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Need To Get Right With The Lord? Go To Church!

by ClickHole

Episode 2 of ClickVenture
2015

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful:
Pointless irreverence, July 12, 2019
by Victor Gijsbers (The Netherlands)
This is a short choice-based game about going to church. You sit through an absolutely nonsensical sermon, perhaps spending the time checking out some good-looking girls, and then there's a wide-branching set of choices at the end. You may end up seeing God, getting your soul eaten by a demon, or just going home after the sermon.

I fail to understand what the point of the piece is. If it had really focussed on how boring a sermon can be, and how the attendants are mostly killing time while keeping up the facade of piety -- then it would have been a piece of satire. But most of this game is so far out that it doesn't work as a commentary on anything, be it the sociology of church going, the hypocrisy of much piety, the teachings of some particular religion, or indeed anything else. All it is, is irreverent: it refuses to take any aspect of religion seriously.

But what is the point of mere irreverence? There is perhaps a slight chance that a person who is struggling with a suffocating religious upbringing will experience any and all forms of irreverence as liberating. But I doubt it. If you're being oppressed by dogmatic teachings that you neither believe in nor feel able to reject, you're better off reading something substantial -- Mark Twain's Letters from the Earth, say, or Friedrich Nietzsche, or even Richard Dawkins, though I cannot fully recommend his scientistic world view. If you just feel a lot of anger towards certain forms of organised religion and need to get it off of your chest, then you're better off screaming along to some crazy satanic black metal. If you are frustrated by right-wing conservative Christianity, go and read some left-wing progressive Christian authors, like Dorothee Sölle and Gianni Vattimo. If you are interested in a Christianity that can inspire even those who do not embrace the dogmas, delve into Kierkegaard or Renée Girard or Paul Tillich or even someone like Henri Nouwen.

Of course, I'm taking this game far too seriously if I end up recommending you to read a whole bunch of philosopher and theologians; and, to be sure, spending more time writing the review than playing the game. But it irritated me, even though I am (perhaps*) an atheist. There is so much about religion that is worth saying and exploring, much of it positive, much of it negative, but all of it important... and this game manages to do nothing with it. I guess I needed to get that off of my chest.


* It all depends on your definitions, of course. When Tillich tells us that God is not a being but Being itself, and that theistic belief in God as an entity is atheistic, well, then perhaps I am not an atheist after all. And since this conception of God is more useful to me than most, because it allows me greater access to the tradition... why not embrace it?

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Andrew Schultz, July 12, 2019 - Reply
It's always disappointing when a game is too silly to make any points, especially when it's something I largely agree with. I know sometimes it helps, but my rule of thumb is if I am reminded of stale jokes like "What's the deal with airline food" or "Why don't make the whole plane out of the black box material?"

You probably have your own rules of thumb for detecting pointless self-indulgent irreverence that drags the conversation down, but one of mine is to picture someone laughing too hard at their own joke.

You probably know most of this in some form or other, but your review helped me spell a few thoughts out. And I think it avoids "look, I'm dunking something I don't like" ... which the ClickHole game seems to utterly fail at.

So, thanks.
Marshal Tenner Winter, July 12, 2019 - Reply
Good review. But in my opinion, religion should've died off when humans stopped living in caves. There is nothing at all useful or beneficial about it. It promotes ignorance and hatred and has no place whatsoever in a truly modern world. Any person identifying as religious is a brainless shit and any send-up religion receives is completely justified. Atheism is fine, but humans need to be POST-theists. That is, we should be beyond even discussing "god" as it is an outdated notion that does nothing but wastes our time.
Any game that paints religion in an absurd or insulting way is completely warranted.
Victor Gijsbers, July 12, 2019 - Reply
Well, we'll have to disagree about that, even though it is hard to ascertain the extent of our disagreement from a few posts. Let's just say that there are some writers who inspire me and who use the terminology of (a particular) religion. Obviously, these are not writers who say things like: "Believe these dogmas or you will go to hell!"
Sobol, July 12, 2019 - Reply
Games by ClickHole routinely refuse to take anything seriously. Sometimes their sheer absurdity is boring; sometimes quite funny.

I'd recommend You’re 8 Years Old. Can You Acquire Wine Without Getting Arrested? - in my opinion, rather entertaining. Of course alcohol consumption by minors is a serious issue; but trying to read the game as some kind of meaningful commentary on this issue would be missing the point.
Victor Gijsbers, July 12, 2019 - Reply
Thanks, I'll try it!
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