represented in the protagonists that might appeal to those who aren’t settled on what they believe.
For me it’s probably Narnia with occasional forays into Middle Earth and Neverland.

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