Thursday, April 4, 2013

Mass Effect Trilogy and Theological Doctrine

The Mass Effect Trilogy is one of my favorite game series of all time. I remember to this day watching the commercial for the first time and thinking "I have to play that game." The game featured difficult morale dilemmas that impacted the games outcome. There were so many significant choices in the game that everyone's Mass Effect story was a little bit different. After finishing the third and final game, I realized that even with these differences the story basically ends the same way. *WARNING! This is the part with the spoilers* In the end, after it is all said and done, the Reapers are defeated. Civilization survives, and Commander Shepard saves the day. Your choices impact who saves it with him, how many lives are saved, how soundly the Reapers are defeated, and how awesome certain events are, but in the end the good guys win regardless.*SPOILERS OVER*
SPOILERS This is a critical point in Mass Effect 1 where you
  decide how to deal with an angry teammate, possibly ending
in his death

The Mass Effect universe is more than just games. There are books, movies, spin-off games, etc. In order to maintain a cohesive story between all of these "Extended universe" stories, Bioware had to basically decide what "actually" happened at each choice in the game and establish a cannon. This means that while we get to create our own Mass Effect stories, there is one story that is canon, or true. It is still Mass Effect though, because the main points are still the same. Commander Shepard still has to save the galaxy, and he still either succeeds or fails in the end. All of the important things are still the same.

As Christians, we often forget what is truly important in our doctrine. Throughout history, the church has gotten caught up in complex theological debates and created dissension amongst believers simply because of a petty disagreement. Between the years 400 and 500, there was a huge argument between the Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox church. Angry words were said, and the two churches absolutely could not work together. In the end, the Pope excommunicated the Patriarch, and the Patriarch excommunicated the Pope. This fighting and arguing was only about one thing: Whether leavened bread, or unleavened bread should be eaten when taking the Lords Supper. They let such a small disagreement escalate and create so much dissention.

I struggle with this as well. I often get frustrated when my close friends and I don't see eye to eye on more modern religious matters, (such as the impeccability of Christ, or a literal or figurative interpretation of certain old testament books). As Christians we need to remember what is important; that "If we confess our sins, [God] is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" 1 John 1:9. By focusing on the gospel and what Jesus did for us we can be a unified body of Christ and "preserve the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace" Ephesians 4:3. Because in the end, once we are all in heaven, the specifics will not matter.

There are many different ways that Mass Effect can go, but all of the paths have the same themes, major events, and ending. Likewise, there are many different faiths and denominations in Christianity, but by focusing on the same themes, major events, and the ending we can work together as a unified body making us more effective tools for Christ; because in the end when we will be in heaven and it will not matter who is right. Only God will matter.


What are the most important doctrines of the Christian faith?

What are some that are not as important?

Do I treat any of the less important ones like important ones?

How can I better show a "unified body of Christ" with those who disagree with me?

Going Deeper:
Are some doctrines really more important than others?

What belief or action separates Christians from non-Christians?

What are some practical things that different churches can do to show a unified global church?

Please comment with your answers.

No comments:

Post a Comment