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A few Christian references I noticed in Horizon Zero Dawn

John Day

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I will never understand how anyone can think about these things while playing a video game, whatever the game. Video games are to be enjoyed in the purest sense of the word.
Personally I have never considered these things, when I take a gamepad in my hands it is to escape by immersing myself in the fantasy world that I have before my eyes.

Enjoyment of something is relative and comes in all shapes and sizes.

Some have pure fun with gameplay alone, some find pure joy and immerse themselves into its world too.

It’s really not rare or surprising at all.
 

Ar¢tos

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One day I will play Horizon.
I bought it 2 years ago, it's installed since then and I only played 5h in the first 2 days and got distracted by something else. Everytime I finish a game I think about playing Horizon but something else shows up. It's the same thing with GTA5. Doomed to be forever installed and never played.
 

Humdinger

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Can we not just talk about hidden stuff and things we caught in the game and then discuss some theories instead of fighting?

I'm actually surprised the thread got any attention at all. I expected the observations would be so obscure, no one would care. But I guess in retrospect, it's not surprising. The mere mention of Christianity is enough to agitate some people. It's kind of weird that the discussion has taken the turn it has, but I guess once you create a thread, you don't have much control over where it goes.

Re. your theory about Ted Faro... The problem I see with that is, would he have the programming expertise and resources necessary to pull off something like that? He was more the CEO type, whereas Elizabet was the programming whiz. Gaia and all her subordinate functions took an enormous amount of intelligence, talent, resources, and manpower to pull off. Faro would be all alone.

I wonder if Ted has a clone, too, like Aloy. Ted Jr.

His post is so vague it could be applied to many religions.

No, 3 out of those 4 are specific to Jewish/Christian literature (unless the Gaia/Hades relationship/story parallels the God-Satan one, I'm not familiar enough with those mythological figures to say). I grant that the 4th (virgin birth) isn't specific to Christianity, but the rest are. Not that it matters, really. Consider it a thread about "religious themes," if you like.

As much as I did enjoy Horizon (really need to play the DLC...damn you backlog) I still picked up on the writers less than subtle political cues and as mentioned found the fact I mentioned prior amusing...

Re. that, one caveat about your idea that the patriarchal society in the game (the Carja) were more advanced than the Nora. They were actually incredibly barbaric, just prior to the game's beginning. They waged war with everyone, had human sacrifices in the Sundom, kept slaves, and were run by a Mad Sun King. It was only the overthrow by the new king that brought peace and turned it good, but that was a recent development. Prior to that, it was much worse than Nora land. Personally, I didn't see anything terribly barbaric about the Nora, apart from maybe their purity/exclusion rules. They seem like a lot of primitive, nature-based societies. I kind of liked them. They had the best land, that's for sure.

As for the feminist themes, there was only one point where it got a little annoying to me. It's when Aloy is talking to Burgerend (this is part of the DLC, which you haven't played). Burgerend says that she should visit his daughter up north. He mentions that Aloy reminds him of her. Aloy responds, "Why? Because we're both women?" That was a little grating. I mean, you come from a matriarchal society, girl, don't be sounding like a modern wahman. Burgerend seems chastened and says, "No no, because you're both independent." Meh. I winced.

The only other thing I noticed was a gender imbalance, with women characters tending to be good/strong and male characters tending to be corrupt or foolish. Some of that is attributable to the fact that the game has a female protagonist and a matriarchal culture. If that's the setup for the fictional world, you're naturally going to get a lot of strong female characters. That's fine and didn't seem "feminist" to me, just fictional. What did bother me a little was the relative lack of good, noble men. There were some -- most notably Rost and the Sun King, but also Varl, Teb, Aratak, and even Errend to some degree.

I guess that might've bothered me in a different game, but it didn't bother me in this one. I'm not sure why exactly. I took an early liking to Aloy, the setting, the story, and the combat. Those took center stage for me, and the rest just seemed like part of the fictional world I was immersed in. I didn't even notice the things I mentioned until subsequent playthroughs. And really, if I'm focusing on gender representation, how different am I from the identity politics people who annoy me, who make everything about gender, race, etc.? In the end, I just want an enjoyable game.

One day I will play Horizon.
I bought it 2 years ago, it's installed since then and I only played 5h in the first 2 days and got distracted by something else. Everytime I finish a game I think about playing Horizon but something else shows up. It's the same thing with GTA5. Doomed to be forever installed and never played.

It's a great game, imo. Great combat, beautiful environments, interesting science fiction story, an open world that has plenty to do but is not overstuffed with extraneous content the way other games are... It's my favorite game this gen.
 
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Trogdor1123

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I'm actually surprised the thread got any attention at all. I expected the observations would be so obscure, no one would care. But I guess in retrospect, it's not surprising. The mere mention of Christianity is enough to agitate some people. It's kind of weird that the discussion has taken the turn it has, but I guess once you create a thread, you don't have much control over where it goes.

Re. your theory about Ted Faro... The problem I see with that is, would he have the programming expertise and resources necessary to pull off something like that? He was more the CEO type, whereas Elizabet was the programming whiz. Gaia and all her subordinate functions took an enormous amount of intelligence, talent, resources, and manpower to pull off. Faro would be all alone.

I wonder if Ted has a clone, too. Like Aloy. Ted Jr.
Ted was in the process of organizing the largest operation in human history. I think he could have a snuck something in. Also, his history is interesting. Had a huge change in careers that wasn't explained.

I think he would have easily been able to copy all the work being done. I've yet to understand why he paid for it... Or why they would keep him even alive
 

Humdinger

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Ted was in the process of organizing the largest operation in human history. I think he could have a snuck something in. Also, his history is interesting. Had a huge change in careers that wasn't explained.

I think he would have easily been able to copy all the work being done. I've yet to understand why he paid for it... Or why they would keep him even alive

Well, you're right that he was funding it, although he was not the brains behind it or really in charge. Yet, he couldn't have risen to his position without knowing plenty about programming. He was able to override the Apollo program and destroy all its copies. So it's not inconceivable that he could hack Gaia, develop some alternative program, or something along those lines. I don't think it could be a monster program like Gaia -- that would take talent and manpower he doesn't have -- but it could be enough to monkey with Gaia.

I would have a hard time understanding his motive, though. He wasn't a purely evil character, bent on destruction. Even when he was doing foolish things, like destroying Apollo and killing the other leaders, his motive was to protect the new civilization. Now he's sending a signal that re-activates Hades and reboots the Faro Plague, thus again destroying civilization? Why?

But I guess I'm getting ahead of myself.

p.s. You mentioned you don't understand why Faro bankrolled the Zero Dawn project. My understanding is, it's because Elizabet basically blackmailed him and said that if he didn't do it, she would tell the world he was the one responsible for its extinction. He was already feeling guilty and sheepish, and he had told Elizabet to do whatever it took to stop the machines, so when she said that, he said okay; he didn't put up much resistance. I mean, the world is going to end. You can't take it with you. He was a prideful fellow, concerned about image/power, and he didn't want to be known as "the guy who ended the world."
 
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wintersouls

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Enjoyment of something is relative and comes in all shapes and sizes.

Some have pure fun with gameplay alone, some find pure joy and immerse themselves into its world too.

It’s really not rare or surprising at all.





To immerse yourself in the world of a videogame is not to enter into sexist topics to post it later in a forum to create controversy. Don't you think?
 
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johntown

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I'm not really a Christian, so don't take this as bible thumping or anything like that. I'm not trying to start a religious discussion. This is more along the lines of what you'd do in English class, where you'd note the themes. As I was playing through Horizon Zero Dawn again recently, I noticed a few Christian themes in the story and language. Nothing major, and it's probably not even worth a thread, but I didn't know what else to do with it, so I figured I'd put it out there.

[Warning: This contains story spoilers, for anyone who hasn't played the game yet.]

I noticed 4 things:

1. There is, of course, GAIA and Hades. That's the most obvious one. That parallels the story of God and Satan, with Satan originally being a servant of God, but then splitting off from God and turning into an enemy.

2. Addressing Elizabet Sobeck, GAIA says, "With you, all things are possible." She says it twice in the game. The language sounds a little archaic, and it reminded me very much of the phrase from the Bible, "With God, all things are possible." It would makes sense for GAIA to say that, since Elizabet is her creator, her God in a sense.

3. Aloy says of Elizabet, that she "loved the world so much" that she "died for it," that she "sacrificed [herself] for everyone else, for everyone who would come later." That sounds a lot to me like an echo of John 3:16, "God so loved that world that he gave his only begotten son..." -- which of course is a reference to another person who (at least according to some traditional Christians) died for the world because he loved it, sacrificed himself for everyone who would came later.

4. And there is Aloy's "virgin birth" as well. She doesn't have a biological father.

Anyway, I'm not claiming Horizon is meant to be read as some Christian allegory. I just noticed a few parallels that seemed kind of neat.

I interpret 2 and 3 as the result of GAIA having been exposed to all world literature, including Christian imagery and language, as part of her education. So these phrases come out like old poetry comes out in the metal flowers.
There are central and common themes of most religions. However, Christianity differs from them in one major way. All other religions you have to work and do enough good in the hope that you might make it to heaven or be reincarnated etc. Christianity says that it is a gift from the love of God no matter who you are or what you have done and you cannot earn it because it is a gift. Anther core theme is Jesus died and rose again to life which is the core of Christianity. If he didn't rise from the dead then there is no Christian faith. Jesus didn't just die but he rose again and all who believe that is did that for them have eternal life.

So you can see there are some stark differences.

Te virgin birth is not unique either. Here are a few examples.

In Egypt, virgin mother Isis begat Horus


In Phrygia, Attis was born of the virgin Nama.

In conclusion, you see part of the Christian faith here most likely due to the religion you are most familiar with but don't read too much into things. It just a game and creative directors draw from many influences, cultures and religions.
 

Humdinger

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There are central and common themes of most religions. However, Christianity differs from them in one major way. All other religions you have to work and do enough good in the hope that you might make it to heaven or be reincarnated etc. Christianity says that it is a gift from the love of God no matter who you are or what you have done and you cannot earn it because it is a gift. Anther core theme is Jesus died and rose again to life which is the core of Christianity. If he didn't rise from the dead then there is no Christian faith. Jesus didn't just die but he rose again and all who believe that is did that for them have eternal life.

So you can see there are some stark differences.

Te virgin birth is not unique either. Here are a few examples.

In Egypt, virgin mother Isis begat Horus


In Phrygia, Attis was born of the virgin Nama.

In conclusion, you see part of the Christian faith here most likely due to the religion you are most familiar with but don't read too much into things. It just a game and creative directors draw from many influences, cultures and religions.

The thread isn't about the Christian religion, despite what some people seem to think, so I'm going to sidestep that.

The thread is about a few story notes that I found interesting because they resonated with Judeo-Christian language and story. I found it evocative. It helped me appreciate the game a little bit more. That's all. This is not a discussion of religion. This is not a theological discussion. This is not a comprehensive discussion of all the historical myths and religions of the world. I thought I made that clear in the OP, but I guess not. This is more along the lines of what you'd do in an English lit class, where you'd talk about the themes you noticed in a particular play or piece of literature -- what it evoked for you, your associations. That's it.

My first point is referencing the specific story between God and Satan, not just "good god, bad god." I'm not aware of other religions that have that same story and relationship dynamic (originally a created servant of the one true God, split off, then become the main enemy of that God). Feel free to fill me in, because there may be some, I'm just not aware.

I should say, though, that it's a moot point to me, because again, I'm talking about themes that resonate with me and are evocative of something deeper. I come from a Judeo-Christian culture. If a similar myth exists in, say, ancient Egypt, that's nice, but it doesn't resonate with me or evoke anything, because I'm not an ancient Egyptian.

The second and third points are references to specific Biblical language. They are not found in other religious texts, to my knowledge. Feel free to supply quotes from other religious texts that map on to those. I've asked others to do the same but gotten no response.

I've already acknowledged that virgin birth narratives appear in other religions. But 3 of 4 of these are specifically Judeo-Christian.

But even if they weren't, that's not the point. As I hope I've made clear (too late, probably), this is not a religious discussion. This is just my commentary on some aspects of the game's story that I found resonant or evocative with Judeo-Christian themes I'm familiar with. Retitle the thread "mytho-religious themes in Horizon Zero Dawn" in your head, if that makes you more comfortable, I don't care. Not really the point.
 
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wintersouls

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Sexist? Was that really the aim of this post? Come on...

Come on?


With what intention is this written in a thread that goes about Christian religious comparison in Horizon? Is this post needed?

In reference to this post

I personally enjoy the fact that the entire game is about female empowerment, leadership and motherhood and yet Aloys village (an entirely matriarchal society) is one of the most backwards and savage (yup I said it)

And the most prosperous nation/civilization in the game is patriarchal, with successful commerce and happy denizens etc lol
 
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LMJ

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With what intention is this written in a thread that goes about Christian religious comparison in Horizon? Is this post needed?

I suppose I can see your point of view, but my intention was not to do that, merely another observation (similar to the Christian one in OP)

Rather than act hurt why not try to argue or debate the fact such as Humdinger Humdinger did

As for my so called "sexist" behavior, if I were a sexist why would I play a game with a female protagonist, let alone one with such feminist tones let alone say I loved it...
 
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Neolombax

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Interesting. I didn't get any of those vibes while playing the game at all, it was all hunt giant robots and solve said mystery kinda deal.
 
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Christianity lore is just a bunch of ripping off from older dead religions though. All Abrahamic religions are this to be fair.

Also the lore in this game felt more like Greek/Pagan shit.

And yes Aloy is literally Jesus.