Updated: Nov 5, 2021
I have just two words:
What an exceptional piece of cinematic genius this was! I've just finished watching the entire series and I'm still reeling from the shock. My interest here today of course is for the theme, but a big thumbs-up commendation for your gripping horror/drama viewing watchlist at no extra expense.
It's a horror with a difference. No gimmicky special effects - the horror is the dark narrative of dystopian hell on earth that Christian fundamentalism threatens to wreak. Think The Handmaid's Tale meets Voldemort and you're in the ball park. The narrative has depth with sometimes long stretches of character development, but just when you think you might be getting a teeny bit bored - POW! - it hits you with a curve ball.
Without dropping any spoilers I’m going to pick up the main theme: a sober warning against following charismatic religious leaders and maybe even dare I say it - putting one's trust unquestionably in the Bible. Yes, the Bible in the wrong hands can be a weapon of mass destruction, as many a soul-scarred veteran knows to their peril.
The good news is… (OK - it’s really hard NOT to do a spoiler here - maybe watch it first then come back to finish reading this) … redemption doesn’t come from some external Christ-figure as we might expect. The darkness is overcome by ordinary people recognising that something's not right here, and choosing instead to listen their inner moral compass - the heart that is not deceived by eloquent scripture-quoting and ‘Bible-based’ theology, despite what Jeremiah says in the Old Testament.
The heart is NOT deceitful above all things, Jeremiah. You clearly had some relationship issues and were feeling bitter when you wrote that. I’m sorry it got canonised and that the fallout from your wounds has trickled down to feed a fundamentalism that lacks heart.
As many of us can testify, salvation is found not through an external hero arriving on a chariot in the clouds, but internally when we reject the dark narrative, trust that innate inner compass and choose Love.
There’s no Hollywood Star Wars battle in the heavens at the end of this tale, thankfully. All too often such endings miss the point and reinforce a negative form of self-righteous spirituality: the “I’m fighting for the Light, which side are you on?” mentality so characteristic of evangelism and all other forms of bottom-below spirituality.
Overall it's a feast for the unitive mystic: the series portrays a wonderful reversal of theme of judgement, and in the final episode there’s a beautiful monologue on the meaning of ‘self’ that sums up non-duality exquisitely and it really deserves the final word today:
“The electrons of my body mingle and dance with the electrons of the ground below me and the air I’m no longer breathing and I remember, there’s no point where any of that ends and I begin. I am energy… everything else is pictures. Fleeting little dreamlets printed on the tissue of my dying brain…”