The Good News

The following is a letter written by Slanted Fish, editor-in-chief of this Poptropica Help Blog. PHB staff and readers are invited, but not required, to align with the beliefs shared here. This letter does not intend to offend or attack in any way. Instead, its goal is to offer a perspective about life that Poptropicans can relate to and possibly consider for themselves.

Dear Poptropican friends,

I love Poptropica. It’s a remarkable game world full of witty characters and beautiful scenery and so much more. Its fandom is full of amazing people who share a passion for this game, inspiring others through things like writing fan blogs or creating fan art. Personally, my life was made better with Poptropica playing a part in it, and since you’re here, perhaps that’s been your experience too.

You can see why it would be difficult not to share about something that has impacted my life in such a positive way. Which is why I feel that I should share about something even bigger that has, and continues to, transform my life in the most powerful way. Poptropica can offer a small glimpse into it, and that’s what I’ll try to make it do for you in this letter, but it’s so much more than what I can cover here.

That big something, friends, is the good news of Jesus Christ, son of God. It’s best summarized in the following famous sentence from a famous book called the Bible:

This is the core of the Christian gospel – a word meaning good news.

Before you balk, I know – the idea of mixing religion and a Poptropica blog together is an odd one, but I believe the risk is worth taking. If I haven’t lost you yet, let’s keep going. It might just change your life, or at the very least, make you a little more aware of something that’s been a big deal in our (real) world for over 2000 years.

The readership of this blog is a diverse group, and we all come from different life backgrounds. But whether you’ve heard the biblical stories your whole life or this is your first time exploring any religious topic, perhaps a Poptropica-based perspective can spin a new light on the old tale.

what does this “Good News” have to do with Poptropica?

Think of it this way: the Good News of the gospel concerns the world. “For God so loved the world…” This invitation is for the world. As for Poptropica, it tells stories about the world. Our complex, beautiful, and broken world.

It’s true, we live in an impressive world. From the vast depths of the ocean teeming with life to the miniscule DNA sequences creating every part of every living being, the sheer complexity and beauty of our earth (and even beyond into space) is simply amazing.

In Poptropica, you get a taste of that wonder when you bounce your way through the jungle of Twisted Thicket or poke around the inner body of a fellow human on Virus Hunter. And while Poptropica has its Creators who invented these virtual worlds, perhaps it’s not so far-fetched to infer that a designer put together our incredible real world, too.

The stories in Poptropica are mostly fiction, of course, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t elements of truth to be found. Take the main idea of your typical Poptropica island: there’s a problem, and over the course of the island quest, you solve it.

Again, you don’t need to be religious to see how Poptropica’s stories reflect our reality of a broken world, and make clear distinctions of what is good and evil. Ironically, good fiction can be an effective tool for showing truth in a fresh, indirect perspective.

Poptropica does this well, often with humor, like when a grown man in a pink bunny suit steals an entire town’s carrot supply and tries to mind-control the world (24 Carrot). But other times, the stories are more believable and a little dark, like when a successful young man betrays his best friend over a lady (Ghost Story), or when a crazed hunter decides that hunting animals isn’t enough anymore and you become his next target (Survival).

In Poptropica, and in the world, the logical next step to being presented with problems is to try to fix them. And, Poptropica being a game, the path is already written out for you to execute. But real life is not so simple.

In fact, even accepting the Good News isn’t going to make every problem go away right away. God doesn’t work like that. However, what it (and the rest of the Bible) does do is equip you to be stronger in facing and fighting issues of justice (2 Timothy 3:14-17), and to bring hope of a world to come that will erase every injustice… forever (2 Peter 3:11-13). Doesn’t that sound like a worthwhile cause?

What exactly is the Bible’s story, and why should I believe it?

The Bible is a complex book which is really made up of 66 “books” of varying literary styles, contexts, and authors. Put them together, and they tell one grand narrative about God and his people – which you’re invited to be a part of.

The video below provides a 5-minute summary of the big story:

For more informative and well-animated videos like these, check out The Bible Project.

At the heart of it, this story is offering the best news you could possibly hear, in light of the reality we all face: a beautifully complex world that’s often messed up.

As for whether you should find it true… well, there are many other alternative worldviews out there, and this would go on for far too long if I were to address each one. Suffice it to say, every worldview believes they have it right, and that the others are inadequate in some way. In that regard, I admit that I too am making such a truth claim. However, we can’t all be right. The truth is out there, and regardless of what you believe, you must find good reasons for what you believe and how you impact the world.

I recommend the version of truth that, in addition to being grounded in historical fact (the fulfillment of old prophecies, the life and death of Jesus, and rapid spread of the Christian church despite persecution both then and now) and promoting genuinely good values for this life (loving a God of justice and mercy, loving your neighbor, and even loving your enemies), also offers the greatest hope for our world (that all things will be made right: 2 Peter 3:11-13).

What does this story mean for us?

In Poptropica, you are the hero: you’re the one going around saving the citizens of every island, every time. That’s awesome, and with Jesus, it becomes even clearer how you can justify morality in the first place: because every human life is made in the image of God (Genesis 1:26-27), they are therefore ascribed dignity, and that makes serving others highly worthwhile.

In God’s story, however, we’re just as prone to mess up as the rest of the citizens on the island. We may not be stealing an entire town’s worth of carrots like Dr. Hare, but we’ve all done things that hurt someone else’s metaphorical carrots. We put our needs above everyone else’s, we lose our temper at others, we’ve envied the carrots of others… the list goes on.

We could all do with a savior and a role model for what it means to be the best kind of human, even as we constantly fall short. Our own brokenness may be an uncomfortable thought, but as the Good News tells us, we can be forgiven – if we dare accept such an invaluable gift, freely offered to all, through Jesus’ own sacrifice (Hebrews 10:10).

I’m only scratching the surface of theology with this letter, but if you do get to that point, be sure to let God know. He’ll celebrate with you (Luke 15:7). And he’ll even take care of you (Matthew 6:25-34).

No matter what your beliefs are today, thank you, truly, for reading this letter. Thank you for being curious about the world through Poptropica and beyond.

In the end, it is up to you to decide what your heart will follow. The world is full of things to follow, and as long as you’re alive, you will be following something.

It is my hope that you will come to know the only person who can model for you a perfect example for what it means to be human. Knowing Jesus is a lifelong journey. Come discover the source of enduring hope in this life, and everlasting joy in the life to come.

Best wishes,
Slanted Fish

P.S. Thoughtful, non-hostile questions and comments are welcome. While I do not claim to have all the answers, I invite you to explore this revolutionary story further. If you want, you may also reach me privately on the PHC Discord server.

Curious for more? Here are some resources for thinking about the Good News:
Absolute Apologetics | The Bible Project | The Message Bible

Ask and you shall receive.

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32 thoughts on “The Good News

  1. Starving Cereal (SC) says:

    Whoa, I saw the sheep with John 3:16 on it and clicked, but I didn’t expect it to take me here.

    Anyway, I assume you’ll be keeping a tight leash on this page to prevent the more….extreme comments from coming out, right?

  2. Purple Claw says:

    As a Christ follower myself, I’ve found hope and faith in Christ.

    I had a fun time reading this message, all about love and forgiveness. I hope for everyone who reads this will consider believing in Jesus. If not, then I respect you for having your own opinion.
    Well, besides that, I have nothing else to add, since Fishy said it all above.

    God bless all of you ❤

  3. Toby says:

    Thanks for this. It’s always nice to see other followers of God and Jesus in the communities. And, yes, it is the Good News that we have such a wonderful savior who gave his life for us

  4. Shaggy Tornado says:

    I love what you’ve done here Fishy 🙂 I wasn’t expecting that sheep icon to lead me here but glad I read it 😀

    My friend also recommended the Bible Project to me recently and it is really amazing!

    Also love the Poptropica metaphors lol

    • Slanted Fish says:

      Thanks, Shaggy! 😀 I agree – the Bible Project videos are really good for helping people understand a complicated text, whether you’re a believer or not, and I’m happy to pass them along. And hopefully the Poptropica metaphors help with understanding, too. 😛

  5. Smart Flame says:

    As a Christ follower myself this really gave me hope that I have someone to relate to as I feel when going on discord I am the only with christian beliefs, but it’s nice to know I’m not the only one. I really enjoyed this post and it makes me think of Poptropica differently in an amazing way. I’m glad there are still people in this who do good things like this that may bring someone to Christ. Thank you.

  6. Maroon Popper says:

    When I saw a sheep on the PHB’s sidebar, I was curious enough to click it. XD Personally I’m not really a christian, but I respect other people’s beliefs, and I still found this interesting! 🙂

    • Slanted Fish says:

      Hey, that’s cool that you found this interesting regardless! I respect others’ beliefs as well, but I did want to introduce a view that others may hopefully find meaningful. 🙂

  7. Molly KIng says:

    In my opinion this is out of order and inappropriate. Poptropica is a game aimed at 6-15 year olds. Six year olds. The fact you see no issue with twisting and manipulating a children’s game for the advancement of your own ideology is so very very concerning. You can say “no one’s stopping you from walking away” but this is aimed at children under 11, and I think it’s unethical to advertise your ideology to them by equating it to a game. It’s not your place. I’m rambling but I cannot get over that people would think this is acceptable. My political nor religious views do not matter, I’d think this was inappropriate no matter what they were because you are presenting with such bias. Oversimplifying, cherry picking and not giving easily influenced children the big picture such as the many tradgedies caused by widespread power of the church, how a huge amount of “messed up” things in the world have been caused by religion (countless wars, abuse within religious organisations, homophobia, hate crimes, murders, vigilanteism etc.), extremely strong evidence for scientific theories (background radiation and the big bang or evolution and fossil records), the nuance of Christian belief (What would the scripture say about women or slaves or members of the LGBT community?)

    I find this post, and the fact it is advertised on your site on numerous pages extremely distressing. I doubt this comment will even be allowed to stay up and there are things I haven’t said explicitly because I don’t think it would be appropriate to say on a blog about a children’s game.

    • Slanted Fish says:

      Molly, I appreciate your concerns. However, I’d like to put some of those fears to rest.

      First, any child who can read this, regardless of age, can see that I leave the choice up to the individual. I did emphasize that this is just one of many worldviews, albeit one I find worthwhile, hence the existence of this letter.

      The reason I use Poptropica is because this is a Poptropica blog, and so this is something the readers can relate to. I could have talked about this without the Poptropica parts, but it wouldn’t seem quite as relevant. Notice, also, I have not said anything about the game’s elements that were not true. They do tell stories about our world.

      I do believe that – given freedom of speech, this being my site, and my personal convictions – it is within my right to post this. Of course I could analyze the entire history of religion, but it would go on for far too long. This is an overview, not an encyclopedia. More specific concerns can be discussed in the comments, as we are doing now.

      By highlighting the “messed up” things that have been done in the name of religion – which, by the way, I have not condoned – it seems you’re the one cherry-picking. However, this letter’s message is Christ, not flawed Christians. And Christians are quite varied in their beliefs. You are right to recognize nuances, which I’ll discuss below, but the letter focuses on the common ground Christians side with: that Christ died to set us free, and will return someday.

      I believe science and faith are very much compatible, and God reveals himself in both. You may recall that I talk about the amazing design of our world in the letter. Any supposed discrepancy between the two is an error in one’s own interpretation of either scientific discovery or faith.

      I believe Scripture affirms women as equal to everyone else. Many churches do ordain women in ministry. And women play important roles throughout Scripture – one notable example is that women were the first to discover Jesus’s empty tomb, and this was in the first century when women were considered by society to be unreliable witnesses. Remarkably, Jesus had no problem allowing them to be the ones to spread the news of his resurrection.

      I believe Scripture is against exploitation, which includes slavery as we think of it. After all, one of the biggest stories in the Bible is about how God rescued the people of Israel out of slavery. Also, I say “slavery as we think of it” because you will find mention of slaves in the Bible, but this was part of ancient culture; however, the law was kind to them, not exploitative (one example is in Exodus 21:16). It would definitely be against something abusive like the Atlantic slave trade.

      I believe Scripture does not comment on LGBTs, as this was not even a recognized issue at the time of its writing. Any claim of such, I would say, is a misinterpretation. Actually, the PHB (this blog) even hosted a party celebrating LGBTs a while back. Interestingly, no one used that event to disavow using Poptropica to advance an ideology.

      It is true, however, that you may find Christians who say otherwise on these issues, whether past or present. But again: the message is Christ. And I think the more you look with an open mind at how Christ asks us to live, the more you’ll find it’s a gospel of peace.

  8. Teen Arachnid says:

    Wow, for a while I thought that I was one of very few Christians in this Poptropica community. I’m glad that you made this post, Slanted Fish.

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