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Censorship Entertainment Games

Wal-Mart Asked to Drop Christian Video Game 1535

Posted by samzenpus
from the the-crusades-were-fun dept.
doug141 writes "Liberal and progressive Christian groups say a new computer game in which players must either convert or kill non-Christians is the wrong gift to give this holiday season and that Wal-Mart, a major video game retailer, should yank it off its shelves.Players can choose to join the Antichrist's team, but of course they can never win on [his] side. The enemy team includes fictional rock stars and folks with Muslim-sounding names, while the righteous include gospel singers, missionaries, healers and medics."
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Wal-Mart Asked to Drop Christian Video Game

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  • by antifoidulus (807088) on Thursday December 14, 2006 @08:13AM (#17235024) Homepage Journal
    the gameplay really sucks [] anyway, so maybe the game will do more harm to the cause they are trying to promote than good....

    At any rate, didn't a parody of a game similiar in mechanics to this appear on the Simpsons like 10 years ago?
  • by TeknoHog (164938) on Thursday December 14, 2006 @08:21AM (#17235086) Homepage Journal

    But "Muslims are not believers in Jesus Christ" -- and thus can't be on Christ's side in the game.

    Incidentally, I saw a lecture on the topic quite recently, and learned that Muslims do believe in Jesus Christ. He is a highly regarded prophet, second only to Mohammed, and he plays a key role in the end-of-times scenario of Islam.

    Of all the major religions in the world, Islam is the only non-Christian faith that recognises Jesus.

    This is from []. Googling for "jesus islam" gives lots of further reading.

  • by Aalst (943515) on Thursday December 14, 2006 @08:30AM (#17235184)

    I will sweep away everything in all your land," says the LORD. "I will sweep away both people and animals alike. Even the birds of the air and the fish in the sea will die. I will reduce the wicked to heaps of rubble, along with the rest of humanity," says the LORD. "I will crush Judah and Jerusalem with my fist and destroy every last trace of their Baal worship. I will put an end to all the idolatrous priests, so that even the memory of them will disappear. For they go up to their roofs and bow to the sun, moon, and stars. They claim to follow the LORD, but then they worship Molech, too. So now I will destroy them! And I will destroy those who used to worship me but now no longer do. They no longer ask for the LORD's guidance or seek my blessings. (Zephaniah 1:2-6 NLT)

    Nice bokk, eh?
  • by Aalst (943515) on Thursday December 14, 2006 @08:35AM (#17235244)

    Anyone arrogant enough to reject the verdict of the judge or of the priest who represents the LORD your God must be put to death. Such evil must be purged from Israel. (Deuteronomy 17:12 NLT)

    I sure wouldn't like to meet any of those "progressive" Christians..
  • Re:I give up. (Score:4, Informative)

    by tverbeek (457094) * on Thursday December 14, 2006 @08:38AM (#17235274) Homepage
    Besides, I always thought muslims DID believe in jesus christ, just not in the same way christians do.
    That last bit is the issue: they don't believe that Jesus is God the Son and the Messiah, which is one of the basic tenets of Christianity. Under Protestant theology (Catholic is a little different), believing that statement is the one thing that gets you into Heaven.

    Back to the original topic, I think that Wal-Mart should ignore the censors and leave this game on the shelves.

    And so should everyone else.
  • by Khuffie (818093) on Thursday December 14, 2006 @08:46AM (#17235384) Homepage
    Umm. Check YOUR facts. Muslims believe that Jesus is a prophet, not the Son of God (which is EXACTLY what the parent said). Also, the five pillars of Islam are as follows:

    • Believing that there is only one God, and Mohammed was merely his prophet (to emphasize that he is also not a prophet)
    • Five daily prayers
    • Charity once a year
    • Fasting the month of Ramadan
    • Performing the pilgrimage once in your lifetime

    So please, YOU check your facts before you spout prejudiced nonsense.

  • Re:I give up. (Score:5, Informative)

    by krgallagher (743575) on Thursday December 14, 2006 @08:59AM (#17235542) Homepage
    "I have read the article and still can't tell whether the game makers are actually serious or not."

    They are quite serious. I went to their web site [] and grabbed a list of the games features.

    Wage a war of apocalyptic proportions in LEFT BEHIND: Eternal Forces - a real-time strategy game based upon the best-selling LEFT BEHIND book series created by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins. Join the ultimate fight of Good against Evil, commanding Tribulation Forces or the Global Community Peacekeepers, and uncover the truth about the worldwide disappearances!
    • Lead the Tribulation Force from the book series , including Rayford, Chloe, Buck and Bruce against Nicolae Carpathia - the AntiChrist.
    • Conduct physical & spiritual warfare : using the power of prayer to strengthen your troops in combat and wield modern military weaponry throughout the game world.
    • Recover ancient scriptures and witness spectacular Angelic and Demonic activity as a direct consequence of your choices.
    • Command your forces through intense battles across a breathtaking, authentic depiction of New York City .
    • Control more than 30 units types - from Prayer Warrior and Hellraiser to Spies, Special Forces and Battle Tanks!
    • Enjoy a robust single player experience across dozens of New York City maps in Story Mode - fighting in China Town , SoHo , Uptown and more!
    • Play multiplayer games as Tribulation Force or the AntiChrist's Global Community Peacekeepers with up to eight players via LAN or over the internet!

    Personally I think it is funny. I was hoping they had a demo I could download.
  • by ilovepolymorphism (642188) <> on Thursday December 14, 2006 @09:01AM (#17235558)
    Where at? Hate the sin, not the sinner.
  • Re:An Ars review (Score:2, Informative)

    by Bobby Orr (161598) on Thursday December 14, 2006 @09:01AM (#17235562)
    Thanks for the link. I expected the review to whine and demand several hours of the masochist's life back. It didn't, however. Further, it actually called out lack of violence as a feature.

    Don't get me wrong. Reading about this game is making me grit my teeth. As does reading about GTA. I don't like either one of them. But I wonder if this game is getting a bad rap.

    From the review:
    • The Good:
      Engaging story (of course there will be a sequel)
      A refreshing lack of violence
      Better than the books!
      The essays between the missions are well written, and actually intriguing
      There is an agenda, but it's pushed skillfully
      Surprisingly good documentation
    • The Bad:
      Pathfinding issues
      Explaining eschatology to your children if they want to play the game
      Subpar voice acting
      Horrid use of in-game advertisements
      Did they really have to try to sell me Christian music?
      They give you the book, and you may try to read it. Ick. That's bad.
    • The Ugly:
      The controversy over a relatively harmless and well-done piece of propaganda

  • by coyote-san (38515) on Thursday December 14, 2006 @09:04AM (#17235590)
    The games is based on the wretched (as a theological work even more than as a literary work) "Left Behind" series.

    I can't recommend Slacktivist [] highly enough. He's a true evangelical associated with a seminary and has been writing "Left Behind Fridays" dissecting the first book for over a year. (He also discusses many other things.)

    For those who have only seen screeching TV evangelicals, Fred ("Slacktivist") is an old school one. As he has repeatedly said, he reaches out through hospitality. Here, I see you are tired. Let me offer you a chair. Are you hungry, let me check my kitchen. You're free to ask him how he can be so pleasant and helpful and he'll tell you about Christ. You're equally free to enjoy his hospitality and then move on.

    It should go without saying that he's appalled by this game.

    P.S., I'm now more Buddhist than anything else, but I wouldn't hesitate to go to a weekly sermon by him. I rarely come away from his blog without fresh insights.

  • by Conspiracy_Of_Doves (236787) on Thursday December 14, 2006 @09:15AM (#17235758)
    He already has responded []

    "Thompson has also criticized a Christian video game based on the Left Behind series. In Left Behind: Eternal Forces, players participate in "battles raging in the streets of New York," according to the game's fact sheet. They engage in "physical and spiritual warfare: using the power of prayer to strengthen your troops in combat and wield modern military weaponry throughout the game world." Thompson claims that the makers of the game are sacrificing their values. He said, "Because of the Christian context, somehow it's OK? It's not OK. The context is irrelevant. It's a mass-killing game." Left Behind author Tim LaHaye disagrees, saying "Rather than forbid young people from viewing their favorite pastime, I prefer to give them something that's positive." The dispute over the game has caused Thompson to sever ties with Tyndale House, which publishes both the Left Behind books and Thompson's book, Out of Harm's Way. Thompson has not seen the game, which he says has "personally broken my heart," but claims, "I don't have to meet Abraham Lincoln to know that he was the 16th president of the United States.""
  • Re:I give up. (Score:2, Informative)

    by Mooga (789849) on Thursday December 14, 2006 @09:15AM (#17235766)
  • by Khomar (529552) on Thursday December 14, 2006 @09:27AM (#17235932) Journal

    Everyone here is jumping on the misleading article concerning this game. The fact is that killing is strongly discouraged in this game. Now, I am not completely supporting it (there are some pretty hokey aspects in my opinion), but we need to get the facts straight here. This game is not like most RTS games out there. You are actually penalized for killing the opponent's people because the goal is to convert everyone.

    Each unit in the game has a "spirit" score that determines which side they are on. If they have a spirit score above 60, they are a Christian and therefore on your side. If their spirit score is below 40, they are the enemy and will try to kill or subvert you. Anyone between 60 and 40 is neutral and can be converted. If any of your units kills another unit, they lose spirit points. Only through prayer and inspirational music (who defines inspirational anyway, but I digress...) and good sermons can you increase the spirit points. The whole system is designed to discourage combat, but it realizes that in any conflict, sometimes you don't have much of a choice. If someone comes at you with a gun, you either die or your fight back to protect yourself. This is where the combat comes in. This is not a game of convert-or-die. Also, the anti-christ team can "win", but this means that all of the units left in the game are going to hell (according to the game's rules) -- so in essence it is a loss.

    As far as the Crusades, Inquisition, etc., if you actually look at what transpired there, it had very little to do with true Christianity. None of the acts carried out in the name of Christ were actually in keeping with his teachings. Many causes are subverted by those who take matters into their own hands. Sometimes it is because they are too zealous. Sometimes it is because they can use the system to serve their own purposes. Just because terrible things have been done in the name of Christ does not mean that Christianity is in itself evil. All of the Christians I know (including myself) abhor what happened in the Crusades. The Crusaders didn't just kill non-believers when they sacked Jerusalem. They killed everyone: Muslims, Jews, and Christians. It was an act of barbarous and hideous evil that sickens me every time I think about it.

    The problem was not Christianity, but the tightly held monopoly of the Church of Rome that kept its people in the dark about the truths of scripture while allowing corrupt people to wield incredible power. The crusaders were told that they would be "forgiven of all sins" if they went on the crusade, and in their ignorance, they did not know that Jesus gave forgiveness freely for sins confessed (you don't even need a priest). Thus the religion was subverted and misused to the profit of greedy men. As I said, it had very little to do with the religion of Christianity and everything to do with the corruption of man.

  • by hal2814 (725639) on Thursday December 14, 2006 @09:29AM (#17235960)
    Who is supposed to put them to death? Me? You? The book of Leviticus is a book of directions for the government and the priesthood (which are pretty intertwined in that Israeli government). The problem is that God destroyed that government. There are large sections of the Bible that haven't neccessarily been done away with (I've always hated that wording) but apply to a government that no longer exists. So in the case that you can find a Mushite or Levite priesthood in a God-sanctioned Israeli government, you could have a homosexual executed. In God's opinion, they are an abomination. In the absense of such a scenario, you'd be wise to let God worry about what to do about the homosexual and in the meantime treat them with respect, dignity, and love (not that kind). I wouldn't worry too much about it in either case. Homosexuals don't even get a mention in God's Top 10 List.
  • Re:I give up. (Score:3, Informative)

    by Peter La Casse (3992) on Thursday December 14, 2006 @09:36AM (#17236096) Homepage
    This game seems to be, quite literally, preaching hatred.

    The player apparently loses points for killing people. How is that consistent with "preaching hatred"? Just because someone disagrees with me, or thinks I'm going to burn in hell forever because I chose the wrong god, doesn't mean they hate me.

    Personally, I think it sounds like a stupid, offensive game. But people in this country are allowed to publish stupid, offensive things.

  • by LurkerXXX (667952) on Thursday December 14, 2006 @09:45AM (#17236260)
    Sorry, Wikipedia is *NOT* a real reference for anything, let alone religion. And if you do cite that silly website as a 'reference', at least learn to fucking do it right [] so that you and the person later reading it, are actually reading the same fucking material. By the way, even the wanking wiki definition says that about 'many agnostics', not all, and that's based on if they have never heard of gods.

    If you have heard of gods but think 'none exist', you are an atheist. If you have heard of them but 'don't know if one/many really exist', then you are an agnostic.
  • Re:My guess (Score:5, Informative)

    by iphayd (170761) on Thursday December 14, 2006 @09:52AM (#17236360) Homepage Journal
    How is the parent post insightful? As far as I can tell, the superparent does not make reference to anything perpetrated by The DaVinci Code. Furthermore, alluding to the book attempts to negate the fact that the early Catholic Church performed heavy editing, ignoring entire books that were very popular, had great information, and would sway one away from organized religion. Think of it as forced selective reading of the Bible for 1500 years.

    This is not The DaVinci Code, this is history, and the superparent is right on the money.
  • by Mr. Slippery (47854) <<ten.suomafni> <ta> <smt>> on Thursday December 14, 2006 @10:16AM (#17236808) Homepage
    I sure wouldn't like to meet any of those "progressive" Christians..

    It is entirely possible (though sadly rather rare in the contempory U.S.) for a person to be a Christian, and yet not believe that every word of the Bible is true. (Especially the Old Testiment.) There were, after all, Christians before the Council of Trent [].

    Indeed, it's possible to be a Christian, and believe that Jeshua ben Joseph was no more or less divine than you or I; I've met some Quakers who (as far as I understand their ideas) would fall into this category.

    So quoting the Bible says nothing about the beliefs of someone who claims to be "Christian", unless you know more about the parameters of their practice.

    (I was raised Catholic but haven't identified as "Christian" for about 20 years.)

  • by somersault (912633) on Thursday December 14, 2006 @10:27AM (#17237030) Homepage Journal
    Exactly, that's mean.

    Note that some slavery was voluntary in those days, when someone had a massive debt to pay, that kind of thing..
  • by Landshark17 (807664) on Thursday December 14, 2006 @10:45AM (#17237430)
    I beleive it was called "Billy Graham's Bible Blaster"

    Bart - Cool, ten for ten conversions!
    Todd - No, you just winged that last one and made him a Unitarian.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 14, 2006 @10:45AM (#17237442)
    The Bible has been translated and re-translated and edited by different people so many times that it's hard to believe everything in it or know what it originally said and what the original writers meant. It's not like the original writings from the hands of Moses or Paul or Peter are just lying around for us to go check - the best ancient records found are still copies of copies of what was originally written, and it's very possible, and even likely, that various transcribers added things, took things out, or changed things to reflect their own way of thinking. Church leaders back then could then push their own ideas on their followers and ascribe it to Paul, or Peter, or Jesus himself by just using an altered copy of whatever was originally written. It's not like people back then had the Internet or even cheap printing, or all the information resources we now have to check things.

    The bible as we know it now wasn't even put together until the 2nd or 3rd century AD if I remember right. At the time it was kind of a best effort to throw out all the dubious crap floating around and assemble the better records into an accepted standard. Even then though it was far from perfect, and a lot of errors probably persisted. The original apostles were long gone by then, and the Christian faith was in the process of being bastardized by the Roman government.
  • Re:I give up. (Score:2, Informative)

    by Dragonslicer (991472) on Thursday December 14, 2006 @10:58AM (#17237688)
    Jesus is not a prophet in Jewish theology. By the time Jesus was alive, Nevi'im (Book of Prophets) was pretty much finished. There's enough evidence that he existed for most Jews to accept that he was alive about 2000 years ago, but he holds no place in Jewish theology or tradition.
  • by Beige (81376) on Thursday December 14, 2006 @11:29AM (#17238300) Homepage
    Everyone here is jumping on the misleading article concerning this game. The fact is that killing is strongly discouraged in this game.

    If their spirit score is below 40, they are the enemy and will try to kill or subvert you.

    'Subvert'? This game is promoting the idea that anyone of substanitally different opinion to yours that tries to convert you to their point of view can be killed? That's not discouraging killing. Furthermore it's a game where sooner or later you'll have to kill someone, self-defence or not. It's not tetris. Killing people is an integral part of the gameplay. It was deliberately created that way. Again, that's not what I'd call discouragement.

    As far as the Crusades, Inquisition, etc., if you actually look at what transpired there, it had very little to do with true Christianity.

    They claimed they were Christians and presumably believed they were and for the rest of us that's enough. If claiming you are of a religion has no impact on whether you really are of that religion then everyone that lives, has ever lived and will ever live is now a member of Raymond [] whether they like it or not. That's fine by me but you'll probably disagree. Or perhaps you are suggesting they're not christians because they did wrong? If that's the case then there must be very few christians indeed - 'he who is without sin' and all that. Or maybe it's the extent of their wrongdoing? Are you suggesting some people are automatically disbarred from being christian by the extent of their immorality? That doesn't sound very christ-like to me. In short, the fact that some christians disown the behaviour of other christians is no consolation at all to the rest of us.
  • Re:To the lions... (Score:4, Informative)

    by vertinox (846076) on Thursday December 14, 2006 @11:35AM (#17238424)
    And the obligatory reply is, who has been responsible for more mass murder? Christians or Atheists?

    Good question. Technically Stalin and Mao are responsible for the most mass murders.

    Now technically, Stalin wasn't a true atheist per say according to his contemporaries. He did sort of believe in some type of god and afterlife, but wasn't much on the organized religion thing and promoted forced state atheism. He relaxed some of the rules during World War 2 during the German invasion and focuses everyone's attention on the Great Patriotic War which had religious over tones.

    Mao wasn't as much anti-religion as he was anti-intellectual. Most of his victims weren't really religious and the biggest religious victims ended up being Tibetan Buddhists. However, one could really blame the CIA for dropping the ball on that country.

    Which leaves us with Hitler and the holocaust. Again, Hitler was not an atheist although not a Christian and his contemporaries noted his often mocking of organized religion in general and his involvment in Pagan type of groups.

    His persecution against the Jews was not simply because he didn't like them, but rather a deep hatred of Jewry going back since medevial times. See... The German Crusade [] in which rather going to Muslim lands to liberate them, they stayed at home and focused on Jewish people.

    Not to mention this lasted all the way up until Hitler's time and was actually one of the reasons for the Nazi's party success.

    So yeah... Technically religion was responsible indirectly at least for the Holocaust.

    I can't find it right now but there is also the instance in the 1800's about the civil war in China that was started by a guy who thought he was Jesus's brother. I can't seem to find it on Wiki right now since the names spelling evades me. But that costed several million lives as well.

    I'm not defending either religion or atheism, but in general often times you can't black and white the issue since usually religion and politics are always intertwined.
  • by Tanmi-Daiow (802793) on Thursday December 14, 2006 @11:47AM (#17238694) Journal
    As has been cited before in this discussion, we are supposed to hate the sin, not the sinner. The act of homosexuality is a sin, yes, but that doesn't make the person evil. I am perfectly fine with homosexuals as people. I know a few and they are some of the nicest people I have ever met. I don't condone what they do when they're alone, but I can't control that and so I don't care. Another example that is off the topic of homosexuals, take premarital sex. It is wrong to engage in premarital sex, I believe this. I am also a college student and many of the people I know here do engage in it regularly. I have no problems with them as people, I just don't condone their actions in private. You must also rememeber that it is also stated in the Bible that it is not our place to judge others. God is the judge, not us. We are still supposed to love everyone. So Jesus is not telling us to be anti-gay, he's telling us to love everyone no matter who they are or what they do.
  • by drinkypoo (153816) <> on Thursday December 14, 2006 @11:56AM (#17238904) Homepage Journal
    A lot of what went on in early christianity was effectively done by the roman state in order to try to keep the unruly christians in line. One interesting thing about the christian church is that originally the churches were households and in rome most households were run by women though supposedly under the will of the man. Anyway the head of the household also functioned as the head of the church in question, so many women were priests in the early days of christianity. However, you simply can't have women in charge of things, so when the movement began to gain political currency they kicked them all out of their positions of power. And, in particular, the Gospel of Mary [] which exalts Mary Magdalene over Jesus' male disciples, and The Gospel of Mary Magdalene [] are both left out of the bible as if they were unimportant.
  • by Fozzyuw (950608) on Thursday December 14, 2006 @12:06PM (#17239140)
    While Sanders was exciting to watch (he could score from anywhere on the field)

    Absolutely. Always enjoyable

    he wasn't particularly good at helping his team.

    I can see where you're going with this, but I would have to disagree. His career average run is over 5 yards []. Of course, this is a bit screwed as often those runs where 50,60,80+ yard runs. Certainly, scoring points, and getting first downs, cannot be seen has hurting the team.

    He ran out of bounds too much

    yes, I agree he ran out of bounds a lot. Though, it's not always a bad thing. Particularly when you're trying to stop the clock. Doing it during the middle of the game, well, the impact on the game is debatable, in only hindsight. It also can be debated that he did it to preserve his health longer (less injuries), which is a benefit to him and his team.

    ...was tackled before the line of scrimmage too much, and was not reliable inside the five. Sanders would run for two hundred yards one week and forty the next. Detroit would have been better off with the less talented but more reliable Jerome Bettis.

    More than 50% of this is the fault of Barry's running style. However, the Lions never exactly had a super offensive line, even the years when all the sporting magazines had Sanders and the big guys blocking for him on their front covers, you still rarely saw holes you could drive trucks through. A lot of Sanders yards came after the first contact.

    As for more of a Bettis back...that maybe true. I don't really know as at the time, I was just a kid collecting football cards and playing Techmo Super Bowl. However, being a half-back, I would make the argument that it's not Sanders position to 'punch it in' at the 5 yard line, but that of a good Full-Back. I would also attribute it to crappy coaching/GM, and quarterbacking. They always seemed to call the wrong play at the wrong time. They tried to get Barry to run it in, when a short half-back pass, only on the text down, they do the half-back pass when the defense expected it, instead of punching it in or doing a play-action QB keeper.

    I think Sanders was good for the team, but the team was not good for Sanders. Coaching and management has always been miserable. Quarterbacks have always been over-hyped and under-performing. They had some of the best defense for a while (Lomas Brown and Chris Spielman). They had some great receiving talent (and not just Herman Moore who was also 'streaky') and they've had some of the best special teams and kickers every (Mel Grey and Jason Hanson). Yet, they couldn't get to a super bowl. My only conclusion is it came down to poor coaching/training. The games the Lions lost, I just feel like they didn't care because they coach never gave them enough discipline in training.

    Well, it's been a pleasure to drum up some old Lion memories. =) Thanks.

  • by Da_Weasel (458921) on Thursday December 14, 2006 @12:25PM (#17239476) Homepage
    A progressive Christian is one that releases religious belief in the face of scientific fact but still maintains religious belief in areas that science does not explain. They are also known as moderate Christians.
  • by captainktainer (588167) <> on Thursday December 14, 2006 @12:26PM (#17239480)
    It isn't so clear in that point. First, check a more accurate version []. Second, notice that these are people who abandoned their natural inclination - within the context of idolatry, as explained in the previous verses. Paul is making an oblique attack on temple prostitution, not on homosexuality itself.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 14, 2006 @12:28PM (#17239508)
    there's the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, who have their own set of books of the Bible (I think they're in a 'testament' of their own, but I'm not entirely sure), an extension that most would find spurious.

    The position of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is that the rest of the Christian churches have more or less lost it a long time ago (like after the original apostles all died) and the Bible is only "true as far as it is translated correctly". God, not wanting his children to be lost in darkness forever, called a new prophet, Joseph Smith, to help restore the truth on the earth. To prove to the world that this is for real, God instructed him to translate some records written by prophets who lived on the American continent over 2,000 years ago, who are descended from a prophet who was instructed by God to leave Jerusalem around 600 BC. The result of Joseph Smith's translation is the Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ. Joseph Smith is also largely responsible for a book called the Doctrine and Covenants which is a compilation of revelations received by Joseph Smith, and it also includes a few things that have been added by his successors in the Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Joseph Smith also translated some papyri that fell into his hands that contained writings of Abraham and Moses, some of which is very similar to the Book of Genesis in the Bible. You can find all of those []here.

    The Church of Jesus Christ still uses the Bible, but yes, they also have other books of scripture that they hold to be just as authoritative as the Bible, if not more so.
  • Honest Question (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 14, 2006 @12:56PM (#17240028)
    Thanks for the honest question. I only post anonymously here because these discussions always end up provoking people's bad sides and I have on more than one occation had a bitter person follow me around with mod points for quite a while :) But here is an honest answer for you as you seem a pretty genuine person. I am not trying to make anyone a Christian here but this should be a pretty good explanation of the Old Testament and New Testament "paradox" that people claim.

    First I have a couple terms to make:

    Old Testament == Old covenant.

    New Testament == New Covenant.

    Mosaic Law, Laws given by Moses from God for Israel.

    Divine Law - Laws given by God to govern all human action.

    Each covenant was sealed with blood. Old covenant - bunch of animals cut in half, circumcision, that stuff. New covenant, sealed by Blood of Christ.

    The new covenant washes over the old testament, discard the old, in with the new. We knew in the OT that a new covenant was to be established and a Messiah was to come (Jews are still waiting). With the new messiah came a new covenant, not in contradiction with the Old Covenant, but purifying it as we move towards a new Eden -see Matthew 5: 17,19 and Definately Hebrews 8. Christ and Paul both spoke on God's law as they were often confronted by the Jewish leaders of the time as to what laws to follow. So we have to read the scriptures that relate to the Law that is set up through Christ. Which is where we get the breakdown of love the Lord and Love your neighbor -see Galatians 6:2 and Matthew 22:37-40 "By calling this covenant "new," he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and aging will soon disappear.".

    Also all but one of the 10 commandments are repeated in the New Testament, with the exception of remember the sabbath but it says that they "are summed up in this one rule: "Love your neighbor as yourself.". But of the Mosaic law the NT specifically mentions a couple issues in Romans 1:26-27, 1 Corinthians 6:9, and 1 Timothy 1:10. Now a key thing to note is that homosexuals are lumped with adulterers, prostitutes, greedy people, drunkards, slanderers, and swindlers. But special emphasis today seems to be put on Homosexuals, maybe because it is a hot topic, trendy or something. This is a brief version of my version of the cliffs notes of the NT view on this. It is by no means comprehensive. There is a ton of stuff in the NT and I am a Soli Scriptura Person but as such I need to take in context all of scripture rather than using pieces out of context to serve a personal vendetta. To really understand you will need to do a lot of study of the New testament so you can get things in context. This is why we have pastors and theologians. Just the same as there are Politicians and Philosophers. Some ideas are complex to delve into but simple to live by. God's Law isn't to hurt us but to keep us from making dangerous mistakes, most every one of the 10 commandments has real and dire consequences, not just spiritual. They are more guidelines to live a good and healthy life. Hope this helped.

  • by endemoniada (744727) <nathaniel AT endemoniada DOT org> on Thursday December 14, 2006 @01:26PM (#17240712) Homepage
    Well, I wasn't responding to you in particular as much as ranting about the bad kind of christians out there. Evidently, you're one of the good ones.

    One thing I have to object to though, is your analogy to the scientific method. It doesn't count as science if you make your own interpretation of what is a positive and what is a negative result. If, say, you will take a sign from God to mean that God does, in fact, exist, then you'd first have to determine what sign that is. Just going on hoping to one day get said "sign" isn't really all that scientific. That's faith :)

    I suppose it's technically possible to both be a scientist and have religious beliefs. I don't, however, think that they have anything what so ever in common. They are two very separate things, able to coexist in their own, separate spheres of reality. It does require you to be quite flexible in your scientific beliefs, though.

    What you ended with, respect, is very true. The same way you believe that your God will respect the righteous, intelligent believers, I give respect to those who respect me. If a christian can't respect my non-belief, then why should I respect their belief?
  • by bheilig (516136) on Thursday December 14, 2006 @01:54PM (#17241372)
    The nature of the holy trinity and the belief that Jesus is both fully human and fully divine were hammered out by a bunch of leaders of various christian sects, and some members of the roman government, at the council of Nicea. It was a decision of men, not of gods, which is why unlike events in the bible no one was turning sticks into snakes or being plagued or what have you.

    I like your usage of the phrase "hammered out". It implies that it was not a decision that was fabricated, but was based on accepted beliefs and biblical passages. Only the details needed to be filled in. But you then say

    Again, this was a decision made by men.

    By which you seem to imply that the decision was completely fabricated. Whether you believe it or not, the Bible is quite internally consistent with regards to Christ's divinity. For example, there are many passages in Acts that state "God raised Jesus from the dead", e.g. 2:32, 3:26.

    Then in John 2:19 it says, "Jesus answered and said to them, 'Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.'" There is little doubt (within the Biblical text) that Jesus is referring to Himself.

    The council of nicea did not 'create' the notion of the trinity. It was already accepted doctrine and has a strong Biblical basis. Instead those at the council "hammered out" the details, and gave it (the concept) a name: the trinity. The result of which was the Nicean creed.


  • by drinkypoo (153816) <> on Thursday December 14, 2006 @02:02PM (#17241578) Homepage Journal
    The council of nicea did not 'create' the notion of the trinity. It was already accepted doctrine and has a strong Biblical basis. Instead those at the council "hammered out" the details, and gave it (the concept) a name: the trinity. The result of which was the Nicean creed.

    This is the very antithesis of history. It was not accepted doctrine; at the time there were literally dozens of Christian sects, all fighting for control of the symbology and dogma of Christianity. The same is true of Judaism, and in fact Jesus himself got the foundation for his beliefs from a splinter sect of Judaism. A pretty far-out one, too.

    Not being a professional bible scholar I tend to forget the names for the various views on the nature of Christ and God, but there were four dominant views; one, that Jeshua was fully human. Two, that he was fully divine. Three, that he was partly human, and partly divine. Four, the winner: that he was both fully human, and fully divine. The text of the old testament could be read to support any of these views, which is one reason that there was an ongoing debate over it in the first place. The roman state became involved because various types of christians were killing each other over this debate regularly.

    There were also two main camps of christians regarding the old testament; one camp wanted to throw it out and start over, while the other camp wanted to accept it as canon. Naturally, a third group wanted to retain only pieces of it.

    Making the assertion that Christians were on the same page prior to the council of nicea is a particularly ridiculous piece of revisionist history. In fact, the truth could not be further from this statement.

  • Kill the nephilim (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 14, 2006 @05:23PM (#17245458)
    was what god told his people to do. and yes the nephilim had children and there were also women. so yes kill them. In case you are misundertanding what these characters are, they are when the 1/3 of the angels that satan seduced to come with him, had sex with human women and produced offspring. these offspring were "the Giants" that were in the land when the Jews didn't want to go back to the promise land. they may have even been the Greek Titans. but they were not entirely Human.

    Gods plan for redemtion included Humans not Hybrids. and ussually when the people didn't kill off all the women and children, those that were left alive tried to kill of the Jews (Gods People) later on. Satans plan was to destroy the Humans and taint the blood line so Jesus could never exist.
  • by mvdwege (243851) <> on Thursday December 14, 2006 @05:41PM (#17245816) Homepage Journal
    The Bible has been translated and re-translated and edited by different people so many times that it's hard to believe everything in it or know what it originally said and what the original writers meant.

    Which is why in all the sects of Protestant Christianity I have experience with, a Masters degree in theology is a requirement to be a Reverend. Of the prerequisites of this degree is a decent grounding in Classical Hebrew, Greek and Latin, so that the Reverend is at least conversant with the untranslated texts. To study for a full doctorate may even entail courses in more obscure languages such as Aramaic.

    Now, I understand that Christian sects in the U.S. have less stringent requirements, but that does definitely not mean that all Christians have no contact at all with the untranslated texts.

  • by ClassMyAss (976281) on Thursday December 14, 2006 @06:59PM (#17246966) Homepage

    Could you please provide specific passages?

    With pleasure.

    7:1 When the LORD thy God shall bring thee into the land whither thou goest to possess it, and hath cast out many nations before thee, the Hittites, and the Girgashites, and the Amorites, and the Canaanites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites, seven nations greater and mightier than thou;
    7:2 And when the LORD thy God shall deliver them before thee; thou shalt smite them, and utterly destroy them; thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor shew mercy unto them:

    7:16 And thou shalt consume all the people which the LORD thy God shall deliver thee; thine eye shall have no pity upon them : neither shalt thou serve their gods; for that will be a snare unto thee.

    7:22 And the LORD thy God will put out those nations before thee by little and little: thou mayest not consume them at once, lest the beasts of the field increase upon thee.
    7:23 But the LORD thy God shall deliver them unto thee, and shall destroy them with a mighty destruction, until they be destroyed.

    13:6 If thy brother, the son of thy mother, or thy son, or thy daughter, or the wife of thy bosom, or thy friend, which is as thine own soul, entice thee secretly, saying, Let us go and serve other gods, which thou hast not known, thou, nor thy fathers;
    13:7 Namely, of the gods of the people which are round about you, nigh unto thee, or far off from thee, from the one end of the earth even unto the other end of the earth;
    13:8 Thou shalt not consent unto him, nor hearken unto him; neither shall thine eye pity him, neither shalt thou spare, neither shalt thou conceal him:
    13:9 But thou shalt surely kill him; thine hand shall be first upon him to put him to death, and afterwards the hand of all the people.
    13:10 And thou shalt stone him with stones, that he die; because he hath sought to thrust thee away from the LORD thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage.

    13:12 If thou shalt hear say in one of thy cities, which the LORD thy God hath given thee to dwell there, saying,
    13:13 Certain men, the children of Belial, are gone out from among you, and have withdrawn the inhabitants of their city, saying, Let us go and serve other gods, which ye have not known;
    13:14 Then shalt thou enquire, and make search, and ask diligently; and, behold, if it be truth, and the thing certain, that such abomination is wrought among you;
    13:15 Thou shalt surely smite the inhabitants of that city with the edge of the sword, destroying it utterly, and all that is therein, and the cattle thereof, with the edge of the sword.
    13:16 And thou shalt gather all the spoil of it into the midst of the street thereof, and shalt burn with fire the city, and all the spoil thereof every whit, for the LORD thy God: and it shall be an heap for ever; it shall not be built again.

    17:2 If there be found among you, within any of thy gates which the LORD thy God giveth thee, man or woman, that hath wrought wickedness in the sight of the LORD thy God, in transgressing his covenant,
    17:3 And hath gone and served other gods, and worshipped them, either the sun, or moon, or any of the host of heaven, which I have not commanded;
    17:4 And it be told thee, and thou hast heard of it, and enquired diligently, and, behold, it be true, and the thing certain, that such abomination is wrought in Israel:
    17:5 Then shalt thou bring forth that man or that woman, which have committed that wicked thing, unto thy gates, even that man or that woman, and shalt stone them with stones, till they die.

    17:12 And the man that will do presumptuously, and will not hearken unto the priest that standeth to minister there before the LORD thy God, or unto the judge, even that man shall die: and thou shalt put away the evil from Israel.
    17:13 And all the people shall hear, and fear, and do no more presumptuously.

  • by CAIMLAS (41445) on Thursday December 14, 2006 @10:01PM (#17248892) Homepage
    What you have just done is similar to (say) taking the text out of a proposed bill which would make x, y, and z illegal - all of which most people will find offensive on their own - in exclusion of the context of the rest of the bill - that the bill only applies to those (say) participating in the illicit trade of human babies (or whatever).

    In other words, you're not taking it in context of the whole text.

    In short, these were commands given to the Israelites at that time, usually for a specific situation - not different than a command from God saying something like, "everyone over 40 doesn't get to see the promised land" (which actually happened). That doesn't mean that everyone today is disbarred from such things, or anything like that. It was a contextual mandate - law - specific to the circumstances and culture of the time.

    This is understood within Christianity as a given, particularly as the New Testament and specifically because of the 'golden rule'/'greatest commandment' make it known that the law of the old testament (which doesn't even include the whole old testament - I'm not a bible type, so I couldn't tell you if your cited information is a part of that) is to be taken into account as long as it complies with "love your neighbor as yourself". Did Christ not 'free' the adulteress when a bunch of guys wanted to stone her?

    And even if you're right, and these things are applicable outside the context of that particular story in Jewish history: would not the more important thing be how the practicioners of the faith behave as a whole right now, and not what their holy writ may be interpreted to say, completely outside the mainstream or even fringe understanding? How many Christian charities are there compared to secular ones, and how differently do they perform? Quite admirably. How many Christian-on-Muslim genocides have there been in the world (under modern Christendom)? None which I can immediately think of. Let your fruits be your witness and all that, as they say.

    Karl Marx and his 'desciple Marxists' (Mao, Lenin, etc.) both did and suggested a lot of vile things in the name of the ideal, but you don't see us, as a society, blasting the snot out of Marxism and suggesting it's a vile belief system - no, we're progressive as a society, and we've largely accepted the ideals of Marx throughout the West. Same basic thing.

When the bosses talk about improving productivity, they are never talking about themselves.