Video games: a good place for myth

It’s a rare pleasure when I can tag a post as both “gaming” and “faith.”  w00t!

In SMITE, a forthcoming game from Hi-Rez, players can control a number of gods from various religions/mythology.  This has ruffled some feathers in the Hindu community.

…the Universal Society for Hinduism has caught wind of the fact that SMITE players can control Hindu deities such as Kali and Agni, and the organization’s president, Rajan Zed, is not pleased. Zed claims that “controlling and manipulating goddess Kali and other HIndu deities… is denigration as these deities are meant to be worshiped,” not “reduced to just a character in a video game.” As such, Zed called for the immediate removal of all Hindu deities from the title.

It seems to me that being a character in a good video game is about as worshiped as a fictional character can get.

Hi-Rez’s COO, Todd Harris, issued this response.

SMITE includes deities inspired from a diverse and ever expanding set of pantheons including Greek, Chinese, Egyptian, and Norse. Hinduism, being one of the world’s oldest, largest and most diverse traditions, also provides inspiration toward deities in our game. In fact, given Hinduism’s concept of a single truth with multiple physical manifestations one could validly interpret ALL the gods within SMITE to be Hindu. And all gods outside of SMITE as well. Ponder that for a minute. Anyway, going forward SMITE will include even more deities, not fewer.”

Translation: your sacred cows are not ours, and you don’t get to demand we revere your gods/faith in the a particular way.

And he’s spot on.  If they include Jesus, I’ll be really impressed and will likely purchase the game, if only to beat Jesus into a bloody, non-existent pulp.

About JT Eberhard

When not defending the planet from inevitable apocalypse at the rotting hands of the undead, JT is a writer and public speaker about atheism, gay rights, and more. He spent two and a half years with the Secular Student Alliance as their first high school organizer. During that time he built the SSA’s high school program and oversaw the development of groups nationwide. JT is also the co-founder of the popular Skepticon conference and served as the events lead organizer during its first three years.


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