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  • 1. THE MATRIX And THE GOSPEL OF JOHN Based on the article of Julie Arliss and Peter Vardy in ‘Dialogue Australia’ and ‘Dialogue’
  • 2. In Britain:
    • Philosophy of Religion and Ethics are beginning to dominate secondary R.E.
    • The OCR exam board now has 94% of all candidates taking P.R. and Ethics at ‘A’ level
    • Yet an appreciation of the Bible is vital for understanding culture, art, literature and much else in our society.
    • New teaching methods are required to communicate the profundity of the Hebrew and Christian scriptures to a post-Christian generation who have not been brought up on the basic ideas.
  • 3. THE MATRIX
    • Is one of the most popular films of all time
    • Yet its plot is based on John’s Gospel and many of the Gospel themes are present.
    • Young people can enjoy the film, and then come to understand the theology
  • 4. THE CALL
    • Jn. 1. 35-42: Jesus’ disciples, Andrew and John were called – Jesus asks ‘WHAT DO YOU SEEK?’
    • A young man, Neo, gets a call from Trinity which he cannot understand and does not make sense.
    • The disciples responded to the call to give up everything and to do something unreasonable.
    • Jesus KNEW (1.48) the disciples before they were called.
    • Neo has to choose to respond to an unreasonable call which he has always been aware of and which made him dissatisfied with conventional life.
    • Neo was KNOWN before he was called. He has to decide whether to respond.
    • THE GOSPEL of John
    • THE MATRIX
  • 5. RE-BIRTH
    • Jn. 3.1-3:3 Jesus calls his disciples to be born anew. Unless this happens they cannot see the kingdom of God.
    • Neo has to CHOOSE – he is offered the TRUTH, but this is going to come at a high price. It is going to break all his previous understanding.
    • This does not make sense by ordinary standards (Nicodemus asks how this can happen). The disciples have to be ‘born of water and the spirit’ (3.5)
    • The Truth will be painful. It means leaving the comfort of his known world to break with understanding and to be ‘born again’
    • The disciples have
    • to break with ordinary understanding and to literally enter the world anew – by seeing it as it really is.
    • Unless he is born anew he cannot see the Truth
    • THE MATRIX
    • THE GOSPELS
  • 6. THE TRUTH
    • THE GOSPELS:
    • JN 8:32 ‘“…and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.“ JN 14:6 ‘Jesus said to him, "I am the way and the truth and the life.’
    • THE MATRIX:
    • All Morpheus offers Neo is ‘The Truth’. But Neo first has to make a choice between the blue and red pill– he cannot simply have it explained.
    • Jesus is The Truth, but not everyone recognises this. A person has to be ‘born anew’ before he or she can see the truth. The Truth is not obvious. Jesus is an ambiguous figure.
    • Even Jesus’ own disciples often did not understand.
    • Neo has to be ‘born anew’ and see the truth for himself – even then he can hardly believe it and finds it very difficult to understand.
    • The truth cannot be understood by those living in the normal world.
  • 7. BAPTISM AND RE-BIRTH
    • THE GOSPELS:
    • Jesus himself is baptised and baptism is essential to Christianity. It involves a ‘new birth’ but this does not make sense to many people.
    • THE MATRIX:
    • Neo has to be born again. He cannot understand this but it is essential to understanding the truth.
    Baptism involves water – sometimes total immersion (e.g. in the Jordan)
    • After this new-birth, the whole world is seen in a new way.
    • The re-baptism involves breaking the links with the past (symbolised by the cords that attach him) and total immersion.
    • After this new-birth, the whole world is seen in a new way.
  • 8. FIGHTING EVIL
    • THE GOSPELS:
    • Jesus fights the forces of evil and is tempted by the Devil in the wilderness but refuses to accept the temptations.
    • THE MATRIX
    • Neo opposes the forces of evil and is tempted by ‘The Agents’ but refuses to give in.
    The demons understand the power of Jesus and recognise that he can destroy them.
    • The forces of evil constantly seek to destroy Neo. They seem invincible and their power is everywhere. They know they have to destroy him.
  • 9. DEATH
    • THE GOSPELS
    • Jesus lays down his life – he is killed and he accepts his death although he has no wish to die.
    • THE MATRIX
    • Neo lays down his life – he knows (from the oracle) that he will die if he attempts to rescue Morpheus although he has no wish to die.
    • He goes up to Jerusalem and, in John’s Gospel, it is clear that he knows what will happen to him. He is in no doubt about his fate.
    He goes ahead with what he knows he must do.
  • 10. Resurrection and the defeat of evil
    • THE GOSPELS:
    • Jesus dies and is resurrected by the power of God’s love.
    • THE MATRIX
    • Neo dies, and is resurrected by the power of love.
    • He overcomes death and in so doing opens the possibility for everyone else to recognise that death and evil have no power or dominion.
    • Evil looks powerful – but is not. The power of love is stronger that death.
    • After passing through death, the everyday world is now an illusion – it no longer has any power over Neo.
    • Neo is The One who can bring release to all human beings who are in bondage. The forces of evil can no longer dominate. Their power is an illusion.
  • 11. The ONE
    • THE GOSPELS:
    • Jesus is described as ‘The One’ (cf. John the Baptist’s disciples: “Are you the One who shall come or do we look for another”
    • THE MATRIX
    • Morpheus believes that Neo is The One. ‘Neo’ is an acronym for ‘One’.
    • John the Baptist recognises him as ‘the One’ but many others including his own followers do not.
    • Neo’s status as ‘the One’ is constantly ambiguous and few people believe it even those who are in the ship with him.
  • 12. ZION
    • THE GOSPELS
    • Zion or heaven is the one place where Jesus and his followers are safe – but in this world they are in exile.
    • THE MATRIX
    • Zion is the one place in the world which has not been over-run by the Agents – but Neo and his friends are in exile.The name of their ship, the Nebuchadnezzar, recalls the Emperor of Babylon under whom the people of Israel were in exile.
    Heaven is their hope and yet they are still fully engaged in this world and have to bring the message of hope and deliverance to all human beings Zion is their hope – but meanwhile they have to live in the world and bring the message of hope and deliverance to all human beings.