Palm Sunday starts Holy Week. In part one, we visited the Garden of Eden as seen in analogies with the movie Avatar. Like Adam and Eve's fall from grace, darkness covered the world in Star Wars. Instead of a fallen angel, Lucifer, we see a fallen man, Anakin Skywalker. Like Lucifer, once the angel of light, Anakin becomes consumed with pride and declares that he is greater than all. No longer the star of light, Lucifer is kicked out of heaven and associated with darkness and evil as Satan. Likewise, in Star Wars, we see a brilliant Jedi, Anakin Skywalker, consumed with arrogance, turning from the light of the force and joining the dark side as Darth Vader.
If Vader is not Satan per se, he is definitely the agent of darkness for the emperor. However, the force is not left without a savior. For religious symbolism, it is important that the savior takes on human qualities of man -- "the word was made flesh and dwelt among us" in the person Jesus. God becomes savior when he humbles himself as man -- Jesus, walks among his creation, living among them to redeem what once rejected him as creator and lord in the Garden of Eden via Adam and Eve.
In Star Wars, the savior comes from the offspring of Anakin, now Darth Vader. Princess Leia and Luke Skywalker are the means by which the force and the world are to be redeemed. Like Jesus, young Luke Skywalker spends much of his life in a normal working class environment, on the outskirts of the galaxy. Although Christ was always aware of who he was (God the son in flesh), Luke's true lineage is hidden from him by his aunt and uncle to protect him. Like Christ, an event happens that catapults him from obscurity to savior. For Christ, it is his first miracle turning water to wine. For young Skywalker, the death of his aunt and uncle start his journey to savior/Jedi.
Just as Jesus was tempted by the devil in the wilderness, so too Luke is tempted by Vader to join the dark side revealing that he is Luke's father. That declaration incites anger in Luke making him realize his own potential for darkness. Good and evil dwells in all men. Circumstances and convictions are the only barriers that separate us from depravity.
Instead of Luke's crucifixion, in the end it is Vader that dies. But before his death, like the robber crucified next to Christ, Vader seeks redemption from his son and encourages him to overcome the emperor and the dark side.
For a futuristic version of the dark side with martial arts that rivaled Bruce Lee's style, we turn to The Matrix. Follow the white rabbit may as well said follow the innocent lamb that takes away the sins of the world. The religious symbolism is rather blatant. In the Russian novel, The Master and Margarita, Mikhail Bulgakov coined the phrase that the greatest trick of the devil is making the world believe that he does not exist.
The greatest trick of the Architect in The Matrix is that the world does not know that he and agents exist. Just as the Bible issues an ultimatum -- "chose this day whom you will serve," so does Morpheus to Neo. The Matrix exists, but you must chose to believe or not believe -- red pill or blue pill. One lets you continue to live in the Matrix without knowledge of its existence. The other pill takes you into the darkness of the beast. Ah, there's the rub. Enlightenment does not mean serenity. As Jesus told his followers, following him did not mean no suffering, happy ever after, wealth or prosperity. "In this world, you will have troubles, but be of good cheer for I have overcome the world." Likewise, Morpheus instructs Neo that taking the red pill only begins the journey, but be of good courage for Neo is the savior of Zion.
Neo is reluctant to put on a savior cape, but curiosity induces him to stay in Wonderland to explore how deep the rabbit hole goes. There is the Oracle -- a sort of John the Baptist foreshadowing the savior, Neo. The agents represent the rulers of darkness assailing Zion.
As Judas betrayed Jesus, Neo is betrayed by Cypher. Instead of 30 pieces of silver, a succulent steak dinner suffices. As Cypher betrays Neo, Morpheus' ship, the Nebuchadnezzar, is under attack. The symbolism behind the ship's name is too much for this post. Neo is killed by Agent Smith and resurrected by Trinity (the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) who speaks life to his soul about who he is. This is the ultimate symbolism of the crucifixion and resurrection. There is a new day in Zion as Neo, like Christ, descends into hell (the Matrix) and defeats Agent Smith, setting the besieged Nebuchadnezzar and Zion free. Yet freedom does not mean a happy ending, "in this world you will have troubles, but be of good cheer for I have overcome the world." Just as Jesus was alive on earth after his resurrection, a resurrected Neo remains for the battle of Armageddon where he finally overcomes the Matrix and the Architect, establishing a new earth where all are unplugged and enlightened in a new Zion.
In part three, we follow Frodo and Harry Potter's battle against evil.
This originally appeared in Ronda's blog, Ronda-isms: Good Bad & Ugly.
The Morning Email helps you start your workday with everything you need to know: breaking news, entertainment and a dash of fun. Learn more