Author: Tony Watkins Keywords:
Film title: The Matrix
Director: Andy and Larry Wachowski
Screenplay: Andy and Larry Wachowski
Starring: Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss, Hugo Weaving
Distributor: Warner Bros
Cinema Release Date: 1999
First published in New Christian Herald on 26 June 1999
'There are two realities - one the life we live every day and one that lies behind it.' So runs one of the tag lines for the recent film 'The Matrix'.
Neo (Keanu Reeves) suspects that something evil controls his life. When underworld figures Morpheus and Trinity take him into another world he finds that all is not as it seems.
The 'real' world, it transpires, is a computer simulation. Behind it lies another and more sinister reality.
It's an intriguing twist on the old question of how we can be sure of the world around us. Can we trust our senses? Are we really dreaming all this?
It's like the Chinese philosopher who dreamed he was a butterfly. When he awoke he wasn't sure whether he'd dreamt about being a butterfly or whether he was really a butterfly now dreaming that he was a man.
How do we know what we know? In the postmodern world nobody seems very sure. You can't be sure about anything. We can't trust anything that anyone tells us. All we have are our own subjective impressions.
Andy and Larry Wachowski who wrote The Matrix go along with this. 'We reject any system that's supposed to regulate thought', they say. 'We wanted people to question regulated thought in their own worlds.'
They are rejecting any assertions of truth, any worldviews that claim, 'This is true'.
That's OK up to a point. One of the key things that postmodernism has grasped is that human reason is limited. Christians have always said so.
If there is nothing beyond this universe we can never know whether or not 'our reality' is really real.
But there is something beyond - a God who communicates truth to us. The starting point for Christians is that God has revealed himself in Jesus and in Scripture.
Is this 'regulated thought'? Yes, in a way it is. God's revelation straightens out our thinking - as long as we defer to its authority. It gives us a reliable basis for what we know.
So we need not worry about whether this world is real. It is. God has told us so.
But he has also told us that there is another reality - a spiritual one. Maybe this speculation about another level of reality is a sign that eternity is in our hearts.
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Author: Tony Watkins
© Copyright: Tony Watkins 2003
Unless stated otherwise, Bible quotations are from the New Living Translation (NLT) copyright © 1996, 2004 by Tyndale Charitable Trust. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers.