2007-01-19

"Evangelical" has apparently been left behind to follow "Antichrist"

On July 05 2006 I posted a critique of the anti-Christian video game (made by Evangelical Christians) called "Left Behind" (in honor of the novel series of the same name). Today, I receieved a comment from a blogger named "SJR" who claims to work for Left Behind video games. I want to post his comment, my response to his comment, and my original article:

--------------------------------------
SJR's complete comment (with the points I want to comment on numbered in brackets []):

This statement is posted from an employee of Left Behind Games on behalf of Troy Lyndon, our Chief Executive Officer.

There has been in incredible amount of MISINFORMATION published in the media and in online blogs here and elsewhere.

Pacifist Christians and other groups are taking the game material out of context to support their own causes [1]. There is NO “killing in the name of God” and NO “convert or die” [2]. There are NO “negative portrayals of Muslims” and there are NO “points for killing” [3].

Please play the game demo for yourself (to at least level 5 of 40) to get an accurate perspective [4], or listen to what CREDIBLE unbiased experts are saying [5] after reviewing the game at www.leftbehindgames.com/pages/controversy.htm

Then, we’d love to hear your feedback as an informed player. The reality is that we’re receiving reports everyday of how this game is positively affecting lives by all who play it [6].

Thank you for taking the time to be a responsible blogger [7].
--------------------------------------

My response to SJR:


SJR,

You response evidently comes from a propagandist who has not actually read the content of my blog, as several of your comments deal with things I do not mention or say (as will be shown below). Here are my responses:

[1] I am not a pacifist Christian. I am a "Just War" theorist along the lines of CS Lewis and Thomas Aquinas (as my blog makes clear, but you have not seemed to read). I have not taken material out of context. I have quoted in full from the FAQ section of the Left Behind Games website, as it was written in July 2006.

The quotes in blue (both here and on the original blog) are quotes from YOUR side, not mine. My commentary is always added by brackets [].

[2] If you kill someone as a representative of God, on a mission from God (as the players in the game do), you are killing in the Name of God, because as Christians (notice CHRIST in that last word?) we bear the Name of our God, Jesus Christ the Lord. Everything we do (everything!) is done in Christ's Name. That is why the Hebrew text of the third commandment tells us not to "bear" or "carry" the Name of God "in vain". "Vain" in Hebrew means "empty". We are not to carry God's (i.e. Christ's) Name in a way that empties it of its meaning, or diminishes his reputation.

And what you do in this game- as a "Christian" gaming company in which "Christian" characters kill non-believers on a mission from Christ- empties Christ's Name.

I believe that there is "a time for war and a time for peace… a time to kill and a time to heal" as the Teacher tells us in Ecclesiastes. But that time for war is only done by God's appointed instrument, government, who alone is given "the sword" to protect the innocent (cf. Rom. 13). Any other wielding of the "sword" by Christians, either in this world or a virtual world, empties the Name, the reputation, and the grace of Christ.

And you are right. There is no "convert or die" (not that I ever said there was!). But there is "if you are not converted, you will die". You do kill people who are non-Christians in the game for the sheer reason that they stand against your "[anti]Christian mission". Which is worse? If it was "convert or die", at least you would give them a chance to live before slaughtering them.

[3] I never said you portray Muslims negatively. Only Christians.

And while there are no "points" for killing, you do achieve victory by killing. And which is worse? Really?

The game and website makes it clear that killing by Christan gameplayers will result in "lowered spirit points", which could make them vulnerable to converting to be anti-Christians. However, if "prayer warriors" pray for our freedom fighters while they are killing the enemy, it will keep their spirit-points from dropping. So, I guess it is OK to commit carnage as long as people are praying for you to remain spiritually strong? Come on, this is nothing but propaganda!

[4] I have played the game for myself (and so have over a dozen of my friends in ministry). First, it is fairly boring. Second, everything I have said is true.

[5] Hitler had thousands of "credible experts" from fields of science, medicine, psychology, sociology, law, history, philosophy, and even theology, all claiming to be "UNBIASED", who gave "CREDIBLE" support to his genocide and war. In reality, there is no such thing as "unbiased". Everyone comes at the data from their own perspective (even me). The question is, which perspective lines up with Christ, His Gospel, and the teaching of His Church? The teaching of the Church is not unbiased. It is biased toward what is true, good, and beautiful. The Gospel is a very biased proclamation of Christ's Lordship over all, and salvation from all sin. Your game, on some very important points, does not line up Christian teaching or the Gospel.

In fact, it is actively opposed to it.

Your "credible" witnesses and [un]BIASED experts are false teachers, justifying something that cannot be justified. You are making money, hand over fist, by selling out your Lord and His Gospel into a "virtual" justification for killing.

In Nazi Germany, there was a "state church" called "evangelical" (for that is what the Lutheran church is called there). While the "evangelical church" of the Nazis stood for Hitler and his policies, there arose a "confessing church" that stood against him. It was led by Deitrich Bonhoeffer. This was not strictly a pacifist movement, although it stood against Hitler's war. Maybe it is time for a confessing church to arise in our own country to oppose the deceptions advocated by our own evangelicals and their leaders.

[6] If you are receiving reports of people who are "positively affected" by playing this game, and the results are shown by fruits of passionate love for Christ, and persistent love for their neighbors (all of them, especially non-Christians!), was well as fruits of peace, patience, kgoodness, kindness, gentleness, faith, and self control (cf. Mat 22.37-40; Gal 5.22-23), then I say bavo and amen!

But, if by "positively affected" means they really enjoyed being plugged into a game killing people for hours upon hours, then I say woe to you. If by "positively affected" you mean that they got scared as hell of a wrathful God, and then they said a sinner's prayer to get fire insurance from hell, then I say woe to you. If by "positively affected" you mean they can parrot off the right doctrinal statement, but they have no change of life that makes them a more Christ-like person, then I say woe to you.

Lots of drugs and addictions "positively affect" people while they are high, only to make them sick and dysfunctional after the high.

[7] Yes, I am a responsible blogger. That is why I am telling you to repent. You have chosen to follow the Antichrist, who has cleverly gotten you to advocate a game about a false Antichrist, while it trains young Christians to be REAL antichrists.

You must repent, and turn from the Antichrist represented by your company philosophy. Repent, or the refining fire of God's all-consuming Love will burn down your life and reveal that the true foundation of your work is sin and evil (cf. 1Co 3). Repent for using Christ as a way to make a buck. Repent and turn toward the God who came into human history as Christ Jesus, to destroy the works of the devil, and to bring about a Kingdom where tools of war will be "beat into plowshares". Read Jesus' condemnations of the ultra-nationalistic, ultra-legalistic, pro-war religious conservatives of his day (cf. Mat 23). Realize that it is also YOU he is condemning, and turn from mis-representing him through this game. Repent and become a "confessing Christian" that confesses Christ in word AND deed, in what we produce AND what we advocate. Repent, before you find out that it is Christ Himself that you have "left behind".
Post a Comment
This is a bunch of stuff to make us think hard about our incredible love affair with the God of the universe, our astounding infidelities against him, and his incredible grace to heal and restore us through Christ. Everything on this site is copyright © 1996-2015 by Nathan L. Bostian so if you use it, cite me... otherwise you break the 8th commandment, and make God unhappy. You can contact the author by posting a comment.