F— the Light: Faith Without Religion on The Path

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F— the Light: Faith Without Religion on The Path

It’s official. I don’t know what’s going on, on The Path, and it’s an exciting feeling. In my last piece on this show, I wrote about how odd it seemed that we were already seeing all of the holes in the Meyerist movement, and that Cal was, so quickly, being revealed to be completely corrupt (and/or insane). And the latest episode, “A Room of One’s Own,” continues to unravel the world that the first few episodes built.

Sarah now knows that her husband has been unfaithful—not to her, but to their movement. She tracks down Alison, the woman Eddie was meeting with (and hiding away from Cal), and the two of them have an intense meeting. What’s interesting is how Alison responds to Sarah’s concerns. “So what, he doesn’t believe there’s a ladder in the sky? Get over yourself,” Alison says. She doesn’t really understand why Sarah is so angry. On the one hand, she has a loving and committed husband. He has his own personal doubts, but he’s determined to keep them to himself and not let them get in the way of family. Really, what more could Sarah ask for?

Of course, she could ask for a lot more—and she does, because Meyerism is her world, her soul. Eddie not believing in the movement is the same thing as Eddie not believing in her, at least in her mind. Their relationship is a really strong portrait of how difficult it can be to be in a relationship with someone who has a distinctly different set of beliefs. In this case, Eddie isn’t even saying he believes in something else, he’s just done pretending that the Ladder was ever real to him. And, like Alison, he wants to know why Sarah can’t just accept that—accept that he has faith in her, and in their family, and even in the work that the Meyerists do, but not the movement on the whole.

Sarah doesn’t buy his version of things, and her disbelief is a reflection of how we’re taught to think about faith and religion. Eddie’s lack of faith in the movement cannot be ignored, just because he’s an all-around good guy—a great guy, really. To be a Meyerist, he needs to believe in all aspects of the movement—in the Ladder, in Steve, in the rungs. Like any other religious movement (although they claim they are not a religion), it’s the specificities that distinguish Meyerism from everything else. Sarah becomes enraged when Eddie compares their concept of the Ladder to the idea of communion—does anyone really believe that a cracker is the body of Christ? But Sarah believes—like Muslims believe, like Christians believe—that Meyerism is special, and she is special for being a Meyerist. Eddie’s lack of faith in those specificities means that, while he may believe in her, he doesn’t believe that she is special, for practicing Meyerism. His love and faith concerning their family is irrelevant to her, without the movement.

Sarah and Eddie’s interactions were powerful, but one of the most shocking moments of “A Room of One’s Own,” came when Eddie called the FBI agent, Abe. Abe was recently taken off his case, and was so angry about it, he broke character with Eddie. No longer able to keep up the rouse, he shouts that he didn’t go to the recent meeting because he doesn’t believe in it—Meyerism is bullshit, he exclaims, echoing Eddie’s recent sentiments. And Eddie responds in a way that, in spite of everything, you still didn’t quite see coming:

Fuck the light: Just do not give up on your kids.

Eddie seems to be suggesting that Abe—who he believes was drawn to Meyerism because of his sick child—can maintain faith in something, even while acknowledging that the movement is a joke. He does the unthinkable and cosigns Abe’s disgust, in a way, but he also advocates for faith. Eddie is saying that Abe doesn’t need some light in the sky to give him reason to believe that his child will be okay. Another way to look at it is to say that Eddie is arguing that one doesn’t need the structure of a religion or a movement to have faith, and the hope that comes with it.

Abe was probably just as shocked as we were to hear such a bold message from Eddie. And now that it’s clear that The Path intends to tear down this movement, I wonder if there’s more in store for these two characters. Abe might be off the case, but he’s still invested (and also has that coroner’s report as well). And Eddie’s now outed himself as a non-believer, by calling the members of the upper rung prisoners, and attacking Cal. Will he and Abe find themselves working together? I have no idea where this show is going from here, but I’m certainly sticking around to see what happens, and what issues of faith and religion they grapple with, next.

Shannon M. Houston is a Staff Writer and the TV Editor for Paste. This New York-based freelancer probably has more babies than you, but that’s okay; you can still be friends. She welcomes almost all follows on Twitter.

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