Monday, November 12, 2007

Eternal Forces

Again, relativly old news, but I would really like to hear your response.



The "New" (well, now old, 'cause I am slow) Left Behind video game. Check out the video:





Check out this response from Alternet.


Questions:

1. What is your reaction to the game itself?

2. AlterNet's responded to both the game itself and Left Behind's requests of the Christian community. What is your reaction to their reactions?

Looking for responses. Zac, I'm counting on you for sure. :-)

9 comments:

chris said...

1. I actually played a demo of the game. There were no bodies left strewn about in my wake. Not a single one. I died a lot, though, if that's of any consolation to people.
Further, the game itself sucked. The graphics were awful, the sound was terrible, the gameplay was useless, and there was never any clear description of what I ought to be doing. I gave it .5 out of 5 stars, only because I thought it had a funny concept.

2. I'm unsurprised and apathetic? Of course it would all look like foolishness to someone who, as the author admits, takes joy in vandalism of property, specifically that of churches. Just ignorant vitriol. I filed it under "ignored."
Interestingly, I file a lot of stuff under this category...

sarah said...

I have not played this game but I have seen lots of clips and screenshots, and read several reviews by people who have. I think the general consensus is that on the whole, as far as quality of gameplay goes, Left Behind sucks on every level. Bad, bad, bad.

As for the concept of the game itself, I think the entire enterprise is shameful. To be fair, you can play through the whole game without 'wasting' any of the infidels in your path. But if you DO waste one, and you lose 'spirit' points for it, all you have to do to get back to full spiritual health is go off and pray a bit (again, from what I've read). I bet we all wish life were that easy! To me this game only encourages the violent imagery underlying fundamentalist religion and feeds the smarmy attitudes of those faithful who are actually PLEASED at the thought of leaving the heathen to a wrathful end while they go up to their mansions in the sky. It's all sick and twisted.

Bryan said...

OH MY GOODNESS. I haven't seen this before, I chalked it up to the same stupidity as the board game and not worth my time of day. This preview is HILARIOUS - that's my first reaction.

Secondary reaction? Makes me want to smack somebody upside the head. How stupid is this idea? Seriously? Do the creators think that this game is in any way going to bring glory and honour to God? What kind of pipe were they smoking, and how isolated are the creators from anyone who does not know Christ?

I believe in the rapture, but I think it should serve as a motivation to share the gospel, not create crappy video games.

Zac said...

I have no experience with the game, but I do on the other hand have experience with the Left Behind novels. I read a few of them years back when I was still sorting through much of my own understanding of the end times, etc.

My reaction to this game is one of utter sadness. Sadness both for those who do not call themselves Christians (for they see themselves all the more as write-offs to those who are "headed for eternal glory") and for those who are Christians who buy into this crap.

What is instructive here is what this game points to. Among many other things, it points to exactly that which is counter to the gospel. Namely, a desire to control and understand our fate. The Gospel doesn't promise escape but rather radical engagement with the world in such a way as to recognize God's work here and now.

This game inspires me all the more to advocate for eternity as something NOW. Not to say that there won't be a decisive inbreaking of God in the future, but rather that that inbreaking will be a restoration of creation, not its destruction after the "faithful" have left it behind to rot.

In the end, I pray that the Gospel may stand as a counter-narrative to the narratives in poorly made video games; a narrative that calls people to a radical love for the stuff of this earth; for a radical love of people and all of creation by acknowledging finitude and the interpenetration between life and death; for a real grappling with life that does not make "Faith, Hope and Love" into concepts to elevate us into safety, but propell us into the stuff of the real.

"Existence is robbed of its weight, its gravity, when it is deprived of its agon. Instead of insinuating that illness may better prepare you for the earthly impossibilities, these enchiridions [reference books] on Faith, Hope and Love would condemn you to seek blissful, deathless, cosmic emptiness -- the repose without the revel."

-- Gillian Rose, Love's Work: A Reckoning With Life,106.

chris said...

Zac,

Really? Eternity as something now? I disagree entirely. I think one of the greatest shortcomings of the postmodern "church" is the inability/unwillingness to be "Heavenly-minded." What else do we hope for if not an eternity in the presence of our God? And if it is not to share that eternity with others, why bother living a life here that demonstrates that hope?

To clarify, though, I would say our living in a Christ-like way HERE comes as fruit of our being focussed on our real home. We are, if we take the Bible seriously, merely temporary residents in this place. As such, we ought to look after it and the people in it as much as possible, but we dare not lose sight of our real home. To do that trades the glorious for the merely nice.

Zac said...

Chris,

I would have to also disagree with you. Especially your last sentence:

"To do that trades the glorious for the merely nice."

There are numerous scriptural passages that speak of creation as GOOD! Of course there was the fall and creation has gone awry, but that doesn't mean that God doesn't want to restore it. There are numerous OT images (as well as NT: for ex. The creation groans in expectation....) that speak of the creation being restored on the day of the Lord. Not merely otherworldly images of floating spirits, but actual earthly images of lions laying down with lambs...people making their swords into plows, etc.

Also, why on earth (pardon the pun) would we ever pray (as Jesus instructed us) for God's Kingdom to come on earth, as it is in heaven, if we are just taking off anyway?? Also, what about the imagery in Revelation where the New Jerusalem descends out of Heaven and God dwells among creation (Rev. 21:2-3).

I don't think that my humble interpretation is all that far off! As far as my eternity comment goes, I won't change my stance on that. Eternity is both a reality now and a future reality. We think way too linear in our concept of time.

As far as your comment about hope...absolutely we need to be hoping for that day when we will dwell in the city of God's light, but that hope is not something other than the hope that that light can somehow break through into out world now as part of the forshadowing to the Day of the Lord.

We need to be careful, yes. Not to focus so much on the temporality of life that we forget the fact that Christ has overcome all of that...but not so focused on a very specific concept of eternal destiny (namely one where we are rid of creation) that we forget the real love that God has for all that he has created and our responsibility in honoring God in his love.

I appreciate your comments. I just feel that I have had enough of the images that warrant escape. I don't think that that is necissarly what you are advocating, I just find that the hope for an otherworldy heaven is a dangerous tool for this earthly abuse.

Zac

chris said...

Zac,

Of course I should have used the word, "Good," instead of "nice." I accept the correction.

I'm not advocating an abuse or neglect of the world around us; we are clearly called to be the caretakers of this place, and that includes the creatures therein. My only concern is that I see a tendency to replace the Gospel truth (salvation through Christ alone, and the importance of actually speaking that into the lives of the people around us) with social activism. That, I think, is a fruit of that relationship with God, not a means to that relationship with God. That isn't what I hear you suggesting, I've only seen it happen that someone begins with your position and moves away from holding to be true anything about the necessity of actually telling people that without faith in Christ, they're going to Hell (And yes, I realise the words might change, to not feel like a punch in the nose, but the message remains).

Zac said...

Touche as per the comment on nice vs. good. I wasn't so much advocating the proper term (as I'm sure you know) as I was trying to question the use of the term. When you say "nice" that implies that what we have here is "merely" nice, and what we will have elsewhere will be so glorious in its differences from the merely nice place we live now that we will not recognize it whatsoever. What I am trying to say is what we have here is a foretaste...a look through a mirror dimly (to quote Paul) into what God's restored creation will look like...and yes it will be more glorious than we can imagine but what I want to suggest is it won't be other-worldly...but rather a transformed world.

In many ways, I can see this discussion going in circles so to leave it here I would like to think that we agree on one point at least: we are called to preach the gospel. How we do that and to what extent our "views" on the "end" will affect our method, is where we are going to disagree.

Yes...social activism can be a road to subduing the evangel...well...so can trying to save souls! Ultimately, we are always going to grapple with the tendency to take control...to make this our mission and forget God in this whole process; this whether or not we exist in the "save souls" camp or the "save the whales" camp (which by the way..I hate that distinction; I hate "camps" for that matter). We are always going to struggle with our responsibility to care for all of creation while at the same time not assuming to have taken control for God. In the end, I fear that we who feel nice and cozy at the end of a worship service too often resort to giving up responsibility for fear of getting it wrong. How scary it is that we are more willing to sell our faith in propositional terms (something we lovingly call the gospel) rather than by understanding Gospel as something that pertains to earthly justice (and yes, I think justice is important...and that in fact, most of the time, Jesus loved people before asking them to accept him as "their Lord and Savior". Ultimately we must be self-critical in our assumptions, fearing most how the day of the Lord is judgment not only for the "lost" but for us who are often ourselves lost: May we do well to hear the words of Amos:

Amos 5:18-24

Alas for you who desire the day of the LORD! Why do you want the day of the LORD? It is darkness, not light; as if someone fled from a lion, and was met by a bear; or went into the house and rested a hand against the wall, and was bitten by a snake. Is not the day of the LORD darkness, not light, and gloom with no brightness in it? I hate, I despise your festivals, and I take no delight in your solemn assemblies. Even though you offer me your burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them; and the offerings of well-being of your fatted animals I will not look upon. Take away from me the noise of your songs; I will not listen to the melody of your harps. But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.

Emily said...

Um...this is scary.
God is love.
Perfect love dispels all fear.