Thursday, May 3, 2012

Understand theology better with... Zelda and Link?

You can't prove that Zelda *isn't* studying theology here...

The almighty and I have never really seen eye to eye. When I was in eighth grade, I decided that I- like most teenagers- was able to see through the delusions of organized religion and turned my back on the church. This may have been an open act of rebellion against my parents, or a clever ploy to reclaim my Sunday mornings, but I was pretty committed to my iconoclasm.

As I've grown older, I realize that this decision has left a fairly large void in my life. While I am still a bit wary about organized religion as a whole, I do feel like I have missed out on a great store of theological wisdom as a result of my adolescent arrogance.

Thankfully, some doors in life never truly close. After some deep introspection browsing on Amazon, I was turn to the once source of inspiration (and breakfast cereal!) that has been with me for my entire life: The Legend of Zelda.

Believe it or not, this book is not an attempt to convert you to Christianity through the tri-force

The Legend of Zelda and Theology is a great example of how a topic in popular culture can be used to make esoteric areas of study like theology and philosophy accessible to the everyman. It is not a book designed to help you find God through Zelda, but rather a book dedicated to showing how religious themes can be explained in terms of the Zelda universe.

The editor states at the very outset of the book that Zelda and Theology is a book written by a cadre of die-hard Zelda fans who found thematic resonance between various games and aspects of religion. At no point do any of the authors try to superimpose Christian ideals on the Japanese-developed games, and they are all cognizant of the fact that the games were probably made with with no intention of profound philosophical or theological meaning past "It's dangerous to go alone, take this!"

While a few topics covered in Zelda and Theology might make a religious cynic wary of the true intention of the book (Linking the Landscapes of Twilight Princess Christian Theology), the majority of the essays are far more neutral in tone. Consider...
  • Freedom Versus Destiny: A Hero's Call
  • The Mediation of Transcendance within The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker
  • Take Your Time, Hurry Up, The Choice is Yours: Death and the Afterlife in The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask
If you're looking for some summer reading that's a bit deeper than The Hunger Games, you could do worse that The Legend of Zelda and Theology.