Bible Games: The Untold Stories

Today I was at Best Buy perusing all the cool new stuff. I'm only 24 and I can already tell that technology is moving faster than me. I was in the XBOX game aisle when I found, stashed among "Grand Theft Auto" and "Call of Duty 2," a game called "Bible Games."

It's kind of a kids game where you get to be a character from the Bible. For example, you can help Noah find all the animals, Moses part the Red Sea, and help Daniel get away from all those pesky lions. It all sounds quite amusing for a Christian kid. I remember having a similar game when I was young for that stone age piece of equipment called Nintendo.

I was thinking about how all those games have the same old stories. What if there was a really unique biblical adventure with some of the lesser known stuff--maybe one for the teenagers? Before I knew it I was thinking up ideas for a riveting sequel to "Bible Games" called "Bible Games: The Untold Stories." Here's some ideas:

You're an Israelite on a quest to kill all the Midianites except the virgins, which you have sex with for points. Based on Numbers 31.

Here's another game idea: You're a soldier of Israel and you have to kill every single living human in Canaan. Extra points for children. You lose points if they get away. Based on Joshua 10.

How about You're commissioned by God to stop the rise of the "Nephillim" by killing all the evil, fallen angels before they interbreed with human women. Based on Genesis 6.

Ok, one more: Bonus Round: You're Joshua and you have just found that Achan has taken some stuff from Jericho. It's your job to stone Achan, his family, and his animals to death as fast as you can. Based on Joshua 7.

In all seriousness, the reason I say that is because I feel many Christians are mis-representing the Bible and its God. It's not that Christians will deny that the Bible says a lot of strange and hard-to-deal-with stuff, but that it's just not ever talked about.

It's Bible games like the one for X-BOX that shows me even more that while most Christians, in theory, say the whole Bible is God's inspired word, they live and teach like only certain parts are worth anyone's time.

I spent near every Sunday and Wednesday in church for 24 years. I have heard thousands of biblical teachings, but not once have I ever heard a teaching on any "strange" passages of the Bible. Most of the Christians I know don't have a clue the Bible teaches that sacrificial blood is God's food or any of the other things like that.

I had a professor at Bible College who used to say to me, "many people believe the Bible because they don't know what it says." I shout a loud "AMEN!" to that one. What disservice pastors and parents are doing to people by only teaching parts of the Bible that are safe.

"The Bible Game" is a classic example of every Sunday school class I ever had up through high school--we talk about how wonderful it is that God gave the Israelites victory, but we conveniently forget they had victory at the great expense of thousands, if not millions, of innocent lives who were simply minding their own business. We talked about how he saved the Israelite firstborn from his own angel of death but forget that he killed a lot more than he probably saved--all over a bloody doorpost. Why would YHVH have to kill all the first born of Egypt? Couldn't he have simply taken Pharaoh's child to get the point across?

I spent my entire childhood and teenage years in Sunday School. It was a crushing thing when I grew older, and read the Bible for myself, only to find the God I grew to know and love was only part of the God of the Bible--the nicer-more-politically-correct part.

Christian parents out there would do well to teach their sons and daughters the whole Bible. Or are you afraid of what your children will find out? Hmm, maybe on second thought, you might be better off just exposing them to things like "Bible Games" and taking them to VBS this summer--that will probably give you more desirable results.

16 comments:

John W. Loftus said...

I think the very first video game I remember was something Commodore put out. It had a hockey game, a tennis court, and another one where you hit a falling brick to have it bounce up to the ceiling to knock out a tile. It was all black and white, we had great fun with it. Then the Atari line came out. Where were YOU?

But you're right. We here at DC want people to know more about the Bible, not less!

Daniel said...

In all seriousness, the reason I say that is because I feel many Christians are mis-representing the Bible and its God.

...NOOOOOOOO!! Never! ;)

It's not that Christians will deny that the Bible says a lot of strange and hard-to-deal-with stuff, but that it's just not ever talked about.

I have to disagree. Not with the latter observation--that silence is the best response to the absurdities in their Scriptures, but with the former: some Christians will deny that it meant what it really says.

They contort the text to lessen the severity of the offense to our reason. In this age of modern sensibilities, reading about the stories that you referenced kicks our gag reflex. The text has to be changed, or the context [eg the Midianites were evil and deserved it], but the point is, they can't admit that the writer of Genesis really meant that the universe was created in 6 24-hr days, and that the earth's creation preceded the sun's, and etc. etc. etc...

So much of the stuff in the Bible is "allegorized" to lessen the impact on our minds and consciences.

Anonymous said...

No offence but you guys call yourselves ex-Christians...
I don't think you were Christians to begin with.
If you were according to Biblical definition, then none of you would have left Jesus.
But sadly, its your loss. The Bible will look contradictory and dumb to you 'caus you don't understand it at all.

So good luck with the rest of your short lives, you're gonna need it!

Zac Taylor said...

I used to think the same thing. Then I realized there are about as many definitions of a Christian as there are Christians. It seems you have one too.

I guess if you're dating someone and you break up, you never really dated.
I guess if you worked at a job and then quit, you never really worked there to begin with.

I also didn't mention any contradictions in the Bible. I did mention some stories that appear to me to be rather immoral for such a morally impeccable deity. That's all, man.

You, me, and everyone else should be looking at things and asking ourselves if those are values we want to hold up and honor. I simply find certain actions of YHVH immoral, and not worthy of honor. That's all. I don't know what your beef is with that.

So, I'm not sure what your problem is with my statements. You didn't really say anything about the statements themselves or the passages I brought up. So, I'm not even sure why I'm responding, but here I am commenting away.

Anonymous said...

I used to think the same thing. Then I realized there are about as many definitions of a Christian as there are Christians. It seems you have one too.

The Bible also mentions a few, but that doesn't mean that they are correct though. There is only 1 kind of Christians. And they are ppl who actually went and said : "Jesus I want you to be my saviour". Any other group who calls themselves "Christians" and doesn't acknowledge that they are sinners and needs Jesus, is not Christians at all.

I guess if you're dating someone and you break up, you never really dated.
I guess if you worked at a job and then quit, you never really worked there to begin with.


No, there is a difference between being a real Christian and being a "Christian" because your dad or mom was or because everyone in your family was. HUGE difference, like I explained above.

I also didn't mention any contradictions in the Bible. I did mention some stories that appear to me to be rather immoral for such a morally impeccable deity. That's all, man.

Sorry, I was speaking of that in general. I went through a lot of "ex-Christian" sites to see what you-guys wrote and I just automatically made a wrong assumption about you.
But have you ever wondered why those things took place you mention of? Why those people were killed? Why villages got pillaged? I hear those stuff a lot in my Church. Hey, they even preach on pornography, so I wouldn't say that there are parts of the Bible "hidden" to us.

So, I'm not sure what your problem is with my statements. You didn't really say anything about the statements themselves or the passages I brought up. So, I'm not even sure why I'm responding, but here I am commenting away.

I apologise for being insensitive. It was kinda late when I posted that and thanks for responding.

Joe E. Holman said...

Zachary, great article, man! It was both serious and funny at the same time. I too remember the ancient Commodore 64, Atari, and Nintendo Entertainment systems. I used to be into those. It was an insightful way to write an article if I may say so myself.


Anonymous said...

"No offence but you guys call yourselves ex-Christians...I don't think you were Christians to begin with. If you were according to Biblical definition, then none of you would have left Jesus."

My reply: Wrong! This contention reduces itself to absurdity every time some new fangled Christian group tries to call themselves "real" and "true" followers of Jesus. Christians are so segregated, we can't automatically consider any one group "out" of belief.

I get the same contention everytime I point out that the Catholic Church murdered and supressed knowledge for centuries. Someone comes along and says, "Those were never really Christians." Oh really? And people like YOU are going to tell me who IS really a Christian???

Believe when I tell you, those of us on this blog know what it's like to believe and to lose faith. It can and does happen all the time.

(JH)

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said:

"Jesus I want you to be my saviour"

I thought coveting was one of the big no-nos... You know, the whole Moses and stone tablet thing.

Daniel said...

No offence but you guys call yourselves ex-Christians...
I don't think you were Christians to begin with.


Let me reply in kind:
No offense, but you guys call yourselves Christians...I don't think you are. I think you know that there is no God, and are just in denial and want the comfort religion affords you.

There! See, we can both play this game. It's called fallaciously presuming something. If you don't grant us the reality of our prior faith, then we won't grant you the reality of your present one. Then, we won't even have to argue!

Deal?

Bahnsen Burner said...

What the anonymous poster seems to ignore is the fact that any presently self-confessing Christian is a potential ex-Christian. When Christians denounce a former Christian's faith, they demonstrate the discomfort caused by the realization that sometimes believers wake up and walk away. I remember how difficult this was to accept when I was a Christian. Now I understand why.

Regards,
Dawson

beepbeepitsme said...

I wrote an article about something similar.

Churches Use Violence To Develop Warriors For God
http://beepbeepitsme.blogspot.com/2006/05/churches-use-violence-to-develop.html

Jeremy said...

Zachary – Very thought provoking article. I appreciated your comments. I too am an ex-Atari and Nintendo user! Oh the memories. Some of those stories from the Old Testament could be pretty cool fighting games if you’re into that sort of thing.

It is interesting that Christians sort of leave those things out or try to explain them away as Daniel mentioned. Not to get into politics, but sometimes war is necessary in order for survival.

Daniel from your first post you state that some Christians have a tendency to allegorize portions of the Bible to make them feel better. I’m not sure I understand your reference to the six days mentioned in Genesis chapter. Are you stating you don’t believe it is possible for those six days to be something other than 24-hour time periods? I know you’re no longer a Christian and I’m just asking your take on a consistent interpretation of the passage.

Secondly, growing up in Bible class and listening to sermons I don’t recall the teachers ever trying to explain away the murder and mayhem that occurred in the Old Testament. As Zachary mentions more times than naught it isn’t discussed, but when it was discussed the teachers never seemed to pull any punches. They threw the passage out there for everyone to comment on.

Daniel said...

Daniel from your first post you state that some Christians have a tendency to allegorize portions of the Bible to make them feel better. I’m not sure I understand your reference to the six days mentioned in Genesis chapter. Are you stating you don’t believe it is possible for those six days to be something other than 24-hour time periods? I know you’re no longer a Christian and I’m just asking your take on a consistent interpretation of the passage.

It seems rather clear by all known consistent hermeneutics that "morning and evening" and other such phrases render the 6 days of Gen 1 into 6 24-hr periods, although, of course, the sun wasn't created until day 4 [after plants]. I will defer to the creationists, who have written extensively on the subject. I think it is fairly clear that until scientific evidence began to contradict the Bible, the understanding of all who read it was that the earth was in fact young, and that a global flood occurred, and that "kinds" were specially created...etc.

Now, I admit that this question is completely separate from whether or not Jesus is/was the Messiah, but I was just pointing out that modern attempts to "reconcile" the Bible have to admit that reconciliation is necessary due to the obvious dichotomy between modern science and the ancient Bible.

In the end, I think that an honest Christian who does his homework will find and admit that the writers of Genesis believed just what they said: unscientific though it is.

Jeremy said...

I took a look at the website you referenced and I’m still not convinced that the author of Genesis meant a literal six days with respect to creation. It seems to me that in the context of the Genesis story there is a possibility that the days were extended periods of time.

I don’t believe that it is absolutely necessary for me to interpret the six days in Genesis as a literal six days in order to be a consistent believer in Christ. In the grand scheme I think it is probably a moot point, but admittedly I need to study it further.

As far as reconciling our beliefs it seems to me that regardless of anyone’s beliefs they have to assume and reconcile some evidence in order to be consistent. Evolution, atheism, and any religious belief must be reconciled and assumptions must be made in order to maintain consistency.

Thanks again for pointing out that I need to do a little more studying on the matter!

Indigo Black said...

You, me, and everyone else should be looking at things and asking ourselves if those are values we want to hold up and honor. I simply find certain actions of YHVH immoral, and not worthy of honor. That's all. I don't know what your beef is with that.

Exactly. The thing that always caught me up was the clash of the Egyptians and the Hebrews. It made no sense to me why, first of all, God felt the need to put such a smack down on the Egyptians when he could have easily just got the Pharoah to set them free and secondly why it was God gave the Pharoah the strength to continue his stubborn course. Because if you read the story closely enough, several times the Pharaoh seems like he's going to give up and then all of sudden God jumps in and infuses him with the strength to be a jerk. It almost seemed to me that God wanted to bring death and destruction to Egypt.

This was not a God I wanted to follow and it really didn't take much after that for me to decide that I was playing on the wrong side of the railroad tracks.

I remember hearing about these stories in the various churches I went to but they were given quite the metaphorical makeover and infused with lots of "Grace of God" and blame the victims type stuff.

JE said...

I'm sorry that your young experience in Sunday School was not good. Obviously you were one of those kids who thought it boring and did not pay attention. Your computer game Bible examples are only Old Testament. Any Christian will tell you that they do not live by Old Testament rules but rather the New Testament. How come you didn't learn that in Sunday School?

As for me, my kids do not play Bible video games. They actually read the Bible. And they realize that God is beyond all human understanding and that things that happened and are in the Bible are not always easy to understand. They also know that much of it is due to the sinful nature of man rather than God's wrath.

I feel sorry for all of you who no longer believe in God. The devil is at work in you. If you really think God is so bad that He let all the bad things in the world occur (especially those you cite in the OT), why do you say there is no God? Either there is a God and things (good and bad) occur, or there is no God and bad things occur because of jerks in our world. You can't say that God is bad and let bad things happen so therefore there is no God.

Deep down I know you believe and I will pray that you stop rejecting God before you die. If you continue to try and reason all of this out, rather than allow faith to work, then you are a lost soul.

Karen said...

I know this is an old "blog." I'm not familiar with the blog system but when I was looking for resources I stumbled on your "Bible Games" blog.

You've pinpointed what is wrong with "Christianity" today. I sadly acknowledge that 95% of "Christianity" today is simply man's religion- full of tradition and worshipping a "god" of their own imagination; a "Designer god" who fits their mold, who fills some need but still "fits" their life.

I have not been in a church who avoided the passages you've refered to; I am very familiar with these passages- not because I've studied them much but because I've heard preaching and teaching concerning these; alot of it. They are important stories that established God's most important character trait- His Holiness. A Holy sinless God (who created us) can demand holiness and can wipe-out a people who hated and would destroy His people. (A merciful God who gave His own Blood to cover the sins of EVERYONE- including God haters.)

It's a ridiculous statement to say God "feeds" on blood. God simply established a "type," of how He would accomplish man's justification; His OWN death- His shed blood, the spotless "Lamb" of God. The sacrificing of animals- a pretty bloody- grisly thing huh? Still, it doesn't seem to adequately "picture" what He allowed us to do to His Son, does it? (Though it was becoming sin that was the real suffering, not the physical suffering).

Any "heathen" (in the old testiment) who accepted God, was accepted by God. These weren't "innocent" tribes that were killed. These were God hating- idol worshipping- murderers of God's people- (people by the way who sacrificed their children to their "gods" or other human sacrifices) people who threatened the propigation of God's people and His Holiness. God's purpose has always been more important than any person- though again, He gave the ultimate sacrifice so that NO ONE would HAVE to die. Even then God spared those who would turn from their sin!

God in His wisdom has given this day- this age (dispensation) to allow Satan and man to have free course- you have only to look at the world to see that- but once again, when He comes, those that oppose truth and righteousness will have to face God's wrath once again(battle of Armegedden sp?, and eternal judgement).

The world has been pretty successful at making it sound barbaric and archaic but according to the Bible and God Himself, it's Truth and I had better believe it!

But that's just one side! God's mercy and goodness abounds much more!! That is something only those who experience it can understand, the Bible says that where sin abounds, grace abounds much more.

It's my profound priviledge, and God's mercy that allows me to live it as NONE of us can attain to God's holiness.

He's a good, merciful God- He gave His life for YOU- but he is a wrathful- judging God as well, and I believe THAT'S the reason churches don't want to preach on those stories in the OT. They don't want to preach or teach about a holy, wrathful God!

I believe the reason these aren't talked about is not because they destroy the credibility of the Bible, but because "Churches" today are as interested in turning their backs to the holiness of God as you are.

God does not deal with His people the way He once did, but a sinless God who cannot be in the presense of sin, can deal with sin ANY way HE choses; He created us- we are merely created human beings and an important step to being right with God is humility which is why responding to this blog, in this format is foolish of me... so, nevermind... *grin*