Journal of Religion and Film
Reader Discussion


1. Studying Religion and Film

  • Maria C. Maisto

  • Bonnie Long

2. Interpreting The Rapture: From Horrific to Heroic

3. Lyden/Marsh Discussion (Religion, Film and Postmodernity)

John Lyden: Continuing the Conversation: A Response to Clive Marsh

4. Reassessing the Matrix

Kaz

5. Wake up! Gnosticism and Buddhism in The Matrix

Bill Lyon

6. Star Wars

Andy Derksen

5. Wake up! Gnosticism and Buddhism in The Matrix

Bill Lyon

I was just reading a very nice article of yours at http://www.unomaha.edu/jrf/gnostic.htm. It is very well written and interesting! However, I believe the Matrix movie can be looked at from an essentially traditional Christian perspective (rather than a Gnostic view) if one views Satan as the evil force behind creating an illusory world in the mind of man. Below is a note I recently sent to a religious-oriented movie-review site detailing this view:

Hello,

I was just reading a Matrix (the movie) review on your site. A lot was mentioned in the review relating The Matrix to the Gnostic view that our world is illusion created by an evil god. I would like to say that I am a Christian who believes a good God created the universe. I believe in the Resurrection of Jesus too and that He will save those who call on Him to do so. That said, I have a belief that there are heavily illusory aspects to matter. Physicists indicate that matter (including our bodies of course) is composed of swarming atomic particles with an exceedingly high percentage of empty space between the atomic particles. And the atomic particles themselves are not solid but tiny fields of energy. Our brains, via electrical impulses, interpret matter as solid and static with its everyday feel of reality.

And of course there is no color in objects or sound emanating from them; it is wavelengths of light and vibrations that our brains, via electrical impulses, interpret as such. Seems like we are, in effect, programs.

It is amazing to me that no one, to my knowledge, discusses what is known in physics when reviewing the Matrix movie. Perhaps only a small percentage of the public (mostly physicists) even think about such. People just go about everyday life, sensing solid objects with color and sound and so forth, and assume that is really reality out there; and that they are simply viewing it as it is (sounds like we are in a sort of matrix, doesn’t it). Many Christians criticize the Bishop George Berkeley (who was a Christian of course) for his extreme idealism regarding the universe; the Christian critics say that God would not fool us, so it must really be real objects out there just as we perceive them. God, to my knowledge, never says in the Bible that it is really real objects/matter out there. The Bible does say that God spoke the universe into existence (which sounds not inconsistent with George Berkeley’s belief that the Universe is composed of God’s thoughts). Also, you will notice profound statements by Jesus such as, "You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free." Perhaps that truth is that the Spiritual realm is the true Reality, not this "physical" world (i.e., Jesus is the Real Neo). Also, there are indications in the Bible that Adam and Eve actually even saw things differently after the Fall. Note that Satan told Eve that her "eyes will be open" and immediately it seemed their field of vision/perception was altered (if you look at the account in Genesis). Here you have an evil demon talking about important sense organs and altering perception (Descartes’ worst nightmare). Could it be that before the Fall, they saw matter not as a solid static autonomously-existing substance, but in a manner in which God meant for man to have? That is, we are in an illusory world but it is Satan that is the evil computer system pulling the world over our eyes to blind us to the truth, making us believe this world is the true reality, and that the Spiritual Realm is something lesser. In fact, I recently ran across a sermon at http://www.cedarnet.org/uu/sermon1.html in which the reverend is indicating that God and His Realm are lesser than this world because, as he says, we have material reality in this world. Actually our "material reality" is FAR from what we perceive (and quantum physics is getting more intriguing all the time). In closing, God creating a world more real than His Own Realm would not make sense; our "physical" realm is a contrived reality and is lesser than God's Reality.

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Film Credits
The Rapture

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