Saturday, February 21, 2009

Lost: Faith versus Reason

There has been a long recurring theme on LOST...the debate between faith and Reason. This debate has best been exemplified by the relationship between John Locke and Dr. Jack Shephard. Ironically, the real John Locke was a philosopher whose Deistic views denied original sin and taught that the human mind was a tabula rasa, or blank slate. Yet, within this view, the philosopher taught that each individual is the determiner of his own fate...and still tied inextricably to the group as a whole.

Shephard, on the other hand, is a derivation of shepherd, one who nurtures a group...particularly in a religious sense. Jack's father's name is Christian, or follower of Christ. Jack himself, although a nurturing leader of the group, has no faith in anyone or anything...primarily because he has no real faith in himself. That is why he trusts in reason, and reason alone, to guide him and his actions.

John Locke of LOST is a man of faith. He believes that each person CAN create their own life. However, this was a belief he had "lost" prior to coming to the island. It is obvious that he believes that the individual is responsible for the group...and that the group is responsible for each of its individual parts. One individual(Jack) can destroy the group by their actions...and the group can destroy each individual by theirs. Both are entwined.

I have seen a few references to episode 5.06 316. Some have made minor reference to the scriptural passage of John 3:16
For God so loved the cosmos that he gave His one of a kind Son(the correct translation of monogenes) that whoever acts in faith into Him shall not be destroyed, but their Spirit/Soul shall live through Eternity.

The Greek word to believe, or to faith, is Pisteuo. It is an active verb. The way that the late professor emeritus explained it to me was:

If I say, in English, that you will catch me if I fall, it requires no action on my part. You don't even have to be in the same room with me. To believe, in English, is a passive verb.

However, if I say, Ego pisteuo that you will catch me if I fall, it requires action.
  • I must be in the act of falling.
  • I must be past the point of catching myself.
  • You cannot have caught me yet.

That is why the act of believing for a Christian is the demonstration of their faith. You are falling towards someone that you cannot see...that no one can see...that you cannot prove even lived, let alone died and rose again...let alone is God Himself. The act of this falling makes you look clumsy, at best. If some one should happen to ask you why you are falling, and you tell them that you believe an invisible God/man is going to catch you, you risk looking very foolish...especially in light of the fact that we have never seen Him actually catch anyone. Once He catches them...they are dead to us. No proof.

This explains the supposed contradiction between James and Paul. James was writing to an audience(the twelve tribes abroad) who were hearing "Believe" in their own languages. James explained to them what pisteuo really meant. You must act on what you say you believe, or it means you don't really mean it.

What did Locke's note say to Jack? "I wish you had believed me." Had Jack acted on what Locke told him, none of the bad things would have happened to those left behind...or to people like Sayid's girlfriend when they got back.

What was left of the note when Jack woke up on the island? "I wish..."

Locke demonstrates his faith by his actions. Jack demonstrates his lack of faith in anyone, including himself, by his indecisiveness...and lies.

Locke makes a sacrifice of his life to get everyone to go back...to save those left behind...to save the island...and perhaps everyone on earth. he has been kicked in the teeth far more times in his life, and by the island, than Jack...and yet he still believes...enough to die.

What do you believe? What are you willing to look like a clumsy fool for? What are you willing to die for, with no proof that you are right?

Would you rather be Locke, or Jack?

3 comments:

Derek said...

I'm pretty sure alot of the characters names on lost have some reference connections. I'd like to see your take on all.
Thank you.

abaddon911 said...

I have never been convicted in a more beautiful way.

abaddon911 said...

Thank you very much for the perspective and wisdom.

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Christopher Blake is a loving husband...devoted father...minister...crippled ex-cop...screenwriter...novelist...actor...and more than a little rough around the edges...