Pat Robertson is no stranger to controversy, or controversial statements. The preaching head of the 700 Club (which yes, is still on the air, fleecing the gullible), third rate university president (Regent University), and former presidential candidate is at it again. Of course, in the past, Robertson has blamed natural disasters on homosexuals and abortions, prayed for the assassination of at least one democratically elected leader, and even predicted the world would end back in 1982.
This time, Robertson has looked to modernize age-old thought crime sins by incorporating the video game world into real world sin. Robertson, in a recent video, told his flock that when one kills in a game like the popular Grand Theft Auto, and especially when done “gleefully,” they are essentially murdering in real life.
Oh my!!! So apparently, because of my GTA gaming, I am up there with guys like Hitler and Stalin in mass murdering sins!!! Oh No!!! Who knew??? You can see Robertson damning me to hell… here’s the video:
Well, Robertson does try to soften the statement by backtracking slightly at the end, that it won’t send you to hell exactly, you will just be outside the presence of God. This is like saying, “I’m not going to steal your money exactly, but when I leave here, all your money will be gone.” Or, “it’s not dark in this room exactly, there just isn’t the presence of light.”
And, of course, this is just a modernization of the Judeo/Christian Biblical tradition of thought crimes.
As any good Christian child – or Jewish child, for that matter – learns early on, sins can be committed without actually doing anything. Indeed, the Bible teaches in the Ten Commandments that one must not covet things, such as a neighbor’s cute wife or loaded brand new BMW. Indeed, the church ensures it can make their followers feel guilty not only in what they do, but in what they think … what is simply in their head. I guess a little wife-coveting or Beamer envy is too tame to keep the sheep on 24-hour guilt watch, so Robertson took it upon himself to give the ancient dogma a modern facelift. Kind of a Christian version of taking an old Shakespeare play and giving it a modern work-over. So this is basically his “West Side Story” drawn from “Romeo and Juliet.”
And just for the record, the Ten Commandments is hardly the only place in the Bible where the foundation of guilt is laid; in the Gospel of Matthew we find:
“You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to his brother, ‘Raca,’ is answerable to the Sanhedrin. But anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery.’But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Matthew 5:21-22, 27-28
And what Pat Robertson and other snake oil salesmen like him – some wearing a white collar, some wearing a funny hat and some wearing a suit and coming through our TVs – are doing is making sure everything their followers do will revolve around sin and guilt, which of course is the magic that fills their coffers, the foundation of organized religion. And as a general rule, the bigger the religion, usually the more guilt needed, as guilt equals money. And Robertson’s church is pretty big.
The mere thought that there is any equivalency in one’s thoughts and one’s deeds is ridiculous. Does this now make when I punch a pillow to let out some aggression the same as just punching the other person? If so, along with the murdering, we’ve been missing out. If there is no difference, we might as well do every deed our little minds can dream up. And I guess I shouldn’t bother playing GTA, I should just go out and kill me some bad guys, as it’s all the same, right?
And what if someone makes a Christian game where the player get to, I don’t know … win the Crusades, lead Biblical armies to glorious victories, or maybe kill abortion doctors; would that be a sin in the radical evangelical’s eyes? Of course, I assume I would be killing in God’s name just as gleefully as when I mow down cops in GTA.