Lost - The End - an atheist's viewpoint
I thought that the finale was an excellent piece of television, right up until they all met in the church above Eloise Hawking's Lamp Post Dharma station, at which point my immediate reaction was horror, then disappointment.
As a proud and sensible atheist I had always feared they were going to go with some sort of lame afterlife / purgatory / limbo explanation (though to go along with the fun of fantasy shows like Lost you have to suspend your disbelief anyway - it never hurt with Ashes to Ashes for example)
But then I reconciled myself with the fact that it was only the "flash-sideways" timeline that is (potentially) heaven's waiting room - everything else that had happened on the island and in seasons 1-5 having taken place exactly as we've seen it; and that Christian Shephard presumably only said what he'd said because he'd been told it. One thing that the series has kept on reiterating is how people will hold on to (and impart onto others) whatever beliefs they have been told, however nonsensical they might be - remember how certain Richard Alpert had been that they were all in hell, simply because Jacob's brother had told him so. And although Desmond appears to know everything that will happen (and in every timeline he exists in) up until his death, again if he's trapped within the confines of his experiences and beliefs then he wouldn't know any better either - he's seen what would happen, so he will work to make it happen.
Although I'd be comfortable within the parameters of the show with the Budhist idea of the survivors going through the door in the church and rebooting in another plane of existence where they would be one level better, I still think that still just a little too obvious.
I "believe" that those who went through the door would simply cease to exist in that dimension, or perhaps with fragments (quanta) of their existence echoing off another Them in another dimension - maybe at a key point (such as when Jughead exploded, or at the time of the Incident when Desmond failed to push the button, or even at any of the many point when the island jumped between positions in time and/pr space). Maybe they would just cease to be.
Or potentially it might return them to the island at some point in the past or future - lets not forget after all that the church was built over a pocket of electromagenetic radiation, and that all these pockets, including the one under the island, are linked.)
This might be a long time in the future in a dimension where the plug remained in place to constrain the island's source, long after the immortals Hurley and Ben had passed on, or possibly the very distant past. It could even be at some point before the island's conquerers - presumably the Ancient Egyptians, though lets not forget the possibilities that time travel, teleportation, and misdirection can allow - had corked the island's power (and lets not forget, this was to retain rather than restrain) - geological upheavals may have somehow created a natural plug.
But whatever. Eloise knew. Whether they would cease to exist, or whether they would return to a dimension where her son would cease to exist, she knew.
Desmond, had once more been conned, and from there so had the others.
I've decided on reflection that I'm all for the characters being transferred back to the island at some point in its history/timeline after the credits roll.! I don't like to let a show die on me...
And as for those "woken" to the "truth"? As Lost kept on telling us, people fervently believe what they believe just because of what they are told. People are lied to and manipulated - Desmond and the "re-born" Christian may be no exception. Purgatory does not exist!
And perchance, if this new timeline was indeed a new timeline (as we had always assumed), and if the bomb had knocked out the cork plugging the island's source (we did see that the island had sank after all), then perhaps the Man in Black DID escape in this alternate universe, in which case he may have appeared once again as the dead Christian Shephard to spread his lies for his own purposes...
Which makes you think! Which is kind of the point.