Bioshock Infinite

Bioshock Infinite is a Blatantly Anti-Christian Game

In Featured, In the News, Videos by JD Rucker61 Comments

This is a warning to parents with gaming children. Bioshock Infinite is a game that promotes many anti-Christian concepts, even going so far as to end the story with the moral being that being “born again in the blood of the lamb” leads to a life of evil and only by denying baptism can the main character escape his fate of turning to a destructive life as a cult leader.

Many games are non-Christian, but this one is blatantly anti-Christian. It has references throughout demonstrating in both subtle and overt ways that the path of a life following Christ leads to unhappiness and sorrow, but it’s the end of the game that ties it all together. Here is a 16-minute video showing the ending gameplay. This does not show the true final scene which happens after the credits, but that is equally bad. This video alone should be enough to convince you that you should not allow your kids to play this game.

 

Enhanced by Zemanta

Comments

  1. As a longtime Bioshock fan, I unfortunately have to agree with your assessment, as there’s just no denying it. From the moment you arrive at “Columbia” you are overwhelmingly assaulted with the most ridiculous “christians are cult wackos” propoganda imaginable. I suppose I shouldn’t be all that surprised however, as creator Ken Levine is an extrememly liberal nutcase who holds few if any traditional values whatsoever. Glad I only rented this game and didn’t waste 60 dollars on this nazi crap.

    1. you should of explored the game and actually thought about what it meant before branding its as ‘nazi’. And also Ken levine even had to discuss with crew members with opinions like yours that Bioshock is all about perception. You would know that if you were a fan – “would you kindly”. so please reconsider and explore into your point when you think somethink like this. Infinite doesen’t critisise religion. it critisises America’s history and how one man can change so much from one fatal decision (the baptism) where that one man be Andrew Ryan or Comstock.

      1. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-NRQNit7nmI
        This video will explain to those who have no idea what they’re talking about what exactly this game is. I could see how if seen out of context some parts may seem “anti-religious”, but before you complain about something, try understanding what it is first.

      2. And you, Mr. Ryan Burns, should go back to school to catch up on your grammar first and foremost. Secondly, if you are such a fan of everything anti-American and anti-Christian, then keep it to yourself. No one needs your poorly phrased attempts to lecture those who are evidently smarter, more educated and more responsible than you are, dear Ryan.

        1. Goodness gracious, you’re an awful debater. You immediately use the “he made one or two typos, so therefore he’s an idiot and his point is moot” argument, which, if anything, only makes you look bad. You then follow this up with an unfounded assertion that he hates Christianity and America because he liked the game, when the game isn’t completely against these things so much as it is critical of them.

          This game isn’t anti-American or anti-Christian. The moral of the story was that, when Booker went through his Baptism and became Comstock, he refused to acknowledge his past sins and instead sought a path of self-idolatry instead of trying to become a better person, justifying his increasingly monstrous actions as a part of some divine plan. Comstock even says that, although God forgives everything, he doesn’t have to because he believes in Him. Comstock is not a Christian so much as he is a hypocrite. In the other timeline, Booker continued to sin, but it cost him his finances, his family, and his happiness – but unlike Comstock, he acknowledged that he deserved to live in misery for what he had done. At the end of the game, his death by drowning is symbolic of being Baptised – he recognizes that bad things have come from his sins, and that only by facing up to them and killing the evil impulse within himself can he prevent evil from spreading – effectively, embracing Christianity and not using it as an excuse to do wicked things. It should be noted that not once does Booker criticize Christianity in the game, but he simply chooses not to follow it because he feels he is beyond redemption (which, as the game shows, is not the case). To me, this game embodies the principles of Christianity.

          Concerning the argument that this game thinks America is terrible, you should look to the setting better – Columbia is, effectively, an exceptional nation. It’s a flying city that has access to technology centuries ahead of its time, and it is fated to change the world one way or another in time. But you also have to look at the principles it was founded upon – racism, nationalism, and fanaticism – and see that it’s critical of many of the political issues that America failed to address for years when it first became a nation. The game is telling people that, should you try to return to these principles without any sort of progressive thinking, you are going to end up with a state that is in and of itself anti-American.

          Before you callously try and dismiss my points as being fraudulent and juvenile, bear in mind that I was raised into a Catholic family and that I have lived within the borders of the United States for my entire life. I love my religion. I love my country. But I can’t just look past some of the glaring problems that both of these things have. To live for the future, you have to be able to face up to the past and see what you can to do make it better.

          1. Loved your analysis of the game, its realism, and its social critique of American culture and history; moreover, your ability to synthesize all of this information into one great argument was amazing. “To live for the future, you have to be able to face up to the past and see what you can to do make it better.” Love this quote you manifested!

        2. Excuse me Sir or Madame. he is not an anti-American or an anti-Christian I, however, am. I would spend time saying reasons about why I believe Christianity to be a ridiculous concept, but I believe I have already insulted you enough. He never said anything about how the game or himself were anti-anything, yet alone what you called him. He simply said that the Bioshock franchise was about perception. saying that America’s past is gruesome and racist is an undeniable under-statement, this game simply turns up the dial on how extreme this was. the thing I hate about Christians is that, from what I have witnessed on websites such as this one, you never let your children decide to do anything themselves. you hide anything ‘Anti-Christian’ away from them and force them to obey your pathetic ideologies. You are no more than a mere slave to a non-existent deity, who you would probably sacrifice your firstborns for if you were asked to. You need to let children find their own path, wether it be from the reasonable (if any) evidence of religion, or the cold (arguable) facts of science is there own choice. Would you kindly stop branding the creative works as “Nazi” and get an actual life. If you disagree with my reply to your, utterly uneducated, comment I will open up my book of childish anti-Christian insults, which I will use to fire upon your beliefs until you are nothing more than another corpse lining the halls of Rapture. you can screw with me. but no one screws with Bioshock. Thank you. (ps: my grammar may be lacking but it is in no way as bad as the intelligence of those who call Bioshock Infinite NAZI!) (also this game is not for chilf=dren so they shouldn’t be playing it anyway)

    2. You’re an idiot. My god, it’s not even funny how extreme you sound. god bless America!!

    3. I’m not entirely sure you have a grasp on what a Nazi is. I find it interesting that instead of focusing on the racism running rampant in the game that was a reflection of this country one century ago, you immediately induce your own meaning into the game and assume it is an attack on your personal beliefs. I suggest you calm down and assess this game more closely instead of jumping onto the defensive and broadcasting your inability to analyze and critically think.

  2. As a Christian i disagree. I found nothing in this game that directly mentioned Jesus. In this game you are shown some terrible things that is justified by “religion”.

    In history, religion has been used to justify some terrible things. Even in today’s world we see on the news awful actions by witch people are using religion as the reason.

    This game does not attack Christianity, but it does show how someone might use a religion to keep a social order, keep population under control, or any of the other awful things you see in this game.

    This game is rated “M” that is 17 years and up it says it on the cover, kids should not be playing it in the first place.

    Being a Christian to me means believing in Jesus Christ and following his teachings. Nothing in this game attacks that. People who pervert religions, any religions to attain personal goals give us all a bad name, what ever denomination/religion you are.

    This game does present some hard questions about racism, and maybe religion. But not Christianity.

    The question I have, would not it be better if you have a gamer youth (17ish) if they wanted to play the game you sit with them and you all talk about what is happening, together. Because you can try and hide these questions and “truths” people think all religions share. But you can’t. So, be proactive. It is a great story. The “religion” stuff is very minimal.

    On a last note I will leave you with a quote to remind of USA history; how religion, this time my own Christianity, was used.

    “[Slavery] was established by decree of Almighty God…it is sanctioned in the Bible, in both Testaments, from Genesis to Revelation…it has existed in all ages, has been found among the people of the highest civilization, and in nations of the highest proficiency in the arts.” Jefferson Davis, President, Confederate States of America

    do not hide from the past learn from it and grow.

    -Jason

    1. Jason the horrifically evil way in which slavery existed in the south was no more condoned by the bible than it would be to say if the bible teaches family values than it is ok to physically and sexually abuse your spouse and children.

      1. it does not matter, scripture was used to justify slavery. period. you dont have to like it, i dont like it. but it happened.

      2. Actually, if you read the Old Testament, slavery is not only condoned, it is quite carefully and accurately described.

  3. well dang it, when i posted the comment it said under moderation and when i woke up this morning it was gone so i assumed you had deleted it. Please accept my sincerest apologizes.

  4. Parents should not allow children to play games as these simply because it is M rated which means only people 17 and older can play it . It doesn’t matter if its Christian or antichristian they should not be playing in the first place.

  5. oh and furthermore the game has multiple endings so u wont necessarily get the same ending as the next person

  6. Hi,

    As an educated gamer, I would like to point out several things about BioShock Infinite that you may have looked over when speaking about this game. Before you say anything or dismiss this, you should be aware that I’ve received a Catholic education for quite some time, and am still a theology loving deist.

    First of all, this game is not anti-Semitic. I’ve played the game all the way through, with a total of about 30 hours since its release back in March, and taking the multi-layered ending sequence out of context will get you nowhere. To begin with, the game is set in 1912, with strong ties to the Boxer Rebellion and the Battle of Wounded Knee. The founder of the floating city of Columbia, Zachary Comstock, wanted to leave himself behind after participating in both of these conflicts. He hated himself for his atrocities, so he, who was named Booker Dewitt at the time, was baptized and chose a new name and new life. Later on in this response, I will explain Comstock and his actions, but it is NOT the baptism that makes him the cultist leader of Columbia. Aside from this, he doesn’t worship Jesus, he worships the founding fathers George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, and Thomas Jefferson. History has been skewed in his favor, with “legends” like George Washington flying over the Delaware River to defeat the British, and other things of that nature. His “rebirth” didn’t make him a cultist, quantum physics did.

    Something that you may have noticed when watching the ending is the final portion where Elizabeth (who is actually Booker’s long lost daughter Anna), or rather, two different forms of Elizabeth, grab onto Booker’s arms, and one states, “He’s Zachary Comstock,” while the other states, “No, he’s Booker Dewitt.” Booker responds, “No, I’m both.” This requires a massive amount of explanation. The theme and overall story of this game revolve around alternate universes; again, not anti-Semitism. The only way to properly go about this is to begin chronologically from the beginning.

    The year is 1890, and Booker Dewitt is participating in the Battle of Wounded Knee with his commanding officer, and friend, Cornelius Slate. Booker did some rather terrible things during this time, and he hated himself and what he had to do. He had a choice afterwards. Either get baptized and forget himself, or refuse and live with it. This is where the split occurs. In one universe, Booker chooses to get baptized, and chooses the new name Zachary Hale Comstock. In the universe that we play in, Booker chooses to live with it. In our universe, Booker goes on to get married and has a daughter, Annabelle, in 1892. His wife dies in childbirth. Booker doesn’t know what to do with himself, as he is massively in debt, his wife has passed away, and he is left to care for Anna alone.

    Now, for the sake of chronology, we switch to the other universe. Now, at this point, I want to absolutely stress that Comstock is simply a new man, NOT a cultist leader. His advice gains sway in the United States Government, and he happens to meet with renowned physicist Rosalind Lutece. Lutece is experimenting with the volatile processes involved with quantum physics, and she manages to break the barriers between universes, and communicate with an alternate version of herself, who is also doing the same experiment. She tells Comstock about this, and, determined to meet her alternate self face to face, opens an interdimentional “tear”, which allows Robert Lutece (her alternate self) to walk through to Rosalind’s world. Using the tear has a very bad effect on Robert, though, and he becomes very ill for quite some time, experiencing confusion and hemorrhaging as he adjusts to the knew reality. Comstock wishes to use the device to see the future, and, ignoring the warnings from Rosalind and Robert about the device’s side effects, opens a new tear. Through the tear, he sees the floating city of Columbia, and his commission to build that city.

    Now THIS is when Comstock loses his mind. Using the device messes with his brain, and also makes him sterile. He, with the help of the Lutece “siblings”, builds Columbia with special physics that I won’t go into for the sake of shortness of this response. The long and short of it is that he becomes obsessed with finding an heir, as he cannot produce one of his own, so he abducts Anna from our universe, as she is technically his daughter, albeit from another universe, on October 8, 1893.

    Fast forward 19 years. It’s now 1912, the year that BioShock Infinite’s story takes place. Booker is offered a chance to get Anna back, and he travels through a tear in space-time to the universe in which Anna, now 20 years old and re-named Elizabeth, is captive. The trauma of moving worlds messes with Booker’s brain, and he creates new memories based on both his old memories, which erases Anna from his mind. That’s why he doesn’t remember having a daughter, and can’t make the connection between Elizabeth’s missing finger and Anna losing a finger 19 years previously, as you can see in the video you attached.

    I could continue explaining the plot of BioShock Infinite, but I believe I’ve already proven my point. Zachary Comstock is not crazy because of baptism, he’s a crazy cultist because quantum physics completely destroyed his body and mind. As an interesting little conclusion, after the credits roll, Booker is back in the room with Anna, the date is October 8, 1893, and the universe has finally been set right, as Booker can raise his own daughter in peace, without any crazy universe time paradoxes.

    Oh, and I don’t disagree with your point about children playing this game, either. It’s rated M, for one, so having children play it isn’t a good idea anyway. Second, there are far too many themes in Infinite that children wouldn’t understand, and would sail right past them. Third, and finally, I feel the three BioShock games need to be taken as an entire, single unit, not with separate titles, and certainly not with moments taken out of context. I do, however, think that adults should be playing this game, as they will recognize the themes, are definitely old enough, and can have good conversation about the topics the game brings up.

    Please to respond to this comment, as I would like to have a conversation about this if you still disagree.

  7. This game has added more value to my life than Christianity ever has. At least video games are *admittedly* fiction, and not just layers upon layers of mind & financial control.

    No people have died for or over this game. No children have been raped by their priests via this game. No one can make those two statements about Christianity. Fucking sad, right??

    Don’t be mindless sheep. You’re a slowly-dying mammal on a fast-dying planet. Live like one. <3

    PS: Liam's comment is excellent!!

    1. Thanks, Level,

      Seriously, you’ve taken one moment out of a game that needs to be taken as a whole. You haven’t done your research, and that’s not good journalism. If you wish to be a good journalist, you need to thoroughly research your topic, talk to people involved, and provide an opinion based on fact, not conjecture. If you wish to read more fully about the game’s plot and overall themes, visit this site:

      http://bioshock.wikia.com/wiki/Zachary_Hale_Comstock

      This page directs you specifically to the life of Comstock, but the website contains all the other information you’re looking for.

      And furthurmore, I find it interesting that you didn’t even touch on the racism in BioShock Infinite that pervades 1912 Columbia. This only further proves my point that the only thing you’ve seen from this game is, in fact, that 16 minute clip you have posted. Please be more thorough next time.

      Thanks.

    2. Level, that may be one of the dumbest well-written posts I have read, ever.

      Christianity has influenced hundreds of millions for good or ill so to compare its impact to the impact of a recently released video game is daft.

      (before anyone responds with the obvious posts of ‘mostly ill’ please consider Christianities massive influence on the development of Western tolerant democracy and overall morality as well as its role in the formation of most major charities – like most long lasting social movements it has, overall, a good effect on the lives and communities it is part of but people are blind to everyday good and see only the bad minority events)

    3. Level, what have you added to Christianity? You speak of the religion as though you have no dog in this fight. You risk a lot, friend, by ignoring Christ. Please seek Christ with an open heart and mind, and reconsider your outlook. Much Love.

      1. Mrs. Beard,

        I’ve come back to this post after such a long time because I felt the need to, yet again, correct people. He, in fact, risks nothing by “ignoring” Christ. You have a certain faith that you believe will sustain you in your life. In fact, I’m sure it has sustained you plenty of times. But I often find that those who are so willing to share their beliefs are often too blind and selfish to let others share their beliefs with them. I fear neither death nor damnation. The Christian faith has led to Crusades and the deaths of millions, just as much as it has led to the love and charity of millions. I have my own beliefs about the nature of the world I live in. Christianity led me to fear Hell and doing wrong far more than it encouraged me to do right, so while I respect your opinion, I disagree with it.

  8. I knew some people would think this regardless of the measures they took so Christians wouldn’t feel dogged on. Its obvious that comstock’s cult is based on western religion; Followers dressed in white robes, baptism, the stained glass, the imagery in general. However there are no mentions of Christ or depictions of crosses anywhere in the game. This is deliberate. They may be walking a fine line with their use of religion in this game but I believe that they pulled it off. By keeping it vague and ambiguous they are singling out no one. In truth the cult of columbia worships Comstock and their own achievements more than anything. Comstock is just borrowing the visual style of Christianity.

  9. Also, It was the use of the parralel univervse device thing that cause comstock to become a psycho, It messed with his head. Before that happened, his acceptance of the baptism led to him becoming a functional man with power and influence in the government.

  10. Although I agree that Bioshock Infinite does sometimes show religion in a bad way the game portrays American 1900’s society as even worse and the main reason Comstock (the games antagonist) is portrayed as some sort of religous zealot it shows that Bookers other destiny is even worse (his destiny in the real world) so the point of the game’s ending is that they create an entirely new universe for Booker & Elizabeth/Anna which is supposed to be the balance of both the religious and world booker came from originally. Also if you had fully explored the game you would of realised that the founders were religous to the american founders and the idea of ‘salvation’ from the prophet shows that the world can never become a full utopia and the world will always contain some evil. Otherwise there will never be need of salvation or faith. As is spoken at the very starting scenes of columbia in the game.

    So please before you critisise this Amazing game for the idea that it’s mindless violence of murdering waves of people, go through it properlly because the game shows the morale toll on a person ranging from Booker which causes depression for him & tolls of gambiling and drinking debts to Elizabeth where it destroys her amazingly strong spirit. This game is all about Perception and how you interpret it.

    In my opinion this Game is more than a game. In a way, it’s a lesson.

  11. Several posters here have said the game does not explicitly reference Christianity. But at 7:56 in the video, Comstock prays to “Jesus”. You can’t get more explicit than praying to someone named “Jesus”.

    Just before that, there is talk of being “born again” and “baptized” in the “blood of the lamb”. Again, those are unique to Christianity.

    But that is just the ending. Throughout the game there are Bible quotes from the New Testament. There are terms like “baptism”. And, of course, there is the fact that the religious leader speaks about religion in an overly-dramatic, southern accent, that is reminiscent of the televangelists in the US. Yes, we could imagine that a Muslim or Hindu born in the southern US that could sound like that on a bad day. But in US culture, everyone knows which religion that caricature refers to. It’s a common negative stereotype of Christianity.

    People have pointed out that it wasn’t the conversion and baptism that made Comstock evil. However, it was the Booker that rejected conversion and baptism that the player identifies with (literally). And it is that Christianity-rejecting Booker who fights against evil throughout the game, and who is nobly self-sacrificing in the end.

    Finally, people have commented that the game isn’t criticizing Christianity; it’s just criticizing evil people who pervert religion. But that is like defending the 1950s radio/movie/TV portrayal of African Americans as always being stupid. Someone could try arguing that this universal portrayal wasn’t implying that all African Americans are stupid. It was just criticizing those African Americans that happen to be stupid. But that is hardly a convincing argument. The truth is that negative stereotypes did harm by affected peoples’ attitudes.

    That’s the real problem in this game. It isn’t that the story in the end makes some argument about religion. The problem is that EVERY character in the game that is religious is also racist, sexist, and murderous. And EVERY character in the game that is moral or good, is also completely devoid of any religious beliefs. The correlation is 100%.

    After you spend many hours playing in this universe, Christian words and practices can start to feel slightly creepy or evil. And people who avoid religion start to feel more trustworthy. That is how the game can help spread an anti-Christian attitude.

    1. you really need to read liam’s post, because you are judging the game on this one video. And it seems you have the impression that the only people you fight in this game are the “religious” people, this is wrong.

      but you seem to want to find problems and insults where none exist.

      you need to read about real awful people from the great ole USA that have used religion to kill hundreds of people. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jim_Jones

      “After you spend many hours playing in this universe, Christian words and practices can start to feel slightly creepy or evil. And people who avoid religion start to feel more trustworthy. That is how the game can help spread an anti-Christian attitude.”

      WHAT?

      people without this game fine Christian practices “creepy” . It is not the job of this game to make my religion seem great.

      as i said in my original post, religion has been used to justify awful things. I do not agree with those and it sickens me when you read about them in the news or in history books.

    2. As I have already posted here several times, I would prefer not to repeat myself in providing a counter point. It is not the baptism that makes Comstock crazy, it’s the fact that he messed with quantum physics and tore the laws of the universe apart. The baptism did what it was supposed to do: make him a new man with a new name and new life. Meeting with the Lutece twins changed all that. It is because Booker rejects the baptism that he does not MEET the Lutece’s, and doesn’t lose his mind. Booker is still a drunk, worthless, ass of a man with a gambling problem, so you cannot say for a moment that he was a “hero” just because he was the main character of the story. He doesn’t even sacrifice himself in the end, his solution to the problem is killing Comstock as a child. He’s not noble, he’s not a great hero, he’s not even a classical tragic hero, he’s just an angry person who wants to protect his daughter.

      And I find your point about African Americans rather irrelevant. The portrayal of African Americans during the Civil Rights Movement WAS supposed to portray all African Americans as stupid and worthless, that’s why it existed. You cannot claim that Irrational Games is attempting the same thing in Infinite because they are two completely unrelated topics with different driving motives 60 years apart in history.

      Yes, all the religious people in Columbia are racists, but I’d like to be more specific. All of the religious, patriotic, brainwashed, well-to-do white people in Columbia are racists. This is because they have been assimilated into Columbian culture by Comstock and by those around them, and we should keep in mind that they worship the founding fathers, not Jesus. Comstock and Elizabeth are the only characters in the game that actually talk about Jesus or God, everybody else worships idols. And to add to this, the Vox Populi (the perfectly atheistic, non racist, non sexist rebels that wish to “free” Columbia), are just as violent and murderous as anyone Comstock employs, if not more so. Not only that, Columbia reflects the worst of 1912 culture. Columbia is to BioShock’s 1912 as the Westboro Baptist Church is to our very real 2013. You ask us to do a case study on Columbia and automatically apply a small fraction of the game to the entire point of the plot, and that’s not how you do statistics, Paul. If this game had taken place in, say, New York City, we’d find a very different kind of problem and portrayal of people in New York on the verge of the First World War.

      Feel free to keep believing what you want about this game, but I feel like you’re completely missing the point it’s trying to convey.

  12. Several posters here have said the game does not explicitly reference Christianity. But at 7:56 in the video, Comstock prays to “Jesus”. You can’t get more explicit than praying to someone named “Jesus”.

    Just before that, there is talk of being “born again” and “baptized” in the “blood of the lamb”. Again, those are unique to Christianity.

    But that is just the ending. Throughout the game there are Bible quotes from the New Testament. There are terms like “baptism”. And, of course, there is the fact that the religious leader speaks about religion in an overly-dramatic, southern accent, that is reminiscent of the televangelists in the US. Yes, we could imagine that a Muslim or Hindu born in the southern US could sound like that on a bad day. But in US culture, everyone knows which religion that caricature refers to. It’s a common negative stereotype of Christianity.

    People have pointed out that it wasn’t the conversion and baptism that made Comstock evil. However, it is the Booker that rejected conversion and baptism that the player identifies with (literally). And it is that Christianity-rejecting Booker who fights against evil throughout the game, and who is nobly self-sacrificing in the end.

    Finally, people have commented that the game isn’t criticizing Christianity; it’s just criticizing evil people who pervert religion. But that is like defending the 1950s radio/movie/TV portrayal of African Americans as always being stupid. Someone could try arguing that this universal portrayal wasn’t implying that all African Americans are stupid. It was just criticizing those African Americans that happen to be stupid. But that is hardly a convincing argument. The truth is that negative stereotypes did harm by affecting peoples’ attitudes.

    That’s the real problem in this game. It isn’t that the story in the end makes some argument about religion. The problem is that EVERY character in the game that is religious is also racist, sexist, and murderous. And EVERY character in the game that is moral or good, is also completely devoid of any religious speech or actions. The correlation is 100%.

    After you spend many hours playing in this universe, Christian words and practices can start to feel slightly creepy or evil. And people who avoid religion start to feel more trustworthy. That is how the game can help spread an anti-Christian attitude.

  13. The game does not condemn chrisitanity but rather wacko cult leaders hijacking christianity for personal gain.

    Just because the villain is wearing some of the clothes of christianity does not mean it’s mocking christianity! The game is making important and valid points. We don’t need to take a simplistic, ham-fisted interpretation of this game.

    Every time Comstock quotes the bible it’s laughable. This is very important. Every time Joel Osteen quotes the bible it’s laughable.

    If the game was mocking christianity I would have been offended …. but it’s mocking the hijacking of christianity. Which tells me perhaps the creator actually cares about christianity.

  14. The end of the game where Booker T. DeWitt is drowned by Elizabeth is making a reference to being baptized. After the player watches through the credits, they will see a scene in which Booker still has his daughter Anna. The symbolism is that Booker has finally accepted a baptizing and because he has done so all the chaos that has been in his life has gone away. Also, near the end of the game Elizabeth asks Booker if “G-d will forgive them for their sins?” Even through all the false prophecy of Comstock, Elizabeth still believes in G-d and knows only G-d has ultimate control. Maybe the creators of the game are saying they believe G-d is merciful because after Booker is baptized he is able to be reunited with his daughter.

  15. My problem with this game is simple. It takes the fun and funny approach of parody over the edge into spiteful mockery. I can enjoy the theatre of comically and ironically portraying the salesman esque form that some preachers or movements fall into. It’s healthy to hold up the mirror to that which is most ridiculous in us. Bioshock Infinite unlike the first two games mocks the truths behind the hype. It takes the soul of Christianity and splays it open for a gaudy ticket sale. It takes a shot at the utterly profound and humbling last words of Jesus on the cross, John the Baptist and baptism itself. It portrays god through a pigeon hole as a bloodthirsty, vengeance-seeking adolescent with his hand on the button. It doesn’t take long to realize that the creator of this game has dropped the veil come out from behind the OZ machine to reveal himself as a spite-ridden tainted atheist who’s main goal is seemingly to say ‘hey wait a minute! You misinterpreted my meaning in the first bioshock, I didn’t create Ryan I am Ryan and like him I never meant to poke fun at religion I mean to destroy it because I hate god …. even though I’m an atheist. ‘
    I have to say that this game came nowhere near the first Bioshock in artistry, script or character and seems to be made by a creator in whom all the spritely and humorous youth has left behind only rendered hatred in the cold dead bones.

    1. I have to completely disagree with you. The first BioShock and Infinite are going for very different motifs and messages as the stories play out. Both are incredible in their own rights, and my personal favorite of the entire series is Infinite. I’m not going to make another counterpoint post here, I’m just going to ask that you read what Ryan wrote a couple posts down, he nailed exactly what this game is doing. This game is far deeper than is possible to understand just by playing through it once, or even two or three times. It requires a lot of time and wrestling with its ideals and motives. Check that post out, it’s beautiful.

  16. Cannot deny America’s history. All this game is doing is extrapolating the early history of the United States onto a society that has been completely removed from the rest of the world. The fact that this parallel universe forked at a christian baptism is irrelevant. The xenophobic outlook of Comstock stemmed from him following his values in order to protect his flock.

  17. Firstly, like many other commenters, I also think that the article misinterprets this last scene and ignores the nuances Liam has affirmed. However, I do believe that the game places religion, Christianity in particular due to the Christian imagery, in a harsh light. In fact, I think they were brave and very clever. Rather than just criticizing how Christianity can be used to justify horrible things, which the game does, the plot attacks the core fundamental underpinnings of Christian philosophy. The game plays with the dichotomy between Compatabalism ,which asserts that god and free will can both exist, and Determinism, which asserts that only one of the two can. Religious teachings almost unanimously are built around Compatabalism because Christianity needs God and free will to make sense. The game is built around Determinism as represented by the loop Booker was stuck in. The scenes with the endless lighthouses with endless amounts of Booker’s is inspired by Existentionalism. As I interpret the game, Booker never had free will since every decision he makes is represented by another dimension. Some Bookers become Comstock and some do not as defined by the baptism choice. Some Bookers killed Indians at Wounded Knee which means other Bookers in other dimensions do not. We are simply taking a journey through one extravagant possibility. Choice is just possibility which goes back to the Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead inspiration. Therefore, the game does not reject theism just free will. It does, on the contrary, undercut Christian teachings on the grounds of moral choice and metaphysics. What is good and bad if every possibility is actualized? The game is a lesson, in my view, which is : our “choices” are all that matter. Everything we are is the product of coin tosses and what changes our story is the people we meet along the way. That is, at least my short conclusion, of the game’s lesson but each player should take their own personal conclusions away from the experience. It is, indeed, a secular lesson. Booker is not a hero and destroying a branch of possibilities for Booker’s life is hardly redemption.

    1. It is interesting to me that many liberals, atheists, and agnostics are so quick to ridicule Christianity or present it in a bad light. They are quick to site Salem witch trials, which to the best of my research, there was no one burned at the stake, the Crusades, oh, did anyone stop to think that the war was to take back the holy land from the Muslims that took it in the 7th century in the first place? Now we have had Pol Pot, Hitler, Stalin, and many other Atheists and their regimes that have killed countless millions but they somehow never seem to notice or they are not ashamed by their hypocrisy. OK, Ken Levine, since you have taken cheap shots at Christianity for the last 3 Bioshock games, I’m sure to be fair, you will now ridicule Muslims, Buddhists, or Atheists in your next installment of Bioshock right? …..Right?

    2. Wow, Ryan. “What is good and bad if every possibility is actualized?” That is indeed the most beautiful interpretation of this game I have ever read. This guy nailed it on the head, everybody. Read this post, it does far more for your critical thinking than my counterpoint posts ever will. I tip my metaphorical hat to you, good sir.

  18. There are so many cracks at Christianity in this game it’s hard to make a good argument that it’s not anti-Christian. Look, you may like the game or WANT to like the game because you liked the other Bioshock games, and a lot of the critics rave about how good it is (they’re mostly non-Christians and probably agree with he sentiments espoused by the game to some degree. “Hate religion” is a very popular sentiment these days, especially amongst gamers.). Liking the game, or liking the franchise, doesn’t make it not anti-Christian.

    Just go watch a “Let’s Play” or “Walkthrough” of this game on Youtube. The jabs at Christianity are thick, and everywhere, and mostly completely inaccurate or grossly exaggerated straw-men. The creators of this game are clearly non-religious, or at least not Christian, and don’t know what we actually believe. Go look at some interviews with the creators of the game, you get a sense that they are anti-Judaism and anti-Christian.
    They may have some kind of new-age metaphysical religion (that I’m sure they would HATE anyone referring to as a “religion”. Remember, religion is always evil!) which comes through the game loud and clear, what with the glamorizing of Quantum Physics as a legitimization for new age beliefs (the facts of which new-age gurus love to distort), while the scientists themselves avoid such fantastical conclusions because they know it’s not as spacey and glamorous as the new agers wish it was. But, of course, this is a sci-fi fantasy game, they can fudge science if they want to.
    However, when you are clearly ripping on a particular religion (protestant Christianity) instead of the bad parts of all religions as a whole, it’s another thing altogether. It’s really offensive, and it deserves to be shunned by the Christian community, just like the atheistic community would shun a game that mocks their values so blatantly and glorifies Christianity.

    The protagonist in the game (Booker DeWitt… hmm, I wonder what that name implies?) literally has “the mark of the false prophet” on his hand, which in Christianity would make him the antichrist, false prophet, or one of his followers. Of course, the antichrist is the “good guy”.
    Many people have already shown how this game makes all CHRISTIANOID religious people seem like crazy, racist, murderous nutballs, caricatures of Christians, and you proceed to murder them senselessly with incredible gore spewing everywhere because not a single one seems to be anything more than “religious brainwashed nutball enemy #568”. But the “good guys” are either irreligious, blatantly anti-religious, or some “humanism-acceptable” religion/philosophy like Buddhism (yes, two of the “good guys” in the game are implied to be a Buddhists. Of course, that religion is fine, BUT NOT THAT HORRIBLE CHRISTIANITY OH NO ITS SO BAD AND NEVER GOOD, don’t you ever forget it!) To top it all off, the “Songbird” monster (the new “big daddy”) looks like a gargoyle-like mockery of a dove, the symbol of the Holy Spirit. That’s just a start, there is more.

    Honestly, go watch a walkthrough of the game on Youtube if you are over 18. You don’t need to buy the game in order to know what it’s peddling. It’s just, wow, really offensive to me as a Christian, but then it probably was meant to be, and most of the fans are non-Christian so they probably enjoyed the parts that I did not. Notice they aren’t making fun of any other religion other than Christianity, except for maybe Judaism (which is a part of Christianity as well).

    The game itself is extremely violent, almost jovially so, as if the player is supposed to revel in and enjoy the death and gruesomeness of the executions, so beware of the Tarantinoesque level of blood and gore. It’s not like a game such as The Last of Us, which is also extremely violent, but in a more realistic, movie-like sense, where the gore is actually supposed to make you hate what has happened to the world and be disgusted with what you are doing instead of embracing it.

    And while I know this game is fantasy, it’s not real and its not supposed to be, we all know that game designers, and musicians, movie-makers, and artists, etc, make things that reflect their own beliefs or worldviews in some, perhaps obscure but still relevant, sense. You don’t write a story for a game of this caliber if you disagree entirely with what it glorifies. Games are vehicles for ideas, just as movies and books and music are. Just because it’s a game, don’t think it’s not pushing an agenda, there is a ton of money going into these things nowadays. It ain’t a hobby, or your friendly neighborhood monopoly board game. It’s practically a big-budget playable movie.

    Lastly, pray for the developers of this game. Do what they appear to think you won’t, love your enemies and pray for those that despise you. Still, speak the truth in love, and have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but expose them.

    PS, I have to disagree with Ryan, though I’m not trying to bash you Ryan I’m just disagreeing. There are many Christians who do not believe in “free will”, they are called Calvinists, or simply monergists. They have no problem with the whole idea of morality, God, and determinism all existing quite harmoniously. Also, the game does not teach just one ultimate lesson, it teaches many throughout the entire journey. There may be a “morality is unreal” humanistic endcap, but the rest of the ministories and other points throughout the game still mostly stand, and still insult Christianity through atheistic straw-manning and caricaturizations throughout the majority of the game.
    Finally, how can Bioshock’s lesson be that our choices are what matter? How can our choices matter in such as determined universe as Bioshock infinite’s? They can’t, they don’t, because you didn’t really make any choice, the universe determined it (and was determined itself unless it’s essentially God and has it’s own changeable, self-determined will) and you are it’s puppet. So your choices were never yours to make, because you can’t control your own will, nor act on it, it’s all a grand pageant and you have no autonomous will or power to deviate on your own. If that’s Bioshock’s ultimate message, then it truly is just atheism/humanism/nihilism bashing Christianity in particular, and most other religions a little bit, which really is what that group tends to do most of the time anyway, so not surprising.

    “What is good and bad if every possibility is actualized?” Well, how does everything that could occur, occuring somewhere, have anything to do with whether something is moral or not? The question is, is there a God and what does He think, and did you have any control over your choices, not whether infinite you’s (nearly similar, but not entirely the same “doppelgangers” of “you” rather, since they aren’t really your instance of “you” and therefore aren’t really “you”) in other universes made other choices.

  19. If you played the game then you would clearly see that it’s about a false prophet claiming to be from God and deceiving millions. When I was playing this game I felt more involved because I truly wanted to stop this man! When he spoke you could hear a dark sinister voice echoing with his. In the animations and posters you can see devils. This just like any other villain is a man being influenced by Satan and claims to be from God. God warns us of such men so why would it be a mockery.

    The bottom line is that this game is bad to play due to the graphical violence, torture, magic, cruelty and rasism, and not because their is biblical referencing; Don’t be defensive and small minded. Don’t think God would want anyone to play any of the games out as we live in a world with Satan’s influence.

    1. and what is so evil about magic? does Jesus not walk on water? (also this ‘magic’ is science fiction)

      1. except for the part where it IS magic.

        (and i’m not sure where I even heard about jesus walking on water so i’m probably wrong about that)

  20. I am by no means religious, though I do still consider myself a Christian. Here is what I see as the good and bad about this game.

    The good:

    1. Elizabeth and Booker are willing to sacrifice their own lives in order to stop Comstock and the building of Columbia.
    2. The story is pretty outstanding.

    The bad:

    1. Ken Levine (the author) is an admitted atheist and I think they are flat-out crazier than religious people.
    2. Ken needs to get a clue. Christian baptism has nothing to do with forgiveness of sins, it’s simply a welcoming to Christianity.
    3. Ken Levine is not a scientist, not a religious scholar and not a historian, he is an actor and writer.
    4. Trying to replace happiness and spirituality with theoretical physics will not work. Science minimizes your emotional and spiritual side, I’m not anti-science at all but science is not going to make you happy, just make you smarter. We need both.
    5. The ending is generally dark. Even though Elizabeth and Booker are successful, there is no joy in their success.

  21. The crux of the argument from what I can see is that baptism, in Jesus name (they did say it, I just finished the game), turns Dewitt into a horrible person. Oppositely stopping that from happening produces the “happy ending”.
    I’d say the “Nazi” label is appropriate.

    In reality coming to Christ does not turn someone into an egotistical maniac and the alternative is burning in hell forever.
    In reality you get one chance to make the right choice.

    1. To which, again, I say that the Baptism that created Comstock was a result of him simply looking to avoid feeling guilt instead of legitimately seeking salvation. He instead shoehorns his own ideology into Christianity as a way of justifying what he does. Booker does not reject Christianity because he thinks it’s evil, but because he believes that he cannot be forgiven for what he has done. Over the course of his adventure, he faces up to his past sins and is then Baptized, allowing him to live a free man who effectively follows Christian principles.

  22. Completely ignoring the religious aspect –

    Everyone has completely missed the point here. This blog post started “This is a warning to parents with gaming children.”

    If parents are so concerned about their children absorbing a belief system from an R rated game then is it not the solution to simply disallow them from playing an R rated game? The rating system is there for a reason.

  23. First off lets be real here, M-rated or “R-rated”/ 17 and up, doesn’t stops kids from playing this or parents from buying it for their kids. So if you are the kind of parent who allows your kids like 14 and up or whatever to play violent video games, I think this blog post is directed at you.

    Anyway, I thought I’d put in my two cents after reading the diverse and thoughtful list of comments, which made many good points from several different perspectives.

    Ok, so in Bioshock 1 the extremism of free market capitalism is criticized. Then in Bioshock 2 the extremism of Marxist socialism is criticized. In 1 there is no morals, in 2 there is no free will (both games are great, but 1 is hands down the best) However, in Bioshock Infinite, things are a bit more tricky.

    Bioshock Infinite seems to focus on a bit more controversial criticism, that is of religious extremism, by using the racist, deranged, xenophobic, and self-proclaimed prophet Zachary Hale Comstock. This Bioshock installment definitely hits closer to home for Americans than the previous games. It uses the sad and unfortunate, but all too true historical aspects of the racism, and nativism that occurred in America during the turn of the 20th century, but calling it Nazism is going too far. Infinite is full of wildly complex symbolism. I generally agree with Ryan, Liam, and Cthulhu on their analyses above, but the details seem to be disputed by different interpretations based on people’s individual perceptions. I do find it kinda surprising though, because I’m conservative, I hold traditional values, I’m a Christian, and I am very patriotic and love my country, but I’ve played the entire game 3 or 4 times plus all the DLC and I absolutely loved this game and its still one of my favorites. However, when I played it, the religious aspect did stand out to me from the beginning all the way through to the end. Particularly, that fact that it heavily resembled Christianity. At first I thought it was odd, but I guessed it was appropriate given Columbia’s Vintage Americana theme and America being a largely Christian country founded on Judeo-Christian values, so at first I thought it was a kind of nice, refreshingly positive outlook on the religion for once in a game. But I was wrong.

    I don’t mind the criticism of religion, I think its healthy to be mindful of when people falsely use religion in the extreme, for power or greed or to hurt people etc. But in Infinite it clearly stereotyped Christianity, the stained glass, baptism, being reborn, the mark of the false prophet, reciting verses from the new testament, using Jesus, even if it was only once or twice. These are all straight from the bible along with other things that could be considered stretches, but nonetheless they evidently resemble this particular religion. Many games from fallout to red faction to others have plenty of religious cults that don’t resemble a particular religion so I know the difference even if some of the people above don’t see it. I don’t believe I’m being close-minded or too sensitive, think, you would never see this similarity taken from Islam. I get that the creators wanted to use the “Christianity look” for Columbia, whether its because they wanted to show how the religion is/was abused and maybe subconsciously criticize the religion itself at the same time, or because it simply just fits the atmosphere and resonates with gamers. Either way though it puts my religion in a harsh light and knowing Ken Levine to be an atheist and that originally he had to remove things from the game because it offended Christian members of his own team, makes me skeptical of the game’s intentions and of the creator’s intentions. So my point would be that Christianity is not the bad guy in the game, but the game surely resembles that religion and that was definitely intentional and I would even say crucial to creating the specific atmosphere that the creators wanted to make. Therefore, I don’t think it’s wrong for Christians like myself to feel a little bothered by the creators choices and skeptical of their intentions

  24. im 18 i played lots of games but never seen a game so big on being anti christian like this game i have not played this game but seen gameplay of the anti christian seens and im like wow, they dont say there christian in the game but the things they do you can tell they are anti christian

  25. I would just like to say that if my previous comment makes it through moderation, i’m sorry. I have an alternate personality who embodies all my negative emotions. whilst I agree with everything I said under his control, I do not believe in telling people why they’re wrong (if God does end up existing then you will all have the last laugh). what I said was awful, please do not take it seriously.

    -David

  26. whilst this is an old thread it still (in my opinion deserves to be continued apon) the game takes place in an alternate universe where Christians are crazy closed minded freaks. that is not how the real world is. people say that Christianity is vulnerable, but look. you are so closed minded that it’s not funny. (not that I’m any different, I’m just a hypocrite.) your ‘God’ created the universe, waited for the dinosaurs to dye. waited for men to evolve enough to be considered human. did tons of stuff that ‘still influences us today’ (including letting his only son die). then does nothing for thousands of years? this comment is turning mean. anyway, the game is not anti-Christian, just anti-super-crazy-religious. any Christian who has basic knowledge of how god is not responsible for everything will (maybe) enjoy this game.

  27. Liam, I’d love to chat about your philosophical ideas.

    You seem to have an interesting brain to pick.

  28. Omg… you super christians really love to read into stuff that isnt there… a lamb can be sybolic of anything that needs sheltering or protection because it is important, in this case, Elizabeth. AND YES CIVIL WAR ERA CHRISTIANS WERE ALMOST ALL RACIST NUTJOBS so yes! if booker accepts the baptism and becomes one of those psychos, he becomes a tyrant! there is no anti christian element to this game, you just wanted a flag to wave to make yourself feel important to your fellow christians. if anything this game promotes the idea that you should really be aware of what groups to ally yourself with and which path to take in life because there is an infinite number of possibilities in this world and nothing is ever sure to us, it demonstrates how even the slightest event can have huge lasting effects on the outcome of things. for example, booker dewitt being baptized by the psycho christians after the war and falling in with what is essentially the westboro church X100 and becoming comstock, or him becoming a depressed cynic PI who gave away the daughter he never had as comstock. #JehovahsWitnessischristianmasterracecuzwearentstupidanddonttakeeverythingatfacevalue

    1. In the game the lamb is supposed to represent “the lamb of God”. Ken Levine takes a lot of biblical concepts and turns them into a story about a man who perverts religion. I don’t agree that it’s anti-christian, but they do use lots of christian elements to make a very compelling story. I honestly think it’s one of the greatest stories of all time.

  29. Back to the topic. What if Bioshock is Anti-Christian (i don’t think so)? What is the problem with that? Bioshock 2 was hitting on Marxism and i can’t remember that this was a problem (because everybody thinks Marxism was bad and so it was OK??). If Infinite was indeed hitting on Christianity, why is this wrong? There are a lot of people who feel that Christianity is bad or at least has caused terrible things. And there is still freedom of speach and opinion as far as i know. But there seem to be a number of christians who find it hard to look at history and accept the evil that was done. By the way, the nazi’s were christians, went to church and thanked God for the leadership of Hitler.

  30. I wouldn’t say it’s anti-christian. It’s a society run by a man who’s views are put to the extreme. It’s not about claiming christianity is wrong and evil, it’s about showing the dangers of extreme ideologies.

  31. But Colombia isnt supposed to represent all of christianity? And how can you even be a fan when all Bioshock games contains FICTIONAL worlds as such? Not every evil game world is gonna pro-Jesus, that’s just reality.

Leave a Comment