The Matrix falls short when explaining evil

Betrayal over steak dinner

Although The Matrix bellows the standard New Age mantra of sinlessness, it undermines this thesis with Cypher’s betrayal of his comrades.

The major conflict is humans fighting against the machines, who personify evil — a not-so-original sci-fi plot. Deprived of solar power in post-apocalyptic world, the machines turn to cultivating humans in farms to supply their energy needs. A vast human population is kept docile in a holographic, computer-generated world. Only a few enlightened humans fight the machines in this world.

The nearly indestructible Agent Smith who suppresses the human rebellion.

The balance of the fight will fall to Neo, the foretold savior. But Neo doesn’t believe in himself. Most of the movie then is dedicated to him overcoming his lack of belief and

Morpheus tells Neo that humans are raised on farms to become batteries

accepting his fate as “the one.” The only evil is ignorance, a New Age philosophy with roots in Buddhism and Gnosticism, which is now embraced by humanists.

But a subplot undercuts the ignorance-is-evil myth. On the one hand, Cypher betrays the enlightened friends because he is tired of fighting and only wishes to return to the


software illusion world of blissful ignorance. But he also turns Judas because he loves Trinity, who is attracted to Neo. Thus, jealousy undoes this major thesis of the movie. The roots of evil lie in many desires.

I like The Matrix because it’s not mindless. But it also shows that the anti-God crowd cannot adequately grapple with evil. We Christians believe that evil lies in the human bosom. If a person follows the Spirit of God, he will conform more to God’s image and manifest compassion. But if a person unbridles his passions, he will fall into evil. Because evil lurks in all of us, we need a Savior, who forgives and transforms us daily. Achieving a higher consciousness, whether induced by occult or psychedelics, is not the answer.

10 responses to “The Matrix falls short when explaining evil

  1. Very well said and written. Blessings

  2. Reblogged this on Constitution Party of Wisconsin – Milwaukee County Affiliate and commented:
    At CPoW, we believe that Jesus is the answer to all evil, whether inside or outside of the political realm.

  3. Yes I enjoyed this post it makes sense that the unsaved cannot wrestle away evil. In order to deal with evil there has to be a God to rectify this conumdrum, and unsaved people don’t want to deal with this. They rather believe that sin and evil doesn’t exist. Whis is unfortunate.

  4. Ehhh.. This article is a bit shaky to me. I know your heart is in the right place but the main fight between the machines and the humans related to ignorance, yes, but it’s really based on the level of free will and it’s the ignorance that keeps us from discovering what life is about.

    What many don’t know is that the foundation of the story reflects Socrates and his struggle to free the minds of Athens. Neo’s quote of ‘What is the Matrix’ is the parallel towards Socrates’ quote, ‘What is the good life?’ – Neo wanted to free the minds and expose the truth towards ‘What is real’.

    Cypher’s betrayal fits perfectly as it’s the counterpart towards Neo’s choice to keep fighting despite not knowing if victory is even possible. Cypher was weak in his actions, because he’d rather be comfortable, blissfully ignorant within the Matrix. We need this because we see both sides of free will and choice. Cypher made his choice and paid for it with his life. At the very end, Agent Smith even asks the questions, (to the effect of) “Why do you persist Mr Anderson? Is it for love or freedom?” and he simply replies, “Because I choose to.”

    Yes, its apparent the lines of good and evil are drawn in this movie – Man vs Machine. However, this evil is artificial and unchanging, whereas it’s the humans choice to either fall to evil or rise up for good that makes this concept compelling. Cypher was the fall, Neo was the rise. There’s a ton of philosophy within the Matrix, more than I could comment on in this box, but its supposed to teach us to believe in hope, have faith and most of all, choose the right path.

    • Well, thank you for your comments. I can see my observations fall short. LOL! No really, you must have a doctorate on this movie. No sarcasm. My respects! Sincerely. I confess to ignorance over the Socratic dialogue. Perhaps that’s where I started to err. But at the same time, I wonder how much is Socratic freedom vs. pop culture New Age occult and psychodelic drugs. If it is mostly Socratic philosophical struggle, then wow! the movie is amazing. But if the movie-makers promote occultic and mind-expanding drugs as the way to triumph over the closed world of lies and illusions to get into reality and truth, then I’m not going to enthusiastically embrace it. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE the movie because it has a profound message, even if I’m not in total agreement with that msg. I certainly could stand to read and learn more about the movie. I am admittedly diletante. What I write about in my blog is what I’m feeling passionate about at the moment. I had just shown the movie to my kids in lit class, and so I got excited about it. But I haven’t studied it too profoundly yet. So congrats to your comment! You are teaching me. Thanks!

  5. Where do you recommend I read more to understand the movie better?

  6. Haha, thanks! I really did enjoy the trilogy and the philosophy held within it. There’s matrix and philosophy books you can probably find off amazon that explains in finer details of the religious/philosophical references portrayed in the Matrix trilogy. Everything else… Wiki it.

    I don’t think they’re ‘promoting’ drugs per say – this is in reference to the red/blue pill? Those are being used more as a device than a symbol, as it’s used in the plot to find Neo in the real world, therefore waking him from his sleep. We don’t hear anything about pill popping for the rest of the film.

    There’s no doubt lots of people love it, and I don’t blame you for getting enthralled enough to share it with your class. More props to you! Keep that up!

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