Do you want to know the truth and nothing more?
By Jim Allen
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In a scene from The Matrix, Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne) confronts Neo (Keanu Reeves) about the threatening situation both men find themselves. Morpheus, in all seriousness, says to Neo,
The matrix is everywhere. It is all around us. Even now in this very room. You can see it when you look out your window...when you turn on your television. You can feel it when you go to work or to church…It is the world that's been pulled over your eyes to blind you from the truth. Like everyone else you were born into a prison you cannot see, touch, or smell…a prison for your mind. Unfortunately, no can be told what the matrix is. You have to see it for yourself. Morpheus, removing two pills from his pocket, offers both to Neo and says,
This is your last chance. After this, there is no turning back. You take the blue pill, the story ends…you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to. You take the red pill and you stay in wonder land and I'll show you how deep the rabbit hole goes…remember, all I am offering is the truth and nothing more. Then Morpheus says, "Come, follow me!"
While this scene from the Matrix takes on a religious theme, it is not a Christian movie by any means. The authors (Lana and Andy Wachowski — sister and brother) may have borrowed some ideas from the Bible for this action-packed thriller to give it added dimension. Anyone having a rudimentary understanding of Gospel would have easily spotted the biblical theme woven throughout the film, including its central characters' struggling to overcome their perilous circumstance.
Christians viewing the movie saw Morpheus (Greek god of dreams) as a type of divinity and Neo (meaning new) as a person (or type of Christ) who would expose the deception to others trapped in the Matrix. More parallels to the Bible followed as the storyline unfolded, one of which was the need to make a decision by choosing one of two pills (Deuteronomy 30:19). One pill takes you back to deception and slumber while the other leads you to truth and escape.
The word "matrix" is a noun and means environment or atmosphere, the conditions suitable for people, animals and plants to live and thrive. Matrix can also mean a culture where people gather to share a common set of beliefs and values, such as the church and the Great Commission (Matthew 28:16-20).
But, here's the thing about the institutional church: Today as never before, many churches have become undefinable entities that feed on the souls and bank accounts of unwary parishioners. The institutional matrix mimics all the right values of Christianity but (like the computer-driven Matrix in the film) controls and exploits people for its own disturbing purposes.
For the purpose of this article, the matrix is the institutional church giving its parishioners the opportunity to select one of two pills.
The blue pill
The blue pill is a powerful sedative. It can put you back to sleep to dream a life of your own choosing. But within this dream you are a prisoner locked away from truth. You cannot see or touch the matrix because deception is the veil and prison bars for your soul.
From the beginning of creation, deception has, is, and will continue play a role in changing the truth about God into a lie. The word "deception" simply means to make something appear as something else. Got Questions adds to the discussion by saying,
Key to understanding spiritual deception is the fact that God will not interfere with man's free will, and sometimes that means we'll choose what we want to believe rather than what we should believe, even in the face of the evidence (Luke 16:31). Even after Jesus had done all these miraculous signs in their presence, they still would not believe in him (John 12:37). (Source)The decision to take the blue pill is always based on free will and always motivated by what we want to believe. In the church today are countless forms of deception ranging from false doctrines and misinformation to major movements and cults that damage people. Among the many types of deception, the most notable and elusive, in my opinion, is the one promoted by seeker-friendly churches striving to make visitors feel comfortable.
One popular televangelist (seeker-friendly) leader delivers a blue pill message every week. I have listened to his messages, on occasion, and find them to be both uplifting and troubling. One example among his many blue pill messages follows:
God knows your value; He sees your potential. You may not understand everything you are going through right now. But hold your head up high, knowing that God is in control and he has a great plan and purpose for your life...God stands before you with His arms open wide. He always accepts you. He always confirms your value. You are His prized possession. (Source)This message really sounds good. In fact, people love these messages so much they purchase ministry products worth millions in sales each year. These blue pill messages say you can have a new life on your terms. You can be made new without going to the cross in faith. You can become the best person you can possibly be for the glory of God.
People want to believe the blue pill message because it makes the narrow path a little wider, a little more comfortable, and a good deal more acceptable. They receive the blue pill message because it tickles the ear and supports their point of view, and herein the trap (James 1:22).
Without fail, ministers of the matrix compose weekly messages about God's favor for everyone regardless of failures, problems and disappointments. Forgetting about the past, they focus on the future and how to live your life now. This particular minister says if you are not already one of God's highly favored people, all you need to do is repeat a simple prayer to accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Is it that simple?
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