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12/23/2005

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*Legion*

Better question: why is it that something being labeled "Christian" in any way strikes fear and panic among non-Christians so fast that one could set their watch to it? Why is there an overwhelming desire to nitpick something that doesn't even "pigeonhole" the way it is being accused of? The real point being made in the blog post is that games even in the ballpark of "Christian" are so few, and that "market" eats up anything that comes close. Why the panic and need to shout it down?

Many Christians see enough "Christianity" in the game to satisfy themselves. What does one get out of downplaying those elements as much as possible?

san

Who's the non-Christian here?

It certainly does categorize this particular game as something it is most certainly not. It's not a Christian game. It's a game, period. Calling it a Christian game implies religious significance that it does not have. It's not a Scripture, nor is it a tool for study or worship in Christianity. Calling it a Christian game merely panders to the Christianity-as-theme-park movement that is contemporarily destroying the very foundation of Christian faith.

It's not a little issue. It's a huge issue.

iamkevin

Not that it's particularly bad to call it a Christian game, but I think it's about as relevant as calling GTA a raping game. It's a game that is based on a movie that is based on a book that had some Christian themes in it. It's not "The Bible Game." It's not about Christianity, it just has the ideas in there.
Labeling it Christian isn't a scary thing, just unnecessary and untruthful.
Halo wasn't a space shooter, even though there are parts of it involving spaceship battles, Geometry wars isn't a math game despite its enemies being composed of geometric shapes, and TLtW&tW isn't a zoo game, despite there being lots and lots of animals in the game.
My feeling is that calling the game a "Christian Game" is misleading to both sides, those who want more christian games and those are glad that the only ones that exist are - sorry is - The Bible Game. They'd be better served calling it an adventure game that has some christian overtones.

*Legion*

>> "Calling it a Christian game merely panders to the Christianity-as-theme-park movement that is contemporarily destroying the very foundation of Christian faith."

My mistake. I thought this was an actual discussion rather than a drama queen session. I'll step out now.

san

iamkevin: Yes, exactly my point and perspective. It's a largely contrived label for Narnia that seems to be some sort of appeasement.

Legion: Drama queen? I'd think you'd be as concerned as I am about using terms and categories for games that divulge the attitude that Christians -- because of the contemporary pop-Christian movement -- are merely a marketing demographic, a group of consumers to be swayed into buying "Christian" products from "Christian" companies run by "Christians". This reminds me a little of when Bono of U2 stated decades ago that the band members were all Christians. Suddenly U2's music was "Christian" music and became all the rage with young Christians -- most of whom didn't listen to it before. Then Bono had to say something on the order of We're Christians but our music stands on its own.

Dundee

"But it is not, as some people think, an allegory. That is, I don't say, "Let us represent Christ as Aslan" I say "Suppose there was a world like Narnia, and supposing like ours, it needed redemption, let us imagine what sort of Incarnation and Passion and Resurrection Christ would have there." See?"
--CS Lewis

Aslan isn't "like Christ" or "a symbol of Christ". He *is* Christ: the physical manifestion of the Word of God (as in, the God depicted in the Christian Bible). A make-believe Christ in a make-believe world, but Christ nonetheless.

It strikes me as legitimate to say it's "a Christian story", though I don't think that matters terribly one way or the other as to whether the game is "a Christian game".

I suspect the game is increasingly difficult levels with a boss monster at the end of each one, with some jumping puzzles. But if the game really does convey the essentials of the story - that is, if it really is the story in game form - I wouldn't see anything wrong with calling it a Christian game.

san

The game has elements of a party or squad RPG, not so much a standard platformer with increasingly difficult boss battles.

"'I say 'Suppose there was* a world like Narnia, and supposing like ours, it needed redemption, let us imagine what sort of Incarnation and Passion and Resurrection Christ would have there.'"

That's a good quote, but it really only serves to prove my point. It's not a Christian story, it's an *Aslanian* story. It's a part of the Aslanian bible. Lewis used certain parts of Christ's life to perform an experiment, a "what if" in a ficitonal setting. Some people might call that sacrilege although I think it makes for some nice stories. Without a doubt, a fictional experiment evolving the transfer of certain archtypes from one world to another, a fantasy world, where things play out as they might play out in such a fantasy world, that's really not a Christian story.

Aslan isn't so much Christ as he is the Savior, in this case, the Savior of Narnia.

*Did he really say, Suppose there was? Suppose there was? I thought his English would be better than that; in fact my experience is that Lewis's English *was* better than that. Can you source that quote?

BrainFromArous

The spectacle of people trying to "de-Christianize" the NARNIA series is most entertaining. I look forward to their next effort, wherein they will no doubt explain that Lewis' book THE SCREWTAPE LETTERS is not really a work of Christian apologetics and has no particular religous significance whatsoever.

san

Narnia is different than the The Screwtape Letters. And it's more entertaining to watch people trying to excessively "Christianize" the children's novels than it is the opposite. Lewis of course acknowledged the inspiration and inclusion of Christian elements in the stories, but he made clear they were outside his other work, they were *children's* stories and that they were never intended to be religious texts. There are children's stories about Native American folklore. What are these? Pagan stories?

This business of taking the Narnia stories hostage is new to the last decade or so, before which they were not marketed as Christian stories nor were we beat over the head with the great Christian significance of what amount to some nice children's novels with nice morals, elegant writing, interesting plot and general wholesome fun for kids and their parents alike -- classics of the genre.

What I'm saying is ultimately, Take all this burden off the poor humble Narnia tales and go complain, in ignorance, about the use of Xmas in abbreviation of Christmas or some other such nonsense.

BrainFromArous

San's statement "but he made clear they were outside his other work, they were *children's* stories and that they were never intended to be religious texts." is true only if we define 'religious texts' as actual scripture. Narnia is a childrens' tale AND presentation of Christian beliefs at the same time. Adult readers can approach it on one or both levels; children will be drawn in by the fantasy adventure while being instructed on the Gospels.

That's the key distinction. Narnia is not a fantasy story with Christian elements; it's the story of Christianity retold in a fantasy setting.

Here is CS Lewis, in his own words:

"I did not say to myself 'Let us represent Jesus as He really is in our world by a Lion in Narnia'; I said, 'Let us suppose that there were a land like Narnia and that the Son of God, as he became a Man in our world, became a Lion there, and then imagine what would happen.'"

And:

"The Magician's Nephew tells the Creation and how evil entered Narnia, The Lion etc. - the Crucifixion and Resurrection, Prince Caspian - restoration of the true religion after a corruption, The Horse and His Boy - the calling and conversion of the heathen, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader - the spiritual life (especially in Reepicheep), The Silver Chair - the continuing war against the powers of darkness, The Last Battle - the coming of Antichrist (the ape). The end of the world and the last judgement."

If one is telling the story of Christ, one is telling a Christian story. PERIOD. It doesn't matter if one relocates Christ to a fantasy world, outer space or makes him a big lion.

Not that we need Lewis to tell us this. Nobody with even an elementary knowledge of the Gospels and Christian theology can read the Narnia books without being struck by it.

But of course Lewis did tell us. He talked and wrote letters about it. Decades of literary scholarship have addressed the Aslan-as-God/Christ issue as central to the Narnia books. Indeed, it requires a willful blindness (or ideological agenda) to see Christianity as somehow incidental or peripheral to the Narnia stories.

San also wrote: "There are children's stories about Native American folklore. What are these? Pagan stories?"

Well, yes, depending on the story. Beowulf and the Kalevala are pagan stories. So is pretty much the entirely of Greco-Roman mythology, the Iliad and Odyssey, the Epic of Gilgamesh, and so on.

(It is understood, I hope, that here the word "pagan" simply means pre- or non-Christian, as opposed to being a term of condemnation.)

san

Brain: I think we look at things differently.

"Well, yes, depending on the story. Beowulf and the Kalevala are pagan stories. So is pretty much the entirely of Greco-Roman mythology, the Iliad and Odyssey, the Epic of Gilgamesh, and so on."

But with that statement we can agree to disagree. If we stipulate that, say, stories about Native American culture, ones that to some degree involve spirtual matters or retell myths, are pagan* story then we can, under these rules we've set out, call the Narnia novels Christian stories. But for me only under those conditions and it is not my natural perspective.

I do have to say again though that Lewis said that he did not intend the stories as religious instruction. They may instruct, but they were not intended to instruct. And this concept of intent seems to have developed rather lately about the Narnia stories.

The video game is still not a Christian game. That's a weird stretch.

*Pagan: yes of course, as a term of description, not of condemnation.

Tallest

I completely agree that this is truley a Christian game. Why just last week I was in Catholic Mass and they were having a sermon about how Santa Clause brought weapons to children so that they could slay the minotaur and dwarves and other bad mythical creatures that were plaguing a fantasy world. Then the priest got into a long monologue about how Aslan died for our sins and was reborn and bit a witch's face off.

It's in the scripture!

syx

According to the extra features of one of the extended Lord of the Rings movies, I believe C.S. Lewis was in fact an atheist at the time he wrote the Narnia books. Later, he converted to Christianity, but while writing these books, he just thought it would be interesting to put Christ in. However, as pretty much every book has a Christ figure, and they are not all Christian, it would be hard to characterize it as a Christian book.
This argument is completely inane though, as it is all about semantics. So everyone just shut up.

Cherry

interesting topic...

I generally am pretty neutral in chosing my games. I guess, quite frankly I'm not the type that is going to go searching for a game that is one specific way as far as morals and values.. because.. well, in my mind, it's just a game.

(btw, I'm the mother of 3 children and encourage video games... heh, id be a hypocrite if I did otherwise)

Now yes, there are some wonderful games out there that definately lean towards catagories- like math blaster and games of that sort for example.
However, let's not get nit picky.

This is not about the persecution that there are not enough of x moral or immoral based genre games styles out there. That is very silly to even derive such a notion.

These are businesses making these games. Yell at the people who market the game if you don't care for how it's being done. Or praise them. Yell at the democraphics of people that generally are the market for video games. Yell at the people who who write the movies or the books---last time I noticed, that was the freedom of the pen, and the beauty of free thought.

As far as Narnia- I could care less whatever view it holds- Christian or otherwise. I read the books as a child, and saw this movie because of the fantasy and magic that it held to me. If it can be viewed as that it backed up some of the fundamental views made no difference to me. If anything, it can be argued that there are undertones to it that can be viewed subjectively. Why force something that really has no need to be catagoried blatantly into that?

psyfi

so is the matrix a christian movie too?

outsider

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Allan

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Allan

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