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Christian Gamers, Offensive Lists, and ‘Homo-Erotic’ Games: Another viewpoint

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Christian Gamers, Offensive Lists, and ‘Homo-Erotic’ Games: Another viewpoint

EIC Note: We saw an article stating that a certain Christian Investment Firm – Timothy Plan were advising their clients on offensive games, using criteria like having ‘homo-erotic’ undertones. The list also seemed to reflect a Christian anti-gaming bias, as it failed to include similar lists for other media.  However, as you will read below, not all Christians see things exactly the same way.

One of our writers responds to the list, which you will find here. So please read on with an open mind.

dkpatriarch-torso2by dkpatriarch

© 2008 David Hilton

“Part of being a Christian is the struggle to try and represent Christ and I may also seem judgemental but….”

Yes, we do exist.

Christian gamers that is.  I don’t think most of us make a big deal of it and I think some people would be surprised to find that Christians are as diverse a group as any other group (like, say, gamers).

army-of-two-01Yet the overall opinion I encounter is that Christians are all right-wing Conservative game-haters who think that gaming comes directly from the devil to tempt us into all manner of evils.  They are also all against the R-18 rating in Australia, of course.  Well, I’m not.  Have a read here if you don’t believe me.

I can’t blame the gaming public for thinking this way when you have so much ignorant game-blaming going on in the press, and often by Christian organisations or individuals.  Take this report, for example.

Gamepolitics.com reports about a “conservative Christian” investment firm that is warning parents away from what it calls the “Top 30 Most Offensive Video Games“. These games are ranked on the amount of violence, sex, nudity, demonic references, homosexual references, and addictiveness they have.  Well at least they played the games, presumably?  The list is below.

fable-24Some games like Fable 2 are in there because of the fact that there is the possibility of homosexuality, while another game, Army of Two is there for its “homo-erotic” undertones.  Well I’d ignore the game not because I’m Christian and abhor its supposed homo-erotic buddy-buddy-ness, but because the game was rather ordinary.

In fact, Gears of War 2 scored the same, possibly for the same reason.  There are lots of hulking big boy manly space marines, but apparently one chasing after his wife doesn’t count.  But Epic have made a joke about the whole ‘homo-erotic’ thing: look at the achievement list.  The “Friends With Benefits” achievement in co-op play is a joke, and I laughed.  Oh no.  I must be bad.

At the last Australian election I argued with other Christians over the fact that the only reason they supported one party was because the other party didn’t openly denounce gay-marriages.  Foreign policy, economic policy, education, health, water, social policy, or individual candidates all didn’t matter: only homosexuality.

Yet Jesus asks us: “Why do you see the speck in your brother’s eye but fail to notice the beam in your own eye?” (Matthew 7:3).  If we go back to Christ and his teachings he was inclusive and went out of his way to talk to and care for those who were on the fringes of society and were being heavily judged by those around them.

And so here’s a “morally responsible” investment firm gay-bashing by making a list with  games that “may” have homosexual undertones, publicly confirming the judgemental nature of Christians.  They may not have intended it that way, but it comes across like that nevertheless.

Then there’s the problem that it targets only games.

photo-artallyTimothy Plan Florida investment firm president Art Ally  comments:

Many, if not most, parents who buy their kids video games really don’t know the extent of sex and violence embedded in them. From drug use, prostitution, murder and mayhem to vulgar profanity and blasphemy these games have become a powerfully negative influence on our kids…I believe, if parents would take a moment to look at the report we’ve created, their game selections would be quite different.

The list is aimed at parents who may worry what content is in the games their kids want for Christmas.  I understand that both as a parent and as a Christian.  Parents DO need to be diligent and look into the content of the games they are getting their children, just as they should take a look at the movies their kids want to watch, or the internet sites they want to visit.  They should, for starters, look at the ratings tag.  Basic stuff.

gta-iv-mp-2I don’t think Grand Theft Auto IV is a good game for twelve year olds.  I don’t think the movie SAW is either.  In fact I don’t like that game or that movie myself for some of its content.  That is my choice but I cannot force my opinion on another adult in a free society.  We are responsible for ourselves and judging others is not our job.

Many games do have questionable or uncomfortable content.  So do many movies.  So do many songs. So do many books.  So do many cartoons.  So does the Internet. But games are the current thing to be scared of.  There is no current research that proves that games are any more harmful than other media, despite the bad press and those blaming their own irresponsibility on them.  I’d seriously like to know how many Christians shun all media that contain violence, swearing, sex, drug use, etc. etc. I don’t think it would be the majority.

07halo_a1_600Christians can try and insulate themselves and their families from all things out there that are considered threatening but gaming has grown as popular as any other media in our culture. We live in this world and if Christians want to present the positive face of our faith we need to be involved with non-Christians at a social level as non-judgemental friends who keep our standards but don’t go around frowning at everyone and spouting vitriol.

Some churches have controversially had gaming nights with the aim of discussing themes of ‘good versus evil’ or just for a way to fellowship.  Ignoring popular culture has never worked and interacting with people in their hobbies is a good way for Christians and non-Christians to mingle and encourage mutual respect.

mass_effect_xbox_360_video_game_image__4_For a list of ‘games to avoid’  to be taken seriously it needs to be totally accurate about the content of the game that is judged (gamers all know about the Mass Effect furor and I think the whole ‘homo-erotic’ thing is pushing it).  There also would need to be offensive lists for all media parents might buy their kids for Christmas while they are at it.   This just looks like a case of  jumping on bandwagons.

Part of being a Christian is the struggle to try and represent Christ and I may also sound judgemental toward some of my fellow Christians, but I also don’t want everyone to assume all Christians view everything the same way either.

Top Offensive Games List

18 – Grand Theft Auto 4
18 – Saints Row 2
16 – Fallout 3
15 – Bioshock
14 – Manhunt 2
12 – Age of Conan
12 – Condemned 2: Bloodshot
11 – Blitz: The League 2
11 – Crackdown
11 – The Darkness
11 – God of War 2
11 – Mass Effect
10 – Bully: Scholarship Edition
9 – Def Jam: Icon
9 – Devil May Cry 4
9 – Fable 2
9 – God of War: Chains of Olympus
9 – Metal Gear Solid 4
9 – Stalker: Shadow of Chernobyl
9 – World of Warcraft
8 – Haze
8 – Hellgate: London
8 – Kane & Lynch
8 – No More Heroes
8 – Silent Hill: Homecoming
8 – Stranglehold
7 – Army of Two
7 – Gears of War 2
7 – Silent Hill: Origins
6 – Resistance 2

© 2008 David Hilton


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About dkpatriarch (616 Articles)
Co-owner and EIC of oxcgn.com

28 Comments on Christian Gamers, Offensive Lists, and ‘Homo-Erotic’ Games: Another viewpoint

  1. Ronnie Alvarez // 14 September, 2010 at 3:32 am // Reply

    I’m a christian and I played condemned2 bloodshot. To my view is that the game is all about fighting a fictional cult group called the Oro.

  2. Christianity’s biggest problem is that Christians have either a condemning or condoning spirit. We tend to be judgmental a lot and shun others. On the other hand sometimes we forget what we believe even discard it for the sake of not being judgmental. To the world it’s either you completely say it’s okay or your judgmental. Even if you were born gay it still doesn’t override the Bible. You do like the rest of the christians do, you resist the sin because we are all born sinners with sins of our own and we are still commanded to resist. It may be a sacrifice, but compared to Jesus’ and others sacrifices it is small. Seriously, read foxe’s book of martyrs.

    If homosexuality isn’t a sin, then neither is adultery, incest, fornication, bestiality and so forth. I don’t hear anybody condoning about any of those acts.To declare it incurable and say it is futile you do several things. You declare anyone who has overcome homosexuality a liar. You bring about hopelessness to those who truly believe it is a sin. And you create a world where God tells you to resist something and you then tell others not to. If you say it is not a sin and that you are a christian then you call God a liar. If others overcame it you say it isn’t a big deal.

    We shouldn’t condemn them either that is shun them and disrespect them. God alone has the authority to send someone to hell and he has given us all an infinite supply of second chances (until you die) The only unforgivable sin is blasphemy of the holy spirit and that only occurs by dieing without Christ in you heart. It is in essence the turning down of forgiveness.

    Also when speaking to people of other religions, We often make the mistake of sounding either judgmental or we prove we don’t care about them to tell them of what their fate might be based on our faith. If you truly believe Jesus died to save you from hell then he died to save your friends and family as well. If you truly cared for them would you rather look judgmental or would you like to see them actually in hell. There are ways to do it with love and care that often don’t involve outright telling them they will burn. That will usually shut them off in anger. Letting them learn what you believe will open their mind and allow them to consider if they believe it or not.

    Even if you do not agree, then you still should keep your conversation polite and civil. More Christians who at times seem insecure in their belief should learn this as well as some atheists who at times seem insecure in their disbelief.

    I agree that avoiding a game because it gives you a choice to do bad, is stupid. If that is the case, then maybe we should all be chained and gagged, because we all have a choice to do bad at any moment. Judging it based on that then any art game should be outright banned since you can draw penises and such. Actually games that give you choices don’t say much about the game, rather the gamer. Not just their actions, also their reactions.

  3. @ Bunchas

    Unfortunately, it does come from all side, predujeses etc.

    I have a lovely gentelman staying with me from Iran, a Muslim, NOt devote, but Muslim just the same.

    He was asked recently to attend a “Christian” bible reading night by a friend who had ‘converted’ to “christianity” from Muslim . . .My freind came home distraught as he was basically told that unless he converted, he’d go to hell, along with all other “pagans” . .

    He was sadened that his friend even invited him along, then had him and others tell him that unless he converted, he was destined to go to hell.

    Yet the Quaran states that all religions should be respected for their own beliefs . . which the bible also states. It’s how individuals change the meanings to suit their own agenda unfortunately.

    We’ve had some excellent discussions around faiths and beliefs, and while I do not atest to any ‘religion’ per-se’, I do believe ina higher forse, as does he, and many others I know from both Jewish, Muslim, Christian and non-religious ppl. We ALL get along well together, and it’s shame others can not do the same.

    Whether that be in gaming or anything we do.

  4. Thanks for your kind words Bunchas, and I admire your ability to see through social stigmas to the person inside. I will always struggle with my own tendencies to judge and my desire to care for all people. But I think the struggle keeps me aware of what I should do to be a better person as well as better Christian.

  5. Man its a relief to know there are other christians out there who are like-minded. I am sometimes reluctant to let people know I’m a christian because of all the prejudice that comes with it. Alot of people seem to automatically assume we’re all judgemental jerks. Two of my best friends are lesbians and they’re also christians with incredibly inspiring faith. I dont think of them as “lesbians”, to me, they’re simply bloody good friends.

    I feel you represented jesus well in this article. Well written and as Lars pointed out, your character and maturity is most noticable. (my sentence structure on the other hand is pretty poor at the moment, ha)

    Cheers

  6. I think you forgot the original fallouts, where you kill children (in horrid and goreful ways if you have bloody mess) have sex, become more dramatically addicted to drugs , have a porn film studio (only fallout 2) and there is homosexual marriage. But i guess this list is only for new releases.

  7. @ Lars

    Much appreciated, and of course I agree with what you’ve said.

    Besides the whole Christian gamer issue, there are those gamers who act like ‘girl-gamers’ are an affront. Like getting fragged by a girl is a threat to their masculinity or something.

    The whole point is that we don’t judge any group and instead look at our own words and actions. Glad to hear you enjoy your gaming.

  8. That was great reading. I read all the comments as well and i find it so interesting how passionate and opinionated people can get when they read an article about faith. You wrote that really well! i liked all the issues you touched on.

    Esspecially about the parents involvement in chosing games for their kids can be vitaly important. But i think some people missed the point you were making; (maybe not) but i got that you were just getting it out there that Christian gamers are out there and there are christians that love gaming and that non-christian gamers shouldnt be brainwashed, by the media that they see, into believing that all christians are against gaming (the media can never represent everyones opinion).

    And Christians want to be accepted for who they are and welcomed just as much as any one should be accepted and welcomed for who they are no matter what your beliefs are, what your culture is, what colour your skin is, gay or not gay ect.. we need to value what everyone can bring and add to each others lives.

    Everyone is entitled to their personal opionion, but i do think opinions are better when they are given positively and unoffensively. Not judging others and being responible for yourself. Your article showed your tremendouse integrity and character and has some very valid points. It was much appreciated. i am a christian and a girl and i love Gears of War! loads of fun :-)

  9. benjaminvallen1 // 10 December, 2008 at 1:24 am // Reply

    Wow. I’m a Christian and i can say some of that is ridiculous.

  10. Your friend can discuss issues of faith with me anytime. I won’t give him the ‘going to hell’ speech for sure.

  11. @ ChrisWanker

    Hate the name, sorry .. . anyhow, I can vouch for the fact that what you say, of Muslims is actually false . . How do I know . .Well, aside from having dated one, and have one for a ‘very’ close female friend, plus now sharing house with a fresh Iranian imigrant of Muslim faith, I can tell you that that is not the case.

    He and I often site for hours discussing the misconceptions of the west and other countries regarding Muslims and many faiths, not JUST Muslim faith. The basic traits run through them all, and each religion including Muslim is based basically around the same concept.

    In fact, the “Qu’ran” is often misquoted, not only by those outside the faith, but by those within it, just the same as christians of various faiths do with the Bible, and its various iterations.

    What you are doing there is the same as others, painting one with the same brush. Living here in Australia, with a high Muslim following (which has increased a lot over the last several years) newer muslims are often offended and outraged at how THEIR fellow Muslims break the rules of the Qur’an and use it to cover the sins they break daily under the guise of it being within their religious belief.

    Again, this is true of any faith, and we need to simply be tollerant of all faiths. He recently went to a “christian” meeting with a fellow Iranian who had converted to “Christian (of a certain follow which we won’t mention simply for thefact there’s no need to) and was told by said meeting that by him being a PAGAN – yes, you read it right, that he would go to hell unless he converted . .

    He came home quite perplexed and confused, wondering what he had done wrong to them for them to say such things . . . as he sees faith as a state of mind open to ANY individual, and NOT restricted to any one faith.

    So be careful about how you paint one over the other. Not everyone is representative of each group, just like those in the group he went to are not a representative of other Christians. Simply a group using the bible (or Qur’an) to suit their own means and justify their actions.

  12. I wonder how extensive the list would be according to the Qur’an and the teachings of Islam? I’m certain Islams list of what is “Harram” (forbidden) would multiply any Christian listy by several fold.

  13. I would like to add something that was told to me just now by another Christian gamer:

    Apparently in World Of Warcraft there are Christian gamers that meet there in the game as they would in a church for fellowship and to talk to anyone who is interested.

    I don’t think the guys who made the list and put WOW on there because it is ‘addictive’ looked into that part of the game’s use, did they? The game is apparently so open that Christians can make a virtual church in there. That’s pretty amazing.

  14. @ Kia,

    The list ISN’T OURS!!! In fact I argue AGAINST the list.

    So “You people” must not mean us? Certainly not all Christians either….

  15. Ummm…CharlesTheFilmaker:

    Did you read the article at all? A lot of Christians DON’T hate gaming at all.

    I really wish people would read before commenting.

  16. This artical and thread I have found very interesting. I myself am not Christian, but my husband is. We are both major Gamers. I feel that if your an involved parent you wouldn’t need these lists. My husband used to have an X-Box 360. This game system has more adult themes to it when it comes to games. We traded it in for a Wii, so we could all play more as a family. Many of the games my hubby had on 360 we would only play after kids were in bed. If Gamers want to steer away from what they feel uncomfortable with the Wii is a system geared more for G-PG games. It’s a system geared more for the family and kids. You still have to check some of the games, but most are pretty child friendly. I feel there is always a solution if people would just take the time, rather than, have others do it for them.

  17. @ plstc,

    Wellit’s unfortunate, but when ppl like yourself makes comments like you do, it’s little wonder there’s hatred and distain in the world. There’s a thing called respect, and even though one might not approve of agree with others around such things, you do need to respect them.

    Saying and behavingthe way you are only shows
    1) imaturity and
    2) intolerance,

    Which btw, are the very two things you are complaining about in your posts. In short, don;t throw stones in glass houses mate, they have a tendensy of causing the person throwing them more harm than the person they were aimed at.

    From all the comments by all readers in here, yours comes across with the most hatred and anger in it, so one would ask, what is YOUR problem then . . And please, if you do choose to reply, do so in an adult manner, or they simply will not be published. Use your head, not your mouth.

  18. I’m not a Christian and I don’t have a problem with ratings and warnings. Parents have a right to know what is in the games their children play. In fact I applaud the participation in their children’s lives. The problem with Christian watch lists I think lies within have consistent guidelines and warning over actual content rather than possible content.

    Ex – In Fable 2 you CAN marry the same sex. If a Christian chooses to do so in the game that’s THEIR sin. If the game made you marry the same sex that’s a different matter and the Christians have a point.

    It would seem advantageous for Christians to form a clear, consistant warning system that is documented. This way when a parent is looking at a game they can say, this game HAS actual sexual content rather than that which got Cooper Lawrence in trouble.

    This would help game designers make better decisions during design and also give Christians more credibility on the issue. Trust me, from an atheist standpoint, you’re coming off as ignorant, reactionary knuckheads. Who knows, if the niche was better defined there might even be games made specifically for Christians.
    .

  19. oh and another thing don’t use my god to peddle your hatred, Jesus said love you fellow man, he didn’t say get your lynching ropes we have a ass pirate to hang. the truth is half you so called Christians are going straight to hell because of your intolerant, hate filled, evil ways, god doesn’t want hate he wants the hate fill destroyed. (removed by editor – this site has rules and we follow them. Everyone is entitle to comment, so long as it’s done in an dult manner and without malice towards others)

  20. I just have one thing to say, any one who is a Homophobic is really gay them selves you aren’t afraid of gays you are afraid of the fact that you are gay, being christian doesn’t have a thing to do about hating gays you just are so afraid of being gay you wont play any game that (removed by editor – this site has rules and we follow them. Everyone is entitle to comment, so long as it’s done in an dult manner and without malice towards others)

  21. This is bullcrap, I don’t give a damn if the Christians hate gaming. they can get over it.

  22. When is Christianity in general going to accept homosexuality as a fact of life and not a sin? I mean… there’s enough of them in the church itself that you’d think it would have been accepted long time ago.

  23. Great article, and I agree with your points. Some of the games in that list are very unusual (though it reads almost like a Best-Selling Games of 2008 list)…I can’t believe Fable 2 should be avoided for the ability to marry a member of the same sex in it – it’s your choice what you do in the game, no-one’s forcing you to explore that possibility. In fact, I’m sure many people have completed the game without even realizing the possibility for a gay relationship in it, which incidentally plays the same as a straight marriage – love and care between partners, maintaining household, etc and strangely enough no option for devil worship.

    I myself am gay (for anyone wondering, no it’s NOT a choice just as much as being born with green eyes or dark skin or one of those annoyingly husky voices. I also hate fashion and do not speak with a girly voice and limp wrist). I thought Fable 2 was very insightful for allowing these options instead of the usual pretending that it doesn’t exist like most games. Isn’t a significant part of Christianity about acceptance and avoiding judging others? I think it’s good to allow a lot of options such as these because it is the player who decides what they will or won’t do in the game.

    I actually suggest you check out GTA (though #4 dissappointed me) because you can do vigilante missions for the police, catch criminals and generally choose what you want to do in the game. I enjoyed driving around finding huge jumps and racing the most.

    As for Army of Two and Gears of War….what is it impossible for 2 guys to work together without homo-erotic undertones now? What about Barbi Horse Adventures? It has 2 girls AND human + horse yet I don’t see accusations of lesbian relationships and beastiality. =S

  24. I seriously have to wonder how you people get some of these titles on there. Fable? World of Warcraft? Blitz? WTF >_>

  25. @ william mccann

    It’s a valid point. I don’t like a lot of Christian music myself for focusing too much on praise and worship and not exploring suffering and confusion (as are in the psalms). It’s as if they can’t be seen as belonging in the Chrisitan music category if they don’t all do similar stuff with similar happy messages. Yet many songs outside of the genre do just that: relate a variety of aspects of our existance and God, with no problems. U2, for example does it (and most of them are Christian). So does Depeche Mode: take these lyrics for example:
    “If God has a master plan
    That only He understands
    I hope it’s Your eyes He’s seeing through

    Things get damaged
    Things get broken”

    Bit off topic, but there you go :)

  26. @ saynotocyberharrassment

    I’m sorry to hear that you are being abused like that. People shouldn’t be threatened by other people’s perspectives and differences. If you weren’t harrassing them about their choice, you shouldn’t be harrassed either.
    Though I obviously don’t shun games with violence like you do, I certainly respect your right to do so and your stand on the matter.

  27. william mccann // 8 December, 2008 at 7:39 am // Reply

    I think it is detrimental for gaming as an art form or any art form to be deemed avoidable because you are merely dismissing something on a shallow basis rather than seeing it as a whole. This is why christian art today is terrible and not even art and christian music. They pander to the christian ideas but neglect the culture of the art in which they are created.

  28. saynotocyberharassment // 8 December, 2008 at 7:23 am // Reply

    Like you, I am Christian and have suffered and I am still suffering the effects of CYBERVIOLENCE AND ABUSE ONLINE.

    I believe that games and any other media content that promotes any type of violence should be shunned.

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