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Finding Jesus Through Board Games

Does Jesus exist?The Atheist Experience podcast discussed an interesting apologetic several years ago.  Here is my interpretation of this thinking.

Imagine a board game called “Monopoly Plus,” an updated version of the popular board game.  There’s a track around the outside of the board that’s divided into cells.  Each player is represented by a token on the board—a dog, a car, a top hat, and so on—and each player in turn rolls dice to see how many steps to move.  You start with a certain amount of money, and you can buy the properties that you land on as you move around the board.  Players who then land on one of the owned properties must pay the owner rent, and the owner can pay to improve properties so that the rent is higher.

Here’s how you win: you must accept Jesus Christ as your lord and savior.

Yep, that’s a pretty bad game.  The motivations within the game have absolutely nothing to do with how you win.

Now take that idea about a million times larger, and we have the game of Christianity®—ordinary reality filtered through a Christian worldview.  It’s far more complicated than any board game.  In Christianity, there are good things (love, friendships, possessions, accomplishments, personal victories, etc.) and bad things (illness, death, sorrow, disappointment, personal defeats, etc.), and skillful players maximize the good things and minimize the bad.

Immersed in this huge mass of complexity, we’re told that, in the big picture, it all doesn’t matter.  To win the game you must accept Jesus as your lord and savior.

Why is the game of Christianity any less out of touch with reality than the game of Monopoly Plus?

Photo credit: Wikimedia

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About Bob Seidensticker
  • Rick Townsend

    You ask a question, “Why is the game of Christianity any less out of touch with reality than the game of Monopoly Plus?”

    In doing this, you exaggerate some parts of Christianity and eliminate others, and in extrapolating a few points you belittle and trivialize with the goal of making fun of the whole. I don’t see that this advances your discussion. All it does is attempt to irritate Christians. This is the nature of a caricature, not a serious discussion point.

    You claim to be very much into consensus. The consensus of thousands of years of serious students of Christianity is that Christianity is coherent and rational. Some portions need to be taken on faith. But the atheist needs far more faith. You take it on faith that something caused matter to form from something (nothing?) before the big bang. You claim that order came from disorder to form the universe. You claim that a lack of intelligence programmed the infinitely complex world of DNA. In the case of Christianity, we have a historic narrative that explains that starting point. Atheism has no such explanation, so requires the greater faith.

    You frequently claim that religion stifles science with a “god did it” escape clause. Nothing could be farther from the truth. The belief that an intelligent “first cause” gave order to the physical world drove scientists to seek that order for thousands of years. That changed around the time of the enlightenment (which was in some ways anything but enlightened!), whose proponents shifted the commonly held overriding theory. This was done through the excellent writing but questionable methodologies of Darwin and company. Scientists today continue looking for that order, giving lip service to, but not expecting much explanatory power from, evolutionary action as a cause of what we see.

    The real question is not whether your game comparison helps explain how ridiculous Christianity is. That may have been your goal, but that is not the key question. The key question is whether or not Christianity is true. If it is true, then you need to take it more seriously. Consider that the Creator of the universe made a way for you to have eternal relationship with Him. If it is false, then it doesn’t matter, and you can trivialize to your heart’s content.

    But if you are seeking the truth as you claim, then more serious questions would be more appropriate.

    • http://galileounchained.com Bob Seidensticker

      The consensus of thousands of years of serious students of Christianity is that Christianity is coherent and rational.

      And what does 1400 years of Muslim scholarship say? Are they on the same page about the truth of Christian claims?

      You take it on faith that something caused matter to form from something (nothing?) before the big bang.

      Nope.

      You claim that order came from disorder to form the universe.

      Yeah, pretty much everyone does. That whole oak-tree-from-an-acorn thing, y’know.

      You claim that a lack of intelligence programmed the infinitely complex world of DNA.

      It’s the scientific consensus. Kinda hard to argue with that.

      In the case of Christianity, we have a historic narrative that explains that starting point.

      You mean historically true? You’ll need to prove that first.

      If you mean a narrative that has historical elements in it (like Harry Potter has elements of the actual country of England), I agree. But that you have such a narrative that explains something is uncompelling. Lots of made-up stories explain things; that doesn’t mean they’re true.

      The belief that an intelligent “first cause” gave order to the physical world drove scientists to seek that order for thousands of years.

      I haven’t heard of a single bit of scientific understanding that came from the Bible. I agree that most European scientists were Christian, but that was true of everyone. I’m not sure where that takes us.

      The key question is whether or not Christianity is true.

      Agreed.

      If it is true, then you need to take it more seriously.

      And I will! Just as soon as it becomes the best explanation. We’ve got a long way to go yet.

  • Bob Calvan

    Amen Rick Townsend ! Well said.

  • Bob Calvan

    I haven’t heard of a single bit of scientific understanding that came from the Bible. I agree that most European scientists were Christian, but that was true of everyone. I’m not sure where that takes us.

    Well, best do some studying..Sea currents! The science of Sea currents came from the Bible.

    • http://galileounchained.com Bob Seidensticker

      You’ll have to tell me more. Show me that the modern science of sea currents traces its roots back to the Bible. You’ll also have to show that whatever this is wasn’t simply common knowledge of the day.

      (And while we’re talking about valid science from the Bible, you’ll have to explain to me Genesis 30:37–9, where Jacob creates striped and spotted lambs by having their parents conceive while looking at white branches. I’m not sure that modern science accepts that one yet.)

  • Bob Calvan

    Ocean currents anticipated (Psalm 8:8). Three thousand years ago the Bible described the “paths of the seas.” In the 19th century Matthew Maury – the father of oceanography – after reading Psalm 8, researched and discovered ocean currents that follow specific paths through the seas! Utilizing Maury’s data, marine navigators have since reduced by many days the time required to traverse the seas.

    • http://galileounchained.com Bob Seidensticker

      Bob C:

      In the 19th century Matthew Maury – the father of oceanography – after reading Psalm 8, researched and discovered ocean currents that follow specific paths through the seas!

      And Friedrich Kekulé was inspired by the daydream of a snake biting its tail to consider that the structure of benzene might not be linear but a ring. This hunch was correct, but we don’t conclude from that that daydreams are a reliable source of science. Similarly, that the Bible has elements that match up with modern science hardly recommends the Bible as a science textbook.

      • RandomFunction2

        To all,

        Sounds like Bob S is moving the goalposts. He does not just want the Bible to contain scientific truths. He wants the Bible to be a scientific textbook…

      • http://galileounchained.com Bob Seidensticker

        RF2:

        Is the Bible a scientific textbook? If so, show me. If not, then don’t make claims about how it preceded science with important discoveries.

  • RandomFunction2

    To all,

    Besides, the Bible achieved a conceptual revolution by its belief in linear time. Most ancient religions and philosophies believed in cyclical time. But modern science has given evidence that time is in fact linear (see the laws of thermodynamics and the Big Bang).

    • http://galileounchained.com Bob Seidensticker

      Curious, and perhaps even fortunate, but I don’t find this particularly remarkable. There’s no reason to believe that this ancient belief lining up with modern science was anything more than luck.

      • RandomFunction2

        Hi Bob,

        Call it luck if you want, yet it is confirmed by the best available evidence. The Bible was ahead of its time on this.

      • http://galileounchained.com Bob Seidensticker

        You’re saying that some religions/philosophies got in science’s way with an idea of time that was incorrect. Christianity was good because it didn’t get in the way of science. OK.

        You’re simply cherry picking, using modern science, those elements from Christianity that turned out to be true. For this to be anything more than a curiosity, religion must be sourcin these innovations in thought, with science confirming their validity.

        Are there more, so we can see a pattern? Or is it just this one example of linear time?

    • http://galileounchained.com Bob Seidensticker

      RF2:

      I just heard something interesting that’s relevant to your comment. The Zoroastrians (according to this source) were the innovators here. They were the first (I’m not sure if they were the first in the ANE or the world) to overturn the popular idea of cyclic time and introduce linear time. When the Jews were in captivity in Persia, they picked this up. Source: Norman Cohn, Cosmos, Chaos, and the World to Come.

      My conclusions from this:

      1. Religions make new innovations. Someone will be the first to come up with each one. Not a big deal.

      2. It wasn’t the Jews who introduced the concept to the ANE!

  • Bob Calvan

    Just pointing out as usual all your misinformation. And Athesit “sound bites” you aped from other Athesit.

    • http://galileounchained.com Bob Seidensticker

      What have I gotten from other atheists besides inspiration? Is your point that I plagiarized stuff?

      This seems an odd charge from someone who’s pasted in big blocks of text from other web sites without attribution.

  • Bob Calvan

    No I do not mean you plagiarized their stuff..I mean they all use the basic top 25 arguments ..Nothing new.
    Yes I have coppied stuff from the DNA being a Language. Did not do it for any dishonest reasons..If you wish, if I do that again i will tell you

    • http://galileounchained.com Bob Seidensticker

      I flatter myself that I’m giving new stuff. Much is obviously the same, but I think I add value. But perhaps you disagree.

      Feel free to copy in other stuff, but I’d prefer that you make your own argument (or at least give the attribution). It’s tempting and easy to paste in a thousand words copied from a web site, but then the rest of us must wade through it, rather than getting exactly your point with just a short summary.

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