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Churches Use Halo To Spread the Word, Raise Eyebrows

Zonk posted about 7 years ago | from the now-turn-to-the-holy-book-of-cortana-chapter-twelve dept.

Games 474

The New York Times has a lengthy look at an unorthodox way to spread the religious word: Halo 3 multiplayer matches. Churches across the country have adopted 'Halo Nights' as a way to get kids together in religious centers and church basements. "The alliance of popular culture and evangelism is challenging churches much as bingo games did in the 1960s. And the question fits into a rich debate about how far churches should go to reach young people. Far from being defensive, church leaders who support Halo -- despite its "thou shalt kill" credo -- celebrate it as a modern and sometimes singularly effective tool. It is crucial, they say, to reach the elusive audience of boys and young men." Just the same, the use of the game is raising concerns among some onlookers. GamePolitics reports that many faith communities are heavily debating the issue.

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Fight the false prophet (5, Interesting)

IndustrialComplex (975015) | about 7 years ago | (#20911259)

In Halo3 you are fighting against what could easily be called a 'False Prophet'. Sounds like good justification for a Christian church.

Re:Fight the false prophet (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20911285)

Regarding that logic, why not doom?

Destroying demons seems a fairly wholesome activity!

Re:Fight the false prophet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20911463)

The requested URL (games/07/10/09/1429240.shtml) was not found.

If you feel like it, mail the url, and where ya came from to help@slashdot.org.

Re:Fight the false prophet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20911575)

Sounds more like you're fighting the Christian church.

Halo is nothing compared to the Bible (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20911859)

Have you ever read the Bible? It is FULL of violence. Horrible violence. Genocide condoned and ordered by God himself (not to mention slavery and rape (cf the book of Numbers)). The total destruction of the world is in there a few times too. Oh and don't forget the various descriptions of torture and sexual misconduct and so on.

Personally, I don't see how any morally upright person would ever let thier kids have access to a copy of that book.

The Iraq War is nothing compared to Halo (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20912405)

Why are people complaining about Iraq? There's much more death and destruction in Halo.

Fighting Against Infidels In Halo (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20912491)


Sounds like a good idea for a mosque.

It must be said (3, Funny)

UnderDark (869922) | about 7 years ago | (#20911263)

I for one welcome our bible thumping, n00b killing, overlords.

WWJF? (4, Funny)

kjkeefe (581605) | about 7 years ago | (#20911359)

Who Would Jesus Frag?

I'd love to go to one of these things, name my guy Jesus, and then berate anyone who frags me. "How dare you slay the son of god!?!?!?!?!"

Re:WWJF? (5, Funny)

Rude Turnip (49495) | about 7 years ago | (#20911377)

That's a trick question, since God hates frags.

Re:WWJF? (5, Funny)

kyriosdelis (1100427) | about 7 years ago | (#20912127)

That's a trick question, since God hates frags.
True...It took his son 3 days to respawn.

Re:WWJF? (2, Interesting)

steveo777 (183629) | about 7 years ago | (#20911969)

Been there, done that. :)

My friends and I often have nights like this and a few have been church-sponsored. Halo, Mario Kart... whatever, as long as the game isn't too racy for the people holding the controllers (and the situation) then it's usually a non-issue. My pastor plays Halo on occasion. If he were against it, I'd still play because I know it's just fine with God. At the same time I'd respect the pastor's wishes and not bring it to the youth-oriented events. The article is just some guy trying to be a sensationalist. Blowing something out of proportion for a buck.

PS. Some people might take it the wrong way, but when you've got Jesus, the 12 disciples, both Mary's and Lazarus running around a Halo multiplayer map, hilarity always ensues. We got the idea from the Penny Arcade (can't link, behind websence..).

Re:WWJF? (1)

java_dev (894898) | about 7 years ago | (#20912579)

Happy to see that I'm not the only Christian who reads slashdot... and plays Halo [bungie.net] .

In Soviet Russia... (1)

russlar (1122455) | about 7 years ago | (#20912289)

Jesus frags you.

Re:It must be said (2, Informative)

rwven (663186) | about 7 years ago | (#20912075)

Eh, halo nights at churches are far from new. They've been going on almost since the first halo was launched...

Re:It must be said (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20912187)

It only goes to show that evangelicals have to use gimmicks to win converts rather than being able to draw people based solely on the merits of their ideas.

Finally! (1)

ultraparanoid (1121539) | about 7 years ago | (#20911281)

Finally a church that _I_ can relate to!

Thou shalt not kill? (5, Insightful)

Aladrin (926209) | about 7 years ago | (#20911291)

I don't think 'thou shalt not kill' ever refered to anything except humans. Otherwise, all the Christians that are eating meat will have some serious explaining to do.

I think this is a good idea for the church... Get the kids used to being at the church, and interacting with their friends there, possibly even friends that they never get to see otherwise. It establishes it as a friendly place that they want to be, the kids have some supervision while they play, and everyone involved is happy.

Re:Thou shalt not kill? (5, Interesting)

speaker of the truth (1112181) | about 7 years ago | (#20911579)

I don't think 'thou shalt not kill' ever refered to anything except humans. Otherwise, all the Christians that are eating meat will have some serious explaining to do.
Modern Christians say its actually thou shalt not murder with legally sanction killing being permissible. So yes, even humans can be killed.

Re:Thou shalt not kill? (1)

oh2 (520684) | about 7 years ago | (#20912499)

I guess differentiating between murder and killing is a necessary thing if you want to justify the death penalty and war. I wouldnt call that a "modern" view of christianity though.

Re:Thou shalt not kill? (1)

Danse (1026) | about 7 years ago | (#20912601)

Modern Christians say its actually thou shalt not murder with legally sanction killing being permissible. So yes, even humans can be killed.
So they're ok with countries that decide that one group or another is bad and should be killed, pass laws to reflect that belief and then get down to some serious slaughter? Hell, I don't even understand how they justify capital punishment in the US. What happened to letting God be the judge?

Re:Thou shalt not kill? (1)

hansamurai (907719) | about 7 years ago | (#20912693)

Please note that not all Christians adhere to this though and consider the original commandment something without exceptions.

Re:Thou shalt not kill? (4, Interesting)

hey! (33014) | about 7 years ago | (#20911611)

Actually, a vast body of Old Testament law related to commanding and regulating animal sacrifice; although you could offer grain, animals were clearly "better", and you'd better not be some cheapskate offering bread if you had plenty of livestock.

These regulations also appear to be related to the post-Sinai period of Exodus, since they clearly assume a nomadic existence, so they can hardly be considered as contradicting the Ten Commandments (which in Jewish terms is pre-school stuff; God has a lot more to say about human conduct than things like "Thou shall not kill").

The nature of these commandments is fascinating because there is no independent historical or archaeological corroboration of the Exodus story. Although it is most historically probable that these regulations were reconstructed at a date later than the Babylonian captivity, they have a certain verisimilitude. The difficulties posed by reconciling a fixed lifestyle with commandments assuming a nomadic existence seems to confirm that in their folk memory at least, the Israelites were nomads.

In any case, anybody who cites Leviticus as proof that homosexuality or Wicca is an abomination will have a difficult time proving that they really consider the commandments of Leviticus binding.

Re:Thou shalt not kill? (2, Insightful)

steveo777 (183629) | about 7 years ago | (#20912207)

I'm pretty well aware of the likelihood that Moses did not pen the Pentateuch, it makes no sense that he could. And it also seems most likely that when it was 'found' it was penned after the captivity during the reconstruction of Babylon. But either way, I believe what it says is true. I think C.S. Lewis put it pretty well when he said, "No man who could write the Bible would, and no man who would write the Bible could." I haven't studied it to extensively but I do try to keep up with it.

My question is what is your bridge to trying to justify homosexuality when it is called an abomination (Old and New Testament)? Far as wikka itself goes, I don't know enough about that, but I'm willing to bet that it falls under false gods and/or witch craft. Just my two cents.

Re:Thou shalt not kill? (2, Informative)

toleraen (831634) | about 7 years ago | (#20911623)

I guess I don't see the big deal about this...growing up in the late 80s/early 90s, every Wednesday night we brought in our Nintendos/Segas to church to play video games with other kids. They supplied pizza, soda, a couple TVs, and a good time was had by all.

Granted stomping on turtles and shooting ducks might have been a little tamer than Halo, but it's still the same concept.

Re:Thou shalt not kill? (2, Insightful)

sammy baby (14909) | about 7 years ago | (#20911751)

I don't think 'thou shalt not kill' ever refered to anything except humans.


Well... depends on who you ask. From Wikipedia [wikipedia.org]

Various translations exist of the sixth commandment; the Hebrew words are variously translated as "thou shalt not kill" or "thou shalt not murder". Older Protestant translations of the Bible, those based on the Vulgate and Roman Catholic translations usually render it "Thou shalt not kill", whereas Jewish and newer Protestant versions tend to use "You shall not murder". There is controversy as to which translation is more faithful, and both forms are quoted in support of ethical standpoints.


The generally held view is that murder is probably the more accurate translation. The issue of whether or not it is possible to commit murder on an Elite aside, exceptions are made in many Christian teachings for war.

And besides which, dude, it's a game. Nobody actually dies unless they're stupid and play continuously for three days.

Re:Thou shalt not kill? (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20912009)

I don't think 'thou shalt not kill' ever refered to anything except humans. Otherwise, all the Christians that are eating meat will have some serious explaining to do.

As well as the Christians who are vegans and vegetarians. As much as they'd like to pretend otherwise, the herbivores kill to live too - it's just that they pick on life forms so alien and removed from our own that it's easy not to think about.

I think this is a good idea for the church... Get the kids used to being at the church, and interacting with their friends there, possibly even friends that they never get to see otherwise. It establishes it as a friendly place that they want to be, the kids have some supervision while they play, and everyone involved is happy.

Churches are deceptive and destructive organizations designed to warp and brainwash the minds of adherents. Maybe it's a good idea from the church's perspective, but you could say the same about NAMBLA holding Halo conventions.

Better to expose the obvious and apparent hypocrisy (if you don't see a contradiction between Jesus' message and what goes on in Halo - especially the multiplayer game - you definitely aren't reading closely enough) and help tear down the fleecing game that is organized religion.

Protestants should be ashamed at the state of affairs today. Martin Luther's rolling in his grave.

Wrong translation (0, Redundant)

MikeRT (947531) | about 7 years ago | (#20912043)

It is not "thou shalt not kill," it is "you shall not murder." Read the NIV, which is a superior translation to the KJV.

Re:Wrong translation (2, Insightful)

jdgeorge (18767) | about 7 years ago | (#20912471)

It is not "thou shalt not kill," it is "you shall not murder." Read the NIV, which is a superior translation to the KJV.

Hmmm.... I would be cautious about making such value statements.

Why would one assert that the NIV is a "superiour" translation? The King James Version was the dominant guide to Christian thought for English speaking people for more than 300 years. It would be curious to argue that the people who adhered to the guidance in the King James version were not (and are not) "inferiour" Christians to those who now use the New International Version which has only existed for (almost) the past 30 years. Given the short history of this new translation, its value, for better of for worse, is yet to be proven.

Re:Wrong translation (1)

TheDreadSlashdotterD (966361) | about 7 years ago | (#20912549)

Just as a disclaimer, I agree with you.

I just don't thing you can really claim that, and even if what you say is true in its most literal sense (the literal sense of truth, not the scripture) then you've got the other person's opinion to deal with. Given that religion in all shapes and sizes conditions believers that their thoughts are right, then you have an uphill battle. Hence why some crazy bastards still cling to the KJV.

Like I said, I agree with you, but don't count on the crazies to do the same.

There is a difference between kill and murder (1)

Shivetya (243324) | about 7 years ago | (#20912473)

and there are many scholars who think the word was murder and not kill. That would make much more sense considering the propensity for putting one's enemies to the sword.

As such Halo would in shape or form be against the 10 commandments

Halo? Eh. (4, Funny)

morari (1080535) | about 7 years ago | (#20911305)

DooM would be in better line with the church's views.

Well, we haven't do that exactly... (4, Insightful)

GweeDo (127172) | about 7 years ago | (#20911307)

At my church (church of about 100 in a town of 2000) we happily use video games and things like that to bring teens in. While we have never used M rated games, we do have Wii tournaments from time to time. It is a great way to give the kids something safe to do (in a town of 2000 there isn't much) and gets them comfortable with the Church and the Youth Leaders we have.

In regards to Halo 3 though, I do know our Senior High Sunday School teacher used it as the basis for his lesson last week. He actually had me come up and give a brief overview of the story from Halo 1 and 2 to start things off ;)

Churches do need to be careful to be "in the world, but not of it", but at the same time don't be afraid of using main stream culture and entertainment in new ways to both teach and to simply get people interested.

Re:Well, we haven't do that exactly... (1)

Dan East (318230) | about 7 years ago | (#20911407)

We use the Wii too. There's nothing like a 20 foot diagonal measure screen with a 3000 lumen projector and an 18" subwoofer to make playing video games a little more fun.

Dan East

Spending priorities? (5, Insightful)

kjkeefe (581605) | about 7 years ago | (#20911607)

I've always wondered how churches like that can rationalize spending money on a 20 foot screen with a nice projector and 18" subwoofer when that money could be applied to more useful pursuits such as helping the poor. Every time I drive past a church that is building a new multi-million dollar extension with fine architecture on expensive land I wonder the same thing. Why not give that money to single mothers trying to keep their families above water or drug rehabilitation programs or education programs for ex-convicts?

If you sit back and think of the dollars tied up in religious infrastructure, it is absolutely astounding. Ask yourself, if you combine the equity of all religious property within a 2 mile radius of your house, how much do you get? I know for me, I would estimate it at around 2 million...

I guess my first mistake was wondering how churches can _rationalize_ anything...

Re:Spending priorities? (1, Insightful)

lovebyte (81275) | about 7 years ago | (#20911747)

Churches are institutions. They try to grow. They try to get more money to grow even more.

Religion is one way (could be the best way) to instill institution membership to people and from a very young age (indoctrination).

Morality or helping the poor is only a facade/marketing trick.

Re:Spending priorities? (3, Insightful)

Empiric (675968) | about 7 years ago | (#20912641)

Morality or helping the poor is only a facade/marketing trick.

As opposed to you seeking Slashdot karma by just simply outright lying.

Firstly, how about scoping this--does this apply to martyrs as well, or just a particular subset you have in mind? You know, beyond the absurd universal you have to express, even though you yourself know it's false as you say it.

Secondly, I'd like to compare hard numbers between churches' charitable giving, corporations, and you personally. The first two I can get--and relatively speaking, churches compare positively. As for the last, I suppose we'll have wait on that--unless you care to volunteer it.

Re:Spending priorities? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20911783)

But the poor don't donate to Church, they are hell bound anyway.

Re:Spending priorities? (2, Interesting)

Applekid (993327) | about 7 years ago | (#20911821)

I've always wondered how churches like that can rationalize spending money on a 20 foot screen with a nice projector and 18" subwoofer when that money could be applied to more useful pursuits such as helping the poor.
Easy. Those are internal investments aimed at increasing the size of the congregation, and in turn, increasing the pot of donations.

A small humble 4 room chapel can be used for religious ceremonies, sure, but how many people could be packed in? How many would be inspired by the visage and get that whole religious experience thing? Not many and I should know: I vote at one and even though voter turnout is really low in the U.S. it completely overwhelms the facilities there.

Now, look at a church. Imposing and beautiful (regardless of how someone feels about religion in general you have to admit chuches are impressive structures by design). Can see it for at least a few blocks as a monument in the neighborhood. Can put lots of people inside it. Its organ bellows and light colored by stained glass open hearts and minds... and wallets, too. Hell, having a beautiful church means now you can do wedding ceremonies and require large donations for the privilage.

Attractions for the youth help distance some from distractions away from the church. Investment in the youth = an investment in the adult [money-making] congregation.

The problem then becomes that the people in charge forget about those single mothers or the poor or the community at large and become centrally focused on their own growth and impact and pull. They wanna pack those seats and now they're not much better than concert promoters. Their greed overwhelms their mission and they lose sight. It takes complete dedication to the cause to not get snookered in.

Continue the cycle and you get TV Evangelists and that makes baby Jesus cry.

Re:Spending priorities? (1)

BKX (5066) | about 7 years ago | (#20911843)

For me, probably closer to $20 million.

Re:Spending priorities? (1)

mass (65691) | about 7 years ago | (#20911867)

There's one way to cut spending in a church :

1. Join a church
2. Participate
3. Become a leader
4. Vote no to spending!

Re:Spending priorities? (1)

toleraen (831634) | about 7 years ago | (#20911999)

I've always wondered how corporations like that can rationalize spending money on a 20ft water fountain when that money could be applied to more useful pursuits such as improving R&D. Every time I drive past a corporation that is building a new multi-million dollar extension with fine architecture on expensive land I wonder the same thing. Why not use that money to keep their best engineers onboard or increase employee benefits or have a pizza party?

If you sit back and think of the dollars tied up in corporate infrastructure, it is absolutely astounding. Ask yourself, if you combine the equity of all property within a 2 mile radius of your house, how much do you get? I know for me, I would estimate it at around 2 million...

I guess my first mistake was wondering how corporations can _rationalize_ anything...
Give that a read, maybe that'll clear some stuff up. I'm not trying to equate religious institutes to corporations, but look at it like a potential customer would for a business.

Imagine you're standing outside two electronics stores. One store has an extremely nice, well designed exterior. Inside you know they've got free water, good music playing, an easy layout to navigate, etc. The other store has cardboard patches on the windows, has inventory just laying around, has a window fan with no A/C running, etc. Both stores have the same product at the same price. Which store do you enter? Same thing for a church. Give a few niceties to potential members, and they'll stick around to make their weekly donations.

Re:Spending priorities? (2, Insightful)

mikearthur (888766) | about 7 years ago | (#20912013)

Churches give substantial amounts of their money to charity. My previous church gave at least 10% of all the money they got in (revenue, not profit) to charities. When you factor the running costs of the church this is not an unsubstantial amount.

As for why they spend money on things like projectors rather than dedicating all that money to the poor: rightly or wrongly they place the value of your soul over the value of your life. That may not appear to make a lot of sense but this is why outreach and evangelism is still seen as an equal or (in some churches) superior priority to simply giving the money away.

Re:Spending priorities? (1)

plague3106 (71849) | about 7 years ago | (#20912031)

IIRC, the Catholic church is the largest landowner in the world. Its also the most rich. Yes, you're right to wonder why they have millions to give to families after they let their priests molest kids, but lock homeless out in the street when winter arrives.

Re:Spending priorities? (1)

fletcher_the_dog (965148) | about 7 years ago | (#20912175)

Your's is a legitimate question with a fairly simple answer. I go to a church that spends a lot of money on the poor but also a lot of money on nice buildings and fun activities. Why not just give all the money to the poor and needy? Because building community and building a sanctuary where people can go to to be uplifted is important too. The people that go to my local church have vastly different income levels some who are dirt poor and some who make more than $100,000 a year. There are many who go to our local leader when they can't pay the bills and he helps them out. There are many low income kids who get to do things they never would get to do if it weren't for the church activities. There are single moms who only get a break when they go to church activities and there is someone there to watch their kids for a while. I know of many people who have gotten better jobs because people that they met at church helped them find better opportunities. I know many people who live in old run down homes, who get help from the church to fix up their homes and who enjoy going to a nice clean place to get away from the harried existence of their lives for a few hours.

Re:Spending priorities? (1)

sholden (12227) | about 7 years ago | (#20912591)

Depends on how you look at the world I guess...

One justification they could have is that infrastructure gets more people to hear their message and hence more people to convert. I would suspect that the salvation of an eternal soul ranks higher than keeping a single mother fed for an extra day - in the religious scheme of things anyway.

Another would be that it's investing, that infrastructure attracts more people some of whom join and start bringing in more income to the church through donations, volunteer work, whatever. So sure they could spend that dollar on that single mother now or they could spend it on infrastructure and generate hopefully more than one dollar of additional future income to spend on that single mother. Of course at some point you have to stop investing and start spending on the actual goals, but I'm sure that can wait for the next generation (maybe two...)

Re:Spending priorities? (1)

steveo777 (183629) | about 7 years ago | (#20912655)

I've been involved in small churches and larger "super" churches. It's pretty hard to find a faith-based organization that's in it for the money. They're definitely around, but they're not everyone. Should a pastor drive a Porsche? That's not my concern as long as that pastor is always on-target with his faith and keeping his church 'in-line'. Accountability reciprocates, and always should.

But every one of these churches uses their resources very responsibly. They send aid all over the world (even the little ones, churches with 100 members of lower class people flying in to Mexico to help build orphanages).

The Church wasn't to be founded on Peter himself, but on his revelation that Jesus is the Christ the son of the living God [Matthew 16:16-17]. Meaning that the Church is everyone who believes that, no the catholics, not the Lutherans, but everyone.

Church organizations are built for the sole purpose of uniting community. Making a place for believers to fellowship. They get bigger, they need administration, and accountability. They also serve as a place for all those alms to be put to the most responsible uses. And, hopefully, this is all done in harmony. Which isn't ever the case because we're all human alike.

Re:Well, we haven't do that exactly... (1, Funny)

Funkcikle (630170) | about 7 years ago | (#20911433)

At my church (church of about 100 in a town of 2000) we happily use video games and things like that to bring teens in.
What happened - did you run out of puppies? Did they stop believing that their parents really HAD been in an accident and you'd been sent to collect them from school?

What kind of "church" are you part of, exactly!

Re:Well, we haven't do that exactly... (1)

jollyreaper (513215) | about 7 years ago | (#20911665)

In regards to Halo 3 though, I do know our Senior High Sunday School teacher used it as the basis for his lesson last week. He actually had me come up and give a brief overview of the story from Halo 1 and 2 to start things off ;)
Wow, that's sure different from the religious environment I grew up in. I pirated Doom like the rest of the teenagers back when it came out. (That's Doom 1 for all you whippersnappers.) I liked it so much I mail-ordered a copy so I could support id. Well, I wasn't home when the package arrived. My parents gave me a huge lecture about the evils of whatever this devil worship stuff was I downloaded and my stepdad actually took the disks behind the house and smashed them with a sledgehammer. He then used razorblades to slice up the magnetic disk inside, just to make sure he got at all the evil. Fucking Christ. I mean, I could understand this sort of reaction over Daikatana... Needless to say, money was not the only reason why I continued to pirate games -- piracy was the only way to make sure there were no incriminating boxes sitting around.

Re:Well, we haven't do that exactly... (1)

djasbestos (1035410) | about 7 years ago | (#20912569)

Heh, I really got an earful from my mom with Quake when I was going up the path to kill Shub Niggurath. Not to mention for my Slayer and Pantera discs. From Half-Life on, all gaming was done either in the basement, LAN parties, or at the gaming joint.

But when I was still in church, we had Goldeneye and then Perfect Dark...and in college, someone was offended that I called him a "fucking fag" for teabagging me in Halo (not a wholly inaccurate description given the context)...very Christian behavior, that wholesome teabagging and gloating, but God forbid you chastise someone with "strong" language!

Re:Well, we haven't do that exactly... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20912085)

At my church (church of about 100 in a town of 2000) we happily use video games and things like that to bring teens in.

And other churches use sex [wikipedia.org] to bring raw meat in for processing. So what? Just because you do it, doesn't make it defensible.

Halo 3 is a gore and violence-fest. If you have to use tricks and lures to get converts, that isn't something I'd be crowing over in public. Ends and means and all that.

Bingo nights, 21st century style (1)

Alzheimers (467217) | about 7 years ago | (#20911337)

Calling the Church hypocritical over "Halo nights" is glossing over the last 20 centuries. If you want to compare it to anything, count it like the regular Bingo tournaments routinely held in just about every "House of God" these days. Only there's no money being wagered, so there's not even that to criticize.

Re:Bingo nights, 21st century style (1)

ed.mps (1015669) | about 7 years ago | (#20911475)

mod parent insightful, the pseudo-churches use almost everything to catch people's money... nothing bad to see here, please move along

disclaimer: i'm an atheist.

Churches uses? (2, Insightful)

jnaujok (804613) | about 7 years ago | (#20911345)

Does Zonk have access to a grammar reference, or an editor's guide? Yeah, I'm sacrificing karma for this.

Killing != Murder (5, Insightful)

tbcpp (797625) | about 7 years ago | (#20911375)

It's actually a common misconception that the Bible condemns killing. The misquoted verse from the 10 commandments was mis-translated in the KJV as "thou shalt not kill". Instead it should have been translated as "thou shalt not murder". The Bible (and God it's author) does not condemn killing in defence, punishment for a crime, or in wartime. What it does condemn is murder. So with this in mind Halo doesn't violate the 10 commandments at all.

Yes, I'm a Christian, and yes I love playing Halo.

Halo != Killing (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20911589)

Halo is just a game. You can only kill people in the real world.

Halo is no different than playing cops and robbers or cowboys and indians.

Most of the indignation is from people who would bristle at Jack Thompson calling a video game a murder simulator, but since this is about a church, they are more than willing to join his side intellectually if it lets them scream hypocrisy

Re:Killing != Murder (3, Insightful)

Applekid (993327) | about 7 years ago | (#20911603)

So with this in mind Halo doesn't violate the 10 commandments at all.
Heh, and all this time I thought it was because it was just a game and not real. Silly me. :)

Re:Killing != Murder (1)

tbcpp (797625) | about 7 years ago | (#20911671)

And let me amend my last comment by saying that Halo is just a game, and I don't agree with those who would say I'm more violent because I enjoy crushing the aliens under my steel shod boot. All I was intending to say in the parent was that even if Halo were real, it still wouldn't violate scripture's command to abstain from murder.

Re:Killing != Murder (0, Offtopic)

FinestLittleSpace (719663) | about 7 years ago | (#20911849)

I still want to know how this God person managed to write a book (giant paper?) and get such a good distribution deal.

Re:Killing != Murder (1, Offtopic)

tbcpp (797625) | about 7 years ago | (#20911921)

This is OT, but it's simple. A) he inspired people to write it over a period of 2000 years. B) An the reason it's distribution is so good is because it's the truth. I mean common, 20+ people writing a book over 2000 years, including prophecies that are fulfilled hundreds (if not thousands) of years after they are written, with no contradictions in the book. No wonder it's so popular. Not to mention that it has the power to change lives (bring about world peace, etc.).

Re:Killing != Murder (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20912003)

No contradictions? Are you joking? Have you actually read the thing and thought about things? or are you just spouting the mindcontrol bullshit you've been trained to do?

Re:Killing != Murder (2, Interesting)

tbcpp (797625) | about 7 years ago | (#20912287)

"No contradictions? Are you joking? Have you actually read the thing and thought about things?"

Yes I have read it through. Some parts more times than I can count. And I have thought about some parts to the extent that I have them memorized. So, if you are interested in debating this logically , feel free to e-mail me at tbaldridge at gmail dot com. Otherwise, I have to ask if you are just spouting off what you have been told about the Bible without researching and studying it yourself.

Re:Killing != Murder (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20912615)

One would think that if you've read the Bible several times, you might have noticed the contradiction right at the start, between Genesis 1 and 2. Gen 1 says that humans were created male and female on the 6th day, before God rested and after the animals of the earth(Gen 1:26-27); Gen 2 documents creation of first male human after God rested (Gen 2:5,7), then the creation of land animals (Gen 2:19), and finally the creation of female humans (Gen 2:21-22).

At maximum, only one of these sequences is correct, and the fact that both exist makes me wonder exactly where inerrantists start reading from.


(references: Vulgate [gutenberg.org] and KJV [gutenberg.org] ; verse numbers are consistent)

Re:Killing != Murder (1)

FinestLittleSpace (719663) | about 7 years ago | (#20912025)

Blimey. I wonder if you're for real. Regardless, lets go step by step here:

> A) he inspired people to write it over a period of 2000 years
So are we, like, talking Jesus now, or what? Jesus is God? I'm confused.

> B) An the reason it's distribution is so good is because it's the truth.
Go on...

> I mean common, 20+ people writing a book over 2000 years, including prophecies that are fulfilled hundreds (if not thousands) of years after they are written,
Like a nursery rhyme?

> with no contradictions in the book.
Like Harry Potter

> No wonder it's so popular.
Like Harry Potter

> Not to mention that it has the power to change lives
Like Harry Potter

> (bring about world peace, etc.).
Yeah, let me know when that happens.

Anyway, I'm off to walk on some water...

Re:Killing != Murder (1)

tbcpp (797625) | about 7 years ago | (#20912513)

Blimey. I wonder if you're for real. Regardless, lets go step by step here: > A) he inspired people to write it over a period of 2000 years >> So are we, like, talking Jesus now, or what? Jesus is God? I'm confused. The two are one in the same. Jesus is God. > B) An the reason it's distribution is so good is because it's the truth. >> Go on... As people listen and read it, it changes their lives, after these changes they in turn want to share what happened to them with others. Hence the distribution. > I mean common, 20+ people writing a book over 2000 years, including prophecies that are fulfilled hundreds (if not thousands) of years after they are written, >> Like a nursery rhyme? Hardly, for instance, the destruction of Tyre was foretold years before it happened. And it was prophesied at a time when it was rediculous to even think of the city being destoried. Years later, Nebucadnezzer started the job, and it was finished by Alexander the Great. The Bible even foretold that when it was destroyed the army that razed it would sow salt upon their fields. And guess what, that's what the Babylonians did. Read the book of Daniel. It's full of prophecies of what would happen 100-500 years after the life of the writer. > with no contradictions in the book. >> Like Harry Potter Maybe, but HP was written by one person in less than 50 years. Try claiming that for a book written by 20+ people over 1000 years. The only way that can be explained is if one being (God) inspired all the writers. > No wonder it's so popular. >> Like Harry Potter Hardly, the Bible is the most printed book in the world. HP doesn't even come close. > Not to mention that it has the power to change lives >> Like Harry Potter When was the last time you heard of someone giving up drinking, beating their wife, doing drugs, cheating on their husband because of HP? > (bring about world peace, etc.). >> Yeah, let me know when that happens. It's happening, slowly. >> Anyway, I'm off to walk on some water... Have a nice swim!

Re:Killing != Murder (1)

tbcpp (797625) | about 7 years ago | (#20912563)

>> Blimey. I wonder if you're for real. Regardless, lets go step by step here:

> A) he inspired people to write it over a period of 2000 years
>> So are we, like, talking Jesus now, or what? Jesus is God? I'm confused.
The two are one in the same. Jesus is God.

> B) An the reason it's distribution is so good is because it's the truth.
>> Go on...
As people listen and read it, it changes their lives, after these changes they in turn want to share what happened to them with others. Hence the distribution.

> I mean common, 20+ people writing a book over 2000 years, including prophecies that are fulfilled hundreds (if not thousands) of years after they are written,
>> Like a nursery rhyme?
Hardly, for instance, the destruction of Tyre was foretold years before it happened. And it was prophesied at a time when it was rediculous to even think of the city being destoried. Years later, Nebucadnezzer started the job, and it was finished by Alexander the Great. The Bible even foretold that when it was destroyed the army that razed it would sow salt upon their fields. And guess what, that's what the Babylonians did. Read the book of Daniel. It's full of prophecies of what would happen 100-500 years after the life of the writer.

> with no contradictions in the book.
>> Like Harry Potter

Maybe, but HP was written by one person in less than 50 years. Try claiming that for a book written by 20+ people over 1000 years. The only way that can be explained is if one being (God) inspired all the writers.

> No wonder it's so popular.
>> Like Harry Potter
Hardly, the Bible is the most printed book in the world. HP doesn't even come close.

> Not to mention that it has the power to change lives
>> Like Harry Potter
When was the last time you heard of someone giving up drinking, beating their wife, doing drugs, cheating on their husband because of HP?

> (bring about world peace, etc.).
>> Yeah, let me know when that happens.
It's happening, slowly.

>> Anyway, I'm off to walk on some water...
Have a nice swim!

Re:Killing != Murder (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20912225)

a) it was written by many people with little to no knowledge of how we know the world works b) its distribution is so good because the early christians used alot of elements of paganism including their festivals and all christians target children who aren't able to think critically. Its fulfilled many vague prophecies (see astrology for how to do that) and lets not forget jesus coming back in the lifetime of his disciples being an important one. Lots and LOTS of contradictions and interpretations due to it being written by handfuls of people with totally different ideas about the world that were merged together without any editing. look at the 2 beggat lists, they don't even list Joseph's father with the same name, nice one god, you think you'd know that. Not to mention the power to cause more wars, torture, killing and suffering than anything else in the world, definitely changed alot of peoples lives in that respect.

Re:Killing != Murder (1)

tbcpp (797625) | about 7 years ago | (#20912691)

>>a) it was written by many people with little to no knowledge of how we know the world works
And modern science is any better? Really how can you say that ^^ considering that the views of scientists today changing every few years. Sounds like the pot calling the kettle black.

>>b) its distribution is so good because the early christians used alot of elements of paganism including their festivals and all christians target children who aren't able to think critically.
Sounds like modern evolution indoctrination to me.

>>Its fulfilled many vague prophecies (see astrology for how to do that) and lets not forget jesus coming back in the lifetime of his disciples being an important one.
See my other comments to this post if you want to debate this

>>Lots and LOTS of contradictions and interpretations due to it being written by handfuls of people with totally different ideas about the world that were merged together without any editing. look at the 2 beggat lists, they don't even list Joseph's father with the same name, nice one god, you think you'd know that.
That's because one lists his heritage on his Mother's side, and the other from his Father's

>>Not to mention the power to cause more wars, torture, killing and suffering than anything else in the world, definitely changed alot of peoples lives in that respect.
What wars? What torture? The Holocaust? That was done by sadistic man. The Crusades? That was done by a evil Pope in charge of an group of people whom most God fearing christians don't even call Christian. The Inquisition, the same.

Re:Killing != Murder (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20911877)

Then you must be more grounded in reality compared to the majority of Christians around me, as I've been told by several of them that "thou shalt not kill" really means to not be angry at someone because being angry at someone is really wanting them dead and that offends God. These are also the same people that say that to look at a woman with lust in your eyes means you're comitting adultery even if you're not married. So, while your interpretation of The Bible might fit your own world view, do know that there are people out there who consider themselves just as right with an almost opposite world view.

Re:Killing != Murder (4, Insightful)

Pojut (1027544) | about 7 years ago | (#20911911)

The Bible (and God it's author)
I was under the impression that god DIDN'T write the bible...I mean, after all, if god was the author, why do bible's have copyright dates? Is god afraid of someone spreading the word illegally?

The bible was written by man...just like the torah, just like the que'ran, just like every religious book. Written by men who thought the world was flat.

Re:Killing != Murder (1)

UbuntuDupe (970646) | about 7 years ago | (#20912033)

Rearranging the memory registers of a Turing machine simulator =/= killing, so it's a moot point anyway :-P

It does however raise (beg?) the question of the morality of "killing" sufficiently conscious beings in a realistic virtual world. In my irrelevant opinion, it is morally permissible for a person to kill virtual beings in a simulation created in his world, but the beings within that world are still obligated to treat "users" from the overworld the same as anyone else since they cannot allow people to exploit such a loophole.

Did I have too much coffee today?

Re:Killing != Murder (1)

Alzheimers (467217) | about 7 years ago | (#20912307)

Please explain the difference. Either all life is sacred, or it's not. If it's not, who decides when it is and not? You? Me? GWB?

Re:Killing != Murder (4, Interesting)

vertinox (846076) | about 7 years ago | (#20912539)

The Bible (and God it's author) does not condemn killing in defence, punishment for a crime, or in wartime.

Oddly enough the old testament seems to be advocating genocide. Shortly after Moses got the 10 commandments, god told Joshua to kill off everyone (including women and children) in cities who would not submit to the chosen people's rule.

I'd also like to point out many early non-Catholic Christians actually viewed the old testament as evil and written by the hand of a demi-urge. However the Papacy would have none of that and had most of these people put to death over the course of several thousand years.

Most notably were the Cathars and various other gnostic [wikipedia.org] sects. If the Papacy had only the new testament to work with then they would have little to justify their wars of religion and garner support from newly converted pagans who wished to continue their warring ways.

To be really fair, there is no mention of hell in the old testament and is actually only referred to as the physical location in the new testament in name (not the lake of fire in revelations which isn't referred to as directly as hell) which was pulled directly to Roman-pagan mythology hades as a form of underworld punishment rather then the concept of "separation of God".

And if really want to get to be a historical stickler there is no ancient Greek word for "homosexual" which Leviticus refers too but rather the word means "soft" which could mean weak willed by context.

At any rate, simply using the 10 commandments literally needs some context to the situation. You also have to remember there are plenty of other dietary and Jewish old testament laws that many people ignore which are just as important. I mean we still don't put people to death for working on the Sabbath (which according to Jewish law is Saturday by the way and not Sunday) nor do we sell our daughters into slavery.

Member of the MethoBlog (1)

mass (65691) | about 7 years ago | (#20911443)

The Game Politics article is basically quoting from the personal blog of Ben Witherington, a member of the MethoBlog [onlywonder.com] , a group of Methodist bloggers.

This was also discussed here [onlywonder.com] and also here [wordpress.com]

Playing against Jesus would be boring (3, Funny)

jollyreaper (513215) | about 7 years ago | (#20911557)

Sure, it would be awesome at first, gibbing the Son of God. He'll keep turning the other cheek, keep getting fragged, keep resurrecting. Eventually it'll become boring and I'd grow tired of it. He wins by default.

Re:Playing against Jesus would be boring (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20911659)

The three-day respawn interval would be annoying, though.

Re:Playing against Jesus would be boring (2, Funny)

sqldr (838964) | about 7 years ago | (#20912011)

Forget transubstantiation.. I got telefragged by Jesus!

Halo != Halo (4, Funny)

Just Some Guy (3352) | about 7 years ago | (#20911565)

They do realize that "Halo" may not mean the same thing that they're used to, don't they?

Re:Halo != Halo (1)

ThirdPrize (938147) | about 7 years ago | (#20911697)

or the Covenant.

Not hypocritical (1)

Hokie06 (986634) | about 7 years ago | (#20911613)

I would guess that most people have some sort of moral value that killing another human is wrong. (Exceptions for self defense etc.) But I doubt most people really have anything wrong with video game killing, but they are not hypocrites. Just as a church is not hypocritical for letting kids play violent video games.

Video game violence is not the same as real life violence.

Gives new meaning... (4, Funny)

downix (84795) | about 7 years ago | (#20911701)

Praise the lord and pass the ammunition

Games are an excellent outreach tool for youth (2, Funny)

halivar (535827) | about 7 years ago | (#20911717)

Although I prefer D&D to Halo, myself.

Not biting (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20911745)

I'm waiting for church sponsored fuck fests ...

Xtians using computers to convert unbelievers? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20911771)

Wait until they realize all of computer science was created from Freethinkers/Atheists such as Bill Gates and Linus Tovalds. Then they will back off on all computer technology as they will be calling it the devil. Then again, they feel all science is evil. Maybe we Freethinkers should remind the Xtians their bible was created through science. That will cause them to go nuts for sure.

GAME NIGHT! (1)

JCSoRocks (1142053) | about 7 years ago | (#20911809)

As a youth leader our youth group organized tons of "game nights". Some times we played Halo, sometimes we played CounterStrike. Sometimes it was for outreach and sometimes it was just for fun. I must say though, in all of our game nights we never had any parents complain (despite keeping their kids out until about 6am) and we never had anyone get all antsy about the violence in the games. At the time I was part of the relatively conservative Southern Baptist church.
Maybe I missed it, but from the article I didn't see any huge religious groups condemning it. It seems to me that there are just a handful of people complaining. Also, journalists need to stop just saying, "it's rated M" and start saying what it's rated M for. In the article all they say is that it's violent! and it's rated M! Oh no! GTA and Halo are both M and they're both M for completely different stuff. I would let my 13 year old nephew play Halo, but not GTA. The same is true for movie ratings... seeing the Passion of the Christ is not the same as seeing Striptease and they're both R. Yet I know for a fact a ton of parents took their kids to see Passion of the Christ, but not Striptease.

Re:GAME NIGHT! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20912299)

I don't think it's fair to compare Striptease to anti-semitic torture porn. It was bad, but it wasn't THAT bad.

Re:GAME NIGHT! (3, Interesting)

CoffeeJedi (90936) | about 7 years ago | (#20912415)

Yeah right, because seeing some naked boobies is way worse than seeing a person get tortured and beaten in excruciatingly graphic bloody detail?

That is nonsensical on so many levels. Christianity makes my brain hurt.

Hmm (-1, Troll)

plague3106 (71849) | about 7 years ago | (#20911903)

It is crucial, they say, to reach the elusive audience of boys and young men."

It seems to be with all the problems, in the Catholic church at least, we should be keeping boys and young men AWAY from churches.

one other thought, hollywoodizing religion (2, Interesting)

jollyreaper (513215) | about 7 years ago | (#20911973)

I'd consider myself an agnostic at this point: I can't say whether there is a higher power or not, it's not a question that can be answered by science. But I trust science more than I trust the unfounded rantings of Jewish nomads from four thousand years ago.

I grew up in a religious household and was exposed to all the evangelism arguments. The ones that disgusted me the most were the appeals to personal vanity and greed, the pitch made heaven sound like a multi-level marketing scheme. Religion is supposed to be about choosing to do right for yourself and others, it isn't supposed to be a "me" thing, but it's sold like BMW's and laundry detergent. Christ said "For where two or three are gathered together unto my name, there am I in the midst of them." You don't need a megachurch for that. But you look at the modern evangelical movement, you've got these huge fucking worshiptadiums and it's like a rock concert. I think traditional services are boring as hell but the rock concert approach is attracting people for the bling rather than any message of self-improvement. How many people would remain if all that bling and largess went away?

If churches want to talk about a lack of relevance, they have to reevaluate the values they teach. In the church I grew up in, we went through three youth ministers: one was caught in a sleeping bag with an underage girl, the next one was caught boffing a married church elder and later killed herself, and the third came down with a case of the gays. Now God presumably made him that way and yet he had to leave the church because he was a flawed human being given over to the weakness of the flesh. Divorce rates are higher for Christians than society on average, in part I think because sex and cohabitation are no-no's. How do you even know if you're a good match for the other person if that stuff is left until after the knot is tied? How many people are rushing to get married just to make it "legal" with God, thinking with the gonads instead of the brain?

I think the real issue is that church morality is backwards and irrelevant in a modern society and these people who think they have the monopoly on morality seem to be caught doing the worst shit that religious and nonreligious alike can agree on as immoral: drug abuse, child molestation, embezzlement, nepotism, supporting GOP candidates, etc. So what's the difference between a sinning churchman and the average sinner on the street, one is supposed to know better but does it anyway?

meh (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20911981)

This isn't anything new, really. When I was in high school in the late 90s, a church near my school tried to lure in new youth group members through stuff like this every Friday night. In the church basement there was a big sound system, ping pong, foosball, and some TVs with game consoles (playstation and n64). People could come hang out and play the stuff for free. Free domino's pizza and soda too.

Trolling for Covenant... (1)

macduffman (1087955) | about 7 years ago | (#20912329)

(Here come the "Troll/Flamebait" ratings, but if you're going to post a story about organized religion, what do you expect? Oh well, bye-bye karma...)

Personally I think it's sad that the church looks at Halo and can't realize that many people draw a lot of similarities between modern, organized Christianity and the Covenant...

refusal to question authority, eradication of heretics, belief in something ridiculous against all other evidence...

yep, sounds pretty much like what the corrupted leaders of the church do.

And, one last thing before I get modded down, I grew up in fundamentalist Christianity. I do have experience here. Don't tell me I "don't know what Christianity is like."

[stepping down from soapbox and shuffling back into the bar...]

Stay Back Vile Catholic Priest! (0, Troll)

HazMathew (207212) | about 7 years ago | (#20912369)

Fromt he summary:

"It is crucial, they say, to reach the elusive audience of boys and young men."

EEEeeeeeewwwwwwwww! Count me out. Don't listen to the Priest. Those one-on-one matches on his private big screen sound a little suspicious.

Christianity+FPS=good practice for the End Days (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20912447)

Nothing says "Christian" like a good ol' FPS with lots of cool weapons to blow up thoust enemy to tiny bits. I'm sure there are other cells^H^H^H^HGroups out there, who already get plenty of real world target practice, who would benefit from a flight simulator night to get the local kids involved.

touch me (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20912455)

this is an important new tool for priest to reachout and touch young men

wow. (0, Flamebait)

Dr Retarded (1159235) | about 7 years ago | (#20912537)

Next week, on "To Catch a Predator"..

I hope not! (1)

Orleron (835910) | about 7 years ago | (#20912653)

Crud, I hope they dont do this. It might actually work to bring people into their establishments and they would succeed in breeding more of their zombies.

My take (1)

evann (667628) | about 7 years ago | (#20912665)

I would guess these churches realize that kids would rather be home playing video games in comfy clothes on Sunday morning than getting read childrens tales at a church. I know that is all I wanted to do when I was young. Soon as I was old enough for my parents to realize I really was not going to be buying into any religous ideas, we stopped going to church. If it was not a business then they would not strive to interfer with everyday lives so much. Can't they get their messages in on just one day a week? I love life, I love feeling free. These people want to keep tabs on young males so they "don't go to hell"? Control freaks. Also, donated money usually just goes to lavish bullcrap anyway. Now it's going to expensive gaming systems, projection displays and all this entertainment? What happened to the idea of helping others? The battered wives, the homeless, the cancer research? To think a nation's churches squander a lot of the donations on entertainment & large complexes. Some things never change I guess, but I sure wish religions would just go away. They already interfer with political policy and scientific endeavors too much for my liking.

child abuse (1)

Tom (822) | about 7 years ago | (#20912679)

Churches have a long experience with mental child abuse. They do target the impressible youth quite intentionally, hammering home their message in "summer camps" and what else, so computer games nights are really not a big surprise.

As a society, we'll be grown up when we don't allow people to abuse children like this anymore. We keep them away from sex until way beyond when they're physically ready for it, but we have no problem with them being indoctrinated in a religious faith long before they understand that some things their parents or other authority figures tell them might not be entirely the truth.

That's child abuse, plain and simple, and whether it's "summer camp" or "halo night" really doesn't make that much of a difference.

Want to Reach the 12 - 24 Year Old Male Market? (2, Funny)

aquatone282 (905179) | about 7 years ago | (#20912681)

One word:

Boobs.

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