After months of hype, a new Christian video game recently made its debut at a video game expo in Los Angeles.
"Left Behind: Eternal Forces" lets users choose between fighting on the side of the Lord or the Antichrist. Soldiers run through the smoldering streets of an apocalyptic New York City and gain points for executing non-believers.
Astonishingly enough, some people seem to have a problem with a violent video game that acts as a natural conduit for religious bigotry.
Jack Thompson, an author and conservative Christian critic of video game violence, said about the game: "Because of the Christian context, somehow it's OK? It's not OK. The context is irrelevant. It's a mass-killing game."
Jerry Jenkins, the co-author of the popular "Left Behind" book series the game is based on, defended the new product.
In developing the game, he said, "We forbade any gratuitous gore," according to the KRT New Service.
The "Left Behind" book series became an underground bestseller when megachurches started distributing the novels. The developers of the video game are hoping they can tap that same market with "Eternal Forces", despite the fact that religious types are supposed to spend quality time with their families instead of sitting in front of the idiot box all day.
Gershom Gorenberg, a journalist who has written extensively on apocalyptic thought, said about the "Left Behind" books:
They promote conspiracy theories; they demonize proponents of arms control, ecumenicalism, abortion rights and everyone else disliked by the Christian right; and they justify assassination as a political tool. Their anti-Jewishness is exceeded by their anti-Catholicism. Most basically, they reject the very idea of open, democratic debate.
And the story gets worse.
It appears that the "Eternal Forces" cabal is closely allied with Rick Warren, the author of "The Purpose Driven Life," another piece of Christian rubbish that has enjoyed immense popularity through megachurch distribution.
(It was also the book that hostage Ashley Smith read to courthouse shooter Brian Nichols before giving him crystal meth, which proved much more effective in securing her freedom.)
Mark Carver, a former investment banker, is the international director of Warren's Purpose Driven Church and also an advisory board member of the company created to develop and market the "Eternal Forces" game.
As Jonathon Hutson wrote on Talk To Action,
Let's be clear: Mark Carver is Executive Director of the Purpose Driven Church, and therefore works directly for Mr. Warren in one of the most senior roles in his empire. It would seem unlikely that Mr. Warren, who plans an international stealth evangelism campaign that already includes the president of Rwanda, is unaware of this project, the biggest Christian video game in history.
Suddenly, the Simpsons episode featuring Billy Graham's Bible Blaster seems downright prophetic.
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