"The Matrix" and Religion

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In 1999, box office sales sky rocketed when the film ‘The Matrix' was released. Filled with jaw dropping special effects and innovative kung-fu, the first film of ‘The Matrix' trilogy was a must see for just about every teenage boy in the United States and many other countries as well. But it isn't just explosions and fighting that made this film special. The plot is one that leaves the viewer pondering and dreaming about the film for days after watching it. It involves almost the entire human race enslaved by machines that have tapped into their minds and placed them in a virtual reality world that they think is reality. Meanwhile, the machines use the energy from the bodies of the humans they control to survive. Mankind's only hope rests in the hands of one man. Sound like just another Sci-Fi film that would do horrible at the box-office? Guess again. Filled with intelligence and insight about questioning reality, the movie caught the attention of just about everybody. But perhaps the most talked about element of the film is its religious depictions and allusions. They are everywhere in the film, and hard to miss. But is The Matrix a religious film? What morals or lessons are the filmmakers, Larry and Andy Wachowski, trying to get across by using religious themes?

There is no denying that Christianity is symbolized in the film. In fact it would be difficult for any person familiar with Christian beliefs to overlook this, even on their first viewing. Christianity is one of the predominant religions in the United States, so it is not surprising that many discussions on the film relate to it. Many devout followers dismiss any idea that the film is not a Christian movie, and with good reason.

The main character of ‘The Matrix', played by Keanu Reeves, is named Thomas Anderson. Many believe that this name may be an allusion to the bible's Doubting Thomas. Also, the name Anderson is derived from the Greek word andras, meaning "man." This gives us "son of man", a title that Jesus used in reference to himself (Burek). The main character is later called by his hacker name, Neo. Neo is an anagram for "one". "The One" is the title given to Neo in the film because he is believed to be the only person who can free mankind from the mind prison that they are trapped in. This role is paralleled to the role Jesus Christ played in the bible. He was sent to rid humanity of evil and free us from sin. Neo was awakened out of the matrix and then told that he is the only one that can save mankind from being enslaved by the machines. This was not easy for Neo to accept, just as it was not easy for Jesus to accept that he was the only one that could save mankind from being enslaved by the devil. The parallels continue throughout the film. At the end of the film, Neo actually dies. Then, after 72 seconds pass in the film (analogous to three days) he resurrects. At the very end of the film, Neo flies up into the sky. This symbolizes the story of Easter (Burek).

Early on in the movie, a character says to Neo "Hallelujah. You're my savior, man. My own personal Jesus Christ." ‘The Matrix' is filled with quick depictions of Christianity like this. The plate on Morpheus's ship reads "Mark III No. 11." In the bible, Mark 3:11 reads, "Whenever the unclean spirits saw him, they fell down before him and shouted, ‘You are the Son of God!'"

There are other characters in the film that are related to bible figures also. Most notably, the character Cypher is usually thought to represent Judas. Cypher betrays Neo in the film just as Judas betrays Jesus in the bible. Neo's love interest in the film, Trinity, can be interpreted in one of two ways. She may represent Jesus' love interest, Mary Magdalene. At many points in the film Trinity helps Neo through tough times in accepting his fate just as Mary did for Jesus. She may also represent the Holy Spirit. Although there is no person in the bible named...
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