Matrix and Religious Metaphors
Prompt: In chapter 15 of God in the Movies, Bergesen talks about how, rather than just representing how humans relate to God, “God in the Movies” movies attempt to actually represent God. The authors also point out throughout the book that the human desire to “represent God” is timeless. We, as a society, will always try to represent God, yet what we use to do so will change as we change (since “society” is where we go to get the cultural pieces that allow us to effectively communicate with each other). Metaphors for God, then, have started to use more of our technological advancements because these advancements are becoming more and more important in our collective daily life. As Bergesen says, if God can be represented as a little old man or a beautiful woman, then why not a computer program or computer hacker?
In this essay, address how The Matrix uses modern technology (e.g. the Internet, being “plugged in” or “unplugged,” binary code, virtual reality, or anything else you may notice) as religious metaphor (i.e. to show what God may or may not be like). The metaphors you address may be from Christianity, Buddhism, or any other religious tradition you are familiar with—just be sure to explain why you think they are religious metaphors and illustrate your point with specific examples.
Matrix and Religious Metaphors
According to (Bergesen & Greeley, 2003) suggest that movies such as The Matrix use modern technology to explain religious metaphors. Rather they explain further, that movies not only focus on how human beings’ interrelation with God, but also concentrate on how humans desire to represent God. The Matrix is one of the movies that creates parallels with religious views, majorly Christianity. This essay will justify how the film; The Matrix exposes some concepts that are related to Christianity.
First, to analyze the parallels, main characters of The Matrix exclusively represents a character in the Bible, a Christian Holy Book. Morpheus strategically represents John the Baptist whose main mission was to decree the “chosen one.” Similarly, in the Bible John the Baptist was the proclaimer of Jesu Christ, the Messiah. Alternatively, Neo here represents the Messiah. Neo is destined to destroy The Matrix. He is a matrix-bound human being in the Movie who knows that there is something wrong with the world he lives in, and he has the urge to know the truth. For Neo to destroy The Matrix, he must defeat the Sentiment Program agents who are depicted as demons and can take the shape of any human being (digital body), as per the movie. They are described as the Gatekeepers as they hold the key to The Matrix (Wachowski & Wachowski, 1999). In the Bible, it is evident that we had a Messiah, Jesus Christ, who came into the world to destroy the evil spirits. Also, there is Satan in the Bible who can possess any human being open to them.
Additionally, there are some other characters like Cypher, who was a human being possessed by one of the agents and chose to go back into The Matrix and betray his friends. Consequently, Judas Iscariot, a disciple of Jesus Christ chose to betray his friend. As Judas was promised wealth, thirty pieces of silver. Cypher was also promised a measure of fame and wealth, but instead, he was killed just as Judas committed suicide. The name was derived from Caiphus, a high priest, historically responsible for manipulating Pontius Pilate to kill Christ.
Apart from characters in Matrix representing prominent characters in the Bible, there is also other biblical correlations present. To begin with, the Bible reveals that there is a prophecy that Jesu Christ will return as a king to rule and destroy the current sinful world. Correlatively, when Neo meets the Oracle, she asks Neo if he is the chosen one. Oracle tells Neo that he looks like he is waiting for something and prophetically tells him it is in Neo’s next life. It fully explains that we humans need to accept the new life that God offers us. In the end, the movie shows that Neo dies, and he comes back to life and can defeat The Matrix just as Jesus Christ died to save the world of the grievous sins.
Also, the Bible tells us that the truth will set us free. However, as humans, we realize that the truth is not an easy ride. There is always a measure of persecution for those who have the urge for truth. The Matrix depicts how the agents are in pursuit for those who are not in The Matrix and tries to kill them as they are the ones who are not clouded by the lies in The Matrix. To add on, The Bible stipulates that human beings must fight against the spiritual powers, not flesh and blood of their own. The Matrix depicts that it was pointless for Neo to fight those who are bound by The Matrix so that he can destroy The Matrix. Christianity explains further that we need to bind together as one to defeat the spiritual powers.
Conclusively, it is evident that The Matrix shows some religious metaphors in the teachings of
Christianity. These parallels are important as producers for such movies try
out on reaching the audience to explain the nature of God, and how technology
can be used to represent a religion. As Christians believe in some
demonstrations to account for the nature of
God, just do movies try to demonstrate religion.
Bergesen, A. J., & Greeley, A. M. (2003). God in the Movies. Piscataway, New Jersey: ransaction Publishers.
Wachowski, L., & Wachowski, L. (Directors). (1999). The Matrix [Motion Picture].