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Video Game Religions

Religion: Covenant

About: The Covenant species’ culture is one deeply ingrained with the religion of their forefathers. They are so ingrained, in fact, that they are best known by the name of the religion itself. Which is roughly equivalent of calling all the Ninja turtles “Pizza.”

This array of aliens all follow a very small, select group of prophets (read, three), who tells them exactly what to believe and how to go about believing it. This usually boils down to labeling the opposition as “heretics” and “devils” and disposing of them with large, shiny and preferably purple, guns.

The religious species thirsts for a rise to power, a return to the golden age, which they believe can be accomplished by igniting a Halo ring. In reality, these gigantic planet-sized rings are the ultimate weapons of destruction and are poised to destroy the universe and eradicate all life forms in it. The prophets don’t know this though, so it makes them seem sort of dumb, and it becomes pretty apparent that their God probably isn’t speaking through them.

Lesson: Blind faith leads to total annihilation... unless you join forces with the “devil” because apparently there’s just been a big understanding this whole time.


Harvest Moon

Religion: Stereotype Church

About: Harvest Moon is the incredibly addicting game in which players restore a farm, grow vegetables, and woo ladies. The land you inhabit is a little town complete with bakeries, a town center and a church. There is a potential mate in the church as well, and she goes by Maria.  

Maria’s problem is that she’s a total nerd. And I do mean “total.” She literally spends most of her time in the town library murmuring and giggling to herself. Plus she’s not even close to as attractive as every other girl in the town.   

As if the deck wasn’t stacked enough against poor Maria, her interests include insects, cabbage and cake. She’s also afraid of your dog. Seriously.

Lesson: Christian girls are incredibly boring, ugly and read too many books.


Legend of Zelda series

Religion: Tritheistic Virtuism

About: In the enormously popular Legend of Zelda series, the world was created by three deities named Din, Farrar, and Naume. These three goddesses created the earth, the laws, and the life forms on it. They represent Courage, Wisdom, and Power. They also left a golden three-piece triangle that embodies their powers. 

Unfortunately, this tangible item not only represents their powers, but literally contains it. Within the wrong hands, it has the capabilities of destroying the world and basically screwing everything up. Just try and guess what happens.

Lesson: Church has enormous power, that if misused can be catastrophic.


Fable 2

Religion: Temple of Avo

Fable 2 takes a satirical look at just about everything, and nothing is spared, including religion. The Temple of Avo requires you to give exorbitant amounts of money to achieve things, including amassing incredibly dangerous weapons. One main character falls away from this church in a rather loud and, ironically, preachy manner.

You might be in the middle of a cave spelunking for treasure when she decides it’s appropriate to state, “It’s better to go out and do things than to sit around all day and pray.” However, the alternative is sacrificing characters to a wheel of doom, which is really no alternative at all for a hero.

Lesson: It’s better to give all your money to a corrupt church than to sacrifice innocent people to the dark forces. Or actually, it’s about the same, because either way you’ll get cool weapons.

How have you noticed treatment of religion or faith in your favorite games?

9 Comments

the_dustin_says

5

the_dustin_says commented…

I was reading Wild at Heart the other day, and realized, perhaps playing video games satisfies the need in the being of guys to be a hero and to be strong and courageous, but that God designed it to be fulfilled in real life, but the enemy is keeping men from being real life heroes by satisfying their needs through artificial means.
Take that as deep as you want it. I think games can be good, but its extremely important to make sure they aren't replacing real life.
I think games replacing life is a very clear example of breaking the first commandment of idolatry.

Andre

2

Andre commented…

The biggest offenders for using religious symbols and meaning (usually christian symbols but also other religions) in the plot of their stories would have to go to RPG's. Particularly Japanese RPG (role-playing games).

My first (non-subtle) experience with this had to be while I was playing Final Fantasy 10 for the PS2. The plot is really convoluted but essentially there's this huge monster called Sin that's wreaking havoc on the land and the only way to destroy this monster (although only temporarily) is for the character leading the pilgrimage (called a Summoner) to sacrifice themselves.

The religion of this land is called Yevon, and the Yevon teachings give hope to these people by saying that the will one day be free of Sin by atoning for their own sins, but the religion is mostly characterized by hatred of different races, hatred of technology, and praying a lot. And of course its got its typical pompous religious figure heads to play up the stereotype.

Long story short, it turns out the religion was completely made up only to give false hope to the people of Spira (thats where they live) and by the end of the game just about everyone has denounced their faith. It was pretty off-putting the first time I played this game. They never mentioned my faith but it still felt like a sucker punch. They never speak to deeply about what this religion is but they use all the typical stereotypes that go along with it. Great game though. lol

There's also a great article about religion in video games that can be found on 1up.com called "Hallowed Be Thy Game" that has a little history of Faith and games if you're interested. http://www.1up.com/do/feature?...

Jordan Husmann

8

Jordan Husmann commented…

I think all these points are really very interesting, though I don't really find "The Legend of Zelda" an attack on Christianity or Faith in general, but more of an exultation of a pagan (albeit, entirely fictional) religion that is really only there to serve as an explanation for the presence of magic and magical creatures in the game.

85,168

Street Suko commented…

Hey! I married Maria, I thought she was cute...

85,168

Girl Games commented…

I'm not trying to knock the article or anything. After reading some of those I was like "hhhmm". You made me think about some of my favorite games in a different light. But again...maybe we were just meant to waste out time, not our thoughts and deep-thinking times. :)

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