What Violent Video Game “Left Behind” Made Me Realize About Hanukkah

This fall, a new violent video game called Left Behind 4: World at War hit stores. Just in time for the season of giving. The game is created by Left Behind Games Inc. and is based on the popular Left Behind book series written by Tim LaHaye (an evangelical Christian minister) and Jerry Jenkins (an American novelist known for featuring evangelical Christians as his protagonists).

The game is the fourth in a series in which the player is a part of a Christian group in post-Rapture New York. The player advances by converting individuals (such as Jews or Athiests) or by killing them when necessary. If a player’s spirit level drops too low, they will lose the game.

As stated on Wikipedia, “The player is encouraged to use conversion over violence when possible, since killing causes the “spirit level” of the player’s units to drop.”

Well at least we’ve got that going for us.

The scariest thing about these games? The Anti-Defamation League stated that the first game in the series, “is based on the same intolerant theology embedded in the adult and children Left Behind book series, which features gory depictions of the annihilation of Jews and other non-Christians who refuse to convert at Armageddon.” Yet these games are still being sold at major American retailers such as Wal-Mart, Best Buy, Amazon.com and more. But hey, nothing makes a better stocking stuffer than a game that says conform or suffer the consequences.

Even better, in a recent press release Left Behind Games Inc. announced that several of their new games will be available on Apple iPhones, iPads, Androids and Tablets.

Let’s hope this isn’t one of them.

Reading about these games made me think about some of the most valuable gifts we can give our children this Hanukkah: Tolerence. Compassion. Selflessness. Love for our fellow human beings…whether they’re like us or not.These are the greatest gifts you can give.

(Photo: Ken Wilcox)