CADRE Comments

A Rational Look at Christianity; Basing Reason in Truth

As anyone who follows this blog knows, I prefer to write about early Christian history more than anything else. So how did I get roped into spending so much time posting and commenting about the forthcoming Left Behind video game, known as Left Behind: Eternal Forces? (For the details of the lies told about the game, check my earlier post here).

How Did I Come to Write the Original Responding Post?


A friend of mine on the History Channel's discussion forum for religion started a thread reciting as true the incredibly inaccurate description of the game at an anti-Christian right website (known as Talk2Action). I did some research, found out what the game was really about, and posted my results on that board. My friend, whom I know to be a man of honor, quickly disavowed the description of the game.

Unfortunately, I quickly found out that he was not the only person to be taken in by this false description. The anti-Christian right site reported 40,000 hits on that particular article. I soon found that dozens of blogs were uncritically reporting the original article as true. So, I put together the information I had gathered and did my own blog on the topic. Then, to get the word out, I began commenting on other blogs that were repeating the false charges about the game.

The Response to the Original Responding Post

Traffic increased considerably and a lot of blogs, to their credit, quickly made corrections to their original stories (I personally visited about 20 or more such sites). Of course, many of these sites still expressed reservations about the game. I sympathize and appreciate some of their concerns and have mentioned some of my own. Here are some of the blogs that corrected their posts in light of the CADRE's report:

The Left's Behind -- and Mine
(This article also has an interesting explanation as to why the author fell for the sensational story in the first place).

Left Behind to Evangalize
(Noting that the original post was "was hysterical and completely inaccurate in the way it described the game" and referred to Talk2Action as "a biased, dishonest, and inaccurate source").

Gain 2 Points for Saving Souls
(Did a simple clarification post with new links).

Couple Links and a Thought

(Issued an apology, noting "my lack of research resulted in my spreading what it seems now isn't true," but still disagree's with the theology).

Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition

(This post found the comments to my post interesting; I certainly agree!).

Schwule, Heten und andere Katastrophen
(A German site, interesting because the author of the erroneous original article showed up to defend himself. To no avail, the German site retracted its original post as inaccurate).

Other bloggers helped get the word, out:

The Purpose-Driven Hoax

(Discusses why people fall for the "BIG LIE").

Paranoia: It Isn't Just for Right-Wing Christians Anymore
("[I]t looks like some folks who fear a Christian theocracy have gotten a little bit paranoid").

Thanks!

Also, a number of people referred to my article in discussion boards to correct yet more uncritical recitations of the anti-Christian right website. Here and here are examples.

Sadly, many websites did not issue corrections, either by simply ignoring my comment or by engaging in mental (and moral) gymnastics to try and justify their erroneous reports. (Examples are here and here ).

Other commentors ignored the content of my post and complained that I left a lot of comments on blogs that got it wrong. (See here). I make no apologies as that is what comments sections are for. I would think that a blogger of integrity would want to be alerted to such important errors in their work. If they do not or have some problem with feedback, they can turn their comments off.

One of the most common justifications I ran into was from those who said that yeah, you might get penalized for murdering innocents, but you can still do it and play the game that way. (An example, here). This is pretty silly.

First, the original article explicitly said that it was "the mission" of the game to kill gays, Jews, Catholics, etc., if they resist converting to Christianity. However, that is not "the mission" of the game, the game makes sure you lose the game if you play it that way.

Second, it is possible in almost any game to do things you are not supposed to do. One of the few games I have played recently is Battleground 1942, where you play a U.S. soldier or marine in various WWII battles. While it is true that you can kill your fellow American warriors and even kill yourself, that is never part of your mission and the game does everything it can to discourage such play. In other words, the game reinforces just how negative such actions are to the player. Left Behind: Eternal Forces, therefore, no more encourages murdering non-Christians than Battleground 1942 encouraged suicide or fragging.

Although I am inclined to share the criticism I have heard some make that the game allows you to play the anti-Christ, I suspect that some who make this complaint are disengenuous given that many of the repeaters of the original false story are likely to find this an attractive part of the game. Indeed, more than once I saw a commentor or blogger say that they might buy the game so they could play the anti-Christ and kill Christians (the hypocrisy seemed to elude theme).

Why Did I Bother?

I am not a pre-tribulation pre-millenialists, which is the particular theology that the Left Behind narrative is based on. I think that there are some negatives that flow from too much emphasis on "the end times." I had no intentions of buying this game and think there are some real questions that people should be asking and others should be answering. But as I stressed in the comments to my original post, it is impossible to have such a debate if the other side thinks you want to exterminate them. And that is the lie that I was responding to. I estimate that over 200 bloggers and discussion board participants repeated the original story uncritically. Most of them did so and used the lie to attack evangelicals in general. Seeing that, I wanted to set the record straight. I think I made good start in doing so, though bloggers are still repeating the original story uncritically and thoughtless "editors" on Wikipedia have cemented the lie into the entry on the game (yet another reason for wiki-skepticism).

My Opinion of Talk2Action

A word about the anti-Christian right site. It is pathetic that it lied so clearly to promote its hate agenda against the "Christian right" (which to them likely means any Christian not as liberal as they are). It is even more pathetic that it has defended its original article as being true. I have yet to see a retraction, though I would welcome one and note it here.

I also think they have acted cowardly. Unlike this site, which set a record in accepting comments on this issue -- many of which were challenging and vigorous in their objection to my post or this site -- Talk2Action will not let you comment on their site unless you declare yourself to share their particular viewpoint and agree that the religious right is a menace to society. Indeed, one commentor on Talk2Action dared to direct readers to my post on the subject, and was promptly banned. You can read the banned commentor's story, here. So much for the "tolerance" of those who claim to fear the religious right.

Please continue to spread the word if you run across such blatant misstatements about the game. You do not have to defend the game or think it is a great idea -- I have not and I do not -- but you should insist that any debate about its merits or morality take place on a foundation of truth, not lies.

Update: One blogger removed my link because he could not trust his readers to decide for themselves.

Update: Rather than issue a retraction or correction, Talk2Action has defended all of its statements and attacked my response to them. I address their defense/attack here.

5 comments:

And this surprises you? It sure doesn't surprise me. I think its a shame that people feel the need to lie in order to bolster their anemic world views, but then Jesus Himself said that the world will hate you (Christians) because it first hated God.

Layman, I AM the "religious right," as well as being the blogger who removed your "link."

How DARE YOU assume you have an IMPLICIT RIGHT to post your garbage on my blog. I don't even owe you an explaination, but I'll give you one anyway.

I removed your so-called "link" because I do not want to offend my readers by sending them to your site. I could care less what my readers "judge for themselves." Heck, with 15 hits a day, I don't even have that many readers. Yet still, your pre-pubescent knee-jerk reactions combined with your uncanny ability to see things your way only, really bothers me. You allow comments on your posts, but then lambast people who dare differ with your opinions. I will link my "readers" to sites that respect them and treat them like adults, this site does neither.

Christians like you are the ones that give the rest of us a bad name. You focus the scope of inspection so intently on others and other religions, that you forget to examine yourself, and your own religion. How arrogant of you to declare the world to be so black-and-white! Like it's us Christian good-guys against the bad-guys, and the good-guys never screw up. There are casualities on both sides, and we Christians are responsible to keep a watchful eye on each other to rebuke and sometimes shame the wayward brother to bring him to repentance.

Take a few moments today to read through the responses to the comments on your blog. Read out-loud the terrible things you have said to people. If you're not ashamed, than you have some growing up to do.

"Layman, I AM the "religious right," as well as being the blogger who removed your "link.""

Welcome. But I think the so-called "religious right" is broader than you or your blog.

"How DARE YOU assume you have an IMPLICIT RIGHT to post your garbage on my blog. I don't even owe you an explaination, but I'll give you one anyway."

My initial assumption was that you were interested in the truth about the game. I was wrong in that.

"I removed your so-called "link" because I do not want to offend my readers by sending them to your site. I could care less what my readers "judge for themselves." Heck, with 15 hits a day, I don't even have that many readers. Yet still, your pre-pubescent knee-jerk reactions combined with your uncanny ability to see things your way only, really bothers me. You allow comments on your posts, but then lambast people who dare differ with your opinions. I will link my "readers" to sites that respect them and treat them like adults, this site does neither."

I cannot help but think that you did not actually read my piece. I have proved quite clearly to many bloggers, Christian and not, that the Talk2Action post contained some blatantly false accusations against the game. To prove this I linked to disinterested parties who had played the game.

And yes, I do believe in spirited debate and reserve the right to disagree with people who leave comments here. Which I take to be a better approach to deleting their comment, then insulting their comment without giving anyone else the ability to judge fairness or quality.

"Christians like you are the ones that give the rest of us a bad name."

Funny. I did not think Christian was a bad name.

"You focus the scope of inspection so intently on others and other religions, that you forget to examine yourself, and your own religion."

Actually, I spend almost all of my posting time discussing Christianity, not other religions. You have not read much of my work.

"How arrogant of you to declare the world to be so black-and-white! Like it's us Christian good-guys against the bad-guys, and the good-guys never screw up. There are casualities on both sides, and we Christians are responsible to keep a watchful eye on each other to rebuke and sometimes shame the wayward brother to bring him to repentance."

We should also stand ready to defend other Christians from false accusations, such as the claim that they are genocidal terrorists in the making.

"Take a few moments today to read through the responses to the comments on your blog. Read out-loud the terrible things you have said to people. If you're not ashamed, than you have some growing up to do."

I actually read them when I wrote them and again as I was responding to additional comments. I have no shame about what I wrote. But then again, I do not think Christianity is something to be ashamed about.

You were long on generalities, venom, and ALLCAPS, but short on specifics and persuasive presentation.

Wow! Lach is the religious right? With all due respect, no wonder people think that it's ugly.

Did Layman assume that he had the right to post his "garbage" in his comments? Well, since the comments are open to the public, and since the comment was only a link back to this site without the use of profanities, I certainly think he was justified in believing that such a post would be respected -- especially by someone Christian.

With all due respect, Lach, you need to lighten up.

This statement is posted from an employee of Left Behind Games on behalf of Troy Lyndon, our Chief Executive Officer.

There has been in incredible amount of MISINFORMATION published in the media and in online blogs here and elsewhere.

Pacifist Christians and other groups are taking the game material out of context to support their own causes. There is NO “killing in the name of God” and NO “convert or die”. There are NO “negative portrayals of Muslims” and there are NO “points for killing”.

Please play the game demo for yourself (to at least level 5 of 40) to get an accurate perspective, or listen to what CREDIBLE unbiased experts are saying after reviewing the game at www.leftbehindgames.com/pages/controversy.htm

Then, we’d love to hear your feedback as an informed player.

The reality is that we’re receiving reports everyday of how this game is positively affecting lives by all who play it.

Thank you for taking the time to be a responsible blogger.

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