Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Heaven the Fantasy Game

Genesis Works, LLC, is developing Heaven the Game, and from the screenshots and videos available on their website, it looks like it could actually be fun to play as well as provide lots of cool visual effects. Although I don't understand why all the female characters look like porn stars.

But this game brings up an important question: Will it increase or decrease belief in Christianity? Genesis Works, LLC, clearly takes the Bible and Christianity seriously, and they are proudly claiming a high level of Biblical accuracy in the game. So obviously this game is intended by the developer to be an evangelistic tool and not solely a fun experience.

Having said that, it needs to be noted that this is a video game, and video games are typically considered to be the realm of fantasy and make-believe. Will people take Christianity and the Bible more or less seriously when, at Amazon.com or the local GameStop, they see Heaven the Game sitting right next to games like Fable, The Lord of the Rings, and Pokemon?

Personally, I can't decide what to predict in terms of this game's effect on faith in Christ. As an optimistic atheist, I would like to think that this video game will make Heaven and the Bible seem like myths or fantasies, but I honestly can't say that it will with confidence. At any rate, the game looks technically impressive, and if it gets good reviews upon release, I might just pirate a copy of it. Ha ha!

Dear readers, what effect do you think this game will have on belief in Heaven? Let me know in the comments section below.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Christian Girls Are the Sluttiest

According to The New Yorker magazine, Christian girls have more out-of-wedlock sex, get pregnant more often, use less condoms (and get more STDs), and are generally bigger sluts than anyone else. Faith fails again!

The gulf between sexual belief and sexual behavior becomes apparent, too, when you look at the outcomes of abstinence-pledge movements. Nationwide, according to a 2001 estimate, some two and a half million people have taken a pledge to remain celibate until marriage. Usually, they do so under the auspices of movements such as True Love Waits or the Silver Ring Thing. Sometimes, they make their vows at big rallies featuring Christian pop stars and laser light shows, or at purity balls, where girls in frothy dresses exchange rings with their fathers, who vow to help them remain virgins until the day they marry. More than half of those who take such pledges—which, unlike abstinence-only classes in public schools, are explicitly Christian—end up having sex before marriage, and not usually with their future spouse. The movement is not the complete washout its critics portray it as: pledgers delay sex eighteen months longer than non-pledgers, and have fewer partners. Yet, according to the sociologists Peter Bearman, of Columbia University, and Hannah Br├╝ckner, of Yale, communities with high rates of pledging also have high rates of S.T.D.s. This could be because more teens pledge in communities where they perceive more danger from sex (in which case the pledge is doing some good); or it could be because fewer people in these communities use condoms when they break the pledge.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Dwindling Catholic Devotion is a Good Thing, Says Some Catholic

Leave it to Slate writer Harold Fickett to put a hopeful spin on a story about a dying breed. But behind the spin, this article reveals what I've been saying, and seeing, for years: Belief in religion is dwindling, and the importance of religion is also decreasing within the minds of its adherents.

Though the number of young people entering monasteries, convents, and the priesthood has drastically dropped from the mid-20th century, some new approaches to religious vocations have inspired some young people in America to embrace this idea, replenishing several of the older religious orders and filling new ones.


In other words, a smaller proportion than ever of faithful youths are trying to keep the old gray mare alive. But she ain't what she used to be.

The growth in these orders provides a striking contrast to the continuing decline in Catholic monastic and religious life generally. In 1965, there were twice as many religious priests and brothers as today. There are just one-third as many nuns. According to Sister Mary Bendyna, executive director of the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown University, the average monk is in his early 70s, the average nun in her mid-70s. The mission of many orders has become simply caring for their aging populations as they sell properties and consolidate with others.

...

The Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary in Los Angeles are the most famous example of the combustible combination of the times and the dissatisfaction of many religious. In 1966, humanistic psychologist Carl Rogers led a series of "encounter sessions" with the sisters, urging them to seek personal fulfillment. Within the next several years, the order nearly vanished. In many orders at the time, the vow of chastity was widely ignored.


I especially like the idea of nuns abandoning their chastity vows. How deliciously blasphemous. It's like a bird unbinding its wings and, ignoring the demands of the invisible bird cage, taking flight into the clear blue sky.

Father Anderson says, "We were only a bunch of bums, but by becoming nothing, you can be a part of something great."


Way to go, Father Anderson. Tell us over and over again that the way to worthiness in life is by believing yourself to be a worthless bum. And after that, maybe you can explain to us why drenching oneself in blood will result in a "cleansing." Down is up, and up is down, and like Mr. Fickett says, there is hope for Catholicism in it's current withering on the vine of society. Yeah, right!

Monday, October 06, 2008

Bill Maher and Religulous

Salon.com has an article and interview of Bill Maher for his just-released film, Religious.

Religulous is a documentary similar to one of those Michael Moore films, but instead it's making fun of faith. I plan to see it later this week, and I encourage atheist and theists alike to see it too.