ASSIST News Service (ANS) - PO Box 609, Lake Forest, CA 92609-0609 USA
Visit our web site at: -- E-mail:

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Gospel According to TRON
A biblical quiz for the digital age

By David Buckna
Special to ASSIST News Service

CANADA (ANS) -- The highly-anticipated sci-fi flick TRON: Legacy owned the weekend box-office during its debut December 16, 2010. TRON: Legacy is based on the groundbreaking live-action-computer-animated film TRON (1982) directed by Steven Lisberger.

Synopsis: Arcade owner Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges) is digitized by a laser into ENCOM's mainframe computer when the evil Master Control Program (MCP) senses his intrusion. Flynn is sent to the Game Grid where his only chance of escape is with the help of Tron (Bruce Boxleitner), a heroic security program.

"John 1 says He became flesh. God became flesh incarnate and walked among us... Flynn's a programmer. He's a User. And although in the story he's abducted, we have the classic idea of Creator incarnate. We have the classic idea: the Programmer became program and dwelt among us. That's what happens!"--Pastor James Harleman, Mars Hill Church, Lake City Campus

Test your knowledge of some of the biblical connections to TRON (1982) with this 25 question quiz. END OF LINE...


1. On the ENCOM mainframe, programs are characters that physically resemble their human creators (Users). According to Flynn, what is "the best program that's ever been written"?

2. When Ram (Dan Shor) asks, "Do you believe in the Users?", this program replies: "Yeah, sure! If I don’t have a User, then who wrote me?". Name the program.

3. Walter Gibbs (Bernard Hughes) tells ENCOM senior executive Ed Dillinger (David Warner): "You know, you can remove men like Allan and me from the system, but we helped create it, and our spirit remains in every program we design for this computer." What does Dillinger say in response?

4. As Flynn uses a fake access card to enter the ENCOM building, who does Alan Bradley (Bruce Boxleitner) compare Flynn to?

5. A sign in Alan's office cubicle pays homage to the 1951 sci-fi classic,  The Day the Earth Stood Still. What does the sign say?

6. What does Flynn tell Lora Baines (Cindy Morgan) just before he hacks into the ENCOM mainframe?

7. What access code number does he use?

8. What password series does he use?

9. How many captured programs line up with Flynn as command program Sark (David Warner) explains the training procedures of the games?

10. Sark informs Flynn and the programs: "You will each receive an identity disk. Everything you do or learn will be imprinted on this disk. If you lose your disk, or fail to follow commands, you will be subject to immediate deresolution." The disk has similarities to a 'mark' people receive on their right hand or forehead, described in what Bible book?

11. Recognizers are large hovering vehicles used by the MCP’s guards to capture programs. What other name does Ram have for Recognizers?

12. After discovering a pool of energy and beginning to drink, he says: "Boy, you forget how good the power feels till you get to a pure source!". Who said it?

13. Who displays his power by reconstructing a Recognizer from scrap?

14. What program's name means "reliable" in Japanese--Crom, Tron, or Yori?

15. He tells Tron: "All that is visible must grow beyond itself, and extend into the realm of the invisible. You may pass, my friend." Who said it?

16. Tron goes to the I/O (Input/Output) Tower to communicate with his User (Alan-One). Tron's communication resembles an event in the life of Jesus. What event?

17. When Yori (Cindy Morgan) begins to derez (die), Flynn holds her close while some of his energy flows into her. She tells Flynn: "You brought me back. How? Why did you bring me back?" In Luke 18, whose daughter does Jesus resurrect?

18. Which program tells Tron: "You should’ve joined me. We’d have made a great team."--Sark or the MCP?

19. After the MCP says "SARK, ALL MY FUNCTIONS ARE NOW YOURS. TAKE HIM!", how does Sark's appearance change?

20. The digital world comes alive after the MCP's defeat, I/O Towers light up all over the landscape, and programs rejoice that their world has become a free system. In what book does Jesus say: "So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed."--Matthew, Mark, or John?

21. After the MCP's defeat, the red beam changes to what color?

22. Yori tells Tron: "It was incredible! He threw himself into the beam and distracted the MCP long enough for you to get the disk in. He saved us! He really did it!" Who is Yori referring to?

23. In the fourth draft screenplay, every glowing I/O Tower is called a symbol of what?

24. The song "Only Solutions" by Journey includes the lyric: "Faces, numbers, I recognize/You don't fool me with cynical lies". Who does Jesus call "the father of lies"?

25. The TRON soundtrack includes "Miracle and Magician" and "Tower Music/Let Us Pray". Who's the composer?


1. Clu (Codified Likeness Utility). When Clu is inside the tank, a glass of "liquid" suddenly appears on a console, which he picks up and drinks.

After Clu is captured, he refuses to tell the MCP who his User is. As a consequence, Clu is thrown through the air and slammed into a wall where he is "crucified" with electrical impulses. He screams in pain as he is absorbed by the MCP. See: (


Greg Lindsay: When I watched it [TRON] for the first time as an adult, it struck me as an overwhelmingly Christian allegory. Flynn is a messiah figure, Clu is crucified at the beginning of the film, and the users—it’s a film about religious persecution.

Steven Lisberger: Yes, yes, yes. It’s all that too. My father was a German Jew. And my mother’s side of the family put him in a concentration camp. It's like the Civil War. Half my family put the other half in concentration camps. And then they had the power to get them out.

2. Crom (Peter Jurasik). Genesis 1:27: "So God created man in his own image…"

Pastor James Harleman (  says of Crom: "He's actually giving a super-simplified version of what we call the teleological argument for God's existence....we're coded down to our DNA. It's more reasonable to assume we are created by a Mind, by a personal universe, and not an impersonal universe."

Francis Crick and James Watson are the co-discoverers of the thread-like DNA molecule. Yet thousands of years ago the psalmist wrote: "For you
created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb....your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be." (Psalm 139:13;16). The phrase "you knit me together" anticipates that we are literally "knitted" or "woven" together at the molecular level.

3. Ed Dillinger: "Walter, it’s getting late. I’ve got better things to do than to have religious discussions with you."

4. Alan says to Lora: "This guy's a little like Santa Claus!" The story of Santa Claus was inspired by Nikolaos (Nicholas), the 4th-century Bishop of Myra (part of modern Turkey). He had a reputation for secret gift-giving, such as putting coins in the shoes of those who left them out for him.

Alan is named for Alan Curtis Kay, known for his pioneering work on computers. ( Kay is married to Bonnie MacBird, credited with writing the story of TRON with Steven Lisberger. MacBird was the original writer on the film. She observes: "When I began, Steven had the title TRON, the look of the character of Tron, and the idea that it would take place in a video game. All of the other characters and the skeleton of the storyline were mine, however developed with his comments and input." Her favourite character was Bit, a binary digit which can only answer "Yes" or "No".

5. "GORT. KLATUU BARADA NIKTO" From: ( "Philosophy professor Aeon J. Skoble speculates the famous phrase is a 'safe-word' that is part of a fail-safe feature used during the diplomatic missions such as the one Klaatu and Gort make to Earth. With the use of the safe-word, Gort's deadly force can be deactivated in the event the robot is mistakenly triggered into a defensive posture...."

"Of the elements that he added to Klaatu's character, screenwriter Edmund North said, 'It was my private little joke. I never discussed this angle with [producer] Blaustein or [director] Wise because I didn't want it expressed. I had originally hoped that the Christ comparison would be subliminal.' The fact that the question even came up in an interview is proof enough that such comparisons did not remain subliminal, but they are subtle enough that it is not immediately obvious to all viewers which
elements were intended to compare Klaatu to Christ. For example, when Klaatu escapes from the hospital, he steals the clothing of a 'Maj. Carpenter,' carpentry being the profession of Christ."

6. "Like the man says, 'There's no problems, only solutions.'" Flynn was recalling a lyric from John Lennon's "Watching the Wheels": "Ah, people asking questions lost in confusion/Well I tell them there's no problem, only solutions". The song was a 1981 single released posthumously after
Lennon's assassination the year before.

Bible Teaching About Problem Solving (

7. Access Code 6. In Bible numerics, six is the number for mankind.  ( Adam and Eve were created on the sixth day (Genesis 1:27). Exodus 20:9 reads: "Six days you shall labor and do all your work..."

Number Six is the central character in the 1960's British television series The Prisoner, starring Patrick McGoohan.

8. Flynn types: PASSWORD SERIES PS 17/REINDEER FLOTILLA. He wants to find a file that proves he is the true creator of Space Paranoids and four other video games.

PS 17 may also refer to Psalm 17: "May my vindication come from you; may your eyes see what is right." (Psalm 17:2).

9. 11 programs + Flynn = 12. The number 12 appears several times in the Bible. ( The New Jerusalem "had a great high wall with twelve gates, and with twelve angels at the gates. On the gates were written the names of the twelve tribes of Israel…The wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb." (Revelation 21:12, 14)

Sark: "Those of you who continue to profess a belief in the Users will receive the standard substandard training which will result in your eventual elimination. Those of you who renounce this superstitious and hysterical belief will be eligible to join the warrior elite of the MCP."

Reviewer Alex Miller: "I caught myself thinking about 'Spartacus' often, while re-watching this film [Tron]. A prisoner, forced to fight for survival, organizes his fellow inmates and starts a rebellion against massive odds. In fact, the original tagline for [Tron] was 'The Electronic Gladiator'. The light cycle scenes reminded me of another film about the same time period, 'Ben Hur'. The chariot battles were in a way very similar to the light cycle game found in 'Tron'."  (

Because early Christians wouldn't bow or pray to the Roman Emperor or the Roman gods and goddesses, they were accused of treason and thrown into the Colosseum with lions or other wild animals.

In 323 AD, Constantine--the first Christian emperor--issued an edict that abolished gladiatorial combat in Rome. However, there were provinces still holding gladiatorial games for a time following the edict.

10. Revelation. According to Revelation 13:15-17, two "beasts" will appear on the world stage. "He (beast of the earth) was given power to give breath to the image of the first beast, so that it could speak and cause all who refused to worship the image to be killed. He also forced everyone, small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on his right hand or on his forehead, so that no one could buy or sell unless he had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of his name."


Not only does the MCP want to control the entire ENCOM system, it wants to grow to control the entire world.

Hal Lindsey on microchips: (

11. Demons. Two Recognizers pursue Tron, Ram, and Flynn as they make their escape from the Lightcycle Game Grid.(

Flynn: This is it. Come on. Gold 3 to Gold 2 and 1. I'm getting out of here right now, and you guys are invited.
Ram: Got it.
Tron: Ready?
Ram: Ready!
Tron: So long, suckers.
Flynn: Greetings, programs!
Announcer: Video game warriors escaping Game Grid. This is an illegal
exit. You must return to Game Grid. Repeat! This is an illegal exit. You
must return to the Grid.
Ram: Gold 2 to Gold 3. Those demons are comin' down.
Sark: Get them! Send out every game tank in the Grid. Get them!

12. Tron, whose name means "servant of the strong" in Arabic. At 35:23, when Tron begins a four-against-one disk combat game, he stands at the center of a cross-like shape (+) with each of his four opponents at one of the four points.

From ("Flynn, Tron, and Ram find what Tron and Ram refer to as 'an uncorrupted power source.' Yet to the eye of the audience, it looks like a pool of water. Obviously within the religious imagery of the movie, the water implies baptism, but another sweetly subtle touch is that Ram actually takes out the disk that all programs have in order to drink out of it, then hands it to Flynn to aid him in drinking, thus adding to the imagery of baptism, the imagery of the shared cup of Communion."

It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life. (Revelation 21:6).

Then the angel showed me a pure river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. (Revelation 22:1) See also John 4:13.

[In season six of ABC's LOST, Jacob whispers a phrase in Latin over a cup of water from the stream. After Jack drinks from the cup, Jacob proclaims: "Now you're like me." Later, Jack fills an Oceanic Airlines bottle from the stream and gives it to Hurley. After Hurley drinks, Jack repeats what Jacob had said.]

13. Flynn

Colossians 1: 16-17 "...all things were created by him [Jesus] and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together."

In the TRON novel, Flynn's reconstruction of the Recognizer is compared with St. Elmo's fire:

"This looks promising. Kinda like the old arcade grips." He took hold of the crossbar. Again, energy ran from him, to outline the instrument as St. Elmo's fire had the masts of sailing ships." (p. 101)

St. Elmo's fire is an electrical phenomenon known to create a glowing plasma field around a grounded object, named after St. Erasmus of Formiae.

14. Yori, in charge of the creation of digital simulations, such as the Solar Sailer. In this photo, one program appears to be a using a computer mouse: (

The mouse was invented by Douglas Englebart, who demonstrated it in 1968 in San Francisco. In attendance was Alan Kay, who later adopted the mouse for use at PARC (Palo Alto Research Center). In 1980, Bonnie MacBird used an Xerox Alto computer (with mouse and WYSIWYG text editor) at PARC to edit her TRON script. Nothing like the Alto came out commercially until the Apple Macintosh in 1984.

Another mouse--Mickey Mouse--can be seen from 1:12:22 to 1:12:27.

15. Dumont, the Tower Guardian.

For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. (Romans 1:20)

He is the image of the invisible God, the first born over all creation.(Colossians 1:15)

Dumont is named for Allen B. DuMont, best known for improvements to the cathode ray tube in 1931 for use in television receivers.

16. Movie reviewer Peter Chattaway writes: "...Tron communicates with his user in a way that resembles the opening of the heavens at the baptism of Christ." (

When all the people were being baptized, Jesus was baptized too. And as he was praying, heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: "You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased." (Luke 3: 21-22)

Tron: Confirmed Alan-One.
Tron: This is the key to a new order. This code disk means freedom!

From the TRON novel: "He reached up for it [his disk] as it descended slowly; he took it reverently, jubilantly, snatching it to him, hardly able to believe his eyes. It was transplendant with a new light;
delineated on its surface was the globe projected by Alan-One. He knew he held in his hands the key to a new order, and to an end to the MCP--if he could live long enough to use it." (p. 127)

17. the daughter of Jarius (Luke 8:51-56). Earlier, a woman had touched the edge of Jesus' cloak, and her bleeding immediately stopped. "Who touched me?" Jesus asked. "Someone touched me; I know that power has gone out from me." (see Luke 8:43-48)

18. Sark. From ( "...the unique militaristic helmet that Sark wears even has subtle points on the front of it that can begin to be seen as devil's horns..."

Then I saw a second beast, coming out of the earth. It had two horns like a lamb, but it spoke like a dragon. It exercised all the authority of the first beast on its behalf, and made the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast, whose fatal wound had been healed. (Revelation 13: 11-13)

Again, the devil took him [Jesus] to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. "All this I will give you," he said, "if you will bow down and worship me." Jesus said to him, "Away from me, Satan! For it is written: 'Worship the Lord your God, and
serve him only'." (Matthew 4:8-10)

From U2’s Vertigo: "All of this, all of this can be yours/Just give me what I want and no one gets hurt"

19. Sark grows to gigantic size, evoking the image of David battling Goliath, the Philistine giant (1 Samuel, chapter 17). Tron's disk slices the top of Sark's head, and David's stone strikes Goliath's forehead.

20. John 8:36. Near the end of the film, 12 old Guardian programs (including Dumont) are locked against a wall to face the MCP. Tron leads the programs to freedom just prior to the MCP exploding.

21. blue. In TRON: Betrayal (an original graphic novel prequel to TRON: Legacy), Dumont, the keeper of records, writes: "The MCP had not prepared for Flynn. It had not prepared for the creator and his glory. Flynn cast himself into the MCP. Flynn created a hole in the MCP's defenses, and Tron struck. The information on Tron's disc destroyed the MCP, and the system was forever changed. The oppressive red of the MCP gave way to the new blue beam of Flynn."

Proverbs 20:30 KJV: "…the blueness of a wound cleanseth away evil..."

22. Flynn, who shares the savior role with Tron.

Steven Lisberger: "My favorite sequence is when Flynn decides to sacrifice himself for the good of the programs by jumping into the MCP. He came into that world and could have been the ultimate killer, but he never killed anybody."  (

Peter Chattaway writes: "In addition to his miracles, Flynn sacrifices himself in a way that evokes both the descent of Christ into hell as well as his ascension..." (

In the day between his Friday death and Sunday resurrection, Jesus "went and preached to the spirits in prison" (1 Peter 3:18-20).

"After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight. They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. 'Men of Galilee,' they said, 'why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.' " (Acts 1: 9-11)

23. "LONG SHOT FROM OVERHEAD of the landscape, glowing again with new life, every I/O Tower a shining beacon, a symbol of the new found freedom of communication."

Jesus says in Matthew 5:14: "A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden". In "Yahweh," Bono sings: "Take this city, a city should be shining on a hill/Take this city, if it be your will."

24. the devil (John 8:44)

25. Pioneer electronic musician Wendy Carlos. The music features a mix of an analog Moog synthesizer and Crumar's GDS digital synthesizer, along with non-electronic pieces by the Los Angeles Orchestra and the London Philharmonic. Two additional tracks are provided by the band Journey.

For further reference



TRON (1982)

TRON (1982) A Hollywood Jesus Movie Review

TRON: The 80s Movies Rewind

TRON (1982) 

SF Gospel

TRON (1982) The Internet Movie Database

TRON: Fourth Draft Screenplay by Charlie Haas

TRON (20th Anniversary Collector's Edition, 2-DVD set, 2002)
includes documentary and deleted scenes

TRON (1982) movie trailer no. 1

The Making of TRON (1982) (1 of 9)

TRON (1982) [modern trailer]

Talking TronsMedia with Steven Lisberger

TRON (1982) [Pop Apostle]

TRON Trivia and Movie Quotes

Steven Lisberger: "The Motion Picture Academy refused to nominate TRON for special effects because they said we cheated when we used computers, which, in the light of what happened, is just mind boggling!"

Ironically, a large portion of TRON's special effects were hand-drawn; even computer-generated objects and environments had to have their geometry entered by hand for every frame, since no practical method of automating the process existed at the time. Seven years later, James Cameron's The Abyss (1989) won the Oscar for its computer-generated effects.

TRON (1982): with Pastor James Harleman

Sequel De-Resolution: Why TRON: Legacy Isn't As Good As TRON
By Josh Tyler

TRON Rediscovered: Ride Back To 1982 On Cycles Made Of Light
By Josh and Katey


TRON by Brian Daley; based on a screenplay by Steven Lisberger, Ballantine Books (1982)

TRON: Original Movie Adaptation No. 1 (January 2011) and No. 2 (February 2011). Marvel Limited Series. Marvel Worldwide, Inc.

TRON: Movie Adaptation [Paperback]. Adapted by Peter David and illustrated by Mirco Pierfederici. Marvel Worldwide, Inc. (May 18, 2011)


TRON (1982)

TRON (1982) slideshow

TRON (1982) captions


Freelancer David Buckna produces -- THE POP GOSPEL -- a column that communicates Judeo-Christian truth to the postmodern culture using a Q & A format. Questions are gleaned from movies, television, music, literature, current events and other aspects of pop culture. Buckna's previous quizzes for ANS can be found at the ANS Search Archive page, searching for Buckna. Copyright 2011 by David Buckna. THE POP GOSPEL. All rights reserved. Used by permission. Buckna reads email at

** You may republish this story with proper attribution.
Send this story to a friend.