BioShock Infinite and the perversion of one man’s religion

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BioShock Infinite

This post contains massive BioShock Infinite spoilers. Do not even attempt to read on if you want everything about this game to be a surprise.

BioShock Infinite touches on a lot of interesting subjects. It forces us to confront the mindset and racial relations in America and consider the weight of our actions in ways we don’t usually think about. It also presents commentary about religion and the incredible effects it can have on a person.

Now let’s get into spoiler territory. At the end of the game, we learn Booker DeWitt and Comstock are the same person in alternate realities. Comstock was created when DeWitt accepted baptism, but the DeWitt we play as is from a reality where he rejected baptism. As someone who grew up in a Christianity household, I’ve always been led to believe getting baptized is one of the best things a person can do for themselves. It essentially washes away your past sins and allows you to start anew without yesterday’s baggage. In BioShock Infinite, the baptism made DeWitt a horrible person – an infinitely horrible person.

In the game, we learned Booker seeks out baptism to absolve himself of the things he did during the events of Wounded Knee. After changing his name to Zachary Hale Comstock, the former Booker DeWitt begins to break most of the commandments of Christianity and becomes an awful person in the process. Let’s go through them.

You shall have no other gods before me

Comstock created a religion where his followers worship him and three founding fathers of the United States – Thomas Jefferson, George Washington and Benjamin Franklin.

You shall not make for yourself a carved image

The are large statues of Comstock and the founding fathers in Columbia. Followers bow to them and pray to them as well.

You shall not murder

Comstock fails this on so many levels. He is responsible for the deaths of Robert Lutece, Rosalind Lutece and Lady Comstock. Given his extreme views, it fair to assume many other deaths in Columbia have occurred with his blessing.

You shall not steal

Comstock stole his own child from an alternate reality. He also stole the war background of Cornelius Slate to make himself appear to be a physically strong leader.

You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor

Comstock had Lady Comstock killed and blamed it on Daisy Fitzroy. He also made everyone believe DeWitt was the infamous “false shepard” in order to keep DeWitt from getting to Elizabeth. The more people he could put in between DeWitt and her, the longer Comstock could keep his facade going.

You shall not covet

Comstock coveted DeWitt’s child since he couldn’t have one of his own. He coveted the military achievements of Slate. He also coveted power and control over the minds of Columbia’s citizens.

That’s six of the 10 commandments broken. For what it’s worth, the unbaptized Booker DeWitt we know would not have done any of these things. He may have committed awful acts at Wounded Knee, but the fact that he sought to redeem himself shows he genuinely felt bad for what he did. He’s just not some guy that went around killing Native Americans for idealistic reasons. The Booker DeWitt we know is not a racist like Comstock. In a voxaphone recording, Comstock became infuriated when someone suggested he had Native American blood.

This so-called holy man has perverted the core of what appears to be the Christianity faith. He fancies himself a god who can see all. He calls Elizabeth “the lamb” (much like Jesus) who had a miracle birth (also like Jesus). Booker DeWitt believed no such thing. To him, Anna (Elizabeth) was simply his daughter.

I’m not saying BioShock Infinite is bashing Christianity. I just found Comstock’s transformation to be personally fascinating since I spent much of my youth in the church. In my life, I’ve seen situations where the most “holy” people, the people who always go to church and quote the bible, end up being some of the worst people on the inside. They wage war in the name of religion, deny rights to others in the name of religion and use religion to hide their disgusting secrets. Comstock is the embodiment of all those people. He represents the extreme of what can happen to a person that takes religion too far. In the end, the only way to stop him is to kill him in every possible reality. But as the game tells us, there’s always a man, there’s always a city. The cycle won’t stop.

Full Disclosure: Staples provided BioShock Infinite to us for review. The review is forthcoming, but the words and opinions expressed in this article are strictly the views of the TechnologyTell writer. Click here to see Staples’ full line of gaming equipment.

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