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 save those left 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?

Thursday, February 19, 2009


First. I'd like to thank everyone who participated in Word association#1. There were, besides my own, the following answers...

  1. Honesty

  2. Trust

  3. Non-existent

  4. Balance

  5. Mutual

  6. Mutual(I love my wife!)

  7. Honest

  8. Koozy
  9. Divine
  10. Safe

There were no wrong answers given...which is NOT to say that there are no wrong answers. I believe that there are, but that's a blog for another day. The answers that each of you gave, give an insight to others as to your value system, which is why it took courage to "play". It also, hopefully, gave you insight into yourself...made you examine that system of values, and find a way to articulate it. So, once again, thank you.

Someone took the time to look up thalpo and give all of you a definition, as well as some of the etymology of the word. It does come from the word "Thallos" does mean to warm...and it is translated as "to cherish". The real question is why? What does warming something, especially in the sense of warming that which was previously cold/frozen, have to do with our definition of, "to cherish"?

Those of you who have followed this blog for any time know a few things about schooling, why I taught myself Greek and Hebrew(to what little degree I know them), and my trust well as my propensity to tell stories, especially true ones, to illustrate a point. So, here we go...

Fourth year of college. Sixteen years old. Doing word studies on Ephesians chapter 5. Thalpo for cherish. I looked the word up. To warm. Didn't make any sense to me. This was back in the day. No Internet searches. You went to the library. I read everything I could at our college. Went to a few others. Nothing that really explained the etymology of the least not to my satisfaction. Another student saw what I was doing. Sensed my frustration. She directed me to a professor.

He was the professor emeritus of Ancient Classical languages. His specialty was Koine Greek. This is what he told me.

The Ancient Greeks were very smart. They used their language like a tool, much to their benefit. That is why you see so many compound words. Very descriptive. You are correct that the root for Thalpos is warm. You're wondering how it acquired the idiomatic meaning "to cherish". It starts with a severe case of frostbite.

They lived in a mostly Mediterranean, temperate climate. Extremes of cold were uncommon, until the expansion of their world through travel. People would occasionally suffer from hypothermia. They, of course, didn't know that there were three stages. Nor could they take some one's temperature. We know that once the body has reached stage three, when the person's temperature drops to 89.6 degrees or below, death usually ensues unless proper care is given. Even then, there is no guarantee. They had no manuals. Everything was by trial and error. Blankets and a warm fire work for the first two stages, along with brisk rubbing...not so much for stage three. I can only imagine the horror of the first few people who briskly rubbed someone in stage three, only to have something break off. Horrible.

They discovered that the best course of action when someone was that cold, was to put your naked body next to theirs, and then cover both of you with a blanket. The Greeks understood heat transference. This gradual approach was the only one they had that worked. Their was, however, one great danger in this approach. The colder body siphons off heat from the warmer one. If the conditions were bad enough...if the person was cold enough...then you could, yourself ,suffer from hypothermia in your attempt to save someone else. You could do great damage to yourself...up to, and including death.

You can live for many days without water...much longer, if necessary, without cannot live very long without your body's heat. To be willing to risk be willing to give someone the essence of your life...well, hopefully you can see how that word came to mean to them to treasure...or to cherish someone. Is there anything else I can help you with?

I went to this wonderful man many more times. He was always very gracious. I am grateful to him still.

I learned all of this long before I ever met my wife. Long before...and yet, the irony of her name doesn't escape even me.

Life had left me cold...cold enough to be close to emotional and spiritual death. You see, when your in stage three, you stop shivering. It becomes harder to think rationally. You begin to hallucinate. You become a danger...not only to yourself, but to others...especially those you love. I was raising two little girls alone...and I was making them cold as well. We were all in great danger...and I was too cold to even recognize it.

Then Cherish came into my life. She gave me, and our daughters, her the risk of her own life. She saved them...and she saved me. She cherished me back to life.

All that I am...all that I have...all that I ever may have, or be, that is of any value, is because of her. Because she warmed me back to life.

She cherished me.

For me, then, the one word was easy...

She is my everything.



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Christopher Blake is a loving husband...devoted father...minister...crippled more than a little rough around the edges...