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There is no conflict between faith and reason. We have faith in things we consider reasonable. The supposed conflict is entirely artificial.


Did you ever see M Night Shyamalan's Signs? It is a massively misunderstood movie, especially by ‘hard" sci fi fans, who wanted it to be more of a typical invaders from space movie. But what Shyamalan was interested was the question of faith.

Gibson's character was formerly a priest who lost his faith when his wife was killed and her dying words sounded like gibberish to him. In one scene, he sits with his brother while they watch the reports of the alien invasion on television. When his brother asks him to say something comforting like he used to, Gibson responds that there are two types of people in the world - those that believe in signs, and those that believe everything is random. Gibson's character clearly used to believe in signs, but now does not.

At the conclusion of the movie, he realizes that his wife's dying words did have meaning (or at least they could have). So did his daughter's obsession with water and even his son's asthma. The climax was not defeating the aliens - it was that Gibson's character has enough to doubt his doubt. It is a profoundly spiritual movie wrapped up in a sci fi film.

As for Lost, it has been interesting that within the blogs that cover it, there have been extreme reactions to more sci-fi episodes and more mystic episodes. The New York Times blogger grips loudly about every episode that tips the story back to the mythic, clearly regarding them as a 'cheat' of some kind.

Clearly, sci-fi and the mystic are not mutually exclusive. In fact, people who are interested in either are often driven by a similar impulse, such as curiosity, a search for meaning or at least a search for a sense of wonder. But it seems that people drawn toward sci-fi often feel like the mythic or mystical is its opposite. They think they are somehow being ‘rational’, despite the groundlessness of much of the speculation in sci fi as a whole. And apparently a lot of them are unhappy that Lost is ultimately revealing its spirituality. In fact, it has been clear to me for a long time that the series is really about Jack and that ultimately he will accept his role as the guardian for the island – his ‘reason’ for being there.

Tony, I've seen Signs and liked it well enough that I bought a used copy of the DVD. It has its problems, some of which were rather cleverly spoofed in one of the Scary Movie films (the scene where Gibson finds his wife pinned to a tree by a wrecked car is, in my opinion, unintentionally funny), but I did like the theme and the denouement. I thought it was not the equal of Shyamalan's best work, but miles better than his more recent films. Both The Village and the one about the mermaid are two of the worst movies I've ever seen. I didn't even see The Happening, which was universally panned. I hope he returns to form soon, as he does have talent and an interesting worldview.

I think the problem with the one about the mermaid The Lady in the Water) failed because he didn't do what he really wanted - tell it as a children's fable. Even the Village might have worked as a homage to pulp comics like Creepy. Trailers for The Last Airbender look promising. I hope some success gives him the confidence to really give his personal vision full expression.

PS: Here's a link to the Cool Tools site:

Oops -- I posted the above on the wrong thread!

Lost may be over, but at least I still have the aquarium channel.

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