Customer Reviews: The Gospel Reloaded: Exploring Spirituality and Faith in The Matrix
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on May 20, 2011
Very inspiring work. Watching the Matrix films are now a completely new experience. If you are into philosophy and theology, this book will not disappoint. My only suggestion for an improvement on the book would be to touch on the 2nd and 3rd film installments a little more. But, nonetheless it is a very masterfully written book and would grace any bookshelf well.
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on December 1, 2004
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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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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on December 5, 2003
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 insightful and thought provoking reflections on the film in dialogue with Christianity.
Far from dogmatic, this book should stimulate further discussion and reflection on the Matrix triology and it's relationship to issues of faith.
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on November 5, 2003
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. Oh and dont let those 3 people who gave it bad reviews influence you, they just dont know a good book when they read one.
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on October 29, 2003
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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on October 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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on October 11, 2003
This book really deserves two and a half stars. I give the authors credit for their more liberal slants on traditional christianity. That said, throughout its 2,000 year history christainity has played the role of mind control that the makers fo the Matrix movies are criticizing. A central theme of the Matrix Reloaded sequel is that the Machines are using the cult of Neo's messiahood as a mechanism of social control.
However, this book misses that point and joins the current trend in christianity to coopt popular aspects of pop culture (as opposed to creating anything original itself) and misuse them to gain converts. (Christianity, like Walmart, always needs new customers.) For that "original sin", I docked the book a couple of stars. The authors seemed interesting and bright, why spend their time trying not to stand on the shoulders of the Wachowski brothers when the Wachowski brothers make movies that undermine the dogma of christianity?
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on October 1, 2003
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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on September 19, 2003
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. Obviously you need to have a good handle on the movies to understand the connection. I enjoyed the way Chris took the themes of the Matrix and made the connections to the Bible. It brought parts of the Bible to life for me in ways I had not looked at in the past. I would recommend this book highly to anyone. It is a great way to see scripture through a set of different eyes and explore the message of the Gospel in a relevant way.
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