` I've been meaning to post this draft for a really long time....
` Jonathan Hutson has an unbelievably strange video game on which to report. It's called Left Behind: Eternal Forces, and it is based on the first four volumes of the Left Behind series. If you've never heard of this, I suggest reading the following paragraphs.
Imagine: you are a foot soldier in a paramilitary group whose purpose is to remake America as a Christian theocracy, and establish its worldly vision of the dominion of Christ over all aspects of life.` Yes, really.... Why was such a game made? Who is responsible? As indicated, it would appear to be Rick Warren, scary mega-church fanatic world-takeover guy, because he has direct connections through Mark Carver, one of his underlings who helped develop the game.
` You are issued high-tech military weaponry, and instructed to engage the infidel on the streets of New York City. You are on a mission - both a religious mission and a military mission -- to convert or kill Catholics, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, gays, and anyone who advocates the separation of church and state - especially moderate, mainstream Christians.
` Your mission is "to conduct physical and spiritual warfare"; all who resist must be taken out with extreme prejudice. You have never felt so powerful, so driven by a purpose: you are 13 years old. You are playing a real-time strategy video game whose creators are linked to the empire of mega-church pastor Rick Warren, best selling author of The Purpose Driven Life....
...This game immerses children in present-day New York City -- 500 square blocks, stretching from Wall Street to Chinatown, Greenwich Village, the United Nations headquarters, and Harlem. The game rewards children for how effectively they role play the killing of those who resist becoming a born again Christian.
` The game also offers players the opportunity to switch sides and fight for the army of the AntiChrist, releasing cloven-hoofed demons who feast on conservative Christians and their panicked proselytes (who taste a lot like Christian).
Is this paramilitary mission simulator for children anything other than prejudice and bigotry using religion as an organizing tool to get people in a violent frame of mind? The dialogue includes people saying, "Praise the Lord," as they blow infidels away.....
....If you happen to blow away a neutral party - and collateral damage is inevitable in the End of Days - then you will lose "Spirit Points". But you can power back up with merely a brief timeout for prayer, or by converting one of New York's terror-stricken citizens.
Some people have commented that the link between Mr. Warren's purpose driven empire and this product is casual. Let's be clear: Mark Carver is Executive Director of the Purpose Driven Church, and therefore works directly for Mr. Warren in one of the most senior roles in his empire. It would seem unlikely that Mr. Warren, who plans an international stealth evangelism campaign that already includes the president of Rwanda, is unaware of this project, the biggest Christian video game in history.` So, it would seem that Warren is involved - surely his Mega Church is, at least. Either way, I suggest that you be aware of how scary Warren and his church really are:
` Mr. Carver's role on the Advisory Board of Left Behind Games, the corporation created in October 2001 specifically to develop and market this violent video game, is an association clearly more active than a casual. People are involved on this Advisory Board because of their expertise, and their connections to markets -- in this case, Mr. Warren's. On its corporate web site -- part of its merchandising pitch -- Left Behind Games touts its association with Mr. Carver, and makes clear his prominent role in Mr. Warren's Purpose Driven Church.
` In other words, Left Behind Games is invoking its association with Mr. Warren's Purpose Driven Church as part of its product marketing strategy.
` Do we think that Mr. Warren would allow his name brand and reputation to be casually invoked in a major business venture that involves one of the largest publishers in the Christian marketplace, who published the Left Behind novels, one of the best selling fiction series of all time? Does anyone think that Left Behind Games invoked the name brand of Mr. Warren's Purpose Driven Church without his permission?
` Since this possibility is farfetched, what we are looking at here is a business/marketing alliance between several evangelical business and ministerial entrepreneurs for whom the Great Commission also means great profits.
Time magazine has described Mr. Warren as one of the nation's most influential Evangelical Christian leaders. He describes himself as a "stealth evangelist" and describes his training programs as "a stealth movement, that's flying beneath the radar, that's changing literally hundreds, even thousands of churches around the world." He claims that he has sold tens of millions of copies of The Purpose Driven Life by developing a worldwide network of pastors.
The international director of Mr. Warren's Purpose Driven Church, Mark Carver, is a former investment banker who serves on the Advisory Board of the corporation created in October 2001 to develop and market this game.
` The creators plan to market their game using the same network marketing techniques that Mr. Warren used to turn The Purpose Driven Life into a commercial success. For example, they plan to distribute their merchandise through pastoral networks, especially mega-churches....
` Which (guess what?) are structured the same way as major cults, rather than actual churches!
On the 25th Anniversary of his Saddleback Church on April 17, 2005, Mr. Warren filled the Angels baseball stadium in Anaheim, California, with tens of thousands of his flock. Mr. Warren signaled his belief that we are now approaching the End of Days by opening with a rock band, which played the Jimi Hendrix drug anthem Purple Haze....` In other words, he is doing what an Antichrist would be expected to do! Possibly. Ironic, no?
...A key aspect of dominionist thought is a conviction that the Scripture gives the church a mandate to take dominion over this world socially and culturally before the return of Jesus Christ. Mr. Warren's global plan is a strategy to realize a dominionist vision of churches, states, and corporations forming partnerships to bring about a new world order to make way for Christ's return by establishing a literal, physical kingdom of God on earth.
` In order to build this earthly kingdom, Mr. Warren plans marketplace ministries - business ventures with a veneer of missionary compassion that slip into a country in order to transform it systematically through the governmental, corporate, and social sectors. And that is why Mr. Warren calls himself a "stealth evangelist" - because he wishes to cloak his dominionist agenda, which is the establishment of an earthly kingdom that reflects his skewed vision of Christianity.` So now what? Are there going to be Dominionist genocides in Rwanda? Either way, this video game sends chills up my spine... what would happen if some kid was influenced to be so intolerant? Then again, it could only really encourage kids to behave in this way if they are brainwashed in the first place.
According to Mr. Warren, the establishment of this earthly kingdom requires "foot soldiers." As part of his plan, Mr. Warren said he would encourage laypeople to "adopt" needy villages overseas in order to plant churches, expand business opportunities, educate children, influence governments, and overthrow corrupt political leaders, whom he described as "little Saddams."
` Mr. Warren said his purpose is to enlist "one billion foot soldiers for the Kingdom of God" in the developing world. And the stadium crowd roared its approval.
Celebrants included Paul Kagame, the president of Rwanda, a tiny east African country that lost hundreds of thousands of people when it suffered genocide in 1994. Catholic and Protestant clergy have been convicted in connection with that genocide. Yet Mr. Kagame announced that he would allow Mr. Warren to turn his country into the first purpose driven nation.
` The following month, 16 Rwandan religious leaders arrived in Orange County to begin religious training at Saddleback Church. Mr. Warren has said that his global initiative was developed "underground" and in "stealth". Presumably, this was done with the assistance of Mr. Carver, who directs the Purpose Driven Church in all its activities outside North America....
...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.` Yes, indeed. That's pretty creepy. To read the rest of this enormous article, go here.
` 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.
` ...Personally, I also think it's going to be one of the most made-fun-of video games... just think of all the kids who will be so amused at the mere idea! Really, I'd love to play as Satan, unleashing minions all over the place, going after the Ultimate Good force... evangelist fanatics with guns! Ha ha ha haaaaa!