“The Oath” Episode
Roslin is back! Good thing, the depression bit was getting to me. Now that there is mutiny aboard Galactica (thanks to the new, evil Gaeda, whom I don’t like nearly as much as the old one), the leaders are called to action. Both Adamas, Tigh, and Starbuck are fighting the good fight while Roslin seeks the aid of Baltar to help turn the tide of events.
Roslin approaches Baltar and asks to use his secret wireless device to transmit a message to the fleet. She knows he has it, so when he first denies her access to it, she cuts, “I never really believed in your conversion, so I was counting on your well-honed sense of self-preservation.” He retorts, “I recall your sudden allegiance to the Priestess Elosha and the scrolls of Pithia the last time your political fortunes were in doubt. Tell me, how is that working out for you now?” After a brief moment of thought, Roslin replies, “If it makes you happy, maybe we’re both frauds, and this is our last chance to atone. ”
Roslin calls both of their faiths on the carpet because events aren’t working out in their favor nor according to their philosophies and/or prophesies. But the real problem with their faith isn’t that they are frauds—both seem to have really believed what they were preaching, though Baltar a bit less convincingly. The problem is that the story isn’t finished yet. We, the viewers, know that there is more to the story. After all, there are at least six episodes left! And therein lies the objectivity advantage. Although we can only guess at the ending, our objectivity gives us the advantage of knowing that this is NOT the end. They can’t say who was right or wrong (or even that this turn of events was ultimately unfortunate) until the very last episode.
The funny thing is that we have the same knowledge and objectivity about our own lives, but we often don’t act or base our beliefs on that knowledge. When crisis strikes—the loss of a job, the loss of a loved one, disease or terminal illness—we first attack our faith. After all, didn’t God promise us a rose garden? Wasn’t our devoted faith supposed to be rewarded by good health, great wealth, and happiness on this earth? No way. That’s the bill of goods sold by the preacher on TV—not the Messiah we call Jesus.
Paul puts the Christian life a little more clearly, “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.”
So, who wants that bill of goods? That doesn’t sound like a very good deal. I guess we all come to the reality at some point that life is not made up of ceaseless happiness and painlessness. But I suppose that realization only comes after much suffering. The truth is that everyone suffers and everyone is perplexed, persecuted, and struck down at some point (or more realistically, at multiple points) in life. The benefit of knowing Jesus is that we are not crushed, in despair, abandoned, or destroyed as a result of our suffering. Our own stories are not finished, and we cannot rightly call our beliefs a fraud until the story is over. The “episodes” that remain in our lives may reveal something amazing, something planned, something good. In truth, we cannot afford to live in the moment of crisis, assume it is the end, deny our faith and turn our backs on God. Deep down, we know the stories of our lives aren’t over yet.