To take the whole concept one step further: I don’t think any Christians can fully understand the “Christian” concept anymore than we all understanding the weight, depth, and breadth of the universe itself. We know the basics of how things work, but we still disagree on what things are properly basic in regards to belief. Self-reflection is a necessary component of this; our lack of knowledge is important!
To present an example, how do you get saved? Well, there’s a pretty simple explanation for that, and you can find it throughout various texts. Take Joel 2:32, for example:
“And it will come about that whoever calls on the name of the Lord
Will be delivered;
For on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem
There will be those who escape,
As the Lord has said,
Even among the survivors whom the Lord calls.
That’s simple, makes sense, and it’s in the Hebrew Bible. We could say it refers specifically to the Israelite nation, so what about some New Testament versions of the same? Coming right up!
…that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; 10 for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. 11 For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes in Him will not be disappointed.” 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call on Him; 13 for “Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
Acts 2 quotes liberally from the same verse, so it lends obvious credence and authority to that verse with a specifically Christian-tinted lens. In sum, we know that anyone who calls upon the name of the Lord – that is, that you confess Jesus as Lord and believe in your heart (mind, body, and soul were intricately linked in Jewish thought and Greco-Roman thought alike, so imagine it as thought), then you will find salvation. There’s not much room for ambiguity in this simple explanantion, and I believe we could label this a properly basic belief.
Now, trying to jump further and understanding what that salvation entails makes for an entirely different adventure – not one necessary to salvation, but interesting nonetheless! We’ve certainly discussed it on a podcast or two, but atonement theory remains a tricky, and divisive, subject. No two people think completely alike, and none of the answers (regardless of what other people will you tell you) come directly from Scripture. I call them, in a very positive way, constructions of ideas implied in the text. Much of your personal answer will depend on what you, personally, believe as the MOST important part about it.
I do not mean to imply that there’s no right answer here – there clearly is – or that even one of the more popular theories isn’t actually correct. Rather, there’s literally no way to confirm or test these ideas out. We can use Scripture to buttress our claims, but no final end-all, be-all arbitrates these various positions in a definitive way. Atonement theories of all shapes and sizes hold the “unfalsifiability” characteristic, and that will never change.
That’s why I call what we can find in Scripture properly basic – that part tells you what you need to know without filling in the extravagant details that, say, penal substitution or ransom theory pulls out of its magic hat. Theology allows you to claim whatever you want without any recompense, and that’s obviously problematic. If you’re wonder why I often take a “Biblicist” stance, now you do. The things we need to know, we already know, and the rest seems like speculation. We can’t know the optimal belief system, precisely because we lack the proper data. We can’t form optimal strategies, precisely because those beliefs and ideas weren’t granted to us. It’s a hard pill to swallow, but it’s a necessary one.
That, dear reader, should tell you all you need to know about the divide between video games and Christianity. To call something “Christian” requires a whole lot of assumptions right from the get go. Christianity presents us with one grand, optimal solution, and the rest of the details simply don’t matter. Video games, on the other hand, want us to know everything about them to their tiniest detail (providing they bother to challenge you at all). They avoid mystery and interface complications for the purpose of play; we make games much like we think.
But does God think that way? Or have you merely assumed it so that you may judge what constitutes a “Christian” game? Or, perhaps, trying to jam submission into a system of optimal strategy? Think before you speak and jump into the deep end of the pool.