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How an Indie Horror Game Renewed My Faith

Creator:
Published:
April 22, 2024
April 22, 2024
Read this article to see how the "FAITH" video game helped one woman repair her relationship with God.

For most people, the days after your college graduation are spent soaking in the last bit of freedom before “real” life begins — going to the beach, hanging out with friends, dreaming of the independence to come. I, however, spent the month between ending school and starting my career bedridden.

A week before graduation, I was rushed to the ER where I was diagnosed with severe sepsis. I had an emergency surgery and was hospitalized for nearly a week, just barely making it out in time to be wheeled across the stage to accept my degree. Then came the recovery process — which it turns out, takes a massive toll on your body. Among other symptoms of post-sepsis syndrome, you can expect lasting pain, recurring infection, trauma, and extreme exhaustion. I was most heavily afflicted by the latter two.

This meant that after getting home from the hospital, I needed help going about my daily functions. I could not bathe on my own, go to the bathroom on my own, dress myself, feed myself. It was humiliating for me. I worked so hard to finally be independent, which caused me to develop a real “I-don’t-need-anybody” complex. So, having to ask someone to help me walk or fix a sandwich felt like utter defeat.

Part of my complex, admittedly, came from spending years isolating myself from the support of a particular community: the church. After a lifetime of maltreated mental illness and the recent loss of my dad, I had a very hard time trusting the church and other Christians. I often felt abandoned or scorned by my brothers and sisters in Christ because they did not know how to approach my situation, either in prayer or in action. As a response, I walled myself off from my faith community, and other support systems, for fear of disappointment. So the idea of now depending on others to just get through the day was a great challenge, to say the least.

Vying for a distraction from my current situation, I got into the habit of watching hours-long video essays on YouTube. For those of you who might not be familiar, a video essay is typically an opportunity for a creator to deeply discuss a topic that interests them or their audience. Despite my rocky relationship with my faith, I was particularly interested in video essays that had anything to do with religion — that, and horror.

I got so invested in these video essays that even when I recovered, I kept up the habit of watching them. That’s how I stumbled across the game that opened me to a coming shift in my faith life.

The video essay was titled “The Game too Scary for 3D- The Hidden Story of FAITH: The Unholy Trinity.” This upload automatically piqued my interest for a number of reasons: the promise of something uniquely terrifying, an assumed connection to religion, and a running time of just under four and a half hours. I could not wait to sit down and learn about this game I had never heard of.

FAITH features a priest on a mission to remedy a failed exorcism that took place the year before. The game is rife with terrifying monsters, eerie music, and bone-chilling notes that spell out the story of what exactly happened. Throughout this, you are given only one object to defend yourself: a cross. As long as you have faith in the cross, you will continue moving forward towards the hope of a positive conclusion to the story.

I’m a sucker for a good scary story, and I was intrigued by the way this one positively portrayed religious devotion. No matter what the protagonist faces, even when he begins to fear that he may not be strong enough to go up against the literal forces of Hell, he holds up his cross for protection. During his journey, however, his cross loses its luster, and the priest’s wavering faith proves to leave the character more vulnerable. It is not until a fellow priest joins him in his battle against the game’s various enemies that his cross regains its brilliance, allowing the two holy men to finally defeat the evil before them.

This message about relying on — and trusting — others to get us through difficult journeys struck a chord. I used to tell people that despite the tragedies and trials I faced, I wholly trusted God to see me through the dark. It didn’t ever occur to me that I was lying to myself and others in saying this. I expected God to fix my problems, or at least work in ways that allowed me to continue about my life without having to ask for others’ support. I refused to let myself be cared for, forgetting that God so often works through others to help us.

Without warning, sepsis forced me into a position where I could not do the most basic daily functions without someone’s support — and the wall I put between myself and others was torn down. Only then was I accepting God’s gift of a supportive community by putting aside my pride and allowing others to weather the storm alongside me.

I could very easily say that FAITH led to a radical conversion, that it brought me to God and showed me the community the Church had to offer me. That’s often how I humorously present my story to those who ask. But it’s much more complicated than that. I had an existing, albeit strained, relationship with God. I was already exploring Catholicism to some extent. I understood what I wanted out of my faith life, but failed to realize what I needed, which was a trusting relationship with other Christians. Of course, my struggles were fairly different from the priest in the video game. He was going up against a hoard of sinister entities, and I was just trying to get my life back on track. We were both handling our own trials poorly because we were trying to do it alone. His vulnerability spoke to my own, as did his commitment to see through an end to the terrors in the night. 

FAITH is not a perfect representation of Catholicism by any means, and it did not make me into a perfect Christian. However, this uplifting representation of what it means to lean on the cross alongside others helped me to bridge the gap between what I wanted and needed out of my faith life. This experience also showed me that it’s not always the traditional things that open our eyes to a greater understanding of God. Sometimes, it takes a near-death experience and an indie horror game to be humbled and ready to listen.

Creators:
Lisa Jordan
Published:
April 22, 2024
April 22, 2024
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