I just stumbled upon this rather sinister piece of news about church ministers using Halo 3 nights to attract impressionable youngsters into their clutches. Anybody who knows me will know my disapproval of many Christian tactics, especially when it comes to children who don't really know enough to decide for themselves whether or not religion is rubbish, but it's creepy and sneaky little ploys like this that really get under my supple flesh. From the New York Times:
Across the country, hundreds of ministers and pastors desperate to reach young congregants have drawn concern and criticism through their use of an unusual recruiting tool: the immersive and violent video game Halo.
It's no secret that a fair few Christians view kids as soft wads of clay, easy to shape and manipulate into fresh soldiers of God, and it's insincere tricks like this that help them. Am I the only one who thinks that using videogames as bait for children is just a little bit uncool? Actually I'm not, but depressingly nobody's bothered about the sinister implications, they just care that it's one of them there 'violent' games:
But the question arises: What price to appear relevant? Some parents, religious ethicists and pastors say that Halo may succeed at attracting youths, but that it could have a corroding influence. In providing Halo, churches are permitting access to adult-themed material that young people cannot buy on their own.
Really, is that the only issue? Believe me, religion is a far more corroding influence on a young mind than any videogame. Yes, that's my personal opinion and one I stick by. Not that I mean to insult anybody's faith, but children should not be exposed to it until they're old enough to form a balanced and educated opinion, rather than be indoctrinated and fall prey to the kind of subtle manipulation seen here. Of course, nobody cares about that, they just worry that junior is playing some -- ohmygodz -- corrupting videogame that influences gullible kids with violent images and themes ...