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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
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
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
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
on July 17, 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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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on October 29, 2003
Format: Paperback
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 a contemporary story, as he already did with his other books The Gospel According to Tony Soprano and the Tao of Enron. More Christians should take note of how Mr. Seay goes about this process of using culture as a vehicle of the Gospel. He certainly goes way beyond the Wachowski Brothers----I doubt they ever intended the Matrix trilogy to communicate the Gospel, but that's beside the point of what Seay is doing. He goes deep into the Matrix story to help us see the Gospel in a fresh new way.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on September 17, 2003
Format: Paperback
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" influences in the movie. Instead, they relate all the influences that the Wachowskis brought into these films from Christianity, Buddhism, Greek philosophy, even anime films. But, per the authors intent, they do bring it all back to the Christian ideas.
Well worth the read!!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on July 2, 2003
Format: Paperback
As a pastor trying to relate to a new culture and mindset this book was intriguing. I have enjoyed the movies, though I cannot say I am an avid fan, but I realize that there is a culture out there that looks to The Matrix as some sort of flagship or icon. This book gives a starting point for discussions of theology and philosophy in our times. True Seay does bring in connections with other faiths but these do have a bearing on the movies. The matrix movies are not "Christian" films yet they do have Christian undertones (as well as Buddhist and Gnostic). The Gospel Reloaded helps sort some of it out. It is written in a style that connects with today's culture. If you are looking for a deep Christian theology this won't do. But if you are looking for ways to use these movies into some discussions around the Christian faith this is a good starting place.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on October 2, 2003
Format: Paperback
It is so refreshing to see a Christian write about the culture without criticizing everything that doesn't overtly preach Jesus. Greg Garrett and Chris Seay do this intelligently and entertainingly. This is a great book for anyone who loves examining the connections between faith and culture and isn't afraid to look for God in "secular" places. They obviously know their topics well and the book is short enough to read and reread as you watch and rewatch the movies. I highly recommend!!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on August 16, 2003
Format: Paperback
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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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on September 17, 2003
Format: Paperback
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. This is a great book for anyone who thinks movie-going can be more than just a mind-numbing experience, but desire to interact with film as a reflection of the culture as a whole and, in this case, some of society's deepest spiritual needs.
I say, get the book, read the book and then see the rent the movies again - quick, before the last installment comes!
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