Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Christian violence: the Left-Behind video game

Although I shouldn't be surprised by people being oblivious to the obvious meanings of their statements, I still often find myself shaking my head in disbelief.

Latest example: the Left-Behind video game has stirred up some controversy.

The game-makers have defended the violence in the game -- committed by the good guys, the post-rapture Tribulation Force, against the supporters of the Anti-Christ, who are to be either converted or killed -- as being "exclusively defensive" and therefore "not contrary to church teachings".

The comment that got to me was this: "Christians are quite clearly taught to turn the other cheek and love their enemies. It is equally true that no one should forfeit their lives to an aggressor who is bent on inflicting death."

That turns the Christian scriptures on their head. After all, faced with such an aggressor, what, according to the Bible, did Jesus actually do? According to the game makers, he must have made a mistake.

In a world that celebrates the sacrifices made by warriors in combat, the sacrifices made by those who witness for peace seem foolish and unrealistic. I guess Jesus just didn't get it. It must be that the Zealots and the dagger-man assassins, the Sicarii, had the right idea: the only way to peace is to kill the invaders and occupiers.

And so it goes....


Mark said...

I think we probably shouldn't take Christ's crucifixion as a decision of pacifism. Seems to misconstrue the purpose and point of the Cross...

Brother Billy said...

I think it seems that way only if you take the Cross out of its historical and scriptural contexts.

In a country ruled by an occupying power, Jesus did not resist an aggressor "bent on inflicting death". According to scriptures, he submitted and told his followers to submit. And he told them to take up their own crosses.

In addition to seeing the purpose and point of the crucifixion in the standard way as a spiritually saving action by Jesus, many Christians have emphasized that it's also a "pioneering" action -- an action that points the way for those who want to follow him. From that perspective, it's in the process of carrying your own cross that the salvation brought by his cross is fully expressed.

It's hard to do that while fighting a war.