205: Missionaries of the Digital Age

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Missionaries of the Digital Age

Christian missionaries famously spread the word of God as new frontiers and people were discovered. Little has changed since then, even though the frontiers are now virtual and the people are now players in these new worlds.

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I'm sorry, but what's with 7 religion-based news articles in a row?

yer us atheist are feeling left out not like most europes that way inclined

MonkeyWorldUK:
I'm sorry, but what's with 7 religion-based news articles in a row?

It's this weeks theme, I suppose.

Great article, Van! I enjoyed it.

The Escapist itself is practically a renigeous order. I worship NewClassic and Queen Susan of Pony.

Come to think of it, religeon is everywhere......why not video games.

What a fantastic article.
It's good to know that the guild made a positive impression. The wackos of the 'real world' can slip their way into the 'virtual world' to further be a great example of what being a Christian is NOT about.

I just started Guild Wars again, so I might have to look them up!

Thats one reason to ban my son from playing MMO's, he could end up joining a cult.

bjj hero:
Thats one reason to ban my son from playing MMO's, he could end up joining a cult.

lol well fair enf there alot crazy religious people and im mean not just Christians but i would have some faith in your son (if you pardon the pun) sure if you explain it to him it will be fine

Good article, and yeah it is quite weird having so many religious news articles.

Makes me more aware of the culture difference between America and Europe, European Christianity is old and conservative, it does not really move away from middle aged women drinking tea with the local vicar or priest in village halls tacked onto 11th century Norman churches. American Christianity is interesting, its more vibrant and, indeed fundamentalist, than conservative European Christianity. I, as a non-religious person, am made unconformable by American Evangelicals, which is why i suppose Channel 4 and the BBC send Britain's "intelligenia" to scrutinize these religious zealots on TV for the secular masses. There is an unusually high proportion of relgious people in America, something that Britain hasn't seen since the 16th century.

murphy7801:

bjj hero:
Thats one reason to ban my son from playing MMO's, he could end up joining a cult.

lol well fair enf there alot crazy religious people and im mean not just Christians but i would have some faith in your son (if you pardon the pun) sure if you explain it to him it will be fine

It was a throw away comment, I wouldn't ban him from playing a a game, as long as I'm sure he's mature enough for the content. I don't really think its fair to push reigion on children though. I wouldn't ask a child to sign up as a republican/democrat/socialist/communist/etc at the age of 12, these are things to be decided as an adult. Religion is an ideology too, its an adult concept, let children be children without worrying about sin and damnation. There's more than enough time to do that as an adult if you choose.

bjj hero:

murphy7801:

bjj hero:
Thats one reason to ban my son from playing MMO's, he could end up joining a cult.

lol well fair enf there alot crazy religious people and im mean not just Christians but i would have some faith in your son (if you pardon the pun) sure if you explain it to him it will be fine

It was a throw away comment, I wouldn't ban him from playing a a game, as long as I'm sure he's mature enough for the content. I don't really think its fair to push reigion on children though. I wouldn't ask a child to sign up as a republican/democrat/socialist/communist/etc at the age of 12, these are things to be decided as an adult. Religion is an ideology too, its an adult concept, let children be children without worrying about sin and damnation. There's more than enough time to do that as an adult if you choose.

ok thats cool sorry

Guild Wars isn't just for kids though. No doubt, there's a chance he could meet some strange people in the game, but I'm sure that as long as you monitor some of what he does, talk to him about it, ect, you'll have nothing to worry about.

These people don't sound like they're pushing Christianity on anyone. I'm a Christian (southern baptist) myself, and I hate it when people try to force Christ on others.Yelling a point over and over or beating someone over the head with your point will not improve your chances of getting someone to think about what you're saying. It's a choice and if you "force" someone to choose, they haven't really chosen.

This group sounds interesting, I haven't played Guild Wars in a long time, though I love to drop by every now and again. It's the only MMO I play, and while I'm not really into joining guilds, I might look these guys up just so I have someone to talk to occasionally, about God and about the game. I like what they're doing and I hope they continue to thrive as a community.

Oh, and also, Guild Wars isn't like your normal MMOs. If you're looking for one your son can play, this would probably be a good bet. The only fee you pay is to buy the game the first time, it's free forever after that. It's fun and interesting, there's a great community, and it's more story based then games like Everquest. When you're on the game map, you're only in contact with the people that are in your group, so if you're worried about your son meeting lots of wierd people, that only happens in towns. Even then, the community is such that strange people are rarely encountered. (Random dance/ invisable musical instrament sessions do break out from time to time :P.) I'm not a fan of MMO's, but I actually enjoy this game as it's really fun to play, and not taxing on your computer either. Hope that helps some :)

murphy7801:

bjj hero:

murphy7801:

bjj hero:
Thats one reason to ban my son from playing MMO's, he could end up joining a cult.

lol well fair enf there alot crazy religious people and im mean not just Christians but i would have some faith in your son (if you pardon the pun) sure if you explain it to him it will be fine

It was a throw away comment, I wouldn't ban him from playing a a game, as long as I'm sure he's mature enough for the content. I don't really think its fair to push reigion on children though. I wouldn't ask a child to sign up as a republican/democrat/socialist/communist/etc at the age of 12, these are things to be decided as an adult. Religion is an ideology too, its an adult concept, let children be children without worrying about sin and damnation. There's more than enough time to do that as an adult if you choose.

ok thats cool sorry

No need to say sorry, you can only go from what I posted.

Vohn_exel:
Guild Wars isn't just for kids though. No doubt, there's a chance he could meet some strange people in the game, but I'm sure that as long as you monitor some of what he does, talk to him about it, ect, you'll have nothing to worry about.

These people don't sound like they're pushing Christianity on anyone. I'm a Christian (southern baptist) myself, and I hate it when people try to force Christ on others.Yelling a point over and over or beating someone over the head with your point will not improve your chances of getting someone to think about what you're saying. It's a choice and if you "force" someone to choose, they haven't really chosen.

This group sounds interesting, I haven't played Guild Wars in a long time, though I love to drop by every now and again. It's the only MMO I play, and while I'm not really into joining guilds, I might look these guys up just so I have someone to talk to occasionally, about God and about the game. I like what they're doing and I hope they continue to thrive as a community.

Oh, and also, Guild Wars isn't like your normal MMOs. If you're looking for one your son can play, this would probably be a good bet. The only fee you pay is to buy the game the first time, it's free forever after that. It's fun and interesting, there's a great community, and it's more story based then games like Everquest. When you're on the game map, you're only in contact with the people that are in your group, so if you're worried about your son meeting lots of wierd people, that only happens in towns. Even then, the community is such that strange people are rarely encountered. (Random dance/ invisable musical instrament sessions do break out from time to time :P.) I'm not a fan of MMO's, but I actually enjoy this game as it's really fun to play, and not taxing on your computer either. Hope that helps some :)

Its better to lead by example. Be a role model. You want to show that something works? Then do it. My son is only 12 months old at the moment so I don't think he'll be playing the current batch of mmos.

Why I personally believe that there is and should be a separation between reality and virtuality in religion, it's interesting to see that there are a lot of religion-based guilds/organizations in MMOs. Hell, if you look hard enough, you'll find guilds for every organization. I've seen christian and jewish guilds and even a homosexuals guild or two in World of Warcraft. Do I disagree with them that they should be in the game? Not at all. If they're a group of like-minded individuals, what right does anyone have to say they can't do something?

LOL, sorry I saw you mention twelve years old and I assumed that was the age of your child. Yeah I guess it would be a bit too early to start him on any MMOs, but you should probably buy him an NES right away! :P

Seriously speaking, though, I agree. People say that actions speak louder then words, however I believe in both. Most of the people I know offline either know I'm a christian, or am not suprised on learning that I am one, and I never actually tell the I am, unless they ask. I try to lead my life in a way to show people that Christians aren't all fanatics and "Bible thumpers." I try to show that there are Christians out there that actually listen and understand the people around them, instead of just throwing verses towards everyone we meet in the street. I pray that your son grows up strong and kind, and gets famous on television so he can buy you a house someday :P (My mom and dad are still waiting on thier mansion, lol.)

yer fine if there fantasy religion and all bit fun it can add flavor to games thing is withh mmos some has fight some one i fear that it could be used to fight there own agendas in the future

I find this an interesting contrast between the earlier article on environmental/world-peace organizations who purposely disrupt online games to get there message across.

Nickolai77:
Good article, and yeah it is quite weird having so many religious news articles.

Makes me more aware of the culture difference between America and Europe, European Christianity is old and conservative, it does not really move away from middle aged women drinking tea with the local vicar or priest in village halls tacked onto 11th century Norman churches. American Christianity is interesting, its more vibrant and, indeed fundamentalist, than conservative European Christianity. I, as a non-religious person, am made unconformable by American Evangelicals, which is why i suppose Channel 4 and the BBC send Britain's "intelligenia" to scrutinize these religious zealots on TV for the secular masses. There is an unusually high proportion of relgious people in America, something that Britain hasn't seen since the 16th century.

There is a major difference in European Christianity and American Christianity - but it isn't a different brand or something. I, too, have a problem with evangelicals and fundamentalists - they completely miss the point. The point of Christianity - to me - is love of fellow man and the furtherance of life. Of course there's God and heaven/hell, but those aren't the driving points. It isn't a mythical, hooligan-filled, blind faith, it's a professed belief in beauty (that is power) and an overwhelming compassion for God, yourself, and man - all summing itself up into unending peace. Is there anything that's wrong with such a message?

1Jo 4:8 The person who refuses to love doesn't know the first thing about God, because God is love--so you can't know him if you don't love.
2Jo 1:5 But permit me a reminder, friends, and this is not a new commandment but simply a repetition of our original and basic charter: that we love each other.
2Jo 1:6 Love means following his commandments, and his unifying commandment is that you conduct your lives in love. This is the first thing you heard, and nothing has changed.

Jam 1:27 Real religion, the kind that passes muster before God the Father, is this: Reach out to the homeless and loveless in their plight, and guard against corruption from the godless world.

It wasn't the doctrine of the Bible that produced Christianity. It was the political ideologies of man that created "religion".

PS~ I'm not trying to preach at you with this scripture, I'm just using it to drive my point home.

MonkeyWorldUK:
I'm sorry, but what's with 7 religion-based news articles in a row?

It's this week's issue of the magazine. The subject is religion and games. :)

I don't see how have a bunch of religious-themed articles is any more weird than having a bunch of hip-hop/rap-themed articles. It's actually sort of interesting that the two themes happened consecutively, because both religion and hip-hop have never had the best relationships with games. Even though I'm a Christian, though, I'm disappointed that the only articles were either about religion in general, or Christianity. There was an article about a Pastor who played video games, why not one about a Rabbi who did the same? Or just one about a rabbi, and skip the pastor one (though it was a very good article)?

Anywho, I find it awesome that there's a group of moderate Christians on Guild Wars who aren't spamming their faith, though I probably wouldn't join it, because I more likely to join the Harry Potter-based groups/guilds/clans/whatever.

I should start by saying I'm a devout athiest who believes that trying to "convert" or "save" somebody makes the assumption that they are inherently wrong and need your help to be righted, which shows absolutely no respect for that person's own beliefs.

That said, I think guilds based around a religion are no different than other guilds based around similar interests. Guilds often have themes, ranging from music to politics to geographical locations. Why not use a common religion as your theme? If that's an important part of your person, it only makes sense to join up with other people of similar interests and beliefs.

...as long as that's what it is. Unfortunately, it's difficult to separate religion and activism, because many religions advocate activism. When that happens, the guild is no longer about shared interests; it's about actively trying to gain followers, which is fraught with the same problems that were discussed in the articles about online activism not too long ago.

When it comes to a game, it doesn't bother me if people want to group up based on common interests -- even religious beliefs -- but if they then turn to using the game to preach to me, they're now interfering with my game, and that's crossing the line.

There's a big difference between making a statement about yourself (a religious name or guild) and making statements towards others (preaching in public chat). The former is guaranteed free speech; the latter, taken far enough, is harassement.

CantFaketheFunk:

MonkeyWorldUK:
I'm sorry, but what's with 7 religion-based news articles in a row?

It's this week's issue of the magazine. The subject is religion and games. :)

Ahh, I do apologise. /Nontheist Rage Off.

Great article nonetheless.

this Kaddy lady sounds like the kind of person I wouldn't be against punching in the face if given the opportunity. Seriously "we're not fundamentalists or anything, we're just people who go around telling other people how the should live their lives, because they are wrong about everything and are going to burn in hell for not believing what we believe."

don't you love it when fundies contradict themselves?

xtreme_phoenix:
this Kaddy lady sounds like the kind of person I wouldn't be against punching in the face if given the opportunity. Seriously "we're not fundamentalists or anything, we're just people who go around telling other people how the should live their lives, because they are wrong about everything and are going to burn in hell for not believing what we believe."

don't you love it when fundies contradict themselves?

So tell me, does it actually cause you physical pain to be this ignorant?

In all seriousness, I made a point of pointing out that this group doesn't try to force their beliefs on anyone. They don't preach rhetoric and they don't spam verses. Hell, the only reason they even shared any of this with me is because I asked them to tell me about their views. Apparently I didn't do a good enough job of getting that point across or your just thick.

Vanguard1219:

xtreme_phoenix:
this Kaddy lady sounds like the kind of person I wouldn't be against punching in the face if given the opportunity. Seriously "we're not fundamentalists or anything, we're just people who go around telling other people how the should live their lives, because they are wrong about everything and are going to burn in hell for not believing what we believe."

don't you love it when fundies contradict themselves?

So tell me, does it actually cause you physical pain to be this ignorant?

In all seriousness, I made a point of pointing out that this group doesn't try to force their beliefs on anyone. They don't preach rhetoric and they don't spam verses. Hell, the only reason they even shared any of this with me is because I asked them to tell me about their views. Apparently I didn't do a good enough job of getting that point across or your just thick.

I'm not sure what my just thick has to do with anything

in all seriousness, and putting grammatical errors aside, they are fundies. only fundies speak in terms of absolute certainty like these people do. in the quotes you put down they say a lot of things that only fundamentalists would say, and kaddy in particular talked about genesis as though it was factual (a trait exclusive to the fundies.) They may be polite fundies, but the fact that they claim to know instead of believe makes them arrogant fundies, the exact kind of fundy that always tempts me to punch them in the face.

I don't talk about it much, but I have very strong religious convictions that influence every decision I make. In fact, I actively avoid talking about it because most people either a) think I'm mocking Christianity or b) think I'm flat out insane.

Personally, I no more believe the verse that states that Christianity is the only way to Heaven/Nirvana/Paradise then I believe that lichen is self-aware. However, I do believe that it is a way. Even more than I believe that, I believe that you don't need to profess a religion to get to HNP, you simply have to behave in a moral fashion.

Of course, "morals" are vagrant, ethereal things. A "moral" is any belief that is held with total conviction, such as "eating meat is wrong" or "killing another is wrong." A person cannot be "amoral" because "amoral" refers to something that "morals" should not have a bearing on (an example that would apply to most people is what breakfast cereal you are going to have). "Amoral" has, unfortunately, taken on the meaning of "immoral" (a shorthand for contradictory to morals). A situation can be amoral (not having to do with morals), but an act can be immoral (contradictory to morals).

Basically, what I'm trying (and kind of failing) to get at here is that everyone is different, and thus everyone should be allowed to define their own moral code. Religion is not everyone's bag, but it can be a very good place to start defining what you feel is right and wrong. This attempt to educate people who want to know more about Christianity is a good step in the right direction for our culture in my opinion.

Too many Christian-religion related articles, I mean... COME ON! there are enough jewish and muslim guilds in Guild Wars, I bet you encountered them but only when u saw a Christian one you decided to write an article about it?
every religion feels that it needs to spread it's believes amongst people, how biased can you go?

Great article.
Christian clans and guilds are a much larger part of the gaming community out there then i believe most people realize.
as most non believers will stumble on one and instantly think, "what a kook"
but in all honesty.
Spreading ones faith or just being able to play in a environment that one does not have to worry about being, cussed at, made fun of, or shot down. is a great thing.

To be able to play even games like CS.S or TF2 such as what the Christian CCGAMING clan does..
and to know it is going to be a family orientated environment. to know my Kids will not be harassed by older rude people. out to just be mean or put someone down
That in itself is a great blessing.

Again, Great Article!

for those who don't understand it, all i can say is you haven't perhaps stuck around any of these guilds, and clans
to be able to understand what it truly is all about.
and with that said unless you drop your walls you just may never be able to understand it. :(

Netwatcher:
Too many Christian-religion related articles, I mean... COME ON! there are enough jewish and muslim guilds in Guild Wars, I bet you encountered them but only when u saw a Christian one you decided to write an article about it?
every religion feels that it needs to spread it's believes amongst people, how biased can you go?

Actually this guild Mark Sixteen Fifteen was the only religious guild I came across in game of any denomination after a good three strait weeks of searching, and the only reason I found them was out of dumb luck.

It could just been a really bad case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time, but so far during the entire time I've been playing Guild Wars I've only run into members from three separate religious guilds, all three of which were Christian. I don't doubt for a minute that there are Muslim and Jewish guilds floating around somewhere, but for some reason I just haven't seen them yet. It a pity, really. It would have been interesting to talk to them too.

Despite my initial concerns about how the guild conducted themselves in their missionary work in the game (one major problem I had with the article that it took far too long to explain that, the quote of the guild's motto at the top of page two gives a misleading impression of the guild that is only corrected by the bottom of the page) I quite liked this article, although some more specific details of Christian action in an MMORPG would have been interesting, like how the concept of charity is executed etc. The guild comes across as reasonable, and not the questing equivalent of Jehovah's Witnesses. That is my general tolerance level of missionaries, as long as they are not aggressive, overly intrusive or intimidatingly judgemental then I have no problem with it no matter where they choose to spread the word. I've always felt that in religon, actions speak louder than words, so setting an exemplary example of the actions and attitudes your religion claims to promote can attract more interest than all the rhetoric a passionate speaker can muster.

Vanguard1219:

So tell me, does it actually cause you physical pain to be this ignorant?

It's evident from your article that you have a little more class than having to having to resort to this. Your article isn't perfect, and on a topic that can be inflammatory, especially on the internet. Can't you just clarify your views without getting worked up about it?

pigeon_of_doom:

Vanguard1219:

So tell me, does it actually cause you physical pain to be this ignorant?

It's evident from your article that you have a little more class than having to having to resort to this. Your article isn't perfect, and on a topic that can be inflammatory, especially on the internet. Can't you just clarify your views without getting worked up about it?

Thanks for saying I have class, but as you pointed out I didn't exactly respond "well". Of course he did say he wanted to punch my interviewee in the face for no adequately explained reason.

Some of this may have been loss in the subsequent style edit where the magazine editor replaced a phrase or two with a larger, somewhat more complicated word here and there so I'll go ahead and repeat it here. The members of Mark Sixteen Fifteen deliberately don't preach in-game. I can't put it any simpler than that. The only thing any of there members even mention in public chat that in any way is about Christianity is this:

Random Guild Recruiter:
"Mark Sixteen Fifteen, an openly Christian guild, is recruiting."

That's it. End of story. They don't press they're beliefs on anyone. Hell, they don't even share them with anyone unless a person actually expresses an interest. The only reason Kaddy Lynn was quoting Bible verses in our interview is because I was asking her questions about her faith and how it carried over in-game. They were very personal questions and as such she provided personal answers.

These players spoke with more passion about their faith than anyone or anything else I've ever seen in text form, but I'm nowhere close to labeling them as fundamentalists. Do you know what they really are? Gamers, pure and simple. They're just people playing a game and it just so happens that they joined a group full of other people with a similar mindset. At no time did they try to force any of my beliefs on me or claim I was "living in sin" or any of that other crud that the label "fundamentalist" implies.

On a final note, xtreme_phoenix, whether these people that I interviewed are "fundies" as you called them or not, your no better than whatever you think they are if you just ignorantly assume things like you did in your earlier post. That's all I have to say on the issue.

~Van

Vanguard1219:

Netwatcher:
Too many Christian-religion related articles, I mean... COME ON! there are enough jewish and muslim guilds in Guild Wars, I bet you encountered them but only when u saw a Christian one you decided to write an article about it?
every religion feels that it needs to spread it's believes amongst people, how biased can you go?

Actually this guild Mark Sixteen Fifteen was the only religious guild I came across in game of any denomination after a good three strait weeks of searching, and the only reason I found them was out of dumb luck.

It could just been a really bad case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time, but so far during the entire time I've been playing Guild Wars I've only run into members from three separate religious guilds, all three of which were Christian. I don't doubt for a minute that there are Muslim and Jewish guilds floating around somewhere, but for some reason I just haven't seen them yet. It a pity, really. It would have been interesting to talk to them too.

I'm not saying you would've encounter them, obviously you are from america, hence hanging around in the American server(The Christians religion is the main religion in most of America), I'm sure there are Jewish and Muslim guilds there too though :p .
I was a bit upset about all these religious articles in a row,
and am sorry if it seemed like I was angry at you.

xtreme_phoenix:
They may be polite fundies, but the fact that they claim to know instead of believe makes them arrogant fundies, the exact kind of fundy that always tempts me to punch them in the face.

The practice of holding out that your beliefs are true, i.e. knowing them to be true and not just thinking they are, is called existentialism, and fundamentalist Christians didn't invent it.

Netwatcher:

I was a bit upset about all these religious articles in a row,
and am sorry if it seemed like I was angry at you.

Don't you Escapist readers realize that the website publishes a weekly, topical internet magazine? :P

I ave two (technically one) word for that guild Perma-ban. Not because they are religious or are recruiting their fellow religion peoples into a guild. But because they feel it is their DUTY to convert people to their religion. People have been murdered IRL for this before, I honestly don't want to hear about some anti christian nut walking into their IRL guild meeting and gunning them all down, then we'll be upto our necks in people spouting that gamers hate religion.

To re-iterate. religious guild, fine. Recruiting for said guild, fine. Attempting conversion at the same time, not so fine. I know a *lot* of people, religious and non religious that get rather...upset to say the least when some from any belief system tries to convert them to something else.

They need to take a lesson from my best female friend in the world. She is an avid christian and for fun we sometimes have religious debates to try and shake the other person's views and to clears things up a bit. I admit i have learned much about the lighter side of christianity and she has also learned much about its horrific skeletons in the closet.

But my point is, since i'm getting off track a little. That unless i ask her about it...she doesn't even *mention* it. Thats why I adore her =) Unlike the people in this artcile -.- these folk just need to learn the meaning of hush. (wow I actually managed to write that without saying anything incredible antichristian, must be because some nice person handed in my lost wallet^_^...although they did pinch all the change out of it -.-)

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