Is the world we know real? What if we’re all trapped in a simulated realty? How would we know if we were? Suppose we were all created by artificially intelligent machines using our minds and bodies as energy sources? How would we get out of this matrix of dystopian evil? That was the theme of the 1999 science fiction film “The Matrix,” starring Keanu Reeves. The movie featured an experimental form of filming in which the action taking place moves in slow motion while the camera appears to project at a normal speed. If you had seen the original film, as I did, you’d know what I mean. Matrix #1 grossed nearly $500 million and was followed by the 2004 release “The Matrix Reloaded” and the later “The Matrix Revolution.” Comic books and video games followed. Now, the world awaits the soon-to-be-released 2021 version, “The Matrix Resurrection.”
In the original film, the hacker-hero Neo (Reeves) was offered a choice of two pills—a red one to tell the truth about the Matrix or a blue one to return to normal life. He swallowed the red and reality disintegrated. He then awakened in a pod, along with other humans, attached to an electrical system harvesting their bioelectric power. Biblical terms are a crucial part of the Matrix. The anti-hero Morpheus (the Greek god of sleep and dreams) flies a spaceship called the Nebuchadnezzar, named after the ancient, evil Babylonian king. The last refuge of rebellious free humans is referred to as Zion, which means “the city of God” in the Bible. Morpheus convinces the rebels that Neo is the “One,” a savior prophesied to free humanity. True to typical Hollywood plot lines, a female name Trinity falls in love with the One. He then controls the Matrix, defeats the villains, and declares a world where “anything is possible.”
Critics and fans have theorized that the Matrix is really based on philosophical ideas borrowed from such disparate sources as Plato, Immanuel Kant, and even Descartes. Demons would be a more credible source. Neo was supposedly virgin born. He was prophesied as a coming savior. His love interest Trinity completes the mockery. Some fans have even created their own Matrix religion.
The film’s depiction of a dream world that is more real than physicality is consistent with the Hindu concept of “maya” (the illusory nature of matter). The Matrix also resembles the Buddhist idea that what we think is real is only a projection of reality known as “dharma.” True reality is “samsara,” freedom from the moral debt of karma. In Hinduism nothing of the material world is real. In Buddhism reality is the endless existence of impermanence. The theology of the Matrix is far more mystical than Christian, despite the biblical buzzwords.
The belief system of the Matrix is warmed-over paganism, borrowing Judeo-Christian words and themes to deceive the unwary. The Apostle Paul warned of such in 1 Timothy1:4 when he said we should not give ourselves to things that “promote controversial speculations rather than advancing God’s work which is by faith.” In other words, avoid the Matrix and its demonic doctrines referred to in 1 Timothy 4:1. You may say that watching this film isn’t an evil act, but according to 1 Corinthians 5:6 it only takes a little leaven to affect the whole lump. Not only does the Matrix lack biblical spirituality, it also deliberately promotes a demonic worldview.