Is the portrayal of the Meek anti-Christian? (spoilers)


#1

Hi, I’m new to these forums, and I very much enjoy several CoG games, probably Choice of Broadsides most of all.

As I was playing Heroes Rise: The Hero Project, I noticed a few things about the game’s portrayal of the Meek that suggested that they were inspired by Christians. The Meek are clearly unsympathetic in the story, and I wondered to what extent this game favoured anti-Christian attitudes or negative stereotypes of Christians.

I recognize the legitimacy of artistic license, together with the fact that some Christians display behaviour similar to that of the Meek. Nevertheless, the lack of nuance in the portrayal of the Meek may tend to produce a reductive, negative picture of Christians.

Let me elaborate: The Meek’s slogan, “The meek shall inherit the earth,” is very close to the third of Jesus’ Beatitudes from the sermon on the mount, “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth” (Matt 5:5). The Beatitudes are often described as being at the heart of Jesus’ preaching, with a focus on love and compassion. Heroes Rise seems to be set in the future of our universe: if so, the Meek are almost certainly drawing on that beatitude for their inspiration. There are significant differences between the Meek and Christianity: the Meek movement is at least partly a political movement, and they have a special text that outsiders are not permitted to read. Nevertheless, it seems clear that they are intended to be reminiscent of Christians, with references to a deacon, incense and rituals.

The Meek are characterized by false humility (Inherit’s “Help those whose lot is fuller than yours, for those with less do more”) and apparent unwillingness to engage in rational debate (labelling objections as misinterpretations, but then not responding). The Meek (from the MC’s perspective) are consistently described as bigoted, even when they raise somewhat reasonable points, such as recalling that the MC’s parents accidentally killed someone with their powers. The Meek leadership plots with Mayor Victon to arrange for apparently mandatory Infini-power registration and therapy/dampening. The Crush seems to be portrayed positively when he walks away from the Meek debate after saying “You Meek people fear and hate Powered people and would like nothing more than to see us all murdered—but you hide that dark truth with smiles and rhetoric.”

The Meek seem intended to be reminiscent of Christians who are opposed to same-sex marriage. Inherit speaks about the MC’s “lifestyle choices,” and the MC can respond “Since when is being Powered a lifestyle choice?” Taken altogether, is it too strong to say that this game paints a suggestive picture, a stereotype that Christians opposed to same-sex marriage are irrational bigots who behind pleasant smiles have a hate-filled hidden agenda? Perhaps it is too strong, though there is a lack of nuance in the portrayal of any Meek characters that would counterbalance that picture. (Summit is an interesting anomaly who doesn’t directly fit the parallel, though his character is not well developed.)

My point is not that it’s wrong to have the Meek leaders be bad guys, and not that Christians should never be portrayed as bigots. My point is that the portrayal of the Meek seems Christian enough that they might well represent Christians (especially those opposed to same-sex marriage) to the reader, but that the portrayal results in a reductive and inaccurate stereotype. There is no reference to the rest of the teachings of Jesus or the Beatitudes, and the Meek seems to be a cult that requires donations. Most of all, everyone from the Meek seems to be painted with the same brush: dangerous and deceptive (or perhaps deluded). The scene with Stage Show, The Bear, GG, and Null showed an appreciation for nuance and the complexity of different positions. I wish there had been at least the possibility of genuine human interaction with a Meek character, or hints of complexity in the Meek position.


#2

Christians ? I believed its a critic of the scienceology sect i never see like attack of Christians , even the pills and politic need of donations and idea of they have many knowledge and sect structure.
Also Parents of Mc NEVER KILL prodigal mother lol, Prodigal say her mother is alive and Victor admit he framed both.


#3

I wouldn’t say that the Meek were inspired by all Christians. I would say that it appears they were inspired by certain fundamentalist groups.

Heroes Rise is seen through the lens of the protagonist. Unlike many games, the protagonist of Heroes Rise does have a personality, and opinions of their own that you can’t change. As a Powered Individual, and one who’s been known to make snap judgements on people, I can’t really see the protagonist getting close enough to any meek to see them in a sympathetic light. They’re not really in this position to see the nuanced view you speak of.


#4

I remember being a little disappointed, but not offended. I thought it was *slightly*demeaning but not enough to take away from the enjoyment of the game.


#5

I read the Meek as a popular Christianesque heresy. Their beliefs are clearly simplistic and outside the mainstream of Christian faith. The shoe doesn’t fit, so I can’t imagine being offended by it.

That said, they are clearly also meant to represent religious intolerance of “lifestyle choices” that are in fact innate. But that’s hardly limited to Christians; nor are all Christians opposed to same sex marriage.

I agree that they’d be stronger villains if they weren’t simply malign/deluded but had a bit more nuance.


#6

I did not find the meek and their beliefs offensive to my own christian faith very few similarities between the christian faith and the meek were made beside that scripture (Matt5:5) and also people throughout our own world who aren’t Christians use tge bible and twist it to justify their actions of anything this is what I felt like the meek were doing in the story


#7

I didn’t exactly feel like the portrayal of the Meek was offensive, then again, I use to be agnostic, so that may have a little to do with it or not… I felt the writer did a good job in showing how people(and cults) like to twist the words of the Bible to fit their own agenda and sucker people into joining them before teaching(brainwashing) those people into what they want them to believe and getting them to fanatically do some terrible deeds that God and Jesus certainly wouldn’t want people to do.

Certainly, it’s those kind of things and organizations which make most(or all) Christians look bad to agnostics and atheists, but it’s just a simple and historic truth that people will bend, warp and abuse the power of the Bible and It’s words. It has happened many times in the past(Crusades anyone?) and even now, it still happens. Sadly, it will continue to happen. Brainwashing would most likely happen to people who have gone to Bible study classes less then those who haven’t taken them. Knowledge is power, after all!


#8

They were a portrayal of more extreme cults, such as scientologists.


#9

Actually, it would have been nice to have other religious views expressed.

Pity I didn’t think of suggesting an option to shut up the Meek in the debate with “Judge not lest you be judged,” or “Love they neighbor as you love yourself” when playtesting it, because that would’ve been cool.

However, I don’t feel the game is going against Christianity, since the Vachons have all the spirituality of a box of rocks, and from the looks of things, I’d say the Vachons are just using the meek for their own ends.

If the game was trying to be anti-Christian, it wouldn’t have made Mayor Vachon so obviously a fearmongering huckster only out to feed his own greed and lust for power, he’d be a true believer.

And while with the “lifestyle” comment makes the analogy of anti-gay bigots using Christianity as an excuse a very visible metaphor, sadly there were “Christians” who did the same thing to support the oppression of women (some “Christians” didn’t want women to be given drugs during childbirth because the pain of childbirth was God’s punishment for women so pain relief during childbirth was an affront to god), oppression of African Americans in both slavery and then segregation, and anti-Catholic hysteria, so if superhumans suddenly manifested today I’d say it would be highly likely someone would try to justify their xenophobic ]fear with scripture.

So if anything I’d say the game is anti-sociopaths who use fearmongering to grab power and the religious organizations who cater to the baser urges of humanity’s nature rather than trying to cultivate people’s better natures, and well I can’t find fault with either attitude.

But it wouldn’t hurt if in the next sequel there were some people who were religious and sane, since such people are the majority of the religious population in this world, so they really ought to be the majority in the world of heroes rise too.


#10

It’d be interesting if they added a path where you could JOIN the meek. You hero would certainly benefit from having allies like that…


#11

I saw the Meek as an example of religious extremism in general, not just specifically Christianity.


#12

Yeah, mops, having allies who salivate at night at the thought of putting you in a concentration camp, with such great allies as that who needs enemies?


#13

@Havenstone

Point of Order: “That said, they are clearly also meant to represent religious intolerance of “lifestyle choices” that are in fact innate. But that’s hardly limited to Christians; nor are all Christians opposed to same sex marriage.”

Just to clarify, while I certainly am not saying that Homosexuality is *not* innate on some level, we also can’t say it *is* for sure. Especially when we get into the fuzzy issues like bisexuality, the ability of heterosexuals to turn homosexual and homosexuals to turn heterosexual (no, not the crazy “Cure your Gayness” stuff that some sects like “The Meek” advocate, but people who were once homosexual but… for lack of a better word changed or went the other way.*)

I’m no world renowned scientist, and even people who are are still struggling for a definite answer to that puzzle. For myself, I can’t be sure if it is innate, choice, some interplay of the two (like plenty of other things in how we turn out) or what have you.

So I figure we shouldn’t assume or state that as a fact.

*= And yes, that and its’ opposite have actually happened to people who I know personally. For the record: I live in California, which is not exactly a hotbed of religious zeal or hatred for “alternative lifestyles”, so attributing it to the usual pad external pressures (Society/TheChurch/Etc says confoooorrrmmm) doesn’t seem like it works.


#14

lackofmops: Sort of hard to do, when your very presence stands against everything they believe in…


#15

@Estel_Edain

Yes.

They are anti-christian. Or rather anti-religion in a more general sense.

However that is an irrelevant question. It doesn’t matter if they are “anti-christian” or not because they are from a certain point of view.
The question you should be asking is “why are The Meek portrayed in the manner they are?”

And the answer to that is because The Meek are EXACTLY how american right wing and fundamentalist groups would react to people spontaneously developing super powers. There is a definate allegory between The Meek and their treatment of “Powereds” and groups like The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, The Church of Scientology, The Westboro Baptist Church and how THOSE groups treat gay people.

I read it as very deliberate and very pointed.

@Turtler

I gotta laugh when people who have no idea what they are talking about claim that there is no proof that sexuality is largely genetic. There have been studies, after studies since the 1950s and pretty much every single one found that sexuality is a GENETIC thing not a social or cultural thing.

It isn’t a choice. Ever.

What proof would you need? For the Human Genome Project to lock down the “gay gene” before you would believe it?

As a gay person I can absolutely assure you it ISN’T a choice. I would NEVER have chosen to be gay. NEVER.
Think about how gay people in general get treated for their “may or may not be a choice of lifestyle”? And you think anyone would willingly choose to do that? Don’t be daft.


#16

@FitScotgaymer, no need to be quite so vindictive to people who hold different beliefs.

I think all Turtler said was that he can’t say it is 100% genetic. He never said that he believes it is 100% choice.

I.E.,

Turtler is not certain that homosexuality = 100% genetic.

However, this does not necessarily mean

Turtler believes homosexuality = 100% choice.

Nor does it mean

Turtler is 100% certain homosexuality NOT = 100% genetic.

Turtler merely said that he personally knew people who were heterosexual but suddenly became homosexual, or vice versa, which shakes his faith in the fact that homosexuality is 100% genetic.


#17

Being gay, or straight, isn’t a choice. I think that’s something that’s innate.

Gay people can choose to be in heterosexual relationships, and heterosexual people can choose to be in gay relationships, and bisexual people can choose as well. (And everyone else that comes under the queer umbrella.)

I don’t think they can choose who they’re attracted to, but they can choose whether or not to act upon those attractions.

I do think that’s a very slippery slope to pursue though. I certainly don’t advocate anyone being forced into relationships with those they’re not attracted to, or to deny their sexuality. I don’t think the ability to choose to go against your nature means that you should.

I know you said it’s largely genetic. Surely if sexuality was purely genetic then you’d find that with identical twins, in 100% of cases they’d share the same sexuality. They don’t though.

A super-old study from 1991. “We found 52 percent of identical twin brothers of gay men also were gay, compared with 22 percent of fraternal twins, compared with 11 percent of genetically unrelated brothers,” Other studies have backed up those figures.

So from that you’ve clearly got more than one factor in play. Genetics is a component, but that doesn’t account for fraternal brothers where the percentage is also higher than brothers just raised in the same environment. From what I recall it’s suspected that it’s a mix of genetics, hormones, brain chemistry, and some environmental factors, with some having far more impact than others.

Of course, as usual, those studies don’t even seem to take into consideration bisexuality.

Also of note: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/science-news/7883867/Late-blooming-lesbians-women-can-switch-sexualities-as-they-mature.html (I can’t seem to find a better source.)

I think what I’m trying to say is that it’s complicated. There’s lots of factors in play, including those we still don’t understand. There’s no one answer fits all.


#18

I didn’t read @FitScotgaymer’s post as vindictive. I can see where he’s coming from.

It’s not simply a matter of “have you tried not being gay.” That’s a path that can lead to utter misery. The suicide statistics, for instance, are horrifying. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suicide_among_LGBT_youth If people could choose not to be gay, there’s many that they would.

I think with that sort of statistics and discrimination it’s understandable to be angry.

Admittedly, since I know Turtler, I read his comments differently than I would have if it was from a stranger. If he’d been a stranger I’d have assumed he was making the same argument I’ve seen time after time and I’d have answered in a similar manner.

“Just to clarify, while I certainly am not saying that Homosexuality is *not* innate on some level, we also can’t say it *is* for sure.”

I’ll say it’s usually innate, but not always. I’d rather err on the side of saying it’s innate though, since the majority of cases it seems to be. And that’s far better than saying “stop being gay!”


#19

Sorry, @fitscotgaymer. I didn’t think that you might have genuinely taken offense at Turtler’s post, and I read it as you trying to twist what Turtler posted as homophobic propaganda. I would edit my last post, but… 30 minute time limits really suck sometimes.


#20

@Wyrmspawn

That’s more or less exactly what I’m saying, and I thank you for clarifying. Though I’d say I’ve never really had a faith that homosexuality is 100% genetic, much less that it was shaken.

My basic stance is “I don’t know what it is, and people who are far better qualified than I am don’t know, so while I’d tentatively guess it’s probably some interplay of genetic/innate and choice- like huge amounts of other non-sexual things are with humans- I’d withhold making a statement for now.”

It was meant to be a point of order that we do not know the exact causes of homosexuality, and thus that saying “it’s innate, period, end of discussion” (especially when it is coming from a Moderator, who rightly has a lot of authority) was something I felt needed to be clarified.

@FairyGodfeather

I understand indeed.

That’s precisely why I explicitly excluded out the whole “cure your gays” thing plenty of people and sects have tried. Not only because A: that assumes it is something that can be/needs to be cured, and B: it assumes there is a uniform process for such a “cure”, but above all because C: none of the people I was referencing have touched that stuff with a fifty foot pole and D: I don’t want to give any justifications to those loons.

What I was saying is that I know a couple of people - most of whom are generally areligious and not under pressure to do it, most of whom are still passionate supporters of homosexual rights- who for whatever reason switched their interests. The best way I can compare is that it’s sort of like the equal-but-opposite way of previously “dedicated” Heterosexuals realizing they’re Homosexual.

How that should somehow translate into an endorsement of crazy and often abusive “Gay Curing” is ab-so-lute-ly beyond me.

"I’ll say it’s usually innate, but not always. I’d rather err on the side of saying it’s innate though, since the majority of cases it seems to be. "

And that’s perfectly defendable. *Personally* I am not so sure that’s how it breaks down, but I’d be crazy if I didn’t think there’s a sizable innate portion at play.