by Denyse O'Leary
What make you all of this, in City Journal:
How Science Fiction Found Religion
Benjamin A. Plotinsky
Once overtly political, the genre increasingly employs Christian allegory.
There is a young man, different from other young men. Ancient prophecies foretell his coming, and he performs miraculous feats. Eventually, confronted by his enemies, he must sacrifice his own life—an act that saves mankind from calamity—but in a mystery as great as that of his origin, he is reborn, to preside in glory over a world redeemed. Tell this story to one of the world’s 2 billion Christians, and he’ll recognize it instantly. Tell it to a science-fiction and fantasy fan, and he’ll ask why you’re making minor alterations to the plot of The Matrix or Superman Returns. For reasons that have as much to do with global politics as with our cultural moment, some of this generation’s most successful sci-fi and fantasy movie franchises follow an essentially Christian plotline.
Hallelujah!” cries a minor character early in The Matrix, the 1999 cyberpunk flick, directed by Larry and Andy Wachowski, that took the nation by storm and, together with its two sequels, raked in about $600 million domestically. “You’re my savior, man, my own personal Jesus Christ.” The character is addressing Thomas Anderson, a restless computer hacker, played by Keanu Reeves, who goes by the handle “Neo” and has sold him some precious illegal software. It’s just one of the movie’s many references to its central inspiration. Neo, we learn eventually, is in fact a nearly divine savior, the Jesus Christ of the bizarre world in which he lives.
Anderson doesn’t realize it yet, however. First, a mysterious man named Morpheus must contact him, conveying a shocking truth: the universe isn’t real but is actually a “Matrix”—a “neural interactive simulation,” a “computer-generated dreamworld”—and the year isn’t 1999 but something like 2199. Early in the twenty-first century, Morpheus explains, human beings and intelligent machines went to war against one another. The machines, seeking a constant source of bioelectrical energy, started to breed people and use them as human generators, keeping them in little cells but convincing them, through illusion-conveying cables attached to their brains, that they still lived in an ordinary world. “You are a slave, Neo,” Morpheus says. “Like everyone else, you were born into bondage.”
It’s basically religion, at least I think. Funny how science fiction would come out that way.