The Matrix - A Cyberpunk Parable?III. THE MATRIX AS A CYBERPUNK PARABLE A. Overview
The Matrix is not an intentionally Christian film; hints from various philosophies and religions are sprinkled throughout it. But the flexibility of the film allows people to draw many themes from it, including Christian allegories.
The film obviously suggests Neo can play a Messiah figure, an aspect some of the actors highlighted in their interviews. But a truly intriguing angle of The Matrix is to view it as a sort of cyberpunk parable similar to The Pilgrim's Progress. A classic bestseller written from prison by John Bunyan in the mid 1600's, The Pilgrim's Progress uses a fanciful tale to depict Christianity through one man's conviction, conversion, conflicts, and final conquest.
Neo makes a similar odyssey in The Matrix. He is a confused searcher who is led to the truth, and then acts upon it to be saved from a false world. Neo must then learn to walk in faith as he faces formidable enemies and ultimately triumphs. To flesh out this allegory, the Agents in the film can represent Satan and his forces, and sometimes sin itself. Trinity and Morpheus could both serve at times not only to represent God, but also Christians in the roles of evangelist and discipler. And the Matrix represents the fallen world system, and perhaps sin as well.
The detail in The Matrix adaptable for paralleling Christianity is amazing! To help you catch the depth of the parallels in The Matrix, here are two paragraphs summarizing Christianity:
God created man and woman (Adam and Eve) and gave them dominion over a perfect earth. Tempted by Satan, they sinned against God. As a result, they took on a sinful nature (a 'lost' condition), inherited by all mankind since then. The world was theirs, so it also suffered corruption. Because man obeyed Satan, he forfeited his position with God and became aligned with Satan, along with the fallen world (the Matrix). God is holy and hates sin, so He will eventually punish Satan and sin in eternal fire. However, mankind is infected with sin, so to destroy sin would mean to destroy the sinner. So God, being rich in mercy and love for mankind, provided a way out. God humbled Himself to become a human being - Jesus Christ - in order to die an innocent, substitutionary death on a cross to pay for the sins of mankind. Men buried Christ, but God raised Him from the dead. Jesus ascended to heaven soon afterward.
Because Jesus has paid the full penalty of God's anger against sin, any person who truly trusts in Christ (His blood = the red pill) as the Son of God is forgiven as God credits the atonement and righteousness of the living Christ to him. This act of saving faith is the moment of 'conversion', and much happens here (as we will see with Neo!). A person is thus ransomed from Satan and sin by the blood of Christ, becoming a newborn spiritual child of God and follower of Christ (a 'Christian'). God will eventually destroy the fallen world and make a new heaven and earth, where Christians will live forever with God in glorified bodies. But until then, Christians remain in the fallen world, commanded by God to share in word and deed the message of salvation through Christ. (Whether every Christian obeys God is another matter!) A true Christian is no longer a slave to sin, and God indwells him, empowering the obedient Christian to overcome the world and Satan by faith in the truth. The process of learning to operate in the truth is a key process for the Christian (as it will be for Neo.)
To further clarify as we pick the film apart from this angle, here is a key for the analysis: