Here’s a piece from the Christian Science Monitor on the role of religion in the Matrix.
Mr. Frankfurter and other religious experts say “The Matrix” does not represent orthodox Christianity nearly as much as Gnostic Christianity.
Gnosticism never developed a well-defined theology, but it depicts Jesus as a hero figure who saves mankind through “gnosis,” or esoteric knowledge. In the Gnostic philosophy, the physical world is not part of God’s creation, but a manifestation of a lower god – a nightmarish reality that imprisons mankind, say religious experts. Gnostics believed they could achieve salvation, not by overcoming evil and sin with God’s grace, but by learning the “higher knowledge” about reality.
Gnostic threads are present in many religious traditions, including Sufism and Buddhism. As woven by “The Matrix,” these threads tie together current concerns with an ancient knot.
“All of this stuff has been bouncing around in the human brain for centuries. When it comes into this hip new iteration in the cyberworld, it all sounds familiar,” says Robert Thompson, professor of television and popular culture at Syracuse University in New York.