Hundreds of Protestant churches around the country have adopted the super-popular video game “Halo 3,” in which players shoot, bomb and pistol-whip each other to death, in order to lure youngsters into the house of God. One critic of the trend points out: “If you want to connect with young teenage boys and drag them into church, free alcohol and pornographic movies would do it.”
New York Times:
Those buying it must be 17 years old, given it is rated M for mature audiences. But that has not prevented leaders at churches and youth centers across Protestant denominations, including evangelical churches that have cautioned against violent entertainment, from holding heavily attended Halo nights and stocking their centers with multiple game consoles so dozens of teenagers can flock around big-screen televisions and shoot it out.
The alliance of popular culture and evangelism is challenging churches much as bingo games did in the 1960s. And the question fits into a rich debate about how far churches should go to reach young people.
Far from being defensive, church leaders who support Halo—despite its “thou shalt kill” credo—celebrate it as a modern and sometimes singularly effective tool. It is crucial, they say, to reach the elusive audience of boys and young men.