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Faith-Based Killing? Critics Rip Christian Video Game.

DealMonkey

Lifer
Nov 25, 2001
13,136
1
0
This just seems wrong on so many levels.

Faith-Based Killing? Critics Rip Christian Video Game
'Left Behind: Eternal Forces' Bashed for Intolerance and Violence, but Maker Says Game Can Be Won With Prayer


Dec. 24, 2006 ? The antichrist has come to Earth, and the forces of good are battling the forces of evil. Your mission: to convert or kill the non-believers.

That's the premise of the new personal computer videogame "Left Behind: Eternal Forces" ? a game caught in a harsh theological and political controversy.

Liberal Christian leaders such as the Rev. Tim Simpson, a Presbyterian minister and the interim president of the Christian Alliance for Progress (LINK), are demanding the game be pulled from store shelves.

"It's essentially faith-based killing," Simpson says, arguing that the game twists the Gospel. "The religious right envisions sitting down by the fireside ? Mom and Dad, Johnny and Susie ? killing all their non-Christian opponents inside the game and imagining this is what, in fact, God wants."

But Troy A. Lyndon, CEO and co-founder of Left Behind Games (LINK), disputes this notion, arguing players learn the value of prayer ? key to success in the game.

"The truth is, you can win our game without firing a single shot," Lyndon says.

Apocalypse Now

True to the popular "Left Behind" book and film franchise, the game begins with a short video of the Rapture, when believers in Jesus are whisked away to heaven, leaving behind non-believers and Satan's forces ? a secular United Nations-esque army called the Global Community Peacekeepers, led by a smooth-talking anti-religious man named Nicolae Carpathia.

Then the game begins. In New York City, settings that include Soho and Chinatown, the "good guys" form the Tribulation Forces, a Christian community and militia that battles the evil Global Community Peacekeepers. In 40 comprehensive and, at times, complex missions, players evangelize New Yorkers and gather resources while fending off their enemies. Good guys need to pray throughout the game in order to function, while also killing the enemy using tanks, helicopters and rifles.

Critics worry the game could be used as propaganda ? depicting the United States as trying to convert the Muslim world.

"That the game has a character in the Satanic Army named Amir Mohammed Salaam cuts very quickly to the fact that the game is based on intolerance," says Clark Stevens of the Campaign to Defend the Constitution (LINK), which monitors conservative religious activists.

Adds Christian conservative videogame critic Jack Thompson, "Imagine the response in the Muslim world: 'Get Osama on the satellite phone. Some knuckleheads in the video game industry in America just assured us one million more recruits with the 'American pop culture is the Great Satan' angle. Praise be to Allah!'"

Simpson and other groups are calling for retail giant Wal-Mart to stop selling the game. Wal-Mart has rejected that call.

"We chose store locations where we anticipated customer demand for the product, and the product has been selling in those stores," the retail chain says in a statement. "As always, the decision on what merchandise we offer in our stores is based on what we think our customers want the opportunity to buy."

The game has fans in the conservative evangelical community. A reviewer writing for Plugged In Online (LINK), part of the conservative group Focus on the Family, calls "Left Behind: Eternal Forces "the kind of game that Mom and Dad can actually play with Junior ? and use to raise some interesting questions along the way. Production company Left Behind Games is pushing it as an evangelism tool for teens, and I can see that, too. You certainly don't have to be an eschatologically minded seminarian to appreciate it."

"LB:EF" has its secular fans as well. Writing in Wired (LINK), reviewer Clive Thompson praised the game as a "classic real-time strategy game" that surprisingly "actually kind of rocks."

The Theology Behind the Game

Tim Lahaye, co-creator of the Left Behind book series (LINK), which has sold more than 60 million copies, subscribes to Christian teachings in which believers will be whisked to heaven during the Rapture, leaving behind non-believers and Satan's forces.

"People are reading the Bible like never before," LaHaye says. "They have questions about the future. We come along, in a fictional way, present the truths in the book of Revelation."

What LaHaye sees as truths, many Christian leaders dispute. And Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League of B'nai Brith adds, "The game and the belief system behind it are dangerous, because they teach that Judaism and other non-Christian faiths are not valid. Jews, Muslims and other non-Christians are seen as incomplete unless they convert, a concept that is contrary to the American ideal of respect for all religions."

True to LaHaye's books and this theology, the "Left Behind" game can be violent; it is rated "T" for Teen ? recommended for those age 13 and older ? though the game makers point out no blood or gore appears after characters are killed.

As Clive Thompson noted in Wired, "the ultimate, and gorgeous, irony of this game," seems to be that fans of the Left Behind franchise "are apparently more worried about simulated violence in video games than about believing an actual prophecy of the future ? endorsed by their spiritual leaders ? in which their friendly Jewish, Islamic and atheist neighbors have their tongues dissolved in screaming agony by a fire-eyed Jesus."

Left Behind Games CEO Lyndon argues that the game also teaches that violence has consequences.

"If you shoot, you lose spirit points," Lyndon says. "So it's more effective to use prayer and worship whenever possible."

Simpson, however, calls this part of the game particularly troublesome.

"When the player kills an individual, his or her spirit score drops and it's very important to keep one's spirit score high," Simpson says.

But he notes that after a player kills, he or she can click the pray button, raising the spirit points, "so then you are ready to go out and kill all over again and repeat the process. That is very different from the values of the Gospel."

It's up to consumers whether to give their children this game this Christmas, the birthday of the prince of peace.

ABC News' Ed O'Keefe, Terry Moran and Ted Gerstein contributed to this report.
Linkage
 

Schadenfroh

Elite Member
Mar 8, 2003
38,416
4
0
Soldier of light fighting satan's forces, how is this any different than games like Diablo or Doom? Save the setting is in the Tribulation and not (whatever the name of the place Diablo takes place in ) / Mars. (I have not played this "left behind" game, so correct me if I am wrong)



Hehehe, this brings back memories, recall this old game?

Postal 2 (source: Wikipedia)


Some of the more controversial aspects of the game are:

[*]The option of attacking and/or killing not only innocent bystanders, but also police officers. During one segment of the game, Postal Dude must try to exit a meat-packing plant while being attacked by police; it is very difficult to complete this mission without using deadly force against officers.
[*]Al-Qaeda terrorists who carry out a suicide bombing of a church and a marching band (these characters all resemble Osama bin Laden and many characters in the game of Middle Eastern descent are shown to be connected in some way with the terrorists).
[*]The ability to urinate on bystanders to make them vomit in disgust. As cops will eat food items dropped by the player, urinating on a food item that is subsequently eaten by a cop will make the cop regurgitate.
[*]Anthrax-filled cow's heads as weapons which make the victims vomit blood.
[*]The use of cats as silencers for shotguns and machine guns, involving pushing the barrel of the gun into the feline's rectum (this was commented on in an episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit[citation needed]).
[*]When Postal Dude wears the police outfit and brutalizes innocent people, the other police officers openly admit that they are corrupt. At several points in the game, police NPCs are seen attacking and killing civilians for no apparent reason.
[*]Crack cocaine "health" pipes that can be smoked in order to boost Dude's health to 125, above the usual limit of 100, no matter what value of health the Dude previously had. True to real life, these items will cause the Dude to become addicted, and if another dose is not used while the Dude is complaining about his withdrawal symptoms, his health will eventually be damaged, after which there are no further ill effects (unless another pipe is smoked).
[*]Decapitating people with shovels and kicking the heads about.
[*]Playing "fetch" with dogs using the severed heads of killed NPCs.
[*]Pouring petrol on people and setting them on fire with matches.
[*]Stun gunning people until they cower on the ground and urinate themselves.
[*]A scene that bears resemblance to the Waco Siege of 1993, with a cult group being surrounded by ATF agents at "the compound".
[*]Jihad, the company that makes the goat milk in Monday's chores
[*]Homophobia in the shape of an arcade game prop called "i love you Hunter", as well as a gay dance club location
[*]Racial stereotypes, such as Habib, the owner of the Lucky Ganesh convenience store, who speaks with an stereotypical Indian accent similar of that of Apu from the Simpsons.
 
Oct 30, 2004
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The next time an anti-abortion wacko kills people, if it's discovered that he had the game in his possession at his home, might the families of the victims then attempt to sue the makers and distributors of the game for inciting violence?

Murdering people who don't agree with you--is that really what Jesus would have wanted? I wonder if sincere Christians will denounce these people as anti-Christian and evil? Heck, these guys are the Taliban of Christianity.

So, when are you God-loving and Jesus-loving Christians coming to throw the Atheists (like myself) and other non-believers into ovens? How much time do we have left?

I hope that the decent Christians are outraged by all of this sort of thing.
 

daniel49

Diamond Member
Jan 8, 2005
4,814
0
71
Originally posted by: WhipperSnapper
The next time an anti-abortion wacko kills people, if it's discovered that he had the game in his possession at his home, might the families of the victims then attempt to sue the makers and distributors of the game for inciting violence?

Murdering people who don't agree with you--is that really what Jesus would have wanted? I wonder if sincere Christians will denounce these people as anti-Christian and evil? Heck, these guys are the Taliban of Christianity.

So, when are you God-loving and Jesus-loving Christians coming to throw the Atheists (like myself) and other non-believers into ovens? How much time do we have left?

I hope that the decent Christians are outraged by all of this sort of thing.

You busy next tuesday?;)
 

Beev

Diamond Member
Apr 20, 2006
7,775
0
0
What a fvcking piece of sh!t game. Though if it has friendly fire then I'm sure as hell buying it.
 

HombrePequeno

Diamond Member
Mar 7, 2001
4,657
0
0
Reading a review from IGN, it looks like all of this was exaggerated. You don't win the game by killing non-believers, you win it by praying and converting them. Killing them actually gives you negative points or something like that. Also there are Arabic sounding names on the good side as well.
 

catnap1972

Platinum Member
Aug 10, 2000
2,607
0
76
Originally posted by: HombrePequeno
Reading a review from IGN, it looks like all of this was exaggerated. You don't win the game by killing non-believers, you win it by praying and converting them.Killing them actually gives you negative points or something like that.
Not to worry--the religious right is diligently working on a patch to fix that grievous error.
 

bamacre

Lifer
Jul 1, 2004
21,030
1
61
Originally posted by: WhipperSnapper
So, when are you God-loving and Jesus-loving Christians coming to throw the Atheists (like myself) and other non-believers into ovens? How much time do we have left?
:roll:

Sometimes I think it is we who will suffer those consequences.

 

ProfJohn

Lifer
Jul 28, 2006
18,251
4
0
What a non story.
First no one is buying the game, every story I went to had them stacked on the shelf and even the IGN review points out that no one seems to be playing it on-line.
Second, does anyone remember ABC doing stories about critics ripping movies such as the Omen or the slew of video games filled with demons and devils?

I guess a video game where you go around killing and destroying everything on sight is ok, but a game where you have to pray and convert non-believers is not?

And Deal, I thought you were in the ACLU and all about or civil liberties. Why then do you object to this video game, aren?t the creators just practicing their right to free speech and expression? You don?t like what they are saying with the game then don?t buy it, pretty simple.
 

imported_Shivetya

Platinum Member
Jul 7, 2005
2,978
1
0
Typical of critics is that they take the violence out of context.

I don't have the game. I have read the books and I have read the controversy.

Let the market decide.
 

Genx87

Lifer
Apr 8, 2002
41,061
494
126
Heh, killing in a video game? Somebody call Hillary, we need a new law to protect the kids!

 

DealMonkey

Lifer
Nov 25, 2001
13,136
1
0
Originally posted by: ProfJohn
And Deal, I thought you were in the ACLU and all about or civil liberties. Why then do you object to this video game, aren?t the creators just practicing their right to free speech and expression? You don?t like what they are saying with the game then don?t buy it, pretty simple.
That's true and you'll notice that nowhere did I suggest that the game somehow be banned, stifled, or otherwise made unavailable. Nor did I suggest any sort of protest. Nevertheless, it still disturbs me that self-professed "Christians" would create such a violent PoS video game like this. The hypocrisy is overwhelming.
 

cumhail

Senior member
Apr 1, 2003
682
0
0
Originally posted by: ProfJohn
You don?t like what they are saying with the game then don?t buy it, pretty simple.
I haven't seen the OP nor anyone else suggest otherwise. I agree that the best one could/should hope for would be that people choose not to buy and/or play this game. But that doesn't mean that people can't be disgusted with this game, with its creators, and with people promoting it.

I'm curious, though... If we were talking about a game about an end-of-days battle, from the muslim perspective, where players of the game could choose to either convert or kill off the non-believers, with an option to pray, afterwards, to keep your character going, would you be as open-minded about it? Would you be willing to defend it on the grounds of free speech and call to question why anyone would voice displeasure about it?
 

Schadenfroh

Elite Member
Mar 8, 2003
38,416
4
0
Originally posted by: HombrePequeno
Reading a review from IGN, it looks like all of this was exaggerated. You don't win the game by killing non-believers, you win it by praying and converting them. Killing them actually gives you negative points or something like that. Also there are Arabic sounding names on the good side as well.
Hmm, the OP is somewhat misleading then......
 

Corbett

Diamond Member
Jun 8, 2005
3,074
0
76
Originally posted by: DealMonkey
Originally posted by: ProfJohn
And Deal, I thought you were in the ACLU and all about or civil liberties. Why then do you object to this video game, aren?t the creators just practicing their right to free speech and expression? You don?t like what they are saying with the game then don?t buy it, pretty simple.
That's true and you'll notice that nowhere did I suggest that the game somehow be banned, stifled, or otherwise made unavailable. Nor did I suggest any sort of protest. Nevertheless, it still disturbs me that self-professed "Christians" would create such a violent PoS video game like this. The hypocrisy is overwhelming.
Yes I can totally see how Christians creating a video game that encourages evangelizing and praying could be considered "overwhelmingly hypocritical". You gotta be kidding me.
 

Arglebargle

Senior member
Dec 2, 2006
892
1
81
They should probably catch flak for it being a poor game. Has anyone actually played it? Usually these types of things are severely deficit in design and fun.
 

Rainsford

Lifer
Apr 25, 2001
17,515
0
0
Originally posted by: Corbett
Originally posted by: DealMonkey
Originally posted by: ProfJohn
And Deal, I thought you were in the ACLU and all about or civil liberties. Why then do you object to this video game, aren?t the creators just practicing their right to free speech and expression? You don?t like what they are saying with the game then don?t buy it, pretty simple.
That's true and you'll notice that nowhere did I suggest that the game somehow be banned, stifled, or otherwise made unavailable. Nor did I suggest any sort of protest. Nevertheless, it still disturbs me that self-professed "Christians" would create such a violent PoS video game like this. The hypocrisy is overwhelming.
Yes I can totally see how Christians creating a video game that encourages evangelizing and praying could be considered "overwhelmingly hypocritical". You gotta be kidding me.
If that was all it encouraged, you might have a point. But look at some reviews of the game, it's pretty clear it encourages more "Grand Theft Auto" style Christianity.
 

ProfJohn

Lifer
Jul 28, 2006
18,251
4
0
Originally posted by: DealMonkey
Originally posted by: ProfJohn
And Deal, I thought you were in the ACLU and all about or civil liberties. Why then do you object to this video game, aren?t the creators just practicing their right to free speech and expression? You don?t like what they are saying with the game then don?t buy it, pretty simple.
That's true and you'll notice that nowhere did I suggest that the game somehow be banned, stifled, or otherwise made unavailable. Nor did I suggest any sort of protest. Nevertheless, it still disturbs me that self-professed "Christians" would create such a violent PoS video game like this. The hypocrisy is overwhelming.
I am not sure it is hypocritical since the book it is based on his filled with violence.
 

Skyclad1uhm1

Lifer
Aug 10, 2001
11,383
87
91
Can you decide to join the other side and start killing the religious freaks? That would be fun :D

Btw, how come the main character is still on the Earth if all the 'true believers' were taken away?
 

GoPackGo

Diamond Member
Oct 10, 2003
6,211
186
106
Originally posted by: Skyclad1uhm1
Can you decide to join the other side and start killing the religious freaks? That would be fun :D

Btw, how come the main character is still on the Earth if all the 'true believers' were taken away?
Because there are more Growing Pains reunions to be made.
 

ElFenix

Elite Member
Super Moderator
Mar 20, 2000
101,424
5,497
126
Originally posted by: Skyclad1uhm1
Can you decide to join the other side and start killing the religious freaks? That would be fun :D

Btw, how come the main character is still on the Earth if all the 'true believers' were taken away?
the ign review says that people after the 'rapture' figured out that the 'rapture' happened and suddenly became good christians. your character must be one of those.





anyway, i still don't have any clue what the rapture is or where they got the idea. they never mentioned it in church on sundays. first i saw it, i think, was in the 'our dumb century' book published by the onion.
 

amddude

Golden Member
Mar 9, 2006
1,711
1
76
You have to understand the religious context of this game. Christians believe that there will come a moment in the future where suddenly all the believers will vanish (like, literally leaving their clothes where they stood). Once this happens, this UN-style NWO gov't will begin to take control. Eventually this gov't will be controlled by the anti-christ (think satan possessed dude) and will begin to hunt down and kill all people who don't believe in HIM (christians, muslims, whatever). So anyone who becomes a christian after these events would be under constant fear of death.
 

HombrePequeno

Diamond Member
Mar 7, 2001
4,657
0
0
Originally posted by: Skyclad1uhm1
Can you decide to join the other side and start killing the religious freaks? That would be fun :D

Btw, how come the main character is still on the Earth if all the 'true believers' were taken away?
You actually can in the multiplayer part. Unfortunately it looks like nobody plays it online.
 

ElFenix

Elite Member
Super Moderator
Mar 20, 2000
101,424
5,497
126
Originally posted by: amddude
You have to understand the religious context of this game. Christians believe that there will come a moment in the future where suddenly all the believers will vanish (like, literally leaving their clothes where they stood).
i'm still trying to figure out how i completely missed that in sunday school
 

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