Archive for religion


Posted in Game Tirades with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 14, 2013 by helenparker1212

Click the orange link!



Posted in Game Tirades with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 14, 2013 by helenparker1212

Click the orange link!

Will You Ever Return A


Posted in Game Tirades with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 12, 2012 by helenparker1212

It was Jesus who told us to love each other, right? “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another.” That was his big message I think. And likewise it was Bill and Ted who commanded that we “be excellent to each other.” A simple plan you’d think.

I think if I could touch the face of God, this is what it would feel like.

In the space of two hours, sitting in front of the PS3 playing a little £10 download game, I have just experienced what can only be described as a spiritual epiphany. Rarely has it ever been said (if in fact it has ever been said) that a computer game is capable of instigating a spiritual epiphany, but I just finished playing ‘Journey’ on the PS3, and it has reminded me of a question I had forgotten I was asking.

The little implacable question of what it is to be human.

Very simply, and disguising a level of ingenious complexity, this game takes the player on a journey through the entire gamut of human experience and emotion at a primitive level which speaks only and perfectly to the spiritual. Indeed, in this game there is no language, characters are able to communicate only in a form of whistling bird-song. immediately the alienation of language is removed. We become timeless and cultureless, creatures, rather than people, spirits rather than animals. The whistling is the language of Babel, communicating only feelings between you and your anonymous fellow traveller.

And travel we do, the entire game is about the journey. We travel from A to B to C. We discover knowledge. We revere a God head which imparts wisdom and salvation. We travel alone. We are overwhelmed with nervous joy at the discovery of a partner, another human presence equally lost and questing in the desolate expanse. We revel in the sheer joy of jumping and floating. We are terrorized by monsters and dark places. We suffer the devastation of loss when our partner disappears, ahead or behind. We feel guilt if we desert them, we feel shame if we are deserted. We continue alone and in fear, and we celebrate wildly when we are finally rejoined, because the journey is one that is meant to be made together. We are not supposed to travel through life alone. Our hearts hunger for each other, even as we strike out on our own, to find our own path. The sight of each other on the horizon literally makes us sing.

That a glimmer of an answer to life’s big question, what is the meaning of all this carnage, can be found in a two-hour long computer game for a tenner seems a little too good to be true right? But if you think about it, why the hell not? People say it’s in books like the Bible and Quran, all created by people. so why shouldn’t a computer game contain the same spiritual effervescence to awaken us from our faithless stupors?

The meaning of life rarely plagues us while we’re trying to pay the rent and lose weight and find love and educate ourselves and our young and help the environment and appease our parents and avoid ignominious or untimely deaths at the hands of others whilst simultaneously ignoring the catastrophic outrages of the rest of the far-flung world. What time do we have, in all this effluence of existence, to consider the bigger picture. Of what we are. What we mean. What we should and should not be.

In the darkest of moments when the whole awful weight of the meaning of life begins to come crashing down upon us, we generally do the only thing we can do in order to survive the apocalyptic truth that we are all of us dying and none of us are going to be mega-rich superstars or walk on the moon or enter into legend or time travel. What do we do to stave off the realisation that our entire lives are mere blips on an astronomic scale?

We ignore it.

We carry on.

We go to work, pay the rent, kiss the boys and count the calories down until health and old age finally consume and destroy us.

But every now and then we are offered a glimmer. A spark, which illuminates for a fraction of a second the greater something, in which we tiny people are revealed to be the diamond solid cogs which turn the God machine of planet Earth. And one of those glimmers, is in this game.

I shit you not.


Posted in TV Tirades with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 5, 2009 by helenparker1212

“I’m gonna find God.”




“Yes. He isn’t in heaven, he has to be somewhere.”

“Try New Mexico, I hear he’s on a tortilla.”

“No, he’s not on any flat bread.”

If you’ve been watching Supernatural Season 5 (and if you haven’t then you’re an idiot) recently, either on tv or online as I have been forced to due to the arbitrary bastard nature of delayed British releases of US tv shows, then you’ll have noticed the narrative arc has taken a distinctly religious turn. Moving beyond the typical supernatural fare of demons and monsters, the angels and humans are now on a full on quest to find Him, the big G.


His presence has been cautiously hinted at throughout the series (a programme premised on the supernatural could hardly ignore the biggest supernatural entity of them all) even before the angels showed up in season 4, and now finally the man Himself is being hunted down by his discontent and feuding creations.

This thrilling and also slightly ominous prospect of an actual glimpse of God begs some serious questions of the audience. For starters, do we actually even want to see God? How would he be portrayed? Would he be Alanis Morrisette? Would he be empathetic? Would he be to blame? Would he be seriously pissed off? So many possibilities for the writers, we can only sit and wait to see how their imaginings of the divine head honcho unfold. They have taken a bold step to say the least in invoking Him as a potential character, or even as a potential material presence.

But the Supernatural writers are not the only ones grappling with the enormous responsibility of invoking God as a cast member. In fact there appear to me more and more American tv dramas dabbling in religious narrative arcs. Joan of Arcadia, Wonderfalls, Carnivale, Tru Calling, Saving Grace, Pushing Daisies, Reaper, Battlestar Gallactica – the list goes on.


Is there something in the fact that all of these tv series are American? Possibly it’s the simple fact that because America makes a lot of tv programmes it will logically have larger selection of similar themed programmes. It would be extremely lazy to just accuse the American quality television industry of bible thumping. We Brits make a lot of soap operas after all, and it’s not because we all live in the economically deprived back streets of cities, drinking in grotty local pubs, shopping at the market, and shagging the neighbours for all their worth.

Not most of us anyway.

And what does it say about us, that these tv shows are just as popular in our own countries, some even more so, than they are on their home turf? Did we ask for these shows? Or are we being coached by a malign evangelical force at the top of the tv production ladder? Conspiracy theorists and anthropologists: feel free to step in at any time. Is the rise of ‘Islamic extremism’ and the militarism of ‘Asian values’ making us all rethink our slack Western agnosticism and our arrogant atheism?


Is the religious quest the new front in the war on terror?

Will finding our faiths again make us less terrified?

Is tv the new pulpit?

Is that all a load of bollox and entertainment is just entertainment?

You have to wonder though, why there are no western tv programmes involving Buddah, Moses, Muhammad, or any other denomination for that matter. The west does seem, for all its cultural and religious pluralism, to be rather preoccupied with Christianity. Still. Maybe it’s time we all stopped trying to kid ourselves that we’re a secular culture when our entire civilisation is built on the foundations of our Christian heritage. It’s like trying to deny your parents are your parents. You might not like them, but you kind of sort of owe them your existence.

Mom & Dad Kissing Cameron's Cheek BW

Our loss of faith has been a relatively fast one. Over the last sixty years, religion has taken a back seat for the general western population (who don’t live in the American mid-west), church attendence has dwindled to next to nothing compared to the levels of our grandparents’ days, and young people today would not be seen dead in a church. Except for their own funerals – ah you know what I mean. How many people under the age of 30 do you know who go to church regularly or even irregularly? Two or three? There was a boost when the Poles came, but their goals are mostly to return to Poland – depite what the BNP would have you believe – so what then?

What has the rejection of God actually gotten us?

Society is in the shitter, we all know this, but does it have anything to do with the absence of a moral force in our lives? We claim we are intelligent enough to make our own moral decisions without religion to arbitrarily tell us how to behave, but isn’t that confidence just astonishingly arrogant? Do we really think we can be trusted to our own devices without the fear of an omnipotent power watching us and judging us? Without the fear of a punishment for our transgressions in the afterlife, even if we get away with it in life? Can we really get our heads around the notion that evil people escape when they die, because there is no Hell? Can we really deal with the horrifying, terrifying idea that death really is like dreamless sleep – absolutely nothing.


I’m sorry, but it’s not shameful to have faith considering the yawning abyss that is the alternative. In fact, faith is the natural human condition. We have always worshipped, even when we were hunting and gathering and chasing wilderbeasts we worshipped. Who the hell do we think we are to claim we can just throw all that away? Bloody arrogant, that’s what. And bloody stupid.

Maybe these tv shows are proof that we haven’t thrown the baby of faith out with the bathwater of organised religion. We don’t need to go to church to have faith. It’s our actions, and our attitudes, and the moral codes we live by that define our faiths, not thumping great tombs of antiquated fairytales. The west shouldn’t be ashamed of the presence of Christianity in its popular culture, it should be proud of it, especially in comparison to other religious cultures which are so terrified of themselves they can’t even draw their own prophets, let alone put them in musicals in a nappy.


I think God probably had a good laugh when he saw Jerry Springer the Musical. And that’s the beauty of faith. God is what you and you alone believe it/him/them to be, and no one else can tell you otherwise, which is why it is so important to explore, parody, criticise and expose religion in popular culture, whether in books like the Satanic Verses, in theatre like Jerry Springer, or in tv series like Supernatural.

It’s the day we start trying to censor our faiths that we really need to worry about.