Monday, February 23, 2009

"I Wish You had Believed Me..."

I am a HUGE fan of ABC's tv series Lost. It is a complicated show that operates on so many levels that you have to be an avid watcher to keep up. I will keep the outline to the show as brief as possible or else we will be here all day long. I just want to touch on a subject that was brought up in last week's episode entitled "316". I will though (as best as possible) explain the context of the episode but be forewarned that there are spoilers.

[The Incredulity of Saint Thomas by Caravaggio. Thomas seen here actually sticking his finger into the wounds of resurrected Christ.]

Lost revolves around the survivors of Oceanic flight 815 that crashed on a mysterious island. Six of the survivors managed to get off the island return home, but because they left bad things started to happen to those that were left behind. The only way to save everyone on the island is for everyone that left to return by recreating the circumstances that first brought them to the island. For this to happen one of the survivors of Flight 815, John Locke, must leave the island and bring them back, by sacrificing himself. There is a scene where Ben Linus, "native" of the island, and Jack Shepard, leader of the survivors, are at a church awaiting to return to the island. Ben begins talking about Thomas the Apostle. He quotes Thomas' response to Jesus returning to Judea knowing that he would probably be murdered there.
John 11:16 (NIV)
16Then Thomas (called Didymus) said to the rest of the disciples, "Let us also go, that we may die with him."

Ben Linus-"But Thomas was not remembered for this bravery. His claim to fame came later when he refused to acknowledge the Resurrection. He just couldn't wrap his mind around it. The story goes that he needed to touch Jesus' wounds to be convinced."

Jack Shepard- "So was he?"

Ben Linus-"Of course he was. We're all convinced sooner or later, Jack."

Jack Shepard is known as the Man of Science throughout the show and John Locke is known as the Man of Faith. This is the first time in the show that Jack begins to believe that he is part of something greater. Jack is told that Locke had to die to bring them back and to serve as a proxy for Jack's father, Christian. [On the original flight 815 Jack was bringing his father's body back to LA to give him a proper burial. And, if you remember, to get back they must replicate the conditions of their trip as close as possible.] During the flight Jack is hesitant in reading a letter addressed to him before Locke's death. The letter reads, "I wish you had believed me." Jack now feels that if he had just believed in Locke (and about not leaving the island) in the first place, Locke might not have had to sacrifice himself.

In Christian theology Adam and Eve failed to believe (and obey) God by eating from the tree of knowledge of good and evil which condemned all of humanity to death. God then sent his Son to redeem Humanity and bring them back. In Lost, Jacob (God?), the mysterious voice that gives instructions to the protectors of the island, sends Locke (Christ) to bring back the Oceanic Six (Humanity) back to the island. Jack (Doubting Thomas) as a Man of Science needs to "touch" in order to believe. This was such a powerful episode full of symbolism, but at the core is the concept of Faith vs. Science, Belief vs. Reason. The Dharma Initiative, a group of scientists that ran experiments on the island, used science to find and get to the island. Science is not enough to return Jack to the island, he must also take "a leap of faith".

So are you a Man of Science or a Man of Faith? Does it matter? I see myself as both. I believe yet doubt, but my doubting does not hinder my spirituality, it increases it. By doubting I find new avenues and streams of thought. I am not tied to one stream but I flow freely guided by Reason and Spirit. I doubt so that I may believe, and I believe so that I may doubt. The two compliment each other and answers questions that the other cannot. Somewhere in between I slowly find my way back to our Creator, to our Source, by belief and doubt.

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