More groups at odds over Left Behind

Tyndale Publishers stands behind PC game based on its books; American-Islamic group says game damages "interfaith relations."

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Fire, brimstone, and bullets.
Fire, brimstone, and bullets.

In the arena of game controversy, the title currently getting the most daggers thrown in its direction is Left Behind: Eternal Forces, a Christianity-based real-time strategy game. The PC title, from developer Left Behind Games, is based on the Left Behind books that portray a world after the Rapture.

Since its release, Christian organizations have attacked the game en masse, saying that it teaches un-Christian values such as intolerance and violence.

As pointed out by GamePolitics.com, it isn't just Christian groups that are displeased with the game. Earlier this week, The Council on American-Islamic Relations asked Wal-Mart to stop carrying the game, saying that it promotes religious violence and "may harm interfaith relations."

"We believe the message this game is promoting is one of religious intolerance. The game's enemy team includes people with Muslim-sounding names," said CAIR executive director Nihad Awad in an open letter to Wal-Mart. "In the post 9-11 climate, when improving interfaith relations should be a priority for all, this type of product only serves to dehumanize others and increase interfaith hostility and mistrust."

The letter continues, "We have no desire to stifle creativity or inhibit freedom of speech. However, it is our duty as America's leading Islamic civil rights group to promote mutual understanding and ensure the safety of Americans of all faiths."

Amid the vocal opposition, one group has come forward to defend the game--the publisher of the Left Behind books, Tyndale Publishers.

"We are careful to guard the content of our own products, and we worked with [Left Behind Games] to ensure that the content of their game is appropriate. There is a certain level of violence inherent in the story, just as there is a certain level of violence in the Left Behind books," said Tyndale House Publishers president Mark D. Taylor. "The game is designed to be a classic battle between good and evil, but it does not gratuitously depict violence or death."

While organizations debate the appropriateness of the game's content, game critics have agreed that its gameplay isn't praiseworthy. For Left Behind Games' take on the controversy, read GameSpot's recent Q&A with Left Behind Games CEO Troy Lyndon.

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