A violation of Christianity’s prime directive

Evangelicals must repudiate this product (see below). It goes without saying that liberal Christians will do so.

The prime directive of Christians is, Do not bring Christ into disrepute. The game does precisely that, in a big way.

According to Jonathan Hutson, “You are on a mission – both a religious mission and a military mission — to convert or kill Catholics, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, gays, and anyone who advocates the separation of church and state — especially moderate, mainstream Christians. … The dialogue includes people saying, “Praise the Lord,” as they blow infidels away.”

Here’s the promo video, made available to churches.

The game is licensed by Tyndale House, a reputable evangelical publisher. Here’s another quote from Jonathan Hutson:

Tyndale also publishes Bringing Up Boys and The Complete Marriage and Family Home Reference Guide by Focus on the Family founder James Dobson, PhD. Mr. Dobson has advised parents to monitor the amount of time children spend playing video games and “avoid the violent ones altogether.” But he has not yet stated his views on whether there should be an exception for video games that role play gunplay in the name of Christ, or of the AntiChrist.

Tyndale’s licensing of the project infuriated one of its authors, Jack Thompson…. “It’s absurd,” said the video critic. “You can be the Christians blowing away the infidels, and if that doesn’t hit your hot button, you can be the Antichrist blowing away all the Christians.”

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11 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Mary P
    Nov 16, 2006 @ 19:57:39

    I think I’m going to puke.

    This is “CHRISTIAN”? Jesus “he who lives by the sword (or the submachine gun) will die by it” is supposed to approve of this? This is a promo video to for churches, to convince good, Christian people to buy this thing, this malevolent, evil thing? Those are not “units”, those are human beings.

    I’ll bet God is just thrilled to know that he’s the “good guy” in such a game.

    I have rarely been more offended. Shame on you, Tyndale.

    Reply

  2. Bill
    Nov 17, 2006 @ 01:00:13

    I went to their website to see just what this game was about they have a three page defense of it as a “strategy game” The whole thing is nonsense, comparing it to chess is like comparing Tia Chi to two guys fighting with chainsaws.

    The real kicker is the claim that “there are no ‘objectives’ to cause war physically. However, physical warfare results when the player is required to defend against the physical forces of evil; led by the Global Community Peacekeepers.” what’s the difference? and notice the jab against the UN Peacekeepers.

    While the dispensationalism that breeds this left behind mentality might have some validity in scripture (a bit of a reach at times) From anything I have read those that are left behind spread the message of Christ and die as martyrs. The object being spreading the word and dying for it, not shooting up the enemy. The battle is for souls not survival.

    I love the last statement “If you hear someone making negative statements about this game, we encourage you to ask if they have personally reviewed the game. If they are merely passing on hearsay, it is false and misleading information.” So if you think this game is violent then you must be a liar?

    Call me a liar even the promo is violent I don’t need to download this piece of trash to see the rest of the carnage.

    Reply

  3. Bill
    Nov 17, 2006 @ 01:05:01

    Just a bit of insight one of the objectives of this game is “Conduct physical & spiritual warfare : using the power of prayer to strengthen your troops in combat and wield modern military weaponry throughout the game world.” I guess modern military weaponry is humane and nonviolent. Most definitely Christian ? NOT VERY LIKELY !

    Reply

  4. Bill
    Nov 17, 2006 @ 01:16:55

    Okay I have decided to download the demo just as not to be accused of being ” merely passing on hearsay, . . . false and misleading information.”

    I will post a review on it on The Art of the Rant, I really don’t expect my review to be as positive as these folks might like.

    Reply

  5. Stephen
    Nov 17, 2006 @ 07:19:08

    • Mary P.
    Shame on Tyndale House, indeed. I didn’t know that they are the publishers of the Left Behind books, which gives a stamp of respectability to a very dubious series. But books are their business, and I suppose they can underwrite worthier material via the profits from Left Behind books.

    The game is something else altogether. To be fair, Tyndale isn’t directly responsible for the product. But they had to agree to its production, and no doubt they’ll make money from the licensing. They have a moral obligation to ask, Will this product bring Christ into disrepute? And if the answer is yes, they should have refused to license it.

    • Bill:
    “Objectives” is gamer talk (as you probably know): the claim is that you don’t win at this game by killing people. And I note from the promo that the good guys lose spiritual power when they are forced to kill. But the claim is a half truth at best, since you then quote one of the objectives as “conduct physical and spiritual warfare”.

    But let’s deconstruct the defence a bit further. What they’re really saying is, “We only kill people when the bad guys initiate hostilities. Therefore our killing is justifiable and good.” If we carry that argument over to the real world, it’s a very problematic, black and white position. Whenever the USA or the Israelis kill, we’re supposed to believe they were justified in doing so. And that’s the binary mindset this game would inculcate.

    I’m sensitive to the concern that the game may be misrepresented by critics who are hostile to Christianity. There’s another video on Youtube by some pagan priestess, and actually it’s pretty good, but I decided not to use it.
    I opted for the promo video because if there’s a bias at work, it’s a bias in favour of the product. Readers of my blog don’t have to rely on Hutson’s description of the game (which I can’t substantiate): they can view the promo video and form their own conclusions.

    Reply

  6. juggling mother
    Nov 17, 2006 @ 15:37:57

    eeewww!

    Doesn’t this contravene some law against inciting religious hatred? I’m reasonably sure it wouldn’t be possible to sell it in the UK for that reason.

    Reply

  7. juggling mother
    Nov 17, 2006 @ 15:49:19

    I just don’t get how mass slaughter in the name of “good” (or, i suppose “evil”) somehow makes it moral to allow your kids to play a massively violent game.

    Reply

  8. Jamie
    Nov 19, 2006 @ 16:48:40

    Not much to say on this. It’s really sick.

    Reply

  9. Bill
    Nov 20, 2006 @ 12:48:56

    Okay I played it it isn’t all that violent but still too violent for a so called “Christian” game
    It is lacking in many aspects it doesn’t function like a standard adventure game and is awkward to control and it jumps at least on my machine.

    If I was a gamer I would be disappointed and as a Christian I am disgusted. I was going to rate it on The Art of the Rant but the game really isn’t worth a review.

    This is my analysis Don’t Buy It it is an also ran game and it sends a wrong message about Christianity.

    Reply

  10. 49erDweet
    Nov 21, 2006 @ 09:53:24

    Stephen, Tyndale House does specialize in publishing to the “Christian” trade, true. But for many years it has NOT been reputable within the evangelical community of which I am a member. It is just like any other world-wide publisher, so please do not attach any undeserved cachet to its products. It is meant for a profit, not a prophet

    And the author of the jacket blurb has obviously flunked evangelicalism 101. I would dread to be a fellow member of his distorted view faith-based community.

    Good posting, otherwise. No arguments from me. Seems like a dumb idea, even if it doesn’t break any laws of nations which still support free speech – of which there seem to be fewer and fewer.

    Cheers

    Reply

  11. Stephen
    Nov 21, 2006 @ 15:15:09

    • Juggling Mother:
    Doesn’t this contravene some law against inciting religious hatred?
    That’s an interesting question. I haven’t played the game myself, but if players are supposed to kill members of identified groups, maybe you’d have a case.
    • 49er:
    for many years it has NOT been reputable within the evangelical community of which I am a member.
    It has been a long time since I was closely affiliated with evangelicals. I was thinking, in particular, of the Tyndale commentary series, which is thoroughly evangelical.
    Seems like a dumb idea, even if it doesn’t break any laws of nations which still support free speech.
    I’m not suggesting that sale of the game should be illegal (though JM’s point warrants consideration). But evangelical groups should exercise their own right to free speech and say, “This game doesn’t reflect the values or beliefs of our community, and we don’t plan to buy it for our children.”

    Reply

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