NavPress / Pinon Press
THE GOOD: Seay and Garret have obviously done their homework on the Matrix films. Their observation of details and behind-the-scenes information display more than a casual critique of the films. They make interesting and convincing parallels between the characters, themes and plot lines to biblical symbolism. The Matrix films have definitely struck a nerve with post-moderns and their thirst for the spiritual. After all, art, unlike the Bible, is up for interpretation.
The main concept of the movies is that the “Matrix” is a way that the machines control humans in the future by giving humans an illusion of life and memories while the machines drain their bodies for energy. The main character, Neo, with the help of Morpheus and Trinity (supposedly each representing the Triune God), has broken free from the Matrix and is fighting against the machines from within the Matrix and outside of it in the “real” world. Seay and Garret make the point, “We must risk losing our safety [like Neo] in order to see things more clearly. Then we will see the true nature of the matrix: a crutch, whether it be modern arrogance, mindless religion, or simply dim vision.” They make several good points like this one in connecting the Matrix’s metaphors to biblical faith.
THE BAD: However, Seay and Garret make several conclusions about biblical faith that are problematic. A neo-Gnosticism seems to weave through many of their conclusions (Gnosticism is a heretical teaching the early church faced that concluded that the physical world is evil and the spiritual world is good, thus you could indulge the flesh as much as you wanted). The authors make this statement, “Genuine faith is about living in an alternate reality – rejecting the embrace of the physical realm in exchange for a higher plane. The trick, of course, is that the physical world [like the matrix] desires our complete attention…Paradoxically, people of faith want the physical realm to prove their belief in the unseen.” The physical realm is not evil. In fact, Romans 1:20 reminds us, “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.” Also, Seay and Garret make this assertion in comparing Neo in the Matrix as a ‘Christ-figure’: “Jesus perfectly fused God and man, incarnated the divine and thus represented the highest spiritual advancement imaginable for humans.” Of course Jesus was God incarnate, but His purpose was not to “represent man’s full potential.” Jesus had to come because mankind could never achieve their own salvation (Romans 3:23, 6:23). He was the only perfect sinless sacrifice (2 Corinthians 5:21, 1 Peter 2:22).
These are just two of the obvious problems with Seay and Garret’s conclusions and reaffirmation found in their critique of the Matrix movies. There are other more subtle problems for the undiscerning mind, as well.
SUMMARY: Although Seay and Garrett make great opportunities to dialogue with the postmodern culture about the Gospel (no doubt as Paul did on Mars Hill), there are some basic problems with their biblical understanding of reality and the very nature of Christ. Also, some may find the great detail and research that Seay and Garrett put into these films a bit of an overkill, while Christian film buffs (and non-Christian film buffs) may find their thoroughness satisfying. All in all, The Gospel Reloaded can be a dangerous tool in the hands of the undiscerning and/or those unknowing of essential Christian doctrine. -- Todd Burgett, Christian Book Previews.com
The world has changed.
Far more than just breathtaking action and state-of-the-art special effects, The Matrix films prompt us to ask the questions: Do we understand reality? Can we lead an authentic life? Or are we only pawns in a cruel, sinister game?
The movies call us to seek and find––to ask of our own lives what’s real and what’s a mirage. They are modern epics, chock-full of meaning and metaphor.
The Gospel Reloaded rushes headlong into The Matrix, exploring the trilogy’s intricate details and eclectic philosophies. This isn’t a movie you just “watch.” The ideas––opaque and transparent––in this postmodern story deserve serious inquiry and contemplation.
Thomas Anderson heard the call, chose enlightenment, and his journey began. Now, he was reborn, alive, and called by a new name––Neo. Read how the themes of The Matrix call you to your own spiritual revelation. Then you’ll discover just how deep this rabbit hole really goes.