Superheros are not my idea of a concept for a good story. I am typically drawn to stories featuring ordinary people in extraordinary situations. However, my brother-in-law who turned me on to Lost told me that I really had to watch Heroes, and he was absolutely right. The characters are almost all too human and are dealing with strong and challenging human emotion. One glorious scene in Season 3 Episode 19 even has one of the characters, Peter Petrelli (above) prays aloud, challenging Christ himself to keep his end of a bargain to support and edify the family as they work for the good of their community.
The foil for this conflict is Sylar (below), played by Zachary Quinto seen in the blockbuster hit Star Trek as Spock. Avoiding spoilers, in season 3 Sylar is on a quest to find himself by exploring his roots and connections to family that he has never known. As one of the villains in the show, Sylar becomes more and more evil as he finds more and more about himself. Sylar’s journey, instead of bringing comfort, actually causes him to become more angry and more lost.
This contrast between Peter and Sylar’s conflicts beautifully demonstrates philosophical and religious conflicts within our culture. One of the key differences embedded in our culture is that desire for what has been termed “self-actualization.” Pursuit of self is purported as the goal of life, and often in very attractive packages. Sylar does what he does in the series in complete isolation from everyone else, which is becoming more and more easy in our technologically advanced society. Even the increasing prevalence of depression, often described as “anger turned inward,” is in indicator of the futility of seeking after self.
Peter Petrelli, on the other hand, brings the distinct picture of a man devoted to his family, his community, and the protection of those who are weak. Even with conflict in his place and purpose within God’s plan, Peter strives to reach out to others, even if it means sacrificing himself and his own reputation. We believe in a God who comes and that God came in the form of Jesus Christ whose mission was the forgiveness of sin as the means to draw everyone to himself. To focus on only one was futile, but to unify the world with a kind of AGAPE that is truly found no where else, that is a mission worth the sacrifice of the omnipotence of the Almighty and the ultimate payment of his own life.
Let us continue to work out our salvation, as the Apostle Paul suggests, but to continue to do so with the fervent commitment to those around us and to seeing that the will of God expresses itself on earth at it does in heaven.