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Wal-Mart hawks 'Left Behind' video game: players can blow away non-believers, Jews and Muslims

The video game Left Behind: Eternal Forces, whose producers are connected to The Purpose Driven Life author and megachurch pastor Rick Warren, and Tim LaHaye, author of the popular “end-times” novel series, is being sold at family friendly Wal-Mart.

The object of the game is to convert heathens, Muslims or Jews; if they don’t come over to your side, you can kill them.  —  God Gameth, God Bloweth Away. Look at this spin on the game (SFGate):

The series by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins is based on their interpretation of the Bible’s Book of Revelation and takes place after the Rapture, when Jesus has taken his people to heaven and left nonbelievers behind to face the Antichrist.

Left Behind Games’ president, Jeffrey Frichner, says the game actually is pacifist because players lose “spirit points” every time they gun down nonbelievers rather than convert them. They can earn spirit points again by having their character pray.

“You are fighting a defensive battle in the game,” Frichner, whose previous company produced Bible software, said of combatting the Antichrist. “You are a sort of a freedom fighter.”

That’s not exactly how it looks to Clark Stevens, co-director of the Campaign to Defend the Constitution which, along with the Christian Alliance for Progress, are demanding that the retail giant pull the game.

“It’s an incredibly violent video game,” said Stevens. “Sure, there is no blood. (The dead just fade off the screen.) But you are mowing down your enemy with a gun. It pushes a message of religious intolerance. You can either play for the ‘good side’ by trying to convert nonbelievers to your side or join the Antichrist.”

The Rev. Tim Simpson, a Jacksonville, Fla., Presbyterian minister and president of the Christian Alliance for Progress, added: “So, under the Christmas tree this year for little Johnny is this allegedly Christian video game teaching Johnny to hate and kill?”

Tim LaHaye’s wife is Beverly LaHaye of Concerned Women for America, btw. Shouldn’t she care whether those of other faiths are being mowed down for holy points by young people in the game?I blogged about this game back in July 2005, when it was still in development and discussed at the fourth annual Christian Game Developers Conference. This was the description of LB: Eternal Forces then.

“Left Behind: Eternal Forces” is a real-time strategy game set in New York during the End of Days, which will allow gamers to choose between the angelic Tribulation Forces and the demonic Global Community Peacekeepers in a multiplayer online mode. The game is set to ship before Easter.

Blogger Jonathan Hutson of Talk to Action wrote extensively about the details and background of this game in “The Purpose Driven Life Takers”, and it’s worth the click. A snippet:

Could such a violent, dominionist Christian video game really break through to the popular culture? Well, it is based on a series of books that have already set sales records – the blockbuster Left Behind series of 14 novels by writer Jerry B. Jenkins and his visionary collaborator, retired Southern Baptist minister Tim LaHaye. “We hope teenagers like the game,” Mr. LaHaye told the Los Angeles Times. “Our real goal is to have no one left behind.”

…If violence, coarseness, and materialism are serious social problems, then what purpose is served by exploiting a global pastoral network to mass market a game about mass killing, whether in the name of Christ or the AntiChrist?

On the one hand, this video game is anti-American, because it endorses roving death squads engaged in faith-based violence without any regard for Constitutional law.  On the other hand, the video game is anti-Christian, because it argues that the Kingdom of God can be advanced by using the methods and tools of the kingdoms of this world, namely guns and bombs.

Here are the digits for Wal-Mart’s rep, since John says she hasn’t heard any complaints about this violent “Christian” hypocrisy:
Tara Raddhol

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding