Christ, the Coliseum, and Violence

Welcome a new guest contributor, Byran Hall! Bryan writes frequently at his blog JohnnyBGamer, which discusses whatever happens to come up in his mind (or in text, give or take). Mostly, that involves influencing the digital landscape (which I presume means blogging, which is happening right here) with the love of Christ. He write from the junction point of faith, life, and video games (my hobby). He also plays games with his children, with whom he shares said hobby. He definitely has a passion for the stuff, and I’m glad to see he found Theology Gaming a worthy place to post.

Visit him for a spell. Or just read this article, whatever you want. Without further ado, here is Bryan Hall!

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I left Christ in the Roman Coliseum; I left him to die.

Assassin's Creed Brotherhood Colosseum

Carefully scaling the Coliseum walls, I slowly made my way towards my first target: three would-be snipers. Quietly, in succession, I stealthily stabbed each in the back. Not one of the snipers knew of my existence. I am the wind, the shadows, the reaper of death. I am justice incarnate.

My second target: saving the actor playing Jesus Christ in a play. The irony of a Passion Play in the Roman Coliseum does not escape me. Who knows how many Christians fought for their very lives within these walls? Some believers even torn to shreds by lions for the amusement of Nero and the people. I shudder in disgust and then slip on the disguise of a Roman soldier. Christ awaits my saving grace.

Events quickly unfold in a way I could not foretell. The actor playing Christ has been drugged! I effortlessly scoop him up as Borgia men flood in from all sides of the Coliseum. My mission: get Christ to a doctor. Holding him, I can clearly see his crown of thorns and the fake blood smeared on him. I know his only hope is a cure beyond the battle ensuing around me. Suddenly, the world grinds to a stop.

– Reality Confronted –

If you haven’t guessed, my PS3 locked up as I was escorting the drugged actor to a doctor. I was frustrated. A day has since gone by and I have yet to try again. My wife reminds me that it took Christ three days to resurrect, so why not give the game a rest? My conscience is restless. Nine hours of Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood has left me with questions. I find myself questioning the digital bodies I have left de-rezzed; I find myself questioning what I am learning about life, beyond the fact that assassinations from the air look awesome. Perspective is everything.

I know that at the end of the day I will return and continue my “historical” Roman adventure. But I want to keep in mind that violence is reality based. Violence is also something that is worshiped within American cinema and culture. I believe that the reason on-screen violence resonates with people so much is due to the fact that it is usually carried out in the pursuit of justice. The Bible says this though:

Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. – Romans 12:19 (NIV)

and this:

Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you;
therefore he will rise up to show you compassion.
For the Lord is a God of justice.
Blessed are all who wait for him! – Isaiah 30:18 (NLT)

I realize that Ezio’s actions in Brotherhood are simply a part of a fantasy world. I also realize that God is an avenger and a dealer of justice. Though I know that the worlds of fantasy and reality can sometimes blend, I want to be mindful of who and what I am allowing to shape my soul. So God help me.

About Bryan Hall

Transplanted from the land of sun and surf to a place filled with pine trees and sweet tea, Bryan Hall is a man who has experienced God's grace. Wanting to influence the digital landscape with the love of Christ, Bryan writes from the junction point of faith, life, and video games. You can read more of his writing at his blog, johnnybgamer.com.
  • Bryan, this is awesome! A quick and engrossing narrative full of juxtaposition and required reflection. I dig it!

    I hope you don’t mind if I do the detestable thing of self-plugging a related article that posted on GameChurch yesterday about violence in games and what Jesus says about them: http://gamechurch.com/i-cant-quit-you-a-letter-to-game-violence/

    • What is funny is that as I was writing my piece, I saw a link to your article (had to keep myself from reading it until I was done). Great minds and all that, right?

      Zachery, thanks for letting me post here. It is an honor sir.

      • Synchronicity (a word I find myself using more than one should) seems to be happening all around!

        No problem on the postings – I appreciate them. Just find me some more writers and we may be in business (at some point).

        • I’m stoked that there’s a lot of people on here. It’s a fun thing to be a part of! Minds alike indeed!

          And Zach, using that word is only 3 points less terrible than saying “Synergy.” Shame! Shame! 🙂

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