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Religion in Video Games from Ezmyreld's blog



Why am I wanting to become a game artist and game designer? Is it just to make money or is it with a purpose? What cause am I going to do it for? I believe I have come to know the answers to these questions. I want to become a game artist and designer because of my passion for gaming. I love stories, animation and it has been a childhood dream of mine to create my own RPGs ever since "Legend of Zelda" first came out on the NES and SNES. I was into it. But it's not just about the story. It's about what is being taught, and I believe that the game industry needs a change. We should implement traditional values in gaming and not the stuff we see on TV or in the mainstream media. We know what this consists of, but there are others who would like an alternative, and that is what we would like to help provide. There are those that wish to hijack the gaming industry as well as they did the other forms of media. I won't stand for it! We can't let them have it all and ruin the experience completely! We know that it can be used as a very valuable tool to help make people's lives better. That is why I want to do this! And there should be an alternative available for those who want it. Yes, this is a great cause for concern. However, I also knew from the start that I would receive criticism for condoning this. And Anonymous has challenged me. I have depicted the opposing view in ((double parenthesis)) so it will jump out at you. Enjoy the read.  


So this begs the question: Alternative from what? Let me explain.


There is an old saying: "If you don't teach your children to follow Christ, the world will teach them not to." This rings true. At the same time, I believe that there is a balance that needs to come into play when it comes to putting things like this in an interactive story. A story does not have to be religious to teach a moral lesson. You do not have to force your opinions or views on unsuspected readers in order to get your point across. As a matter of fact, you don't have to mention God, Jesus, or the Bible at all. Our material consists of this: wholesome material that is free from anything readers would find objectionable. These can include amazing stories that will have a great message to bring, and to teach biblical moral values that will inspire many. So here we go with the challenge. Here is what Anonymous said in his challenge against this position.


((I will clue you in to one thing. I grew up in a very Christian home. This caused a lot of fights with my mother due to the fact that I was not allowed to play violent or other kinds of video games growing up.))


There are some games I do play with violence in it. Depending on what standard you choose to hold will determine how much of that you feel you can handle. But choose wisely. And that is a choice everyone should be allowed to make, even as a Christian.


((Personally I believe that all types of religion should be left out of video games so as not to influence kids or others one way or another.))


Tell that to the game developers. Here is a list of popular video games to look at concerning this:




The Legend of Zelda: Triforce and Trinity

One of the most significant symbols in "The Legend of Zelda" mythos - if not the most important symbol - is the Triforce. It began as an artifact embodying particular virtues. The three-part Triforce-design is based upon a symbol of significance to the Japanese history, crest of the powerful Hojo clan. It took upon particularly important meaning in the Zelda-verse mythology when it became tied to the Three Goddesses. The Triforce's roots (as well as the possible roots of the three sacred jewels, pendants and pearls seen throughout the game series) would seem to lie in Shinto, which can be read about in greater detail in the article here. The linked article deals with Shinto elements in "A Link to the Past" in particular. A cursory look into Japanese mythology speaks of the three regalia symbolizing the Japanese royal family (one of which is a sword interestingly nicknamed "Grass cutter" or Lawnmower" depending upon the translation - something to ponder when you're using Link's Master Sword to cut the grass). The regalia are meant to represent the virtues to be embodied by the descendants of the sun goddess Amatersu - the royal family. These virtues are "wisdom," "Benevolence," and "valor," or "power," "wisdom" and "benevolence/courage," depending upon translation. It is very easy to see the links between these stories and the Legend of Zelda Universe. 



Breath of Fire II & III - An Evil Church, An Evil God (Goddess)

Traveling on Mina, the group makes their way to the main church and sneak inside. It is revealed that the religion is a front for a demon lord who uses the prayers of the people to empower itself, and that Ryu's father Ganer is being held prisoner inside, having been kidnapped by Aruhameru ten years ago. Ryu and his friends escape the church as they destroy it, making their way back to Gate, they meet and do battle with Father Hulk, the pastor who took over the Gate church years ago after Ganer was imprisoned. In order for Father Hulk to open the seal in the mountain, he needs a member of the dragon clan. Ryu and friends are tricked into bringing him the thief Patty, whose membership in the dragon clan reveals her to be Yua, Ryu's sister. Father Hulk reveals himself as the demon Habaruku, founder of the Church of St. Eva and Ryu does battle with him. The dragon at the mountain springs to life, and transforms into the spirit of a woman, revealing herself to be Ryu's mother Valeri, a member of the Dragon Clan who traveled from their hiding place in the mountain years ago and married Ryu's father, later sacrificing herself to save the town. Ryu and his team travel into the cave going deep underground to the demon stronghold, where they meet the last remaining members of the Dragon Clan. After gaining the ultimate dragon power, Ryu battles Barubary, the demon from his past, and his master, Deathevn, leader of the St. Eva religion revealed to be a remnant of Myria, the mad goddess from the previous game. After unleashing his full strength, Ryu defeats Deathevn and returns home with two possible ending based on whether the player rescued the father from the St. Eva Church - either sacrificing himself like his mother by transforming into a dragon to prevent further demon encroachment, or by having Ganer pilot a floating landmass on top of the mountain and seal it off for good. 


Sonya's Note: It's amazing how "Christian Like" this fake religion is in the games. Breath of Fire III is like Breath of Fire II. At the end, the church is the enemy, and God is the enemy. Xenogears is another game you can check out. I have not personally played this game, but I heard that it also involves evil churches as well. 



Dragon Quest: The Goddess

The Goddess is a recurring deity in the several Dragon Quest series games. She is the creator figure who is shaped many of the worlds featured in the series and brought each of its various races into being, with the exception of the world of Alefgard and the worlds of Dragon Quest VII and IX, which were created by Rubiss, God and Zenus respectively. Humans in the series have formed religions associated with her, which they access through the holy sites of churches and their various services; however, it would seem that all races, even demons, at least acknowledge her. Castles everywhere frequently showcase the Goddess depicted in statue, and churches often use the trident-shaped symbol to represent her (however this symbol is also used with other major gods in the series). 



Silent Hill: The Order

The religion most people think of when they look at The Order. Like Christianity, The Order calls their deity "God". Both Gods are Savior deities who are believed to one day return to Earth and give believers (or all of humanity, depending on one's interpretations) eternal life and happiness. The Order also has similarities with Catholicism specifically. The clergy performs confessionals like Catholics do. Both believe in Purgatory. Some pointed out Gnostic themes in Silent Hill. The Order believes this world to be a Hell whereas the more fantastic Otherworld is a pleasant realm, just as Gnostic believe the physical world to be an inferior world. This is, however, reversed in that the Otherworld is actually a Hellish realm whereas the glimpses we have of the real world is it being a normal place. Near the end of Silent Hill 3, Heather reads part of a book on Tarot. It mentions the "Gardner deck." This is lively a reference to the Gerald Gardner, one of the founders of Wicca. The creators have stated that The Order was partially off of Mesoamerican rituals and beliefs. We see this in The Order's practice of human sacrifice, especially when Heather pours blood on the altar found in the Otherworld Brookhaven Hospital. The Otherworld is a term from Celtic paganism. In Celtic paganism, the Otherworld was a magical place when fairies, gods and other magical creatures lived. Some also believed it was the Celtic afterlife. Another possible influence is the Shinto religion. In Shintoism, there is a believe in "Kami." "Kami" is often mistranslated as "god", but it's actually more complex than that. Some have pointed out The Order has similarities to Satanism. Both religions believe in the Occult and try to attain Occult powers. When the God was expelled from Alessa in the first game, it created the Incubus, which looks like the Baphomet, a figure associated with Satanism and the Left Hand Path. The first game contains Kabballistic references in the form of a puzzle. 



Chrono Series - New Age Evolution and the Dragon gods

The New Age movement teaches that we are evolving into Godhood. This is taught in a book called "The Indigo Child" by Lee Carol and John Tobor. Of course, this game also mentions the teaching of evolution within the story line. Much of this stems from Eastern Paganism and of course, its to be expected. Also, you meet up with dragon gods in the game and defeat each one of them. It's a very fun game I wouldn't take seriously when it comes to religion. Chrono Cross, overall has a good story line.



Final Fantasy - Paganism and Evil Churches

You don't want to get me started on this one. Like Silent Hill, Final Fantasy has a ton of religious elements woven into the story lines. Some stem from evolution, New Age, Christianity, Paganism, Catholicism, and Wicca. It even involves evil churches as well. It doesn't speak too highly of churches or religion and often times frowns down on Christianity (along with most games that come from Japan). To check out the different elements here is the source.


Sorry for my book, but in case you haven't noticed; these all have religion in them. I would also like to point out that they are some of the most popular and well known games on the market. They are among the best sellers as well. So what's the big deal about religion in games?


(( I believe that a depiction of religion is fine but not a game wholly based on religious foundations.))


Too late buddy. It's already happened. And I will give you the spoiler alert. It's not Christianity. It's mostly eastern religion and new age philosophy. How can this be tolerated?


((You may not know but an old Gameboy game called Exodus was based on Moses as he was set about certain "tasks" to fulfill his god's command. The game tanked in sales and was soon taken off all retail shelves because parents didn't like what it was "teaching" their kids.)) 


If you say you want to keep religion out of it, then you better be consistent. That statement should also include all religion, not just Christianity. Yet the world accepts all other religions as "ok" in games, and not offensive. So why not talk about Bible stories also? Why is this so offensive? I am going to spell it out, it's not religion that people get beat mad over. It's the root of what true Christianity teaches: responsibility for your own actions and that there are consequences when you don't. To acknowledge the creator and his sovereignty is to also admit that we are wrong and he is right. I realizes there will be those who don't agree with it. That is a given. But you know something? They aren't the audience I'm trying to reach out to. Here is something I covered on my previous blogs: "Know your audience." My audiences are people who want that alternative and are sick and tired of the political correctness that is being pushed on them through the media. Christians have had their faith attacked through many things, and this includes the anti-Christian stance that many of these video game represent.


((I will take it upon myself and say for the general populace of gamers that we do not need or want a heavy religious game or alternative.))

Now, does this statement accurately describe the entire game community? Of course it doesn't. I want to address, as I have stated previously; ChristiAnime is about providing a godly alternative, not an "overly religious" alternative. As a matter of fact, it doesn't have to be religious at all. As long as it doesn't conflict with Biblical values (unlike the mainstream), it can still go a very long way with Christian gamers and secular gamers alike. On the other hand, how can we teach Biblical values without making it sound super spiritual? These things must be used wisely and with moderation. I would also like to point out that much of the games today speak negatively about anything that has to do with Christianity, even mocks God fearing people. To me that is insulting and degrading to depict evil churches, or God believers as killers, villains, or demons. This is why we want to provide an alternative for our kids. This is why we need it. Yes there are religious hypocrites, but the actions of some don't speak for all. And how can you claim to be a follower of Christ if you go out and kill innocent people? Think about it. Jesus never taught his followers to hate people or kill them! 


I realize that not everyone is going to want this. And that's fine if you don't, but Christians feel and think different. We speak from a Biblical perspective to other Christian gamers and Otakus who would like to see more wholesome aspects in what they love, not to those who think that they are speaking for the general populace of gamers by saying: "We do not need or want your alternative". Here is what we really don't need: We don't need sexual content, filthy language, swearing, extreme blood and violence, New Age philosophies, eastern religion, the mocking of church and faith in God, hentai, political correctness agenda, occult, demonology, or any other obscene or offensive material. And for those who want that alternative: I'm talking to them. And likewise, I have also wanted an alternative for many years. So I am creating my own. I also have come across many Christian gamers and anime fans who have felt the same way.


(("Get over it! They believe something different than you! Christians get offended over every little thing!"))


I'll have to say, even if these games portray other religions in them, even if they attack Christianity; it really doesn't bother me at all. To me, it's someone else's opinion. That's all it is. But if it teaches Christianity it's offensive? I had a friend that told me about Xenogears. He wouldn't tell me what it taught him. So I did a little bit of my own research. And he told me "It really got me to thinking about some things." I'll have to say, they have an even greater influence on young minds than ever before. So, I will have to disagree with your position that "we don't need an alternative."


The funny thing is that the same people with your argument are the same people that would like to shut me down for pointing out some of these Eastern religions and New Age ideas being taught within games and anime (especially if they attack Christianity), saying: "If you don't like them, don't play them!" Fair enough! Now let us make an alternative that we know will teach our children better things and help them to grow spiritually! 


As James Brightman quoted:


"Sometimes you need to take those risks and do what you need to do to satisfy the game that you're trying to make and the vision you're trying to follow. It might not always satisfy people."


God bless!




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The Wall

rtanner
May 30 '16
Now that was awesome. Well written and points made.
Ezmyreld
May 31 '16
Some people don't consider that secular games also contain religion, and some more extreme than others. However, they are tolerated.
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By Ezmyreld
Added May 30 '16

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