Tuesday, September 7, 2010


My wife and I watched all 6 seasons of this with our oldest 2 kids. It is very good. Lots of interesting plot twists. Lots of compelling characters. Lots of allusions to the big questions of life. There has been a lot of comment about it in the catholic blog world. You can see why. There are a bunch of explicit references to Catholicism and even more implicit references. There is a lot there. Still most of what is there is not really that hard for our culture to accept. Certainly it makes people think. Is there some supernatural power influencing our lives and giving our lives a purpose? People love that mystery. But they don't really want to find a solid answer. Lost was always frustrating for raising so many questions and providing so few answers. But as soon as you provide something solid about what life is all about you get into trouble. Because telling us why we are here has immediate implications for how we should live. So asking questions is OK. Providing answers is not.

Lost explores a lot of moral quandaries around torture and killing. There is a sense that we do wrong and that we need redemption. But exactly what is right and wrong? Our culture is ready to ask those questions but it is not ready to accept any solid answers. The sin that is dealt with is really a sin against yourself. That is something you feel guilt over. There is no external moral code that gets broken.

The external moral code is what people hate about religion. All the symbols and the talk about meaning and purpose and the promise of life after death. That is all good. But when you start saying that this implies something about how we should live then you get problems. But why should not someone who creates us, who makes a plan for our lives, who forgives us, and who raises us from the dead. Why should such a being not also have a lot to say about how we are intended to live together? It really makes no sense. We can't find meaning and not have that meaning profoundly change what we do.

When somebody comes to the faith that is the point at which Christianity makes a real impact on their lives. When they resolve to try and change their moral behavior to be Christian. They might be reading the bible and saying some prayers. Maybe they come to church and say nice things about Jesus. If they haven't embraced basic Christian morality then not much is going to happen. That is where religion gets real. It is precisely where secular pseudo-religion refuses to go.

Yes they will embrace the idea of sacrifice but only as a big dramatic sacrifice. Not the daily surrender to the lordship of your creator. But where does the big sacrifice come from? If we live narcissistic lives will they lead us to great acts of self-sacrificing love? On TV they do. But is that real?

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