By James F. McGrath
What does science fiction have in common with the Bible? More than we might expect. Both grapple with profundities. Both ask, among other key questions: How did we come to be? Where are we headed?
How should we conduct ourselves? Where do we put our faith? The answers are
not necessarily agreed upon, of course; two people who reference the same science-fiction saga, or cite the same biblical text, often draw very different conclusions about the meaning. That varying interpretations arise from a common
source forms another link between the fields. Thus, science-fiction fandom, with
its canons, debates, and conundrums, has intriguing and instructive overlaps with
the domain of religion.
Lost and found?
Take Lost, the much-debated TV drama creat-
ed by J. J. Abrams, Jeffrey Lieber and Damon
Lindelof. Airing from 2004 to 2010, it focuses
on present-day survivors of a commercial air-
plane crash on a remote and mysterious tropical
island. The site turns out to include other
human inhabitants, apparitions of dead people,
a smoke monster, haunting whispers, a polar
bear, and additional phantasmagoria. These bi-
ask, “Where are we?” Other principal players
probe deeper, into the question of what the
higher purpose might be of finding themselves
in that unusual environment.
Matters of faith are discussed from the earliest seasons, which incorporate flashbacks and
eventually flash-forwards that take place elsewhere, while the characters use rudimentary and
sophisticated science, among other strategies, to
deal with their plight. Religion becomes central
in the final season, which hinges on “flashes
Key cast members
pose a la Leonardo’s
“Last Supper” in a
publicity shot for the
final season of Lost.