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Wednesday, June 07, 2006

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Comments

Cristina A. Montes

Based on the description in the post, I think the "Left Behind" game will not even be successful marketing. They tout it as being "entertaining and not preachy", but I think it's "preachy and not entertaining." Which teenager will buy a game knowing that it was deliberately designed to drive home a Christian message? Furthermore, assuming that the game does become popular, will the teenagers playing the game really absorb the Christian message in it, or will they just buy the game because it is a fad and forget about it afterwards?

The intentions behind the "Left Behind" game are good, and I do agree with using modern marketing tools in preaching the Gospel (as long as the marketing tools used are appropriate). It's just that I wonder if the "Left Behind" game will work as a marketing tool.

Jackson

Shakespeare wrote the epitaph of this age: "O shame, where is thy blush?"

Jackson

Speaking of "marketing," does anyone join me in being uncomfortable with the use of this word in connection with the Gospel? Did Christ do any marketing? Did any of the apostles? Is not the concept of marketing bound to consumerism? Is it merely a coincidence that as modern marketing techniques have been applied to religion, religion has been consumerized (along with politics, government, etc.)? Doesn't relativism lurk somewhere in this union of religion and marketing?

Another Steve

Yes Jackson I agree. Marketing has no place in spreading the Gospel message. It implies something you get for your money. Well Jesus and the apostles expected nothing except martyrdom and therein lay Truth. What salesman would today go forth willing to be murdered for the sake of his employer?

Carl Olson

I think I transitioned too abruptly from the thing (the video game) to the marketing of the thing. A thing can be good (say, a book by the Holy Father) and the marketing of that thing can done well or poorly. Or a thing can be bad (a violent video game) and the marketing might be excellent if judged according to results.

Is "marketing" contrary to the Gospel? Much of the answer depends on what we mean by "marketing." On one hand, the Gospel clearly is not something to be sold, but is a free gift and is meant for all. But what about selling books or videos that promote, defend, and explain the Gospel? What about using televion or newspapers to let people know about an event that proclaims the Gospel? (I suppose we could make a distinction between "advertising" and "marketing," but I don't know how clear that distinction is today.) Obviously that isn't bad in and of itself, especially not if the money earned is used in a good and legitimate way (to make more books, to support those who write and produce them, etc.). St. Paul stated (cf. 1 Tim 5:17-18) that those doing the Lord's work were to receive support. And while his words might be properly interpreted to refer to the work of the apostles and their successors, I think it is fair to apply to all worthly apostolic work, which the laity can share in in significant ways.

As for actual marketing techniques (ads, commercials, etc.), I think it becomes a matter of what is intended and what is being accomplished. We live in a culture that is heavily oriented toward the market; consequently, marketing — in the broader sense of advertising — is often necessary to let people know about things that are related to the Gospel, declare the Gospel, defend the Gospel. If we are called to proclaim, declare, explain, and defend the Gospel, then I don't see how using modern communications to do so is wrong (indeed, Vatican II encouraged the use of modern communications to spread the Gospel). However, one danger is that the Gospel might appear to simply be a "product," or it might be overshadowed by personalities or agendas. But that can happen in simple one-on-one conversations as well, so it is not confined to sophisticated or broad marketing.

BTW, the Catechism states: "Lay people who are capable and trained may also collaborate in catechetical formation, in teaching the sacred sciences, and in use of the communications media" (par 906)

"Christian purity requires a purification of the social climate. It requires of the communications media that their presentations show concern for respect and restraint. Purity of heart brings freedom from widespread eroticism and avoids entertainment inclined to voyeurism and illusion." (par 2525).

Neil

This has to be one of the most surreal things I've ever read.

*...people saying, 'Praise the Lord' after they blow away the bad guys.*

Aye carumba.

MenTaLguY

I'm with Cristina as far as the potential success of this particular game goes. I remember the Left Behind movie being marketed in much the same way, but the actual thing was pretty awful (setting aside any problems inherent to the Left Behind franchise itself). Whenever I hear someone say "entertaining and not preachy," I've learned to expect the opposite. This seems to be borne out by the game's intro movie (available here, near the bottom).

MenTaLguY

Neil: eww. Missed that on my first skim of the article. The Christian equivalent of yelling "Allahu akbar!" after killing the infidel? That's not going to be good PR for Christianity.

pazdziernik

Thanks for adding "It's just a game" to monikers that include "It's just fiction". I suppose "It's just a joke" can be included as well. It's usually "coughed-up" as a response when some realizes his act was wrong yet fails to take responsibility or express any shade of regret. "Throw the baby out the window" or "Push grandma down the stairs" ... "It's just a joke." Sure, these are extreme examples but I suppose that erroneous notions of the FUNDAMENTAL OPTION are at root of all these monikers.

Weeze

Carl,

You absolutely have to read this review of the game that appears on SFGate.com (on-line San Francisco news source).

http://www.sfgate.com/columnists/morford/

Just to whet your appetite, it starts off:

"Are you a true believer? Do you just know deep down in your black Wal-Mart socks that every word of the Bible is the absolute literal truth and nothing dare be doubted and anyone who thinks that God is merely an ambisexual omniblissful bloom of moist divine nondenominational honeydew melon should be strung up by their small intestine and beaten with sticks sharpened by Mel Gibson's teeth?"

These people sure don't waste time in responding to the stupid moves that Christians make. Good post.

Celestial SeraphiMan

That certainly sounds like another well-meaning but moronic effort to evangelize with barely Christianized pop-culture. That post makes me want all the more to continue refining my prose-writing skills so I can pioneer the "seraphic literature" I have envisioned.

Daniel Nairn

It seems to me that the real target market is Christian kids anyway.

It goes like this: Christian Mom doesn't like son playing violent video games. Mom sees ad in Christian publication about Left Behind game. She buys Left Behind game because she wants a Christian alternative to whatever secular game her son is playing. Son still gets his violence, and Mom feels better about the whole situation.

Hardly evangelistic outreach.

Weeze

sorry, the link I gave from SFGate.com goes to something else now. Here's another one for it.

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/gate/archive/2006/06/07/notes060706.DTL

SJR

There has been alot of misleading information spun throughout the public and media regarding Left Behind Eternal Forces game. I encourage you to visit www.menofgod.us & download a trial version. I believe the first hand experience will allow you the opportunity to judge for yourself and put these rumors to a rest.
Here is a statement from the CEO, Troy Lyndon, to clarify some of the misconceptions and propaganda:
LEFT BEHIND: Eternal Forces
A PC Game

FOCUS ON THE FAMILY endorses our game. Read below to find out why!
Our game DOES NOT encourage killing.
Our game is NOT anti-Semitic.
Our game is NOT anti-Muslim or anti-Islamic.

It is anti-EVIL! The ultimate bad-guy is the Antichrist who wants to eliminate all faiths and all religions, except his and he is deceiving the entire world.

Our game does NOT teach the pre-tribulation theology of the book series, except that this worldview is utilized as a FICTIONAL backdrop of the game.

In the past several days, numerous people have been and continue to spread misinformation about the game.

Our game is the first game ever to encourage the use of PRAYER and WORSHIP as the most effective means to resolve conflict.

Physical warfare is discouraged as the LEAST EFFECTIVE means for resolving conflict…and a gamer loses points for using a gun.

This is the world’s first high-quality inspirational game which intends to model positive behavior by discouraging physical warfare.

Please play the game for yourself and help us to get out the TRUTH.

In an industry which creates so much gratuitous violence and gore, LEFT BEHIND: Eternal Forces presents a healthy alternative. We need your help to get the word out!

PLAY THE GAME and find out for yourself that this game is about the battle of good versus evil.

Here are a few things said by others:
- The Anti-Defamation League, although they speak out against the book theology, says “Conversion to Christianity in the game is not depicted as forcible in nature, and violence is not rewarded in the game.”
- AOL says it is a “Positive Moral Message”
- Focus on the Family says “Finally! A game Mom and Dad can play with Junior”
- Concerned Women for America says “A game we can wholeheartedly recommend!”
- Wired Magazine “Few are as ambitious and polished as this PC title.”
- ArsTechnica.com “This is a game that Christian parents can buy their kids, and one that Christian kids can play themselves without any guilt about "questionable content."”
- Women of Faith says “In an industry that is full of destruction with no hope, the LEFT BEHIND game
- Clint Thomas from Chaos Theory says “For years we’ve been telling kids what to run from and not what to run to, until now!”

Should you have any concerns about this game, please go to the contact us page on our website at www.leftbehindgames.com and we’ll do our best to connect with you.

Sincerely,
Troy Lyndon
CEO, Left Behind Games Inc.

NYC

Hey, with so many people having an opinion about this game, how many have actually played it? And what credibility do they have? Focus on the Family has publications which can set the record straight for everyone…at http://www.pluggedinonline.com/thisweekonly/a0002989.cfm.

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