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The Gospel Reloaded: Exploring Spirituality and Faith in The Matrix Paperback – June 15, 2003

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Editorial Reviews

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.

From the Publisher

Also discusses spiritual themes in The Matrix Reloaded, the second film in The Matrix trilogy.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 173 pages
  • Publisher: Pinon Press (June 15, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1576834786
  • ISBN-13: 978-1576834787
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.4 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #474,729 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By tvtv3 TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 26, 2004
Format: Paperback
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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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Nicq MacDonald on December 1, 2004
Format: Paperback
Since the first of the Matrix films came out, there's been plenty of talk about the religious paralells in it- Neo as Christ, Trinity as Mary Magdelene, Morpheus as John the Baptist, Cypher as Judas, etc, and it's theme of death, resurrection, and liberation. In The Gospel Reloaded, Seay tries to piece these together in a theologically consistent whole, but never seems to approach the matter with any depth.

While he discusses many interesting theological implications in The Matrix and it's sequels, there are many interesting points that he misses. For instance, what is the significance of the Merovingian and Persephone? (This is touched on, but never seriously looked at) Who is the Architect? What is the meaning of Trinity's death, return to life- and subsequent death? And, most glaring of all, Seay tries to argue that Cypher is not only Judas, but the "Satan" figure of the movie as while- while never confronting what Agent Smith's role is in all of this. On top of that, the author tries to see everything in terms of Joseph Campbell's "hero's journey", while ignoring the many implications of this story.

While I can tepidly recommend this book, I also recommend supplementing it with a few other resources- David Brin's article on The Matrix (as well as his articles on the hero's journey and it's implications in Star Wars and Lord of the Rings) at [...] and the commentary tracks available on the boxed DVD edition of the Matrix trilogy (with Ken Wilber and Cornel West)- Ken provides a unique spiritual interpretation of The Matrix which doesn't entirely correspond with that of Seay, but fuels much food for thought.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Dillon Burroughs on October 22, 2003
Format: Paperback
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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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Jason Raschen on July 16, 2003
Format: Paperback
Review: The Gospel Reloaded
The new book by Chris Seay and Greg Garrett titled The Gospel Reloaded is a winner. At first I was skeptical of a book about spirituality in the Matrix films. I was expecting the usual comparisons of Neo to Jesus Christ that I had read on countless web sites. Thankfully there is no bible thumping in this book. Instead Seay & Garrett (both enthusiastic fans of both films) discuss the different religious symbols & metaphors in the film as well as tackle what philosophically & culturally influenced the film. The authors write at length about other religion's influence the films such as Buddhism, Gnosticism, and Judaism in addition to Christianity. They also reference Joseph Campbell's The Power of the Myth and how closely Andy and Larry Wachowski story adopts that narrative. In addition, Seay and Garrett refer to Greek authors Homer & Plato and their stories of The Odyssey and The Cave as additional reference to the story of the Matrix. While discussing the religious & philosophical influences on the film, the authors recognize the cinematic influence on the Matrix comes from the Star Wars saga, Kung Fu cinema, Japan's Anime movies, and John Woo's films. The writers are also brave to tackle a very serious issue in our culture today: organized religion. In many ways they argue how today's organized religion can mirror The Matrix, always trying to control the way we think & feel while keeping us blind, while we seek to awake to freedom in a different & free world. Bravo, to those two for their hard work bringing all these elements into the book The Gospel Reloaded.
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