“Are you the one who is to come, or are we to wait for another?” (NRSV Mt 11:3).
In the near future, Computer hacker Neo is contacted by underground freedom fighters who explain that reality — as he understands it — is actually a complex computer simulation called The Matrix. Created by a malevolent Artificial Intelligence, the Matrix hides the truth from humanity, allowing them to live a convincing, simulated life in 1999 while machines grow and harvest people to use as an ongoing energy source. The leader of the freedom fighters, Morpheus, believes Neo is “The One” who will lead humanity to freedom and overthrow the machines. Together with Trinity, Neo and Morpheus fight against the machine’s enslavement of humanity as Neo begins to believe and accept his role as “The One”. (Link to the rest at The matrix 101)
Being “The One” means that Neo has what it takes to save the humans from a dream-induced state that (not aliens) but sentient machines have put them in, in order to use their bodies as “batteries.” The film uses classic Christian symbols and names from the Bible (if you missed all the biblical references I can’t help you–you’re going to have to watch the movie(s) again), but I will give you a few of the most obvious symbols. Check out the above poster for instance. In it we see the three freedom fighters–Neo, Morpheus and Trinity–as well as the one backstabbing traitor (Judas) who gives up the life of a revolutionary to live in a world of luxury. (See this page for the symbolism of the names.) My favorite biblical reference, however, is found in Trinity (A.K.A. the Holy Spirit). When Neo meets Trinity, a beautiful woman and one of the leaders of the revolution, he’s momentarily sideswiped and blurts “I just thought ummm…you were a guy.”
Trinity replies, “Most guys do.”
Of course, when it comes to the Christian Trinity we’re all expecting a bunch of guys. This is because God is said to be our Father and Jesus is the Son, but with The Matrix (just as in The Shack) we find our Christian heads spinning–suddenly instead of a guy or even a dove (the symbol we all align with the Spirit) we find a beautiful woman. I guess there’s no coincidence then that the Jewish Encyclopedia says, “The gentleness and grace of the dove make it a favorite simile for female beauty and tenderness…” (link to Jewish Encyclopedia). Hmmmm, the term “like a dove” is a Jewish simile for “female beauty and tenderness?” This kind of makes you want to rethink that verse in Luke, don’t you think?
“Now when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heaven was opened, and the Holy Spirit descended in bodily form like a dove upon Him, and a voice came from heaven which said, ‘You are My beloved Son; in You I am well pleased.’” (NRSV Luke 3:21-22)
If you see images of the Holy Spirit within pop culture let me know about it. Send your thoughts to motherheartconference (at) gmail (dot) com
By Deidre Havrelock
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