Why Jesus Hates LOST

With a title like that, I knew you’d read. I really don’t know  if Jesus would give LOST a single thought, but maybe he would since the show’s creators felt it necessary to bring him into it.

For the last six years, I have been a die-hard, committed, and faithful fan of the television series, LOST.  I watched the pilot and every episode that followed.   I watched like an addict looking forward to his next fix.  Until that amazing Wednesday each week (Tuesdays for the FINAL season), I would  religiously review old episodes, watch the pop-up shows, download You Tube clips from freaks who looked like they’d never have girlfriends, I searched the web for clues, followed all of the fake web pages created for Oceanic, studied Dharma pictures, debated theories with friends,  every week for 6 long years.  Though it angered me to have ONE answer given for every FOURTEEN questions posed, even when critics warned me to flee, even when there were 6 and 8 month “breaks”, even when my own family condemned this unhealthy love affair…I remained true.

As the final season came to an end, however, I began to fear that there would be no real conclusion to things.   Without question it would “end”, but it would be an end without solid answers to the thousand questions we all have.   And that is just what happened.   There will be many articles written for and against the ending of LOST.  I don’t think these articles are meaningless, especially because it appears (as the graphic shows), that the writers were trying to SAY something.  I don think we need to consider WHAT they were saying if, for no other reason, because this simple television show captivated millions of people for over six years.  I know that I am disappointed, I don’t know exactly why.  I like what one person wrote:

“Ultimately, ‘Lost’ was a show for the anxious, uncertain, post-Sept. 11 nation we have become. We’ve had to accept ambiguity as a fact of life, and we seek answers and closure, though none may be forthcoming. We’re leery and skeptical about science but riddled with doubt about faith. To the extent that ‘Lost’ was about the journey and not the destination, about the drive to solve riddles rather than the solutions themselves, it was the show that best explained us to ourselves.”

Perhaps I don’t like LOST because it simply didn’t end the way I wanted.  I don’t know if I could have told you what I wanted exactly.  I think it is more because I’ve realized what LOST is: a sobering picture of a broken culture we live in holding to all too common, and broken, values like:

Ambiguity over Definition: LOST revealed that answers are meaningless.  The entire show created more questions and could ever be answered.  In fact, I believe they were asked simply to manufacture skepticism not understanding.  Good, evil, right, wrong, life, death, even time was never defined.  Such a view resonates with our culture that hates black and white and loves the varying shades of gray.

Journey over Destination: The LOST saga revealed that the journey is more important than the destination.  This is not to say that we don’t learn something in the process.  The pain process of life is certainly where we learn things, but it is a journey to somewhere specific–one of two places in fact.   Like many people today, the meaning of their life is found in the process–so that is all they do.  They “learn”, but do not grow.  They ask, but never conclude.  They talk about what is happening to them, but they never actually do anything.   The writers scratched at the surface of a “final destination” but alas, it turned into a spiritual Royal Fork Buffet by the end.  In a “church”, while a man named “Christian” who talked like Yoda told his Son about the afterlife, he stood in front of a stained glass window with every religious symbol you can imagine.

Chaotic Experience over Ordered Reality: LOST writers also got a bit lucky with their timing.  The culture was primed for a TV show to go VIRAL, and that is exactly what happened.  The show went beyond some prime-time hour on television.  It extended into blogs, secret videos, fake websites, all kinds of different avenues for people to “Experience” the show.  In fact, I am beginning to believe that is exactly what the writers wanted.  They didn’t actually have answers, they didn’t imagine a story arc with a clear beginning, middle and end…or even another beginning.  Instead, they created a chaotic experience that everyone wanted to be a part of.   The final episode was indicative of the entire series, dedicated to helping us remember our emotional experience.  In the end, it is hoped that the shared experience we’ve will make the FACT that they didn’t really tell us a story at all, excusable.  Remember, “it all really happened, ” even if you were fooled into believing something else would happen.

Relationship over Justice: In the end, the writers of the LOST series wanted us to focus on the characters.   When we do, however, we see that this is a group of evil, broken, sinful people for the most part.  It is quite easy to forget what happened over six years.  A brief review will show us that all of these people did some fairly horrific things.  In the end, all is forgiven, forgotten, or whatever…because they all found love.  How nice.  I’m glad the womanizers, terrorists, liars, thieves, murderers, hooches, all get to live happily ever after without having to actually deal with any of their sin.  It is  understandable that the writers would create an environment strangely familiar to the Catholic view of Purgatory–where the sinner get’s a second chance.  The only thing more offensive that a culture of 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th chances is one where salvation is found in relationships with other people, as opposed to God himself.

Ok. I feel better.  And, although I’ll never re-watch a LOST episode, I will continue to live in community with my “brothers” who were brought together by the newest social experiment.  I just hate being a guinea pig.

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Author: Sam Ford

Sam Ford is a preacher, planter, and pastor from the Pacific Northwest. He is currently pastoring Restoration Road Church in Snohomish, WA.

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