Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Celebrating Interfaith Conflict

Interfaith struggles have never made a tremendous amount of sense to me. Given that pretty much all of the world's religious traditions reject the idea of violence and embrace love for the other as somehow central to existence, it remains an amazing testament to human smallness that we continue to use faith as an excuse to have at one another.

This afternoon, in a moment of random faith-based dithering around on the internet, I encountered a lovely little side-scrolling flash beat-'em up, in which you can pit the iconic figures of all of the world's great religious traditions against one another. It's like that online classic Bible Fight, only for Unitarians.

The creators of the game have come under fire, predictably, from Islamic organizations outraged at the image of the Prophet. Why they don't like his nifty-keen flame attack is beyond me. The little game studio that made the game has since taken it off line...but, the Internet being what it is, it's going to be around for a while.

I'm more concerned, frankly, that the creators of the game imply that the Holy Spirit Attack can be used by both the “Father” and the “Jesus” character. That’s clearly taking the side of the Western church in the 880 Council of Constantinople, and exacerbates the filioque schism between Eastern and Western churches that began in the year 1054. The last thing we need to do is open up that can of worms again, eh?

And there is the little matter of the game folks totally misidentifying Krishna as Buddha. Oh well.

Even if it is just a tiny bit irreverent, the game is both funny and intentionally poignant. It clearly is a commentary on the religious hatreds that have torn and wracked humankind…even when those hatred are antithetical to the teachings of the founders of the faiths in question. As a follower of Jesus of Nazareth and a gamer, I’m completely in favor of such truth-telling.