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The Gospel Reloaded: Exploring Spirituality and Faith in The Matrix [Paperback]

Chris Seay , Greg Garrett
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
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Book Description

June 15 2003
The world has changed. The Gospel Reloaded rushes headlong into The Matrix, exploring the trilogy's intricate details, religious undertones, and eclectic philosophies. These aren't movies you just "watch." They are postmodern epics, full of meaning and metaphor--deserving of serious inquiry and contemplation. Get inside the collective minds of the Wachowski brothers. See how even the minute details--from Neo's name to Thomas Anderson's room number--yield secrets to better understand the film. The movies call us to seek and find. Read how the themes of The Matrix call you to your own spiritual revelation. Ask of your own life: what's real and what's a mirage? Then you'll discover just how deep this rabbit hole really goes.

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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Pop a red pill and journey with the authors down the rabbit hole to the burgeoning world of Matrix spirituality. Ever since Neo first discovered his true identity in the now-famous 1999 sleeper hit, fans, critics and philosophers have gone over every celluloid inch of "The Matrix" to pick out its intellectual themes. And, like any pop culture phenomenon worth its salt, the film managed to be all things to all people, claimed by Christians as an allegory of resurrection and by Buddhists as a metaphor of awakening. Seay and Garrett are primarily concerned with the movie's Christian themes-Neo as the Christ; Morpheus as the John the Baptist figure who prepares the way; and Trinity as "the female face of God." (That's not the only thing that may cause more conservative Christians to put on Agent Smith faces; elsewhere, the authors very thoughtfully entertain the idea that the Matrix that is oppressing people in our own society may well be organized religion.) The authors are clearly diehard fans (Seay even named one of his children Trinity!), but the book is far more than an extended fan fawn; it is quite intelligent and substantive, as well as engagingly written. The final two chapters (not seen by PW) will discuss developments in the second installment in the Matrix trilogy.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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I must acknowledge the awkward dissonance that comes in writing a book about The Matrix. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Seeing God All Around. March 26 2004
By tvtv3
I wasn't for sure what to think when I first started reading THE GOSPEL RELOADED. From the title, I thought I was going to be reading a watered-down book that illustrated the Christian allusions in the Matrix movies. However, I got more than what I expected. THE GOSPEL RELOADED does illustrate some of the Christian allusions that are prevalant throughout the Matrix films. Yet, the book also illustrates many of the other influences that can be found in the Matrix movies (comics, Easternism, etc). It also touches upon the possibility that the Matrix movies are films that are anti-Christian in nature. But mainly, the book compares and contrasts Christianity with the world view of The Matrix. The book tries to show how The Matrix fits into Joseph Campbell's research of a hero and how Jesus Christ was the ultimate hero.
The authors of the book are very intelligent and have a huge concern for impacting our culture. Nevertheless, the book does have two flaws. First, the book really doesn't flow that well together and kind of skips around from one point to the next without any transitions. Because of that, the book comes off as being more of a hodge-podge than an accurate comparison and contrast. Secondly, though the authors are clearly Christian and it is apparent they are trying to illustrate the similarities and differences between the Gospels and the Matrix movies, they never really do come out and say, "Here's exactly how Jesus is different from Neo and here's how Christianity is different from the world of THE MATRIX". What ends up happening is that the authors end up doing more comparing than contrasting which is a shame. Still, I found THE GOSPEL RELOADED to be better than many Christian books on pop culture I have read and it presents a rounded enough approach that might attract non-Christians into learning more about the Christian faith.
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2.0 out of 5 stars beating a dead Trojan Horse.... Feb. 24 2004
i read this in a couple of hours (skimming certain parts, admittedly) at the Seattle Public Library, then put it back on the cart. there are about 3 billion websites on the Net (give or take) that try to dissect this or that aspect of The Matrix and explain the deep underlying concepts that the Wachowskis dabble in. in 99% of cases this is simply an exercise on the part of the individual in trying to justify his/her viewpoint by aligning it with one of the very ambiguous and wide-open mythological/theological constructs behind the films. the fact is that the films are actually so saturated with conflicting ideologies that they're not supposed to make sense. instead, they have a little bit of everything so that each and every person can relate, regardless of faith (or lack thereof), and take home the over-arching message that only confidence and personal responsibility will set you free.
so after finishing the book 15 minutes ago (more or less), i'm disappointed to say that "The Gospel Reloaded" is the printed equivalent of such a website.
the book seems to be intended for Christians young and old who want to get into all the Cool Stuff that the sinners are into, but can't reconcile it with their families and church-going friends. it's that old line about the atheists having all the fun... Mom says to Dad at the dinner table, "Billy is grounded because i caught him watching The Matrix. they were saying all these dirty words and there was a scene in a nightclub where people were wearing gas masks and groping each other like it was Sodom and Gomorrah!" little Billy replies, "but Mom, i read that the battle on the highway was actually a reference to Matthew 13! ...and that Neo and Trinity represent Adam and Eve for the postmodern era! ...and that The One is a metaphor for Jesus' love!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Taking A Risk, But Definitely Worth It Oct. 22 2003
Chris Seay and Greg Garrett take a significant risk in seeking to draw parallels between evangelical Christianity and an R-rated, culturally significant movie, but their risk was worth it.
While drawing criticisms from both within and from outside of Christian circles, the authors strived to redeem the worthy aspects of the Matrix. This choice to interact with contemporary culture proved a noble effort, garnering several media exposures from mainstream sources such as Publishers Weekly and USA Today.
In the words of another review, "The movies call us to seek and find--to ask of our own lives what's real and what's a mirage. They are modern epics, chock-full of meaning and metaphor." The Gospel Reloaded does exactly that--pushes the edge, explores the "truth" of the Wachowski brother's dialogue, and challenges even hardened critics to contemplate its questions.
Overall, I would not recommend this book to younger Matrix fans, but definitely encourage it for the student or serious thinker seeking to make sense of the Matrix from a Christian perspective. It can also serve as an excellent conversational tool for sincere explorers on their own spiritual journey.
The Gospel Reloaded will mess with your mind, just like the film, but leave you better off for the ride.
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5.0 out of 5 stars . . . but take it with a grain of salt. Aug. 15 2003
By A Customer
I read this book and saw both movies in a 48 hour period, which I highly recomend. This book mainly deals with religious undertones (intentional or not) in the Martrix films. But it also talks a bit about the many pop culture influences (albeit in only one chapter). Although most fans will be familiar with the Anime, John Woo, and Joseph Campbell influences, there was an interesting analogy to comics (Neo as Superman, Morpheus as Batman).
Although sometimes the author(s) sounds a bit like he's standing at a pulpit (after all, Chris Seay is a pastor) his message is, overall, uplifting. He mostly speaks of faith and tries to remain more spiritual than religious. I would have liked a chapter devoted to the relations to Buddhism and Zen, but I suppose the authors are not authorities on those subjects (the book "ZEN IN THE MARTIAL ARTS" is also highly recomended by this reviewer)Many pages discussed John the Baptist and were very interesting.
And the final two chapters are interesting, the last in particular. The title is Apocolypse Now, but it's surprisingly uplifting. After all, why should you be scared of Apocolypse unless you're an evil person?
I also learned a little about Gnosticism, which is very interesting and I'd like to learn more about it (not to follow it, but just because I love learning about new things).
In conclusion, buy this if you're a fan, read it in a two day period, and watch both movies during, before, and after you read it.
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting ideas
This book is a fun, interesting look at themes in the Matrix films from a Christian point of view. The authors never claim to know the true meaning of the film triology but offer... Read more
Published on Dec 5 2003 by Stephen T. Wynkoop
5.0 out of 5 stars good book
this is an amzing book , written by an amzing guy. I COMPLETELY RECOMEND THIS BOOK. I know chris and he has written a great book. Read more
Published on Nov. 5 2003 by "psc_z3_"
4.0 out of 5 stars Read this book!
If you are new to Christianity or are exploring spirituality I highly recommend this book to you. For Christians, Chris Seay has done a masterful job contextualizing the Gospel in... Read more
Published on Oct. 29 2003 by Jeff Gang
This book really deserves two and a half stars. I give the authors credit for their more liberal slants on traditional christianity. Read more
Published on Oct. 11 2003 by hominuslupus
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Integration of Culture with Faith
It is so refreshing to see a Christian write about the culture without criticizing everything that doesn't overtly preach Jesus. Read more
Published on Oct. 1 2003 by Micah McCarty
4.0 out of 5 stars A new look at exploring one's spirituality
Chris does a good job of walking readers through the the small details of the film and making the connection with gospel of Jesus Christ. Read more
Published on Sept. 19 2003 by "cwcamp"
5.0 out of 5 stars not your average "christian" book
Chris Seay and Greg Garrett do a great job exploring spirituality in the Matrix films. However, what struck me most was that the authors did not solely focus on the "Christian"... Read more
Published on Sept. 17 2003 by Joey Tulino
5.0 out of 5 stars Spiritual Side of the Matrix
Chris Seay and Greg Garrett have done an excellent job of looking at the spirtual side of The Matrix and have taken us with them down the rabbit hole. Read more
Published on Sept. 17 2003 by N. Howard
4.0 out of 5 stars The Pill has been swallowed
I think Mr. Seay and Mr. Garrett have done in outstanding job in their communicating the spiritual connection between the Matrix and the world we live in. Read more
Published on Aug. 5 2003 by Rob Wondergem
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