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Ben Linus on St. Thomas’s Faith and Doubt

Since this Sunday’s Gospel reading tells the story of St. Thomas doubting the resurrection of Jesus until he can personally see Him and place his hands in Jesus’s wounds, I’m posting a great scene from the TV series “Lost” which dealt with issues of faith and doubt better than any other show (in my humble opinion). The scene takes place in a church, and is motivated by Caravaggio’s painting, “The Incredulity of St. Thomas” which depicts Thomas putting his finger in the pierced side of the resurrected Jesus.

Ben Linus (Emmy winner Michael Emerson who currently stars on “Person of Interest”) is one of the show’s primary villains at this point and seems to be irredeemable. However, he does believe that there is a power greater than himself at work on the island where the characters have been living. In fact, he believes this power has some cosmic significance for the whole world. It’s the one area of Ben’s life in which he appears somewhat humbled, though he tends to justify his sins by thinking they’re purpose is for the greater good.

On the other hand, Jack Shephard – the show’s primary hero – has always had a problem believing in anything other than proven science. Based on this scene, Jack hasn’t had much of a religious education since he doesn’t even know how the story of St. Thomas ends. Jack’s resistance to faith throughout the show is much more understandable in light of this scene because it shows he has no foundation on which to build it. His journey, therefore, from doubt to faith – and Ben Linus’s journey from sin to redemption – is all the more impressive, and rests at the core of the series. And if we open our eyes to the wonders of the world around us, this brief but memorable scene can teach us something too.

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About Tony Rossi

After graduating from St. John's University in New York with degrees in Communications and English, Tony Rossi found a job at the Catholic media organization, The Christophers, that allowed him to indulge his interest in religion, media, and pop culture. He served as The Christophers' TV producer for 11 years, and is currently the host and producer of the organization's radio show/podcast Christopher Closeup, writer and editor of their syndicated Light One Candle column, and producer/scriptwriter of the annual Christopher Awards ceremony.