Turn the Other Cheek

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Based on history, being a "good christian" means killing other people for not believing what you believe, I prefer to think of it as just being a good person, tomato toma-to but its what I think

maninahat:

You want a great Christian game? Make one with Samson or one of the other Judges. It'd be Serious Sam with swords and sandals.

If I recall correctly, is there not a verse in the bible somewhere (Judges 15:16, with a quick search) which describes Samson killing 1000 men with nothing more than the jawbone of a donkey.

You got to agree, that would make for some serious gameplay....:D

Or if you muddle the words a little bit, it turns out it was actually the assbone of a Jawa he used.

Macgyvercas:
Wait, wait...Gary Gygax was a Christian? I did not know this.

Hello more ammo to defend D&D from the asshole fundimentalists I have to keep running into.

Really, it makes a big difference the religious affiliation of the author or creator of something rather than the message of what they created. I saw this idea mentioned a couple of times in the article.

Would that mean that a games that had a good Christian message would be ruled not Christian friendly if created by someone known to be an atheist?

As a not very religious person I found the article very interesting, but the concept I mention above seemed somewhat odd.

I have to say, I'm proud of the Escapist with this article as well as the comments. I was expecting some type of flame war to be burning by now. So far it's all discussion related. Good article :) it's different.

The Bible itself pretty damn brutal anyway, so I don't even see why religious people have a problem with violent games in the first place.

you just need to separate reality from fiction it's as simple as that.

Christianity of the Bible is about your personal relationship and walk with God. It isn't about judging other people, believers and non-believers alike, and telling them what to do with their lives. It is a shame that there are so many "Christians" who don't understand this.

As a Christian: as long as the games I play don't interfere with my relationship and walk with God, I'm good. And only I can be the judge of how that's going. So far, it's going well.

I know the religious folks have heard this before, but do you really need to justify what you do? Is it an image thing so the other religious folk don't shun you? As long as you don't feel like you're doing something wrong (playing a video which involves evil acts =/= evil acts) then what is the problem?

Not judging or condemning religion, just curious what thoughts people have in these situations.

AbstractStream:
was expecting some type of flame war to be burning by now. So far it's all discussion related.

Since this is my first Escapist piece, I'm very thankful for that. Even the readers who disagree with me have been very civil, which is awesome. It's things like this that make The Escapist a great place. Big thanks to everybody who has read and commented.

Am I the only one who saw the connections between Zelda and the Celts, namely the Gaels?

As a Christian myself I have a major chain-ax to grind with my fellows on this.

I never understood why you try to apply the Bible, as we know it, to a fictional universe. Most everything in games cannot be replicated in reality so trying to apply the Bible in anything but on the broadest level is pointless.

For example: "Suffer not a witch to live." Great advice since no one can throw a fireball in real life. Since in reality (assuming you're a Christian/Jew) a "witch" is a scam artist it works.* However, the second someone throws a fireball you have to wonder why an all knowing God would put that in their holy text.

*This is how the Old Testement saw the issue. If you are pagan you would be perfectly justified in saying the same about Christians.

As a European, possibly somewhat lukewarm Christian, it often strikes me how much American Christians often focus on specific symbolism and literal interpretations of their beliefs. That seems very foreign compared to my personal religious beliefs.

I never really felt much need to put art and culture into a Christian frame of reference in general. Doing evil deeds in GTA is quite different from doing the same in reality, that really is all the justification I need.

In practice I more often feel uncomfortable when the arts use religious themes. Then I often get the feeling that the religious theme is abused as an artificial backdrop rather than delving into the real subject matter.
When a game or movie use demons or angels, they simply do it because those are cool mythological beasts, rather than trying to strike a religious theme. That sometimes feels like a cheap approach to me.

Maybe my take on this is influenced by a culture where religion is seen as something personal. In other areas of the world religion is often a much more public affair.

As far as Christian games go, you can always play the You Testament.
image
(yes, that guy is on top of stonehenge)
*slaps self* NO! BAD!
Well, thanks to some custom texturing and a random character generating option, Satan appeared to me in that game as Ted Nugent in a brown robe. What funnier is when you punch him and some guy runs up and says "Hey! Satan is a good friend of mine! If you pick a fight with him then you pick a fight with ME!"
OT: There's nothing in the Bible that says I, as a Christian, can not sit down for an evening of violent video games, so I don't see why some people see them as a sin.

I thought this was going to be a guide to playing Grand Theft Auto the christian way, turning the other cheek the whole time.....

wonder if thats possible....

ph0b0s123:

Macgyvercas:
Wait, wait...Gary Gygax was a Christian? I did not know this.

Hello more ammo to defend D&D from the asshole fundimentalists I have to keep running into.

Really, it makes a big difference the religious affiliation of the author or creator of something rather than the message of what they created. I saw this idea mentioned a couple of times in the article.

Would that mean that a games that had a good Christian message would be ruled not Christian friendly if created by someone known to be an atheist?

As a not very religious person I found the article very interesting, but the concept I mention above seemed somewhat odd.

Admittedly you are right, the message should be more important than the messenger, but most of the fundies I know take who created something into account very heavily.

Temptation is to be expected, that is part of our lot in life on Earth. Games present a temptation, but also a way to flesh out that temptation in a way that does not harm our fellow man. In the end, everything we must strive for to better ourselves in whatever faith we are in, Christian, Muslim, Jew, Buddhist, it comes down to how we treat ourselves and our fellow man. It is as simple as that. If we respect ourselves and those around us, then we reward ourselves all the more in our spirit and mind. It's the gyst of the golden rule.
Anyway, we are expected to deal with temptation, but not to fall to it. I feel playing games is an avenue where we can work out temptation without it manifesting in our regular life at work, home, and with family and friends. I find that all the better. Of course it doesn't have to be only through games, but hobbies and art, as well.
At the end of the day, ask yourself, 'Have I done something that would harm another person?' If the answer is, 'Yes, but it was only by leaving Roman behind at the bar,' then you have nothing to worry about except maybe losing your taxi privileges in the game.
If the answer deals with someone in real life, it may be time to give them a call.

As with pretty much all forms of media; interpretation is very much in the hands of the individual. As you've demonstrated, symbolism can be found whether it was intentional or not and specific quotes can be manipulated into serving either side of these things. Often in these cases it can be a person of authority in the church bringing their own prejudices to the table and trying to use their faith to justify it or to guilt a person into believing that something is genuinely considered unholy. This conflict can end with the individual feeling disheartened and angry towards their church, not their faith, and separated from their own.

I've been meaning to thank Christianity for producing a lot of amazing musicians and songwriters out there. It's not uncommon, rather tragically, for them to be denounced by their brothers and sisters as well as not being accepted by their peers. There are a lot of good people and creations that wouldn't exist without religion so, for that, I'm grateful.

Ultimately, a person's beliefs can't be taken from them unless they defeat themselves, we all find our own meaning in life.
That's all that matters.

Very interesting read. I'm still processing some of it, but I, as somebody who would probably be best described as a theist with generally atheistic attitudes, just wanted to commend the writer.

There's plenty of stuff in the bible that could be made into great video games, mostly from the old Testament.

There's a lot of war commanded by God in there, why not make a Grand Strategy Game like Rome: Total War? You could even make neat mini-games out of things like smashing babies against rocks like in Psalm 137:9

If you're looking hard enough, you can find deeper meaning in anything at all. It's possible that the people who see religious messages in games have some psychological need to see religious value in things that they personally enjoy. Thus the overreaching for themes.

It's also possible that the christ myth is so prevalent in western societies that the narrative simply enters into our art as a matter of cultural relevance rather than religious message.

I've got to say, as a Christian, I am glad that someone has been able to say exactly what I think - gaming doesn't reflect inner beliefs and ideals, so justifying it is pretty much unnecesary.

However, I do try to make my characters actions reflect my own. I usually pick a lawful-good paladin, and try to spread justice and peace where ever I go, making games like Fable a little boring, as punching people in the face at random spices it up a bit.

Also, Veggietales is awesome!

Denamic:
The Bible itself pretty damn brutal anyway, so I don't even see why religious people have a problem with violent games in the first place.

Agreed. Several times (the precise ones don't come to mind right now), God supports somewhat questionable people and sides in wars that are very selfish. Not sure why myself, but I guess that's why I am not the ultimate ruler of all creation... Yet...

It's really very simple - games aren't real. The bible, along with the teachings of most religions, has plenty to say about what you do in real life, and even a fair bit to say about how you should think about other people, their possessions, God, and so on. But as far as I'm aware, it says absolutely fuck all about how you should treat pixels (as long as you're not coveting your neighbours' ones I suppose).

Importantly, games, just like other media, are not simply playing out a fantasy. Take Risk, for example. I have no fantasies about marching across the world through seas of blood and mountains of skulls. Playing risk is really just about the rules. It's ultimately little more than more complex game of chess, or even draughts. The overlay of actual war in the actual world is just window dressing. Exactly the same is true for many video games - it's about following a self-contained set of rules to achieve predetermined goals. What is portrayed as running down a prostitute, taking her wallet, then stealing the ambulance when it comes to rescue her* is actually just part of that ruleset, and is no different in terms of the rules and morals of the real world than taking a chess piece. The Bible just doesn't say anything about it, and there's no reason for religious people to object.

*Note to self - reinstall GTA.

Giest4life:
I don't think the Escapist should be sponsoring articles that look at the religious aspect of gaming. Speaking only for myself, articles such as this one discuss a completely non-related gaming issue.

Its game related, but on the FAR side of the game relation scale.

It was definetly a good read, tell yourself whatever to continue what you love.

Nickolai77:

On topic, the trouble is that many Christians are also conservative, and conservatives in general are critical of new developments, such as the rise of video games in popular entertainment. The problem for Christians is that this attitude will only hasten the decline of Christianity in the West because it put's young people, most of who play video games, off the religion.

You know, you do bring up an interesting point in that I often wonder nowadays whether so many who speak out against Christianity today are really just speaking out against social conservatism, which many use Christianity to justify, yet does not have to depend on Christianity for justification.

But that's a topic perhaps for another thread.

I do want to also suggest again, however, as a conservative, a Christian, and a gamer, that we gamers please try not to develop a "gamer's political stance" and then ostracize those who disagree with that general stance. Gaming is a very fun hobby, and it should not be an exclusive hobby to only certain people, so long as they are respectful. We can respectfully discuss other issues, and agree to disagree, but let's not "take the controller away" from gamers we disagree with politically or religiously and kick them out of the arcade. That doesn't make us look good and denies a lot of fun to a lot of people. If you want skeptical people to actually try playing video games and start to "get it", as so many people put it, you have to actually be willing to let them play and ACT LIKE IT. Give them a controller, in a friendly manner, and don't harass them while they play. Heck, play with them and show them how much fun multiplayer can be too. Maybe then more understanding can happen on both sides. Gaming and Christianity, as well as conservative politics, should NEVER be mutually exclusive, and shouldn't be exclusive of each other at all, and it's lack of understanding on both sides that creates conflicts like this.

Oh, and good article, BTW.

im from a very christian conservative place (being one also) and not once have i had problems with video games, because my parents knew that i knew from right and wrong. i think the over protective ones just get the spotlight though.

One of the best features I've read on here this year. Coming from a household where my father in particular was strict about the kind of media exclusion you talk about in here, it's very nice to see a fully written perspective on the matter.

I don't get this whole dilemma of religious chastity.
What has christiany or religion in general got to do with GTA?
What I think and what I do in my spare time is my buisness, as long as I'm not hurting anyone in my leisure time everything is fine. Someone can be a good person, help others, treat everyone with the utmost respect even the very douchebags out there but still have some aggressive and violentely perverted ideas and thoughts in his head.
He is still a good person and should go to heaven if that place really exists. Because he is in control of his emotions and quite a decent guy.

If someone tells us what to think then the problems start. Noone, not religion, nor state nor TV or anything should tell us what to think because our thoughts are what makes us humans. So if I enjoy some virtual and imaginative slaughtering of my neighbour (let's say Bulletstorm or something) so that I can face him and his noisy dog with a smile the next day I'm the better person than the guy who yells at his neighbour and dog because he didn't vent some anger elsewhere.

Wait, so Dante's Inferno wasn't in the Bible?!
:P

I love that book though, Inferno. Game was a boring god of war clone but the book, that was some grade A lit. Dante knew his shit. Especially in the original text.

Wait, what were we talking about? Oh right, christians and video games.
Did you know that Mortal Combat was the reason they invented the ESRB? True story.

But the bible makes Mortal Combat look like my little ponies so I don't know what my parents were bitching about back then. Sure I could read a book chock full of fucking awesome violence but I couldn't play a game where only one person died every couple of minutes.

Seriously, the body count in the good ol' book makes Call of Duty look like The Sims. And one dude gets assassinated, Assassin's Creed style. Read Judges, dude legit stabs a king with a hidden blade. And another time, Two guys climb a hill to check out the enemy then decide to go down there and fuck their shit. Two guys take out a whole camp of hostiles. Now that sounds like a CoD mission.

And finishers? Samuel (one of the most famous religious leaders in Israels history) would execute people like it was his job. Even after he got old.

Tellin me that God hates violence. Sure.

I played God of War (My most adored game), Devil May Cry, WOW, Elder Scrolls, Final Fantasy Fallout 3, GTA ahhh well lets just say alot of games. I'm very Christian like, but come on seriously, it really pisses me off when some over hyped up Christian preaches how games are killing our children. When I read the bible I don't picture a peaceful scenario, I picture blood, tears and gore. Ever hear of fantasy not reality, games are just there so we can express ourselves, its not evil or made by the devil, its modern life. Besides 90% of christians probably play and enjoy a variety of games or technology its just a minority of old coots and fanatics who think technology is an very evil demonic thing. I have friends who are Hindu, Buddhist, Atheist, and Muslim and its a way for all of us to stay connected in games such as WOW, games are about fun, Im not gonna go around and shoot or stab someone because I played a game.

Just a Master Yoda says "Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to the dark side". You can't just fear something because its different, like games in this sense. Eventually you start hating something for no reason at all, I rest my case, and so waiting for SKYRIM haha.

I have to agree that believing in a deity, Christian or otherwise should not interfere with games. In fact the Bible is full of potential inspirations:

Jesus going ape-shit because of merchants selling their wares in the temple is perfect for an old school scrolling fighter (such as Streets of Rage/Bare Knuckle).

A God-sim, with the goal of assisting Moses in freeing the chosen people. This is achieved sending a load of nastiness towards those good for nothing Egyptians.

For those who want a non-violent game I present Genesis: The Videogame. A game allowing the player to create the world in 7 days. You decide what to make and how to make it with bonus points for creating everything in the correct order. DLC could be available allowing you to plant all the 'evidence' necessary to make sure those not chosen will believe the world is much older than it really is and fool them into thinking they are nothing more than dirty apes.

I have to agree that believing in a deity, Christian or otherwise should not interfere with games. In fact the Bible is full of potential inspirations:

Jesus going ape-shit because of merchants selling their wares in the temple is perfect for an old school scrolling fighter (such as Streets of Rage/Bare Knuckle).

A God-sim, with the goal of assisting Moses in freeing the chosen people. This is achieved sending a load of nastiness towards those good for nothing Egyptians.

For those who want a non-violent game I present Genesis: The Videogame. A game allowing the player to create the world in 7 days. You decide what to make and how to make it with bonus points for creating everything in the correct order. DLC could be available allowing you to plant all the 'evidence' necessary to make sure those not chosen will believe the world is much older than it really is and fool them into thinking they are nothing more than dirty apes.

.

Sorry, don't know why there are multiple posts? Perhaps divine intervention mocking my joke game ideas :s

Very well written article.

I'd like to point out while I got all the other christian references in Halo, I never made the connection with 'The Flood.' Seriously, I never realized that before and I fee like I can see forever, now that I do.

I'm slightly disappointed and impressed at the same time for there being no reference to Deus Ex, simply because it's awesome/too easy of a connection.

Overall, good job again, sir. As a Catholic (though a severely lapsed one), it's good to see others who can speak their thoughts clearly on the controversial topic, and do it well enough not to start a flame war.

It's difficult to ever read something seriously when it's written by a religious person. How can one expect profundity from an article written in the context of abandoning logic and the scientific method? It's a bridge I find nigh impossible to cross.

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