Biblical Discourse and Video Games

Biblical Discourse and Video Games

In Toby Gibbon’s recent post on the Christ image in video games, he suggested that video games offer religious, even messianic, narratives that appeal to a player’s desire not only “…to share in the triumph of the messiah but to actually be the messiah which they have created in their own image.”

Similarly, researchers have shown many ways that video game narratives reify popular religious discourse. An interesting recent example is Frank G. Bosman’s “‘The poor carpenter’: Reinterpreting Christian Mythology in the Assassin’s Creed Game Series.” Consider the following:

Consequently, at a teleological level, the ultimate destiny of humankind is not to restore the original peace and tranquility of the Eden paradise which has been lost by man’s disobedience in respect of God’s commandment (as is taught in Jewish and Christian tradition), but to gain, hold and develop human freedom, which was stolen from the supreme being who created mankind. This is done by gaining as much knowledge (gnosis) as possible about the true origins of humankind.

…the Assassin’s Creed series opts for a radically immanent Christological viewpoint. Jesus of Nazareth is in no way seen as a divine being, nor as the Son of God, but as a man like all other men, in possession of an Isu artifact, the Shroud of Eden. He uses this to stage the miracles that are recounted in the New Testament gospels, and tries – successfully or not – to survive his own execution. In the words of Al Mualim, Jesus was no more than a ‘poor carpenter’.

…And finally, some interesting parallels between the Assassin’s Creed narrative and pseudoscientific modern literature have been discovered. The whole idea that Jesus could have survived (deliberately or not) his own execution by means of herbs or other treatments, the so-called swoon hypothesis, is a topos that can be repeatedly found in non-academic literature at least since the end of the eighteenth century, up to the beginning of the third millennium.

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