Tuesday, January 02, 2007

What Will The Rapture Be Like?

While there may be no way to know what the rapture will be like, thanks to "Left Behind Gaming" you can finally know what it will be like to be one of those who didn't get raptured.

Only problem is, it seems that this futuristic thriller is drawing quite a bit of negative attention from several sources. Now I have to admit, even though as soon as I turned 17 I stopped believing in the Rapture and when I was 20 I stopped playing video games (for the most part) I'd sure be interested to give this one a try... Just for the hell of it.

Exactly, how do you save souls and convince them to turn to Christ? That must be quite a task especially considering that all of these unbelievers just witnessed the greatest miracle which ever occured since the beginning of the earth and there is no reasonable way to deny it and yet they still didn't believe. What on earth could you possibly do to convince them now?

About the Rapture, without getting into exegesis, on the surface of the matter it just seems intuitive that the doctrine is false. I can't picture it happening. No, I didnt say that God couldn't do it. I said I dont think He will. God could perform a great miracle and turn all our noses into carrots and our ears into pickles... its just not the sort of thing I can picture God doing. Or, He could turn all those who didn't believe into zebras and all those who were "saved" into billy goats.

But aside from the argument from (what to me is considered) intuition, you can also make a sound scriptural argument against it and any scriptural argument FOR it would not likely hold water. I'm not going to get into that argument though because I think the whole doctrine is as silly as the video game.

One last thing I did want to mention though, is the young age of the doctrine. It's hypocritical for evangelicals to criticize the Church for dogmas which it pronounced relatively recently (such as the Immaculate Conception & the Assumption of Mary) simply because they are young dogmas when those same evangelicals have doctrines such as the Rapture which were not only not widely accepted until very recently but also had their absolute beginning very recently as well. The dogmas listed above, while yes developmental, did have very pronounced roots as far back as the 2nd century and were well maintained by most of the faithful until they were pronoucned dogma.

I say all this to challenge Christians who are believing in a baseless doctrine to re-think your theory. I know this isn't good news for certain authors of certain best selling books (which shall go unnamed) but the truth is that this doctrine is highly unorthodox and by any intelligible estimate - a gross error.


Tiber Jumper said...

And just plain dangerous too!
As a newly minted believer, the fellowship group I belonged to was discouraging us from going to college because the Lord's return was so near. The late Great Planet Earth was a best seller at the time.
Thankfully, some more mature christians encouraged us to go to college and let the Lord take care of the future. I became an MD and my brother got a Master's in chemical engineering and had a successful career at a chemical company. If we had listened to our young bible study leaders, we'd probably be selling flowers at the airport now :)

Chad Toney said...

I grew up being taught this as solid doctrine. Though I can't say we focused on it overly (though my grandparents did) to the point of it creating too many problems besides the general evangelical urgency-complex.

Exactly, how do you save souls and convince them to turn to Christ?

I see a new game opportunity here: Way of the Master: Wiitnessing on the Wii.

NotMyOpinion30 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
NotMyOpinion30 said...

I just want to string some quotes from that article together.

"You are sent on a spiritual and military mission to convert people, and nobody is allowed to remain neutral... You lose spirit points if you kill somebody, but you can hit the prayer button to restore the points."

"'We had the vision to create a game with a positive moral message based on biblical values that parents could embrace and discuss with their kids.' He says the game promotes prayer and worship, and deals with 'questions of eternal importance.'"

And from the Dr. Dobson camp:
"A review on a website of the conservative group, Focus on the Family, endorses 'Eternal Forces' as 'the kind of game Mom and Dad can actually play with Junior.'"

Hmm... Am I missing something here? So, let me get this straight, a child learns that he loses spirit points (spirit points?) when he kills somebody, but all he has to do to regenerate his spirit points is to hit the prayer button. Ok, there is no question of a serious sin here? All one has to do is pray if they murder someone and they're OK? Doesn't this sound more confusing and dangerous to youngsters?

TheGodFearinFiddler said...

Yea the whole 'spirit point' concept doesnt seem too terribly compatible with evangelical theology.

Joseph said...

GFF, you're right. I was thinking about that last night. That would mean that they are at least making some sort of admission that by sinning (the extreme in this case, murder), one loses their state of grace, signified by spirit points. Assuming of course that "spirit points" refer to the level of grace given by the Holy Spirit, which I think it does imply.

So, in that sense, this ridiculous video game that is built on subject matter that was recently invented by evangelical men who have taken the Bible completely out of context, there seems to be an agreement with the Catholic theology of justification. However, in their system, they can "re-charge" their grace simply by praying. A perfect Catholic system would consider murder a grave mortal sin and the Sacrament of Penance and true contrition and repentance would be necessary to "re-charge" their "spirit points". Plus, there would also be additional boosts for "spirit point" if they had the Holy Mass in the game where they game character could receive the Eucharist. :)

Apparently, even though they seem to be admitting that grace can be lost by evil deeds, they still haven't found a solution to the forgiveness of grave sin outside of personal prayer. And apparently, after they tap the prayer button enough times, they can be in a position to murder someone else without completely depleting their "spirit points".

What a great game. It's so fundamentally contradictory to the evangelical belief system and to Christianity as a whole that it's hilarious. I can't believe they let dropped Catholic theology into a game that is based on a system of thought that believes that Catholics will not be "saved".

Awesome, what a gem.

NotMyOpinion30 said...

Forgive my typos above. I'm trying to type on the floor. One more thing that's great about this game:

Video games are made by computer programmers. I am a computer programmer so I think I can vouche for my next argument. Computer programmers use logic and reason to code successful programs.

What that means is, to make this video game work, the programmers felt the need to add the "spirit point" system. In other words, it can be assumed that they could not logically find a way to provide adequate punishment for committing an evil deed in the game other than depleting "spirit points" when those infractions against God's laws are committed by the user's character. That would mean that they abandoned the idea of the system of "faith alone" because it would not fit the proper model for punishment. Interestingly, they chose a reduction of spirit points, the amount of grace we receive from the Holy Spirit. This clearly signifies that there is a separation between the character in the game and God when a sin is committed.

To repeat, the programmers, thinking logically, realized that there must be a system of punishment for evil deeds committed by Christians, even for the Protestant evangelical character in the game, and that system of punishment directly reflects their relationship with God through the grace provided by the Holy Spirit. They abandoned the notion of "faith alone" because they realized that it did not logically provide an adequate system of self-punishment one would receive for committing a grave sin. So, these programmers have at least admitted that "faith alone" is a completely illogical system.

Maybe it is a good game for children... NOT!!


TheGodFearinFiddler said...

Yes its hard for humans to escape the notion of wrong doing having some sort of consequence... After all that is pretty much the basis of the theological cosmos.

Even as a follower of 'sola fide', I could say to myself "you know that sin was nailed to the cross 2000 years ago" but just what if? And how can I make sense of any cosmology that allows my sins to go completely without consequence after having a one time - emotional conversion experience by simply believing in Jesus?

You can come up with all the arguments you want, but its hard to silence that basic intuition built into every man: sin has consequence.. dont do it... you lose grace... or to speak in a language more accessible to the proprietors of this game: you lose "spirit points". Just like Christ said "if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out" how significant and relevant! It is serious to sin. You lose grace.

I pray somehow this misguided game will be used for good.