The Matrix - A Play On Christianity?

I watched The Matrix last night, and it struck me with much humor. To me, the whole thing reminded me (vaguely at points, but strongly at others) of various points in the Bible. It’s kind of out of order, so I’ll just write here my thoughts. Please, tell me what you think, if I’m crazy for thinking this, or you have other thoughts about it.

[ul][li]Neo (Keanu Reeves) was a reincarnation of sorts, having been in the real world and started to bring people to reality (how, I have no idea: How did he realize he was in a dream at first?) This reminds me of Jesus, and he’s still due for his Second Coming I hear, to free humanity from evil’s grasp.[/li][li]At the end, Neo dies for a very short time, then is alive again. This reminds me of Jesus and Easter and him coming back to life after three days.[/li][li]The city of humans in the middle of the earth was called Zion. Coincidence?[/li][li]Everyone was living in a dream world. They were being rescued by those who knew what was really going on, sometimes against their will (they’d take the pill, but they’d be upset later). The Christians wander around recruiting people, and those in other countries which have their own faith are made to know the real truth.[/li][li]Morphius and all those people decided that the year was wrong, and tried to find out what time it really was. The Christian folks made their own system of numbering years and spread the word about what year it really was.[/ul][/li]
Well? I’m sorry, these are just my views, and nobody I know agrees, but I wanted to share and find other folks’ opinions on the matter.

Snappy, The Crazy Toddite - Friend of Skippy

Snappy Plissken wrote:

But Morpheus and company didn’t renumber earlier years as “Before Neo”.

And one more analogy you missed:

<BLOCKQUOTE>Jesus once said, “I don’t bring peace, I bring the sword.” Neo once said, “We need guns. Lots of guns.”</BLOCKQUOTE>

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I have no doubt that the analogies to Christianity were quite intentional. The resurrection scene I think is perhaps the most meaningful. In that scene Neo conquers death (at least as far as death exists in the Matrix). It is pretty clear that after that, he can’t die in the Matrix.

I don’t see the year issue as an analogy, but I have a few more religious analogies, not all of which are Christian.

You probably didn’t mention this one because it is so obvious as to be assumed: Neo’s role is literally that of a messiah. He is “the one” who has come to save the world.

When Neo sells an illegal program to someone near the beginning of the movie. This guy refers to Neo as “my own personal Jesus Christ”. I think this was intended as a rather odd forshadowing.

The humans can also be thought of as Jews. Their homeland is Zion. Most of the race is enslaved, as the Jews were.

A young boy blatantly outfitted like a Buddhist priest expresses to Neo a philosophical idea that is essential to Buddhist though (“There is no spoon”). The idea is of course central to the entire movies.

I have little doubt that the Wachowski brothers read Illusions by Richard Bach, and were profoundly influenced by it. That book brings together these important Eastern philosophical ideas with the idea of the messiah.

Blech. Please forgive all of the typos. I shouldn’t proofread before my morning caffiene. :slight_smile:

Yeah, also The Matrix is a metaphor for sin, which Neo is to deliver people from. At one point, Morpheus (who is the god of dreams, incidently) even calls it bondage, i.e. The bondage of sin. Trinty has obvious Christian overtones. Notice when someone says ‘Oh God’ or ‘Jesus Christ!’ she answers in a inqusitive ‘Yes?’

Seems many Sci-Fi/Fantasy movies, books, etc. have Christian/Religious overtones. Star Wars, Blade Runner, Superman…

And you’ll also probably wanna read a review of the movie from the standpoint of a Fundamentalist Christian group (CAP) over at .

The truth, as always, is more complicated than that.

This is a little of the religious track, but I’d just like to mention what I see as another metaphor. Let me quote Neo’s boss:

“You have a problem with authority, Mr. Anderson. You believe that you are special, that the rules do not apply to you…”
“…because employees understand that they are part of a whole. Thus, if an employee has a problem, the company has a problem.”

I think it is pretty clear that the company is a metaphor for the Matrix as a whole.
And also, since Trinity’s name was mentioned, I thought I’d mention that while “Trinity” makes sense as a Christian reference, that’s not what I think of when I think of her name. I think of the site of the first atomic bomb detonation. :slight_smile:

Tracer…my wife’s favorite quote, from Richard Leakey:

He was speaking of human evolution. She uses it for everything in general. She’s usually right.

LOL!! That fundie review is so funnny.

Some of the highlights in my opinion:

“levitation” is listed as an offense to God, as is “mystical trancendental nonsense”

“portrayal of the matrix as God”

You can find christian elements in the matrix just as you can in anything if you look hard enough. It seems comparable to the scene in the movie Bowfinger where Eddie murphy’s character explains that because the number of times the letter “K” appears in a movie script is perfectly divisible by 3, that “KKK” appears X times. The bottom line is, the bible and christian preaching are probably the most influential and widespread item in the western world. Whether you believe them or not is another thing, they’re simply ubiquitous. Many times such biblical allusions are thrown in subconsciously, without regard to the context they are put it. Since they are so universally present, they are often just the first theme to come to mind.

The only thing a nonconformist hates more than a conformist is another nonconformist who does not conform to the prevailing standards of nonconformity.

Undead Dude wrote:

Wait’ll you see their (CAP’s) review of the South Park movie. They counted the number of times anybody said “Fuck”!

Including Kenny. Which is amazing. I can never hear 1/10 of what he’s saying.

Quick-N-Dirty Aviation: Trading altitude for airspeed since 1992.

I read that book once, very interesting if a bit wierd.

Has anyone yet mentioned that Morpheus’ ship was named the Nebbach - Nebakanez - Neb - that kind from the Bible.

Bloody typos!
That should obviously be “king” instead of “kind” in the above post.

i’ve always seen “The Matrix” as paralleling Buddhism and other Eastern philosophies. Morpheus tells Neo, when the time is right, you won’t need to dodge the bullets. Neo finally attains Enlightenment … he stops dodging the bullets (illusion) and instead sees them – and the agents – for what they really are (the Matrix, just 0’s and 1’s) … having thus seen the reality, he’s no longer trapped by illusion. and that’s just one small part of the movie that’s straight Buddhism. there are LOTS of parallels.


I read The Matrix as being the exact opposite of the Buddist, Plato’s-Cave type of argument.

It’s true that the child says “There is no spoon.” Where is he when he does so? in the artificially constructed world that exists only within their minds and is put there by those in power.

I think it’s a riff on rationalist structure/manufactured consent versus humanism. Think of the Matrix-world as the argument of people in power as to how the world is. There is no spoon; it’s just that the child and Neo have been made to think there is. Therefore, once they gain access to the argument of those in power and realize that it’s not the same as the real world, they can change the argument as they please. (If it were Plato’s Cave, they wouldn’t be able to change the Matrix, just destroy or move away from it.)

In the final climactic sequence, the bullets stop having power over Neo because he realizes that they are empty rhetoric and that he’s as good at argument as they are, even better.

The outside world is brutal and harsh because the real world, due to the concerted ignorance of those in power, has been permitted to decay. Only once the people see it for what it is can it be renewed.

Basically, humanism is isomorphic to the Plato’s Cave argument, except moved up one level. The Matrix isn’t our real world. The Matrix is the finely crafted, sophist, scholasticist arguments of the elite; the real world is the real world.

Wow! cant say I saw that one in the movie. But the analogy is a good one. And very true. Of course I just call it Semantics. A person very good at debate could argue anything and win against a lesser person. That argument could be very false and with the right wording can be made to seem real, but doesnt change the “real world” reality.
Gives me alot to think about.
Personally I just took the movie at face value and didnt look too deeply into it. Signs of laziness? Or Ignorance? Who can tell.

I thought The Matrix was totally inspired by the vampire movie Blade, with Wesley Snipes. I agree, different dialogue and more interesting solipsism premise, but I saw Matrix as targeting a gaming audience, and was careless with the dorky supernaturalism. I did think, however, that it was better than Blade.

You can also see Greek Apollonion myth through the use of the Oracle.

What <B>I</B> saw was a damn fine (if not entirely original) science fiction flick, with all the typical elements thereof. You have the mentor who is powerful himself, but does not have the power he knows his student has. You have the student who has to go through a long process of hardship and learning in order to realize his full potential. To add spice to the story, you have the traitor who gives the mentor to the enemy the student was brought into the world to fight. You also have a hot chick as a love interest for the student. The other characters are mostly just there as support. And so they can die.

You see this theme a lot. Star wars. In Tolkien. The Secret Garden (the mentor’s the little girl, the bad guy is the boy’s own fear of deformity/weakness).

You have the bad guy, you have the good guy. To make the story interesting, you make the bad guys really strong, and the good guy weak (at the beginning). Since he has to learn, you stick in the older, more knowledgeable guy to teach him. To make it even more interesting, and more emotionally fulfilling, you make the student take the last steps on his own (there’s no Yoda or Obi Wan to help Luke save Vader from himself). To make it more interesting again, you put in a chick.

There, you have your story. Good guy, bad guy, teacher, chick. That’s all you REALLY need. Add what elements you need to make it slightly different from all the others out there.

Oh, and since it’s a movie, you’d better have plenty of money so you can put in special effects.

I definitely thought it was close to Plato’s Cave analogy. Even if just for the notion of a greater reality than what we see.