Saturday, May 31, 2003

Theological Science Fiction

Why The Matrix matters

By Gregory Benford

Reason Magazine

The point of speculative ideas and science fictional treatments is not to foster propaganda (though many do so, usually obviously and unsuccessfully), but to make us think. As a literature of change driven by technology, science fiction presents religion to a part of the reading public that probably seldom goes to church.

Movies are another matter; The Matrix Reloaded sometimes seems like the New Testament on steroids. It also suffers from the bind of superhero epics—if Neo is unstoppable, how can there be real constraint, and so suspense?

Beyond the cool violence, vinyl cat suits and dazzling bullet-time effects, the Matrix world points both toward our future and to basic theological mythologies, to spiritual meta-narratives that can appear backlit by modern science.

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