| My wife and I were a little disappointed while watching last night's season 7 finale of 24. This was due to the apparent multicultural ending of Jack seeking peace and God through a Muslim cleric. Jack realizes the angst he has with his past imperfections, and just before he goes into a coma, the Muslim cleric helps him to make peace with himself.
Today, though, after thinking a little more about the symbolism, I have a different take. The best false religion can do is to provide one with a false sense of peace. That peace can make one forgive oneself, and it can also make one pretend that God won't judge. This may allow one to have a certain peace about death.
True forgiveness offered by the true religion, on the other hand, is only offered because there is a payment for all sin. God doesn't let sin slide. He is the All Holy Judge after all, who must punish sin. Jack does not need, primarily, to forgive himself; he needs redemption. (Recall that the 24 movie that aired prior to this season was called "Redemption.") True religion offers forgiveness to others who cannot save themselves.
The imagery of true forgiveness comes through at the very end of 24 when Jack's daughter Kim is willing to sacrifice her life for her dad's. Jack was an absent dad, and left Kim with a lot of hurt. His life was a liability and drain on Kim. Despite all this, Kim undergoes an experimental treatment that could end her life. She loved him despite how he hurt her. The symbolism is that Jesus laid down his life as the perfect sacrifice for sin. This forgiveness brings life.
"But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us" (Rom. 5:8).
R. M. Sivulka
President, Courageous Christians United
May 19, 2009