Pro-Religious References in Final Fantasy

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For many years, Final Fantasy has been a game series that has entertained many a gamer for numerous reasons. The series has beautiful music, great stories, and fun gameplay. As a Christian, seeing recent articles stating that the series is anti-religion has deeply saddened me. This perspective on the series has made me feel as if I would never be able to enjoy the series in good conscience again for fear I might lead someone to lose their faith by playing the game. However, after much daily thought, I have come to realize that throughout many of the final fantasy games I have played, there are actually many pro-religious references in the series. If you would lend me your time, I would like to point out some of these positive references and how the series positively affected my life.

First, the various fantasy elements in the series affected my faith in a positive way. The stories of heroes fighting monsters and demons fascinated me and made me think that there was more to life than what I could see with my eyes. While I avoid any real life magical things which a Christian rightfully doesn't dabble in, seeing fantasy magic in the game was cool to me and seeing spirits being summoned to fight evil creatures, demons, and monsters only strengthened my thoughts that there were angels and demons and a Heaven and Hell. Let's not forget that one of the most powerful spells in many Final Fantasy games is called Holy. The very name and strength of Holy is a positive religious concept, and the spell was used in an attempt to save the planet in Final Fantasy 7. How was Holy magic summoned? By a prayer from the character Aeris. Sadly, I notice that part of the story gets overlooked when people discuss the religious references in the game.

One of the most pro-religious things about the final fantasy series is that many of the games have an afterlife in their world. Final Fantasy 6 features a train that ferries souls to the afterlife. In Final Fantasy 7, all life is born from the planets life stream and returns to the planets life stream. Characters such as Aeris and Zack even appear to our hero Cloud after they have died. Zack even asks for Wings in the final part of Crisis Core Final Fantasy 7. Final Fantasy 10 has a place where the souls of the dead gather called the Farplane. The souls of the departed take a physical form there when they are approached. While each Final Fantasy approaches this concept differently, the fact remains that the overall concept of an afterlife is consistent throughout the series. As a Christian, the afterlife concepts in the series strengthened my faith. Personally speaking, even though these concepts do not match the Christian concept of Heaven and Hell, the series still helped remind me that I as a Christian would live again with the Lord Jesus Christ who I believe in as the Son of God and my savior.

Also, the concept of good vs evil is visible throughout the series as well, since you are usually trying to save the world from an evil being or organization bent on taking over the world. Throughout most of the series, you play as a group of characters who are from various parts of their fantasy world and are united by their desire to make a difference and save the world. The characters may all have a different personal reason for what they do, but they choose to act for good in the face of almost certain death. Bravery and action in the face of death to help and benefit others is a form of sacrifice is it not? Self-sacrifice for others is a very-pro religious concept and can be seen in more than one game in the series.

In addition, just because a religious organization in the game may be a corrupt religious one like the religion of Yevin in Final Fantasy 10, doesn't mean that the game is saying religion is bad. There have been cults in real life created to deceive the people, and of course some people in religious organizations are corrupt. However, this does not mean that the game is saying that religion is wrong and that any corruption outweighs all of the good that a religious organization can do. My personal take on Final Fantasy 10 is to beware any false, man-made religion that has a weak foundation. Please let me share some good advice that I've learned, "If you stand for nothing, then you will fall for anything." So my personal opinion of Final Fantasy 10 is that it reminds you to seek truth, beware false teachings, and beware cults.

Lastly, most of the series' fantasy elements are based on religions from around the world. The summoned creatures, magic, worlds, and items found in the game are based on the mythology and religion of various cultures including Greek and Norse mythology, Christianity, Hinduism, Judaism, the Shinto religion, and various others. This is my opinion, but I don't think most of the writers in this series created these stories with the purpose of making people lose their faith. Perhaps, the various cultural influences of the game creators made their way into each game and that is why every story in each Final Fantasy is so different. I feel that the series has been around so long that as the creative team behind each game changes, the theme of each game can change as well.

In conclusion, I think the Final Fantasy series as a whole should not be labeled as anti-religious. The games are full of stories that contain positive religious references, stories of good vs evil, and characters who develop and display virtuous qualities. Unless the series' creators say otherwise, I would prefer the series to not be viewed as one that rebels against religion. Perhaps the writers are just reminding us to seek truth. As my favorite Christian writer Josh McDowell says, "Becoming a Christian doesn't mean you have to check your brains at the door." What he means is that a person doesn't stop seeking truth and thinking when he becomes a Christian. So, I don't feel that asking people to think and ask questions should be considered an anti-religious concept. Everyone is entitled to an opinion, so I ask that everyone who reads this please consider mine as I have played and enjoyed the Final Fantasy games for many years. Please feel free to discuss my opinion and I wish you Final Fantasy players happy Chocobo catching!

I would point out that, in Lightning Returns, you literally kill god, so that may be something a LOT of people are going to use against the series. Then again, I'm the only person I know that played Lightning Returns, so maybe not many people know about it.

There are always going to be people out there, Christians or otherwise, who are going to claim that something popular is leading people away from their faith. As a fellow Christian, I've come across others who were not allowed to watch Harry Potter, play certain types of games, and in a few cases, not even allowed to read Lord of the Rings--which is totally crazy because do you really not get who Gandalf is supposed to be?

Ironically, I think you've already hit upon one of the main recurring themes in Final Fantasy. Yes, there has been the occasional game like Lightning Returns where--surprise!--the head honcho really is bad. But more often than not, it is as you already said: these games tend to deal with the people using religion/faith as a way to control the world and obtain personal wealth. Corrupting the very thing they claim to be representing (sounds pretty similar to real life if you ask me). So for me, I often view stuff like this as the same thing that Jesus did when he stormed into the Temple and started flipping tables.

But when it comes down to it, everyone has a choice. I'm glad that you didn't let what others think about this series stop you from playing it, because as you said, think for yourself. Now if you had given it a chance and gone, "Yeah, maybe this isn't for me after all, I don't like the message I'm getting out of it...", then that's your choice too, but at least you would have made it yourself.

A general guideline is people read waaaaay too much into entertainment and the meanings behind any given piece of it; so much so it'd be enough to give a person with OCD a nervous breakdown. Meanwhile ironically enough there are several real world issues going on in the meantime that people think nothing of for one reason or another.

Any fictional book, movie, videogame, etc. should be taken with a giant grain of salt, because all it is is storytelling. Knowledge is power, and it's up to the consumer to be able to interpret this stuff and ultimately draw their own conclusions. We still live in a free world, so naturally opposing ideas may occasionally collide.

I will add that FF VI did not depict gods in a very positive light either.

hanselthecaretaker:
A general guideline is people read waaaaay too much into entertainment and the meanings behind any given piece of it

image

Don't get me wrong, I know there are plenty of things where they actually *mean* something...

but sometimes a dog peeing on a bush is just a dog peeing on a fucking bush, there is no hidden meaning, no deepness, IT JUST FUCKING HAPPENED, OKAY?

I wanted to tear my hair out in literature/composition class growing up for this reason.

OT: there are plenty of things that draw from religion/afterlife, they are interesting concepts, I'm largely agnostic/lean towards atheism, but supernatural is one of my favorite shows...you don't have to be anti/pro religion to be able to use/talk about it in positive or negative light, as long as it's an interesting idea who gives a fuck.

I mean, I think it depends on the game, especially since they were made and written by different people. FF10 was 100% about how organized religion can be bad, and people should be open minded. Hince why so many JRPG's are about killing God or whatever. It's basically a cliche at this point. FF6 was an existential treatise about the meaning of life, and while I wouldn't call it anti-religious, it's entirely about finding meaning through a humanist lens. AKA, secular. I would say that you should look at the games individually and decide for yourself what you think. Not all of them are about religion, after all. However, even if they are, I don't think you should stop playing them. There's nothing wrong with being introdued to different perspectives, even if you disagree with them. If playing FF 10 makes you lose faith, I'd argue that you were never very religious in the first place.

hanselthecaretaker:
A general guideline is people read waaaaay too much into entertainment and the meanings behind any given piece of it; so much so it'd be enough to give a person with OCD a nervous breakdown. Meanwhile ironically enough there are several real world issues going on in the meantime that people think nothing of for one reason or another.

Any fictional book, movie, videogame, etc. should be taken with a giant grain of salt, because all it is is storytelling. Knowledge is power, and it's up to the consumer to be able to interpret this stuff and ultimately draw their own conclusions. We still live in a free world, so naturally opposing ideas may occasionally collide.

gmaverick019:

hanselthecaretaker:
A general guideline is people read waaaaay too much into entertainment and the meanings behind any given piece of it

image

Don't get me wrong, I know there are plenty of things where they actually *mean* something...

but sometimes a dog peeing on a bush is just a dog peeing on a fucking bush, there is no hidden meaning, no deepness, IT JUST FUCKING HAPPENED, OKAY?

I wanted to tear my hair out in literature/composition class growing up for this reason.

OT: there are plenty of things that draw from religion/afterlife, they are interesting concepts, I'm largely agnostic/lean towards atheism, but supernatural is one of my favorite shows...you don't have to be anti/pro religion to be able to use/talk about it in positive or negative light, as long as it's an interesting idea who gives a fuck.

Nah. Sorry fella. Reading into fiction is... kind of the whole point. It's also not up to the consumer to decide what something means. The creator typically has a pretty clear idea of what their work means, and they get the final say.

Alright, disclaimer in that I'm irreligious and have only played FFX:

Skywalker2017:
seeing recent articles stating that the series is anti-religion

"Recent articles?"

The idea of Final Fantasy being anti-religion has existed for at least nearly half a decade.

Skywalker2017:
This perspective on the series has made me feel as if I would never be able to enjoy the series in good conscience again for fear I might lead someone to lose their faith by playing the game.

Um...

Isn't that a bit...I dunno, selfish? I mean, if people have faith in whatever, that's their perogative. I'd like to think that someone would be able to exposed to any number of ideas, even if they contradict their own. Lack of religion didn't stop me from enjoying 'The Chronicles of Narnia' for instance (well, bar Book 7), nor am I going to give a free pass to 'His Dark Materials' because of myself being an atheist (since the series has the subtlety of a brick when conveying its themes/ideas).

Skywalker2017:

While I avoid any real life magical things which a Christian rightfully doesn't dabble in,

"Real life magic?"

Please, do tell.

Skywalker2017:
Let's not forget that one of the most powerful spells in many Final Fantasy games is called Holy. The very name and strength of Holy is a positive religious concept, and the spell was used in an attempt to save the planet in Final Fantasy 7. How was Holy magic summoned? By a prayer from the character Aeris. Sadly, I notice that part of the story gets overlooked when people discuss the religious references in the game.

Was the use of Holy actually integral to the story though?

I ask because I wouldn't think that a holy spell is really indicative of any particular religious concept, since the idea of holy/light spells is fairly common in RPGs. From what I understand of Final Fantasy VII, I'd have thought it would have more in common with more panthestic/shamanistic/paganistic religions than anything else, given the idea of the Lifestream. If anything, it bears more resemblance to Gaia Theory in my eyes (though of course, you're in a better position to comment). I will say that the only way I beat Jecht in FFX was to give Yuna holy and spam it while other characters focused their efforts on healing her (role reversal!).

Skywalker2017:

In addition, just because a religious organization in the game may be a corrupt religious one like the religion of Yevin in Final Fantasy 10, doesn't mean that the game is saying religion is bad. There have been cults in real life created to deceive the people, and of course some people in religious organizations are corrupt. However, this does not mean that the game is saying that religion is wrong and that any corruption outweighs all of the good that a religious organization can do. My personal take on Final Fantasy 10 is to beware any false, man-made religion that has a weak foundation. Please let me share some good advice that I've learned, "If you stand for nothing, then you will fall for anything." So my personal opinion of Final Fantasy 10 is that it reminds you to seek truth, beware false teachings, and beware cults.

I can't say I'm as positively inclined to that view in FFX.

Credit where credit is due, FFX does give Yevon layers to it. Seymour is a monster, and the church is hypocritical in its use of technology, but it does have Spira's best interests in heart. Still, I'd argue that FFX does take a dim view on organized religion. Yevon isn't malignant, but it does effectively hold Spira back, keeping them in the "spiral of death" and not offerring an alternative. It's only after rejecting Yevon's doctrine that Yuna and co. are able to save Spira. Post-FFX, we see new religious groups popping up, some of which harken back to Yevon's doctrine, even though said doctrine has demonstrably proven to be false. Overall, FFX does have a pretty dim view on religion IMO.

Sniper Team 4:
and in a few cases, not even allowed to read Lord of the Rings--which is totally crazy because do you really not get who Gandalf is supposed to be?

Um...no?

The setting of Middle-earth does undoubtedly draw from Abrahamic religion. Illuvatar = God, Morgoth = Satan, Valar = angels, etc. Still, that's all in 'The Silmarillion'. 'Lord of the Rings', as both a setting and a story, is pretty devoid of actual religion when you get down to it. The Valar are barely mentioned, we see no prayers or curses, not faith-based organizations, etc. Compare it to something like 'A Song of Ice and Fire', which has multiple religions, none of which can claim a monopoly on being the 'right' one. I think a difference is that in LotR, it's an accepted fact that the likes of the Valar exist, whereas ASoIaF is entirely faith-based, but I didn't see any particular religions parallels with Gandalf, or really any of the Istari.

Fox12:

Nah. Sorry fella. Reading into fiction is... kind of the whole point. It's also not up to the consumer to decide what something means. The creator typically has a pretty clear idea of what their work means, and they get the final say.

You're touching on the idea of Death of the Author vs. Authoratorial Intent.

I'm personally somewhere in the middle. On the one hand, if an author states that their work is about x, then...well, I guess their work is about x. On the other hand, if an artist/author/whatever creates a work of art with the intention of it being about whatever, but no-one picks up on it, is that the fault of the audience, or the creator? I'm reminded of Ray Bradburry, how he stated how Farenheit 451 was basically a book about how television is bad (paraphrased), while students had theorized it was a book about the dangers of censorship, referencing McCarthyism. In that scenario, who's at 'fault', so to speak?

I think both ideas have merit, at the end of the day.

I didn't read that entire diatribe, but given that the Final Fantasy games are from Japan and the Japanese have a very different attitude towards religion than we do in the west I assume any Christian imagery is probably used in much the same way we use ancient Greek or Norse mythology in our media.

Fox12:

Nah. Sorry fella. Reading into fiction is... kind of the whole point. It's also not up to the consumer to decide what something means. The creator typically has a pretty clear idea of what their work means, and they get the final say.

Ever heard of "Death of the Author"? It's a 50 year old literary theory that says that deciding what something means is pretty much the consumer's job, and I tend to agree with it.

Videogame depictions only strengthened your belief that there's such a thing as a heaven and hell? Oh dear.

DaCosta:

Fox12:

Nah. Sorry fella. Reading into fiction is... kind of the whole point. It's also not up to the consumer to decide what something means. The creator typically has a pretty clear idea of what their work means, and they get the final say.

Ever heard of "Death of the Author"? It's a 50 year old literary theory that says that deciding what something means is pretty much the consumer's job, and I tend to agree with it.

You rightfully point out that it's 50 years old though. It's kind of pass? these days, as far as I know. We're kind of in the middle now; the meaning of a work of art is a symbiosis between the intent of the artist and the independent life of the artwork in the public sphere. There's a lot of elements that make up the meaning of an artwork. Referring to just the author or just the viewer is really limiting.

In the case of Final Fantasy, as a long time player, I've always felt it had a fondness for the supernatural (somewhat obviously) and often a sympathy for the notion of higher powers, but a distinct disdain for organized religion. In some games, the God or Gods are evil, but usually it is corrupt officials of those beings who vex the character, with no word from their higher power one way or the other (which could be considered tacit acceptance of it, in a world with actual magic).

As to the larger question posed by OP, as I see it, regarding whether people should play a game (or read a book, or watch a movie) for fear that it may cause them to lose faith, I'd say that the person in question's faith was already diminished. Like any idea, faith should be challenged; in some sects of Christianity, it is believed to only BE strong if it is challenged. To me, faith is a personal connection with the divine as you understand it, and if it is real, then no amount of dissuading can change that. It's what I've always respected about people who truly had faith; the ability to discuss that faith, to admit that some of the components of its teachings may not make sense, and still maintain that faith. Real faith is not the teachings of the book that they translate and explain to you, it is a personal connection with something ineffable and incomprehensible, something that transcends physical reality, and therefore needs no explanation except that you can feel that it is real.

DaCosta:

Fox12:

Nah. Sorry fella. Reading into fiction is... kind of the whole point. It's also not up to the consumer to decide what something means. The creator typically has a pretty clear idea of what their work means, and they get the final say.

Ever heard of "Death of the Author"? It's a 50 year old literary theory that says that deciding what something means is pretty much the consumer's job, and I tend to agree with it.

Yes, yes, I've heard of it. It's absolute literary drivel, but I've heard of it.

kitsunefather:
and therefore needs no explanation except that you can feel that it is real.

Newt Gingrich would love you.

Fox12:

DaCosta:

Fox12:

Nah. Sorry fella. Reading into fiction is... kind of the whole point. It's also not up to the consumer to decide what something means. The creator typically has a pretty clear idea of what their work means, and they get the final say.

Ever heard of "Death of the Author"? It's a 50 year old literary theory that says that deciding what something means is pretty much the consumer's job, and I tend to agree with it.

Yes, yes, I've heard of it. It's absolute literary drivel, but I've heard of it.

As much drivel as the idea that the author's intent is the only aspect, or has the last say, in what a work of art means. Both are way too extreme.

Final Fantasy isn't anti-faith, but it is anti-religion. This is a reasonably common position in JRPGs, since they tend to have a general message about finding the power inside oneself, and not submitting to higher authorities.

Ohhhh man, hope you never become aware of the first Final Fantasy Tactics. It roasts organized religion like Colonel Sanders..

Fox12:

DaCosta:

Fox12:

Nah. Sorry fella. Reading into fiction is... kind of the whole point. It's also not up to the consumer to decide what something means. The creator typically has a pretty clear idea of what their work means, and they get the final say.

Ever heard of "Death of the Author"? It's a 50 year old literary theory that says that deciding what something means is pretty much the consumer's job, and I tend to agree with it.

Yes, yes, I've heard of it. It's absolute literary drivel, but I've heard of it.

lol, such an influential theory dismissed as literary drivel?

In that case tell me great scholar: say there's a book where all black people in it are violent savages, all the mexicans are lazy, every muslim is working together in a secret plot to destroy the west, etc. Only the white people in the book are good and pure, and it says white people shouldn't mingle with those races. The author says "There's nothing wrong with my book. That's just me telling it like it is. You just get offended too much".

Tell me, just because the author says his work isn't racist, does that make it not racist?

Wow your first post is pretty good and it reminds me of the olden days

Sniper Team 4:
I would point out that, in Lightning Returns, you literally kill god, so that may be something a LOT of people are going to use against the series. Then again, I'm the only person I know that played Lightning Returns, so maybe not many people know about it.

There are always going to be people out there, Christians or otherwise, who are going to claim that something popular is leading people away from their faith. As a fellow Christian, I've come across others who were not allowed to watch Harry Potter, play certain types of games, and in a few cases, not even allowed to read Lord of the Rings--which is totally crazy because do you really not get who Gandalf is supposed to be?

Ironically, I think you've already hit upon one of the main recurring themes in Final Fantasy. Yes, there has been the occasional game like Lightning Returns where--surprise!--the head honcho really is bad. But more often than not, it is as you already said: these games tend to deal with the people using religion/faith as a way to control the world and obtain personal wealth. Corrupting the very thing they claim to be representing (sounds pretty similar to real life if you ask me). So for me, I often view stuff like this as the same thing that Jesus did when he stormed into the Temple and started flipping tables.

But when it comes down to it, everyone has a choice. I'm glad that you didn't let what others think about this series stop you from playing it, because as you said, think for yourself. Now if you had given it a chance and gone, "Yeah, maybe this isn't for me after all, I don't like the message I'm getting out of it...", then that's your choice too, but at least you would have made it yourself.

You are not alone!

FF13 had a pretty cool ideas about religion, with gods using people as slaves for their goals. Lightning Returns is kinda neutral, the creator god is evil but Lightning's patron is good. FF15 seems more inclined to gods being good compared to the techno empire (but it might be more complicated by the backstory).

Skywalker2017:

In addition, just because a religious organization in the game may be a corrupt religious one like the religion of Yevin in Final Fantasy 10, doesn't mean that the game is saying religion is bad. There have been cults in real life created to deceive the people, and of course some people in religious organizations are corrupt. However, this does not mean that the game is saying that religion is wrong and that any corruption outweighs all of the good that a religious organization can do. My personal take on Final Fantasy 10 is to beware any false, man-made religion that has a weak foundation. Please let me share some good advice that I've learned, "If you stand for nothing, then you will fall for anything." So my personal opinion of Final Fantasy 10 is that it reminds you to seek truth, beware false teachings, and beware cults.

The church of Yevon is not depicted as a fringe cult in Final Fantasy X; it is the dominant religion, with temples, priests, and ranks of clergy. They perform rites, wear vestments. Yevon is reminiscent of Catholicism above all, not a mere cult. It is the establishment religion, with symbolism heavily reminding the player of the Catholic clergy and church.

Aside from FFX, the Final Fantasy game with perhaps the heaviest religious theme is FFXIII; here, the god-like beings (the Fal'Cie) live among the people, and are demonstrably real. Still, they are shown to be exploitative, oppressive and murderous in the most part. Even the ultimate creator, Bhunivelze, is killed as the final antagonist in Lightning Returns. These creatures are real in the game, but have a terrible impact on their followers and others, demanding unquestioning loyalty yet wishing for these followers to perish. The exception is Etro, but the point stands.

DaCosta:
lol, such an influential theory dismissed as literary drivel?

In that case tell me great scholar: say there's a book where all black people in it are violent savages, all the mexicans are lazy, every muslim is working together in a secret plot to destroy the west, etc. Only the white people in the book are good and pure, and it says white people shouldn't mingle with those races. The author says "There's nothing wrong with my book. That's just me telling it like it is. You just get offended too much".

Tell me, just because the author says his work isn't racist, does that make it not racist?

I think racism/sexism, or really any other ism here is probably going to be a bad example. You can be unintentionally racist, and it doesn't change the intentions of your actions or words. Say someone who is trying to cheer an African American up by giving him a watermelon or fried chicken, because he thinks he likes them. Sure, it may be a racist stereotype, and a poor conclusion to jump to, but the act itself wasn't racist, nor was it intended to be. It was just trying to help someone out.

Basically, racism and sexism get complicated real fast, and the discussion strays further from authorial intent vs death of the author, and more into 'What do we classify as racist?'.

A better example from this thread would be Farenheit 451; Author claimed it was about TV being bad (I'm going to go out on a limb and assume the poster meant by this that it was resulting in the death of the more learned activities such as reading), while it was interpreted as a criticism on censorship. In this case, its a lot less relevant to ask "What constitutes a criticism of censorship?" and we can instead focus on which interpretation we should find more correct, if either, and why - the original point of the debate.

Me personally? A bit of both. Art is art; everyone has their own interpretation. Shutting down the author's to say its all in the hands of the consumer loses out on important context behind the piece, and a valuable interpretation of what was written. Saying the author is the be all end all shuts out millions or billions of potentially valuable interpretations. When we discuss what a book is about, it should always, however, be stated as "The book is about [Author's interpretation]", where when we want to use it to discuss our own or another's interpretation of a book that runs contrary to the author's we can say "This book can be read as [Other interpretation]". Author gets to say what is official, but words are free to be interpreted in any way someone wants. All perspectives are free to be shared, and additional perspectives are remembered - rather than just the most popular one.

Fox12:
I mean, I think it depends on the game, especially since they were made and written by different people. FF10 was 100% about how organized religion can be bad, and people should be open minded. Hince why so many JRPG's are about killing God or whatever. It's basically a cliche at this point. FF6 was an existential treatise about the meaning of life, and while I wouldn't call it anti-religious, it's entirely about finding meaning through a humanist lens. AKA, secular. I would say that you should look at the games individually and decide for yourself what you think. Not all of them are about religion, after all. However, even if they are, I don't think you should stop playing them. There's nothing wrong with being introdued to different perspectives, even if you disagree with them. If playing FF 10 makes you lose faith, I'd argue that you were never very religious in the first place.

hanselthecaretaker:
A general guideline is people read waaaaay too much into entertainment and the meanings behind any given piece of it; so much so it'd be enough to give a person with OCD a nervous breakdown. Meanwhile ironically enough there are several real world issues going on in the meantime that people think nothing of for one reason or another.

Any fictional book, movie, videogame, etc. should be taken with a giant grain of salt, because all it is is storytelling. Knowledge is power, and it's up to the consumer to be able to interpret this stuff and ultimately draw their own conclusions. We still live in a free world, so naturally opposing ideas may occasionally collide.

gmaverick019:

hanselthecaretaker:
A general guideline is people read waaaaay too much into entertainment and the meanings behind any given piece of it

image

Don't get me wrong, I know there are plenty of things where they actually *mean* something...

but sometimes a dog peeing on a bush is just a dog peeing on a fucking bush, there is no hidden meaning, no deepness, IT JUST FUCKING HAPPENED, OKAY?

I wanted to tear my hair out in literature/composition class growing up for this reason.

OT: there are plenty of things that draw from religion/afterlife, they are interesting concepts, I'm largely agnostic/lean towards atheism, but supernatural is one of my favorite shows...you don't have to be anti/pro religion to be able to use/talk about it in positive or negative light, as long as it's an interesting idea who gives a fuck.

Nah. Sorry fella. Reading into fiction is... kind of the whole point. It's also not up to the consumer to decide what something means. The creator typically has a pretty clear idea of what their work means, and they get the final say.

Yeah but a lot of it is left pretty vague and up to interpretation too. If these creators were forcing a viewpoint down people's throats most of them would quickly tire of it. Look at the uproar that's often caused from slightly changing the look of a character alone in this industry.

Hawki:
"Real life magic?"

Please, do tell.

You know - for example, pulling a rabbit shaped demon out of a hat shaped summoning circle.

DaCosta:

Fox12:

DaCosta:

Ever heard of "Death of the Author"? It's a 50 year old literary theory that says that deciding what something means is pretty much the consumer's job, and I tend to agree with it.

Yes, yes, I've heard of it. It's absolute literary drivel, but I've heard of it.

lol, such an influential theory dismissed as literary drivel?

In that case tell me great scholar: say there's a book where all black people in it are violent savages, all the mexicans are lazy, every muslim is working together in a secret plot to destroy the west, etc. Only the white people in the book are good and pure, and it says white people shouldn't mingle with those races. The author says "There's nothing wrong with my book. That's just me telling it like it is. You just get offended too much".

Tell me, just because the author says his work isn't racist, does that make it not racist?

I... Don't think you understand the theory of authorial intent *or* death of the author. The author doesn't decide how people respond to his work, or whether it's offends someone. He just gets to say what the themes of the story are. In your example he clearly stands by the themes of the story you outlined, so it's not even a good example. A better example would have been a book where the author is unknown. That would be reasonable, because the best we can do is interpret the work and guess at what the author was trying to say. But in cases where the author is known, their interpretation is the final word.

Fox12:

DaCosta:

Fox12:

Yes, yes, I've heard of it. It's absolute literary drivel, but I've heard of it.

lol, such an influential theory dismissed as literary drivel?

In that case tell me great scholar: say there's a book where all black people in it are violent savages, all the mexicans are lazy, every muslim is working together in a secret plot to destroy the west, etc. Only the white people in the book are good and pure, and it says white people shouldn't mingle with those races. The author says "There's nothing wrong with my book. That's just me telling it like it is. You just get offended too much".

Tell me, just because the author says his work isn't racist, does that make it not racist?

I... Don't think you understand the theory of authorial intent *or* death of the author. The author doesn't decide how people respond to his work, or whether it's offends someone. He just gets to say what the themes of the story are. In your example he clearly stands by the themes of the story you outlined, so it's not even a good example. A better example would have been a book where the author is unknown. That would be reasonable, because the best we can do is interpret the work and guess at what the author was trying to say. But in cases where the author is known, their interpretation is the final word.

Oh hey, we agree on something. Neat.

Fox12:

DaCosta:

Fox12:

Yes, yes, I've heard of it. It's absolute literary drivel, but I've heard of it.

lol, such an influential theory dismissed as literary drivel?

In that case tell me great scholar: say there's a book where all black people in it are violent savages, all the mexicans are lazy, every muslim is working together in a secret plot to destroy the west, etc. Only the white people in the book are good and pure, and it says white people shouldn't mingle with those races. The author says "There's nothing wrong with my book. That's just me telling it like it is. You just get offended too much".

Tell me, just because the author says his work isn't racist, does that make it not racist?

I... Don't think you understand the theory of authorial intent *or* death of the author. The author doesn't decide how people respond to his work, or whether it's offends someone. He just gets to say what the themes of the story are. In your example he clearly stands by the themes of the story you outlined, so it's not even a good example. A better example would have been a book where the author is unknown. That would be reasonable, because the best we can do is interpret the work and guess at what the author was trying to say. But in cases where the author is known, their interpretation is the final word.

It seems like you don't get it. A theme of the story can be "white supremacy" and the author just not acknowledge that's what he wrote because of his own biases.

If you wait for a racist to say "I am racist. The theme of my story is racism", you'll be waiting a long fucking time.

We see it everyday on the internet. People say things like "Black people commit more crime than whites, and saying it's because of socioeconomical or environmental factors is bullshit", then you ask the logical conclusion from it "Are you saying then that black people are naturally predisposed to crime?", and they say "Of course not, you're putting words in my mouth", and technically that's true, they only said that every other explanation is false. Just because the author of the comment said it had no racist overtones, doesn't make it so, and you can bake the exact same idea into a book, and the author will say it has no racist themes, and in the same way it doesn't make it true.

Everyone brings their own biases into their interpretations, perhaps the author most of all, he is competent to describe the themes that he intended to put in his work, but as for the themes that actually ended up in it, his interpretation is just one of many.

DaCosta:

Fox12:

Nah. Sorry fella. Reading into fiction is... kind of the whole point. It's also not up to the consumer to decide what something means. The creator typically has a pretty clear idea of what their work means, and they get the final say.

Ever heard of "Death of the Author"? It's a 50 year old literary theory that says that deciding what something means is pretty much the consumer's job, and I tend to agree with it.

Well the author can decide the intended meaning, but has no control over what the audience takes away from his/her work. ...so yeah I guess that's kinda true.

That's Japanese devs for you, specially in RPGs: they love Chrisian imagery. I imagine it's as exotic to them as Shinto and samurais are to Western audiences.

DaCosta:

Fox12:

DaCosta:

lol, such an influential theory dismissed as literary drivel?

In that case tell me great scholar: say there's a book where all black people in it are violent savages, all the mexicans are lazy, every muslim is working together in a secret plot to destroy the west, etc. Only the white people in the book are good and pure, and it says white people shouldn't mingle with those races. The author says "There's nothing wrong with my book. That's just me telling it like it is. You just get offended too much".

Tell me, just because the author says his work isn't racist, does that make it not racist?

I... Don't think you understand the theory of authorial intent *or* death of the author. The author doesn't decide how people respond to his work, or whether it's offends someone. He just gets to say what the themes of the story are. In your example he clearly stands by the themes of the story you outlined, so it's not even a good example. A better example would have been a book where the author is unknown. That would be reasonable, because the best we can do is interpret the work and guess at what the author was trying to say. But in cases where the author is known, their interpretation is the final word.

It seems like you don't get it. A theme of the story can be "white supremacy" and the author just not acknowledge that's what he wrote because of his own biases.

If you wait for a racist to say "I am racist. The theme of my story is racism", you'll be waiting a long fucking time.

We see it everyday on the internet. People say things like "Black people commit more crime than whites, and saying it's because of socioeconomical or environmental factors is bullshit", then you ask the logical conclusion from it "Are you saying then that black people are naturally predisposed to crime?", and they say "Of course not, you're putting words in my mouth", and technically that's true, they only said that every other explanation is false. Just because the author of the comment said it had no racist overtones, doesn't make it so, and you can bake the exact same idea into a book, and the author will say it has no racist themes, and in the same way it doesn't make it true.

Everyone brings their own biases into their interpretations, perhaps the author most of all, he is competent to describe the themes that he intended to put in his work, but as for the themes that actually ended up in it, his interpretation is just one of many.

Uh... No. Not quite. If the author said that the theme of his work wasn't racism, then based on your example, he'd actually be correct. Racism obviously wasn't the theme of the book. AKA, the book doesn't sound like its about racism. That doesn't mean that you can't think the themes that *were* presented are racist. The author doesn't get to decide how you react to his work. I never claimed he could. I just said that he decides what the themes of the work are. If you think the themes are racist, and he doesn't, then you can have yourselves a dialogue about the work in question.

Of course, since the author in your example never even said what the themes in his work are, I have no idea what he thinks about his own work. Which is why your example is a poor one.

Fox12:

Nah. Sorry fella. Reading into fiction is... kind of the whole point. It's also not up to the consumer to decide what something means. The creator typically has a pretty clear idea of what their work means, and they get the final say.

nah, sorry gent. I think you're missing my point, I clearly said I know many things *do* mean something, and I said "but sometimes" to signify the other portion of my opinion, if you want to generalize it and misinterpret what I said, then knock it down a few pegs off your high literary horse.

Also not up to the consumer to decide what something means?...That's literally what happens alot, which is fine, many authors don't convey or tell what they are going for and leave it up for the reader/consumer to draw conclusions. If they don't come to the same conclusions, that's fine, and happens more then often enough.

Cowabungaa:

kitsunefather:
and therefore needs no explanation except that you can feel that it is real.

Newt Gingrich would love you.

Well, to be fair, that's unlikely. I'm an atheist and believe that for things to be accepted as factual reality they require empirical evidence or repeatable predictive behavior. I'm talking about faith at a personal level.

kitsunefather:

Cowabungaa:

kitsunefather:
and therefore needs no explanation except that you can feel that it is real.

Newt Gingrich would love you.

Well, to be fair, that's unlikely. I'm an atheist and believe that for things to be accepted as factual reality they require empirical evidence or repeatable predictive behavior. I'm talking about faith at a personal level.

To me it just sounds like you're contradicting yourself, or making a distinction where I don't see one, something like that. How is 'accepting things as factual reality' based on empirical evidence or patterns any less 'personal' than what you described as 'faith on a personal level' which you describe as completely independent from facts?

These two are both mechanisms for the same thing; to make up one's mind about something, is what I'm trying to say.

Fox12:

DaCosta:

Fox12:

Nah. Sorry fella. Reading into fiction is... kind of the whole point. It's also not up to the consumer to decide what something means. The creator typically has a pretty clear idea of what their work means, and they get the final say.

Ever heard of "Death of the Author"? It's a 50 year old literary theory that says that deciding what something means is pretty much the consumer's job, and I tend to agree with it.

Yes, yes, I've heard of it. It's absolute literary drivel, but I've heard of it.

I'm going to stop both of you there for just a moment. I think this is a bit irrelevant in the context of this thread. With the way the title was phrased, I get how this could lead to a discussion of what a work of fiction means in the canon sense, but the OP's main concern which kicked off this whole dilemma, revolved around whether or not it was okay for him or other Christians to play it, since he was worried that it would lead them astray from their faith.
Regardless of where you guys stand on your current discussion, I'm pretty sure both of you can agree that people often will draw their own conclusions from what they watch, read, or play. If Christians can find their own pro-Christian message from playing Final Fantasy, then it hardly matters if it was originally intended to be anti-religious, since either way, Christians will still be able to use it to reinforce their faith.
Personally, I'm not too keen on the idea that they should be shielded, or should shield themselves from material that challenges their views, but that's a discussion for another time, or another post.

Take a look to the series' spiritual successor: Bravely Default. It's about the general public losing faith on Crystalism (yes, it's called that) and the Anticrystalists vilifying the members of the religion and hunting them down, before the later can restore the crystals and stop the unnatural disasters that started happening around the globe.

I don't think any Final Fantasy game vilifies anti-theists as openly as this game.

Fox12:

gmaverick019:

hanselthecaretaker:
A general guideline is people read waaaaay too much into entertainment and the meanings behind any given piece of it

image

Don't get me wrong, I know there are plenty of things where they actually *mean* something...

but sometimes a dog peeing on a bush is just a dog peeing on a fucking bush, there is no hidden meaning, no deepness, IT JUST FUCKING HAPPENED, OKAY?

I wanted to tear my hair out in literature/composition class growing up for this reason.

OT: there are plenty of things that draw from religion/afterlife, they are interesting concepts, I'm largely agnostic/lean towards atheism, but supernatural is one of my favorite shows...you don't have to be anti/pro religion to be able to use/talk about it in positive or negative light, as long as it's an interesting idea who gives a fuck.

Nah. Sorry fella. Reading into fiction is... kind of the whole point. It's also not up to the consumer to decide what something means. The creator typically has a pretty clear idea of what their work means, and they get the final say.

The only moment when the creators get to communicate the intended meaning of their work is through the work itself.

Fox12:
But in cases where the author is known, their interpretation is the final word.

A better way to put it is that the author gets the first word. The author can attempt to communicate how he sees his own work. His audience takes that interpretation, takes the work itself and goes hogwild.

A great example of that that was given in one of my classes was The Pilgrim's Progress, a 17th century religious allegory that ended up all across the globe in colonial days. It was interpreted, translated and often re-translated back again to create this back-and-forth between all kinds of cultures regarding this one book. All kinds of groups got their own thing out of it.

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