A series that is known for it's amazing quality and absorbing stories. There are so many stories to tell and so many lives to save.
Yet I ask you, listen to my story... Final Fantasy X helped me grow closer to Jesus.
I was a kid, about 8, and I had just picked up the PS2 and I was absorbed by the graphics. And suddenly one day my brother buys FFX and I played it, piggybacking off his saves when I got stuck. I'll never know if I ever finished it as a kid, but I remember words like "old man" and 'prayer" just went over my head. I mean, I couldn't grasp the idea of hating someone or prayer at the time, they were things that happened in movies, but were fake, as far as I was concerned.
But what kept with me as a kid in the first play through was the Hymn Of The Fayth and the idea of religion. As anyone who has played Final Fantasy 10 can attest to, the Hymn Of The Fayth is a surprisingly catchy tune that symbolises the religion that is nearly omnipresent throughout the whole game. The whole first half of the game is based on travelling to the temples of this religion and the other half is about seeing the hidden horrors of this religion, that is how present religion is throughout this game.
(Fun Fact: There's about 10 versions of the song on the game disc!)
Something about this song stirred the idea of a religion that... Was whole. Was... Right, beautiful, graceful and so many other things. Every version sounds so different, but similar. And it makes perfect sense, religion is about unison under one banner. But I was, and still am, in a Christian school and I had kinda thrown the idea of a "right" religion, or even a "good" religion, to wind. I mean, it seemed too good to be true. Right?
The game even says this, as Tidus and his group are soon branded as traitors and all because of something trivial about religion and it's traditions. Yet there's the weird one off part of the game that allows you to choose to pray or just stand there. I always chose to pray, because I thought if I didn't Wakka would whack me over the head. These messages confused me as a kid, I just couldn't get my head around a game that involves religion actually saying both good and bad things about it. It was an abstract concept.
Fast forward to about a year ago, I had dropped into the lowest of lows. I was an anti-social prick who was easily angered, hard to please and arrogant. I was addicted to the... physical features of the human anatomy and I didn't want to be saved from all of this. One of the excursions of the year was a camp. And since it was a Christian camp there were the natural scare stories of course. And I believed it. And something changed and I was a Christian. And soon I on was holidays. And I picked up Final Fantasy X again. And suddenly... It all made sense. Religion was big in Spira because it was the only thing TO believe.
Only Yevonites allowed here.
And I finally got the scene that happens at Home, where Tidus cries. Before I just thought he was a whiny girl or something, but... I would be lying if I said I didn't cry when I realised that Yuna was smiling and doing everything and was ready to making the ultimate sacrifice. It drew parallels between what I knew about the story of Jesus. Jesus and Yuna both were ready to make the ultimate sacrifice for everybody, even the bandits and troublemakers of Spira and Earth.
Of course Yuna doesn't die in FFX, but still it stirred something in me to take the religion I believed in seriously, because He did infact make that sacrifice and I knew it. And then the second half of the game hit me. As I stated before, in this half the horrors of Yevon and religion come out to play. The messed up things like the high priests and how they've managed to live for many decades and the fact that the Final Summon only hold back Sin for 10 years, rather than being a permanent solution. These things actually helped me think about how to get out of the cycle. The struggle that Tidus, and in fact all of Spira had, wether they knew it or not, was mine too. I wanted to find a way out of this cycle I was far too familiar with. To end the suffering.
Funnily enough, in both cases, the answer is the same. Deicide, to kill a god. All of these horrifying realisations should've made me renounce Christianity, but it did the opposite. It actually made me cherish that Jesus is the best offering, a permanent solution. Just like killing Yevon is. But I'm not here to preach. I just wanted to share my story.
It's funny that this brought me closer to Jesus than any other thing else. Final Fantasy helped me find Jesus and really figure out what he was all about. And for that I can only give my graitude to Squaresoft for this experience. I know I will revisit this game for years to come. Truly, it is something is magical.