The Matrix

For: strong promotion of a pagan view of reality, pervasive strong language, and severe moral confusion

The Matrix is a bloody, plot-hole riddled glorification of an unusually vast array of evil, mimicking everything from Gnosticism to Buddhism1, and exalting everything from computer crimes to first-degree murder.  The Matrix’ slow-motion gun-down scenes and ham-fisted symbolism only serve to pummel victims with blow after blow of skepticism about ethics and the nature of reality, and offering nothing better in exchange for the beating than bullet casings, long coats and sunglasses.



Strong Promotion of a Pagan View of Reality

Borrowing heavily from Gnostic and Buddhist ideas of awakening, self-realization, inner light, atheistic messiahs, and the non-reality of reality, The Matrix attempts to divorce the human mind from experience, reason, and ultimately God. 

The premise of The Matrix is that the visible, tangible word experienced by the main character Neo (and the rest of humanity) is merely signals sent to the brain.  The mind is a victim of external stimuli, incapable of doing anything but going through the motions.  The Matrix makes it clear that Neo’s perceived world is not real, because otherwise the things that happen in it would be real, and they aren’t.  Thoughts, memories, experiences and choices are said to do nothing to “tell you who you are,” and going to church is specifically listed as one of the ways in which the mind is simply being tricked into thinking it is doing something “real”.

On the other hand, because The Matrix’ worldview is inconsistent with reality and with itself, the movie also makes it clear that sometimes (when it’s convenient for the filmmakers) what the mind does in the perceived world is real.  For instance, thinking you’re getting shot to death in the perceived world means that blood starts spurting in the real world, even though the bullets are just an illusion.  In The Matrix, the mind/body relationship is everything, and the mind/spirit or soul relationship is at best an easily-ignored nothing, at worst a hoax. 

In The Matrix, ultimate freedom for the human mind means coming to the understanding that artificial intelligence has taken over the world and tricked you into thinking you are holding a spoon when there is no spoon.  You can be a Christian or an atheist, and ultimately that’s not what’s important as long as you get the whole computer-program thing.  Conversely, if you spend your life thinking that the spoon exists, you “will never be free”, and Christ isn’t enough to make you free.

The triumphant climax of the movie is when Neo, with the help of his encouraging friends, learns to completely reject the validity of perception and successfully manipulates the world with his mind, leading the way to “a world without rules and controls, without borders or boundaries, a world where anything is possible.” 

The movie also attempts to turn as many shared human experiences as possible into skeptic thought experiments, from deja vu to the taste of food, and throwing in doubts as to whether perceived human beings are really human, or whether they might at any time turn out to be an evil form of artificial intelligence.  Variations of the question “What is real?  How do you define ‘real’?” pop up several times.

Neo is an avowed atheist, refusing to believe in a sovereign power because, says he, “I don’t like the idea that I’m not the one in control of my life.”

Unbeknownst to him, Neo’s awakening turns out to really be the return of a dead master of the Matrix.

Evolution is strongly referenced.


Pervasive Strong Language
J-sus Chr-st
J-sus Chr-st
J-sus
J-sus
J-sus
J-sus
G-d
G-d
G-d
G-d
G-d
G-dd-mn
G-dd-mn
G-dd-mn
G-dd-mn
G-dd-mn
G-dd-mn
G-dd-mn
G-dd-mn
h-ll
h-ll
h-ll
h-ll
h-ll
h-ll
h-ll
h-ll
j-ck off
a--hole
a--
a--
a--
bullsh-t
sh-t
sh-t
sh-t
sh-t
sh-t
sh-t
sh-t
sh-t
sh-t
sh-t
sh-t
sh-t
sh-t
sh-t
sh-t
sh-t
sh-t
sh-t
sh-t
crap

Neo also gives a man the finger for several seconds.


Severe Moral Confusion

Neo is a professional computer hacker.  He is a professional criminal.  He admits to being guilty of “virtually every computer crime we have a law for.”  In 1999, when the movie takes place, computer crimes would include piracy, theft, fraud, hacking or intercepting private information, destroying personal, commercial and government computer systems, and distributing child pornography - and, before the story even begins, Neo has committed “virtually” all of them.

Neo and a friend, in order to rescue a captive, gun down in cold blood a roomful of oblivious security guards.  The scene lasts just shy of forever, and is supposed to be a prime example of Neo’s coolness.

Neo is told by his mentor Morpheus to “try not to think in terms of right and wrong.”  Neo glories in the idea of “a world without rules and controls, without borders or boundaries.”  Meanwhile, a never-been-wrong prophetess tells atheist/criminal Neo, approvingly, that he has “a good soul.”


1 Writers/directors the Wachowski brothers publicly acknowledged that their fascination with Buddhism influenced the themes in The Matrix, and hinted at or openly admitted several other intentional pagan influences, in an internet chat with fans hosted by Warner Brothers on November 6, 1999.  See  http://www.warnervideo.com/matrixevents/wachowski.html

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