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Lostpedia and the Birth of a New Religion: The Losties

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Reading over the articles, the fallout since the Finale, I'm seeing a strange, disturbing trend. Let me start out by saying I wasn't impressed with the finale or season 6 as a whole. Someone on the writing staff was staying up all night to watch Touched by an Angel. What started out as a sci-fi fantasy story morphed into a strange, cultish religious story. I'm a firm believer that creative types should stick with what they know or what they are good at. Lindeloff and Cuse were good at writing back-story, creating a mythology. There were many good ideas but it seemed like they would start 4 other topics before resolving the first half dozen. I think this is where the loose ends began to accumulate. Instead of following through with an idea and completing that part of the story line, they ditched the first idea for another one they had more recently. Nothing was ever finished. Perhaps this is how the sci-fi fantasy story became a campaign for evangelism.

I've found it difficult to remain objective in the face of the producers obvious disregard for the fans or the effects their story would have on the fans. It almost looks as if they wanted to divide the fans over something... and guess what they picked? The whole story! And they found a way to create fan groups with differing theories about the meaning of the show. These groups are now looking a lot like the divisions that happen when Religious groups split over differing beliefs. Now, how's that for a point of contention between millions of people who were once united in attempting to 'solve the mysteries' of the Island and the Dharma Initiative? What should I say about a story of 'redemption' that destroys alliances and friendships?

It's taken Jacob over 2000 years to fix a mess he caused in about 10 minutes. Why is anyone listening to him? Even from a faith perspective? What reason is there to have any faith in what Jacob is saying? As far as we can see, he's just been a big screw up. He's ruined the lives of hundreds, if not thousands, of other people just for the sake of proving Smokey wrong. It seemed guarding the Island was secondary to any other purpose, yet that is the reason he offers for being on the Island. How many people does he have who really 'followed' him? It seemed they were captives, not followers.

I can imagine the convention now... The Free Will Losties, The Southern Losties, The New Hope Losties, The AME Zion Losties... Let's get out there and argue about the theology behind the show when we all know it's really all over the place. It never makes a commitment to one side or the other until the very end. That's because the real 'theology' behind the story is an Economic Theology. What will keep the viewers coming back? Religious stuff? Mmmm, no, maybe not. Weird monsters? Yeah, people like weird monsters. Let’s have the weird monster start talking to them using one of the other character’s faces. That should screw with their heads.

Mix in a little Hawaiian theology about the ‘source’ and how it can effect all of humanity if it is tampered with. No joke, there is an Island called Kahoʻolawe located in the South Pacific, part of Hawaii. The ancient people of the area considered the Island to be - or to contain - the ‘Source of all life’, which required protecting from those who would destroy it. Check out the story I found several months ago. Kaho Olawe

Here's the danger of telling a religious story from a science fiction perspective.

How many Christians did that ending offend in some way? The Christian school I went to as a child would have banned the games or anything to do with the show on school property. Jacob was too much like a cult leader, and a bad one at that.

How many Baptists are trying to find a way to accept the ending within the given context and still reconcile it with their own beliefs?

How many Muslims were offended by something the writers tried to say but got all wrong?

How many Scientologists are busy creating their own ending for the story? An ending where both the believers and the scientists can co-exist in support of each other’s ideas.

How many think Alvar Hanso was in fact a reincarnation of L. R. Hubbard from another life time?

Who thinks God is an alien from outer space?

What about the Atheists? And the Agnostics? The Pagans? Wiccans? Even Rah got a little publicity in Jacob’s tapestry…

And Redemption. In another blog, someone asked “What did Jack need to be redeemed from? Being a surgeon and saving lives? “ and his redemption came in the form of a seemingly senseless task where in he fixes a big problem for Jacob. A big problem that will cost him his life. I still can’t see how getting himself killed ‘fixing’ yet another problem symbolizes him ‘letting go’. He was trying to fix things right up to the end and most of his ideas were completely wrong. The bomb was a mistake. Convincing everyone to get in the sub was another dumb blunder. He was almost as bad as Jacob. ‘Let’s get a half dozen people to do what ever I say and see how many are left at the end of the episode.’ Who ever is left gets to move on to the next episode where we will find a way for Smokey to do away with them.

In the real world we sometimes find the best thing to do is nothing. Faith isn't some grand drama. It's not strange caves with electromagnetic anomalies, taking risks with the lives of other people, or trusting a creepy guy because he tells you the whole world depends on your decision. It's inner peace, contentment, and confidence. Rose and Bernard seemed to follow that line of reasoning. They aren’t concerned with protecting anything special on the island, they don’t know anything about the ‘Source’, and they don’t talk about miracles beyond admitting the Island healed Rose. She has faith, simple, quiet faith in God – a supreme being – not a demigod called Jacob. Somehow, she and Bernard survived the Smoke Monster, Dharma Initiative, The Others, The Sickness, electromagnetic radiation, time jumps, bombs, flaming arrow attacks, loneliness, lack of medicines or medical care, the strange diet of Dharma leftovers, intense sun, heat, spiders and snakes. I think this might be the real meaning of the Finale, the ‘message’ we were supposed to get out of it: Believe in false gods and you will end up dead – follow the one true God and it is like wearing a force field. Nothing can touch you. That was a good message, if it wasn't 'lost' in the telling.

Once I begin to think along these lines I end up at the obvious conclusion the Producers steered us all away from long ago.

The Island was Eden. Once Adam and Eve (the Biblical pair) are tossed out of the Garden of Eden, I seem to remember reading about Angels who guarded Eden for God, protecting the Tree of Life. Remember, anyone who ate of the Tree of Life would live forever. Kinda like drinking from the Source and pledging to care for the Light. Only the ‘Pure’ or sinless were fit to eat from that tree. The ‘Fall of Man’ changed everything, however. God didn’t want us to live forever under those circumstances so he put a guard on the Tree of Life but nothing further is mentioned about the Garden or what happened to it. Some theologists think there is evidence to prove Eden really existed and approximately where it would have been located. But what happened to the tree? What kind of tree was it? Just a fruit tree? Or was the Garden of Eden simply a literary device used in story-telling to move the plot ahead? Was it a metaphor for the Good that is within each of us? Or a metaphor for the failings we embrace every day? Or was it just a garden?

This show aspired to be more than the sum of its’ parts. It tried to be a classic story of adventure and discovery, a journey in self realization, and surrealistic possibilities – very much like the Bible. But there was one big difference, many men worked on the Bible for centuries. Strong men, learned philosophers and scholars, far wiser than the producers of Lost, have worried the good versus evil question since time began. The story could have worked. It might have been classic literature or theater, someday. But, a story of epic proportions requires epic planning and over-site on the level of the Vatican. Without that supervision of the story as a whole, the ‘Lost’ narrative became lost - buried under countless bodies, obfuscated by violence, anger, and abuse until my senses were almost numb and I had forgotten what the story was supposed to be about. Oh, yeah, the Characters… Characters being slaughtered, characters being threatened, characters committing suicide, characters being kidnapped… By the time Jin and Sun died, I had developed a ‘Ho, Hum’ attitude and didn’t care that much. I didn’t think it was all that romantic to leave their daughter an orphan who will be at the mercy of her controlling grandfather. A real mother would’ve run her husband off that sub, insisting he live to care for their daughter.

Is it ridiculous to compare Lost to the Bible? Yes. Just as ridiculous as the notion a couple of smart ass nerds are qualified to help us sort out our theological dilemmas. No pseudo-intellectual entertainment show can or should hope to enlighten, and guide us spiritually in a way that is in compliance with the commonly perceived Will of God, (Buddha, Allah, or Jehovah) especially when that show is presented as a sci-fi monster mystery, a comic book caricature of religion and the battle between light and dark.

How can such a mess of theories even pretend to enlighten viewers about right and wrong? It was all about the characters… it was all about redemption. It was all about selling more commercials and making more money! Who of us gets ‘redemption’ in the end?

Maybe some of the fans will get a kind of redemption. I was reading earlier today, many angry fans are planning to boycott the next Star Trek Movie if Damon Lindeloff has anything to do with it.

One article I read stated that Cuse and Lindeloff have no intention of ever doing anything further with the Lost Franchise. This might be a case of short sightedness. Look how much Star Trek made after it went off the air. Why would two writers turn their backs on a story they lovingly developed, that paid them a good living for 6 years? Unless the studio and the Network brass knew that having their names attached to anything is like poison right now. Maybe they never owned the rights to the story in the first place. In a few more weeks I doubt many of us will care what becomes of Lost. It will stand among the thousands of long forgotten TV shows, with both the silly and the great and I'm afraid it will be classified as 'Silly'.

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