By Jaime Nava –
It’s funny how games come around. There was a game called Arma 2. It was created as a military game that was transformed it into a zombie survival game by modders. That modified game became known as DayZ. As DayZ grew in popularity, so did the ambition of others. A different zombie survival game came out called The War Z. Hmm. That doesn’t sound fishy at all. This new imposter game had blatantly taken the general idea of DayZ and made it its own. The makers of the imposter game went to great lengths to suppress that it was indeed an imposter. Comments were deleted or hidden that gave poor reviews. Hammerpoint studios, makers of The War Z (the imposter), has had numerous issues because of how poorly they treated the people who paid for their game and the places that offered their title to the market (see Steam). Ain’t nothin’ like the real thing, baby.
This isn’t the first time a video game has ripped off ideas from another one. For those of you who know a smidge about Minecraft, there’s no end of the Voxel imitations with mine-this or craft-that or block something. Then there’s the shameless Great Giana Sisters which is pretty much Super Mario Brothers set to skirts. Impostering even goes all the way back to the famous Pong that was ripped off from Table Tennis. That’s right, the game my parents played way-back-when is a knockoff. Do you feel terrible? You should.
Around Christmas time we see knockoffs come out of the woodwork. They try to fool some unsuspecting grandma, who’s looking to buy Minecraft for her agoraphobic grandson, instead to purchase MineBlocks or DirtCraft or some such. Or maybe Bob Cratchit is trying to get ol’ Timmy something close to what all his buddies are playing. In any event, ‘tis the season for deception.
There’s something else that occurs around this time. People pull out the imposter card a couple times a year, Christmas and Easter. Instead of claiming games are imposters of others, they declare from the rooftops of The “History” Channel that Jesus Himself was an imposter. Well, what they say is that the people who wrote down the stuff about Jesus were copying ancient Egyptian-this or Norse myth-that. They find a sliver of something that looks old and they say that Jesus was married or that He never claimed deity or some such nonsense. There’s no end of those who claim the biblical account of Jesus and His words are imposters. They find the far-left-of-center theologian with a fun bow tie to substantiate claims that Jesus could be an alien or at most just the nicest guy you’ve ever met.
Is it true? Is Jesus like The War Z, a knock-off of some other story? I don’t really need to go into the details of Jesus being like other gods since a ton of other people already have, especially this highly entertaining bit. The truth of Jesus Christ lies in the testimony. So the question is, are the New Testament documents reliable?
Although Bart Ehrman would huff out a “no”, he’s wrong. As Dr. Montgomery reveals in his Tractatus, history, like science and law, is reliable. Without every detail, jurors are able to determine guilty or not guilty. Without knowing how everything works, scientists are able to conclude many things about the observed universe. History gathers information from sources and based on human reasoning, we can determine what we know about the past. Otherwise, as Dr. Montgomery cites, “Those who deny the possibility of discovering truths about the past have no good reason for distinguishing historical truth from fiction.” (p. 66). So based on the number of copies of the New Testament, the time between the original writing and our earliest copy, and other factors we use to discover what happened before us, the New Testament is ridiculously reliable. “[T]o discount the New Testament documents on textual grounds requires the critic first to discount the entire body of Greco-Roman historical literary remains, since the textual authority for the latter is considerably inferior to the textual value of the former.” (p. 76) The bottom line is this: what the Bible says can be understood historically.
When people cry “Imposter!” this Christmas season we simply shake our heads. When Bill Maher tries to school Stephen Colbert, he comes out sounding so horribly uneducated that I was embarrassed for him. We are prepared to answer for our hope without being a douche, and we are prepared to do it every Christmas and Easter. We don’t do it to simply defend ourselves either. We reveal Jesus Christ as He has been recorded as being. He was immaculately conceived by a virgin. He lived a sinless life. He healed, fed, walked on water, rebuked, whipped, cried, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended into hell. On the third day He rose from the dead and ascended into heaven where He now sits at the right hand of the Father. This is no imposter. This is the way, the truth, and the life. In fact, it’s others who try and mimic Jesus. Jesus warned that they would show up claiming to come in His name. They will do everything to point you away from the very Lamb of God who takes away your sins. They will point to Horus and Baldur and The War Z and claim falsehood. At best, it is simply warmed air leaving their lungs. We can trust the Bible. We can trust that Jesus has come to save us. We can trust Linus as he quotes from Luke chapter 2. It’s all real. It is all real to forgive even a skeptic like you.
Have a truly Merry Christmas.