When The Matrix opened in 1999, it generated a lot of excitement not only with its hip and daring action scenes but also with questions of existence, belief, and faith. Theological and philosophical debate about the movie and its new sequel continue at water coolers, in classrooms, and in dozens of books. What does The Matrix say about our reality? Does it tell a story of Christ? Is it a Buddhist movie? There is no spoon?
One book that looks at the spiritual dimensions of the Matrix films is The Gospel Reloaded (Nav Press) by Chris Seay and Greg Garrett. Seay is the pastor of Ecclesia, a progressive Christian community in Houston, Texas, and author of The Gospel According to Tony Soprano (Tarcher Putnam).
What is the main ideological concept of The Matrix?
When the first movie released, all the promos and commercials were very mysterious. It was all focused on just the question, "What is the matrix?"
The first implication we get from the film is that the matrix is something that people needed saving from. Then we meet Neo (Keanu Reeves). The first person that addresses him says, "You're my savior. You're my own personal Jesus Christ." From there, we knew that we were looking at some kind of a Christ figure.
Eventually, we begin to find out that what we have [in the Matrix world] is truly a second fall of man. God created mankind and mankind betrayed him. Man then created machine and marveled, as Morpheus says, in his own magnificence. Man became so dependent on machines and mistreated them to the point that they eventually took over.
I cringed when I would hear people say that The Matrix was a Christian film, because of all the other religious traditions that are represented in The Matrix.
The Christian metaphors are the most ...