Saturday, April 11, 2009

LOST and the Nature of Sin

As I finished writing my previous entry, it occurred to me that another major theme of this current episode, "Dead is Dead," was about not only redemption, but sin itself.

By definition, sin means "missing the mark." So, righteousness is like a dartboard, and each of our actions is a dart we throw. The closer we get to the bullseye, the more righteous we are, the less sin we have to deal with.

The more sin we accumulate, the heavier it weighs on us, right? Now that I'm divorcing, my sins within my marriage seem to be weighing more and more on me everyday. It's not that I want to go back to the marriage to fix it, but that I need to let go of these sins in some way for my peace of mind.

Enter Ben Linus. His sins are numerous. Here's a brief list:

1. He usurped Charles Widmore as leader of the Others.

2. He stole a woman's baby.

3. He murdered his own father, and helped plan a genocide by purging the Dharma Initiative.

4. He has manipulated a number of individuals into doing horrible things (i.e. Michael murdering Anna-Lucia and Libby; Juliet into nearly betraying Jack and the Castaways).

5. Setting up Goodwin to be murdered, ala King David, just so he could pursue Juliet's affections without competition.

6. Wrongly imprisoning Jack, Kate and Sawyer.

7. Shooting Locke.

8. Killing Locke.

9. Allowing his own daughter to be murdered.

Ben has a lot to atone for, and while a lot of those things he no doubt feels little guilt over, the burden is still great. Especially the death of his daughter. His own cowardice in facing Keamy and owning up to his sins towards Charles Widmore led to this happening.

What does it mean for Ben, though? As he stood inside Smokey's embrace, was he really forgiven? Did he really ask for forgiveness?

It's hard letting go of sin; it requires humility, and that is a trait Ben has yet to show, unless it is disingenuous.

So, as we head into the end of this fifth season, I think we should look back and consider the sins of our characters. Their redemption, or lack of, will hinge on this.

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