Okay, I found something to write about. (Edited for clarity)

Left Behind is now a PC game.
As much as I like to poke fun at the success of Lehay and Jenkins, I won't. It would take far too much time. (And The Door has already done such a good job of satirizing the phenomenon, what more can I say?)

What I do need to say is that Christians should embrace the idea of the game in the same way they would embrace any artistic or literary endeavour. Naturally, the same should be true of the secular media; after all, what would they have to gain from "boycotting" Christian video games?
Apparently, they have a lot to gain.

When news about this game started getting around last year, I was unsure of how to respond. All of the reports I saw were overwhelmingly negative, except for a few promotional blurbs that didn't seem to address the contentions. Now that the game is out and we have a few reviews from reputable sources and people who have actually played the game, the situation is clear.

There are forces (and people) in the world who don't like Christians, and they will do whatever it takes to give us a bad name. Reading the comments on some of these articles is amazing; these people don't seem to understand how "bigoted" and "hypocritical" they are being when they submit to the FUD that's being spread. The talk2action articles are especially interesting, in that Hutson
a) calls himself a Christian
b)is constantly going out of his way to condemn the right-wing/evangelical/mainstream church/Christians
c) weasels his way around his own ignorance.
He hasn't played the game (and that should be a big warning sign right there), so either he's blindly selecting the "evidence" from other articles and not understanding the contradictory statements, or he's just not telling us everything he knows. In cases like these, is it better to insult a person's intelligence by assuming they don't know how to read, or to assume that they're lying?
The funniest thing about all of these arguments is that they sound like all of the arguments I used to hear about Heavy Metal, except that the sides have switched. Hutson's biggest beef seems to be the prospect of a "dominionist army" being trained by videogames and Rick Warren books; doesn't that sound an awful lot like the descriptions of the Heavy Metal scene we've all heard (and that are popularly mocked by secular writers)? How is Jonathan Hutson any different that Jack Chick? They both say that they're Christians, and last time I checked the best sign of Christianinty was giving glory to God and his son. Which one of these two actually shows this trait in what he does?
I'll repeat what I said earlier: we should take exactly the same approach with this game that we take with music and even literature: not all of it edifies us or glorifies God, and we probably shouldn't waste our time with that stuff. That said, I think that Jack Chick was sometimes wrong when he condemned (insert cultural phenomenon here.) If there's something (even a latent something) in artistic works that can edify us, then I think we have good reasons to pay attention. Holst doesn't explicitly glorify God with his music, but there's something intrinsic to good music that makes it worthwhile. If anything, it stimulates my thoughts about glory and wonder. Pink Floyd doesn't always stimulate glory and wonder, but thoughts about the nature of the human soul are important, and prog rock spends a lot of time musing over those thoughts.
(Besides, good music is good music; Wagner was an atheistic bigot, but "the ride of the Valkyries" is still good to listen to every once in a while for the exhortational thrill.)

Anyway, it's sad that otherwise-intelligent Christians are listening to Hutson and his secularist friends, and trying to apologize for things they haven't done. (Or to stop other Christians from doing those things.) I'm glad that these petitions are directed at the publisher of the game, and not at an external regulatory body, but the petition is still written without sufficient understanding of the situation.

If anything, I have a problem with the non-committal kinds of responses from the game's creators. Naturally they don't want to walk into the traps set by their detractors by giving quotes that could be used against them, but I'd like to hear that they're in this for something more than "quality gaming." If I want to play a quality strategy game that allows for non-violent action, there are plenty of options already out there. Art is good when it's for God's glory, and it's idolatrous when it's oriented toward self. That's how these things work. Read the Pentateuch.

I don't have a lot of time for games right now (I've got a backlog of games-to-play even longer than the one of books-to-read,) but I would probably buy Left Behind: Eternal Forces if I did. The greatest achievement of computer games is the ability to present the player with a moral (or existential) choice and force them to live with the consequences; action role-playing games have been working on this kind of interactivity for a while, but I think that this game could be a milestone in that development.
Time to go write a letter to crosswalk...

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