Why I Love FarCry 5, as a Radical Christian
Before I begin, I must clarify the use of my term “radical” here. I personally do not consider myself to be radical, I don’t consider my ideas or beliefs or be beyond the limits of what is right or righteous, or I would not believe them. I consider myself rather orthodox, in my religious faith and in my political orientation, however it seems that the frame of reference, the “window” that allows us to orient the world has shifted a smudge, or a ton, or gone over the shark such that working class people who actively seek what’s in their best interests, or Christians reading and living according to the Bible seems “radical”. That is to say, I believe we have gone off the rails, but I try to ground myself in staying more than woke: cultivating Class Consciousness, and in seeking the truth of the Lord by His revealed Word, and through my ongoing, growing, difficult, joyous relationship with Him.
For that, I am an outcast, even among outkasts. Ostensible Christians do not like my critiques of capitalist excess, my condemnation of systems of power which oppress our brothers and sisters, or my audacity to break the 11th commandment by not proudly standing for the pledge of allegiance or singing the national anthem.
Leftists call me a cop for saying that sinful behavior is bad praxis; harmful to ourselves & our communities. Socialists reject me for not jumping on the opportunity to dogpile a political enemy, when I say we should be focused on changing systems, rather than blaming individuals.
So am I a radical? You tell me. Am I a Christian? Yes I am. This brings me to the topic of FarCry 5, the video game. Ubisoft has released the newest installment of their FarCry series, and they have taken a bold new direction with it. In previous games, the player explored exotic landscapes, using stealth, tactics, and lethal instinct to hunt animals, craft supplies, and kill people who are determined to find and kill you. The franchise was also no stranger to controversy, as some elements of the narrative of FarCry 4 were inspired by the Maoist insurgency in Nepal.
Nepalese Civil War - Wikipedia
The Nepalese Civil War was an armed conflict between the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) (CPN-M) and the government of…
FarCry 5, however, was going to do something different. This brutal, violent game which had previously had the player fight against exotic people in foreign lands, was coming home to America. The antagonists of this new FarCry game are not far away or foreign, but frighteningly all too familiar. They are Americans, they call themselves Christians, they are white, they are seeking something better, they are pissed off at the sad state of the world and they are organizing around a cult, led by a charismatic figurehead who is uncomfortably charming and silver tongued.
Joseph Seed is a terrifying character, precisely because of how good he as at sucking you in, bring you close, into his world, seeing things his way. He does what all cult leaders do well: he feeds people just enough truth and good deeds to lead them to himself, where he stands ready to accept their worship or allegiance.
When I first heard about FarCry 5’s domestic setting, I was very excited about something big, but I did not think that some video game company could pull it off. The main antagonist of FarCry 4 was utterly depraved, terrifying, sadistic, so evil that at times it fell into caricature. My worry with FarCry 5 was that we would get some bumbling stereotype of American hicks or fundamentalist Christians.
My worries vanished by the opening scene, and exploring this world has proven that Ubisoft really put in the work to make this story come alive with authenticity. As a Christian, this is the main reason I love this game: this really is a spectacular representation of how cults actually form.
Their message is effective because it weaves in truth along with injunctions to follow this man, Joseph Seed. That is the key of ANY cult, even some that might come knocking at your door. At the end of the day, the true Gospel points to Jesus Christ alone, and a proper understanding of Christ and love for Christ is central to being a real Christian. To be a Christian is to love God with all of your heart, mind, and soul. To be a Christian is to love your neighbor as yourself.
What FarCry 5 does so well is demonstrate what it looks like when someone comes around with a Bible, claiming to be a Christian, when their actions are anything but Christ-like.
For me, FarCry 5 isn’t just an incredibly fun, beautiful, highly polished game, it’s a reminder that a societal conditions of exploitation and alienation are the catalysts for groups like Eden’s Gate to form.