Season after Pentecost, 2023
It doesn't bother me so much that a new online videogame advertising the Toyota Scion xD is violent, but I am offended that it seems to be blatantly anti-Christian.
The innocuous sheep-faced humanoids of the game are "sheeple". And who are we supposed to believe the sheeple are?
Know that the Lord is God. It is he that made us, and we are his;* we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
Yes, Toyota. When we're not busy drawing fish in the sand, we Judeo-Christians like to think of ourselves as sheep.
We are, in fact, his people and the sheep of his pasture. Sheep-people, if you will.
The advertisement I was forced to endure in the movie theater (because no, I wasn't going to walk out before Harry Potter 5 started) featured a "little deviant" wearing the disemboweled carcass of a "sheeple" in the spirit of Jesus' remarks in Matthew 7:15
"Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves."
The sheep in the advertisement and the game itself are defenseless. They are the "harassed and helpless" sheep without a shepherd that the author of Matthew describes in 9:36. (The ones we sing about "harvesting" to the tune ORA LABORA.
Jesus also uses the sheep as a metaphor for the children, "the greatest in the kingdom of heaven":
What do you think? If a shepherd has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go in search of the one that went astray?
The sheep in the game also bleed green. [NEED BIBLICAL REFERENCE FOR THIS!!!]
And, finally, there's the infamous "Sermon on Mt. Sheep":
“Very truly, I tell you, anyone who does not enter the sheepfold by the gate but climbs in by another way is a thief and a bandit. The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep hear his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. They will not follow a stranger, but they will run from him because they do not know the voice of strangers.” Jesus used this figure of speech with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them. So again Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and bandits; but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the gate. Whoever enters by me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand, who is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and runs away—and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. The hired hand runs away because a hired hand does not care for the sheep. I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father. And I lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd. For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life in order to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it up again. I have received this command from my Father.”
More to the point: Toyota's advertisement refers to sheeple murder as "evolution". The implied message that Toyota wants it's car buyers to inhabit is "Gray-painting Christians are cramping our style. This car will show them who's boss. I'll be a little demon! Try to stop me now!"
To help them with their new worldview, Toyota offers a fictional guidebook. The ads feature a tattered tome with the title "Book of Deviants" in goldleaf gothic script.
I take all of this to mean that I read this to be somewhat anti-Christian, and I don't think I'm too far off base here. I suspect this is what the marketing campaign is after.
Tapping a cultural undercurrent of Christian antagonism to sell cars is pretty . Especially when the kind of car they are selling is an eco-friendly compact (32/38 mpg), which is exactly the kind of car a progressive Christian might be interested in.
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