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July 19th, 2013 | EarthBound, Merchandise

HEAVENBOUND

A while back a reader by the name of Travis e-mailed me about how EarthBound had deeply touched him and how it connected with his religious beliefs in a profound way. I asked if he’d want to write about it, since, regardless of your religious background (or lack thereof), it’s a pretty big deal when ANYTHING can move someone on such a deep level. So the fact that a Japanese video game did just that really intrigued me.

I wanted to know more, but without the “this part in the thing I like was just like this part in the holy book I follow” sort of thing, since that’s only scratching the surface and can be applied to anything – I mean, I bet you could also compare stuff in EarthBound to stuff that happens in Harry Potter books, or Terminator films, or the first issue of Batman, you know? So I’ve never been fond of that sort of comparison.

Anyway, I wanted to know more about how EarthBound connected with him, so he wrote up some stuff – enough that it might even turn into an article series – and made a shirt to go along with it called HeavenBound. You can check out the site, article, and shirt here.

Travis also says:

As a child Earthbound showed me the power of friendship and it helped plant a seed in my mind of what could happen with people that were committed to a purpose and to each other. As I grew older I looked back and I saw that this beloved classic has been instrumental to help shape my perspective on life. I feel that this game has even played a major role in my personal relationship with God and my decision to have faith in Him.

Because of this I see Earthbound as “heavenly” and I have designed the “Heavenbound” t-shirt to express that. For me personally it is “heavenly” because it ties into my Christian faith. I recognize that most fans might not share the same beliefs as I do about Christ but regardless of your faith background you might agree that this game has touched you in a way that might feel “heavenly.” If this is true for you then I hope that you wearing this shirt serves as an encouragement and as a reminder of the positive effect Earthbound has had on your life.

More importantly than selling you this shirt my ultimate desire is that we can open up a conversation with each other so that I can hear your story and about how Earthbound has been used to influence it. Please check out my “Heavenbound” t-shirt site to hear my story and please contact me through my same site so I can hear yours.

Usually I shy away from topics like this since I usually see them devolve into petty squabbling. Still, I’d like to hear what other fans have to think – has playing EarthBound helped you in any way? Inspired you? Was it something that led to greater things for you? Or was it just a game you liked and all the other fans seem like crazy people? Share your experiences in the comments!

 

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71 Comments to You Are Now HeavenBound


Paul Clavet said on Jul. 19, 2013

Very appropriate that the shirt is blue.

NorthofOnett said on Jul. 19, 2013

That’s a pretty cool story! I’d have to agree that the game has had an effect on my life, but probably not to this degree since I only played this game a couple years ago (not as a child). Still, it’s nice to see someone step out and share their a story about their faith. Seems like nobody likes to talk about it these days.

GasparYellowVersion said on Jul. 19, 2013

It didn’t really affect me, as much as it changed my tastes. I didn’t really like rpgs that much, and the music didn’t seem that good, but it all grew on me. Today those tastes are pretty much who I am.

Pak-Man said on Jul. 19, 2013

I don’t know if Earthbound has changed my life, but I’m drawn to play it whenever I’ve made a major life-change. I played it when I graduated High School, when I graduated College, when I met my now-wife (I named Paula after her in that playthrough!), when I proposed, When we got married. It’s been a while since that playthrough, but now we have a son, and he just turned one, and I’m feeling the urge to play through again. Oh! Hello, conveniant Virtual Console release!

The awesome thing is my perspective on the story and what feels important to me changes every time. What felt like a story about growing up has become a story about dealing with the adult world, while still feeling like that kid in a baseball cap. I wonder if I’ll relate more to the Dad on the other end of the phone now..

misterdigi said on Jul. 19, 2013

Yes. In much the same way as it did for this gentleman, EarthBound affected me religiously.

I was very religious child so I was always in touch with praying, as it were. I was also a very huge video gamer. I got made fun of a lot for praying and believing in God while growing up, and became very aware of the growing culture of the acceptance of atheism, and agnositicism. Which translated to “there is no god” with a lot to the kids that went to my school.

I felt a lot of negativity was thrown my way for having this belief, and it frustrated me a lot because I never felt so alienated for something in my life other than the fact that I was short. So when I picked up this game and played through it, I couldn’t believe my eyes when prayer was used in it to battle the enemy. It shocked, and amazed me, and touched me in a very positive way. It made me feel okay that I prayed. I didn’t feel so weird, and in fact, felt even better about myself, because the hero’s of this story prayed.

misterdigi said on Jul. 19, 2013

I had never seen in that in a VIDEO GAME before, and haven’t seen it since. Which I find incredibly interesting.

DexterTheThird said on Jul. 19, 2013

As a catholic, the use of prayer during the final battle and the ensuing scenes involving it along with Paula’s words were very moving to me the first time I completed this game at age 13-14.

Vukadin said on Jul. 19, 2013

Damn it, I posted a very long comment and it didn’t go through. Ugh, irritating.

Prayer -//- Religion

Just wanted to point that out.

Erikku8 said on Jul. 19, 2013

In my church, we have 13 articles of faith. The last part of the thirttenth article reads “If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.”

To me, EarthBound falls under that category. EarthBound was something that helped me through a hard time of my life. Not the only thing, mind, but one of the things that makes EarthBound great is the relate-able characters and how they do great things.

And I think as human beings, we too want to do great things, whether it’s because we’re inspired by Christ or any other hero you can think of. Great hero stories are inspiring.

Zackman said on Jul. 19, 2013

Very interesting.

misterdigi said on Jul. 19, 2013

@vukadin

No one here said that prayer = religion.

…just wanted to point that out…

=)

Anonymous said on Jul. 19, 2013

What I think is important to note, though, is it isn’t God who hears the prayers of Ness and the gang during the final boss. It’s the people who care about them and want to protect them.

CB said on Jul. 19, 2013

“Isn’t it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?”
Douglas Adams

That is to say, isn’t Earth amazing enough without having to wrangle this game into a mythology?

refat17 said on Jul. 19, 2013

Well at this point I was shying away from religion and I still am, but I was getting a little stingy. Earthbound taught me that believe in religion or not you should still have hope for something, you don’t necessarily have to pray to a God to want something to happen but just have hope for what is, have hope for someone you want to achieve something achieve that goal. When I was growing away from religion I threw away those ideas, thought it was just all random, luck is non-existent there’s only chance. Even though I don’t think luck actually exist or if hoping for something really even helps I will still do it because it shows you care and it means you care. That’s what earthbound did for me!

Vanasto said on Jul. 19, 2013

There is an undeniable sense of the sacred in EarthBound that is undeniable (mainly the Sanctuaries and the uncanny references to the heroes’ destiny), and I guess people who view things through a religious lens would inevitably want to see those spiritual moments as being tied to their chosen faith in some way.

However, with this post I couldn’t identify any connection between EarthBound and this fan’s religious beliefs. There is no description as to HOW they might be connected, just mentioning that they think there IS some influence:

“I feel that this game has even played a major role in my personal relationship with God and my decision to have faith in Him.”

“For me personally it is “heavenly” because it ties into my Christian faith.”

I’m going to write this off as Christian proselytization since there isn’t anything talking about how EB and this person’s faith are related, and they even made a t-shirt to spread the word! The comments to this post have been more relevant, since they at least note how Paula prays to defeat Giygas, but I think that they’re overlaying their own style of prayer and accompanying beliefs onto the non-religious praying in the game. I say non-religious because it seems to me like Paula’s praying has more to do with telepathy and the mysterious powers from her love and compassion instead of anything having to do with a higher power. There are no churches or religious buildings or references in Twoson and no evidence of Paula, her family – or anyone in the game, for that matter – having religious beliefs besides the Happy Happyists (who really aren’t positive religious role-models right?). Is there anything I might have missed? This is an interesting topic, for sure…

Vanasto said on Jul. 19, 2013

I undeniably feel like an edit function would be handy right about now, hehe.

Reed said on Jul. 19, 2013

Well Earthbound help inspired me to come out as a gay man due to the presence of Tony. Not anything mind blowing, but a gay character in an older game is rare and that makes me happy.

Vanasto said on Jul. 19, 2013

Crap, I didn’t notice until now that you could click on the shirt image and read the whole story! Still feels like proselytization, but now I sort of understand what the connections are for this person.

BusterTheFox said on Jul. 19, 2013

I’m a religious person myself, but I wouldn’t say it affected me at all in that respect. I like using the Pray command a lot where a lot of people seem to think it mainly does bad stuff. I guess it’s because it makes the battles more random and exciting for me. Especially when Paula runs out of PP; she’s always the powerhouse in my playthroughs until I can abuse Criminal Caterpillars and the Rock Candy trick. I just hope that she either heals the team, hurts the enemy or restores some PP to herself so she can use those powerful PSI attacks again. And even if she makes everyone feel strange and/or cry, it still happens to the enemy too, right? Haha. I find it to be a fun and useful command.

But back on topic, I know it subtly inspires me in everything that I do. It’s the only game I can say I spent money on when I REALLY didn’t have the money just because I liked it so much that it didn’t really matter whether or not I had a lot of spare cash, I just went and bought it. I played it a bit last night, I managed to keep on missing against a Crow and died. It doesn’t bode well for this playthrough… Heheh.

Nick said on Jul. 19, 2013

@ Erriku8
Not to be off topic or anything, but it’s nice to know there’s someone of my faith on Earthboud Central! I really didn’t expect that.
And to be on topic, I felt Mother 3 had more religious undertones than Earthbound. The Prayer Sanctuary, Hinewa’s presence in Chapter 6, and basically the whole ending helped to define my belief of life after death. I believe that the people in our lives who have passed on are still with us, silently watching us, helping us make decisions in our lives.

Tayo said on Jul. 20, 2013

Just to note, Paula does indeed pray to God to help them. They tried dodging around it specifically in Earthbound, but in Mother 2, Paula’s mother specifically says that God is with her. Paula, like Ana, is religiously affiliated.

Anyway, Erriku8, I agree with you wholeheartedly! I didn’t know there was another member on here. (I love that article of faith.) What originally drew me to the series was the story. A friend of mine had explained the story to me, so instead of going in the order most non-Japanese go playing them, I started with Mother 1. I bought a cartridge of Earthbound on Ebay, and I love it! It really has touched my heart many times. Honestly, Giygas is one of my favorite villains of all time. Unlike most, he was never originally completely evil. He is such a tragic character… Cognative dissonance can cause such trouble in the mind. That’s why it’s interesting to study his character and motives. The characters are just great. The game is so relatable, even down to the status effects. I mean, Ness can get homesick, which can only be called by calling his mother. It’s so interesting to think what the title “Mother” meant, such as the strong emphasis on relationships (like with a mother), or perhaps, Mother Earth. Anyway, they’re unlike any other games I’ve ever played, and I think the music is very fitting to the quirkiness of the characters and plot.

misterdigi said on Jul. 20, 2013

Let’s just get one thing clear here. For those of you who don’t agree with this persons tying his religious beliefs to this game, that’s just fine and dandy. Go ahead and don’t agree with it. No one is asking you to make the same connections. I’m certainly not, and I don’t think this guy was either. He wants to make a shirt that says “Heavenbound” on it? Fine. Let him! But you just jump to a conclusion that he is trying to “spread the word” as if you are afraid he is going to preach to you. No one is. You make that assumption all on your own. This isn’t “proselytization.” He isn’t asking you to join the darkside, and become a christian. Please, save your negativity, and your passing of judgement for yourself.

Chivi-chivik said on Jul. 20, 2013

Since I’m agnostic this game didn’t make such effect in me, but I loved it enough to get into its fandom (and now I only draw EB XD). But it’s COMPLETELY clear that Paula, as Ana, is religious. I realized that despite the fact that EB is censored.

Lotus_Blue said on Jul. 20, 2013

Before I got into Mother, I remember that at the time, I was feeling quite disheartened by the current Mario games. They were starting to get, I felt, a bit too samey (come on, is it too hard to ask for Peach to be playable guys?) and Nintendo wasn’t really taking risks like they used to with the series, especially after Paper Mario: Sticker Star. I wasn’t doing much fanart and fanfiction either, due to lack of inspiration or courage to get up and scribble or write. But then, I found this series, and I know it’s cliche, but it really changed my life. I began to write and draw a bit more with this new inspiration, and it also, weirdly, helped give me out an new outlook on video games generally.

I should also say that I still love the Mario series, FYI, but more the older RPGs than the current offing.

JesusLovesNess said on Jul. 20, 2013

I am encouraged by so many responses to this Heavenbound article that I gave to EB Central! Like I said on the Heavenbound t-shirt site I love talking about this topic- even when we might not see eye to eye… so if you want to go deeper in convo feel free to leave me a message through the shirt’s site- Travis

PS: Hopefully I will have more time later today to respond to some of the posts and comments that were made today and yesterday

Johnny J. said on Jul. 20, 2013

I very much enjoyed this article, and would definitely like to read more about inspirational stuff people got from Earthbound.

Satsy said on Jul. 20, 2013

“Earthbound fans = crazy people” sounds about right to me.

JesusLovesNess said on Jul. 20, 2013

@Vanasto
I am glad you were able to find the links that revealed more of the connections I have experienced. Truthfully I could have given many more examples but I was trying to avoid a several page wall of text. Earthbound and my faith is something that I have thought about and experienced for many years so I intend on unpacking more as time goes on hopefully giving more examples.

I appreciate your honesty about your perception of me proselytizing. Maybe you are not trying to communicate this but what I have observed is that society appreciates others that are “real and true to themselves” but will quickly “write them off” if their being real is offensive to others. As a Christian and as a human I want to be real and true to who I am- I want to live with integrity. I would be fake if I didn’t talk about my faith in God and how He has changed my life. Earthbound is the common denominator that we all share- however as many of the comments have shown there are some of us who share a similar faith. If a game that is so important to us overlaps with our faith which is also important to us shouldn’t we be “real and true to ourselves” and disclose this? Or out of fear of stepping on toes and “proselytizing” with foul motives should we keep it to ourselves? Is sharing what is most important to us in hopes that it will help another so wrong? I think forcing someone to believe something and then judging them and rejecting them when they don’t believe is wrong. Sharing what is most important to you is one of the most genuine things one can do.

Vanasto said on Jul. 20, 2013

Masterdigi: I don’t believe I was being negative or judgemental in my comments – just giving my interpretation of what’s going on with the topic. I can see how you might take it that way since I questioned your view of Paula’s praying though.

I’ve learned to be VERY skeptical of many Christians’ motives, because I’ve met too many who just want to push their views on me and other people. Sometimes they will directly engage and be forthright with their message, or a lot of times they will be more subtle while still trying to promote their faith somehow. I think these HeavenBound shirts are an example of that second type, where anyone who reads it – even if they’re not an EarthBound fan – will know it has to do with Christianity. Hence, I call it as I see it: proselytization. Yeah it’s mild, and yeah it’s EB fan-created so I’m all for that, but still. And his Avatar on here is ‘JesusLovesNess’ using Ness’ haloed ghost sprite. I’ll admit that it’s fitting, but it also helps to reinforce my point…

Also, Christianity as ‘the dark side’? Them’s your words, not mine!

Chivi-chivik: What makes you so certain that Paula is religious? I’d like to hear your take on it in more detail!

Mato said on Jul. 20, 2013

Actually, most everyone’s avatars on this site are actually randomly assigned (I was too lazy to make a sprite chooser thing), so it might’ve just been luck that he has the ghost Ness sprite :P

Douche McCallister said on Jul. 20, 2013

Mother 2 changed my life, but in more of an artistic sense. The series really showed me a completely different way to look at video games and storytelling. The charm in these games are on a different level compared to most other video games, and it’s really powerful.

JesusLovesNess said on Jul. 20, 2013

@NorthofOnett
@DexterTheThird
@Misterdigi
@Erikku8
@Nick
@Tayo

NorthofOnett you said: “Still, it’s nice to see someone step out and share their a story about their faith. Seems like nobody likes to talk about it these days.”

Nick you said: “Not to be off topic or anything, but it’s nice to know there’s someone of my faith on Earthboud Central! I really didn’t expect that.”

In general in life I try be real with people about who I am and what I believe. My faith is a big part of my life and so naturally I want to let others know about it just as I do about other important things in my life such as my wife and son.

I think one of the reasons not many people share their faith on EBC and similar EB sites is because there is not many outlets and opportunity to do so. I have met other Christian EB fans on fan sites- they also were a little shocked to discover there are other believers in God out there that love EB! For me a sense of refreshment can arise when you discover there are others out there that share your love for God and also EB. For me it feels almost like reconnecting with an old friend or something…

My encouragement to you and anyone else that cares to read this is that it is a good thing to be open and honest about your faith- it’s good to be true to what you believe. While doing this it is important to be aware of others beliefs or lack thereof- not sugaring down what we believe but generally being accepting of other people and their own journey- even if they choose to not do the same for us.

Satsy said on Jul. 20, 2013

JesusLovesNess

I think it’s possible to not be open about your beliefs and still be true to them.

If I were an orthodox Christian, I probably wouldn’t play Earthbound. The aliens (Giygas is arguably a demon), religious cult, Mani Mani Statue, psychic powers, violence, implied sexual references, and other aspects make for a very Biblical contradiction. I’m not saying that Christians can’t appreciate or play the game, but if one were “true to their faith” in the traditional sense, then that person could not ethically play Earthbound.

I can’t wait to read the responses to this post.

Nick said on Jul. 20, 2013

@Satsy
I do think there’s a time and a place to talk about beliefs (religious or non-religious). you do have to be understanding of others. I’m only open about my beliefs if I know the other person won’t be offended.
Video games, art, music, literature, and movies can all give inspiration, hope or guidance in so many different ways and opinions. I think most of us gained something like that playing Mother, Earthbound or Mother 3. The fact that we can all get something different (whether it’s religious or not) out of the same artistic source is a testament to how amazing life is. That’s why I try to be respectful to every person I meet.

MatthewG55 said on Jul. 20, 2013

Religion on the internet and it’s not getting bashed? EarthBound is great.

misterdigi said on Jul. 21, 2013

Satsy: sorry. but a christian can “ethically” play earthbound. You’re taking Christianity as a book defined definition and applying it to things you see in the game. It’s like saying a christian can’t watch the movie Requiem for a Dream because it deals with herion addiction. Which is ludicrous.

Vanasto: Yep. Them’s my words. But my reaction is coming from the blanket viewpoint you seem to have on people who believe in God. I believe in God. Though, I am not a christian. I’m sorry you have had poor experiences in the past with ill-informed people who have tried to push their beliefs on you. But guess what hombre. No one here is pushing their beliefs on you. So your comments were indeed a little biased and somewhat negative, simply because you had a bad experience in the past. Don’t take it out on this guy.

Aaaaand the end.

Mr. Saturn said on Jul. 21, 2013

I’d love to say that EarthBound affected me in such a personal way outside of gaming but its biggest affect on me was opening up the RPG genre to me. I really didn’t know anyone who had played EarthBound outside of my brother until I was out of high school. Kind of the downside of growing up in a small rural community. For the most part I was the gaming culture in my class.

Satsy said on Jul. 21, 2013

Digi: I said orthodox Christian. If you’re loyal to your religion, and you follow the Bible and other Christian teachings (St. Augustine’s Confessions), then you wouldn’t play Earthbound. I’m sorry if that offends you, but it’s the truth. That’s not my opinion; it’s fact. Most Christians, in America, are not pure orthodox, so they interpret things and bend meanings to what they want.

misterdigi said on Jul. 21, 2013

Satsy: Thank you for educating me on the laws of Orthodox Christianity. Might I ask, why even bring it up if most Christians in America are not Orthodox? And therefore most people on this forum are probably not orthodox christians (save for yourself since you know so very very much). Just for fun? Or maybe was it perhaps an offhand way of interpreting the phrase that someone said “being true to their faith” and trying to throw it back in their face as if they really weren’t being true to their faith, but rather being a hypocrite for playing a videogame. It doesn’t OFFEND me, Satsy, it just makes me kinda throw up in my mouth a little at the callousness of your remark when this said person hasn’t really done anything to you. But hey maybe I’m just a sucker for kindess and decency.

misterdigi said on Jul. 21, 2013

Take it how you will.

“Earthbound fans = crazy people.”

Yourself would be included in this no? Or are you just someone that enjoys making pithy statements randomly on internet message boards.

Satsy said on Jul. 21, 2013

Oh, I think I offended someone with the truth.

Obviously, I’m not a Christian, and I wasn’t trying to be unkind to JesusLovesNess. You just interpreted my facts as harsh. Ironic how non-Christians know more about it than Christians like yourself, huh?

Vanasto said on Jul. 21, 2013

misterdigi: I’m not too sure what your angle is, or why this matters to you. I have had suspicions about somebody else’s motives and mildly called them out about it, and you decide to jump in… I’d prefer to have GodLovesNess speak for himself about it (or choose to generally ignore it) – I really wasn’t addressing you in the first place and you’ve added undertones to what I’ve said that just aren’t there (though I’ll admit to some healthy caution and skepticism which never makes for fast friends).

You said nobody is pushing their beliefs on me, but I read EB Central pretty much every day, and when a seemingly random reference to Christianity which co-opts my all-time favorite game from my childhood appears in front of my face while I’m sitting at home, then I’m gonna have some questions about that… but nothing, including my past experience, is leading me to bash anyone on a personal level in any way. You’re reading too much between the lines again, I think.

Well, so much for ‘the end’, which was really a pretty dick way to try to shut me down. Maybe it’s unreasonable that I’ve come to expect open-mindedness and conviviality from fans in the EB community, but it sure is disappointing to get that kind of treatment.

Vanasto said on Jul. 21, 2013

Hey Satsy, EB is the lesser of just about any two evils when it comes to sinning, don’t you think? I’m just glad there are some Christians and other religious people who are willing to play it and let it influence them so much. EB FTW! Plus isn’t it interesting to learn how they reconcile it with any rules they choose to live with? The justification doesn’t have to be rock-solid as long as nobody gets on their case about it :)

Satsy said on Jul. 21, 2013

I’m not a Christian. I’m just educated on religious texts. There are plenty of good people, who happen to be Christians, who play Earthbound, and there’s nothing wrong with that in my eyes.

Anonymous said on Jul. 21, 2013

I don’t really understand where Christians get this victim mentality that they’re being persecuted. It’s Christians who picket gay pride events, it’s Christians who run around with pamphlets telling everyone else they’re so bad and wrong and going to hell, it’s Christians who feel entitled enough to overlook a separation of church and state and try to make the laws of the land reflect their own personal beliefs, but everyone else is making life hard for you? Right. Please keep co-opting the conversation back to Jesus when this site is really supposed to be a game. That’s a predictably Christian thing to do.

“You can’t be happy unless you know happy-happyism.”

JesusLovesNess said on Jul. 21, 2013

@Vanasto

You said:
I’d prefer to have GodLovesNess speak for himself about it (or choose to generally ignore it) – I really wasn’t addressing you in the first place and you’ve added undertones to what I’ve said that just aren’t there (though I’ll admit to some healthy caution and skepticism which never makes for fast friends).

I am not trying to ignore this conversation, sometimes I just don’t get respond as quick as I would like. However I did respond to you yesterday and would love to hear what you think about my comment. I copied and pasted it below…

@Vanasto
I am glad you were able to find the links that revealed more of the connections I have experienced. Truthfully I could have given many more examples but I was trying to avoid a several page wall of text. Earthbound and my faith is something that I have thought about and experienced for many years so I intend on unpacking more as time goes on hopefully giving more examples.

I appreciate your honesty about your perception of me proselytizing. Maybe you are not trying to communicate this but what I have observed is that society appreciates others that are “real and true to themselves” but will quickly “write them off” if their being real is offensive to others. As a Christian and as a human I want to be real and true to who I am- I want to live with integrity. I would be fake if I didn’t talk about my faith in God and how He has changed my life. Earthbound is the common denominator that we all share- however as many of the comments have shown there are some of us who share a similar faith. If a game that is so important to us overlaps with our faith which is also important to us shouldn’t we be “real and true to ourselves” and disclose this? Or out of fear of stepping on toes and “proselytizing” with foul motives should we keep it to ourselves? Is sharing what is most important to us in hopes that it will help another so wrong? I think forcing someone to believe something and then judging them and rejecting them when they don’t believe is wrong. Sharing what is most important to you is one of the most genuine things one can do.

JesusLovesNess said on Jul. 21, 2013

@Satsy

YOU SAID:
“If I were an orthodox Christian, I probably wouldn’t play Earthbound… make for a very Biblical contradiction. I’m not saying that Christians can’t appreciate or play the game, but if one were “true to their faith” in the traditional sense, then that person could not ethically play Earthbound.”

I actually like this comment you made. I have thought about this idea you are talking about and I could go many directions with it but for simplicity I will say a few things. Jesus was often approached by “religious” leaders about meticulously following many rules and regulations that they observed. Then one day they approached him and asked what is the greatest commandment/law. Jesus responded that the greatest is to love God with all your heart and to love people as you would yourself.

So for me personally- I am not into meticulously following every religious law that man thinks he needs to follow to get closer to God but instead I attempt living my life centered around a relationship with God making most of my choices based on the foundations of loving God and loving others- using the word of God, leading of God and people of God as my plumbline.

In most things in life I try to ask myself will this action (enjoying EB for example) help me to love God and love others more? Personally I think the answer is yes. But because I am pro-relationship with God vs. pro-religion I choose to present this action to God in prayer asking for His guidance as well as stay accountable to other Christians with my actions and process of decisions making.

I could go into more lengthy “doctrinal” examples to back up my process in this but I don’t think that is necessary right now : )
Good comment though!

NorthofOnett said on Jul. 21, 2013

Just like to point out that being “educated on religious texts” doesn’t carry much weight since most “religious texts” are not holy in their source. Just because certain manuscripts come from very religious, orthodox people does not automatically qualify it as being as holy as the Bible. Which, according to Protestants, is the single holy piece of literature by which to live by. And I can guarantee that the Bible does not say “Though shall not play EarthBound.” I mean, good grief, it’s a game! If Christians weren’t allowed to do something as simple as enjoying a game, than man, guess they won’t be doing much else in life, huh? No fun for those Christians!

Vanasto said on Jul. 21, 2013

GodLovesNess: I saw your thoughtful reply, but wanted to (try to) settle things with misterdigi first. Thanks for listening, I didn’t think you were ignoring me. I was just trying to say that even if you did choose to ignore me, there’s no pressing need for misterdigi to defend you from honest questions…

Now about your reply… Your religious experiences that were intertwined with themes from EarthBound are valid and interesting (to me at least). Unfortunately, it’s necessary to tread lightly when sharing anything dealing with Christianity, as overzealous evangelists have ‘poisoned the well’ so to speak and caused me and I’m sure many others to get defensive and suspicious at the merest mention of the topic. Too many people are out to spread the word using aggressive and manipulative tactics that really offend me, let alone the fact that I’ve chosen to not personally accept a lot of Christian teachings. Basically, it seems most polite to keep one’s religious beliefs to oneself unless asked about them by a truly openminded person. Otherwise there’s bound to be some uncomfortable feelings that come up.

Anyway, after thinking it over, I think it was the shirts you’re selling that really brought up red flags for me. It’s one thing that you wanted to share how EB affected your life and that Tomato was curious and wanted to know more, eventually posting here on EB Central. That’s gonna be a bit controversial on its own, but it’s heartfelt and genuine and an important facet of Earthbound fandom. But shirts with ‘HeavenBound’ on them have little to do with your own experience – especially if a stranger reads it without asking you about it, just taking it to mean that you’ve been a well-behaved Christian and are going to a good afterlife. And most people won’t ask you about the shirt out of politeness… There’s more to wearing a shirt than the fact that you like it and it means something to you, it’s also about getting others’ attention. That has to be intentional, or otherwise wouldn’t you make a poster or something that you and other people could enjoy privately? And reading your story with your involvement with missionary work in Africa puts up more red flags for me since it shows you’re willing to go to great lengths to convert people to your religion. To me, it would’ve been enough just to sensitively share your experience with fellow fans here and gauge the reaction before having merchandise with a Christian message printed off about it. That’s more clean and honest, without being tied into taking money for a product that publicly broadcasts a religious message. By the way, if you don’t mind my asking, I’m curious how many have sold so far?

Mato said on Jul. 21, 2013

Note that because religion talk often brings out trolls and flame baiters (whether they realize that’s what they are or not) I’ve started moderating some comments on here that are just meant to rile people up and/or start pointless arguing.

If you don’t believe in something someone else does, that’s fine. But this isn’t the place for picking fights or to argue for the sake of arguing.

Satsy said on Jul. 21, 2013

Well I don’t know who’s using my name but they can cut that out. I’ve been off this site for months so whoever’s calling themselves Satsy does not speak on behalf of myself.

JesusLovesNess said on Jul. 21, 2013

@Vanasto
I really like your question and thoughts that you shared. I won’t be able to respond until tomorrow but know that I am thinking about this and I have started typing a response that I should post soon- hopefully it won’t be too lengthy :)

Paulashine of ThunderClan said on Jul. 21, 2013

@JesusLovesNess

I agree with your view of EarthBound and Christian faith. Being very religious myself, I was glad to see someone a bit like me. :)

And this shirt is incredibly cool. “HeavenBound.” I love the sound of it.

misterdigi35 said on Jul. 22, 2013

at phantom satsy imposter: Don’t worry, you didn’t offend me with your knowledge. However, don’t call me a Christian, as I am not one. Maybe if you would read my comments where I blatantly state that I am not a Christian, your words might have more weight.

at vanasto: I didn’t shut you down, only you can do that to yourself.

Mato has said in less words exactly my point, which is if you don’t agree with a belief that’s a-ok, but picking at someones beliefs (whether its Christianity or Islam) in the way some people have on the board really got to me. It’s not fair or appropriate, and it’s in extremely poor taste. I care about freedom of religion. That’s why I interjected.

misterdigi35 said on Jul. 22, 2013

Oh and vanasto: I hardly think I’m giving you any sort of treatment. You expect openmindedness yet you aren’t willing to practice it yourself.

JesusLovesNess said on Jul. 22, 2013

Sorry everyone for so much text in this comment. Feel free to read it if you are interested in the topics I have listed below.
Summary of my wall of text:
-Why is it not ok to be open with one’s faith if we are open about everything else in life?
-A copy and paste from my site of my motives for this shirt
-Further explanation of my intentions and motives
-Hoping Heavenbound can be a statement for all EB fans touched by the game
-My thoughts on Proselytizing
-A little back history on the development of the shirt

Vanasto (and others) I appreciate you being willing to think it over to find out where red flags rose up for you about this topic. Let me attempt to communicate as clear as I can about the shirts since that is where the flags came up for you. You still might not agree with me after my explanation but hopefully you might understand more of my motives behind my actions : ) My only hope is that I can communicate without causing any more red flags to raise up. Before I go into more detail about the motives of my shirt I want to ask a question:
Why is it ok to talk openly about other topics that are very important to an individual in life unless it has to do with their faith? For example one’s spouse, child, favorite sports team, favorite video game and most other things in life it is perfectly fine to communicate openly about but when it comes to one’s faith there is almost a fear that is created that keeps people from talking about it? I am curious to know anyone’s thoughts on this!

Addressing the red flag you had with the shirt…

On my small site I have this explanation
“I have made this shirt as an expression of my own personal journey with Earthbound and how God has used the game to point me to Him.
So why the “Heavenbound” logo? Because I see Earthbound as heavenly. For me personally it is “heavenly” because it ties in to my Christian faith. I recognize that most fans might not share the same beliefs as I do about Christ but regardless of your faith background you might agree that this game has touched you in a way that might feel “heavenly.” If this is true for you then I hope that you wearing this shirt serves as an encouragement and as a reminder of the positive effect Earthbound has had on your life. More importantly than selling you this shirt my ultimate desire is that we can open up a conversation with each other so that I can hear your story and about how Earthbound has been used to influence it.”

Further explanation of my intentions and motives
Hopefully that covers my intentions but if not here are a couple thoughts to go with it. Earthbound has been a big part of my life and so has my relationship with God. I feel like God has used EB in my life to personally communicate to me. To me the word heavenbound is symbolic of my love for EB and also my love for God and how God reminds me of His love for me through the game. Now I realize that I could likely be the only one on the planet that has had this unique experience. I am confident though that EB has touched many fans’ lives in a way that might seem blissful or extraordinary or maybe even heavenly. For this reason I thought that MAYBE heavenbound would be a phrase that some EB fans could identify with in terms of the peace and ecstasy associated with the memories that come from the game- regardless of their faith background. So really I am not trying to promote solely a “religious shirt,” unless EB has touched you in that way like myself. Its intention is for all EB fans who have experienced the “heavenly touch” that comes from EB- despite their faith background.

So to wrap this part up- I am hoping heavenbound can be a statement to express how EB has been used to touch fans’ lives regardless of their faith. AND ALSO for me personally it is a statement of how it has touched me because it ties into my faith. My intention is not “either/or” but “both/and”. Does that make sense?

My Thoughts on Proselytizing
Now to go a little deeper on the topic of proselytizing through wearing this shirt. Proselytizing’s definition is to persuade one to convert into one’s faith. As I am wearing this shirt in public this is my intention (feel free to push back):

The number of EB fans are growing in my city- at a slow rate but still growing. My hope is that one will notice me wearing this shirt and make any sort of comment so that we can start a conversation (which is normal in the south where I live). My response will be to tell them how EB has affected my life and then for me to ask them if it has affected their life in any way. Now there is a great chance that they will not share my same faith and that is totally great! I am not ashamed to let people know that I love God… but at the same time as I am intentional about being open about my faith I want to go above and beyond to help people feel accepted, respected and valued as a person. In other words I want people to know that I am a follower of Jesus while also helping them actually have a positive interaction with one that doesn’t leave them feeling the way you and others have felt. How do I do this? Mostly by talking with them like a normal person having a normal conversation about EB despite their belief system. In my opinion- just because we don’t share the same beliefs doesn’t mean that it is bad that I am open about mine.
To you this might fit the definition of proselytizing, although I am not doing much persuasion other than being honest about my faith without pointing fingers of judgment at them. I do this while also trying to represent a Christ like loving attitude towards them as we talk about EB, life and whatever else. I do this so afterwards they might feel loved. Now on the other hand if they eagerly want to hear more about my faith, then absolutely I will share more. You could say this is proselytizing but know that I try to avoid any form of manipulation or aggression. : )
I hope this brings clarity- yes I want people to know I love God and yes I want to do this in a way that leaves them with a positive experience with a Christian.
From what you have shared it sounds like you haven’t had many positive conversations with a Christian who is open about their faith. For that I apologize- I apologize especially because over the years there have been times where I have made people feel uncomfortable by being more assertive than necessary especially when I have not taken into consideration who I am interacting with.

Back history on the development of the shirt
Originally I was just going to make one single shirt for myself through a close friend who makes shirts for a living. When I was talking with this friend about the idea he told me it might be about the same price to make one as it would several.

My thought was that MAYBE there are other people out there who have been touched by EB and they MIGHT want to express that through this shirt. When he and I were talking about it we both agreed that we might sell 0 shirts or we might sell all the ones we have printed. The only reason I care to “take money” for these shirts is to help my friend’s business. I paid for the shirts upfront and I am letting him keep all the profit since he is the one putting in the labor! He made the site, printed the shirts, is processing orders, did the graphic design etc. He is newly married and I just want to help him out. : )

We have had the site promoted since Friday and we have 1 shirt sold so far and a few others who have expressed interest. Honestly I am ok with the idea being an epic fail in terms of shirts sold because my ultimate desire in this is to open up a conversation with others so that I can hear their story and about how Earthbound has been used to influence it. With that hopefully non-Christians will have at least one positive encounter with a Christian who is lovingly open about his beliefs.

I apologize for “The Great Wall of Text” that I left everyone! Vanasto I appreciate your openness. People like you help me grow in the area of being sensitive and aware. If the comments for this article ever closes know that you are invited to message me through my site so that we can continue to dialogue. Your input is helpful, needed and appreciated!

Vanasto said on Jul. 22, 2013

JesusLovesNess: It seems that you’re pretty aware of how religion can be a touchy subject where people have strong opinions for or against. Not many topics bring out the same amount of passion, except maybe politics. I don’t feel it necessary to go into all the reasons why it can be inappropriate to be too forthright with your religious views (or other opinions), but like with a lot of things you can be giving TMI and sometimes people just might not care to hear about it for various reasons! Hard to handle that last one, I know, but it’s a fact of life that you need to take into consideration if you don’t want to bother people. That’s why I think it’s important to take the time to feel a person out before sharing. Also, it’s not such a good idea to start a dialogue about a controversial topic with a large group of people who don’t all mostly agree, as there’s bound to be a fair amount of arguing and bad feelings. At any rate, I wish you luck finding fellow Christian EBers to connect with, and I’m glad that this discussion was kept civil and engaging for the most part.

Miles Vialpando said on Jul. 22, 2013

While I am not relgiious, I do believe that it taught some moral values for friendship and teamwork, with its own unique charm.

Satsy said on Jul. 22, 2013

I’m not religious, and I don’t believe Earthbound has anything to do with it. Keep your beliefs to yourselfs.

satsy said on Jul. 22, 2013

^ BucksStudent quit the flame-baiting. Nobody gives a rats whether you care about religion, and if it offended you that badly, you wouldn’t be here. If all you’re going to do is perch on the sidelines spewing hate-speech it’s no wonder you got your name banned.

And hiding behind a girls name is just cowardly. Knock it off and get your own name to spit with.

Mrs. Saturn said on Jul. 22, 2013

I think it’s a pretty cool shirt, and I appreciated reading JesusLovesNess’s testimony. I wish you luck as you continue on your personal journey. :)

As a child, I was always deeply moved by the “prayer” scene in EB, even though my family were the type of people to only go to church on Christmas and Easter and I wasn’t really a serious believer in anything. Later in my teens, after I had made a serious commitment to my faith, I found the “prayer” scene (and the other quasi-religious/spiritual/what-have-you moments in the game) even more eye-opening. Mother 3 was no different in that regard.

Ironically, I’m not anywhere near as religious as I used to be, but I still love all the things mentioned above. It makes the Mother series even more special for me.

TheStarmanZero said on Jul. 22, 2013

Earthbound has been a big inspiration in my life and effected it alot. The game has always been there through the good, bad, sad, happy and so on. It’s inspired me to be a better person and show me the value of friendship. It’s by far mt favorite game in the world and I’ll always be happy to play through it for years and years to come.

Paulashine of ThunderClan said on Jul. 22, 2013

@JesusLovesNess

I would gladly buy and wear a HeavenBound shirt if I could. Being only 10, 11 in a few days, though, I’m not allowed to buy anything online. I love the way you relate EarthBound and Christianity. Keep doing what you’re doing! :)

JesusLovesNess said on Jul. 22, 2013

@Vanasto
“..and I’m glad that this discussion was kept civil and engaging for the most part”

well said! although I see things different in many ways I do enjoy hearing your perspective!

JesusLovesNess said on Jul. 22, 2013

@Mrs. Saturn
Thanks for the encouragement! Some say that Mother 3 has more faith elements than Mother 2. What’s your opinion on this?

Mrs. Saturn said on Jul. 23, 2013

@JLN: It’s been a while since I played Mother 3, but definitely the ending (spoilery for people who haven’t played!) struck me as having some very Revelation-like undertones, with the pulling of the final Needle and everything that happens afterward. The Magypsies also seemed like angels (very unusual angels, mind 8D) aiding Lucas on his quest; and of course, any scene with Hinawa in it was infused with a sense of the spiritual/supernatural. I’m sure there’s more to support the faith perspective, but I’d have to go back and play the game to find out.

(To clarify: these are my impressions and not a solid statement of fact, of course, so I hope no one takes my comment the wrong way :D )

Nicho said on Jul. 27, 2013

Frankly, I’m happy someone feels this way. A lot of views that people hold to be truthful is about groups, which I find detracts from our overall selves. There used to be days when the n-word was common, but we learned to stop separating ourselves (frankly I think the word race is meaningless and causes more trouble than its worth) And religion seems to be getting a treatment to. I’m not going to share or explain my beliefs, but I will say that we need to view ourselves as together individuals (an oxymoron at its best). A man or woman can set a house on fire, be religious, and go to jail. The person could also save a child from an earthquake and be religious.neither of these people embody their beliefs as a whole, since the neighbor can be just as religious in a different way entirely. Christian, Islamic, Hindu, Jewish, Aethiest, Agnostic, it’s amazing how many times you can split a society, but their all the same species. A group isnt embodied by one, or two, or twenty of the believers. No matter how many are doing wrong through a belief, there’s always someone out there doing right, for the exact same reasons. EARTHBOUND, games, white, black, Religious, Atheist, we are all people who love,and want to be loved. The story’s and experiences shared here are amazing, and the fact that people at desperate ends of a room can hear and understand each other’s views is just what makes us such a great species. Long speech is over, now go out and say fuzzy pickles, you wonderful, beautiful people.

Nicho said on Jul. 27, 2013

An edit button for auto correct would also be appreciated. *desperate = different

JesusLovesNess said on Jul. 30, 2013

@Nicho
Thanks for the feedback! As time goes on I hope to communicate more of my experiences with EB and how it has overlapped with my faith…

Alectriciti said on Aug. 4, 2013

This is very awesome to see, especially Earthbound Central’s lenience towards such a topic. It isn’t as big of a deal as the internet makes it out to be until people get defensive. I wish people would respect that. I personally don’t like labeling myself as a Christian because of the awful reputation they have. I still have my beliefs.

This is a great share, so thanks! :)

JesusLovesNess said on Aug. 9, 2013

@Alectriciti
Thanks for the response! I am glad that you enjoyed reading it.


 
 

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