According to Wired.com, the top paid gaming app in both the UK and America is Plague, Inc., a game that simulates the deaths of billions of people through disease. I have two teenage sons and I went to them with this, because I really do not understand why it is fun to simulate mass death. One of my sons has played this game and he says that it’s “fun” to play. Mind you, he is very pro-life and would never hurt another human being, but this game, which he says he has only played once, is “fun” to him. This bothers me. He doesn’t understand why it bothers me.
I admit that I don’t look at such things the way most other people do. For example, I cannot, for the life of me, understand why people jump out of airplanes, or ride roller coasters. I don’t understand the “thrill-seeking” stuff that, to me, is just intentionally placing yourself in a position of vulnerability so that you can be made to fear. I don’t get that…at all. I understand, I’m not “normal” in thinking that way, and that’s fine. It’s just how I am.
At the same time, we do live in a culture that seems to be unconcerned about human dignity. We need look no further than the recent front page story of the New York Post which included a large color photo of a man about to die as a subway train was approaching him and he was stuck on the tracks. Many people are appalled by this, which is good, but the fact that it was published in the first place, and the popularity of a game that simulates the death of billions, does, I think, tell us something about our culture. As a society, we are not repulsed as much by death as we should be.
As a Passionist, like many other Catholics, I embrace suffering, and even the death of myself, in the Cross of Jesus. That kind of embrace is an embrace of love. When we are willing to offer ourselves up for the good of the world, we are participating in the Cross of Jesus. Through His death has come grace. But death for the sake of death is the opposite of that. Embracing death because it is death, instead of embracing the Cross because there is redemption in His sacrifice, is just embracing death.
My son, who is a wonderful and pro-life human being, says I’m over the top to say all this about a game app. Maybe he’s right. Still, when I see the big picture of how our society is viewing the dignity of our fellow man, I think a little concern is well-founded.
Romans 14 might be a good chapter to read here.