2016-06-08

Faith and Religion in 'Lost'

After six seasons, "Lost" is finally coming to an end with a series finale on Sunday, May 23.  A revolutonary hit TV show that skillfully blends mystery, sci-fi, thriller, comedy, tragedy, and romance, "Lost" is also full of religion and faith, with characters of different ethnic backgrounds and belief systems. 

Even one of two promotional images (seen above) for the final season is inspired by Leonardo da Vinci's "The Last Supper," with John Locke seated in the center like Jesus.  This image alone reveals how the themes of spirituality and faith have defined the show.

In honor of "Lost," click here to see the top 15 spiritual moments on "Lost" that made the entire series stand out. 

#15: Miles Reconnects with His Father

Like another gifted young child, Walt, Miles grew up with the ability to hear spirits and speak on their behalf.  As a ghost whisperer, Miles has certainly used his gifts to an advantage, lying to a grieving father after his son's death. Although Miles is more comfortable talking to ghosts than people, he is given a second chance to reconnect with his father, Pierre Chang, in 1977. Although their reconciliation comes too late, just as Chang is shot and the Island is about to implode, Miles is given a opportunity to resolve his daddy issues. The brief but heartfelt connection helps Miles finally realize his father's affection, and this hope resonates the fact that love between a father and a son never truly dies.
--Sherry Huang

#14: Jack Becomes a Leader

The pilot episode of "Lost" was one of the most original, spiritual dramas I'd ever seen on television. The magicians behind the show created a plane crash that was so realistic I felt like I was there. From the wreckage emerged the significantly named Jack Shephard, the show's lead character. A doctor who was en route to California to bury his father, Jack immediately jumped into action. He tended to the wounded and kept his cool when others around him were panicking. It's clear to anyone who watched the two-part pilot episode why the other crash survivors feel such a loyalty to Jack--he was the one who gave them hope when they had none.
--Lilit Marcus

#13: Sawyer Becomes LaFleur

Always the schemer, it is a shock when the con-man James Ford/Sawyer becomes the calm and collected Dharma leader “LaFleur” in 1977.  Preferring brains over brawn, LaFleur thinks things through with books as his guide instead of jumping into the fray with guns.  When Sawyer finally lands in 1977, he blends in with the Dharma Initiative and becomes known as a reliable, respected leader with courage and common sense--in a way, Sawyer becomes Jack 2.0.  He gets a second chance to be someone who always considers the consequences, who is loyal to his friends, who finds true love, and who is finally at peace with himself.
--S.H.

#12: Hurley Discovers Zen

When Hurley stumbled across a hippie-era Volkswagen, he saw it as a symbol of hope, a way to reverse his misfortunes. If the van could run again, then Hurley had the free will to change his destiny. "We can all use a little hope," Hurley said to a skeptical Sawyer. As Jin and Sawyer pushed the van was pushed down a steep hill, Hurley and Charlie (eager to reverse his date with death) screaming inside, the van's engine suddenly started. Alive with wonder, happiness, and a sense of freedom, Hurley and Charlie drove in circles while the song "Shambhala" played in the background: "Wash away my troubles/Wash away my pain...On the road to Shambhala/Everyone is lucky...." Together, the running van and the song were a sign that luck was on their side again, that anything would be possible.
--S.H.

#11: Sun Sees Her Baby

Given Jin's infertility and Sun's affair, it was a bittersweet surprise when Sun discovered she was pregnant. Yet the moment she saw her baby displayed on the ultrasound screen, Sun's face erupted in joy. After confessing her affair to Juliet, Sun learned the baby was conceived on the Island, making Jin the father. In one instant, Sun experienced two important miracles--one, having an "impossible" conception and two, confirming that Jin was the father. Juliet was also touched; she got to experience a mother-to-be's happiness and Sun served as a reminder of Rachel (Juliet's sister) who, like her biblical counterpart, also experienced an "impossible" conception. While there was still impending doom--all women who conceived on the Island did not live past their second trimester--for a few minutes seeing the ultimate miracle of life, was enough.
--S.H.

#10: Claire Visits a Psychic

Single mom Claire was established as the Island New Ager when she asked other crash survivors about their Zodiac signs. In a flashback to Claire's life in Australia, we saw her pregnant and going to a psychic for advice about whether to keep her baby. The psychic had some ominous words for Claire and her unborn son: namely, that he could never be raised by someone other than her. Claire's ticket for the fateful flight was purchased by the psychic. Did the psychic know that the plane would crash? Did he fear what Claire's baby would become and arrange for her to go to a remote Island where neither she nor her child could hurt anyone. There's no telling for sure, but the psychic's message helped set the tone for season one, where no one knew whether survival was good or bad.
--L.M.

#9: The Others Have a Funeral Ceremony

Colleen was one of The Others, an enemy of the Lost, who sneaked up on Sun and tried to kidnap her. However, Sun had a pistol and shot her. Despite the best efforts of Juliet to save Colleen, she died of her wounds. Instead of burying her, The Others dressed themselves in all white, placed Colleen's body on burning pyre, and pushed her out to sea in a ritual that strongly resembled a Hindu funeral. It was a chance to see the "Lost's" baddie characters show their gentle, spiritual side.
--L.M.

#8: Locke Meets the Monster

The first time Locke saw the unknown Island "monster" was momentous. While everyone ran away from it, Locke stared up in disbelief and amazement. Whatever he was looking at was a thing of beauty, a miraculous creature bathed in soft light. We saw Locke's face transform and his gaze soften; for a few seconds, the "monster" was nothing to be feared. Locke came before the creature like Moses before the burning bush--humbled, breathless, shocked, and filled with an indefinable peace. Locke is also like the Apostle Paul who saw a bright light on the way to Damascus; both men stared up into the heavens, contemplating what was above them. As a witness to the island's mysterious, divine mysteries, Locke became a man who discovered his life's purpose in one moment.
--S.H.

#7: Ben Mourns Over Alex

With his poker face, intense eyes, and authoritative voice, it's rare to catch Ben Linus in a moment of vulnerability. Yet for a man who "always has a plan," Ben is shocked when his bargaining tactics fail and Alex is shot carelessly in the head and left to lie. After Ben manipulates the Smoke Monster to go after Keamy's men, he tells John, "I have to say good-bye to my daughter." Only in the darkness do misery, pain, and tears gather on Ben's face; he silently mourns over Alex's body and touches her head. Whether he is praying or eulogizing silently, he is a humbled man, a father whose heart has been weakened by his daughter's death. Still, his mind is strengthened and the moment of meekness passes--with renewed resolve, Ben compartmentalizes his emotions once again and sets out into the jungle with vengeance.
--S.H.

#6: Desmond and Penelope Finally Connect

Desmond and Penelope are the Romeo and Juliet of "Lost"--tragically in love, but kept apart by her family. They have been separated for several years, since Desmond's boat washed up on the island. However, Penelope never gave up hope that Desmond was alive and Desmond never gave up his devotion to her or his desire to get off the Island.  Desmond and Sayid are able to leave the Island and find themselves on a freighter full of mysterious people who may or may not have come to rescue all the Flight 815 passengers. Desmond finds a working telephone and calls Penny, who has refused to change her phone number in case Desmond ever tried to contact her. Their short phone conversation, while not a reunion, gave hope to all viewers who believe not only in Desmond and Penny but in the power of love's endurance.
--L.M.

#5: Sayid Prays to Mecca

Sayid is the only Muslim character on "Lost." However, he's much more than a token figure. Sayid takes his faith seriously, even though he has a troubled past. In the second season finale, Sayid, Jin, and Sun found a boat and used it to explore the rest of the Island. Despite not knowing the island's location or having the slightest idea which way Mecca would be, Sayid brought along his prayer rug and did his traditional prayers in Arabic. Since Sayid is most often shown in violent scenes due to his experience in the Iraqi military, it was gratifying to view him as a man motivated by values, one who does the right thing even when it seems wrong. On an island where morality is secondary to pure survival, Sayid shows that it's possible to be a man of faith and of science.
--L.M.

#4: Desmond Saves the Island

In a show rife with Messiah figures, it might not be a coincidence that Desmond Hume looks like the Jesus we know from today's paintings. Like Jesus, Desmond accepted his purpose (he never questioned his role pushing a mysterious button every 108 minutes--a significant number in Buddhism and Hinduism--to prevent an unknown but catastrophic fate), but unlike Jesus, Desmond lost faith. When he realized he caused the crash of Flight 815, Desmond turned the fail-safe key to prevent the island from being destroyed by an electromagnetic force. With no hope of survival, a deistic white light haloed his face and then there was a loud explosion. Though Desmond eventually survived, he was still willing to sacrifice his life without thought and sacrificed his dream of reuniting with his love, Penny.
--S.H.

#3: Charlie Sacrifices Himself

During season one, in a Lazarus moment, Charlie was killed but then resurrected. Throughout season three, Charlie escaped death repeatedly with the help of Desmond's visions. Despite a determination to live, Charlie eventually decided he must sacrifice himself to help everyone--especially Claire and Aaron--leave the island. Yet Charlie was more of a messianic figure than Desmond because Charlie was determined to die; like Jesus preparing for his death with the Last Supper, Charlie prepared for his death with a 'greatest hits' list of meaningful events in his life. Before drowning he transmitted an SOS message to a rescue boat and then locked the underwater hatch door as it filled with water. Floating like an angel, he was re-baptized; his burdens and pains were washed away, his earthly life made way for his journey into a heavenly one.
--S.H.

#2: Juliet Detonates Jughead

Knowing her fate is to end in tragedy like her Shakespearean namesake, Juliet willingly lets go of Sawyer's hands and is pulled down the well toward Jughead. When she discovers the bomb hasn't detonated, she makes a choice to alter the course of history by detonating the bomb. Like those before her—-Desmond, Charlie, and, to an extent, Locke—-Juliet is the latest in a line of martyrs, sacrificing her life to save the Island and everyone on it. While Desmond turned the fail safe in the hatch to prevent the Island from imploding, Juliet deliberately pushes the bomb's button to cause an explosion and "reset" time and place. What lies ahead for Juliet, the Island, and everyone else is yet to be seen, but there is hope that one can have the power to change the future despite the present.
--S.H.

#1: Sun and Jin Reunite...and Die Together

Who can forget the moment that Sun and Jin finally reunited? Despite being separated for three years, Sun and Jin’s steadfast love for each other remained strong and faithful until the end. First, they were separated by oceans and time zones, then they were separated by decades when Sun arrived back on the Island in 2007 while Jin was stuck in 1977. Finally, their lives connected again on Hydra Island in 2007. Even though their reunion was short-lived, the moment they saw and kissed each other was one of pure relief and joy. They pledged their undying love to each other before being wrenched apart by Widmore’s men. Jin then chose to die with Sun in Widmore's submarine rather than be apart from her again. The pair became the Island’s ultimate "Romeo and Juliet," aside from Desmond and Penelope, when they decided to live, love, and die together than live, love, and die alone.
--S.H.

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