- Paperback: 173 pages
- Publisher: NavPress (June 15 2003)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1576834786
- ISBN-13: 978-1576834787
- Product Dimensions: 14 x 1 x 21.6 cm
- Shipping Weight: 204 g
- Average Customer Review: 18 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #141,602 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Gospel Reloaded: Exploring Spirituality and Faith in The Matrix Paperback – Jun 15 2003
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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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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.
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.
Surprisingly, this popular film has reached out to find a well loved spot in the halls of Christianity, rivaling even the more recognizeably Christian LORD OF THE RINGS. The author explores the allegory and symbolic themes in this picture that have caused this phenomena. Though some orthodox Christians might take issue with the weight he gives gnostic gospels, on the whole, Mr. Seay provides an in depth look that can provide good subject matter for a small group discussion. Using text from the Message version of the Bible, he also makes it easily accessible to the masses, some of whom could have difficulty with the more formal King James or American Standard texts that many authors use for such quotation.
***** Books such as this provide a bridge for adults and teens, giving them common ground to dialog about, and perhaps can help swell the church population in a non crisis situation.
The Matrix is one of my very favorite movies, and the theological themes it explores are a big reason why. There was simply no way I wasn't going to like this book, which is why I ordered it sight unseen.
But I didn't like it. The book really has no thesis or direction. It just kind of wanders aimlessly from topic to topic in a mostly disconnected fashion. It makes the occasional interesting point about something in the movie you might have missed, but the points aren't collected in any intelligent fashion. The book reads as if it were simply thrown together out of loose parts.
I don't ask that an author agree with my viewing of the movie, or with my theology. All I want is a good read that helps me enjoy the movie more. This isn't it. It's a book that thinks it has the depth of an ocean but doesn't understand that you can have water and still just be a puddle.
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