Where is the fine line?


As many may  be aware,  religion and God are very touchy subjects which many people especially here in the Middle East take very seriously. Even when discussing other pantheons. Needless to say some of those reactions to the subjects can be overzealous yet many times it is a pretty valid concern.

See (this is for those who don’t understand the underlying reason behind those reactions) in the Middle East the focus on religious tolerance is one focused around manners and religious doctrine ( Respecting the rights of others to practice their beliefs is not only good manners but part of religion ) and NOT a legal obligation… meaning if you know where to step then you are pretty much safe… A good thing and a bad thing at the same time!. The line is drawn religiously when the God (He who is worshiped by practitioners of the Abrahamic religions, any of the prophets or any of the practices are insulted or otherwise slandered, as quiet frankly it crosses the line of freedom of speech as seen here in the region (your freedom stops where another person’s freedom starts). Based on the previously mentioned bit; it is generally considered good practice for us not to insult any of the other religions if we do not want the same done to us.

Now what does this have to do with gaming? Well I have heard of several cases in the past which have caused an outrage over here. We are all familiar with the more recent fiasco with the COD map that involved God’s name in Arabic “Allah” written in the bathroom which quiet rightly can be found offensive by many practitioners.


There was one that I believe fell under the radar but still brewed enough anger to affect many gamers here, and apparently when God of War II first came out in the region, some took issue with a man who was killing gods (Kratos) and found it sacrilegious. The reason being that a mortal should not be portrayed as killing Gods… I found that odd since I doubt anyone in the region believed in the ancient Greek pantheon  to my knowledge the pantheon and myths had no existing believers, do not involve the same god Worshiped by any currently existing religion, and generally involved Gods who where actually killable so to speak. It was therefore fair game for developers and writers to mess around with it since it should not offend anyone.


More recently an issue was made regarding the arguably provocative nature of the Achievements and Trophy titles for Konami’s title Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance; two of which where: Virtually a God and Becoming a Lightning God. Now the reason I say arguably is that the issue as I see it is very much like the God of War II issue I just discussed. Raiden’s name I believe, is a Romanization of the name of the Shinto lightning god(s)/ spirit(s)…  not sure if there is one or many of this Raijin (since one legend involves a samurai actually killing a Raijin with his Katana named Chidori splitting the lightning bolt it was riding or something like that. He later named it to Raiki… lightening cutter or something… again I am stating this out of memory so the details could be off!). My inference as to the source of his name is supported by the lightning motif portrayed through his blade and his run which involve electric sparks. So again, it really isn’t touching our religion, and is again touching what I would assume would be classified as a pagan religion the followers of which I very much doubt would even care (and given the previously mentioned legend regarding the Samurai who actually killed a Raijin, it I doubt any living practitioner of the shinto religion would be complaining about why some video game character was compared to one of their nature spirits…). Also note that the words used to represent God in the Japanese language does not have the same weight to it as it does in the English language let alone the Arabic language since an omnipotent entity was only introduced with the introduction of Christianity during the 1100’s so the attribution of divinity to a character from that perspective means little more than coming close to perfection in skill. It has as much weight as the phrase “The artist’s performance was divine”. Further support for this argument is found in the phrase “Kami no Itte” which loosely translates to Hand of God or Divine motion a term used in the Japanese game Go to mean a perfect game. But again, religion is a touchy topic and while some will agree with me some will also disagree. I am very open to be corrected should I have said anything that was incorrect or less than solid fact (as I am well aware I did not look into this subject matter as deeply as some of you readers have!).

Despite all that, Konami with a push from their distributor here in the Middle East (Pluto Games) did make the right decision to avoid offending any of it’s customers future or present. Konami’s office in Europe provided the following statement in regards to changing the titles of those achievements:

Konami Digital Entertainment GmbH confirms the availability of an update which renames certain Trophies and Achievements in its METAL GEAR RISING: REVENGEANCE title for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. The update does not affect the contents of the game, but adjusts the titles that have the potential to be considered offensive in the Middle East. It was launched this week together with the new Jetstream DLC.

To end this article, I would like all you readers to please be aware that I do NOT intend to offend anyone but this was an issue I have noticed many avoided touching even with a long stick! That alone probably says it might not have been the best idea to discuss this publicly. I however believe that in order to bring down the walls between different cultures we really need to be able to approach and discuss those touchy topics without insulting, flaming, and generally harassing one another for having different perspectives. I would just like to remind everyone to draw the line at respecting another human being’s right to believe whatever the hell they want without slagging them or their beliefs off for it.

Author: Figment View all posts by

5 Comments on "Where is the fine line?"

  1. abdulwahab May 2, 2013 at 6:40 PM - Reply

    well written brother, it was a good read 🙂

  2. Blackie Kiefer May 3, 2013 at 7:29 PM - Reply

    A good read indeed !

  3. Figment May 4, 2013 at 6:59 PM - Reply

    Glad you like it boys^^

  4. Blue Sky May 21, 2013 at 3:39 AM - Reply

    haha you finished with “whatever the hell” The irony!

  5. Khalid Al Soufi July 6, 2013 at 11:29 AM - Reply

    not bad figment, keep up the good work.