The Matrix as Messiah Movie

The Matrix - A Cyberpunk Parable?


In a word, the remarkable achievement of The Matrix is flexibility. The film is drenched in hints and references, but the story is never lost at sea. The rich variety of nuance circling the central plot enables the creative viewer to see the tale through many imaginative lenses, tinting the theme with each lens.

The Matrix is not a Christian film by design, but much of it can be adapted to parallel the conversion and walk of a Christian, or even the life of Christ to some extent. And yet eastern thought can find many parallels also. The Matrix is not merely a study of society, but a theme of man versus technology is easily available, and a theme of nihilism too. Or perhaps the film simply suits you as a hi-tech twist of Alice in Wonderland! And so it goes, as long as there are fresh lenses to be found.

But there is one theme that seems prevalent in many of the lenses: the theme of a single truth, and a single path to find it.

Neo constantly faced one-way choices on the single path to truth. Obey Morpheus, or be captured. Go to the Adam Street Bridge, or stay home. Stay in the car, or get out. Take the red pill and find truth, or take the blue pill and be lost forever. "This is your last chance," warns Morpheus.

We instinctively know that Morpheus is a hero and that he is telling the truth. Morpheus proves his goodness when he is willing to sacrifice his own life so that Neo might be saved. But in this world, what would you do if Morpheus came to you? What would you do if someone told you that there was only one way to come to the truth?

Would you believe Morpheus and thus be 'narrow-minded'? Or would you "believe whatever you want to believe" and be what many questionably call 'open-minded'?

It is interesting how many viewers interpret the film's catch phrase "free your mind" to mean, "don't ever let anyone tell you what truth is." But what did Neo have to do in the film? In order to be completely free of the Matrix, he had to make a stand – to choose to stay on a single path to truth, time and time again! He had to allow himself to be guided, told what to do, controlled. He had to trust and to obey.

The concept we sometimes find hard to accept is that the path to freedom is narrow and often difficult. But as an example, consider a slave who must follow a narrow course of 'safe houses' to a country where he or she can truly be free! Or consider a person who is sick with a terminal disease for which there is only a single known cure. To refuse the one cure means to die. But to be 'narrow minded' and take the single cure means to be healed – and therefore be free to live a healthy, robust life!

Many people say that if you believe something and are not willing to abandon it, that you do not have an 'open mind'. If you hold something as true, they accuse you of being 'dogmatic' and 'closed-minded'. But to firmly declare that there is no single path to truth is also a dogmatic statement!

And is it wise for you to never make a firm stand on what you know is true? Are you willing to be 'open minded' to the idea that the world might really be flat? Or that you don't really have a head?

Again, many people twist 'open-minded' to mean that you should never hold on to anything or stand on anything, so that you can keep your options 'open'. This is like saying that instead of landing your plane on a solid runway, you should continually 'keep your options open' – and just circle the airport until your plane runs out of fuel and crashes! To never make a choice is to lose your choice. To never choose a path is to never go anywhere at all. Is there nothing to trust in? Why spend a lifetime standing on nothing - and die in that confused, uncertain state when you run out of time? It takes just as much faith to say there is no knowable truth as it does to believe that a truth is there!

Scripture gives the correct definition of what an 'open mind' should be: "Examine everything carefully; hold on to what is good" (1 Thessalonians 5:21). God doesn't want you to hide your head in the sand, or to swallow everything you hear. He encourages you to be wise, to examine things and think hard about them. But an 'open mind' does not mean holding on to everything you see! And on the opposite end, an 'open mind' does not mean refusing to hold on to anything and drifting in uncertainty forever. An 'open mind' is being willing to honestly consider everything - but then taking a stand only on what is true!

In the film, was Morpheus arrogant for saying he had the truth? No! Morpheus did have the truth; he was simply being honest! Was he 'narrow-minded'? Yes! Morpheus knew that there was only one way for Neo to enter the truth. Were Morpheus' warnings about the Agents to Neo just cheap threats or scare tactics, or were they simple truth out of concern for Neo's own good? You know the answer. And as ultimate proof that Morpheus was a good man, he was willing to lay down his own life to save Neo.

Jesus Christ claimed to be the truth and the only way to God. Because of that, He and those who believe Him are often labeled 'arrogant' and 'narrow-minded'. But Jesus is not arrogant; He simply has the truth. He is the truth. Thus there is only one way to find truth – through faith in Christ alone. Are God's warnings of what sin will do to us just cruel games, or are they are simply the truth for our own good? God doesn't want us to keep driving if the bridge ahead is broken in two, so He warns us. And God demonstrates his goodness and love for us in that while we are all sinful, Christ humbly died for our sin to freely give us a single way out through faith in His blood (like Neo taking the red pill). This is our life-or-death choice, our great chance to be rescued. One narrow way - but it leads to eternal freedom that God longs to give us.

What was it that gave Neo the ability to take that red pill? Where did he get his trust? Had Morpheus shown him all the answers yet? No, Neo was taking a step of faith. But Neo had some things to go on. He had felt that something was wrong with himself. He became aware of the enemy coming against him, and in contrast had sensed that 'Trinity' was for him when she put a comforting hand on his shoulder in the car and expressed sympathetic concern for his future – not wanting him to waste his life down an empty road of lies and enslavement. Neo's conscience was the final key, even over the evidences he had seen.

God provides fingerprints of evidence also - such as creation itself, fulfilled prophecy in scripture, the evidence for the resurrection of Christ, the unique characteristics of the Bible, changed lives, answers to prayer, and much more. But the main draw toward truth will always be God's inward call to us.

The living Trinity, God Himself, has compassion for us, just as 'Trinity' did for Neo in the car. Even now, in the spiritual realms we cannot see, God bears witness to our souls that we are in danger because of our sin, and compassionately pleads that we accept the costly sacrifice of His own Son as the only way to be saved.

If we are honest, we will feel God bearing witness to our conscience, and know that He is good. We can think of other leaders and dismiss them from our minds with ease – but we cannot easily dismiss Christ. We must either receive Him or force Him away, because He is the living Truth that continually knocks patiently at our hearts. Does your conscience hear His knocking? He is there now, even as you read these words. And He will still be there, when you look at your ceiling tonight before falling asleep, if you listen. God's concern is for our good future and happiness; He knocks to offer us the way.

Sin hurts us and hurts others, so God must destroy sin. But God loves the sinner! For Morpheus and the other free people to go destroy all of the machines would mean that those people who were still enslaved in the 'power plant' would die. So the free humans had to leave the 'power plant' alone so that they could first save the people still trapped in it. God is doing the same thing. He could destroy sin now, but we as sinners would be destroyed with it. So God gives us a chance, patiently extending to us a way to be saved through faith in His Son, who died in our place to pay a penalty for our sin, a penalty He did not owe. This is love.

There will always be hypocrites to distract us and give us a false excuse. Cypher was a hypocrite. Even Mouse was tempting those who were focused on freeing humanity. But the presence of hypocrites did not mean that Morpheus and Trinity were not good! In the same way, Jesus even had a hypocrite named Judas as one of His twelve closest disciples. And there always will be hypocrites parading as 'Christians', talking the talk but not walking the walk. But again, the presence of hypocrites does not mean that there is no truth! What if Neo had allowed hypocrites to discourage him from the truth? Should we allow hypocrites to turn us away from Truth, or to determine our destiny for us?

In the end, it all comes down to our focus. Are we looking at the blue pill, angry that God will punish sin? (Think about it – if God didn't do away with evil someday, then eternity would be forever polluted by it! Do you want that?) Instead, why don't we focus on the fact that God is generously offering to us a 'red pill', out of His compassion for our own good? That 'red pill' cost Christ everything He had. The blood of Christ was shed lovingly on your behalf by the God who wants you to be pure from sin and enjoy eternal freedom. Repentance is painful because we must swallow our pride. But our sin hurt Christ a lot more than it hurts us – it demanded His cruel, bloody death to take the penalty for it! And He loves you still. Why not put your faith in Christ right now? Why not take the cure?

I did, years ago - and it has made all the difference. God is wonderful; He is not a prison! Why think that a God who died for you must be boring and stale? That is a lie from the enemy who wants you dead.

All it takes to be free is a simple act of faith – to humbly talk to God and receive the living Christ as Lord.

But I can only show you the Door – You have to walk through it!

Jesus said, "I am the Door. If anyone enters through Me, he shall be saved." (John 10:9a).

He loves you. And He's waiting for you! Red pill or blue pill. Which will it be?

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