Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Lost for 6 years

Well, on Sunday night, a 6 year journey through television history came to and end. Lost was the first show that I ever followed with complete faithfulness, and it will probably be the last. Not because I was let down, but because it made television writing history in a way that will most likely never be topped. Because of it's format, it was able to discuss the nature of humanity and philosophy, while developing one of the most complex and interesting plots I've ever seen. The television series format also allowed the writers to develope characters at a level that could never be found in a simple hollywood movie.

It is no secret to Lost fans that the show went to great lengths to discuss philosophy and religion in no subtle fashion throughout the subtext of the show. This was carried out to the very end. As a Christian, I was very impressed at how strongly my beliefs were used as a source of material throughout the course of the show, not to mention very strongly in the finale. That being said, many other religions were also given their honorable mention.

It's an interesting thing to see all religions treated equally when you carry the views of what many would call an "exclusivist." I do in fact believe that Christ is the only way to heaven. I've also been surprized to learn that nearly every religion is at some point exclusive. And those who believe that all religions are equal will exclude the exclusivists. No one is without exception. I can't say I expected the witers of this well thought out and culturally "relevent" show to simply get "saved" and somehow side with Christianity, so I guess I'm pretty satisfied with what they did finish with.

My dissapointment came when I watched the farewell to Lost special on Jimmy Kimmel Live almost directly after the finale. It began with a conversation with Lost star, Matthew Fox. Jimmy began to discuss the spiritiual beliefs that are given mention in the show. He explained his take on Christianity. "Christians believe this life is a test. If you lead a good life, you go to Heaven. If you lead a bad one, you go to Hell. I believe the story of Lost is the story of Jack's test." Matthew Fox simply nodded in possible agreement and then moved on to discuss of spiritual views that are included in the show.

Any Christian who truly understands the gospel knows that good works hardly have to do with getting into heaven. They would know that Christ's death for our sins as well has his righteousness is what gets us into Heaven. I completely understand if someone doesn't agree with Christianity, but the saddest thing to me is when someone has chosen to dissagree after having the faith falsely presented to them.

Even a dedicated Lost fan would know that the show's philosophy may not be perfect, but it's theology was more than a little bit closer to the truth than Jimmy's interpretation. I just get a bit depressed when I realize that Jimmy Kimmels additute is truly an indicator of the way many people see us as Christians. They simply aren't motivated enough to find out what we really believe, even if bits of that truth are hidden in their favorite show.

On a happier note, I'm glad to see that the best show ever written has finished strong, Thank you Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse for 6 great years.

Monday, May 3, 2010

A long way from the eyes to the heart

"Every man's way is right in his own eyes, But the LORD weighs the hearts."
Proverbs 21:2 (NASB)

Do you find anything strange about this passage? I didn't for a long time. Then I began to think, what is the difference between something being right in your own eyes, and right in your heart? Shouldn't the passage say, "Every man's way is right in his own eyes, And the LORD weighs the hearts."? It seems to me that whether you're a Christian or not, we tend to assume that if someone has judged a way of living to be correct, then, right or wrong, their heart is in the right place. But that doesn't seem to be what this passage is saying. It seems to be saying, if your way is wrong, your heart is wrong... that's a little scary.

After thinking about it ever more, however, it does make some sense. Does anyone ever really go the wrong way in their own eyes? It seems that if something seems right, or beneficial, at least at the moment, people tent to choose that path. It comes down to choosing whose opinion you'll side with, your own, or that of someone else. This really calls into question just what it is that makes someone evil. Usually if someone hurts us or someone we love, we tend to judge the motives of their heart. We picture them plotting in some dark corner just what they'll do to hurt the next person.

When we think back to times when we've done something "evil," however, is this the way that we were thinking? Of course not. We justify everything that we do. We can always give some reason for our behavior at the time we act. If we lie about that reason, well, then we have a good reason for that too. Do you really think Hitler sat in some tower, relishing how evil he was? I'll bet he had a "good" reason in his subjective mind for everything he did. His way was right in his own eyes, but his heart was most definitely not. How is that possible? To put it simply, His opinion was what was most important, and he followed it to the death.

As Christians, then, whose opinion should be the most important? Do we base our lives on subjective opinion, Or do we look somewhere outside of ourselves for the most trustworthy opinion. Do we judge our path as best we can and assume that our heart is in the right place, or do we look to God and his word and trust that he will guide our heart to the right place. We live in a subjective culture, but it has become clear to me that appealing to subjectivity is really an appeal to pride. Evil doesn't come from trying to be evil. It comes from thinking that your opinion is all it will take to lead you to truth.