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Onward, Christian Geeks

JonKatz posted more than 14 years ago | from the Spiritual-Warfare-Breaks-Out dept.

United States 671

Last week "The War In Heaven," the world's first Christian action game, went on sale, opening a whole new chapter in the never-ending struggle between technology and the self-proclaimed forces of morality.

The arrival of the first Christian computer action game opens a whole new chapter in the never-ending struggle between technology and the self-proclaimed forces of morality.

In the post-Columbine era, when computer games, the Net and other elements of geek culture are being blamed for murder, nothing that used to make sense makes sense anymore.

The new idea seems to be that while opponents can condemn TV, movies and the Net for causing violence, violence can also be used to promote wholesomeness and spirituality. It's a confusing time to be a moral guardian.

Shipped to computer stores this week, "The War In Heaven" is Doom Meets the Bible. "It may sicken traditional gamers, but my gut feel is that this game will be a hit," said Ann Stephens, president of PC Data, Inc., a research firm that tracks the $1.5 billion-a-year PC market, predicted to the New York Times.

Until "The War In Heaven," software with overtly religious themes has tended to be staid and educational, like children's games that quiz players on their scriptural acumen. There is, for example, the big-budget, Christian audience-marketed "Charlton Heston's Voyage Through the Bible," a CD-Rom released in l995 with readings by Heston (now president of the National Rifle Association) and video clips of the Holy Land.

"The War In Heaven" is a different story. Players are confronted with hissing horned monsters wielding swords and other weapons. Not surprisingly, the Christian player has two choices. He can follow "The Divine Path of Obedience," become an angel and progress up the 12-level ascent to Heaven. Or he can opt for "The Fallen Path of Power," follow Lucifer, become a demon and war against blonde angels with silvery wings.

One might assume that a Christian game would forego violence, but gamers who have e-mailed me (I haven't seen the game myself) say that would be a mistake. There's mayhem and killing, but no splattering of blood or scattering of body parts. It's rated "T" by the Entertainment Software Rating Board -- suitable for those 13 and older. Maybe they should add an "H" rating for holy.

The game's designers -- Theodore Beale and Andrew Lunstad, co- founders of the software firm Eternal Warriors -- say they're trying to reach a broad audience of gamers reared on Doom, Unreal, Quake and Diablo. The idea seems to be that if there's any group in need of soul-saving, this is probably it.

God called him to design "The Wars In Heaven," Lundstad has told reporters, adding "Let's face it, when you have angels fighting demons, it is going to be controversial." The violence, its creators claim, is merely a role-playing depiction of "spiritual warfare," the notion that non-physical agents of good and evil (which might well include TV, movies, the Net, animation and recorded music) are constantly at war and that their behavior affects people on earth.

If a person chooses to play "The War In Heaven" as a demon, explains Lundstad, he progresses by disobeying the Bible. "You have to do things that are more and more distasteful, from blasphemy to striking a praying angel," he explained in an interview. Not surprisingly, the evil path leads to destruction.

I've personally never been fortunate enough to get a direct communication from God, though perhaps that's because he doesn't yet use e-mail. But without question, many geeks are already on the wrong path, loving stuff like "South Park" and "The Simpsons" as they do, Satan's productions all. (He was even in the last "South Park" movie.) They might actually revel in blasphemy and angel-bashing.

Technology, from film to TV to the Web, is often blamed for triggering spiritual failings and degradations. But the theological notion of spiritual warfare put technology and contemporary culture smack in the middle of an epic conflict, choosing between the pathway to God or the interstate to the other place.

Religion and freedom have never really gotten along, from the persecution of Galileo to the demands by Orthodox Jews that Jerusalem shut down its cinemas on Friday night to Islamic attacks on writers and reporters in some Middle Eastern countries. Technology, a disseminator of so much information, a force for freedom, has always come under fire as Satan's ally.

"The War in Heaven" turns this on its head. The new spirituality seems to work this way: if you obsessively kill characters on Diablo or Quake, you're an evil, perhaps even murderous geek who might one day turn on your neighbors and classmates. But if you slaughter demons en route to heaven, you are merely acting out the will of God.

Finally, the online devout can rationalize some of the many contradictions that arise when they blame pop culture and the digital age for violence among the young, which otherwise makes no sense at all.

American notions about violence, culture, technology and the young have been surreal for decades, in that they are hardly ever connected to truth or reality. Violence among the young has been plunging at the very same time parents, politicians, journalists and educators are up in arms about it.

Last week, the Justice Department announced that, for the first time in half a century, more people are using guns to kill themselves than to kill others.

This week, a New York Times/CBS News poll found that American teenagers' fears of and immediate experience with violence have diminished sharply in recent years, along with the crime rate. Teen-agers reported fewer problems with violence at school and in the streets and correspondingly fewer worries; the percentage who said they feared being victimized dropped from 40 per cent in l994.

There's never been any substantive evidence to support the idea that TV shows, movies or computers have been a factor in the recent series of shootings -- statistically rare but horrific nonetheless -- in American schools.

Nevertheless, journalists and politicians continue to link the killings with technology and pop culture, managing in the process to persuade a majority of the American public that movies and computer gaming are responsible for a worsening tide of violence among the corrupted young.

Such ideas seem more related to the Inquisition than to one of the world's most technologically advanced societies, but there they are.

Perhaps games like "The War In Heaven" suggest some looming confrontation, an Armageddon-like battle out there in the digital ether for the collective souls of geeks. It's one battle geeks are well prepared to fight. They'll grab their joysticks, deploy their amassed arsenals and rush out to meet the Millenial Crusaders. Geeks have been trained for this thier whole lives; the forces of righteousness will surely be blasted to bits.

The bad news is that if "The War In Heaven" sells, expect a slew of Christian (and soon, no doubt, Jewish and Muslim) save-the-soul games marketed by greedy Web entrepeneurs who want to appear wholesome while raking in big money. Sunday school might be in for some radical change.

The good news is that ultimately such developments will drive software censors and moral guardians nuts. CyberNanny, unable to distinguish between spiritual and secular slaughter of demons and digital blondes with wings, will soon be blocking God along with the Playboy website. The new boundaries of spiritual warfare are so fuzzy that it will no longer be possible to even pretend to be able to distinguish the allegedly good guys from the reputedly bad.

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Weird (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1589403)

This sounds so weird

Re:what OS's will it run on? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1589404)

i'll drink to that!

Re:what OS's will it run on? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1589405)

i can't post

is there a link? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1589406)

?

the game (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1589407)

Could be cool...

Re:is there a link? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1589408)

http://www.eternalwarriors.com/

The Lord has a homepage (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1589409)

http://www.trog.com/jesus/

This is so silly. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1589410)

Being agnostic, I can't help but laugh. Now I completely respect the pious in any religion, but this is plain CRAP. I would even go as far to say that the game developers know that the market that will play this game the most are the same people that would take the "dark" road. And they are banking on this.. If they had in mind the interests of the religious that they claim to support, they wouldn't have made this game.

Then again, as far as I'm concerned, angels and demons are as real as anything else found in Quake, Diablo, etc..

the power of toast (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1589411)

i think the game sound interesting. and possibly fun. i still think that some christian scookie fries will opposie it.

Re:is there a link? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1589412)

there's the website:
http://www.eternalwarriors.com [eternalwarriors.com]

unfortunatly you'll need the forces of evil(tm) official OS to play the game

Protubist

What about Requiem? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1589413)

It's true this takes religous games to a new level, but remember requiem? Same basic idea, minus the ability to follow Lucifer. Also very violent. Personally, I'm no longer suprised at humanity's ability to rationalize crass comercialism (or other atrocious acts) through religion.

On a similar note, the number 10 movie in the country last week was The Omega Code, a movie about the end of the world pulled straight from Revelations and aimed specifically at the 75 million evangelical Christains in the US. Yet another example of the justification violence and profit margins through god.

Jon Katz: What is your problem? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1589414)

These people make a game based on their own religious values and you mock it and bash it because you think they're criticizing people who play violent games?

Its one thing if they impede, or you feel impeded upon by what they are doing, but they're not. They're not ringing your doorbell trying to give you pamphlets. They're not screaming about abortion or the death penalty. What can you possibly have against them other then your divine ego that makes you sane and them insane for their beliefs?

If you consider yourself a journalist, then you're a bad one, because you've shown me no evidence of their hipocracy in making this game. If you don't consider yourself a journalist, then stop dumping trash on this site and looking for a constroversy... /. digs up enough of them on their own.

This appears to me to be nothing more then an attack on organized religion.

These people have absolutely no effect on you whatsoever, so why pick a beef with them?

Why is this a necessarily "Bad Thing" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1589415)

Bah humbug, Katz. You missed the entire point. Yes the game is a problem because it proposes a "Socially Acceptable" first-person shooter. The idea that it is socially acceptable stems directly from the fact that it has Christian themes. The problem inherent in the game is the assumption that "Christian" == "Socially Acceptable". And everyone has a different definition of "Christian". Some people think that definition includes the murder of doctors and women in peculiar situations. What bothers me is the implication that violence is bad UNLESS it is Christian violence, and then it really is OK. Really. What needs to be addressed is that fact that "Christian" does not always equal "Socially Acceptable". Being Christian does not make one Right by default. Beyond that, what do you have against Christian oriented products and industries. Criticize Christian products if you will, but don't make the same kind of mistakes that you are criticizing - making default value judgements based on religious themes. The implication of your article is that "Christian" or "Christian oriented/themed" == "Very Bad/Ominous/Frightening Thing". This is rude, offensive, stereotypical and uncalled for. I am buddhist, I read/buy buddhist oriented products. You got a problem with that?

Dangerous lesson here. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1589416)

I can see the lesson here: if you play violent video games for hours and then go kill your classmates -- then that's bad.

If you play violent christian games for an hour then go kill "bad" people (blacks, jews, anti-NRA folk, abortionists, etc), then you're "doing God's will".

Lovely.

Jon Katz: Please Open Your Eyes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1589417)

Jon, take off your Jon Katz Vision(TM) goggles and take a real look at the world. Guess what? I know non Christians who don't like violent games and sarcastic cartoons. And I know Christians who watch the Simpsons and play Quake. A good online friend of mine is a Christian. He plays quake, watches southpark, and can laugh at himself. Go figure. I suppose I'm a "geek". But guess what? I prefer Django Reinhardt to Trent Reznor, and I find that there are a lot of interesting things to learn from religions. I play quake occassionally, but I also worry about the effect violence in our culture will have on my two children. I see so many obvious examples of brainless stereotyping in Jon's articles. Jocks are all evil meatheads who beat up poor little geeks all day. Every school age social misfit is a budding albert einstein. Christians are all evil fascists bent on controlling the world. Guess what Jon? Some jocks are nice, kind people. Some social misfits *are* little sociopaths. Some Christians are freethinking people who believe in the first amendment. Get over yourself.

Demo available? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1589418)

Does anyone know if there is a demo available for this?

What the? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1589419)

Can you say "stupid", who the hell would buy this game? especially if it won't run on Jesux!

Dont confuse yourself (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1589420)

Ok, this is a fps with religious themes. Yes, these types of games have been controversial lately, not in their existence but in their availability to children. That there is enough for an article, I dont see why you threw everything from but the kitchen sink into your argument for... well, I dont know what you are arguing for, but there was a flag icon, so it probably had to do with doing something whereupon your rights were infringed. Anyhow, what did the simpsons have to do with this article? And web nannys? They regulate webpages, not games. And most of all, what group in their right mind opposes "recorded music"? Thats rather vauge, dont you think? All Im saying is that for your next article, try to keep the vauge, irrelevant, and just plain untrue statements to a minimum. p.s. If you have time, post a link to those people that oppose recorded music

Ho hum... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1589421)

(Note: Seeing double? I'm having problems posting to /., hence any multiple posts.)

...just what we need. A 'Christian' game that:
1) promotes violence, rather than compassion, as a means to an end.
2) reinforces a theologically-flawed notion of "dualism", with regards to good vs. evil.

Ordinarily, this would have surprised me. However, after going to a college once labelled as "a bastion of the religious right" by Rolling Stone magazine, in a town that had a massive protest rally against a White Zombie concert, this type of thing no longer catches me off-guard :)

-cswiii
(not anonymous, just can't post any other way.)

RIGHT ON W00H00 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1589422)

Nicely put man. :) I myself have drastically reduced the times I check slashdot for news anymore due to fact it's a bunch of bigots who can't stand the idea of a divine creator because this would mean they would have to follow a standard of right and wrong. I love how you morons whine about censorship and freedom on the net but you don't think that applies to christians. I must say it's both sickening and funny that you guys PHEAR religion so much that you want to stomp out all traces of it. Hitler would be so proud. Btw any christians here don't hold your breath waiting for Katz to be removed, CmdrNAZI is the biggest relgious hater of them all so you can guarantee Katz has a lifetime podium. I guess the best way I can end this message is to say I shake off the dust from my feet as a testamony against you. Jason Salopek jason.salopek@usa.net Btw moderators go ahead and moderate this post down or even delete it, being persecuted for standing up for what's right earns me browie points in heaven - GO AHEAD AND MAKE MY CROWN hahahahahahaha

Sigh (Thanks alot, "Eternal Warriors") (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1589423)

I am a Christian. This story just goes to show that we have our share of idiots amongst our ranks as well (and I suppose that's not a very Christian thing of me to say). I really hoped this was a fake story but I looked up the web page and it appears legitimate.

Ummm, what's the big deal with any of this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1589424)

First off, this isn't the 'first Christian Action Game.' A co-worker at a previous place of employment (he was a "Promise Keeper" type) talked a few years ago about a Christian-themed version of a Doom-like game. I believe it used either a Moses or a Joseph-coat-of-colors story line as it's basis.

Second, I am trying to figure out what is being ranted about here. Are you saying that the "good and evil" in videogames should always just be based on silly superstition? Should we only be teaching kids that good/evil pronouncements come out of silly superstition?

That does sound like the objective that some people would have, to trivialize any lessons that might be taught about good and evil, and help us plod along on a 'whatever you think is good must be good' path.

The ersatz mythology that comes out of programming like the Star Wars series are modern fabrications and teach few meaningful lessons that kids can go on in building a moral code. "May the Force be with you" is a weak parody of great theistic systems such as Islam, Judaism, Taoism, or Christianity. Granted, secular humanists love it when popular culture tries to destroy spiritual traditions by making them into Disney-level entertainment, but that isn't a particularly good thing (unless, of course, you're a "god is dead" secular humanist trying to drive more nails in a coffin.)

Faith-based FPS games can and should exist. Why shouldn't people who feel there is evil to combat in real life be allowed to act out play battles in computer games? Are you feeling left out because all such games can be for you is a weak parody?

What this tells me... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1589425)

This games tells me the following: 1) Only Blond Haired, Blue Eyed people are angels 2) Killing Demons in Doom = Bad. Do it in God's Name = Good 3) The End does justify the Means Sounds like the Crusades all over again.

Non serviam (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1589591)

I know which side I'd play. God mode as a demon - that I could live with :-D

Re:I don't get it (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1589592)

As someone who isn't Christian, it worries me that more Christians don't point out how whacked the radical right is.

(BTW, I am a Republican. And yes, I'm angry.)

what OS's will it run on? (5)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1589596)

Will it run on Jesux??

Am I missing something? (1)

David Greene (463) | more than 14 years ago | (#1589606)

[I tried posting earlier but it didn't take. How odd. Maybe it'll show up later. If so, tough. :)]

I don't really understand the point of this article. Jon seems to want to get the message across that media doesn't trigger violence. Granted. Whether it dulls the emotional reaction to violence is, I think, an open question, but that's another discussion.

Basing this article on a "Christian" action game is pointless at best and inflammatory at worst. Jon makes the mistake (as many others do) of assuming that the extreme right-wing speaks for all of Christianity when he writes,

Religion and freedom have never really gotten along, from the persecution of Galileo to the demands by Orthodox Jews that Jerusalem shut down its cinemas on Friday night to Islamic attacks on writers and reporters in some Middle Eastern countries. Technology, a disseminator of so much information, a force for freedom, has always come under fire as Satan's ally.

Someone forgot to tell me, apparently. Christianity is not about repression and persecution and neither are Islam or Judaism. It's amazing that anyone can hold this view anymore. As our parish pastor once said, there's a difference between religion and faith, and sometimes religion gets in the way of faith.

But without question, many geeks are already on the wrong path, loving stuff like "South Park" and "The Simpsons" as they do, Satan's productions all. (He was even in the last "South Park" movie.)

Now this is simply absurd. Anyone who thinks watching The Simpsons or South Park condemns one to the depths of hell has the wrong priorities. I personally don't care for South Park, but I can appreciate the humor.

All IMHO, as always.

--

This article should be marked "Flamebait" (1)

Robin Hood (1507) | more than 14 years ago | (#1589630)

Uh, Jon? Hello? Are you asking for kneejerk-reaction flames here? Let me quote a few things you said:

... non-physical agents of good and evil (which might well include TV, movies, the Net, animation and recorded music) ...

From context, I understand you to be lumping all the parenthesized items together under the category of agents of evil, and ascribing that view to those who believe in spiritual warfare. Nothing could be further from the truth. All the things you mentioned are media, and the message is what has an influence (whether for good or evil) on people. It may not have been your intention to portray anyone who believes that spiritual warfare is a real phenomenon as an ignorant bigot who believes that technology is bad, but that's how it came out.

But without question, many geeks are already on the wrong path, loving stuff like "South Park" and "The Simpsons" as they do, Satan's productions all.

I don't know about South Park, since I've never watched it nor talked to others about it. But here at Wheaton College, one of the more famous Christian colleges in the U.S., you can go to the T.V. room of any dorm at 6:00 P.M. and more than likely you'll find a large crowd watching "The Simpsons". Wrong again.

Technology, a disseminator of so much information, a force for freedom, has always come under fire as Satan's ally.

And here you reveal your own pro-technology prejudices. Technology is good, so anyone who thinks it isn't must be ignorant. I realize I'm grossly exaggerating your position, but I'm doing so to try to make a point. I'm trying to make you think about your own prejudices and whether or not they're always correct. Try to realize that technology is a tool that can be used for both good and evil. From the splitting of the atom came both a clean source of power (leaving aside the discussion on nuclear accidents, which can usually be prevented by following appropriate safety precautions) and the most destructive weapon ever invented. Technology is a two-edged sword and should be handled carefully, not blindly accepted.

Finally, Jon, I'd like to object to the general characterization of Christians as ignorant and/or bigoted. There are ignorant bigots in every group you care to choose, whether it be Christians, feminists, Republicans, Democrats, libertarians, veterans, anti-war activists, environmentalists, you name it. But I know a lot of really wise people, whom I deeply respect, who are Christians. They've examined many different philosophies and religions and have come to the conclusion that Christianity is correct and true. Surely you know some, too. Why don't you go ask them, "You know, ________, you seem like a pretty intelligent person. You're not the kind to blindly accept what others tell you. So how come you're a Christian?" If you come across as genuinely asking, not just trying to mock them, they'll be thrilled to sit down with you and explain.

I guess what I'm saying is that you're in danger of confusing the messenger with the message. Keep that distinction firmly in mind.

By the way: what I said above about asking a Christian you know "So why exactly do you believe what you believe?": I mean it. Do. It's always good to understand the other person's position. You know, even though I wouldn't exactly consider myself the wisest person in the world, and I know I still have a lot to learn, I do have my reasons for believing in Christianity. If anyone is interested in engaging in a discussion, E-mail me or reply to this. (I suggest E-mail, because it's not exactly on topic for Slashdot.) My E-mail address is not munged in any way.
-----
The real meaning of the GNU GPL:

Twisted (2)

jd (1658) | more than 14 years ago | (#1589631)

I'm sorry, but this game sounds seriously sick. I doubt it's written by any pro-Christian group, it sounds more like the sort of thing that some bozo came up with after a bender (or three), wanting to cash in on either recent media attention (such as Columbine) or (understandable) mistrust and dislike of religion.

I don't care if people are pro, anti or purple. As far as I'm concerned, I don't fund hype-masters. Their bank balance is their problem, not mine.

I'm not against games with religious aspects. I have a great time with the Populous series, and Omega (an excellent Nethack variant) is hardly agnostic. Nor am I anti-religion - sometimes faith is a powerful tool. But like any tool, it's meant to be used safely, not lodged in someone else's skull. Nor am I into censorship - what you read, write or do is your business. But I cannot see any good coming from a game that is inflamatory, especially when we're reaching a point in time when religion is likely to be on the explosive side. You're entitled to toss lit matches into barrels of gunpowder, just don't blame the gunpowder if things get noisy.

Re:self-proclaimed forces of morality. (1)

six809 (1961) | more than 14 years ago | (#1589636)

I will if you like. No guarantees of course, but I'm cheap.

More than just a little odd (1)

deanc (2214) | more than 14 years ago | (#1589641)

I'm more than just a little perplexed. I suppose a reference or a link would have been appreciated.



Certainly Doom already has the "defeat the demons" sort of theme built into it already. Ironically, the Christian game, assuming it's not some sort of odd joke, simply adds the option to become evil.



Somehow I always thought that Christian gaming would lend itself more to strategy games... eg, being a missionary in the 2nd century middle east trying to outrun the Romans, or maybe somkething like Warcraft II with a Christian back-story. But I never thought I'd see something as shallow as a Doom shoot-em-up.



-Dean

Sometimes I just don't get it. (1)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 14 years ago | (#1589649)

Let me start with this: I am a devout Christian. I don't always behave exactly like I probably should, but that doesn't affect my core beliefs.

Having said that, let me add that I also like:

  • Computers. A lot. In spades.
  • South Park. It made me laugh soda out of my nose on more than one occasion.
  • Hardcore techno and punk music. Christian Rock? Nah - gimme KMFDM and Bad Religion.
  • Beer. Not that wussy pale American stuff either!
  • Politics. Separation of Church and State ends at the ballot box, in my opinion.
  • Guns. Hopefully you'll see my picture next to ESR and RMS someday.
  • Action games. I love Quake!
  • Science Fiction. I just finished "Cryptonomicon", and I'm halfway through "Distraction".
  • Philosophy. I'm a definite amateur, but I love discussing viewpoints and attitudes with people who see the world differently than myself.

Guess what? I'm not in the minority, either. That's why it always strikes me as sadly ironic that it's OK to go on about how the latest Christian event is hypocritical and ridiculous, no matter the topic.

I personally find no problem at all with the concept of a Quake-like video game starring angels and demons, but apparently it's because I'm not cool enough to understand the underlying issues.

Puh-lease.

Listen, fellow Slashdotters: I don't give you gried about your beliefs - please don't bother me about mine.

Oh, yes, THAT's what God wants (2)

Pretender (3940) | more than 14 years ago | (#1589655)

Speaking as a believer (and a geek, and a recovering DOOMaholic), I believe I can confidently say that God has no interest in winning the attention of gamers through crap like this.

I don't see anywhere in the Bible where we (as believers) are ordered to rip off the secular media, poorly, in the attempt to win back segments of society. How in the world does a game like this make my relationship with God any better? For that matter, how does 95 percent of Christian rock/rap/what-have-you? Or Christian romance novels (yes, they're out there)?

The fact is, most of the churchgoing Christian world thinks that they're supposed to be fighting "the world" on the world's turf, constantly playing catch-up. All most people (me included) have gotten out of this ridiculous one-sided conflict is the message, "Christian media sucks." And it does, for the most part.

I've got news for believers. The Lord wants us to work on our own relationships with Him, not stoop to playing this attention-game. We can't win at this, and do we even want to? Quake isn't the cause of society's ills. This effort was misguided from the beginning.

On behalf of intelligent believers everywhere, I would like to apologize to gamers, geeks, etc., for some of our wackoes. Every movement has them.

Idea for the followup (1)

rve (4436) | more than 14 years ago | (#1589656)

War in Heaven II: The missionary position

Armed only with a bible and a first aid kit, you set out to convert the pagans in the jungle. For every savage you baptise you score two points. If you get them to wear trousers you score an additional point. Bonus points can be scored by demolishing pagan shrines, and fighting lucifers unholy gorillas, serpents and alligators.

Once you have gathered a sufficiently large flock, you can start building 'wonders', like hospitals and churches, which increase the probability for a pagan to convert.

Be prepared to fend off the relentless attacks from pagan bandits, and from competing organised religions. Act fast! the catholics are gaining ground! Atheist forces converted one of your settlements! Will your technological edge over the muslim missionaries be enough to overcome their numerical advantage?

What new technology must your theologists pursue next? Choose from the following:

Creation Science 1:
leads to
+1 bonus in converting Atheist settlements.
-1 penalty on medical research

Find Noas Ark:
leads to:
+2 probability of converting pagans
-2 relations with atheist forces.

Related technologies:
Disprove nuclear physics 1, Find ark or the covenant, Quest for holy grail, Accuse rival of satanism 1
-----

Doesn't seem to support network play. (1)

The Creator (4611) | more than 14 years ago | (#1589657)

That's a pitty, killing some angels whould have been extra-special if there were christians playing them!)


LINUX stands for: Linux Inux Nux Ux X

Re:Nerf Arena (1)

cyanide (5741) | more than 14 years ago | (#1589664)

That's a truely fantastic idea you have there. I'll help hack it. :-)

Re:Just sounds like another ploy... (1)

Moonwick (6444) | more than 14 years ago | (#1589669)

I suppose some people just don't understand this concept of "independent Christians". And I can't help but feel rather apologetic for your less-than-enjoyable religious experience.

But that doesn't give you the right to lambast Christians everywhere just because of what you went through. I suppose when you give your example of some Christian high-schooler shooting his less-than-holy classmates, that somehow the whole entire Christian religion would support that? I'm afraid not. Hell, the bible itself says "Thou shalt not kill". Period. It says nothing about the wiccan down the street, or (more likely) those heathenistic Jews that live down the street who just won't accept the later half of the bible.

Therefore, I have to say, your point of calling all of Christianity a hypocritic, two-headed religion is invalid, thanks to simple logic. I won't deny the existance of fundamentalist Chrisan-types out there who might be willing to pull off a stunt. But I will always be convinced that they are wrong, and I will never support their viewpoint.

Your assumption that al Christians are the same is fundamentally incorrect, and if it weren't so prevalent, I would almost be offended by it. However, the fact remains that for every Christian out there, there is an individual interpretation of the religion, and not every interpretation is based in reality.

Also, just for the sake of being pedantic, the odds of these exact people having endured a stint as door-knockers is probably very unlikely. You should probably have verified that before you made your second point.

Optional Modules (possibly offensive) (1)

Seumas (6865) | more than 14 years ago | (#1589671)

I hope this is taken somewhat tongue-in-cheek. Sorry if they deeply offend anyone. I'm sure some moderators may be eager to mark this down if they disagree with it, but I did mark it as 'possibly offensive' to protect your innocent and virgin minds.

----------------------
Optional WIH modules that can be loaded with the game include great extras, such as:

Monsters
Abortion Doctors
Homosexuals
Non-Jesus-Loving-Sinners
Women using birth-control
Masturbaters

Missions
Stakeout the local abortion clinic.
Convert sinners at the local bus-mall.
Subject society to your own 'family-values'.
Land your own television evangelist career.
Scam the flock and run away with their cash.
Get freaky with the Altar Boy.
Enter the holy realm of Christ and be forgiving of your sins!

Requirements for Module Pack
64MB RAM
800MB Free Disk Space
4x CDROM
Windows95 (Requires plug & pray)

Notes
This game was developed by experts in holyness and godliness Benny Hinn, Luis Palau and Dr. Laura Schlessinger.
---
icq:2057699
seumas.com

Warning! Facts contained below! (5)

sparks (7204) | more than 14 years ago | (#1589675)

> Geeks have been trained for this thier whole
> lives; the forces of righteousness will surely
> be blasted to bits.

Katz, you send out more crap than a hand grenade in a sewage works.

I'm aware how futile it is to try to penetrate your highly effective fact repulsion field, but here's some actual real information:

  • Many geeks are not religious...
  • ...but many also are.
  • Many religious people are not geeks...
  • ...but many also are.
  • There is no inherent conflict between geekiness and faith.
Indeed, many famous and prominent geeks are Christians. You might be aware (but you probably aren't) that Slashdot itself (together with many thousands of other sites) is written in a language called PERL. The geek who inveted PERL, whose name is Larry Wall, is well known as being a Christian. He isn't a in-your-face bible-thumping damnation-decreeing Christian, but hey, neither are most Christians.

At the end of the day, Katz, you are in no position to understand the minds of Christians or geeks since you are clearly neither.

Re:I too don't get it (1)

zosima (8652) | more than 14 years ago | (#1589682)

"Why is this bad news if they're good games? Because they're religion based? Or for other reasons?"

Good question. I wasn't trying to say anything about the news itself, I was trying to make a point about Katz and the early posters attitude. I don't think it is too off-topic, but a moderator will decide that shortly ;).

Re:I don't get it (1)

zosima (8652) | more than 14 years ago | (#1589683)

Just as most any group, the loudest ones are usually wrong. The problem is, there isn't much of a 'story' for media to pick up on about tolerant Christians, so you actually have to find someone who is mellow to have mellow viewpoints, and mellow people get overlooked pretty easily.

I don't get it (5)

zosima (8652) | more than 14 years ago | (#1589689)

How come whenever something about Christianity on /., everyone assumes that all Christendom is behind it, and it will inevitably end in A) moral confusion and/or B) holy wars and/or C) unjust persecution of geeks. Sorry to crush a collective dillusion, but Christians _are_ capable of independent thought, and aren't necessarily bent on starting a second Inquisition. And then there are comments like "They might actually revel in blasphemy and angel-bashing." refering to watching The Simpsons? There is not a commandment that says "thou shall not laugh." And then we get the comment "Religion and freedom have never really gotten along." Nice tie, but it doesn't explain a few people like Gangis Kahn, Napolean, or Hitler (who prosecuted the Jewish RACE much more so than the religion). I am sorry, I guess it is just more 'fun' to live with a severly outdated, extremely prejudicial view of the religious.

Factual errors and logical fallacies (2)

Nino the Mind Boggle (10910) | more than 14 years ago | (#1589704)

Thank you John, for another screed filled with factual errors and logical fallacies.

Religion and freedom have never really gotten along, from the persecution of Galileo to the demands by Orthodox Jews that Jerusalem shut down its cinemas on Friday night to Islamic attacks on writers and reporters in some Middle Eastern countries.

Ever read your history, John? The Pilgrims were a deeply religious lot, and they were seeking freedom when they set sail for North America. Most, if not all, of the founding fathers were deeply religious. Those who weren't, were at least deists. Most of those who fought for the emancipation of the slaves in the US and in the UK were religious people.

Sure, there are those who use religion to thwart freedom, but to conclude from that that religion and freedom are fundamentally opposed is foolish. There is no conflict, per se, between religious faith and freedom.

Technology, a disseminator of so much information, a force for freedom, has always come under fire as Satan's ally.

Hooey. Ever hear of Martin Luther? His ideas, and the religious reform and freedom that came with it owed a great deal to technology, namely Gutenberg's printing press.

Some people, like the Amish and the Old-order Mennonites are careful to analyze the long-term effects of a technology before adopting it, but they are not anti-technology, per se. Again, your conclusion is faulty.

There's never been any substantive evidence to support the idea that TV shows, movies or computers have been a factor in the recent series of shootings -- statistically rare but horrific nonetheless -- in American schools.

Wrong again. The U.S. Surgeon General was recently asked to study the effects of media violence in children. He said they already did. The results are virtually unanimous: of 1000 studies, only 18 found no link between media violence and violence in youth. Of those 18, 12 were sponsored by the media. Gee, why do you suppose the media isn't the media reporting this?

Of course, all Christians are the same. (2)

PMoonlite (11151) | more than 14 years ago | (#1589705)

Jon, you make it sound as if all Christians agree that violent video games are the primary cause of violence in youth, so of course it is confusing that now there is a violent game ostensibly blessed as being Christian.

But as anyone who takes a second to think knows, Christians are a very heterogeneous group, particularly when it comes to what they believe. Some Christians probably do blame violent games for causing people to be violent, and those same people will probably deplore this game. Some Christians realize that violence is related to a huge variety of genetic and environmental factors, and may see this game as a great way to release agression, or as one more bad influence, or just tasteless. The one thing that is certain is that there is no single "Christian" stance toward this game any more than there is a single "American" stance toward South Park or Jerry Springer.

Personally, I don't think this game will do much to convert those who are into Doom, Quake, etc. But it might make Christians feel a bit better about indulging their shoot-em-up urges (it's not as if being a Christian kid makes you any less interested in that sort of thing).

When will it stop? (1)

nebby (11637) | more than 14 years ago | (#1589709)

Must everything be such a big deal to Katz? I've never posted on his stories, but I have to say that that I have to because he reminds me so much of my English teacher. Everything he writes always points to some event which he considers to be "revolutionary" and a foreshadowing of an amazing change in the way the human race views things. It's ALWAYS the same idea.

Can't he take a step back and tell a story? He should stop stating how he thinks it's "the next big thing" or going to change this or that about this society, or this industry, or this operating system :) .. if he tells the story and makes subtle statements about these things, I'll look forward to his articles a lot more. He doesn't have to shove the idea that a Christian game is controversial down our throats for us to come up with an opinion about it. Tell us the story, and BREIFLY what you think about it, and then let the /.'ers do the rest. That's how it works for all the other stories on here.. and it never ceases to amaze me that 200 posts can accumulate about a story regarding dental floss :)

I know I'm now put into the category of "Katz-basher", but hell I can't help it.

Freedom (1)

Prince Caspian (13062) | more than 14 years ago | (#1589716)

Religion and freedom have never really gotten along

In the words of Jesus: "[God] has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed." (Luke 4:18)

I can truly say that following Jesus has freed me more than I ever could have done by my own pilosophies.

"Bugs are harder to cope with than features, because they are less well defined and less well designed."

Christians are a community, not a collective (5)

Prince Caspian (13062) | more than 14 years ago | (#1589720)

The arrival of the first Christian computer action game opens a whole new chapter in the never-ending struggle between technology and the self-proclaimed forces of morality.

It always amazes me how many people talk about Christianity as if it's a big corporation, or a giant collective. People talk as if an action taken by a single Christian is representitive of all Christians. I could see how someone might get that impression in the States (from what I hear) because there are large, politically minded Christian organizations.

At its heart, Christianity is following a leader, Jesus Christ. The act of following Jesus is subject to all of the human failings that apply to following anything else. If God was interested in making his followers robots that only do his will, he could have made all humans that way. Instead, he chooses to give us the choice to follow him, and even creativity in the way we follow him.

"Bugs are harder to cope with than features, because they are less well defined and less well designed."

Another DOOM WAD hack!! Hah! (0)

jabber (13196) | more than 14 years ago | (#1589723)

And now we can settle all of the world's great debates on the framework created by iD software...

It's The War Over Creationism - Special Kansas edition, where the good 'TeleVangelists' can bible-thump the evil Darwinians over the head with oversized editions of the KJV Bible, while picking up coin 'power-ups' donated by sheeple clones!

It's PC v. Mac, where little likenesses of Bill Gates and Andy Grove run around throwing open-market components at a totem of Steve Jobs, while picking up 'power-ups' of 'business partner' IPOs.

Finally, a forum to settle the Republican vs. Democrat issue once and for all, with animated jackasses kicking the budget surplus out of lumbering pachyderms, eating subpoenas and depositions, while the elephants try to stomp their little donkey heads into the ground.

Will it be a Bull market, or a Bear market? YOU DECIDE!!!

Well, with the religious slant, at least we know what BFG really stands for. Big Freakin' God!

Hey, bible-boy! My diety's minions have fragged all of your diety's minions... Since killing is wrong, you don't stand a chance. Burn in Hell Gabriel!! Hahaha!!! Metaphorically, of course - please don't hurt me with that burning sword there.

I guess when it comes to making a buck, literally nothing is sacred. Sad.

Re:I don't get it (1)

kevlar (13509) | more than 14 years ago | (#1589726)

What I don't understand is: WHAT IS SO HORRIBLE ABOUT THIS PROGRAM?!?!

You haven't told us why this deserves so much criticism, Jon Katz. Your argument sucks, but then again, so do all your "articles"

Jon, *please* drop the victim mentality (1)

Zico (14255) | more than 14 years ago | (#1589731)

"In the post-Columbine era, when computer games, the Net and other elements of geek culture are being blamed for murder, ..."

You know, some people out there really do have tough lives, a lot rougher on average than people who actually have the means to own their own computers. If you're going to assume the position of mouthpiece for "the geek cause," please don't make the voice a whiny one.

Cheers,
ZicoKnows@hotmail.com

P.S. Sorry if this was already posted, but I kept getting sent to the Preview page every time I would submit this. Odd...

Katz sets up a strawman version of Christianity (3)

sethg (15187) | more than 14 years ago | (#1589738)

Very few Christians are strict pacifists. People who call themselves Christians may complain about video games leading kids to "violence", but if you cross-examine them, most of them wouldn't object to kids engaging in socially acceptable violence (as members of the armed forces, for example).

Today's popular association betwen Christianity and sweet docility goes back to the 19th century, when people treated the Church as a haven from the brutal competition of the Marketplace. However, violence, symbolic or actual, in the alleged service of J.C. has a long and, er, distinguished history.

The Jewish liturgy, for example, has a large number of elegies that were composed during the Crusades: as the Crusaders marched through Europe, on their way to take Jerusalem from the heathen Muslims, some of them slaughtered heathen Jews in towns they passed.

Heck, there's plenty of violence in the Bible itself. See, for example, chapter 34 of the book of Genesis.

I too don't get it (2)

Non-Newtonian Fluid (16797) | more than 14 years ago | (#1589743)

A few questions.

JonKatz writes:

The arrival of the first Christian computer action game opens a whole new chapter in the never-ending struggle between technology and the self-proclaimed forces of morality.

If this is significant of anything, it's that this is the first time this particular group has been targeted by a video game company (as opposed to retro-gamers, wargamers, arm-chair huntsmen, etc.). Where do you see conflict in this development?

The bad news is that if "The War In Heaven" sells, expect a slew of Christian (and soon, no doubt, Jewish and Muslim) save-the-soul games marketed by greedy Web entrepeneurs who want to appear wholesome while raking in big money.

Why is this bad news if they're good games? Because they're religion based? Or for other reasons?

I'm confused in general by this article -- what is the point you're trying to make?

Stereotyping again, Jon (1)

Zach Frey (17216) | more than 14 years ago | (#1589745)

Jon, Jon, if you're going to be a "free speech rulz, why can't everybody just get along" kind of guy, you really need to get over this allergy you seem to have to anything labelled "Christian" ...

There are those who hate Christianity and call their hatred an all-embracing love for all religions.
-- G. K. Chesterton

If I hadn't been able to find the company page for the game [valu-soft.com] , I would have guessed that this was a hoax/parody/whatever in the style of Jesux [slashdot.org] rather than a real product. But granted, somebody really is releasing a DOOM-style first person shooter game, with an "angels 'n' demons" theme.

Hypocrisy (1)

rw2 (17419) | more than 14 years ago | (#1589758)

It is unfortunate that the same guy who just recently was venting about how society should accept us geeks as being different but not dangerous would so quickly adopt the other position when dealing with a group that he doesn't personally belong to.

In a confrontation with those who don't share your belief structure it is best to keep in mind that they are just doing what they think is best for their community. In the case of Christian versus Atheist there are thousands of things that you will agree on. For example, the Bible is quite explicit about how you should treat your fellow man and it seems to say exactly what I believe. The difference is that the Christian claims that you should do it because the is one truth that God set down and you should follow and I think you should do it because otherwise society crumbles and life sucks for everyone. Either way we agree on how people should be treated.

Regardless of motivation, referring to them as 'moral guardians nuts' is as narrow and counter productive as assuming that all 14 year old basement hackers are proto-killers just biding their time. Just as not every teenage hacker is a danger to society so too is not every Christian a moral guardian nut looking to impose his will on everyone around him.

It is also a tremendous failing to say things like "Religion and freedom have never really gotten along" when in fact some of the finest organizations on the earth are based in religion. The Christian community (the religion that as a resident of the US I am most familar with) works unflaggingly to lower opression in China, was instrumental in the removal of slavery from the US and is the motivating force behind Habitat for Humanity (which I am happy to support regularly via my consulting www.objenv.com in spite of being an Atheist myself).

Jewish and Muslim games? Doubt it... (2)

dillon_rinker (17944) | more than 14 years ago | (#1589761)

The bad news is that if "The War In Heaven" sells, expect a slew of Christian (and soon, no doubt, Jewish and Muslim) save-the-soul games marketed by greedy Web entrepeneurs who want to appear wholesome while raking in big money.

A "slew of Jewish and Muslim save-the-soul games" is not real likely. This game preys on a huge, lucrative, and gullible Christian subculture. I could be wrong, but I don't believe a comparable Jewish or Muslim subculture exists in this country. At least, I've never seen anybody wearing a WWAD ("What Would Allah Do?") t-shirt, and I'm unaware of a large marketing/distribution network for such merchandise.

(
Note to self:
1. Secure wwcd.com domain
2. Sell "What Would Cthulhu Do" t-shirts
)

The game's creators are doubtless following a proven strategy.
1. Become popular with Christians.
2. Use popularity to launch mainstream career.
If this game is a success, the game's creators will point to it in discussions with potential investors for a more mainstream production. Of course, I could be wrong. If the game is a success, the game's creators may simply crank out a series of sequels, following another proven strategy:
1. Become popular with Christians.
2. Take 'em for all they're worth.

Anyway, don't confuse the Christian subculture (which most /.ers appear to hate - not without cause) with the Christion religion. The subculture is mostly the result of hypocrisy, attempted brain-washing, and marketing (aren't those last two about the same?). The religion can be the genuine item when it's not influenced by greed.


Sorry 'bout the formatting (Offtopic) (1)

drox (18559) | more than 14 years ago | (#1589765)

Holy sh1t - where'd all those extra paragraph breaks come from? I coulda swore they weren't there when I previewed this...

Is it that serious? (2)

drox (18559) | more than 14 years ago | (#1589766)

Perhaps games like "The War In Heaven" suggest some looming confrontation, an Armageddon-like battle out there the digital ether for the collective souls of geeks.



I doubt it's that serious. Christian gamers like to play games too. Some of them even like to play violent games. So what? Games like this allow them to satisfy those violent urges and keep the moralists off their backs.



"Violent video games are bad."



"But it's demons i'm vaporizing with my deadly, er, heavenly arsenal."



"Oh... that's okay then. Have fun!"



Sure it's subversive. But is it really worse than sneaking underage kids in to see South Park?



Religion and freedom have never really gotten along..."



Never is too strong of a word. They've seldom got along, but is that religion's fault? Done right, religion and freedom are inseparable. People freely choose whether, and how, they'll worship. Coerced belief isn't really belief.



The bad news is that if "The War In Heaven" sells, expect a slew of Christian (and soon, no doubt, Jewish and Muslim) save-the-soul games marketed by greedy Web entrepeneurs who want to appear wholesome while raking in big money. Sunday school might be in for some radical change.



That's bad news? We already have greedy web entrepreneurs raking in big money. If that's bad, it's bad whether or not they're putting a religious veneer over it. I'd expect the strongest opposition to this sort of thing to come from within the religious community. Not from someone who usually calls for more freedom of expression.



Sunday school might be in for some radical change.



Bring on the change! If games like this had been available when I was in Catholic School, I might not be as cynical about religion today.



The good news is that ultimately such developments will drive software censors and moral guardians nuts.



It's already nuts. This just makes it more obvious, for those that weren't bright enough to pick up on it before.

Nice article but... (1)

MISplice (19058) | more than 14 years ago | (#1589769)

I normally read Jon's articles with the knowledge that they are going to be long, and possibly boring in the process, but this even though it is informative of a new genre of game should have been a little more researched.. like maybe a review of the actual game and not another review of the moral fabric of society.
Maybe I'm a little jaded with everything that has happened to me personally but I have found that morality is a subject that has many variables in which to view.. is is moral to have homosexual intercourse.. depends on if your american, or if you are an tribesman where the only heterosexual incounters are those to procreate and not just for fun...

Well enough ranting .....
I play Quake, Diablo, and I still manage to pray everynight to the lord for forgiveness .. for I am only human and not expected to be perfect

Glass Houses (1)

celtic heretic (19369) | more than 14 years ago | (#1589770)

I would like to know when all these self righteous secular humanists are going to sit down and read a book about Galileo and discover the truth of what happened. I would like to know when they are going to look in a mirror and apply their morality to their own knee-jerk condemnations of others. They cry foul about all geeks being tarred with the same mop but it's okay to call all Christians dangerous zealots. They cry foul when pot is illegal but call someone who talks to God insane. They think it's horible that a Christian (or Muslim or Jew)would force (or try to convince) their views on the world but it's okay for humanists to do everything in their power to publicly destroy Christians. Grow up!

If what I said is nonsense,
I'm making a point with it.
If what I said makes perfect sense,
you obviously missed the point.

Linkage to the game (3)

Migrant Programmer (19727) | more than 14 years ago | (#1589772)

A few links with more information:

Eternal Warriors (Developer) [eternalwarriors.com]

ValuSoft (Publisher) [valusoft.com]

With that out of the way, I think this is a very interesting development. I've been waiting for something like this for quite a while.

Didn't we discuss this before? (1)

RyanGWU82 (19872) | more than 14 years ago | (#1589774)

Remember the hacked version of Doom that we discussed last week, in the article "Kill -9 With a Doom Shotgun [slashdot.org] "? That sounds awfully similar, going around killing daemons and all... :)

Ryan

Re:Katz speaking out of both sides of his mouth (1)

angelo (21182) | more than 14 years ago | (#1589776)

Why all the venom against Christians Jon? Would you make the same nasty, baseless, comments about a game representing Jewish or Muslim mythology? How about Hindu? Paganism?

I think we all know the answer to this one: of course he would. He likes saying things to be sensational, adds the word geek from time to time, and calls it a story. (note editing is not a part of this process) I've seen him write for Brill's Content (real stand-up magazine that.) and with little exception it's the same rhetoric sans the word "geek." time to filter it I suppose.

Re:First christian action game? (1)

RobotWisdom (25776) | more than 14 years ago | (#1589788)

Wisdom Tree did a version of Wolfenstein called Super 3D Noah's Ark [seriousd.com] . Quote from an old review:

"The game designers at Wisdom Tree bought permission from id to remake and slightly alter Castle Wolfenstein 3D to design a game called Super 3D Noah's Ark. In the Wisdom Tree game, players assume the role of Noah trying to get his animals back in their pens, as opposed to a soldier trying to hunt down Adolph Hitler. They also did away with the grenades and machine guns and replaced them with a single slingshot that players used to shoot food at animals. Instead of having soldiers that charged at you, then fell in a bloody pool when shot, Super 3D Noah's Ark has little goats that try to kick you with their hind legs and fall asleep when you shoot them with food."

"Christian Action Game"?? (0)

delmoi (26744) | more than 14 years ago | (#1589796)

I havn't read the artical yet, but a "Christian action game" That sounds pretty damn dull...
"Subtle mind control? Why do all these HTML buttons say 'Submit' ?"

Re:Is it that serious? (2)

JatTDB (29747) | more than 14 years ago | (#1589806)

In Doom, you were fighting against hell-spawned demons. You were also a "Space Marine." Given the highly Christian-dominated popluation of the US military, you'd think that they would have no problem with Doom if they have no problem with this War in Heaven crap.

First Geek Profiling, now Christian Profiling? (5)

Valdrax (32670) | more than 14 years ago | (#1589828)

Katz, you seem to be a victim of your own rhetoric.

This game is trying to reach an audience of Christians often neglected by the "mainstream" world, both Christian and non-Christian. Despite what many non-Christians many think, not all of us Christians are people who scream "the Internet is the Devil!" at the first accidental web search for "free JPEGs." However, this does not keep you, the man who decried schools everwhere for their stereotyping of geeks, goths, and other form of introverts, from stereotyping and lambasting Christians.

I haven't seen the game. To tell the truth, I'd probably find it a little cheesy and would prefer more mainstream games. However, it is an attempt to create a quote-unquote religious game that is not Yet Another Boring Moral Quiz. This is an attempt that should be looked upon favorably or brushed aside if it truly is a poor game, but is instead being bashed simply because the religion in question is Christianity.

Get this in all of your heads now -- we Christians are NOT the Borg. We are individuals, and some of us think a little differently from each other. Hell, if that weren't the case do you think we'd still have all our stupid little denominational squabbles? The seeming contradiction over the creation of a violent game after so much has been said about violence in the media being the root of all evil is because it wasn't the same person giving the two different messages!

This is not News for Nerds. This is another excuse to pigeonhole all Christians into one monolithic entity and call us fools for not agreeing with one another. Well, listen to your own message for once. Christians are people and have their own differing views -- and that's okay.


By the way, Katz.. Just because you've never felt like you been sent the touch of the divine doesn't mean you should be mocking people who do. If you really want to send a message that we should be open to other people's views, you should quit being so hypocritical about religious views. (Not that there'd have been a word about this on this sight if it was a Muslim or Wiccan game...)

Oh, Religious violence, why didn't you say so??? (1)

phantast (35247) | more than 14 years ago | (#1589837)

The violence, its creators claim, is merely a role-playing depiction of "spiritual warfare," the notion that non-physical agents of good and evil (which might well include TV, movies, the Net, animation and recorded music) are constantly at war and that their behavior affects people on earth. I can't figure out of this is supposed to be a joke or not. It does amuse me that organized religion has been sanctioning violence for thousands of years, when it's "for a good cause." This strikes me as something the Flanders kids would play if they weren't scared of the gibbage:) Look for the sequel to this game, where you and your yahoo buddies get rid of those pesky Muslims and Jews. I hope God also told them to include TCP/IP support:)

Daemonic Possesion (1)

skelly (38870) | more than 14 years ago | (#1589844)

If try to run this on BSD Unix, will my computer become possessed by Daemons? Seriously, I thought there was a commandment like thought shalt not kill/commit murder. You know the one after the rule against spanking monkeys (red hot pokers are okay).

Christian theme games are okay I guess, but this sounds like a bad doom patch rahter than something original.

Re:is there a link? (2)

BitPoet (40070) | more than 14 years ago | (#1589846)

Eternal Warriors [eternalwarriors.com]

Re:Oh, yes, THAT's what God wants (2)

_Sprocket_ (42527) | more than 14 years ago | (#1589848)

Or Christian romance novels (yes, they're out there)?
I always though romance novels were an accepted form of erotica marketed towards women. Kind of like a female Playboy, but with less direct overtones than Playgirl. Christian romance novels. Christian Playboy. (shudder).

:)

Onward Christian Fraggers... (3)

_Sprocket_ (42527) | more than 14 years ago | (#1589849)

I fail to see the issue here. Computer games have long had elements from various religions and ethos in the past. Granted, most of those religions are either dead or followed by very fringe elements. But that doesn't mean we can't, and shouldn't, see games based on today's religious texts and concepts. Heck - some of the most interesting movies I can think of are based on Christian scripture. Granted, there's plenty of horrid movies too. The key to the game in question is how well it is done - not from what dogma its concepts came from.

Having said that, somebody is going to be upset. Either the game will be considered sacreligious (and I don't doubt this one will) or it will be an electronic sermon. It all depends on what extreeme pro or con point of view you have on the religion in question. Both will have their markets. Me... I'll be interested if its more Seventh Sign or Prince of Darkness than Jesus Christ Superstar.

Re:"Christian Action Game"?? (2)

georgeha (43752) | more than 14 years ago | (#1589852)

I havn't read the artical yet, but a "Christian action game" That sounds pretty damn dull...

Really? Not all Christians are like Ned Flanders, open your mind a little.

Just a few Christian scenarios that could be fun games, some action and some strategy. I'll end up focusing more on strategy games, though, since I like them a lot more than trigger happy action games.

Action games

Feed the masses: You have to keep splitting loaves and fishes, and lobbing them to the hungry masses, while the masses keep growing and growing. Similar to "The awful green things from outer space" though I don't know if it was ever made into a computer game.

Fight the lions: You're a Christian in the early Roman Empire, and you're thrown to the lions in the Colosseum. Survive.

Friar Tuck: You have to grab the gold from the church poor box to feed the poor, outwit the sheriff, sneak food to the people in the jail, hmm, has some potential.

The Exorcist: You have to launch an exorcism spell without getting struck by pea soup.

Strategy games

There are a wealth of infiltration/revolution type strategy games to be had in the Christiam milieu.

Convert the Emperor: You're a member of a small, illegal cult. You have to spread through Rome while being persecuted. If you can convert the Emperor, you win.

Crusades: You have to plan and battle to win back the Holy Lands from the infidels (who also consider them their Holy Lands).

Luther!: You are upset with the direction the Church has taken. You want to change's it's vision, and Open Source the Bible. If you start enough offshoot churches, you win.

Liberation Theology: You are a leftist Christian in a repressive Central American dictatorship. You want to have a Christian centered revolt to free the people.

I could go on, and on, but I won't.

George

Re:Nerf Arena (1)

ar32h (45035) | more than 14 years ago | (#1589866)

get nerf arena at: http://pc.ign.com/news/11468.html
heard about it over at user friendly

"Self proclaimed forces of morality."?!? (1)

ChozSun (49528) | more than 14 years ago | (#1589876)

I am certainly glad that this writer wasn't too biased or anything.

Where this writer went wrong with the following statement:

"Religion and freedom have never really gotten along, from the persecution of Galileo to the demands by Orthodox Jews that Jerusalem shut down its cinemas on Friday night to Islamic attacks on writers and reporters in some Middle Eastern countries. Technology, a disseminator of so much information, a force for freedom, has always come under fire as Satan's ally."

I cam certainly glad that I have been grouped with other people with different beliefs.

I am Christian. Before you start sparking up your flame throwers, I don't belong to a religion.

What does that mean? I am a Christian by faith not by organization. Religion was built by man and not by God. A similar comparison is partisianship in today politics. Our forefathers never had the idea of bring in two separate parties to rule our land... but they do.

God never intended to have organizations just so people maybe saved. Faith comes within... not from some brick-and-mortar structure with a bunch of hypocrites running the scene.

I truly wish that this person would get off the anti-religious high horse and at least, write about something he knows. Review the game; don't preach to us the wrongdoings of religions today.


ChozSun
ChozSun [e-mail] [mailto]

Soon, I think.... (1)

nano-second (54714) | more than 14 years ago | (#1589892)

Not yet. It runs on Sinux, at the moment, but I think a port is in the works. Check out the game news at Angelix.org and Demonix.net. ;)

---

Newton, Darwin and McCormack ? (1)

MosesJones (55544) | more than 14 years ago | (#1589893)

Back in the days when science was young (let face it pre-Newton was a different beasty) Newton was a bit of a rebel, not relgious in the slightest and he approached the world from a logical perspective. His theories on gravity, optics and the whole shebang which tied together Kepler, Copernicus et al (I'm not a big fan of Gallileo, sounds a bit like Bill Gates to me, pushing off others ideas as his own). These guys founded modern science and of course suffered a huge religious backlash by way of various writings by christians on "why god is right and those blokes are wrong". Of course nobody in their right mind is going to stand-up for perfect spheres and the earth centred universe today, in fact the mainstream religions all except this as fact. Interestingly it was Newton's non-acceptance of religon that changed several rules in the UK (he couldn't have headed a college without swearing an oath to god, he might have refused to so they changed the rule). This could be seen as the start of the religious freedom in the UK which led pretty much directly to the Industrial revolution.

Then a while later came another Brit called Darwin, he drew together various other ideas added some of his own and produced probably the most controversial book of all time "Origin of the Species". This was an era when religon was still strong and many condemned his heresy. Various pamphlets defending the creationist view point were written and shot down by argument, debate and logic. Again today even the Catholic Church excepts evolution (if being a little shaky on abiogenesis).

Now we add to this list of people whom religons have copied in an attempt to destroy ... John McCormack. Somehow I never thought I'd be able to link the three.

When does the Jesus v Santa patch arrive ?

link...looks really old (1)

rift_design (56312) | more than 14 years ago | (#1589895)

Go knock yourself out...here is an old [fenriswolf.com] page with information about the game. Not much here. It looks (from the ) like an old style of gameplay--just a few things on the screen at a time. Very simple layout but great rendering. Kinda lame, but I won't slam it till I see it.

Cool! How about some more MODS! (1)

PanDuh (56522) | more than 14 years ago | (#1589896)

Can we write a MOD that would make this game more relevant to today? Such as adding evil Homo-Sodomites that we can shoot full of viruses with our 8-ball AIDS-Launcher.
Or even better, we can pump up abortion doctors full of lead and turn their white lab coats red with the blood of justice!!

I bet ya I can make tons a money down in the southern states (Move over "Redneck Rampage!")

PanDuh!

As Christian as Doom (3)

Enoch Root (57473) | more than 14 years ago | (#1589916)

If The War in Heaven is a Christian game, then so is Doom.

I fail to see how a game that involves angels and/or demons has anything to do with Christian morality. The idea that your actions impact on your moral alignment is nothing new, and gives the false impression that you have to do something drastic to condemn yourself to evil (like sacking the nobles for cash in Baldur's Gate, or going on a peasant rampage in most RPGs.)

What I mean by this is, this game designer is trying to hype this game by appealing to Christians. He probably also expects Christians to take up arms at the mention of this game's graphical depiction of violence and hacking down "praying angels". And poof, he's getting more publicity than you can possibly hope for. In other words, he's a marketing troll.

That being said, I'm not Christian, so I couldn't care less. I think the idea of setting a game in Heaven sounds great, and I'm always a sucker for the good guys (hence I'll probably play an Angel, if I ever acquire the game.) It doesn't sound like it follows tradition very closely, and surely a game based on Milton's Paradise Lost would have had more appeal to Christians. It probably would be very boring, though, as the Angels could never be wounded and the Son of God would beat the Rebels' asses...

Anyway. Tis just hype, and Jon Katz bought into it without thinking twice. May still be a cool game, but I don't expect spiritual enlightenment from it.
"Knowledge = Power = Energy = Mass"

What happens if I run SATAN on it? (2)

Get Behind the Mule (61986) | more than 14 years ago | (#1589922)

I don't want any evil hackers possessing my computer, you know ...

This kind of crap pisses me off.... (1)

SvnLyrBrto (62138) | more than 14 years ago | (#1589923)

I am just more and more sickened my the holier than thou hipocracy of the right-wing freaks.

Anyone see the pattern?

First, rock and roll was "the music of the devil". Well, the old skeezers couldn't kill off rock and roll, it was too entrenched with the youth, who were actually open minded about new trends (both culturally and technological).

So what do the right wingers do? They go with the old "if you can't beat them, join them" routine. And now we have "christian rock".

Next came chrisitan metal, christian rap, christian punk, christian ska.... Sorry revrends Fallwell, Robertson, and Buchannon, but if I want to listen to your right wing fascist propaganda, I'll actually GO to church again someday (or mabye I'll just watch the televangelists).

Now we have christian Doom.

This is even more hipocritical. All throughout the media, Doom was being bashed by the christian right as one of the causes of that Columbine nonsence. "We need more family values, Doom is a "murder simulater"" etc...

Now they have their own Doom, which they plan to use to indoctrinate 3d gamers. This after denouncing Doom, and its brethern as a cause of the decline of morality in America or some such non-sence.

Any you know what's REALLY funny? You know where the hipocracy surfaces big time?

Anybody remember the plot of Doom, the very game they were so intent on bashing?????

It had a *LITTLE* something to do with fighting the minions of hell! The VERY SAME MESSAGE these guts are trying to send with this holy avengers game!!!!!

Granted, in Doom, you weren't an angel fighting daemons with a holy sword or somesuch; you were a part of the US Marine Corps, fighting the legions of hell with a 12 gauge, and a healthy supply of buckshot!

In fact, you could argue, that because this "Holy Avengers" game lets you play on the side of "evil", wheras Doom only allows you to play as "good", that Doom actually sends a MORE MORALLY "RIGHT" massage than Holy Avengers!

I don't know what's worse, the continual efforts of these bastards to infiltrate every aspect of my life; or the blantant hipocracy when they do...


john

Re:what OS's will it run on? (2)

monstar (62285) | more than 14 years ago | (#1589924)

it will run on Lunatix. the OS of choice for /. users.

tongue(cheek);

this is nothing new (1)

Phearless Phred (67414) | more than 14 years ago | (#1589941)

The various incarnations of Christianity have a rather violent history. Nothing like a crusade or hot oil for whipping those pesky non-believers into line! What I'm curious about is what happens if you win the game as a demon. Do you get to rule over the heavens and Earth with an iron fist and cloven hoof? Or is there some sort of Deus Ex Machina (forgive the pun) at the end where the forces of Right(tm) swoop in and rob you of your just desserts?

First christian action game? (1)

PaperBoy (67896) | more than 14 years ago | (#1589942)

Now I could be wrong. But there have been christian action games before. I can remember seeing a game on the original NES where you took on the role of a famous bible character, and ran around in a platform style fashion.

Re:Linkage to the game (1)

normiep (68432) | more than 14 years ago | (#1589943)

Oh, and here's [nytimes.com] a story that the New York Times ran on it a last week.

Technology vs. Morality (1)

seoman70 (69627) | more than 14 years ago | (#1589946)

The arrival of the first Christian computer action game opens a whole new chapter in the never-ending struggle between technology and the self-proclaimed forces of morality.

Really? I wasn't aware that technology and morality were mutualy exclusive goals. Surely you can use technology for good.

Perhaps you only mean a struggle between the people who crusade for enforced morality (which I would admit is hypocritical), who also seem to be technophobes, and technology, but it really is difficult to tell.

I'll second that request (1)

Atri (71996) | more than 14 years ago | (#1589954)

I'd be very curious to see how the game plays! Wonder if they put any really effort into the development of this game... One has to wonder since there aren't any screen shots or other relevant information at the web site.

Struggle? What struggle? (1)

DeekGeek (78694) | more than 14 years ago | (#1589969)

the never-ending struggle between technology and the self-proclaimed forces of morality

Speaking as a Christian geek, I didn't know that there was a struggle between technology and morality.

There will always be groups of Christians (or Muslims, or orthodox Jews, or...) that just don't get it . These people will view anything that challenges them to think in new ways as evil. This was true of the printing press way back then, and it's true of the Internet now.

The challenge for Christians is to look beyond the things that get all the hype (porn, for example) and to figure out how God's truth applies in the new context. The challenge for non-Christians is to remember that humans screw things up . Just because a bunch of idiots use God's name to run an Inquisition (or to persecute scientists, or to burn books, or to campaign against the Internet rather than learn how to use it to spread the Gospel) that doesn't mean that God feels the same way.

Intelligent people, whether they are Christians or not, understand that there is no one, single explanation for the violence in our culture. Television, video games, movies, and the Internet are all products of our society. To hack up an old colloquialism, 'they don't make society, they just reflect it.'

Intelligent Christians don't struggle against technology, we embrace it (some, like me, make their living off of it) and find a way to use it to tell people about how much God loves them.

Ignore the idiots, whether they're Christians or not.

Katz speaking out of both sides of his mouth (5)

Jack William Bell (84469) | more than 14 years ago | (#1589979)

On the one hand Jon Katz pushes tolerance for those who are different and freedom of speech for all. On the other, as in this article, he seems to be doing the opposite. Why all the venom against Christians Jon? Would you make the same nasty, baseless, comments about a game representing Jewish or Muslim mythology? How about Hindu? Paganism?

Not that I really care about the game in question myself. I doubt I will ever play it, much less pay money for the privilege. Nor am I in the target audience. And the idea of a violent game intended for christians does seem a bit hypocritical. Although perhaps not, if you read the old testement.

But it doesn't reach the same heighth of hypocrisy as Jon here! He speaks in a harsh tone about one segment of the populace, yet writes so many impassioned articles questioning why the general populace and traditional media do the same with geeks. Perhaps Jon thinks Christians are safe targets right now...

And notice that at no point is the game reviewed on its own merits as a game. Only on the content. I wish I could moderate articles down -- I would count this one as 'flamebait'.

Jack

Agree .... (2)

pvente (89848) | more than 14 years ago | (#1589999)

How many games out there have basis in hell - Diablo is just one of many. Why make an issue of it when a game has a basis in heaven as well ? Many games are posed as a battle between good and evil, but because the the forces in this case are heaven vs. hell, it gets extra attention ? How the game plays will determine whether it's successful or not.

As far as religion and freedom not getting along, it should be stated that organized/institutionalized religion and the humans that run them have had problems with freedom, not the faith itself.

'Men go crazy in congregations, they only get better one by one.' -- Sting

The preview website (2)

ReadbackMonkey (92198) | more than 14 years ago | (#1590008)

The web site is at www.externalwarriors.com [eternalwarriors.com]

It actually looks half-decent, sorta choppy looking ... I'd play it tho'.

Religion and freedom incompatible (1)

briancarnell (94247) | more than 14 years ago | (#1590019)

As an atheist the claim that relgion and freedom are always at odd is the most ridiculous piece of BS I've read in a long time. In fact the values incorporated by the Judeo-Christian cultural/religious systems formed a key part in transmitting and furthering ideas of freedom (see Orlando Patterson's "Freedom: Freedom In The Making of Western Culture."

That religion's relationship with freedom is often ambiguous and often very negative is true, but much the same thing could be said about important secular proponents of freedom such as Rousseau or Bentham.

This whole "look at the Christian action game and smirk" kind of comments seems to me the worst form of anti-religious bigotry. The criticism Katz relies on is a classic red baiting technique aimed at Christians -- since some Christians blame vidoe games for Columbine, lets just act as if all Christians believe this so then we can jump up and down and call them hypocrites when a religious action game comes out.

Typical Katz stupidity.

Just sounds like another ploy... (3)

Deitheres (98368) | more than 14 years ago | (#1590025)

...to make money or to save souls. All in all though, I must say this sounds very hypocritical. I can say that, because I spent 5 years as an evangelical, bible-thumping Christian. Now, this may be labeled as flamebait, but oh well. Here's how it is: it's bad to show a computer game with *simulated* violence, death, and gore. This kind of deplorable killing spree might lead to more Columbine-esque killings. *BUT* It's OK to nail down some of the devil's nasties. Hey, they're only dark lords of the netherworld. Go ahead, shoot them. I wonder if this will lead to a whole new generation of school shootings, where Christians go in and shoot their "less-than holy" classmates for their perversion and not choosing Jesus as their "way, truth, and life". This is, to me anyway, just one more example of the rotten-to-the-core, two-faced, hypocritical Christianity I was once a part of.

Two more points:
1. I kill demons in Magic: The Gathering so I guess that makes the game OK in the eyes of the fundies.
2. The people making this game are the same ones that bug you by knocking on your door during dinner.

Peace Out,

Charlie.


--
Child: Mommy, where do .sig files go when they die?
Mother: HELL! Straight to hell!
I've never been the same since.

self-proclaimed forces of morality. (1)

jrifkin (100192) | more than 14 years ago | (#1590032)

If you don't proclaim yourself moral, who else will do it for you?

Religious Extremism (1)

LoveBear (100195) | more than 14 years ago | (#1590033)

While the notion of a Christian Doom-clone strikes me at first glance as funnier than a Jack Chick comic book, the potential ramifications of such a game strikes me as worrying.

LET ME MAKE THIS CLEAR FROM THE OUTSET! I am an agnostic, essentially an atheist (as well as a Discordian, a SubGenius, a Kibologist and several brands of heretic-of-the-week), but I have a number of Christian friends of all denominations. I am NOT posting this to bash religion. There is a sharp line between those who believe in God and those who feel that their beliefs should be foisted onto other people by any means necessary. I am speaking of the latter, not the former.

Extremists already claim that Doom and other games of the same type inspire ostracised teens to take up arms and massacre other living human beings, but if one looks through history, some of the nastiest and most horrific atrocities have been committed in the name of religious ideals. A game that claims, either implicitly or explicitly, that being a demon is the path to destruction and beating up demons is the fastest way to heaven is, IMO, a dangerous inspiration to kids who have people such as Rev. Paul Hill and Rev. Fred Phelps as their role models.

For the moment, take the supposition that the extremists are right: games that graphically depict violence inspire people to act more violent towards each other. Now, introduce into this a game that apparently carries the message that violence in the name of God against enemies of the faith is not only acceptable but laudable. If this game /does/ inspire people to commit acts of brutality (and zealots don't need much encouragement), will the religious extremists condemn them as fast as they condemned the Columbine killers, or will we hear more calls of "I don't condone their actions, but religious outrage against such perversion and filth is only to be expected" like we get when people firebomb an abortion clinic?

If they're wrong and violence and FPSes aren't related, then this is just panic-mongering, but I still find it troublesome. Religious extremists seem to carry the message that any and everything is acceptable as long as it comes with a Seal of Approval from the local church, no matter how gruesome the contents may be. Rock and Roll is a danger, but Carman is alright because it's Christian Rock. Role Playing Games are satanic, but In Nomine is ok because you're playing angels (if you play demons, though, you're going to Hell, do not pass Purgatory, do not collect $200). Doom is evil, but a first-person-shoot-em-up that has you playing an angel beating up demons is ok because it's religiously-inspired and if you try to be a bad-guy then you're obviously corrupt anyway.

At any rate, it will be interesting to see what happens when this game hits the shelves. I'll be curious to see if it receives the same level of condemnation that Doom, a game that has a marine beating up on the Forces of Darkness(tm), received.

Bigotry runs both ways it seems... (1)

chryso (103668) | more than 14 years ago | (#1590042)

Not only are certain religious groups rather set in their ways, but so are those who so openly reject them. Is the point that someone disapproves of this type of game really going to make a difference if the way it is conveyed is by saying things such as, "self-proclaimed faces of morality?" I applaud the religious group who produced this game, they are attempting to break the stereotypes that surround religion. But instead of being recognized for that, they are bashed by any number of groups, most likely due to the fact that they *are* a religious group.

hrmm (1)

darthmoo (105062) | more than 14 years ago | (#1590044)

Define Irony: The first Christian Action Game gets rated "Teen" for Violence....um....OK
---------

Contradiction (1)

atopian (106699) | more than 14 years ago | (#1590048)

How is this any diffrent from Diablo? In Diablo your good fighting evil. Everything in there was demonic. And you never kill anything else good (PK's dont count :) ) so your still only fighting evil just a little more gory.

Religion and Freedom (1)

TommyBigwood (106707) | more than 14 years ago | (#1590050)

"Religion and freedom have never really gotten along"
Perhaps Mr. Katz has forgotten that Ghandi was a holy man and Martin Luther King Jr. was a baptist minister. The Solidarity movement in Poland couldn't have brought down the totalitarian goverment there and started a chain reaction throughout Eastern Europe without John Paul II's support. If you weigh the closing of theaters on Fridays and battles over violent games against winning rights for millions of African-Americans or freedom for hundreds of millions of Eastern Europeans, you'll notice that religion does alot of good things, too. Admittedly, many Christians in the news lately have been facist idiots, but such a strong anti-religious statement is unsupported by facts.

Disdain and contempt (1)

twise (106719) | more than 14 years ago | (#1590053)

Disdain and contempt are ugly no matter how they're applied. I may not agree with the morality presented in a Christian game, but I respect what they're trying to do. I think Katz needs to look in a mirror at his own prejudices before providing us with an editorial. Would this editorial be so biting (or even be written) if this was a Muslim game or a Buddhist game? I don't attend Church anywhere. I can't really define what my faith is or isn't. But I don't spit on people who do have faith. To the contrary, I respect their choices. There seems to be a large segment of today's society that belongs to the invisible church of secular humanism. Their rules are unwritten but more binding than any in the Bible. Thou shalt not let faith pass uncriticized. Thou hast not the right to protect thy children. Thou shalt not put forth a viewpoint I disagree with. Katz, you're worse than any born-again I ever met.
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