LOST and the (im) possibility of redemption (Spoiler Alert)

Purgatory? Really? Religious Pluralism… many roads to one place? Really? That was my first reaction after watching the finale of LOST. But the more I began to ponder the reality of this middle place I was continually vexed by the question, was it real though?

This was an important question because the idea that this happened after their death seemed to perturb me and disturb my sense of what my life now means, what the possibilities of redemption are within my present, bodily life.

These were my initial reactions, my desire for redemption and hope within our present existence. In the midst of this frustration though I recalled a curious analogy by an early Christian bishop, Augustine of Hippo. In his theological autobiography, Confessions Augustine describes human lives and recollection within God’s own recollection. Whereas human beings must strain from word to word, note to note, moving from moment to moment singing words while awaiting future verses to come in to view, so to speak, In God every word is present. In God’s own life memory is fully present and there is no gap between the words spoken by God and the verses of our future. Our past, present, and future are completely present in God’s memory of us.

Augustine’s description of memory is important to me here in beginning to think about LOST because it begins to trouble any notion that redemption is only an act that exists within our time. If redemption is God’s activity, if restoration is something that we are drawn into then it is never about time, but the intermingling of time and eternity which is the very ground of our humanity as clay enlivened by Spirit.

Of course this is a thoroughly Christian view of a show that seemed to bend over backwards to refuse any particular religious interpretation. In fact, in Christian Shepherd’s description of what the island was, “a creation of the LOST themselves,” we are left with perhaps the only answer that modernity can give us regarding religious belief, it is merely our own construction, a reflection of efforts and hope that can only be placed in ourselves. If this is the case LOST may be more right than we thought, that redemption is only possible in death and this should give all of us who believe some significant reason to pause. Does redemption represent something that is distant? Or is redemption a present possibility?

These are just some initial thoughts and I am sure I will be rethinking this whole thing but hhat do you think? Is this a pessimistic view of the finale? of the arc of the show itself?

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2 thoughts on “LOST and the (im) possibility of redemption (Spoiler Alert)

  1. So funny that we both landed on Augustine as the LOST interlocutor: http://senseijfk.wordpress.com/2010/05/24/lost-love-a-pop-culture-love-story-in-the-21st-century/

    Great thoughts Brian. However, I wouldn’t come down too hard on Christian Shepard’s appeal to reality as an act of our construction. True, it smites of Heidegger and Schopenhauer but it is also the dignity humans are afforded in this life as con-creators in this life. I think it does bring things together in many ways.

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