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Turn the Other Cheek

Britton Peele | 8 Nov 2011 08:00
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The image meshes with a few other Christian symbols in the early Zelda games, such as the fact that Link's shield had a cross on it and that the Book of Magic was originally named "Bible" in Japan. Was this just Shigeru Miyamoto thinking, "Well, a Bible item works for Castlevania, so maybe it will work for us," or was Link supposed to be a Christian originally?

Or maybe Link goes to church every Sunday. Maybe he busts out his Zora mask and plays guitar for the worship band.

You could say this conflicts with Hyrule's current religion of the three goddesses, but does it? Many Christians today believe in the doctrine of the Trinity - the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost. It's the idea that God is three Beings but is also One. Maybe this "connection" is just Miyamoto's apparent obsession with threes. Maybe it's the mere fact that many creation myths - Christianity's included - have a ton of similarities when you really dig into them.

Or maybe Link goes to church every Sunday. Maybe he busts out his Zora mask and plays guitar for the worship band. Malon sings. Ingo serves coffee. Tingle and Navi are ushers.

To be fair, this sort of debate and commentary is common with any art form (there's an entire website devoted to listing the religious beliefs of various comic book heroes and villains), and such commentary isn't restricted to spirituality. But churches are one of the main places where you sometimes have to defend the media you consume. When people you respect accuse you of not "walking the walk," there's an urge to justify yourself and your actions.

Personally, I don't always bother to defend myself when confronted about my entertainment choices, and I don't bring it up. I'll play just about anything that catches my eye. I loved Grand Theft Auto IV. I enjoyed The Darkness. I skipped Duke Nukem Forever, but that wasn't for religious reasons.

Is my carefree attitude towards gaming hypocritical? I don't think so. I personally worship God by appreciating one of the greatest gifts he could have possibly given humanity: imagination. Well-crafted videogames have that in spades, and I have no issue separating fantasy from reality. I don't need my games to explicitly praise God in order to feel good about playing them. But that's me and my own personal convictions.

I don't think trying to find spirituality in secular media is a bad thing, within reason. When religion is done right in a story, it can be a pleasure for anybody - religious or not - to find and discuss. I was one of the people who loved the spirituality in Lost. I think viewing Halo as a religious allegory makes the plot deeper and more interesting. But if you can only let yourself play Silent Hill 2 once you've determined that its good spiritual message outweighs the strong horror content then maybe you need to reevaluate some priorities.

Britton Peele is a firm believer in God, Middle-Earth and Oceanic flight 815. He's a freelance writer and aspiring author from Texas who spends too much time on his Twitter and can be found at his website, www.brittonpeele.com.

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