I always cringe when I see that a tv show will deal heavily with religion, like Revenge did last night. I know that 9 times out of 10 I will wind up screaming at the tv for the horrid portrayal of religion in whatever show I am watching. Fortunately, Revenge happened to be that tenth time that didn't make me want to tear my eyes out of their sockets.
Of course, the show wasn't perfect in dealing with religion, but the bad moments were rare (I'll address the worst culprits in a second). Impressively, this episode, which started out looking like the priest would be the bad guy, actually made the priest the good guy and Emily the bad guy. The priest seemed repentant of his past sins ("I asked for forgiveness.") and was trying to atone with good deeds like the food shelter ("I found peace in my penance."). Meanwhile, Emily railroads Nolan and Charlotte, while continuing to frustrate childhood sweetheart Jack. “When did punishing the guilty become more important than helping the innocent.” Ouch!
Three Worst Portrayals of Religion
- One of my biggest gripes against the modern perception of religion is that religion and science are contrary to each other. This simply isn't true. Historically, much of the West's advances in science have come from devout Christians. From the father of the modern scientific method, Roger Bacon, to brilliant mathematician Johan Kepler, down to geneticists Gregor Mendel. I could list a myriad of others, but my space is limited. Bottom line: Religion and science are very much compatible.
- “You are looking for God, but he isn't here” Conrad says as the priest, his formerly corrupt employee, enters Conrad's study. He implies that God has no place or control, but strictly speaking that isn't true. And Conrad of all people should know this with his failing health and miserable turn of events. Towards the end of this episode, he almost seems to realize God's judgment is upon him, but of course we know that it is really just Emily. And it's not like God is uses human agents at all... oh wait...
Despite these bad portrayals, I would be remiss if I failed to point out the many positives. One finds forgiveness in God. The priest committed some grave sins, but he has made peace with God. Another is that religion does much good in the community such as food and homeless shelters, numerous schools and countless hospitals. At the end of the episode, Emily tells Conrad that she believes you reap what you sow. This idea is a quote straight from the Bible. Even Daniel catches the moral bug when he refuses to sleep with Margaux, an old flame who disrobes directly in front of him. Yet, Daniel stays faithful to Emily, merely handing Margaux her dress and leaving.