Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Convert Or Be Destroyed

Scott points us to this post on the Left Behind video game. It's written from the POV of a faithful Christian, and it's interesting to see that its focus is on the commercialization (sp?) of a sacred belief. Scott touches on this as well in the comments section. This would seem to confirm to me that the target audience for this thing isn't moderate Christians.

Regular readers of Codemorse know that I harbor something close to disgust at the popular Left Behind series. As an admirer of Christ, and as a newly-minted proponent of the sort of theology espoused by philosophers like Rudolf Otto (big ups to Scott for pointing me toward The Idea Of The Holy, a fascinating and wonderful book), I find the Left Behind books to be disturbing, frightening things.

Mostly, this is because of the book's central philosophy: those who do not convert to evangelical Christianity are doomed to death in a holocaust brought by God. The "infidels" are murdered, starved, possessed, and generally obilterated in the name of God's "love." Does that sound familiar to anyone? Is it, perhaps, reminiscent of radical Islamist theology?*

Further backing up my view of Dominonist theology as essentially harmful is the news of a new Christian videogame, based off of the Left Behind novels:

Left Behind: Eternal Forces simulates armed conflict in an apocalyptic New York City setting evocative of 9/11 between an armed paramilitary Christian organization known as the Tribulation Force and the forces of the Anti-Christ known as the Global Community Peacekeepers, who are deliberately reminiscent of the United Nations Peacekeepers....

....Gameplay incidents such as the execution style shooting of unarmed Peacekeeper nurses and civilians who fail to convert[
citation needed], indicating they have sided with the Anti-Christ in the book series worldview.....Arguments that Left Behind: Eternal Forces refrains from depicting cop-killing, criminal behavior, or "radical extremists killing in the name of God" are debateable in light of the fact that Global Community Peacekeepers are the police force of the book series world, the Tribulation Force is engaging in criminal behaviors within the context of the game, and they appear to be killing in the name of God considering they declare "Praise the Lord!" in the midst of their militaristic actions....

Christian speakers have called the multiplayer feature, allowing gamers to play from the perspective of the Anti-Christ's forces, into question. As Global Community Peacekeepers, players are able to play as demons that consume Tribulation Force units. Detractors have suggested this feature takes away from the stated inspirational goal of Left Behind Games by making the forces seem equally matched or encouraging violent, antichristian roleplay.

Here's the game description as given by the Left Behind Games official site:

Wage a war of apocalyptic proportions in LEFT BEHIND: Eternal Forces - a real-time strategy game based upon the best-selling LEFT BEHIND book series....Conduct physical & spiritual warfare : using the power of prayer to strengthen your troops in combat and wield modern military weaponry throughout the game world. Enjoy a robust single player experience across dozens of New York City maps in Story Mode –fighting in China Town , SoHo , Uptown and more!

Gosh, that doesn't sound like radical Islam at all.

*This is a rhetorical question.


At 1:02 PM, Blogger Scott Roche said...

Yeah I think I can safely agree with you on the weirdness of this. The Thinklings wrote some musings on this as well.

I find the theology on LB to be questionable at best, the writing to be dodgy if not outright bad, and after someone pointed out the rampant anti-semitism I felt even more glad that I had stopped after the fifth or sixth book.

To turn something that is supposed to be so vital, holy, and awe inspiring to someone who believes in it into a video game (much less a bad fiction) seems to at least border on the blasphemous.

Glad you're digging on Otto, btw. I was recemmending him second hand.

At 1:11 PM, Blogger codemorse said...

Digging on him hard, bro.

It's a new experience to read someone as thoughtful as Otto and to constantly feel as though he's articulating your own opinions.

It's really, really good. I recommend checking it out. I think you'd like it.

At 1:15 PM, Blogger Scott Roche said...

I'm sure I probably would. The list of books I need to read has long ago outstipped the time I have to read them. But I guess I should make books that I reccomend a priority on that list huh?

At 2:35 PM, Blogger Jabawacefti said...

This is a pretty sweet synopsis of the Left Behind Movies on DVD:


At 7:28 PM, Blogger codemorse said...


Think I'll steer clear of those.

Though, myabe I should have a "cult" film night, where the movies aren't actual "cult classics," but rather, films that are weird and cult-like.

I could start with Left Behind, then move on to What The Bleep Do You Know?! and end with Crazy McCrazy Pants' Big Movie Adventure.

I'm not sure the third one exists, but hey.


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