Tuesday, November 15, 2016

The Catholic-Orthodox-Protestant Christianity Classification System Needs To Be Replaced

For centuries after the Reformation, Christianity has been classified into three so-called branches:
Roman Catholicism: the largest sect of so-called Christians. (The term "so-called" is only reference to the title, ie, someone who believes his religion is based on Christ's teachings, not being born again or other definitions)
Greek (or Eastern) Orthodoxy: a half split from Roman Catholicism.
Protestantism: "protesting" from the Catholic Church, a result of the Reformation and another split from Catholicism.

Protestants sometimes add a fourth category: Cults.
Cults would include Mormonism and Jehovah Witnesses and others.

However, this does not fix any of the underlying and fundamental problems of the system. And Catholics consider these cults to be part of Protestantism.

This system is outdated, revisionist, and over simplistic.

How so?

This system was invented by Catholics in relation to them. While them being the largest name holder of Christianity does give them some credence in setting up the classification, it fails to accurately predict the nuances.

In other words, by using this classification system, we play along the Catholic view of history. And there are obvious reasons why we shouldn't go along with the revisionists.

For example, all the classifications are based on its relation to Catholicism.
Either you're
1. Catholic (Roman Catholicism) OR
2. Pretty much like Catholic no matter how much you pretend you aren't (Greek Orthodoxy) OR
3. Not a Catholic and protesting away from it, making Catholicism the "mother" (Protestantism)

It's all based on how Catholic you are! As I noted, Catholics consider Jehovah Witnesses and Mormons to be Protestants.

Catholics view all non-Catholic Christianity as rebellious and prodigal children to be subjugated under her wing as the "Mother of Christianity". I kid you not. I talk to a lot of Catholics, and this is what they tell me.

I know the classification system is entrenched in our textbooks in seminaries, history books, and such, The victor does write history. But for one, I refuse church history to be written by and from the point of view of the instigators of the Inquisition. It makes as much sense for the history of Jews to be written by Nazi Germany.

There are plenty of ways to categorize Christianity. I propose such a system:
1. Hierarchical Christianity
2. Common Christianity
3. Middle Christianity
4. Cultic Christianity

Hierarchical Christianity would be marked by the following things:

  • A priesthood apart from the lay people.
  • A priesthood with a patriarchal figure. The Pope and the Patriarch of Orthodoxy, amongst others.
  • Emphasis on infant baptism.
  • Emphasis on tradition.
  • Emphasis on church authority as final. May manifest as a catechism.
  • Emphasis on images, statues, icons, or other physical embodiments.
  • Emphasis on saints and angelic beings.
  • Emphasis on sacraments. May be seen, rightly or wrongly, as works salvation.
  • No separation of church and state. Sometimes, the church is the state. Theocracy.
  • Major in size.


Roman Catholicism and Greek Orthodoxy would fall under Hierarchical Christianity. The Chinese state church and other state churches would fall underneath Hierarchical.

Common Christianity would be marked by the following things:

  • No priesthood apart from the lay people. The lay people are the priesthood.
  • An adherence to the Bible and the Bible only as their rule for faith and religion. This does not mean they are free from errors of interpretations or conflict.
  • Emphasis on believer's baptism.
  • Emphasis on Bible's authority as final.
  • Emphasis on separation of church and state.
  • No images, statues, icons, or other physical embodiments, possibly except symbols such as the Cross.
  • No emphasis on saints or angelic beings.


Most Baptistic denominations would fall under Common Christianity, along with non-denominational, and Church of Christ, and others.

Middle Christianity would be marked by the following things:

  • A compromise between Hierarchical and Common.
  • A conflict between a separate priesthood and priesthood of the believer. Presbyterians.
  • A conflict between infant and believer's baptism. Presbyterians, again.
  • A conflict between separation of church and state and theocracy. The Lutheran and Calvinistic state churches, for example.
  • Emphasis on theologians and confessions. Calvinists, Lutherans, and such fall here.
  • Basically, mix and match with Common Christianity, and you'll have Middle Christianity.


Most Protestant denominations would fall under Middle Christianity. The reasoning is that Protestants protested from the Catholic Church, and so would dilute their doctrines and traditions. Much of Common Christianity were never part of the Catholic Church and thus not should not be considered Protestants.

Cultic Christianity would be marked by the following things:

  • A clear denial of the Trinity. This is the main difference between Hierarchical and Cultic, as Hierarchical usually does believe in the Trinity.
  • A denial of other key components of the faith.
  • Additional books of revelation. The Book of Mormon and the Watchtower, for instance.
  • Minor in size.


As noted, Mormonism and Jehovah's Witnesses would be in this category.


Will it catch on? Probably not. Does it suffer some problems from the previous classification system? In some parts, yes. However, it is a struggle to keep it simple while also covering a lot of systems.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Game Design: The Inky Darkness, A Horror Real Time Strategy Game (subject to change)

Originally from Faction Calculus, my blog about Real Time Strategy games.

As my bio states, I am a game developer of sorts. I often do game jams occasionally, where one will try to make a game in under a prescribed time limit. Not a lot nowadays, but I used to.

So, with Asylum Jam coming up from Game Jolt with the theme of psychological horror or mental issues outside of a context of an asylum (which makes the name ironic), I had a lot of ideas: A game based on writer's block; a game based on the Five Stages of Grief; a 2-D version of Luigi's Mansion; etc.

I recently was playing around with an unfinished RTS engine of mine on Game Maker, and so I thought, maybe I should create a small horror RTS. RTSes are hard to make, but I have done them at least twice for different game jams. Also, I've been fascinated by Lovecraft recently.

Introducing, the Inky Darkness RTS concept!

Story:
You are a commander of a small military base outside a settlement. Whether suddenly or with warning, a dark fog has covered the lands and is increasingly darker and darker. In the fog are terrible, slithering things, and areas covered with the fog are impenetrable. The few that come back from the fog have been reduced to one babbling with insanity... or worse. Escape, get rescued, turn back the fog, or succumb.

Setting:
Deciding whether Victorian steampunk, World War I, Cold War, or the modern era.

Cold War has the advantages of the Soviet Red Menace atmosphere, and earlier wars such as the Vietnam War as a backdrop for flashbacks.

World War I has gritty trench warfare and gray drab atmosphere. Since chemical warfare was commonplace, the Fog is not out of place.

Modern era can be molded to anything, but has no context to history. Technology such as drones would be available.

Victorian steampunk is just cool, and fits the Lovecraftian sensibilities.

Gameplay:
The Fog of War is your enemy. Literally. Once it is thick enough, you can shoot at the fog which might grow shadowy tentacles and hold it back until you run out of ammunition.

Strong lights can also hold back the fog. The fog is more of a "liquid" fog than an airy fog that covers everything. Think of Zerg creep or the Creeper World creep combined with a Fog of War.

The thicker the fog gets, the more aggressive the enemies it spawns will be and your range will get smaller.

You will have limited ammo, limited fuel, limited supplies, and limited men. You may venture out in your own peril to find supplies and survivors.

There will be a day/night system, though a thick fog will make daylight very scarce. Your men, and yourself, will need sleep. And sleep causes nightmares, not only on your men, but on you.

Units can hide or take cover behind something to ambush or not.

You and your men are affected by insanity as determined by the thickness of the fog; eldritch horrors each men has encountered; loss of morale, supply and troops; and nightmares at night.

Sort-of fourth wall breaks as evidenced by the insanity and the monsters in-game.

Some sort of random generation for characters and other things. Small bios for the characters to relate to.

Enemies include lumbering Lovecraftian zombies/mutants, lots of tentacles, and other cosmic horror. Enemies can corrupt your infantry units and even vehicles.

Insanity might also be an infestation/corruption meter, or separate.

Sort-of open world sandbox RTS as there is a city nearby for looting and other landmarks.

Flashbacks of previous wars. Maybe the commander has PTSD. Increases the hallucinations. Flashbacks are interactive and playable. Provides practice for player commander for warfare.

Instead of a bird's eye view like a satellite uplink, there will be only surveillance cameras. Or even, the increasing activity destroys the satellite uplink and that player now has to rely on surveillance cameras.

Insanity affecting the landscape. Things will become more out of place as time passes by. Might flash into an alternate dimension.

Commander being attacked in the command station. Structures are not small, but huge enough to warrant firefights inside. Indoor gameplay.

Base-building is standard RTS building, however, structures have interiors aforementioned, sort of like Prison Architect with preset building layouts.

Planned rhythm. To shake off predictability, squads may be sent missions to check on completely harmless things. And the harmless things may clue in to a darkness coming, or actually something completely random comes out that is not harmless.

Undertale-type 4th wall breaks and game hacking.

Risks and Challenges:
The trick is how to make a strategy game scary. The survival part should theoretically lend to that idea.

Inspiration:
Call of Cthulu: Wasted Land
Fear Equation, Deadnauts, Zafehouse: Diaries
XCOM: Enemy Unknown
Darkest Dungeon
Creepy World series
Don't Starve
Escape from Aliens from Outer Space!
Nullpoint
Blood Roofs
Undertale
Other games which I do not remember the name of.

Useful Links:
https://www.quora.com/Im-creating-a-horror-game-and-want-to-know-What-elements-make-games-scary-Good-ideas-will-get-you-a-free-copy-when-I-release-it
http://thefederalist.com/2015/03/03/six-elements-that-make-for-a-quality-survival-horror-game/
http://tay.kinja.com/six-things-the-new-silent-hill-needs-to-have-to-succeed-1626630082
http://www.gamasutra.com/view/feature/223931/game_design_deep_dive_amnesias_.php
http://tay.kinja.com/what-makes-the-perfect-horror-game-1619847904

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Short Story: A Multiverse of Answers

I loved her. I loved her so much.

But she didn't. I don't think she did. I though she did. But she does not now.

I made too many mistakes. But I don't even know what they were. It was way too sudden.

I need answers. Why did you leave me? Why did you not want me anymore?

But how do I regain her back?

I don't.

Travel to the past is impossible. The past is finished and closed.

Yet, there are many other universes where it all turned out differently.

Many other instances of her flitting around.

So I traveled to another present.

I met her again in one dimension.

She had no chronic illness.

She shied from me.

I met her again in the next.

She moved up north.

She approached me.

But was she really her?

Was she really the one I loved?

I need answers.

I must go back to her. I must.

And the many universes bubbled and frothed in the great sea of possibilities we call God's foreknowledge.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Poem: Can God Create A Rock So Heavy

Can God create a rock
So heavy He cannot lift
And atheists mock?


God became human,
Virgin born,
Jesus, Son of Man.


And many heavy stones,
Formed by His hands ages past,
He couldn’t lift.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Mindwrap: Space Empires, Emperors of Man, and Eschatology



In fiction, especially science fiction, we, as humans, are utterly fascinated by the idea of a space empire, and an emperor ruling over it. Why? I believe the idea is found in our nature and in the Bible.

Man, despite his desire for freedom and liberty, in their very hearts, wants a (human) king over him.
I Samuel 8 KJV
4 Then all the elders of Israel gathered themselves together, and came to Samuel unto Ramah,
5 And said unto him, Behold, thou art old, and thy sons walk not in thy ways: now make us a king to judge us like all the nations.
6 But the thing displeased Samuel, when they said, Give us a king to judge us. And Samuel prayed unto the Lord.
7 And the Lord said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them.
Man also dreams of a kingdom of Man that is established forever.

II Samuel 7 KJV
12 And when thy days be fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, I will set up thy seed after thee, which shall proceed out of thy bowels, and I will establish his kingdom.
13 He shall build an house for my name, and I will stablish the throne of his kingdom for ever.
14 I will be his father, and he shall be my son. If he commit iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men:
15 But my mercy shall not depart away from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away before thee.
16 And thine house and thy kingdom shall be established for ever before thee: thy throne shall be established for ever.
17 According to all these words, and according to all this vision, so did Nathan speak unto David.
Man also dreams of a space-filling intergalactic empire.

Isaiah 9 KJV6 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
7 Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.


Science fiction and even fantasy are full of figures that are styled as emperors of the whole mankind that have shaken off the earthly shackles and have expanded into space. One can recall Star Wars and the Empire. But even more substantial is the Dune series and the Warhammer 40K series.


Paul Atreides from the Dune Universe
In the Dune series, a conspiracy by a sect of priestesses called the Bene Genessarit plan to breed a Messiah-like figure. After a long genetic program of breeding and propaganda and manipulation, it resulted into Paul Atreides, who possessed an ability to see the futures (yes, plural) with the help of spice drugs from the planet Dune or Arrakis.

This enabled Paul Atreides to become an Emperor who united the Houses, controlling space travel. He sat on the Golden Lion Throne.

The Emperor of Mankind from the Warhammer 40K Universe
The Emperor of Mankind is an immortal being spawned as a personification of humanity. After a Dark Age of Technology, he united Earth or Terra in the Unification Wars. Then so forth he started the Great Crusades to take over the galaxy, which he succeeded. He, like Paul from Dune, possesses great psychic power.

So why does humanity have a fascination for a great leader that will take us to the stars?

In ancient times, kings were considered to be as gods. The very word "god" means a ruler. One can recall Nebudchadnezzar prompting Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego to worship a golden statue of himself before throwing them in the fiery furnace.

Along with Nebudchadnezzar, the book of Daniel lists Gentile world spanning empires and their kings: Babylon of Nebudchadnezzar, Medes-Persia of Cyrus, Greece of Alexander the Great, Rome of the Caesars, and the coming Empire of the Antichrist.

The Gentile world empires and the Kingdom of God


But they never reach into space, or the second heaven.

The Lord God prevents the conquest of space by Man:

Obadiah 1:4 KJV
Though thou exalt thyself as the eagle, and though thou set thy nest among the stars, thence will I bring thee down, saith the LORD. 

So this explains why we have not gone to space yet and colonized much at all. Divine intervention.
Deuteronomy 4:19 KJV
19 And lest thou lift up thine eyes unto heaven, and when thou seest the sun, and the moon, and the stars, even all the host of heaven, shouldest be driven to worship them, and serve them, which the Lord thy God hath divided unto all nations under the whole heaven.

According to this passage, the constellations are divided among the nations, understood here as the Gentile nations. So God has given the starry skies as an inheritance for mankind to fill,

Deuteronomy 32:8-9 KJV
8 When the Most High divided to the nations their inheritance, when he separated the sons of Adam, he set the bounds of the people according to the number of the children of Israel.

Cross referencing the previous passage, this means that there are 12 Gentile nations, one for each tribe of Israel. Hence, there is also one Israelite tribe and Gentile nation associated with one of each of the 12 constellations, or Mazzaroth (Hebrew for Zodiac), in the book of Job.

Revelation 22:2 KJV
2 In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.

So from the previous knowledge, it is safe to assume that each fruit corresponds to a Gentile nation. The 12 Gentile nations seemed to be named at the table of nations in Genesis 10, as the 12 sons of Japheth and Ham (with Israel as the son of Shem), but this is speculation.

But what does this actually tell us about the future Kingdom of God?

If God is preventing us from reigning at the stars, and that the nations are given the constellations, then it is implied that we are only to conquer and have a space empire once Jesus Christ Himself comes back to Earth, after the Tribulation and the Millennium.

When Jesus is crowned the Potentate of mankind and of the whole Universe, Israel takes the planet Earth, and the 12 Gentile nations take the constellations in a feat of space colonization. The Church is New Jerusalem.

And it shall be a Kingdom, though there is still death, as the tree of life is still necessary. Death being defeated is still future.

Fiction tells us of godlike men like Paul Atreides or the Emperor of Man, and yet despite all their abilities and power, pales in comparison to the coming Lord of lords and King of kings Jesus Christ.

Paul was not immortal. The Emperor of Man was, but his body decayed without his control. Jesus Christ is resurrected and eternal.

Both Paul and the Emperor possessed great psychic power to steer humanity. However, Paul despaired of determinism. The Emperor was shortsighted in many things. Jesus Christ completely omniscient and omnipotent.

The Preacher, secretly Paul Atreides, who was blinded


Paul blinded himself to escape the Golden Path, the determinism of him knowing the future, and wandered the desert. His son Leto II took his reins, transformed into a psychic sandworm to guide humanity, and after thousands of years, died in an accident he himself orchestrated.

The Emperor of Man decaying on the Golden Throne


The Emperor of Man was gravely wounded after Chaos demons possessed his son Horus. He sits in the golden throne, decaying, even with great psychic power. His Imperium is classified as a grim, dark future, that no one wants to really live in.

Jesus Christ, as our Potentate and future Emperor God of all Mankind, will never fail. While these two godlike men of fiction are the best mere humanity can conjure up to pretend to be Christ, He is the real deal. He is the Emperor mankind is secretly yearning for, to take a space empire of galactic, intergalactic, and universal proportions.

Deuteronomy 7:9 KJV
9 Know therefore that the Lord thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations;
1 Corinthians 15:28 KJV
And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all. 
After a thousand generations of ruling the universe as Man, it seems Jesus will shed His fleshly human form and become the Word, but this is a bit of speculation.

God became the Man Christ Jesus, so He could fulfill humanity's dual desire of a human King of kings and eternal Kingdom, as He is the Desire of nations. No fictional space emperor could ever hope of outshining Him.

So if you ever long of ever being a citizen of a space empire of eternity, look to Him.

Samuel Garcia






Monday, July 11, 2016

Pokemon and Christianity: Is Pokemon Satanic? Pokemon Go and Church? Does Pokemon Promote Evolution? And Other Issues Addressed



Pokemon Go, a wildly popular hit mobile app, was recently released this week, raising and re-raising new and old issues with the church in general.

Now, if you don't know what Pokemon is, you might have been living under a rock, or a super sheltered house. But to give you some basics, Pokemon is a Japanese franchise, consisting of a trading card game, a series of video games, manga comics, and animated TV shows and movies. "Pokemon" is short for "Pocket Monsters", the fictional animals you have to capture in the games and what the hero of the cartoons tries to catch.

The app uses AR, or augmented reality, which in other words, tries to simulate what catching Pokemon is in real life. It uses the GPS locator in your smartphone to track where you are on top of Google Maps. Players can visit Poke Stops an Poke Gyms to stock up on items and battle in real life. So players must walk or hop into a car in order to play the game.

Why is Pokemon a hot new button issue with the church? Mostly because many, many churches are PokeStops and Poke Gyms in the game. Another reason is that Pokemon was deemed to be Satanic and evolutionistic when it was first released in the 1990s. This blog post addresses the issues that have come up with Pokemon Go and Pokemon in general.

Here is a handy FAQ:
Q. Is Pokemon Satanic?

Obviously, Pokemon is not a Christian-based franchise. What fictional world is?

There is a satirical and hoax interview going around, supposedly from TIME magazine, that says that the original creator of Pokemon wanted to promote Satanism. I repeat, that is a hoax.

What is true is that Pokemon draws a lot from mythology, such as Japanese, Hawaii, and Norse mythology. It also draws a lot from alchemy in using the elements.

However, people do not play Pokemon because of the myths. To many people, it is just a fun past time or hobby. A totally harmless one. People who play understand that this is fictional.

The Bible says,

Titus 1:15
Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled.

As Christians, we have spiritual liberty in all things. If it doesn't hurt our consciences and if it doesn't make our brother stumble and if it doesn't go directly against the Bible, it is admissible.

Paul told believers that it is alright to eat meat offered unto idols, because our knowledge of the Bible tells us that there is only one God, and idols really don't have power over the meat offered. The only time one shouldn't is if the believer is eating in front of a brother who doesn't know that idols don't have power.

The supposed occultism and symbolism of games? It does nothing to a saved Christian. It has no power.

People use this same reasoning against Christmas and Easter. Guess what? Whatever pagan origin those holidays have had, they don't affect at all a standing of a Christian. If the Christian's motive in celebrating holidays is pure, the holiday is pure unto the Lord. (Col. 2:16)

The ones who are defiled are those that have been saved from Satanism and the occult. If Pokemon at all triggers them, then they are not to play it. But to those that are pure, it is pure and neutral.

But please do tell me who thinks Pokemon actually reflects the deep sorceries of occult lore in such a way to draw minds to actual Satanism?

If you are super aware of the occult and how it relates to Pokemon, then don't play. But also don't think that the same symbolism will actually affect unaware Christians who play. They are playing because it is good, clean fun, not because they are possessed.

So the answer is, Pokemon is neutral. It is as neutral as Christmas trees, holidays, and eating meat offered unto idols back in Paul's day.

Q. Does Pokemon support evolution?

Somewhat?...

Evolution in the games and stories are not the same kind of evolution that is presented here in real life. Whereas evolution in the Pokemon universe is very quick and very flashy, evolutionary hypothesis in our world states that evolution is very slow.

The franchise universe has its own creation myth with its own creator god (Arceus) and mythical beings that control time and space (and antimatter). So it's not purely secular evolutionistic. It is fictional. As I noted, the franchise draws alot from mythology.

It promotes both creationism and evolution in a fictional sense.

Q. Why are churches PokeStops and Poke Gyms and what is the difference between the two?

The company that created Pokemon Go, Niantic, created a previous game that was very similar, called Ingress. Players of the previous game uploaded locations worthy of note with significance historically or socially or even supernaturally to create portals.

What is a place that has both historical, social, and supernatural significance?

Churches!

Other places like cemeteries, offices, malls, gyms, and other places are included. But since churches reflect all the above criteria, they are sure signs of becoming a PokeStop or PokeGym.

A PokeStop helps stock on items such as Pokeballs (which are used to capture Pokemon). PokeGyms, on the other hand, are captured and defended by teams in-game. Gyms are more important than stops.

Q. How should I handle players who go to church to look for Pokemon?

This is an opportunity to witness for Jesus Christ!

Pokemon Go is sending a ton of people to church areas. Use it to your advantage. These are the types of people who probably will never darken a door of a church for other reasons. Many of people who play Pokemon are introverted, and are more likely to stay in their house, if it wasn't for Pokemon. This is a whole demographic the church as a whole has not engaged with effectively.

Talk to the people in the parking lot. Show them the love of God. Even join them, yeah?

If the church is open on weekdays, then if one can, invite people in, hold a snack bar. Do something! Of course, boot troublemakers, but this is a privilege you can't afford to waste.

Samuel Garcia

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Review Of The Best Game of 2015: Undertale



Website (Demo and $9.99 Full Game)

"The RPG Where Nobody Has To Die" -Undertale trailer

Modified post from No Game Plays: The Unheard-Of Indie Games.

Undertale is an unheard-of indie video game. Well, kind of. Those that are internet savvy will eventually come across an Undertale meme or video. But it hasn't caught on, like, say Minecraft. Not yet.

To those that don't know, Undertale is an extremely popular PC video game that came out of nowhere and captured and broke many hearts.

I bought the game when it reached the highest score on Metacritic. It has been my first video game purchase since months. My first impression before I bought it was, it looks like a bad RPG Maker game. (So it was a surprise to learn later it was made in Game Maker: Studio, my go-to tool for making games)

I can't say much about Undertale without spoiling it, and the internet has done that already, but I can say that Undertale is best played without much prior knowledge of it. The innovative shoot-em-up system for RPGs, the Fourth Wall breaks... these aren't what makes Undertale great. Good, yes, but not great. What makes it great is how it ties things together.

The fandom can be toxic. Better avoid them until after playing Undertale to its fullest.

Undertale has made me cry and I still listen to the music. The game gives me Determination.

As a Game Maker: Studio user and fellow game designer, hats off to, Toby Fox. Undertale is the type of game I aspire making. Not in terms of popularity, but in the terms of its visceral experience.

Go, play it. This is the best game of 2015, hands down.