"Left Behind: Eternal Forces"
An evangelical Christian video game
A new video game called "LEFT BEHIND: Eternal Forces" was first shown
at the Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles during 2006-MAY. The
Los Angeles Times commented:
" 'Eternal Forces' is part of a new wave of religious games coming out at
a time when the mainstream industry faces increasing criticism that its
products celebrate misogynistic mayhem." 1
"Eternal Forces" is based on the runaway best selling book series "Left
Behind" by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins. Both the game and books follow
dispensational beliefs, an ancient heresy that has become very popular among evangelical Christians.
In advance of 2006-Christmas, the game was stocked by more than 10,000
retailers -- including Best Buy, Circuit City, EB Games, GameStop, Sam's Club,
Target, and various Christian outlets. It was also mass-distributed among
evangelical Christian mega-churches. 2
Why the game has received so many negative reviews:
The movie has been bitterly condemned by some reviewers who feel that:
||It is excessively violent.
||It teaches that that murder of non-Christians because of their
religion is acceptable.
||It promotes the inferiority of women.
||It implies that Satan and demons are on the side of non-Christians.
Many of these negative views are based on the reviewers' lack of
understanding of the context of the game. It is supposed to take place in the
future after God has physically
transported all born-again Christians to
Heaven via the Rapture, leaving only
unsaved Christians, followers of other religions, and
secularists behind on Earth in a
state of chaos.
This series of beliefs are based on a concept of eschatology
(end times prophecy)
-- called dispensational premillennialism: (a.k.a. dispensationalism).
Premillennialism was declared a heresy by the early church, was reintroduced
circa 1830 CE, and has since received general acceptance by most fundamentalists
and other evangelical Christians.
The Left Behind series of books and the Eternal Forces video game
describe events in the future, after the anti-Christ had come to earth,
taken over and renamed the United Nations, joined with Satan and his
introduced a new world government, created a new world religion, and banned
Christianity. In this future scenario, Christians are systematically hunted down and exterminated.
Meanwhile, some Christians had become saved and rebelled against the anti-Christ.
Also, followers of other
religions, and none, had converted to Christianity. Together they formed a resistance
movement. The video game portrays battles between these
newly saved Christians and the forces of the anti-Christ.
Many reviewers, particularly those who are not fundamentalist or other
evangelical Christians seem to misunderstand the context of this game. They
conclude that Eternal Forces involves evangelical Christians mounting a
genocide against non-Christians, the UN, and peacekeepers. The reviewers may
have concluded that the game is portraying events in the present time, rather
than the future after the Rapture has take place. The up-to-date displays and
posters in the game's background scenes might have contributed to this belief.
From this viewpoint, the reviewer might draw many parallels between the Taliban,
Al Qaeda, and the Eternal Forces game, and conclude that all three promote
terrorism and religiously-based genocide.
Topics covered in this section:
The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above
essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.
Dawn C. Chmielewski, "Converting Video Games Into Instruments of God. A
title based on the 'Left Behind' books embraces the medium's violent style.
It may reach a new audience, but can it impart spiritual values?," Los
Angeles Times, 2006-MAY-10, at:
Ilene Lelchuk " 'Convert or die' game divides Christians. Some ask Wal-Mart
to drop 'Left Behind'," San Francisco Chronicle, 2006-DEC-12, at:
Copyright © 2006 to 2008 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2006-JUN-06
Latest update: 2008-SEP-19
Author: B.A. Robinson