"The Gospel Reloaded" Provokes Thoughts, Promotes Dialogue
- Friday, June 20, 2003
Examining the various stories in the "Matrix" can provide a smorgasbord of food for thought. Among the more obvious spiritual parallels are the main character, Neo’s, similarity to a Savior-figure. His love interest and sidekick, Trinity, provides him with life and inspiration as she rounds out the trio of divine leading characters with Morpheus, a father and leader to the human race as it exists at the time of the movie. Calling to mind the first "Matrix" film’s focus on Neo’s lessons in overcoming his erroneous view of reality and finding the strength to believe in a new worldview, as demonstrated physically by his learning to jump fearlessly through the Matrix program, Seay and Garrett present "The Matrix” as a film about finding faith.
“'The Matrix' is a film about overcoming the fear of falling and taking a leap of faith, ascending instead of dropping…. We follow — and learn about — the ascent of a spirit through belief and the conquering of disbelief,” asserts chapter seven. And in chapter eleven, “Our own introduction to a life of faith, like that of Neo, revolves around seeing ourselves in a new way: redeemed, transformed. Once we grasp our new identity, we become ready to walk the path of faith.” The spiritual journey continues, the authors say, with the second film. “Reloaded' brings another message of faith, a message not of understanding, but of doing: Follow the path.”
“I think the most positive theme actually comes out of the second film,” Garrett shares. “[As for] the theme from the first film – to have faith, ‘to make a decision,’ we would say in Christian terms – we understand from our own daily lives that accepting Christ is part of the Christian life, but it’s not the culmination of it. 'The Matrix Reloaded' was a powerful reminder to me that in a sense, we’re called to get up and walk the path every day, even when the promise is unclear to us, even when we’re met with setbacks along the way. For me, I think the strongest message that I carried away, thinking of it as a Christian, was that you have to get up and reaffirm your walk every morning, and that was a pretty wonderful thing to take out of a $7.00 experience at the movies!”
What Is Troubling
Yet the authors’ examination of the movies was not without obstacles. “I’m pretty confident Jesus would not walk into a building with a machine gun!” Garrett exclaims. “The thing that was most troubling for me, and that we had to wrestle with in the writing of the book, is what to do with the violence that Keanu Reeves [as Neo] employs. We know that that’s not the primary message of Jesus, but at the same time, we do have those sort of perplexing things in the New Testament where He withers the fig tree or in the same chapter, where He whips the people out of the Temple. That’s something that I’m [still] trying to resolve for myself, and I think that’s something that’s been very troubling for people in terms of thinking of Keanu Reeve’s character as Jesus.”
In addition, Seay and Garrett present the rather controversial idea of the female face of God as represented by Carrie-Anne Moss as Trinity in the "Matrix" films. Chapter twelve, which is devoted to her character, says, “In symbolic terms, perhaps we could think of [Trinity and Neo’s] physical love as a spiritual or mystical bond, or as a combination of male and female aspects of God that together represent the totality of experience. But frankly, we can also think of it strictly in generic terms: this is a Hollywood movie, after all, which means we need a love story.”
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