Have you ever wondered what Christianity might look like if it could rise above political maneuvering and military power plays and corruptible influences?
One way to explore that is through gaming that allows players to develop their own worlds and test out the weight and impact of decisions and actions across multiple nations and lands. CaPC’s very own Richard Clark writes about this for a ChristianityToday.com article titled “Gods of Power and Might: What Civilization V Gets Right (And Wrong) About Christianity.”
In case you aren’t familiar with Civilization V, Richard explains that “the Civilization series is primarily about acquiring power, though that power can come in the form of anything from military might to cultural weight, political influence, or technological advancement.” Richard built his kingdoms and nations, looking to spread the positive, pure influence of Christianity throughout the world.
Even in the land of make believe, decisions have unforeseen consequences that make for some complex situations on down the road. For example, Richard may have gained Christ-followers with the spread of his faith but he lost detachment for future choices:
But religious allies are also military allies, and any threats to their city-state became a threat to my nation. I became preoccupied with fighting wars on their behalf, and while none of the wars were primarily about religion, it’s hard to deny its role in our current military arrangement. I had wanted to establish a true, unstained version of Christianity. What I found instead was that in the world of Civilization, it was impossible to keep religion from being influenced by power and intrigue.
This is at once disappointing and comforting.
It’s disappointing, because I live with a fair amount of idealism that leaves me pining for harmony’s rule. Shouldn’t that be possible within a make believe world?
It’s also comforting, however, because that means the difficulty I find in keeping my faith unstained by the world (and the sin within) is not unfounded. It isn’t easy to live in this world with so many uncontrollable elements. If it unraveled in the controlled world that Richard created, why would I expect it to stay neat and tidy here?
Games these days go deep, don’t they?