A Pepper Grinder Post

Why Didn't I Take the Blue Pill?

Remember that scene in The Matrix?  What?  You didn’t see The Matrix?  OK.  Let me give a little bit of background first.  In the movie, a young hacker named Neo is obsessed with learning something.  He isn’t even sure what that something is, but he thinks it has something to do with vague rumors he has heard about something called “the matrix.”  With the help of good guy and girl, Morpheus and Trinity (along with some others), Neo is given the chance to find out the truth about humanity.  At a scene which proves to be a turning point for Neo, Morpheus gives him a choice in the form of two pills. He can take the blue pill, and he will wake up in his bed and go on living his life, believing whatever he wants to believe; or he can take the red pill and discover the truth.

red pill-blue pill choiceNeo chooses the red pill and discovers that, up until now, like all people except a small group of rebels, he has lived his entire life lying in a small pod, generating power for the computers that control the earth.  The computers keep the people happy by generating an entire virtual world which the people “live” in: the matrix.  They think they are doing things, but in reality, everything happens only in the computer program and their minds.  After Neo chooses the red pill, Morpheus and his crew free Neo’s body from its pod prison, and he joins them in their fight against the computers.  Not that Neo’s life is all fun and games.  Neo, Morpheus, and crew cruise around in the old sewer system of some former city in something similar to a submarine.  They live on food that looks nauseating and doesn’t have much flavor.  They are periodically pursued by machines sent by the computers to kill them.  The odds against which they are fighting seem impossible.

Somewhere in the midst of Neo’s new life, one of Morpheus’ crew named Cypher says to Neo, “I know what you’re thinking, ‘cause right now I’m thinking the same thing.  Actually, I’ve been thinking it ever since I got here: Why, oh why, didn’t I take the BLUE pill?”  Interestingly, I just read a comment by someone who sees the blue pill as representing religion and the red pill standing for free thinking.  treeTo me, on the other hand, taking the red pill seems like an incredibly good analogy for accepting the truth of the Bible (though I imagine the Wachowski brothers, who wrote and directed the movie, would be more in line with the interpretation I read).  People believe that they are free and doing what they want and choose to do.  In reality, they are enslaved to their own thoughts and desires.  The only way they can escape from this slavery is to turn to Christ, which necessitates admitting they are enslaved.  Similarly, like Neo and his pals, when we truly live for Christ, life will not be easy.  We’ll be attacked and misunderstood by those who do not know the truth, and sometimes by those who do.

At difficult times of my life, I have been tempted to wish I had “taken the blue pill.”  It’s encouraging to me to realize that one of the Psalm writers had similar thoughts.  Here is what Asaph writes in Psalm 73:1-20 (New English Translation):

Certainly God is good to Israel, and to those whose motives are pure!  But as for me, my feet almost slipped; my feet almost slid out from under me.  For I envied those who are proud, as I observed the prosperity of the wicked.  For they suffer no pain; their bodies are strong and well-fed.  They are immune to the trouble common to men; they do not suffer as other men do.  Arrogance is their necklace, and violence their clothing.  Their prosperity causes them to do wrong; their thoughts are sinful.  They mock and say evil things; they proudly threaten violence.  They speak as if they rule in heaven, and lay claim to the earth.  Therefore they have more than enough food to eat, and even suck up the water of the sea.  They say, "How does God know what we do? Is the sovereign one aware of what goes on?"  Take a good look! This is what the wicked are like, those who always have it so easy and get richer and richer.  I concluded, "Surely in vain I have kept my motives pure and maintained a pure lifestyle.  I suffer all day long, and am punished every morning."  If I had publicized these thoughts, I would have betrayed your loyal followers.  When I tried to make sense of this, it was troubling to me.  Then I entered the precincts of God's temple, and understood the destiny of the wicked.  Surely you put them in slippery places; you bring them down to ruin.  How desolate they become in a mere moment! Terrifying judgments make their demise complete!  They are like a dream after one wakes up. O Lord, when you awake you will despise them.

“They are like a dream,” the psalmist says.  I guess I am glad I took the red pill.


*Red pill-blue pill photo from ospreydream.blogspot.com