Parting the Digital Sea

Parting the Digital Sea
Missionaries of the Digital Age

Max Phillips | 9 Jun 2009 12:32
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One guild member known as Toph recalls a chance occurrence that, as he believes, led to someone being saved. "She was a Wiccan, and I was just advertising for our guild. I happened to be in the International District. I didn't realize it and I probably would have switched to American if I was recruiting properly, but it was the Lord," Toph proclaimed, "He brought the two of us together. Long story short, people had told her all her life that she had to read the Bible to understand. She said, very literally, 'If you would just ask me, I would'. So I did, and about a week later, I was on Skype with her and her husband and she told me she had decided to put her faith in Christ for salvation. A lot of other things went into her decision, but I was used as an instrument for the Lord to just be a testimony." Toph adds, "His ways are not our ways; His thoughts are not our thoughts. He knows the beginning and the end, so bringing two people together for a 'coincidental' chat was never [a matter of] chance."

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I'm not quite sure what I was expecting to find when I began my search for answers. Maybe I was just expecting the word "Christian" to be tacked on to the guild's name, just as the word "veteran" or "pro" is these days. Instead, what I found was perhaps the exact opposite. I discovered people who are firm believers in Christianity, who carry their beliefs and the lessons they learn with them wherever they go. Even in the game world, an environment that provides both the anonymity and a massive audience that enables some people to act in an amoral and obnoxious way, the members of Mark Sixteen Fifteen stick to their convictions and their beliefs. They avoid temptations, they're mindful of their actions and they're always willing to share their beliefs to help others. I found people whose faith was completely without boundaries.

Granted, the odds that the Mark Sixteen Fifteen guild is representative of every faith-based organization in a game are fairly slim, but they're a great example nevertheless. Their example shows that faith can exist inside of a game in the exact same way it does in the real world. In that respect, I guess you could consider it another instance of the game becoming more "meta", thanks to its players. Either way, it is nice for a change to see religion existing in a game as more than just an excuse for why an eight-foot tall angry blue alien is trying to shoot you with lasers. The experience has had an effect on me, and while I'm not running off to the next mass at the local church just yet, I am helping the occasional random player a lot more than I used to.

Max Phillips is a freelance photographer and writer along with being a notable member of The Escapist community. He isn't necessarily religious, but according to his grandfather he's apparently an Episcopalian, even if he doesn't know it.

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