God's World

What in the world is God doing this week?

Monday, October 16, 2006

Violence, Video Games and True Power

Have pity on me, have pity on me, O you my friends,
for the hand of God has touched me!

Job 19:21

Last week Capscom/Clover Studios released their new video game, “God Hand.” For reviews, see Gamasutra and GameSpot. Danny Cowan, writing for Gamasutra describes it as a “comedy-infused brawler.”

I confess that I just don’t get video games. My interest waned with the old arcade version of “Centipede.” OK, so that really dates me.

What I find distressing is the culture of violence fed by many of today’s games. Benjamin Turner, of Games Radar, describes God Hand as “a game about the sheer idiotic joy of beating the crap out of things,” and notes that “it’s just plain satisfying to beat the tar out of bad guys.” Greg Kasavin at GameSpot recommends that in playing God Hand, “if an enemy is down but not out, go ahead and stomp him over and over till he stops moving.”

American culture is evolving into a cult of violence. Witness the amount of violence on TV and movies… the permissibility of violence in sports (not to mention the inherent violence of some sports themselves)… our eagerness to go to war… and the acceptance of violent crime in the news as just “part of the landscape.”

And of course video games.

Games like God Hand seem to appeal to adolescents who struggle with feelings of powerlessness. They can find a sense of power by “becoming” the main character, Gene, who discovers that his right arm has become incredibly powerful so that it enables him to pulverize men, women, and supernatural beings.

The message seems clear: the path to power is one’s capacity for violent and ruthless action. What a lie!

Want to hear about true power? Listen to the exchange of words of Jesus on the night he was arrested:

For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life in order to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it up again.”

John 10:17-18

We need to be teaching each new generation about the source of real power; that a true release from powerlessness can be found only in a life given to God in Jesus Christ.





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