Bible Man: What the hell???
Okay, Arthur has posted a meta-blog entry on the Friendly-Atheist’s list of dubious proofs for God. For some reason (and I guessing it’s a good one because it’s really got me thinking), Arthur has an advertisement for Bible Man embedded in the post. Here it is;
If you are like me, in as much as you aren’t entirely brain dead, you’ll probably be scratching your head wondering “WHAT THE HELL???”
As Arthur points out, this is a real game. I repeat; a real game.
I use some ribald language in the rest of this post (non-abusive ribald language is allowed in comments as well), so if you are timid, don’t read over the fold.
The game is an adaptation of a straight-to-DVD religious edutainment series, which itself seems just as ghastly. Here’s another promo for the game, more heavily referencing the series.
The weird-toothed, blue-skinned guy is the “Whacky Protestor”. Yep, if you are different (aka Whacky), you are EVIL. If you protest (in a whacky manner), you are EVIL. I dare say that anti-abortion protests aren’t deemed whacky, nor their participants. They probably have THE FULL ARMOUR OF GOD!
Also, note the antipathy for atheists and the straw man of implied nihilism.
It may also be worth pointing out that if you have a look at comments (mainly by Christians) on the IMDB listings for Bible Man rubbish, there are three chief complaints; 1) violence and murder – Bible Man not only beats the crap out of villains, he kills some of them as well, 2) hypocrisy – Episodes preach what Bible Man doesn’t practice (e.g. episodes about “rage” where the baddies who spread anger and hate get the crap kicked out of them) and 3) whenever Bible Man sins, he is only made to sin by the baddies and instead of being remorseful and repentant, he passes the buck and then kicks the shit out of whoever made him sin.
On this last point, I’d hate to think of what Bible Man would do if he was “tempted” to rape someone. “It’s the fault of Villainous Vixen that I had pre-marital, non-consented sex with her! It’s like cat’s and uncovered meat! I’m going to chop off her fucking head!” Moments later, covered in blood; “Ha! Now that I have dealt with the cause of my sin, I don’t have to take the blame! No! Villainous Vixen will never force me to sin by having sex with her against her will again! Oh no! Oh… wait! She making me feel hubris now! All… A… ploy… to… make… way… for… other… sin… I… spoke… too… soon… she… can… still… make… me… lust… for… her… even… when… her… head… is… missing…” Moments later, dragged off by police “I’m not a necrophiliac! The devil gave her powers to make me sin!”
Let’s face it, while the series doesn’t go that far into rape and murder, its mode of discerning morality is no different AT ALL. Bad (and by bad, they mean outgroup) people make good Christians do bad things, so Christians are justified in leveling violence against these people. In other words Bible Man’s central morality is flat out psychotic.
Bible Man is palpably anti-modernity and if it were any less overt, I’d accuse it of dog-whistling to the worst in biblical literalism, however it’s strict apologetics are audible on all frequencies. Let’s have a look at a synopsis of a DVD;
“Not to be outdone by a new Bibleman, the Wacky Protestor formulates a plan to not only re-invent himself, but to create a world where there will be no Christians, no churches, no Bibles and no God! Using his latest anti-Christian invention, the neuroiconoclasticskeptisiser, the Wacky Protestor lures Vacation Bible School student leaders Gabriel and Olivia Phillips into his Animated Reconstructive Transport where it shows them what the world would be like with no rules, no faith, no hope and no future. Will the Wacky Protestor finally succeed with his latest plan? Join Bibleman, Biblegirl and Cypher in this exciting adventure as they practice 1 Timothy 1:18.“
And 1 Timothy 1:18 says;
“This charge I commit unto thee, son Timothy, according to the prophecies which went before on thee, that thou by them mightest war a good warfare;”
(King James Bible)
A war given further context by 1 Timothy 6:3-5 “If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness; He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself.”
(King James Bible)
In other words, if anyone deviates from dogma, then withdraw yourself from their number and make war upon them. Now some may say “culture war” or whatever (which kind of breaks with the literalist leanings of the producers and the target audience), which in some instances is fair enough; Jihad isn’t always violent Jihad. But face facts, Bible Man kills the baddies. When it comes to “good warfare” in Bible Man, it means what it “literally means”; let’s frag them thar infidels!
So basically we have a pretty simple message being fired off at kids: If someone is different they are to blame when you do something wrong, which when it comes to murder is incidental because it’s okay to kill them because they are different. Timothy 6:3-5 makes it especially clear that different equals wrong!
Violence and false teachers. Kind of an odd combination for Bible Man to tackle considering that he is published by Thomas Nelson that also publish books denouncing
teh Mussies Militant Islam and violent Jihad.
“A tiny but radically militant segment of Islam is waging a “holy way” on all “infidels,” with moderate Muslims as well as non-Muslims becoming targets of their hatred. In this balanced and reasoned account, Connie Reece details the political, social, and spiritual dimensions of the fast-growing militant Islamic movement, shows how it operates within the United States, and assesses its potential threat to Christianity as well as to freedom and democracy around the world.”
(Blurb for Holy Hatred by Connie Reece, Thomas Nelson, 2007)
Maybe Connie Reece should widen her condemnation of religious toxic crap and consider the divisive and ultimately sectarian violence promoting junk that Thomas Nelson is peddling to kids. On that other topic, it’s not like Thomas Nelson has a problem with “false teachers” either, at least “false” as in blatantly peddling falsehoods about known facts.
Hank Hanegraaff (of Christian Research Institute infamy*) is one of the authors published by Thomas Nelson. Have a squizz at the blurb for one of his books that TN publish.
“In Fatal Flaws, inspired by Hank Hanegraaff’s book The Face That Demonstrates the Farce of Evolution, Hanegraaff keeps Christians from falling prey to corrupting scientific speculation about the origins of life and reminds us that we are God’s creation. This commonsense approach puts the concept of evolution in the grasp of everyday Christians and reminds us that ultimately the key to our purpose in this life comes from understanding Whose we are and Who created us.”
(Blurb for Fatal Flaws by Hank Hanegraaff, Thomas Nelson, 2007)
Hank “Manygaffe” Hanegraaff goofs over and over again. The NCSE has but a small catalogue of his factual errata; his simply incorrect assertions about the fossil record, of which NCSE only covers a few, are both particularly entertaining (in a mild schadenfreude kind of way) and chilling (in a “people are actually gulled by this rubbish?” kind of way). The NCSE are remiss in one particular respect though; they give little rebuttal to the “work” of Duane Gish, which Hanegraaff in his book cites quite heavily.
The NCSE rebuts Gish with a mere ad-hominem. If you want more than fallacious rebuttal and a true measure of the junk Hanegraff parrots uncritically, you don’t need to go much further than Richard Trott’s treatment of Gish’s oft repeated memes. Incidentally, while Trott’s criticisms are 90s material, don’t feel that he’s being left behind. Hanegraff recycles old memes (which is what happens when you “withdraw thyself“) so the corresponding criticisms won’t change. Heck, Henegraff’s book is a recycled version of one of his older books as it is.
But I’ve gone off on a tangent. I have a bit of a bias towards talking about honesty which is getting me off topic. I’m talking about truth, whereas Bible Man (and Hanegraff) talk about “Truth” with a big “T” (if biblical literalism was a sensible idea, shouldn’t we be talking about the same thing).
Bible Man pays subtle homage to the Old Testament, which you can probably tell just from the fact that there is a “Genesis” series. At the very least, it is marketed towards those who take a literal view of the old testament. Can you imagine a literalist-apologist-retelling of the story of Lot as a Bible Man episode? He is Bible Man after all.
Bible Man heard a knock on his door, it was Sean San Francisco and the evil Dr Bisexualakov!
“Hey, Bible Man, we’ve come a-knocking cause we want your side-kick Cypher for some sweet-sweet-man-lovin’!”, the Diabolical Duo chimed in together.
Light-Sabertm Lucas Films“SpiritSword” wilted at the prospect while Cypher jumped into his arms, biting his own fingernails at the curiousterrifying prospect of being penetrated by the modern, worldly Californian duo. “Cypher’s sweet, round, firm, brown cheeks… what was I saying? Ah yes! Are too firm for thine to pass between! Nay! Unlike the Red Sea, they shall not part for a man with a large staff!”
The now tumescent tag-team eyed off Bible Man’s physique, which was exposed because he had left his Armor Of God in the dryer. “I’m not having a bar of that! To lay with a man would
solve a log of nagging questions I’ve hadbe an abomination! Here, take Bible Girl around back and have thine a spit roast.”
Bible Girl, being only a girl (from the Bible no less!), putting aside her Electra complex, complied with orders from her superior, for the time being having faith in his judgement.
“Cypher, these Godless men are hardened criminals! We have to keep an eye on them with Bible Girl while making ready for BATTLE WITH EVIL!”
So Cypher and Bible Man peered through the back window watching the dastardly deed while both trying to get Bible Man’s Spirit Sword ready for battle!
It’s not my Zeitgeist so don’t blame me (okay, I’m transferring camp qualities to Bible Man and Cypher from Batman and Robin – can you blame me?). Personally, I’d never merge violent, popularist-cum-propagandistic edutainment with biblical literalism. That’s probably why I’m not making Bible Man and I can be thankful for that!
All the same, consider the content of Bible Man; the DVD and the game.
The vilification and demonisation of outgroups, the (thinly-veiled) implicit advocacy of violence and outright killing, the epistles of Timothy inspired policing of thoughtcrime; absolute tolerance be damned it’s frigging disturbing! Worse, this garbage targets impressionable minds. Have a look at this promo;
Have a look in the audience. Look at the kids sitting there ready and primed to accept what they are being told as fact. How are their primary reasoning skills being developed? When they see “Whacky Protestor”, are they prompted to ask critical questions? Who dares ask if “Whacky Protestor” is right? Who dares ask if “Whacky Protestor” is a truthful representation of outgroups anyway?
Nope, these kids you see in the audience are given cues to which they are supposed to give a correct response (rewarded in the software or modeled by the DVD). You can see it in the second promo when it says “oh.. and by the way… so is he [coming to your computer!]“. “He” being “Whacky Protestor”, an implied threat that relies upon the child’s understanding that “Whacky Protestor” is innately evil (just because he is), and further that they don’t accidentally humanize him by asking too many questions.
Further to this, The Word of God is presented as being Bible Man’s sword. Clearly, the loving God of the New Testament has either been revised or retrofitted back into his bad-ass Old Testament persona. And the kids are supposed to interpret this as metaphorical? If you believe that, I have an old bar of soap that can cure all that ails you, just email me with your credit card number and it’s all yours.
What we have in Bible Man is a piece of propaganda that tells children to use violence against outgroups. Terrorist training wrapped up as Power Rangers on crack, consumed by gulled parents and used to vandalize their children’s minds, not just with the hateful crap that makes up the content, but with the inculcation of the epistemology of not asking questions. It encourages children not to think critically.
Jesus Camp rotted the minds of children in the same indoctrinatory way and sentiments were expressed that they wanted to have their kids exhibit the same enthusiasm as suicide bombing kids from the Middle East. But even Jesus Camp stopped short of advocating violence!
Woe be the kids, woe be the good teacher that has to repair the damage and woe be the security guards of abortion clinics when the children of Bible Man graduate from just playing games and watching movies, graduating to fight evil.
PS. I wonder what Ruddock would have to say about the distribution of Bible Man material in Australia. At the very least it would seem to break the new provisions on sedition (particularly “Urging Violence within the Community“). But then, we all made exceptions for Alan Jones now didn’t we? Apparently it’s not sedition if while prohibited by the word of the law, it corresponds to the political Zeitgeist.
* I’m not game enough to touch that one any more than I already have.