I was visiting the American Atheists
Web site for the first time today, and its front page Press Release caught my eye.
Originally Posted by American Atheists Press Release
"A new video game targeting conservative Christians promotes intolerance and demonizes Atheists and other nonbelievers, gays, and even members of minority religious groups", an Atheist civil rights organization warned today.
It turns out their target is the latest spawn of the Left Behind
franchise. This time, a video game.
For those who aren't familiar with the Left Behind
franchise, it originally started as a book idea which according to the author was intended to scare people into joining the Christian faith. Since its birth, the Left Behind
franchise has grown significantly. It has spawned a board game, a series of children's books, and a full-lenght movie.
The latest installment, Left Behind: Eternal Forces
takes place during the Rapture and has you lead a Christian militia in the fight against a terrorist organization based on the United Nations. Your goal is to convert nonbelievers, and if you come out negative score-wise, unintentional collateral damage can be forgiven if you spend a minute praying to God.
The game received plenty of negative reviews (such as its 3.4 out of 10 from GameSpot
, which states that "[a]nother good thing about the Rapture is that it will take you away from disastrous, buggy games like Left Behind: Eternal Forces
"). In addition to taking flak for its allegedly bad gameplay ("allegedly" as I haven't played it yet and don't know), t's also been accused of racism, sexism, promotion of religious war, and skewing of religious messages.
Personally, I find all this rather disconcerting, namely the concept of scaring people into joining Christianity and sticking with it. I believe that using fear as a motivator is an immoral, irrational way of getting a point across. I also hold a grudge against the whole Rapture/End Times/Apocalypse belief in the first place. Not only would the end of the world and the subsequent billions of deaths be a bad thing
, but the belief that such an event is imminent can impossibly do anything good for anyone. In fact, it's actively causing certain fundamentalists to act in destructive ways, such as by endorsing natural catastrophes in the belief that they are prerequisites for the End of the World.
I'm downloading the demo of the game as I write this, to see if I can make up my own opinion on the title. But if I am to believe GameSpot's review, I'm not in for anything good.
Game's Web site
Game Revolution Review
(I love this one
BBC reports on controversy
Wired's take on the game