The Lost Finale: All of This Matters
Obviously, you’re going to find some spoilers down there. Don’t read if you haven’t watched.
Lost has a knack for making us hate it. I don’t mean that we “love to hate it,” but that fans of Lost often want so badly to unabashedly love the show, to embrace it, to let it wash over us, but find it throwing wrenches into that plan every step of the way. Paradoxically, this is why I love Lost, and it’s why, after a good night’s sleep and a little bit of processing, I think I loved Lost’s finale.
Does this all sound familiar? Because it should – it’s how we often feel about life. How many times have we simply wanted to accept this life – to let go? And yet we find that even this is a chore. At the end of one of our days is a seemingly pointless death or a maddening cliff-hanger, followed only by a black screen. We want answers, but they never arrive. We strive and struggle, day in and day out, to figure it all out. Who are the good guys? Who are the bad guys? What is the point of all of this? Did I just see my dead father?
And so, we watch television, we watch movies, we read books, and we enjoy getting answers from them. They give us life lessons, resolution, and in a sense, they give us a little bit of peace.
And then there was Lost, the show with so much promise. We were drawn in for the mystery, but we stayed for the characters. We thought sawyer was probably a bad guy, until we grew to love him. We thought Jack was a jerk, until we got to know him. Kate we pretty much disliked until the very end. I guess you could say they were our friends, but more accurately, they were like our friends. Or at least, they were like those around us. And they were like us.
After last night, it’s clear that Lost is a show about community, and how redemption is impossible without it. Though we often wanted it to be about something else, it was always a show about the characters, and their relationships to one another. Even more, it’s about what happens when those relationships are forced to grapple together with the implications of incomprehensible mystery, pain, and loss.
And so that’s what we did. We watched the show with the people around us, we discussed it with them, and we shared our own insight into the show. One of us may have been familiar with one of the books on the show and one of us may have been familiar with one of the philosopher’s that a character was named after. One of us may have had a crazy dream that explained it all. Oh, and there’s always one guy who has the HDTV. He’s important too.
The experience of Lost can be summed up in one phrase: Live together, or watch alone.
The finale beautifully brought all of these themes to the forefront. As each character remembered one another, we remembered the series ourselves, and how much it meant to us. These sequences were shameless, self-indulgent, and absolutely earned.
If there is any complaint that can be had about the finale it is this: that the final scene undermines everything else that happened throughout the series. On the contrary, just as Desmond says (and these words are the key to the entire show), “There are no shortcuts, no do-overs – what happened, happened. All of this matters.” Though they may find themselves in another place now, that other place was shaped by their life then. Their moments of resolution in their first life may have seemed to come too late for them to matter, but that just stands to give even more importance to their existence after death.
It’s a brave story to tell in a culture that oscillates between declaring that the here and now as all there is, and insisting that the spiritual is all that matters.
For the Christian – and it appears, for Lost and its viewers – the spiritual and the physical, the life now and the life after life, our own struggles and the struggles of others – they all matter. All of this matters. And the mysteries throughout? We’ll find out the answers if and when we need to know them.
Well said Rich. I think you hit the nail on the head that the show all along was about community–and obviously the finale was all about community and the importance of the relationships that were forged on the island. I really enjoyed that aspect of the finale.
I don’t see how we can stop there in our discussion of the finale though. What about “The Church of Many Paths”? That is my name for church everyone meets in at the end. Shouldn’t we say something about that. I didn’t expect Lost to end in any sort of Christian way, but since it didn’t isn’t it worth mentioning that that is not true. That it does matter how you live your life in terms of eternity. Because it appears to me that it really didn’t matter–how people lived their lives didn’t matter because in the end they all get to walk into the light (whatever the light is–heaven I assume).
Life is not that easy and the way you live it does matter unto eternity. I just felt that in all the asthetic niceness of the finale–that it needed to be said that the way the show ended is a nice thought but a deadly one.
That was the bravest spin on a non-sensical finale that I have ever seen. The ending was as muddled as the theology.
I did, however, like the sentimental scenes of remembrance. That was nice. It was the only thing that made that mish-mash of an ending tolerable.
My two cents.
It was Jack who said this to Desmond near the end.
Other than that, great post.
@Brad Williams Are you suggesting that Lost gets real-life theology wrong or it’s own, fictional theology?
Overall, I appreciate the finale for bringing resolution to the main character arcs instead of trying to answer all the ‘geek questions’. To do both would have been impossible, and doing the latter would have been unsatisfying to me. I think there is much to be said for preserving a lot of the mystery surrounding the island, not the least of which is the fun geek discussions to be had. (My wife has already rolled her eyes and excused herself from one such conversation.)
@Drew – We’re going to directly address those questions in our podcast. But to be clear, yeah, I think there were problems with some of the “theology”, but then again, it’s not really theology. And we could argue over what exactly was happening there. Nonetheless, Matt is right to point out that it’s a fictional show with fictional theology. I also think it was wrong to say that the source of all life is in an island somewhere.
@Brad – Your comment made my day. I certainly don’t blame you for being frustrated at the finale. It can be frustrating.
@Michael – Dang! I thought I’d had it right, too. Thanks.
@Matt – I think you’re right, though I look forward more to discussions about the characters and their lives than the “geek” discussions.
I think you got that wrong. I think one of the keys to the finale was that your life choices do matter. Why wasn’t Michael there? Because he didn’t have any redemption, the other characters did. Now, we could contend that it is a self-actualized redemption, not a Christian redemption…but that is a different point.
@David – right on. Remember what Michael told Hurley about him being stuck on the island.
Ok sure–the show presents fictional theology–but that would be every fictional show ever made I suppose because everything we say and do, even the art we create is theologically driven. That doesn’t mean its not worth saying that Lost made a big-time nod to universalism in the finale and there are problems–big ones with that nod whether the show is fictional or not its dealing with “bigger than this life realities”–realities that I am sure you would agree are worth addressing (I look forward to that in the podcast).
I agree that what drove the show was the characters and not the sci-fi plot which Brad is absolutely right about–it was a “mish mash” that really didn’t make a lot of sense. But I did enjoy the characters coming together and the meaning they found within those relationships. I will have to give more thought to this idea of redemption through the means of community.
Given the overwhelming amount of mysteries about the island and its inhabitants, I am sympathetic with those who are frustrated at the lack of answers. I think that we were created to long for closure–to long for everything that is wrong in the world to be made right, for many of life’s most difficult mysteries to be solved. The gospel is a story of closure. Perhaps an already but not yet sort of closure but of closure nonetheless. Perhaps that is why often people like stories that make sense and come together at the end.
Lost, very masterfully attracted a whole host of fans that all loved the show for various reasons–some because of the sci-fi mysteries, some becuase of the love stories and relationships between characters, some because of the philosophical and religious questions being addressed. This is something the writers did masterfully–they created a show that hooked a lot of different people that will probably never watch the same show again and consequently made a ton of money doing it!
@David–sorry I wrote that last comment not having read yours yet.
I don’t know about that David. There were a lot of people that weren’t there (Walt, Echo, Daniel, Widmore or did I miss them?)–not sure how much we should read into that. My point is that the redemption seems cheap–maybe I am being too judgmental–but it seemed cheap and it didn’t really seem to me that all the characters who were there were redeemed in any real way–I would have questions about many that were there–maybe thats just me being judgmental again though.
But I did think about what you said–I am just not sure. My best guess is that everyone they could afford to bring on was at the church . . . lol.
There was a huge nod to Universalism you have to admit that–which is cheap and consequently says the way you live your life doesn’t matter.
I did read somewhere that Eko was supposed to be in the finale but refused. So, there’s that.
@Drew, as far as the supposed universalism – that’s one of those things that I think Lost left up to interpretation, and rightfully so. The moment you start to make a show about who goes where, you have to get it exactly and totally right – otherwise, I think most people would prefer it’s not addressed at all. The people were in that room primarily because they meant something to one another, not because they did something right or wrong. In other words, at that moment, in that scene, lost was about that community and what they meant to one another, NOT about salvation or heaven, even if that was a subject or plot device.
yeah, I agree with Rich here. I think it would be a mistake to suppose that universalism is the message. If anything the message was “redemption through community” and if we would want to question what the relationship between those two themes is, we nonetheless, as Christians, embrace both and believe that they do belong together.
But it was about salvation–maybe not everyone was saved–I don’t really care–I am not making the show about who goes where–the SHOW is doing that not me. They all get to walk into the light or am I missing somewhere. That is where Lost left us not me.
I appreciate the discussion though.
And you brought up the bit about Michael not being there–so it seemed only natural to address it.
I have reflected upon the show throughout the day, much to the detriment of my real life duties. :) And I think that I can explain my frustration with the ending in general, and why I find it so very distasteful.
I think that the ending of LOST as a series was a perfect post-modern ending. The focus, as has been pointed out, turned to community. (It is arguable as to whether that has been the point all along.) However, the community that has formed congealed from the non-sensical.
To illustrate, it is as if one has arrived at a nice conclusion from a mess of contradictory propositions. I’m not talking about the “geeky” questions here. I’m talking about a coherent plot line that builds up to a solid conclusion. It’s like saying, “Well, propositions don’t matter, just the conclusion that if we all get along, we’ll create our own happy place so we can find each other in the by and by.” Which is nearly exactly what they said the “church” was. I think Jack’s dad said, “This is the place you all created so you could find each other again.”
So no, the universalism was not “supposed,” it was heavy-handed from my spot on the couch. The very reason that they did not go into particular faiths, it seems, is because that sort of coherency is not needed to create their vision of “heaven.” As long as we have sentiment, we can dispense with the propositions.
So, here I sit, grumble, grumble. I should have known this would end badly when the polar bears showed up. :)
But, Drew, Lost is not leaving us with everyone “walking into the light.” As has been pointed out there are several people who do not walk into the light, so if it’s universalism it’s not very universal. But more to the point if the theme is “redemption through community” then doesn’t it make sense that the people in that community walk into the light. What you’re calling “universalism” is, I think, I misreading of the context.
Maybe I am just not understanding what you’re saying, though.
I was responding to Rich saying its not about salvation. I may be wrong about the universalism bit but the show was very much about salvation at least of a pluralistic sort.
I think Brad may be on to something here–it seems very postmodern to say that the show is about redemption through community and then in the same breath say that we are not to focus who goes to heaven etc. when that clearly was a plot device.
There are numerous people that were important to the plot, that had significant experiences with those who were in the room (Michael–who begged for forgiveness and worked for it, Walt, Anna Lucia etc.). The reason I was calling it universalism is because “randomism” hasn’t been invented yet ;)
sorry I should read my comments more closely. The first sentence of my last paragraph should begin “There are numerous people that were not in the Church that had significant experiences with those who were in the room.”
It’s worth pointing out that we all probably have very different understandings of what actually happened last night, for better or for worse. I’m pretty sure that Christian wasn’t talking about the church, as much as the sideways world in general when he said it was a place you all made.
There’s also the intriguing theory that Hurley used his guardian powers to create this place for them, somewhere in between life and the afterlife, so that they got what they needed. After all, he takes care of people.
My point isn’t to sell you on that theory, but to point out that this isn’t really meant to be a claim about what happens when everyone dies, as much as it’s a story about what happens when these fictional characters die.
If we must label Lost, it was in support of agnosticism with its’ very structure… but again, I don’t think Lost is trying to be an “ism” at all. We can critique and discuss, but to write it off because we think it’s pluralistic I think is misguided.
well said, Rich.
I didn’t write it off–I am just exposing the agnosticism or randomism, whatever you want to call it. I think that is only fair given how often the show was grappling with the idea of God, good/evil, free will/fate etc. Can’t I say, I disagree with a message that was presented pretty clearly in the finale?
I think if you read my comments I appreciate the idea of “redemption through community.” I liked Lost–enjoyed the show from start to finish and I don’t think it was a waste of time. I do think the show ended moving us (or maybe just me) to think about life after death–I don’t know why I am not supposed to think about that when the show ended in some sort of “after life.”
It looks like I might have a little different spin on what the Flash Sideways reality actually was. I’m a huge fan of C.S Lewis (I loved Charlotte’s character for her initials, her nerd-love with Faraday, and nothing else…), and one of his books, The Great Divorce, presents what I believe is a similar reality.
In that book, the main character travels from a grey, lifeless town to the outskirts of heaven. Upon arriving, he and all the other passengers are met by certain people coming out of heaven that they know from some other life, it seems. As the bus passengers interact with their heavenly counterparts, the main character is met by George MacDonald. (MacDonald’s writings were a major part of C.S. Lewis’ conversion to Christianity). The substance of all these interactions is for the heavenly beings to invite the bus passengers to come with them into heaven. They have varying degrees of success. Some of the passengers quickly decide to go “further up and further in”, but most have reason after reason as to why they shouldn’t.
The book concludes with the main character learning from George MacDonald that the grey town, the bus ride, and all of the interactions he has seen and experienced on the outskirts of heaven are not actually real, but are representations of what actually happened in the lives of the bus passengers. The substance of their conversations with their friends and relatives who came from heaven are, in reality, played out over the course of their entire lives.
I believe that the Flash Sideways reality on LOST was something similar to the symbolic reality in The Great Divorce. The original timeline, complete with the plane crash, the Island, polar bears, electro-magnetism, Others, smoke monster, time travel, etc., ACTUALLY happened. The events of the FS reality were more symbolic of the characters’ interactions in real life. I realize that some events in the Flash Sideways reality don’t fit this model, but remember what Christian said to Jack in the finale – “Everybody dies, Jack… Some before you, some long after you.” So it’s possible that some of the events we witnessed in the FS reality happened AFTER Jack saved the Island and died. Hurley and Ben apparently spending some length of time as the “#1” and “#2” of the Island, for instance.
Just my initial thoughts and attempts to make it make sense…
As to the Christian/pagan/universalist/whatever else debate, I think Lost ultimately comes down to interpretation. Specifically, which interpretation we’re looking to find. It’s intentionally ambiguous (Matthew Fox even said this on the Jimmy Kimmel special last night). In general, I don’t like it when pop culture provides an ambiguous answer to an important moral or theological question, but I think I’m okay with it in Lost’s case. The show was amazing enough, and popular enough, that the potential for starting spiritual conversations with the people I know who need Jesus overcomes my dislike of Hollywood ambiguity.
It’s worth pointing out that we all probably have very different understandings of what actually happened last night, for better or for worse.
Have we all died and gone to pomo heaven?
“Agnostic”? Really? Is that why the stain glass window in the church had 9 different faiths on it?
To write it off as pluralistic is misguided, eh? To overlook every inconsistency, heresy, and incoherent plot structure in order to enjoy a happy ending is a far worse fate, I think. The fact of the matter is that the show got “LOST” precisely because they painted themselves into an existential corner that they had no idea how to get out of. They needed Michael to be judged because he shot people, right? Yet, Kate blew up her own step-dad and remained unrepentant about it to the end. Sawyer shot one man in cold blood and strangled another to death while he was chained. Ben murdered John Locke. Sayid (sp?) was a torturer, murderer, and a lacky for the black smoke monster for a time. And what did the black smoke monster promise him in return? His “love” who turned out not to be his love? Whaaat?! Why did Michael get excluded again?
So we are pointing out these things, at least Drew and I are, and you are saying we are missing the point of the show? Was the point of the show that we should enjoy the happy ending and the lesson on community?
Speaking of community, how are we to figure that one out. First, we had the others kidnapping people on the “list.” That was presumably Ben’s crew. Why did they do that? Who were the other “others” that lived in the temple? Are those geeky questions? We need a list, I think, to delineate what is “point missing” and what is apropos.
I could go on and on. These are not inconsistencies noticed by the geekly intuned only. They are gaping holes in the theology and the plot that were never resolved. I’m glad that they all got along at the end though. That was nice.
Good thoughts, Joseph.
Look, it’s clear that the mythology got away from the creators and they couldn’t control it or wrap it up neatly anymore. No one, I think, is really denying this. But I like how Rich has dealt with that here:
“Though we often wanted it to be about something else, it was always a show about the characters, and their relationships to one another. Even more, it’s about what happens when those relationships are forced to grapple together with the implications of incomprehensible mystery, pain, and loss.”
Now, I understand that this is exactly what your problem with the finale is: It offers up community in place of answers to the mysteries. But that’s life, man. You can call it postmodern if you like (everything Christians get frustrated with is “postmodern” these days). In life the mysteries are rarely resolved and I am not sure that on the otherside of eternity we have the guarantee that they will all be explained…we just won’t care about that once we’re there. The fellowship with Jesus and the community of the saints will be “All that matters.”
The “bad theology” doesn’t really bother me. It is a work of fiction, science-fiction nonetheless. By that same measure Star Wars is bad theology, even though the original trilogy are great movies. is there the Force? No. Is the idea of the force strongly influenced by Eastern philosophy? Yes. I don’t expect non-Christian writers to set up Christian-like theology, although likely they will allude to it. But even if a fiction writer was Christian I wouldn’t say they have to necessarily setup their work within the strict confines of Christian theology. Even Lord of the Rings is bad theology technically, despite Tolkien being a Christian.
I was initially upset last night with questions that weren’t answered. Yet upon further contemplation today, it seems fitting that LOST didn’t end with all the questions being answered, with all the mysteries being revealed. Isn’t that realistic? Isn’t that life? (as @David was saying) When have we ever gotten all the answers? As in life, in LOST you have to make peace with the fact that not your questions will be answered. (Obviously God revealed many of those questions through the Word, yet not all of them.) We’ll just have to live with the questions like “why/how was the island created?” until the spin-off with Hurley running things and Ben tagging along.
I could list a hundred things that are wonky about the philosophy/worldview being presented in LOST–am I “bothered” by that? Yes and no. It doesn’t hurt my feelings if that is what you mean by “bothered.” If you mean bothered in that I don’t think pluralism is true–then yes absolutely–I hope none of you think that pluralism is true and are bothered in that sense. Did I expect LOST to espouse a Christian worldview and values? Of course not. Did LOST deal with massive questions about God, free will, fate, and religion? Yes–quite a bit actually. This is in large part what made following the show so much fun–if you read back on the CaPC water cooler posts on LOST most of them have to do with these issues not the issue of redemption through relationships. I agree that the finale was certainly themed in that direction, however, that does not negate the fact that LOST trugged through some heavy religious and philosophical waters to get there.
So I just find it weird that we get to the finale and all I say is that there was some wonky pluralism being presented there and everyone gets upset. I am just pointing it out–it doesn’t shake my faith or make me angry–I just think its worth talking about. That to me is much of why the show was so great–because of the conversations that spawned out of it.
I don’t think I am misssing the point–I get what you all are saying–I just want to say more–its not a slam on the show or anyone–its just a worthwhile observation I think, especially since this site is called “Christ and Pop Culture.”
Drew, I don’t disagree with your response to a pluralistic worldview presented on a show – I think we just have a difference of opinion as to whether a pluralistic (or whatever) worldview was indeed presented. I’m not the least bit upset over the whole thing, just saying, I think you’re misreading it. You would probably say the same to me, at which point we’d probably have to agree to disagree.
All that said, it’s been super-fun discussing the show with you in the past! Man, were we ever wrong about Jacob!
I would also draw a distinction between what I consider to be Drew’s level-headed and valid response to what he perceives as a pluralistic worldview and the overly angry, presumptuous and grumpy response that I have seen coming from other Christians. Drew’s doing it right, even if he’s wrong. ;-)
@Rich – thanks buddy.
@All – I apologize for getting a little upset but I just felt like my comments weren’t being read because I said like 6x that I didn’t expect LOST to espouse Christian theology and that kept being leveled at things I was saying. I also never wrote off the show–I just disagreed with some ideas that it seemed to be presenting.
I have tried really hard to give some serious thought to what you guys are saying–I really have and I have discovered that I in fact am right ;) … jk. I don’t really know but I do know that the show ended after death for the major characters involved in a place they all created (with oodles of religious imagery–it reminded me of those bumper stickers that say “coexist” and each of the letters is a religious symbol lol) and Christian told Jack to take as long as he needs and then he could let go and leave–I assumed that meant he could let go of all these memories and follow Christian into the light.
Maybe I am stuck in the Judeo-Christian world but that seemed to speak of an afterlife into which they were all going–which is very religious even if not a nod to a particular religion. So there you go–maybe its not pluralistic but there was certainly some religious mysticism of some sort going on in which our relationships get us entrance into the “light” or whatever you want to call it.
Anyway–I have now written my thought on the series–hopefully we will get them up soon and you guys can rip into them there!
@All–thank you for your mostly level headed responses to mine–watching this show has been a lot of fun and it has been more fun to watch it and then pick it apart and argue about it with you guys on this website!
The other day an example I mentioned to Rich is Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. It’s not like Dickens was actually saying that hell consists of chains for mean landowners, or that there is such thing as a Ghost of Christmas Past. Those are just story elements designed to help him talk about something else… how Scrooge relates to his fellow man.
Even though I’m consistently one of Lost’s biggest detractors, I don’t think the writers were making a serious attempt to teach us or show us much of anything with that scene in relation to the afterlife. I think they were just using a very generic, widely palatable story element to make a point about something else… our relationships here on Earth (though I contend it was poorly done, but still).
I was most stongly reminded of a quote from a movie I really liked called K-Pax. In it, the main character ends by saying, “I wanna tell you something Mark, something you do not yet know, that we K-PAXians have been around long enough to have discovered. The universe will expand, then it will collapse back on itself, then will expand again. It will repeat this process forever. What you don’t you know is that when the universe expands again, everything will be as it is now. Whatever mistakes you make this time around, you will live through on your next pass. Every mistake you make, you will live through again, & again, forever. So my advice to you is to get it right this time around. Because this time is all you have.”
Of course the writers aren’t trying to convince you that this is a scientific truth. They’re merely using a story element to make a point.
I guess I would ask the question this way… which do you think is more effective at influencing consumer worldviews… blatant statements of writer perspectives on the afterlife, or inherent assumptions about the rightness of hedonism, non-judgementalism, and self-actualization? I go with the latter, and as a result am not too worried about (seeming) attempts to try something with the former.
Well I just finished watching it, and having a short disagreement with the wife too who was disappointed with the ending to put it mildly.
Right now, there is still too much for me to digest, and I think it’s going to take at least a weeks worth of blogs and forums before I finalise my opinion.
That said, this thread has been helpful into nourishing the first seeds of thought, both for and against.
I think we can all agree it’s a fictional tool used to tell a story and make a point. I was slightly disappointed in the slightly cliché tool that was chosen in the end – I was expecting something different and unique. Funnily enough though, it was a slightly better than what my ending theory was.
I am so glad you brought up The Great Divorce by CS Lewis! I have read this book also and it totally helps to frame what just happened. I don’t know if the writers intentionally alluded to TGD or were influenced by it but it seems it’s the nearest anyone will get to Christian allegory who are trying to find it.
On a realistic level, I truly believe that time and budget constraints is why certain characters weren’t there – and I’m happy with that. The names I can think of right now are Jacob, Richard, Anna Lucia, Michael, Walt… I’m sure there’s plenty more.
That said, I can also accept the fudges for certain missing characters. Certain characters such as Richard – their lives and most important connections were in different lifetimes to the main cast – so they may have ‘made’ their own special place with those who they felt most connected.
With regards to missing characters who do belong in the main story – I’m happy to accept they are still out there in the sideways-world carrying on with their own personal guilt, trials, struggles of life.
I felt there were certain elements that Lost borrowed from catholic christianity – specifically the idea of purgatory and forgiveness of sin – but I guess in TV land it’s easy to keep God impersonal – not so much his son.
Going back to Richard Alpert, what most sticks in my craw is his flashback episode where he asked for forgiveness from Jacob but was told Jacob couldn’t absolve him – I think this is an important aspect to pick up on because in terms of Lost’s philosophy it’s now cannon and so if Richard wasn’t forgiven then – did he ever receive forgiveness and from who?
It’s inconceivable to me that those who committed worse crimes than he should have gotten to the “remembering” stage and that he wouldn’t.
Which leaves us with questions such as
a) Did Richard ever get forgiveness?
b) Was Jacob alluding to the cliché TV philosophy that the protagonist must learn to forgive himself?
c) Is Richard in his own personalised afterlife?
I think this ending has created so many more questions than the series ever did. I don’t know if I want to see some offshoot or follow up show either – I think that would just be like summarising ‘the force’ as an attribute of a persons midichlorian count.
I’m looking forward to reading the internets response to this ending, and gleaning as much as I can before I finalise my thoughts on it.
I loved this post and I will buck the trend by saying I found the finale to be wonderfully satisfying. I noticed the “Coexist Stained Glass” in the background and groaned. But that’s not surprising so I leave it at that. Because what the story is doing would not work with all paths lead to truth. What the story does is show the primacy of love, that forgiveness requires surrender to a higher power, and that if there is no resurrection, we are above all men to be pitied. What Lost failed to mention is that unless someone has already been resurrected, we have no hope that there is anything after death and no reason to believe that anything matters (I Cor 15:12-19). In short, Lost showed me that I need Jesus (or more accurately that God showed me through a story beauty that can only be found in Him). And for that, I am grateful. And really, with a show that focused on going home, I can’t imagine a better end (you know, except the one with Jesus).
P.S. Since C.S. Lewis was mentioned, it seems a shame not to quote the Chronicles of Narnia:
The things that began to happen…were so great and beautiful that I cannot write them. And for us this is the end of all the stories, and we can most truly say that they all lived happily ever after. But for them it was only the beginning of the real story. All their life in this world and all their adventures in Narnia had only been the cover and the title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story, which no one on earth has read: which goes on forever: in which every chapter is better than the one before.
@Ben – I get your point. I am probably pressing the world of the LOST too far.
I am not worried about LOST converting folks to pluralism–I think most people in our country probably already lean that way. But I think the idea that everyone gets to go to heaven is a lovely concept that many people are influenced by today.
Do I think LOST is moving people toward pluralism? No not really–it wasn’t clear enough or convincing enough to accomplish that and consequently most folks don’t need much of a push in that direction.
I am not worried about whether or not people were influenced by it, I am not being the “worldview” police here–I just wanted to point out what I perceived to be some pretty heavy handed pluralism. I think that is worth pointing out at the very least. Christian after all pointed out that what was going on in the end was “real” and the show continued to try to keep a foothold in reality. All I intended to say was–“hey there is some pluralism there–that is a dangerous idea that people love but it doesn’t serve them well.”
That is it–that was my one point in my initial comment.
Was the Island “real” or was it also part of their death?
Answer, they were always dead.
It was Jack — not Desmond who said “there are no shortcuts” and “it all matters.”
There were different levels of purgatory. The Island was the first level. Jack’s end takes off almost exactly where he started off: Jack, among the bamboo, grabs at his side, injured (forget about surving a crash — no one survives falling out of a plane).
In the finale, just before Jack and the MIB-Locke lower Desmond into the pit, he tells Jack that ‘it doesn’t matter whether the Island gets destroyed or survives — none of it matters.’ Then he tells Jack that he can come to a place where Desmond sat next to him on Oceanic 815; where the plane never crashed; and everyone is at peace, i.e., the ascension level of Purgatory. How could Desmond know this — know about this sideways afterlife — because he knows that they are already dead (“none of this matters”) and that the Island is a preperatory phase for the next level.
For those who think the Island is real, explain Hurley. Jacob tells Jack, after he drinks the water “you are now like me”, i.e., you are now immortal/eternal. When Jack gives his position over to Hurley he tells him the same thing, i.e., “you are now like me.” MIB-Locke could “kill” Jack, just as Ben had “killed” Jacob, but neither could die of natural causes (age or disease). If Hurley had become immortal/eternal like Jack and Jacob, how did he ever die and end up in the sideways ascension Purgatory. The simple answer is in front of you again. When Jack is outside dying he is exactly where Hurley and Ben had been talking before. How did Jack get up and not encounter them. The simple answer is that Jack was the last one on Oceanic 815 to go to the ascension Purgatory, which is why everyone else was waiting for him in the Church.
But, the simple truth is, they were dead all along, but Jacob was correct that they all were lost, without direction. The Island Purgatory gave them all the sense of purpose and worth that they had been missing in life, and which they needed to move forward. The Island may have been real in the sense that they each interacted with the souls of the other people killed on the flight and elsewhere, but, it was not a physical reality.
@ Jon – interesting theory but how would you explain the Oceanic 6 leaving the island–did they visit the sidewayverse? What about those who came and went from the island for years i.e. Ben, Widmore, and the Darhma folks?
Plus Christian said that time didn’t matter in “this place” meaning the church or the flash sideways.
Yeah, plus the writers stated pretty unequivocally that the island wasn’t purgatory.
Rich are you trying to say that meaning inheres in the author rather than the audience? Crazy stuff man!
In the case of figuring out what the heck happened with Lost, no doubt!
Whether it’s “purgatory” or “real” is semantics. What is “real” anyway? Won’t this world seem less “real” in the next life? The Great Divorce (thanks Joseph) and Plato’s Shadows both come to mind.
Either way Jon’s point is the same: the island “gave them all the sense of purpose and worth that they had been missing… and which they needed to move forward.”
I’m still a little confused as to when exactly each character “died” (or went “to the ascension purgatory”–whatever) but Joseph’s comments helped me a bit on that one, too.
I think we need to have caution in anything that is created. Especially, when written by non-Christians. They are not lead by the Holy Spirit, so they will introduce idea’s that can be vary dangerous. Not that Christian’s are guaranteed to be accurate ether. I’m a big Star Wars fan and I have went through every view to see how it relates to scripture. And as my children watch it, I point out it’s flaws so they won’t be so easily led astray. This idea that entrainment doesn’t influence people one way or another is not true. We are ether influenced by God and His angels or Satan and his demons. Nether do anything without purpose. So, if Satan constantly introduces faults ideas through people who don’t have God and even those who do, then those ideas do have an effect on both the saved and unsaved.
Universalism, agnosticism, pluralism, coexisting or whatever you want to call it, seems to be what Satan is pushing lately. For those who are weak Christians, it can lead them astray. Make them doubt there faith. For the unsaved, it can make there resistance to true Christians even stronger; seeing any absolutes as extremism. Even with in the church we are seeing even greater tolerance for faults doctrine. Some denominations even letting homosexuals serving in the church and calling them Christians. There are churches and Christians who lean heavily on the opinions of the unsaved to make the church more acceptable. Appeasement is spreading dangerously through much of the church. And it comes from being desensitized by influences other than God.
While one show, song, movie, etc. does not convert a person, a constant bombardment of these influences starts to take it’s toll. Making sure we mentally note all biblical inconsistencies in all forms of information will protect us and others from Satan’s influence. The stained glass in the church was definitely meant to suggest that all these religions were compatible. And community for community sake is not a good thing; Tower of Babylon anyone? The more symbolic or confusing the story is, the more cautious I think we should be. It makes it easy for Satan to get stuff into our head without noticing. The story not moving into any one religion is a theology in itself. It’s not meant to just increase viewership. Joseph Campbell has had an enormous impact on story telling and his philosophy is extremely dangerous. I think the writers of LOST got, well… lost because of there attempt at avoiding any one religion. Just like the story got lost in the confusion, so will people who believe in pluralism.
I just got here, to this site…
was thinking about LOST again.
Now let me tell you a story, and take it as you think it should be…
Now, many of us may know of the connection problems going on that night. For the first part of the show they were bad from my area. So… I said a prayer, but after sending the prayer, I was either told or thought, why would God want this show to air? Would he really care? I mean, I didn’t know for sure, but I felt silly asking. So I decided to add in asking him to make it strongly move people in the correct direction spiritually, as much as it could. As much as a tv show nowadays would… So the day after the finale, that came back to mind…
Anyhow, as to the message of it… It did seem VERY universalist. Now some of you are saying that some people were left out… Firstly, this could have been the actors, or how it would look in the overall plot… I’m not sure….
BUT, even if they did take these stereotypical “bad guys” out, that could still be pretty universalist. It could suggest that more people go to heaven than actually do.
This may seem like a touchy subject, but what about fornication?
Did they fornicate? Doesn’t Paul warn us the sexual immorality is a sin?
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