Has Pokemon Unlocked Theology?

I know, that sounds like a horrifically silly question. Bizarrely, I think it does have merit though, and if you’ll stick with me on an explanation of Pokemon and, in particular, the game Pokemon Go, I think you’ll find something quite interesting.

If you’ve lived in a cave for the past 25 or so years, or my parents, the next two paragraphs are for you. Pokemon started out as a card game – we’re skipping that bit and going straight for the video games and the anime series. The purpose of the games, and the story of the anime television and movie series, is to catch Pokemon, which is short for Pocket Monsters. Basically, in the world of the game, all animals have been replaced with Pokemon. There are a LOT of these little things, some familiar and some fantastic. They all have different power levels which are used in the combat system. I’m not really going into the combat aspect since it really does sound a lot like glorified dog fighting.

Pokemon Go is an app available for portable devices which differs from standard video games in that regular games, you sit in front of a monitor (or phone) and play. This game, you actually not only move around, you have to go outside. You have to find places. There are landmarks, like libraries and, ironically (we’ll get to this part), churches, that give you items for the game.

Welcome back to the people who skipped the past two paragraphs. Several of the Pokemon in the games are called Legendaries. Now, in the anime series, there are only one of these. There are not two of any of the Gods. That makes sense, for television. For the games, however, it would really be unfair for there to only be one. Only Steve in Idaho can have the one and only Kyogre, God of the Oceans. Everyone else, no Kyogre for you. That doesn’t happen. Everyone can have a Kyogre. Actually, you can not only have a Kyogre, you can have multiple Kyogres and even shiny variants of them. I’ve got four myself, and one is shiny – which means it’s pink instead of blue.

Here’s where theology comes in. (No, I didn’t forget.) Kyogre is an impressive Pokemon in the games, no doubt. However, it isn’t the strongest. Not even of the water-type Pokemon. There are those that are stronger. I’ve got several water types that are considerably stronger than my Kyogres. Now, I am using this particular Pokemon and its type as an example. There are others in the same boat, as it were. Fire types, Steel, Fighting, Fairy, etc. etc. All of them have the same issue. The God is impressive, but others beat it out.

My point is, that seems an awful lot like regular Pokemon can become much more than their “Gods.” All it takes is hard work and determination.

Thousands of years ago, Gods seemed like a good idea. It was a quick and easy fix to get answers to questions like, “Where does fire come from?” and “Why is the sky blue?” The Gods have deemed it as such and therefore it is. See? Easy. It was also a great way to keep people in line with “rules” like don’t steal things, or kill one another – not that stopped everyone but you get the idea. Later, there seemed to be a great consolidation. The combination of all the daily worshipings into one, easy to manage, Sunday morning moaning-in-the-general-direction-of-Heaven fest – in the Christian version of things, anyway.

But if Pokemon can surpass their Gods, can’t we do the same? Do we need to be led around by the nose with some alleged moral compass that contradicts itself whenever the mood fits? Don’t believe me on that? Thou shalt not kill, unless it’s those guys over there. They have oil and worship the same God only call him by a different name and we don’t like that. Like we’re offended for God since he doesn’t bother to do much of anything these days.

We don’t need religion any more. We need education so we can teach people how to behave without having to worry about the vengeance of an imaginary guy living in the clouds who allegedly created us for his own sadistic purposes. Yes, sadistic. Why else would he create beings and spend their lifespan torturing them with things like sacrificing their children (Abraham) or floods (Noah) or fleecing (Evangelicals). Come on! POKEMON FIGURED THIS STUFF OUT! And that’s a kid’s game. Surely, we can do it. We are adults, right? You have already surpassed God in your capabilities. If I’m wrong, I’d love for him to show up and tell me. I’m not going to hold my breath, though.

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